MONTH IN BRIEF
Déjà vu for Japanese PM
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has denounced a pipe bomb attack which targeted him during a campaign rally and pledged to review security measures at the G-7 Summit he is hosting this month. According to media reports and social media posts, the 24-year-old male suspect believed that he had been unfairly blocked from standing for parliament due to Japan’s age restriction policy. The attack on Mr Kishida is a shocking reminder of the assassination of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, less than a year ago.
Stark new Indo-Pacific vision
Australia has unveiled plans to overhaul its military in preparation for a new era in which the US is no longer the uncontested leader in the Indo-Pacific region, and potential adversaries such as China can threaten territory and trade routes with long-range missiles. This stark new vision of Australia’s security needs was outlined in a much-anticipated Defence Strategic Review that marked, according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the most significant shake-up of the military since World War II.
Topping the population table
India is poised to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, hitting almost 1.43 billion people, the United Nations has said. The shift is due to both rapid growth in the Indian population and a decline in China’s, after it reached 1.426 billion in 2022. Long regarded as the world’s most heavily populated country since the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, China is expected to decline steadily to around one billion people by the end of this century, according to UN projections.
Taiwan publisher probed over ‘national security crimes’
A Taiwanese publisher reported missing while visiting Shanghai is under investigation for suspected national security crimes, according to Chinese authorities.Li Yanhe, the editor-in-chief of Gusa Publishing, is ‘under investigation by national security organs on suspicion of engaging in activities endangering national security,’said Ms Zhu Fenglian, spokesman for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office. Activists and Taiwan-based journalists raised the alarm on Li’s disappearance, with dissident Chinese poet Bei Ling writing in a recent Facebook post that Li was believed to have been ‘secretly detained’ in Shanghai while visiting family in March.
Less than beloved child
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s daughterJu-ae, known as his‘most beloved child’, is provoking resentment among ordinary North Koreans, who find her apparently lavish lifestyle and ‘well-fed appearance’ at odds with the country’s worsening food crisis, as many continue to live under severe restrictions. Ju-ae, believed to be 10 years old, is said to enjoy expensive hobbies such as skiing and horse-riding, while the rest of the population endures price hikes and food shortages caused, in part, by border shutdowns during the Covidpandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Not above the law
The daughter of Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak, who was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for money laundering, has expressed her sadness at the possibility that her father will spend Hari Raya in jail. In a recent interview, Ms Nooryana Najwa Najib said she would feel more at peace had her father received a fair trial. Meanwhile, UNMO are campaigning for the release of the former president after appeals against his conviction were exhausted. Najib, too, has applied for a royal pardon from Malaysia’s King, which, if granted, would see him released.
Pride of India
Data released to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘Project Tiger’, an initiative set up to save India’s tigers from the threat of extinction, shows that numbers have risen from 1,411 in 2006 to 3,167 in 2022. India is home to 70% of the world’s tigers and in spite of this considerable achievement, experts warn that these magnificent animals still face significant challenges to their long-term survival, not least due to the effects of climate change on their habitats.
Age is just a number
Aged 102, Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, an Indian-American born in Karnataka, has been awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics. Rao’s ‘monumental’ work more than 75 years ago continues to exert a profound influence on science, the International Prize in Statistics Foundation said in a statement. Rao, will receive the award along with $80,000 in prize money, at the biennial International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress being held in Ottowa in July.