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Japan: Emperor Akihito to step down today in first abdication.

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Due to health issues, Japanese Emperor Akihito will end his three-decade reign today to make way for his son in the country’s first abdication of the Chrysanthemum Throne since 1817.

His 31-year imperial era known as Heisei, which can be translated as “achieving peace”, was set to come to an end with a ceremony attended by about 300 political leaders and dignitaries starting at about 5pm local time at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The next morning, his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will ascend the throne in ceremonies also at the palace.

The ritual-bound process began on Tuesday morning with the emperor, dressed in expansive golden-brown robes and a towering black headpiece, “reporting” his abdication to his ancestors and the gods at several “sanctuaries” at the palace.

the main event will be at precisely 5pm local time, when the 85-year-old will formally step down in a 10-minute ceremony in the Matsu-no-Ma (Room of Pine), considered the most elegant hall in the sumptuous Imperial Palace.

However, Crown Prince Naruhito will not become emperor of Japan until the stroke of midnight and he will “inherit” the regalia at a second ceremony on  Wednesday at 10.30am before making his first official public remarks shortly afterwards.

Emperor Akihito, 85, helped modernise the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy. He was the first Japanese emperor to marry a commoner – Empress Michiko – and the first to reign entirely under the US-drafted post-war, pacifist Constitution that made the role strictly symbolic.

Details as it unfolds.


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Ten and thousands of Hong Kong protesters flood city streets in largest rally in weeks

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Source: AFP- A sea of democracy activists flooded the streets of Hong Kong Sunday in a defiant show to the city’s leaders that their movement still pulls wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas poured across the heart of Hong Kong island defying torrential rain and a police order not to march from a park where they had gathered earlier for a rally.

Weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis, with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles against riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.

Sunday’s action, which organisers the Civil Human Rights Front said drew more than 1.7 million in the largest rally in weeks, was billed as a return to the “peaceful” origins of the leaderless protest movement.


“It’s been a long day and we’re very tired, but to see so many people out in the rain marching for Hong Kong gives strength to everyone,” said Danny Tam, a 28-year-old graphic designer.

The unprecedented political crisis was sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But protests have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Anger has been sharpened among protesters by the perceived heavy-handedness of the police who have used tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets in incidents that have pinballed across social media.

“The police are doing things that are totally unacceptable,” said Yim, who like many of the protesters gave only one name.

“They are hurting citizens, they aren’t protecting us.”

AFP / Manan VATSYAYANATorrential rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of protesters in Hong Kong

Communist Party-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the “terrorist-like” actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.

Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city’s unelected leadership.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Hong Kong Activities face crucial weekend test after airport setback

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Source: AFP- Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster another huge crowd following criticism over a recent violent airport protest and as concerns mount over Beijing’s next move.

Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”.

Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China.

The nationalistic Global Times newspaper said there would not be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, in which hundreds — or even thousands — are believed to have been killed, if Beijing moves to quash the protests.

“The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,” it said, insisting the country now had more sophisticated approaches.

It was a rare reference to the bloody events, which are taboo in China.

Hong Kong’s protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters for 10 consecutive weekends.

For most of that time, US President Donald Trump has taken a hands-off approach to the unrest but began speaking up this week, suggesting any potential trade deal with Beijing could be upended by a violent response from the mainland.

Speaking on Thursday, Trump urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet protesters and solve the crisis “humanely”.

@ Anttention Fresh,                
We work hard to ensure that any news brought to you is legitimate and valuable so we leave out the noise. This material, and other digital content on this website, may be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part BUT give us credit as your source. 

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JOIN AN ONLINE LEARNING COMMUNITY CLICK IMAGEonline training

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