World News

June 26 (UPI) — The ruling party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be taking a hit for a series of favoritism scandals, according to a survey of voters conducted jointly by nine news services. The survey, taken ahead of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election on July 2, shows the ruling Liberal Democratic Party lagging slightly behind the newly formed Tomin First party in most polls, the Mainichi and other newspapers reported Monday. Tomin First was founded in late May by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who was formerly a member of Abe’s LDP. Polls taken over the weekend show a slight lead for Koike’s party. The Mainichi survey showed 27 percent of respondents said they preferred Tomin First, while 26 percent said they would vote for candidates from the LDP. A survey taken by the Yomiuri Shimbun showed 26 percent of those polled supported the new party and 23 percent endorsed Abe’s party. The …

June 26 (UPI) — The National Hurricane Center said Dora became the first hurricane of the 2017 season when it formed early Monday, and is expected to produce heavy rains and potentially life-threatening conditions. The NHC said Hurricane Dora, which has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, is about 150 miles southwest of Mexico’s Manzanillo city in the Colima state. The NHC said in its Monday morning advisory that the storm system is moving west-northwest — further out into the Pacific Ocean — at a speed of 13 mph. Forecasters said, though, that swells from Dora are creating potentially life-threatening surf and rip current conditions for the southwestern coast of Mexico. There are no tropical storm watches or warnings in effect. Dora is expected to strengthen later Monday, start weakening on Tuesday and dissipate completely by early Friday. Forecasters expect Dora to drop as many as 2 inches of rain Monday on Mexico’s Guerrero and …

June 7 (UPI) — Mexican officials said at least three security officers and one inmate died after a prison riot in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the Tamaulipas state. The riot, which lasted at least 3 hours, began Tuesday night after state police officers checked to see if weapons were smuggled into the prison. “The preliminary balance is four dead and six injured. Three of the deceased are police and an inmate,” public safety spokesman Luis Alberto Rodríguez said. El Universal reported, citing unofficial sources, that at least five other inmates are also possibly dead. After the riot broke out, a large police presence mobilized to the scene. Families of inmates then flooded the area. Some attempted to prevent a police riot truck access to the prison. “They’re going to kill them. They’re going to kill them,” a lady who identified herself as an inmate’s mother shouted. Authorities at the prison said more information would …

June 7 (UPI) — Searchers found debris from a military transport plane carrying 120 people that disappeared after taking off in southern Myanmar late Wednesday, a local official said. The Chinese-made Shaanxi Y-8 turboprop plane included 106 passengers — most military personnel’s family members — and a crew of 14, said Gen. Myat Min Oo, a military spokesman. It was en route from Myeik Air Base to Yangon, a distance of about 350 miles — a flight path that would have taken the plane over the Andaman Sea, the office of the commander in chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, said in a statement. “Now they have found pieces of the damaged plane in the sea 136 miles away from Dawei city,” Naing Lin Zaw, a tourism official in Myeik, told Al Jazeera. The commander’s office said six navy ships and three military aircraft were searching for the missing plane in the Andaman Sea. “The …

June 7 (UPI) — North Korea‘s premier smartphone with a multi-touch interface cannot download apps not approved by the Kim Jong Un regime, but costs as much as $690 on the market, according to a South Korean news service. Daily NK reported Wednesday North Korea’s latest model of the “Pyongyang,” a smartphone that rivals Samsung’s Galaxy S8 in style and design, demonstrates an impressive array of features, including a touchscreen display. The resolution of the display “enhances readability” and can be used to read electronic books or watch videos. The technology, however, has relatively poor touch response, compared to South Korea-made smartphones, according to Daily NK. “While the [Samsung] Galaxy S8 responds immediately to touch, North Korea’s Pyongyang touch phone is slower to respond,” the report read. Daily NK did not provide details on how reporters acquired the device. The phone camera was also of inferior quality, relative to the Galaxy. Samsung’s phone has an …

June 7 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un told young North Koreans at a convention of the regime’s youth league they must be willing to “give all” to their country – a sign the North Korean leader is turning his attention to cultivating a loyal demographic among children between the ages of 7 and 14. Pyongyang’s state-controlled news agency KCNA reported Wednesday Kim attended the eighth meeting of the group also known as the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League, founded in 1946 by Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s biological grandfather. “The youth league is a mass political organization that is preparing the successors of the Workers’ Party and the youth alliance,” Kim said Wednesday. “The primary mission of the organization is to prepare the true sons and daughters of our socialist fatherland to become revolutionary youths.” Kim added members of the organization must “know the great value of the fatherland and the leadership, and must know how …

June 7 (UPI) — Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department said Masaaki Osaka, a left-wing revolutionary accused of killing a police officer with a Molotov cocktail in 1971, has been arrested and charged with murder. Japan has no statute of limitations for murder after a previous 15-year limit was abandoned in 2010. Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday formally served an arrest warrant to Osaka, who was arrested in Hiroshima last month. He was transported to Tokyo on Wednesday for further questioning. Police accuse Osaka of killing a 21-year-old police officer in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, during a student protest there to criticize Japan recognizing the United States’ military presence in the country. Police said Osaka assaulted the officer with a steel pipe prior to setting him on fire. Osaka is a member of the Chukaku-ha, or the Japan Revolutionary Communist League, which is known for staging violent protests decades ago. Osaka was arrested in Hiroshima initially on …

June 7 (UPI) — Argenis Chávez, the brother of late former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, has been sworn in as the governor of the Barinas state after his predecessor stepped down. Zenaida Gallardo, who had been governor since Jan. 5, said she stepped down due to medical reasons. Her predecessor was another of Chávez’s brothers, Adán. Argenis Chávez assumed the position on Tuesday through a rule that allows a state’s interior minister to take the governorship if he or she steps down. During a speech after he was inducted, Argenis Chávez said he would never again let political ideologies that oppose the late president’s “Bolivarian revolution” rule in his state because “the children of Bolivar and Chávez are willing to give their lives to defend the revolutionary process.” More than 60 people have died in more than two months of nearly daily protests in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government and the opposition accuse one another of …

June 7 (UPI) — The Russian Federal Security Bureau raided a Church of Scientology office in St. Petersburg, calling it an effort to uncover information about religious extremism. “Searches are being conducted in connection to the criminal case concerning illegal entrepreneurship, incitement to hatred and the establishment of an extremist association,” a source told the Russian news agency, TASS. The raid comes about one year after the FSB raided several locations in St. Petersburg connected to the Church of Scientology due to allegations of “illegal business dealings.” The Russian government has previously ruled that, because it is not recognized as a religion, proselytizing is a form of money laundering. The church, a controversial religious group founded in the United States that is derided by some as a cult, has long been at legal odds with the Russian government. In 2015, a Moscow court ruled that the group cannot be considered a religion because its name …

June 7 (UPI) — South Korea is to conduct an expanded environmental impact assessment on a former golf course where the U.S. missile defense system THAAD is being deployed. The move is expected to delay the deployment of four additional launchers in the country, but two launchers in place near the central South Korean city of Seongju, and the powerful X-band radar that accompanies the system, are to stay operational, South Korean news service News 1 reported. A presidential Blue House official in Seoul told reporters the full assessment could take at least a year, while a second official told News 1 decisions are to be finalized after the appointment of a new defense minister. Current Defense Minister Han Min-koo is an appointee of former President Park Geun-hye, a rival of President Moon Jae-in. A “small-scale environmental impact assessment” began on Nov. 20 and plans for a more comprehensive assessment in abidance with local laws …

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