TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made his third ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, but again he did not visit in person to avoid angering Asian victims of Japan's war-time aggression. Visits by Japanese leaders to the shrine in central Tokyo have outraged China and South Korea, which suffered under Japanese occupation and colonization in the 20th century, because war-time leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honored there along with Japan's war dead. Abe made the offering in the name of the prime minister to mark the shrine's autumn festival, which runs from Thursday until Sunday, a shrine official told Reuters. The official said the offering was made before Thursday, but gave no details. A deputy government spokesman said Abe made the offering in his private capacity and that the government is in no position to comment, adding that it was not aware that the offering was disbursed from public funds. "I believe it's natural to express homage to those who fought and sacrificed their precious lives for the sake of their country, and to pray for the repose of their souls," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters. It was the third time that Abe has sent an offering to the shrine since he returned to office after his December election victory. He has not visited the shrine in person because he wants to rebuild relationships with China and South Korea. His previous offering was made in August. Sino-Japanese ties have been troubled for months because of a sovereignty dispute over tiny islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Japan's relations with South Korea have also cooled over a separate territorial dispute. Abe, an outspoken nationalist, has said he regretted not visiting the shrine while he was prime minister in 2006-2007. Two ministers from Abe's cabinet are considering visiting the shrine during the autumn festival, Kyodo news agency reported. Sino-Japanese ties have been overshadowed for years by what Beijing says has been Tokyo's refusal to admit to war-time atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in China between 1931 and 1945. Memories of a brutal Japanese occupation also run deep in South Korea. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry)
- Associated Press
A DNA test has led to the arrest of a suspect in the April 1985 slaying, rape and kidnapping of a 78-year-old woman who had dementia and had wandered away from her home. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office announced Friday that it had arrested Richard C. Lange, 61, on first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault charges. The office did not release the victim's name, but 1985 news stories identify her as Mildred Matheny, who was found unconscious, nude and beaten along a remote dirt road, about 25 miles from where she had disappeared seven hours earlier.
- Raleigh News and Observer
Third doses would aim to boost immunity for COVID-19 as coronavirus variants continue to spread.
- The Independent
Revelation follows criticism of Republican party in recent days
- The Independent
‘Fat Wolverine’ trends on Twitter after Texas senator blasts liberal Democrats for proposing to expand Supreme Court
- The Week
Fox News host Tucker Carlson isn't going anywhere. You might expect him to, given his sudden, strange laughs mid-broadcast — the sort of thing that could have taken him off air for a while in the "Dean scream" era. Or you might think he'd resign over a college yearbook image circulating in which a much younger Carlson appears to make an inside joke about the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Macone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the latter of whom was California's first openly gay elected official. You'd be wrong. We're in a weird space, culturally, with public shaming and what used to be called "gaffes." I think there's something real to the charge of "cancel culture," though the concept is much abused. Yet, as New York Times columnist Ross Douthat observed in 10 theses on the subject, its threat "is most effective against people who are still rising in their fields." For those who have reached the top, particularly in politics, the threat is increasingly empty. Indeed, in that elite realm — which obviously includes Carlson, for all his railing against the elite — we're rapidly approaching a point where anything short of tattooing Nazi symbols on your face on live television is not disqualifying for anyone willing and able to ignore the haters for a few weeks or months. Memories are short. Forced resignations aren't what they once were. Now, you can just refuse to be embarrassed and keep on trucking. Former President Donald Trump was a big part of this shift, but so are Democratic Govs. Ralph Northam (Va.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.), who have steadfastly refused to resign after major public scandals. Carlson, who last year had the highest-rated program in cable news history and is a rumored 2024 GOP contender (he denies interest), will do the same. The playbook is very simple. He's already using it, just as he has with scandals past. When his show's lead writer resigned after getting caught writing pseudonymous, racist posts online, Carlson took a vacation he said was "long-planned," then simply moved on from the subject. This month, he walked up to the line of advocating "replacement theory," then doubled down, with network support. This is just opposition research, he'll tell his fans of the yearbook. Our shared enemies are attacking me because I'm telling the truth, and because they hate you. It's all tribal. It's all dishonest. It's all games. It's all irrelevant. And it will be. More stories from theweek.comCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats7 cartoons about Derek Chauvin being found guiltyJoe Manchin lives on a boat in Washington — and protesters are reportedly headed there
Manufacturers should focus on producing as many vaccines as possible this year, but the world faces a potential surplus next year in capacity, Moderna's CEO said on Friday. Speaking at a virtual event on vaccine manufacturing, Stephane Bancel said that additional technology transfers might dent their ability to meet production targets. Moderna is on track to make up to 1 billion doses this year and 1.4 billion next year, he said.
- Business Insider
Operation Praying Mantis, the largest US naval action since World War II, offers a glimpse of what a US-Iran war could look like now.
- Reuters Videos
Nearly a hundred French fishermen rallied at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Europe's largest seafood processing center, in northern France on Thursday.They say they've been denied the right to fish in UK waters, and started fires and blocked trucks carrying fish from the UK in protestOne sign read - "You want to keep your waters??? OK ... So, keep your fish!!!"Britain's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union only allows the bloc's fishermen to access British waters with a license.French fisherman Bruno Margolle says those licenses were expected to be issued within days, only to drag on for months."On the evening of December 24, everyone was relieved that we had finally got a deal. On January 1, we had the assurance that within 48, 72 hours, everyone would get their licenses to operate within the UK's 6-12 mile zone. As of today, only 22 out of 120 boats have received their licenses."Margolle says many of those still struggling to obtain a license are unable to meet a British demand in the trade deal.That condition seeks proof that the skippers have fished in UK waters during the five years running up to Britain's 2016 referendum on EU membership.Britain claims it maintains an evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels using information supplied by the European Commission.A British government spokesman called Thursday's protest "unjustified," and said it's raised those concerns with French authorities.Meanwhile the French government said late on Thursday that the European Commission must ensure Britain holds up its side of the deal, citing the "urgency of the situation."About two-thirds of fish from the UK are exported to the EU.French fishermen say the country's fish stocks might be depleted if they still cannot cross into British waters.
- Business Insider
One of the world's most luxurious airlines is continuing to shed its largest aircraft in favor of newer but smaller planes that are cheaper to fly.
The country remains out of step with other major nations by refusing to commit to deeper emissions cuts.
- Business Insider
One dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine provides protection against COVID-19 that lasts at least 10 weeks, study finds
One dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine reduced COVID-19 infections by 65% in a study. Two doses of Pfizer's shot did so by 90%.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg released a video Thursday denouncing world leaders for the "hypothetical targets" announced at President Biden's virtual climate summit this week.Why it matters: The virtual summit came hours before Thunberg urged U.S. lawmakers "to listen to and act on the science" in testimony before a House Oversight Committee panel. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free."These targets could be a great start," Thunberg said in the four-minute-long clip, "if it wasn't for the fact that they're full of gaps and loopholes." Thunberg lambasted the leaders for "leaving out emissions from consumption of imported goods, as well as international aviation, shipping and the burning of biomass; using baseline manipulation; excluding most tipping points and feedback loops; and ignoring global aspects of equity and historic emissions.""They will call these hypothetical targets ambitious. But when you compare our insufficient targets with the overall current best available science, you clearly see that there's a gap. There are decades missing." The Swedish activist said the goals are "reliant on future, fantasy-scaled, currently barely-existing negative emissions technologies." State of play: Biden announced on Thursday the U.S. would seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels — about twice as ambitious as a goal set during the Obama administration. Leaders in Brazil, Canada and Japan also announced new targets at the summit. The bottom line: "The point ... is that we can keep cheating in order to pretend that these targets are in line with what is needed," Thunberg said. "But while we can others and even ourselves, we cannot fool nature and physics." "The emissions are still there, whether we choose to count them or not." Go deeper: All the new emissions targets announced at Biden’s climate summitMore from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
- Business Insider
A COVID triple-mutant found in India could be much more deadly, and may be resistant to existing vaccines
Researchers are describing it as an "immune escape variant," as vaccinated people who were previously infected with COVID can be infected.
- Business Insider
Video captures US military aircraft accidentally wrecking a UK hospital helipad during a training exercise
Emergency medical flights had to be temporarily redirected to a nearby airport after the helipad at the hospital was damaged.
- Yahoo News
The deepening disparities between two of the world’s largest countries should remind optimistic Americans that with light at the end of their own tunnel, it’s probably time for the U.S. to start thinking about how it can help end the pandemic elsewhere too.
"It's no surprise he's fabulous in the movie," director Adam McKay said recently of DiCaprio. "He's really funny; really grounded."
- The Daily Beast
BENOIT TESSIEREight private jets carrying India’s super wealthy—and potentially the coronavirus—landed in London ahead of the U.K.’s 4 a.m. ban on travel from India, according to the London Times. The U.K. added India to its “red list” of pandemic-stricken countries. As of Friday, any Britons returning from India must quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel. All non-British or non-Irish citizens will be banned entirely from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to cancel his own state visit to India scheduled for next week as a “precautionary measure.”The last of the luxury airliners to arrive, VistaJet Bombardier Global 6000, which left Dubai Thursday to collect passengers in Mumbai, landed at 3:15 a.m., just 44 minutes before the restrictions took place.The private jet passengers were fleeing unimaginable horror back home. At least 14 COVID-19 patients perished in a devastating fire that ripped through an ICU ward in one of India’s overcrowded hospitals about 70 miles outside Mumbai. The fire that broke out around 3 a.m. Friday morning was contained and extinguished, but not before 14 patients—many who were intubated and hard to evacuate—had died. “Around 90 patients were admitted to the hospital at the time of the incident,” Dilip Shah, the head of the Vijay Vallabh Hospital where it happened said in a statement Friday. Black Market Hospital Beds and Price-Gouged COVID Drugs Selling on Indian TwitterOne eyewitness, Avinash Patil, told reporters outside the hospital that no doctors were present at the time. “I got a call at around 3 am from a friend whose mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital,” he said. “As I reached the hospital, I saw fire engines outside. The ICU on the second floor was engulfed in smoke. Only two nurses were there, and I couldn’t see a doctor. It took firefighters about half an hour to put out the flames. We could see eight-ten bodies there.”Shah, the hospital chief, insisted all safety norms were followed and that “doctors were present,” according to local media reports. Earlier in the week, an oxygen leak in Maharashtra state, near where the fire broke out, resulted in the death of 24 COVID-19 patients who were on ventilators.To make terrible matters even worse, India reported its highest one-day number of cases, recording 332,730 new infections in a 24-hour period. In the same period, 2,263 people died with COVID-19.India has been overwhelmed by new cases coupled with a critical shortage of oxygen, hospital beds and now ventilators. Many desperate families have been forced to turn to black market price gougers who have been able to buy hospital space from corrupt administrators.The spike in cases comes as political rallies are still being held and after a month-long religious ceremony continues to bring millions of people to the Ganges River.India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticized for not calling a national lockdown to try to mitigate the spread and for hosting rallies ahead of elections in May. Government officials have said the previous lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic was economically devastating to many manual laborers who then traveled by foot from home cities to their villages, carrying the virus with them. The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 23, 2021 Modi called the ICU fire “tragic” and offered condolences over Twitter. Many of the comments on his tweet begged him to call a national lockdown to try to save lives. In a shocking expose published in Time magazine, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub paints a horrific picture from the ground, writing about states essentially hijacking oxygen trucks and stealing supplies for their own hospitals, and disturbing allegations of underreporting deaths. Ayyub lays the blame for the debacle squarely on Modi’s shoulders, accusing him of ignoring the fact that his Trump-style rallies are super-spreader events, and for letting the ball drop on vaccines.“Why was India caught unprepared as the second wave ravaged a cross-section of Indian society?” Ayyub writes. “The responsibility lies with a strongman regime that has ignored all caution.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Week
Thought nothing could be weirder than Kevin Spacey's bizarre Christmas Eve videos? Think again. A new report in The Hollywood Reporter runs through the legal issues the disgraced actor is facing more than three years after allegations of sexual harassment and assault were leveled against him. Among these is a battle between Spacey and House of Cards production company Media Rights Capital. MRC is reportedly seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages it says it suffered because of the scandal, which "diminished" the Netflix's show value. Spacey, meanwhile, has reportedly brought a counterclaim against MRC. Part of this fight, the Reporter describes, is an allegation that Spacey groped a House of Cards production assistant in 2012, as Spacey is arguing that MRC wasn't "blindsided" by the scandal after previously signing off on a settlement with the PA. This case was reportedly submitted to an arbitrator last year — and it sounds like a subsequent proceeding got a bit strange. "Like everything in the new bizarre world of Spacey, this legal proceeding turned surreal quickly," the Reporter writes. "At one point during his deposition, Spacey sprung up from his seat and performed a song-and-dance number in the conference room." Spacey might want to take this case a bit more seriously than that, especially considering the Reporter points out it "may have the biggest monetary stakes" for him. He's also facing the possibility of criminal charges in London, according to the report, not to mention an ongoing civil lawsuit from a sexual assault accuser. Spacey has mostly dropped off the map since his scandal, though he's been releasing bizarre videos every Christmas Eve, two of which feature him in character as House of Cards' sinister Frank Underwood. As far as whether Spacey could ever make a return to acting, the Reporter arrives at essentially the answer you'd expect to that question, noting that there is "little appetite in Hollywood to bring Spacey back." More stories from theweek.comCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats7 cartoons about Derek Chauvin being found guiltyJoe Manchin lives on a boat in Washington — and protesters are reportedly headed there
- Business Insider
The scientist behind Pfizer's vaccine says people will likely need a 3rd COVID-19 shot and yearly doses
BioNTech's chief medical officer said the COVID-19 vaccine would be similar to the annual flu shot as immunity wanes over time.
As thousands are dying every day, Modi has looked the other way. But how much longer can the government ignore the crisis unfolding in India?