MONTH IN BRIEF
Japan bids farewell to Abe
The late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abewas given a final send-off in a state funeral attended by about 4,300 guests.The service was held on September 27 at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan arena, which isclose to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen as a symbol of Japan’s wartime history.Security across the capital was watertight to avoid the blunders that led to Abe’s July 8 assassination, with tens of thousands of police officers congregating to provide support. The idea of a state funeral for Abe was divisive, with legal experts arguing that it is unconstitutional, a relic of the imperial era supreme law.
Congress poised for reset
India’s main opposition Congress party is likely to elect a new party president from outside the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty for the first time in nearly 25 years, as it looks for a reset ahead of the next election to compete with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Formed 137 years ago during India’s struggle for independence from Britain, Congress – which has ruled the country for much of India’s independent history, mostly led by a member of the Gandhi family – suffered huge defeats by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the last two general elections.
Iran in the crosshairs
Police have clashed with demonstrators trying to reach Iran’s embassies in London and Paris, as protestors gathered to express outrage at the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by Iran’s morality police, and to show solidarity with the deadly protests that erupted in Iran. French police fired tear gas and used anti-riot tactics to prevent hundreds from marching on Tehran’s diplomatic mission, while in London, police said they made 12 arrests and five officers were ‘seriously injured’ as demonstrators tried to break through barriers protecting Iran’s UK embassy. Similar rallies in support of Iranian women have occurred worldwide.
Afghan women’s UN plea
Afghan women have made an impassioned plea at the United Nations, calling for robust international action to address the ‘gender apartheid’ in their country since the Taliban returned to power last year. ‘Today, human rights in Afghanistan do not exist,’ Mahbouba Seraj told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.The outspoken Afghan journalist and rights activist said she was ‘sick and tired’ of sounding the alarm over the decimation of the rights of women and girls, especially in Afghanistan, and seeing no action.
Jail for Thai protester
A Thai court has sentenced a political activist to a two-year jail term for insulting the monarchy, after she was judged to have dressed as Queen Suthida during a street protest, which the court ruled mocked the royal family. Under Thailand’s draconian ‘lese majeste’ laws – among the world’ strictest – it is a crime in Thailand to defame or insult the king, queen, heir or regent, with punishments of up to 15 years in prison.Jatuporn Saeoueng, 25, was found guilty of intentionally mocking the monarchy during a Bangkok street protest in 2020, according to her lawyer Krisadang Nutcharat.
Roundtable to boost ties
The new high-level roundtable between Singapore and India will enable both countries to strengthen their relationship across many fronts and find mutual benefits by working together, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has said. Both sides have agreed on several new areas of cooperation, including food and energy security, green technology particularly green hydrogen, digital connectivity and skills development. ‘We look forward to the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable as a new regular platform for both sides to meet on an ongoing basis to coordinate and oversee these new areas of cooperation,’ said Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister.
The death toll from an overcrowded ferry carrying Hindu devotees to a festival, which sank in northern Bangladesh, has exceeded 60. The incident is the worst waterways disaster to affect the country in more than a year. Onlookers and relatives of the missing passengers gathered along the riverbank as rescuers searched for bodies. Those recovered so far include 22 women and 17 children, said Mr Jahurul Islam, district administrator of Panchagarh, where the accident occurred.
Oz whales beached
Around 230 pilot whales have been found stranded on the west coast of Tasmania, with Australian officials saying only half appeared to be still alive. Aerial images showed a devastating scene of dozens of the black glossy mammals strewn along a stretch of beach where the cold Southern Ocean meets the sand. Almost two years ago to the day, the area was the scene of another mass stranding involving almost 500 pilot whales. Just over 100 survived. The causes of mass strandings are still not fully understood.