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TAIPEI: Taiwan on Wednesday rebuffed a complaint from the Philippines about live fire drills around a Taiwan-controlled island deep in the South China Sea, saying it had the right to do so and always gives issues a warning of its exercises.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, in a message on Twitter late on Tuesday, lodged a “strong objection over the unlawful live fire drills” to be carried out by Taiwan this week around the island, known internationally as Itu Aba.
Taiwan calls the island Taiping and the Philippines calls it Ligaw Island.
The department said the island belonged to the Philippines.
“This illegal activity raises tensions and complicates the situation in the South China Sea,” it said.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement the island was part of the territory of the Republic of China — Taiwan’s formal name — and that it enjoyed all relevant rights accorded by international law.
“Our country has the right to conduct routine exercises on Taiping Island and related maritime areas. In order to ensure the safety of maritime traffic and fishing boats operating in adjacent maritime areas, we notify the relevant regional countries in advance before each live-fire drill,” it said.
Itu Aba is the biggest feature in the Spratly Islands, a grouping of islets and other features also claimed, entirely or in part, by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
The Philippines normally complains most vociferously about China’s activities in the South China Sea, including what Manila says is illegal fishing.
The Philippines, like most counties, has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but there are close cultural and economic links and Taiwan is home to about 160,000 Filipinos, most of them migrant workers.
The maps China bases its South China Sea claims on date to when Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China government ruled China before it fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s Communists.
Taiwan also controls the Pratas Islands at the very northern end of the South China Sea.
KYIV: Russian missiles hit infrastructure in Odesa in southern Ukraine on Saturday, the Ukrainian military said, dealing a blow to a deal signed on Friday to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports.
The landmark deal signed by Moscow and Kyiv on Friday would allow certain exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports, including the hub of Odesa.
“The enemy attacked the Odesa sea trade port with Kalibr cruise missiles,” the Operational Command South wrote on Telegram app. Two missiles hit infrastructure at the port, while another two were shot down by air defense forces, it said.
A blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet since Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor has trapped tens of millions of tons of grain and stranded many ships. This has worsened global supply chain bottlenecks and, along with Western sanctions on Russia, stoked food and energy price inflation.
Friday’s export deal seeks to avert famine among tens of millions of people in poorer nations by injecting more wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products into world markets including for humanitarian needs, partly at lower prices.
Under the plan signed on Friday, Ukrainian officials would guide ships through safe channels across mined waters to three ports, including Odesa, where they would be loaded with grain.
Moscow has denied responsibility for the crisis, blaming sanctions for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its Black Sea ports.
Senior UN officials, briefing reporters on Friday, said the deal was expected to be fully operational in a few weeks and would restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war levels of 5 million tons a month.
TOKYO: The man accused of assassinating Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe is set to undergo an examination of his mental condition around the time of the incident, local media reported Saturday.
Abe was gunned down on the campaign trail on July 8 in the western city of Nara, two days before the country’s upper house elections.
His accused killer Tetsuya Yamagami is in custody and reportedly targeted Abe because he believed the former leader was linked to the Unification Church.
On Friday, the Nara District Court approved a request by the local public prosecutors office for a psychiatric examination of 41-year-old Yamagami, the Asahi Shimbun and other local media reported, citing unnamed investigative sources.
The examination is expected to wrap up in late November, the reports said.
Investigative questioning of the suspect will be halted during the mental examination.
Prosecutors will determine whether Yamagami can bear criminal liability based on the examination before making a decision on whether to indict him, the reports said.
Abe was Japan’s best-known politician, maintaining a prominent place in public life even after resigning in 2020 for health reasons.
He was also a divisive figure who faced cronyism allegations and was criticized for his staunch nationalist views.
Prosecution and court officials could not immediately be reached to confirm the local media reports.
PUNJAB, India: Chief minister of an Indian state was reportedly hospitalized days after he drank from a ‘holy river’ as part of a statewide river cleaning campaign, local media reported.
In a viral video, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was seen scooping and drinking a glass of water from Kali Bein, a holy river in Sultanpur Lodhi, during the launch event of a campaign to clean rivers and drains across the state.
 
Punjab Chief Minister openly drinks a glass of polluted water from a ‘holy river’ to prove that water is clean. Now admitted to hospital. pic.twitter.com/MH1OLwUlUw
 
Two days later, he was airlifted from his official residence in Chandigarh to a hospital in neighboring state Delhi where he was admitted after complaining of a severe stomachache, reported The Indian Express, citing sources familiar with the matter.  
The event was held to mark the 22nd anniversary of the cleaning of the Kali Bein river as Mann aimed to promote such efforts.
“CM [Mann] said that while there is no dearth of funds for this noble cause, he called upon people to support it & make it a mass movement,” tweeted the government in a post that showed pictures of Mann drinking from the holy water.
At 22nd anniversary function of cleaning of holy Kali Bein, CM @BhagwantMann announced statewide campaign to clean all rivers & drains in the state. CM said that while there is no dearth of funds for this noble cause, he called upon people to support it & make it a mass movement. pic.twitter.com/BAL5uqxIaS
 
TAIPEI: A Chinese court in southwestern Sichuan province executed a man Saturday who was convicted of homicide for setting his former wife on fire, in a case that had drawn national outrage and horror in an extreme case of domestic violence.
The Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate People’s Court said in a short statement issued online Saturday morning that it had carried out the execution of Tang Lu.
Tang set his ex-wife on fire in September 2020 while she was livestreaming on Douyin, the short video platform. The 30-year-old woman, known online as Lamu, died of her injuries a few weeks later.
Lamu had offered a glimpse into her life in short videos and livestreams on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok run by the same parent company. In her videos, she showed off the Sichuan countryside and blogged about her life. She was ethnically Tibetan and often wore traditional Tibetan clothing in the videos.
Lamu’s sister had told the Paper, an official media outlet based in Shanghai, that her sister suffered domestic abuse at Tang’s hands for years and decided to divorce him as a result.
The case drew widespread condemnation and outrage across the country over the plight that women can face in abusive marriages. Police took the man into custody a few days after news of the attack spread.
Tang had appealed the decision but lost the appeal in January this year.

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