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Japan likely to extend nationwide emergency until May end

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Tokyo, May 1 (IANS) Japan will likely extend the nationwide state of emergency until the end of May at the earliest as the nation continues to grapple with containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday reportedly told Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), that he was almost certainly going to extend the state of emergency past May 6, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Returning to normalcy from May 7 is difficult and we need to brace for a protracted battle against the virus,” Abe told reporters at his office on Thursday.

“I will consult with experts as to the length of an extension,” he added.

Government sources said such consultations could happen as early as Friday, with a final decision being made by Abe at some point thereafter as to the duration of the extension once he has heard an expert panels’ assessment as to the pneumonia-carrying virus’ spread across Japan and other pertinent details related to the pandemic.

The final decision may come on May 4, the sources said.

“Local governments need to make preparations so I will make a decision sometime before the expiration date of May 6,” Abe said.

Abe first declared a month-long state of emergency on April 7 until May 6 for Tokyo and six other prefectures as infections had started to spike in urban areas.

On April 16, Abe expanded the emergency declaration to cover all of Japan’s 47 prefectures.

Under the state of emergency, people across Japan have been asked by local governments to remain at home as much as possible and significantly reduce their amount of human-to-human contact.

Some businesses have also been requested to shut to contain the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus cases in Japan increased by 188 to 14,305, according to the most recent figures from the health ministry and local authorities released late Thursday evening.

The figures included 46 new infections in Tokyo and 28 in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

The nationwide death toll from the virus has now increased to 468, including those from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.

In Tokyo, the epicenter of Japan’s outbreak, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 4,152, accounting for more than one-third of all COVID-19 cases across the nation, followed by Osaka prefecture with 1,626 infections.

World

China warned against ”clear, serious” violation of treaty with UK

The Foreign Office said: “There are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and the government estimates there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong. The scheme is for eligible BN(O) status holders and their immediate family dependants.”

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Boris Johnson

London, July 2 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said China’s imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong constituted a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 and aimed at smoothing the transition when the territory was handed back to Beijing in 1997.

The UK believes that Beijing’s move violates HongKong’s autonomy, threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration, and is in direct conflict with the territory”s Basic Law, its mini-constitution.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Johnson said: “We have made clear that if China continued down this path, we would introduce a new route to those with British National (Overseas) status to enter the UK granting them limited leave to remain with the ability to live and work in the UK and thereafter to apply for citizenship, and that is precisely what we will do now.”

Describing the Chinese move as “a grave and deeply disturbing step”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab promised that UK would honour its commitment to the people of Hong Kong.

“We will grant BN(O)s five years” limited leave to remain, with the right to work or study. After these five years, they will be able to apply for settled status.

“After further 12 months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship. This is a special, bespoke, set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face,” Raab told MPs.

Raab did not set out any plan to sanction China or individual Chinese officials through new legislation due to be introduced by the Foreign Office this month.

He also said he was hopeful that other countries in south-east Asia would also offer asylum to Hong Kong citizens wanting to leave.

“China has broken its promise to the people of Hong Kong under its own laws. China has breached its international obligations to the UK under the joint declaration.”

Hong Kong’s autonomy, which now faces threat from Beijing’s imposition of a new security laws, was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement of the 1984 joint declaration signed by the then Chinese premier, Zhao Ziyang, and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The Foreign Office said: “There are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and the government estimates there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong. The scheme is for eligible BN(O) status holders and their immediate family dependants.”

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Disaster

96 killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

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Myanmar jade mine landslide

Yangon, July 2 : At least 96 people were killed and many others were reported missing on Thursday after a jade mine collapsed due to a landslide in Myanmar’s Kachin state, authorities said.

Caused by the monsoon rains, the landslide occurred at the jade mining site in Sate Mu village tract of Hpakant township at 8a.m., Xinhua news agency quoted a statement from the Fire Services Department as saying.

Hundreds of miners were feared buried as the landslide took place during their work hours, but the exact number of casualties are yet to be known and rescue works are being carried out, a township police official told Xinhua.

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

A major landslide occurred in the region in November 2015, leaving at least 116 people dead.

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Disaster

Global COVID-19 cases top 10.6mn: Johns Hopkins University

The US accounted for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively, according to the CSSE.

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RUSSIA CORONAVIRUS

Washington, July 2 : The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to over 10.6 million, while the deaths have soared to more than 515,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases increased to 10,667,217, while the fatalities stood at to 515,542, the University”s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 1,448,753 infections and 60,632 deaths.

In terms of cases, Russia ranks third (653,479), and is followed by India (585,493), the UK (314,992), Peru (288,477), Chile (282,043), Spain (249,659), Italy (240,760), Mexico (231,770), Iran (230,211), Pakistan (213,470), France (202,981), Turkey (201,098), Germany (195,893), Saudi Arabia (194,225), South Africa (159,333), Bangladesh (149,258) and Canada (106,288), the CSSE figures showed.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (43,991), Italy (34,788), France (29,864), Mexico (28,510), Spain (28,364), India (17,400) and Iran (10,958).

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