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International news brief: Japan holding state funeral for ex-leader Abe amid tensions & more

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Tokyo, Sep 27: A tense Japan has imposed tight security measures in Tokyo as the capital city prepares to hold a state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday with foreign dignitaries like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Vice President Kamala Harris attending the high-profile event.

International news brief: Japan holding state funeral for ex-leader Abe amid tensions & more

There is a public backlash over the government-funded funeral. Hence, police are taking extra precautions to ensure there is no gap in security given that Abe was gunned down despite the presence of police while the 67-year-old leader was giving an election speech on July 8 during campaigning for the House of Councillors election, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported quoted a police source as saying.

Among the measures are placing police along the streets, heightening alert at JR Tokyo Station and other locations where many people congregate, and collecting information to take precautions against a "lone wolf" type of terrorist attack, it said.

<strong>Japan bids farewell to Shinzo Abe, its longest-serving PM</strong> Japan bids farewell to Shinzo Abe, its longest-serving PM

Opponents of the state-sponsored honor were to hold rallies elsewhere in Tokyo and around the country. They say tax money should be spent on more meaningful causes, such as to address widening economic disparities caused by Abe's policies.

US provides USD 56.5 million in aid to Pak for flood relief,

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the State Department on Monday and said that America had provided USD 56.5 million in aid to Pakistan for flood relief and humanitarian assistance this year. Blinken expressed his sorrow over the devastation and loss of life throughout Pakistan caused by catastrophic flooding.

"He reaffirmed the US commitment to the people of Pakistan, noting the nearly USD 56.5 million in flood relief and humanitarian assistance provided this year as well as the additional USD 10 million of food security assistance announced today," read the US State Department press release. The US Secretary and the Pakistan Foreign Minister also discussed partnering on food security, economic prosperity, regional stability, and Afghanistan.

Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni claims election victory

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has claimed victory in Italy's election, and is on course to become the country's first female prime minister. Brothers of Italy leader Meloni will be leading the most far-right government since the fascist era of Benito Mussolini since World War II, reported CNN.

Addressing the media and supporters in the early hours of Monday morning, Meloni said it was "a night of pride for many and a night of redemption." "It's a victory I want to dedicate to everyone who is no longer with us and wanted this night. Starting tomorrow we have to show our value ... Italians chose us, and we will not betray it, as we never have," she said.

Russia detains Japanese diplomat for seeking sensitive info

Russia said Monday that it had detained a Japanese diplomat based in the eastern city of Vladivostok for soliciting "restricted" information, Russian news agencies reported. "A Japanese diplomat was detained red-handed while receiving, in exchange for financial reward, restricted information about Russia's cooperation with another country in the Asia-Pacific region," the FSB, the KGB's successor agency, was cited as saying through its press service, without specifying the country.

The FSB also accused the diplomat, named as Vladivostok-based consul Motoki Tatsunori, of seeking out information on "the impact of Western sanctions" on the surrounding Primoriye region, according to news agencies.

At UNGA, Bhutan, Nepal express gratitude for India's supply of COVID-19 vaccines

Bhutan and Nepal on Monday expressed gratitude and appreciation for India at the UN General Assembly for its "heart warming goodwill" and "valuable support" in supply of COVID-19 vaccines under New Delhi's 'Vaccine Maitri initiative' that enabled the neighbouring countries to vaccinate their populations as the pandemic raged across the world. Bhutan's Foreign Minister Lyonpo Tandi Dorji, in his address to the high-level 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Monday, said that as with many other parts of the world, Bhutan was not spared the impacts of COVID-19 nor its induced disruptions.

Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

A US Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday. But it turned out the cruiser wasn't alone as it sailed about 138 kilometers north of Alaska's Kiska Island, on September 19. The patrol boat, known as a cutter called Kimball, later discovered there were two other Chinese naval ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, all in single formation.

The Honolulu-based Kimball, a 127-metre vessel, observed as the ships broke formation and dispersed. A C-130 Hercules provided air support for the Kimball from the Coast Guard station in Kodiak. "While the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and norms, we will meet presence with presence to ensure there are no disruptions to US interests in the maritime environment around Alaska," Rear Adm.

NASA spacecraft crashes into asteroid in defence test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed on Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth. The galactic slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 7 million miles (11.3 million kilometres) away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the space rock at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph). Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid's orbit.

Pentagon Chief criticises China's "unprecedented provocations"

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin sharply criticised China for "unprecedented provocations in the Taiwan Strait" during bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar at the Pentagon and said that India and US, the two great democracies are working together toward a brighter future for the Indo-Pacific as the world faces sustained challenges to peace, security and prosperity in the region and beyond. "Our bilateral defence ties are just one way that our two great democracies are working together toward a brighter future for the Indo-Pacific. The United States In India, along with a dozen other Indo-Pacific partners, pushing to expand our region's prosperity for the Indo-Pacific Economic framework," Austin said during his opening remarks.

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