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Koizumi Shinjiro Japanese Political Leader, Japan

Japan’s Shinzo Abe Wednesday appointed new foreign and defence ministers and promoted a popular rising political star, in a cabinet reshuffle that fuelled speculation over the prime minister’s successor. The spectacular appointment as environment minister of the telegenic Shinjiro Koizumi, the 38-year-old son of much-loved former PM Junichiro, set tongues wagging in Tokyo political classes as the Abe era draws to a close. “Abe intends to start an open race to pick the next prime minister or even the one after that,” said SMBC Nikko Securities chief market economist Yoshimasa Maruyama. A darling of the Japanese media, Koizumi received blanket coverage for his recent marriage to television broadcaster Christel Takigawa, which was announced at the prime minister’s office. He is the third-youngest minister appointed to the cabinet in Japan since the end of World War II, in a country where seniority is prized in politics and many other walks of life. Despite intense media spotlight, he has been coy on expressing his view on the issues of the day and there will be close scrutiny over his policies on nuclear power, particularly on whether he will break with his father’s anti-nuclear stance. “I hope Mr Shinjiro Koizumi will tackle global issues such as ocean plastics and climate change not with worn-out approaches but with the new ideas of the young generation,” Abe said. “He is more seasoned than I was in my 10th year” (since being elected). I hope he will secure results,” said the prime minister. ‘New challenge’ AbeContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Headline Story Now

President Donald Trump said that US peace talks with the Taliban are “dead” and that he is ramping the war back up after canceling secret talks with the Afghan insurgents at his weekend retreat. “They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” Trump said at the White House about the long-running attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and extricate US troops following 18 years of war. The announcement followed Trump’s dramatic cancelation of a top-secret plan to fly Taliban leaders in for direct talks at the Camp David presidential facility outside Washington. Driving another nail into the coffin of what had appeared to be nearly finalized negotiations, Trump said that a US military onslaught on the guerrillas was back up at its fiercest in a decade. “Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!” he wrote in a tweet. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “we’ve killed over a thousand Taliban in just the last 10 days.” Whiplash Trump angrily denied that the whiplash effect of his sudden shifts on Afghanistan was causing turmoil. Until this weekend, there had been steadily mounting expectations of a deal that would see the United States draw down troop levels in Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban would offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups out. But then on Saturday, Trump revealed that he had canceled an unprecedented meeting between the Taliban andContinue reading

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Carrie Lam - Hong Kong News HEadlines

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that the decision to withdraw an extradition bill that sparked months of demonstrations in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory was her government’s own initiative to break the impasse, and not Beijing’s directive. Lam told a news conference that China’s central government “understands, respects and supports” her government in the entire process. Withdrawal of the bill meets one of protesters’ five key demands, but activists have vowed not to yield until the government fulfills all of them. Those also include an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality during the protests, the unconditional release of those detained, not labelling the protests as riots, and direct elections of the city’s leader. The massive but peaceful demonstrations began in June against the legislation, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial, but clashes with police have become increasingly violent as the demands evolved into a wider call for democracy. Demonstrators threw gasoline bombs at officers last weekend protests and police retaliated with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. Nearly 1,200 people have been detained so far. Lam reiterated that the government cannot accede to the protesters’ other demands. She said the police watchdog agency will be impartial and best suited to investigate alleged police misconduct, and that releasing detainees without charges would be “unacceptable.” She denied making a U-turn on the bill, noting that she suspended the bill in mid-June, days after the protests began, and in July declared theContinue reading

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Hong Kong Protester

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon on Saturday as pro-democracy protesters threw petrol bombs in the latest in a series of clashes that have plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its worst political crisis in decades. Police fired round after round of tear gas as protesters took cover behind umbrellas between the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army and government HQ. Protesters also threw bricks dug up from pathways, at police. The water cannon fired blue-dyed water, traditionally used elsewhere in the world to make it easier for police to identify protesters later. Riot police then marched on foot towards the neighbouring Admiralty district, followed by about 20 police cars, where some protesters had thrown fire bombs from flyovers, some landing close to police. Others shone blue and green lasers at police lines. There were rumours of one off-duty policeman being wounded. Police fought running battles with protesters, beating them with truncheons, in the Wanchai bar and restaurant district. Reuters witnesses saw two arrests. The protests, which at one point blocked three key roads, came on the fifth anniversary of a decision by China to curtail democratic reforms in the former British colony, which returned to China in 1997. The PLA on Thursday rotated its troops in Hong Kong in what it said was a routine operation. Their Hong Kong HQ was the former base of the British military garrison. Thousands took to the streets in the afternoon on a largely peaceful, meandering rally in the rain,Continue reading

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Narendra Modi on India News in Politics

Just before midnight on the eve of the biggest political change in Indian-administered Kashmir in decades, authorities shut down internet access, mobile and landline phones and cable TV in the disputed region home to 12.5 million people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government presented an order in Parliament on Aug. 5 revoking the autonomy of India’s only Muslim-majority state. The following day, lawmakers passed a bill to split the state, Jammu and Kashmir, into two federal territories. Government officials have filled the communications void by asserting the changes have widespread acceptance in Kashmir, across India and internationally — a portrayal that hasn’t stood up to scrutiny. By circulating photos and videos with rousing Kashmiri folk music but no voices — evoking 20th century wartime newsreels — India’s foreign ministry asserts life is returning to normal. Independent news reports suggest otherwise. Kashmir has been disputed territory since 1947, when India and Pakistan won independence from British rule. Each claimed Kashmir and they have fought two of their three wars over it, with each now administering part of it. The nuclear rivals approached war again in February, when a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary soldiers. India responded by bombing an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan. The response was meant to signal Modi’s hard-line stance on Kashmir, where soldiers are authorized to shoot civilian demonstrators with marbles and pellets, blinding some people. The Indian government has also regularly cracked down on communications, especially in the Himalayan region whereContinue reading

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Park Geun-hye - South Korea News Headlines

South Korea’s top court ordered new trials Thursday for former president Park Geun-hye and Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong over the corruption scandal that brought her down, in a blow to the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker. Park is serving a 25-year jail term after being convicted last year on bribery and abuse of power charges. But Lee, whose sprawling conglomerate is vital to the health of the world’s 11th-largest economy, had many of his convictions quashed on appeal in February 2018 and was released after being given a suspended sentence. Their trials highlighted shady links between big business and politics in South Korea, with Park and her close friend Choi Soon-sil accused of taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for preferential treatment. South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday sent all three of their cases back for new proceedings, saying that errors had been made in the judgements. After a 10-month trial — in which she boycotted most of the proceedings in protest at being held in custody — Park was convicted in April last year of receiving or demanding more than $20 million from conglomerates, sharing secret state documents, “blacklisting” artists critical of her policies, and firing officials who resisted her abuses of power. She was sentenced to 24 years, later extended for an additional 12 months. But the Supreme Court ruled that under the country’s public official election act, courts must rule separately on bribery accusations when incumbent or former presidents face multiple criminal charges. “WeContinue reading

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Uighurs, Uighur Culture Book - Uyghur News

For 15 years, Yalqun Rozi skillfully navigated state bureaucracies to publish textbooks that taught classic poems and folk tales to millions of his fellow minority Uighurs in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. That all changed three years ago when the ruling Communist Party launched what it says is a campaign against ethnic separatism and religious extremism in Xinjiang. Suddenly even respected public figures like Rozi were being arrested, caught up in a crackdown that critics have said amounts to cultural genocide. An estimated 1 million Uighurs have since been detained in internment camps and prisons across the region, and advocacy groups say that includes more than 400 prominent academics, writers, performers and artists. Critics say the government is targeting intellectuals as a way to dilute, or even erase, the Uighur culture, language and identity. After being taken away by police in 2016, Rozi, 54, was sentenced to more than a decade in prison on charges of incitement to subvert state power. As one of the first prominent people to be detained, Rozi’s story illustrates how even Uighurs who toed the party line and were accepted by the government have been rebranded enemies of the state amid the widening campaign of surveillance and detention underway in Xinjiang. “He had many friends among government officials. He was able to use his connections to sell his books,” said Abduweli Ayup, a linguist who knew Rozi through a Uighur bookstore Ayup once ran. “Those books sold very well.” China’s 11 million Uighurs areContinue reading

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Hong Kong Police

Hong Kong protesters threw bricks and gasoline bombs at police, who responded with tear gas, as chaotic scenes returned to the summer-long anti-government protests on Saturday for the first time in nearly two weeks. Hundreds of black-clad protesters armed with bamboo poles and baseball bats fought with police officers wielding batons on a main road following a march against “smart lampposts” that was sparked by surveillance fears. The chaotic scenes unfolded outside a police station and a nearby shopping mall as officers in riot gear faced off with protesters who set up makeshift street barricades. The violence interrupted nearly two weeks of calm in Hong Kong, which has been gripped by a turbulent pro-democracy movement since June. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd after repeated warnings “went futile,” the government said in a statement. By early evening, most of the protesters had dispersed, though clashes flared up in other neighborhoods. Earlier in the day, some protesters used an electric saw to slice through the bottom of a smart lamppost, while others pulled ropes tied around it to send it toppling and cheered as it crashed to the ground. The protest march started peacefully as supporters took to the streets to demand the removal of the lampposts over worries that they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities. The government in Hong Kong said smart lampposts only collect data on traffic, weather and air quality. The protesters chanted slogans calling for theContinue reading

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Shinzo Abe - Japan Politics Headline News

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said South Korea’s decision to cancel a deal to share military intelligence, mainly on North Korea, is damaging mutual trust and vowed Friday to work closely with the U.S. for regional peace. Abe also accused South Korea of not keeping past promises. The intelligence agreement started in 2016. “We will continue to closely coordinate with the U.S. to ensure regional peace and prosperity, as well as Japan’s security,” he said ahead of his departure for the Group of Seven summit of industrialized nations in France. South Korea announced Thursday it would terminate the intelligence deal because Tokyo’s decision to downgrade South Korea’s preferential trade status had caused a “grave” change in the security cooperation between the countries. Seoul says it will downgrade Tokyo’s trade status as well, a change that would take effect in September. Senior South Korean presidential official Kim Hyun-chong on Friday defended his government’s decision. He told reporters that “there is no longer any justification” for South Korea to continue the deal because of Japan’s claim that basic trust between the countries had been undermined. South Korea has accused Japan of weaponizing trade to punish it over a separate dispute linked to Japan’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Japan denies any retaliation. Kim accused Japan of having ignored South Korea’s repeated calls for dialogue and other conciliatory steps to resolve the bitter trade and history disputes. He said Japan’s “breach of diplomatic etiquette” had undermined “ourContinue reading

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'Dhara 370' Song Urges Hindus to Claim Kashmir

The music videos began appearing on social media within hours of the announcement by India’s Hindu-led nationalist government that it was stripping statehood from the disputed region of Kashmir that had been in place for decades. The songs delivered a message to India’s 250 million YouTube users about moving to the Muslim-majority region, buying land there and marrying Kashmiri women. It’s the latest example of a growing genre in India known as “patriotism pop” — songs flooding social media about nationalism and the country’s burgeoning right-wing ideology. Earlier songs were limited to the rise of Hindus in India, defeating regional rival Pakistan and hoisting the Indian flag in every household. Now, they include settling in Kashmir — a rugged and beautiful Himalayan region claimed by both Pakistan and India, although both countries control only a portion of it. On Aug. 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Kashmir’s decades-old special status that was guaranteed under Article 370 of India’s Constitution and sent thousands of troops to the region. The move has touched off anger in the Indian-controlled region, which has been under a security lockdown that has seen thousands detained to prevent protests there. One of Modi’s revisions allows anyone to buy land in the territory, which some Kashmiris fear could mean an influx of Hindus who would change the region’s culture and demographics. Critics have likened it to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. The patriotic songs are mostly shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the fast-growing app TikTok, whichContinue reading

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Carrie Lam - Hong Kong News HEadline

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday she hoped a peaceful weekend anti-government protest was the start of an effort to restore calm and that talks with nonviolent protesters would provide “a way out” for the China-ruled city. Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied peacefully in torrential rain on Sunday in the eleventh week of what have been often violent demonstrations. “I sincerely hope that this was the beginning of society returning to peace and staying away from violence,” Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said. “We will immediately start the work to establish a platform for dialogue. This dialogue, I hope, will be based on a mutual understanding and respect and find a way out for today’s Hong Kong,” she said. Anger erupted in June over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in the former British colony to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The unrest has been fueled by broader worries about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place after Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest. The protests have prompted sharp reactions from Beijing, which has accused foreign countries, including the United States, of fomenting unrest in the territory. China has also sent clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills in neighboring Shenzhen. Britain’s Foreign Office said it was extremely concerned about reports that a Hong Kong staff member had been detainedContinue reading

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Xi Jinping - Politics in China Today News

China lashed out at Taiwan on Monday over its offer of political asylum to participants in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement, a day after hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully in the latest massive demonstration in the Chinese territory. The government of Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers its own territory, strongly supports the protests, and Hong Kong students in Taiwan held events over the weekend expressing their backing. Taiwan’s president made the asylum offer last month, though it’s not clear if requests have been received. Taiwan lacks a formal legal mechanism for assessing and granting asylum requests, although it has granted residency to several vocal opponents of the Chinese government. On Monday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Chinese Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said Taiwan’s offer would “cover up the crimes of a small group of violent militants” and encourage their “audacity in harming Hong Kong and turn Taiwan into a “heaven for ducking the law.” Ma demanded that Taiwan’s government “cease undermining the rule of law” in Hong Kong, cease interfering in its affairs and not “condone criminals.” Organizers said at least 1.7 million people participated in Sunday’s Hong Kong rally and march, although the police estimate was far lower. Police said the protest was “generally peaceful” but accused a large group of people of “breaching public peace” afterward by occupying a major thoroughfare and using slingshots to shoot “hard objects” at government headquarters and pointing lasers at police officers. The protests have at times been markedContinue reading

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Kim Jong Un - North Korea Missiles

North Korea said Saturday that leader Kim Jong Un supervised another test-firing of an unspecified new weapon, seen as an attempt to pressure Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear negotiations and their joint military exercises. Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, said that following Friday’s launches, Kim Jong Un expressed “great satisfaction” over his military’s “mysterious and amazing success rates” in recent testing activity and vowed to build up “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke.” The report did not mention any specific comment about the United States or South Korea. The launches were North Korea’s sixth round of tests since late July that revealed developments of a new rocket artillery system and two separate short-range mobile ballistic missile systems that experts say would expand its ability to strike targets throughout South Korea, including U.S. bases there. KCNA did not describe what Friday’s weapons were or how they performed, but said that the tests were successful and strengthened the military’s confidence in the reliability of the system. North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos that showed what appeared to be a missile soaring from a launcher installed on a vehicle and striking what appeared to be a coastal target. Kim is seen jubilantly raising his fist while celebrating with military officials. (Kim) said everyone should remember that it is the (ruling) party’s core plan and unwavering determination to build a powerful force strong enough to discourage any forces from daring to provoke us and to leave any opponentContinue reading

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Russian Yandex - Russia News

A draft law proposing to limit foreign ownership in ‘significant’ Russian technology firms to 20% is not aimed at making its top search engine Yandex state-owned, the lawmaker behind the idea, Anton Gorelkin, said. The draft law, submitted to Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, in late July, proposes limiting foreign ownership in internet firms to 20% if they are considered by a special commission to be a “significant source of information”. The draft, prepared by Gorelkin, raised concerns it would damage the ability of Russian companies to compete globally. It has attracted criticism from several sides, including from the companies themselves. “I believe that Yandex should not be state-owned, but it should be Russian,” Gorelkin said. “Not only Yandex, but all the companies that are systematically important for our IT market.” The proposal concerns only the companies for which the Russian market is core, which means, if approved, it would not affect Facebook or Google, Gorelkin said. “Facebook has about 20 million users in Russia, and Yandex has about 100 million,” Gorelkin said. “We are talking about companies focused on Russia – this would concern neither Google, nor Facebook.” The draft law may impact three to five key players in the Russian IT sector, he said, without naming them. Along with Yandex, Russian internet group Mail.Ru, which owns social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, warned against adopting the law in its form as of late July. Critics say Russian authorities have over recent years taken steps to tighten controlContinue reading

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Moon Jae-in South Korean vs Kim Jong Un - North Korea

North Korea launched at least two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday, South Korea’s military said, shortly after Pyongyang described South Korea’s president as “impudent” and vowed that inter-Korean talks are over. The North has protested against joint U.S.-South Korea military drills, largely computer-simulated, which kicked off last week, calling them a rehearsal for war. It has also fired several short-range missiles in recent weeks. North Korea fired two more short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast on Friday morning, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement. Japan’s defence ministry said it did not see any imminent security threat from the latest projectile launch. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial information indicated at least one projectile was fired by North Korea and appeared to be similar to the short-range missiles fired in previous weeks. Another official said the United States was consulting with South Korea and Japan. An official at Seoul’s defence ministry said the latest test involved ballistic technology and detailed analysis was under way with the United States with the possibility that the North fired the same type of missiles it used on Aug. 10. The missiles were launched shortly after 8 a.m. Friday (2300 GMT Thursday) and flew around 230 kms (142 miles) to an altitude of 30 kms (18 miles), South Korea’s JCS said. The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballisticContinue reading

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Narendra Modi - India Politics News Headlines

The achingly beautiful Himalayan valley was flooded with soldiers and roadblocks of razor wire. Phone lines were cut, internet connections switched off, politicians arrested. Public gatherings were banned. The prime minister of the world’s largest democracy had clamped down on Kashmir to near-totalitarian levels. And Narendra Modi’s country reacted with roaring approval: As he had Kashmir stripped of statehood and its special constitutional status, even some of his political opponents were calling out support. Modi, a Hindu nationalist by the time he was 10 years old, had upended life in India’s only Muslim-majority state, flexing those nationalist muscles for his millions of followers. They loved him for it. “All of Kashmir is ours!” a jubilant middle-aged demonstrator, draped in the saffron-colored scarf of a Hindu, shouted during a New Delhi street celebration just before Parliament voted to end Kashmir’s decades of semi-autonomy. “Modi has fulfilled another promise,” said a more quiet-spoken supporter, Sushanto Sen, a retired senior manager with an aerospace and defense company, who lives in the crowded north Indian city of Lucknow. “Kashmir is part of India, and whatever rules apply to us should apply to others too.” To his critics, Modi is an authoritarian manipulator who wants to turn India into an avowedly Hindu nation. But to his supporters, Modi is an incorruptible ascetic unafraid to tell the truth — a man who understands what it means to be poor but, like so many of his supporters, wants India to be treated with respect by the restContinue reading

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Many protesters call for Carrie Lam resignation in Hong Kong

China said Hong Kong’s protest movement had reached “near terrorism” on Wednesday, after a night of ugly clashes at the city’s airport where demonstrators set upon and detained two men they suspected of being government sympathisers. Flights out of the financial hub resumed after two days of disruptions caused by unrest as thousands of protesters swarmed the terminal at one of the world’s busiest airports, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of departures. China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing called the behaviour at the airport no different to terrorism and said it must be severely punished. Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have plunged the city into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997. “We’re deeply sorry about what happened yesterday,” read a banner held up by a group of a few dozen demonstrators in the airport arrivals hall. “We were desperate and we made imperfect decisions. Please accept our apologies,” the banner said. In chaotic scenes that would once have been unthinkable for Hong Kongers, a peaceful sit-in at the airport turned violent late on Tuesday as protesters confronted and held a man they believed was an undercover Chinese agent. Busloads of riot police arrived in response, clashing with furious demonstrators before withdrawing once the man was removed and leaving the terminal briefly in control of activists who then detained a Chinese reporter for a short time. Protesters, who occupied the airport for five days – disruptingContinue reading

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