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Japan’s justice minister resigns after death penalty quip

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Japan’s justice minister resigns after death penalty quip

Japan’s justice minister resigns after death penalty quip

Japan’s justice minister stepped down on Friday, over a scandal in less than a month and forcing a last-minute delay for the embattled premier’s Asia tour.

The justice minister, Yasuhiro Hanashi, became the second minister to leave Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet.

Kishida’s support has slumped to the 30 percent level in many recent polls, close to a danger zone that would make it hard for him to promote his agenda.

Hanashi had come under widespread criticism over comments reported in the media in which he made light of his duties, specifically signing off on executions, which he referred to as “tedious”.

“I made citizens and ministry staff uncomfortable,” Hanashi told reporters after tendering his resignation to Kishida, referring to his comments about the death penalty.

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Earlier, Hanashi, a member of Kishida’s faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was reported to have suggested there was little political advantage to his cabinet post and that he only made the news for “approving an execution in the morning”.

Japan carried out capital punishment by hanging and does not inform prisoners until the morning of the day of their execution, a policy that rights groups have criticised for decades.

Hanashi apologised on Thursday for the comments and told parliament that he “took them back”.

“I feel great responsibility” for having appointed Hanashi to the post”, Kishida later told reporters after accepting Hanashi’s resignation.

Kishida named Harvard-educated Ken Saito, a former agriculture minister, to replace Hanashi.

The outcry over Hanashi’s comments follows widespread public criticism of the government over ruling party links to the Unification Church, a group some critics call a cult.

Kishida has struggled to overcome revelations of deep and longstanding ties between the ruling party and the church following the July assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The suspected killer has said his mother was bankrupted by the church and has blamed Abe for promoting it.

The LDP has acknowledged many lawmakers have ties to the church but that there was no organisational link to the party.

Economic revitalisation minister Daishiro Yamagiwa resigned on Oct. 24, due to his ties to the religious group, but Kishida came under fire for what voters saw as his delayed and clumsy handling of the situation.

Further damage for Kishida has come from Internal Affairs Minister, Minoru Terada, who has been embroiled in a political funds documentation scandal amid calls that he, too, resign.

A recent 200 billion dollars economic support plan to ease inflationary pains fuelled by the yen’s plunge to 32-year-lows has also failed to boost Kishida’s ratings.

Kishida had been due to travel to Cambodia on Friday for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus 3, but put off his departure until early Saturday, he told reporters.

Japanese media reported that Kishida will hold talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in Cambodia on Sunday and is making final arrangements to have a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week in Thailand.

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German Minister Commends Biden’s Campaign Withdrawal

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German Minister Commends Biden's Campaign Withdrawal

German Minister Commends Biden’s Campaign Withdrawal

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock praised US President Joe Biden’s decision to end his re-election campaign, emphasizing his prioritization of national interests.

Biden’s announcement, following concerns over his fitness for office, has left the Democratic Party in uncharted territory as Donald Trump’s campaign gains momentum.

Vice President Kamala Harris is now the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Baerbock highlighted Biden’s role in maintaining strong international relations and NATO unity during his presidency, especially amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

She stressed the importance of continued US-European cooperation for global peace and security.

German Minister Commends Biden’s Campaign Withdrawal

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Biden Campaign Missteps Lead to Reelection Withdrawa

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Biden Campaign Missteps Lead to Reelection Withdrawa

Biden Campaign Missteps Lead to Reelection Withdrawa

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to end his reelection campaign on Sunday followed a series of strategic missteps by his campaign team and White House aides. These errors amplified concerns that the 81-year-old president wouldn’t be able to win November’s election or run the country for another four years.

Biden’s halting performance at the June 27 presidential debate against Republican candidate Donald Trump pushed even some of his closest allies to question his endurance for a full campaign. This episode fueled a growing Democratic party movement questioning the wisdom of his second term. Within days, Biden went from the party’s figurehead to a liability, making him the first sitting president to stand down from a possible reelection since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.

Biden initiated the debate by telling radio show host Howard Stern in April that he’d engage Trump, despite worries from some Democratic allies that a debate might not improve his chances and could cast him in an unflattering light. Biden’s aides believed they had an advantage in agreeing to a June debate with CNN, setting the rules to favor Biden’s style. However, Biden’s performance during the debate, where he stumbled over his words and lost his train of thought, surprised and concerned voters, donors, and Democratic officials.

Following the debate, Trump criticized Biden’s incoherence, and Biden admitted his poor performance. Calls for Biden to step down began almost immediately. High-profile Democrats, including Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi, began to question Biden’s viability as a candidate.

Despite efforts to regain momentum, including interviews, news conferences, and speeches, Biden continued to make missteps, such as confusing names at the NATO summit. Polls showed Biden trailing other Democrats in key states and districts, though the nationwide race remained close.

Biden was eventually persuaded to withdraw from the race while recovering from COVID-19 at his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home, where he had time to reflect on his decision.

Biden Campaign Missteps Lead to Reelection Withdrawa

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Turkish Animal Rights Groups Protest Controversial Bill on Stray Animals

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Turkish Animal Rights Groups Protest Controversial Bill on Stray Animals

Turkish Animal Rights Groups Protest Controversial Bill on Stray Animals

Animal rights groups in Turkey protested on Wednesday against a proposed bill that activists fear could lead to the mass euthanasia of stray dogs and other animals in certain circumstances.

A parliamentary commission began debating the contentious bill amid opposition from activists and lawmakers. Demonstrators gathered in Istanbul, holding signs with the word “Murder” in Turkish, urging the government to withdraw the proposal.

Activists across various cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, have mobilized against the plan put forth by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The draft bill, reviewed by dpa, seeks to amend a 2004 animal protection law, allowing for the euthanasia of street animals under specific conditions.

If approved by the commission, the proposal is likely to pass in parliament, where Erdoğan’s AKP holds a majority.

The bill calls for local authorities to collect stray animals and place them in shelters, aiming to find them homes. However, it permits euthanasia if an animal is deemed aggressive, poses a public safety threat, or has contagious diseases.

Activists argue that the criteria for euthanasia remain vague. Local media previously reported that the AKP intended to euthanize animals not adopted within 30 days, although this detail is not in the current draft. Despite this, activists maintain that the guidelines for euthanizing animals are still unclear.

Turkish Animal Rights Groups Protest Controversial Bill on Stray Animals

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