In Japan and around the world, leaders have sent messages of sadness and solidarity after the assassination of former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. Abe was shot on Friday while giving a speech in the city of Nara in Southern Japan. A 41 year old man was arrested with a homemade gun. Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called it an “unforgivable act” of “cowardly barbarism” and said that he is “lost for words” about Abe’s death. United States president Joe Biden ordered all US flags to be flown at half-mast over the weekend and former President Barack Obama said that Abe was devoted to Japan and the alliance with the US. Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-Wen said that Taiwan has lost an important and close friend. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro ordered three days of national mourning.
Gun violence in Japan is extremely rare. Last year just one person was killed with a gun, In the United States, which has less than three times as many people, over 45,000 people were killed with gins last year.
There were elections to Japan’s upper house of parliament yesterday. At the time of recording this podcast votes are still being counted, but the Liberal Democractic Party of both Shinzo Abe and Fumio Kishida was expected to increase its majority.
In Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has agreed to resign, after his house was stormed by thousands of protesters. The house of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was also stormed and set on fire, and he also agreed to resign. Wickremesinghe has only been Prime Minister for 2 months, since Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president’s brothers, resigned, also because of the protests. A reduction in tourism and an increase of the cost of importing food and fuel has brought Sri Lanka its worst economic crisis ever. Protesters also blame the government for corruption and for forcing farmers to change to organic farming, which resulted in bad harvests. The Sri Lankan rupee has lost almost half its value against other currencies in the last 6 months and petrol is being reserved for emergency services.
In the United States, President Joe Biden has signed an executive order which is designed to make it easier for women to access abortions. In a speech, Biden criticised the Supreme Court for recently removing the right to an abortion, and spoke about a ten year old victim of rape who was forced to travel to a different state, because in Ohio abortion is now illegal, even in cases of rape...
“What we’re witnessing, wasn’t a constitutional judgement, it was an exercise in raw political power... We cannot allow an out of control Supreme Court, working in conjunction with extremist elements of The Republican Party to take away freedoms and our personal autonomy... Imagine being that little girl, I’m serious, just imagine being that little girl - ten years old!”
Also in the United States Twitter is suing Elon Musk after Musk has said that he will not continue to buy Twitter for $44 billion dollars. On Friday Musk announced that he was walking away from the deal, because of the number of fake or spam accounts on Twitter. However, Twitter’s chairman Bret Taylor, said the Twitter had taken Musk to court because the purchase agreement had already started and must be completed.
In Mexico former president Luis Echeverria Alvarez has died aged 100. Echeverria was president from 1970 to 1976, and was praised for improving Mexico’s economy, but was criticised for human rights violations including forced disappearances.
In South Africa two shootings attacks in bars have killed 19 people. Police have said that there is no sign that the two shootings were related, and are still investigating the motivations.
Angola has has also lost a former president. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who was president for almost 40 years, has died aged 79. Dos Santos is recognized for fighting against colonialism, for making peace agreements with rebel groups and for developing Angola’s economy. However he is also known as a dictator who allowed corruption.
In Ukraine 15 people were killed when an apartment block was hit by Russian rockets in the town of Chasiv Yar, in Donetsk region, according to Ukrainian officials. Ukraine’s deputy Prime Minister Iryana Vereshchuk said yesterday that civilians in the Kherson region should evacuate, because Ukrainian armed forces were preparing to re-capture Kherson from the Russian army, which has occupied most of the Kherson region since the beginning of March. In the United Kingdom the first group of Ukrainian have arrived to start a training programme designed to help their resistance against the Russian invasion.
And also in the United Kingdom Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon tournament yesterday for the seventh time. Djokovic has now won 21 grand slam titles, one more than swiss Roger Federer, and one less than Spanish Rafael Nadal. In the women’s competition Elena Rybakina became the first player from Kazakhstan to win a grand slam.
Thank you to all of our listeners who have completed our survey about the podcast. Tomorrow is the last day that you can enter if you want to win €50 euros of Amazon vouchers. The survey takes only 5 minutes and you can find it at send7.org. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.