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First time in years Japan executes people on death row

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Japan has executed three people on death row, in a first for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

The names of the three prisioners are not known. But it’s the first executions in the nation since 2019.

When assuming his post in October, the nation’s Justice Minister said the death penalty cannot be avoided for someone who has committed an atrocious crime.

More than 100 inmates are awaiting execution in Japan, which is one of the few developed nations that uses the death penalty.

Executions are usually conducted long after sentencing, and always by hanging.

Authorities have previously notified death row inmates just hours before an execution is carried out.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

World

Why are Chinese protesters holding up blank pieces of paper?

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Anti-lockdown protests continue in China, as the nation records its highest day of coronavirus cases

Blank sheets of paper speak a thousand words in China, as protesters seek to evade censorship or arrest.

Hundreds have gathered at top universities across the country in defiance of Beijing’s Covid-zero strategy.

Infections continue to hit record highs, with nearly 40,000 new reported cases on Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping maintains a policy of controlling the spread of the coronavirus through strict lockdown measures.

According to Chinese officials, the idea is to keep cases to their lowest possible in the shortest period of time.

Beijing believes the strategy has led to one of the “most successful” Covid-19 responses in the world.

However, Human Rights Watch has described the measures as “draconian”.

The advocacy group believes the measures have “significantly impeded” people’s access to health care, food, and other necessities.

Why are the protests happening now?

The latest round of protests follow an apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, which left 10 people dead on Thursday.

Hana Young is the Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International, who said the fire has inspired remarkable bravery.

“It is virtually impossible for people in China to protest peacefully without facing harassment and prosecution.”

“Peaceful protesters are holding blank pieces of paper, chanting slogans, and engaging in many forms of creative dissent.”

HANA YOUNG, AMNESTY INTERNATIOnAL

People in the region had been locked down for over 100 days. However, there are concerns some residents have been locked into their apartments completely.

How common are protests in China?

Blank sheets of paper have become the norm for Chinese protesters.

According to some chat groups on the Weibo platform, protesters were encouraged to bring blank pieces of paper rather than writing slogans or words, which may be banned in China.

The tactic has been previously used in Moscow as Russian protesters gathered to oppose the war in Ukraine.

Protests are rare in China, as President Xi seeks stamp out any anti-government sentiments.

The Chinese government has tried to manage the flow of information around Covid-19.

President Xi Jinping is at the centre of many protests in China.

Human Rights Watch describes the response as a way of “censor[ing] criticism” of the government’s response.

Sun Jian is a graduate student who was expelled from Ludong University for opposing lockdowns on campus.

“The trouble brought by the virus can’t be compared with the disruption from some of the anti-COVID measures taken by our school,” Sun told Reuters.

International human rights law notes any public health restrictions should be evidence-based and proportional. China has signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“The Chinese government must immediately review its Covid-19 policies to ensure that they are proportionate and time-bound,” said Ms Young at Amnesty International.

“All quarantine measures that pose threats to personal safety and unnecessarily restrict freedom of movement must be suspended.”

HANA YOUNG, AMNESTY INTERNATIOnAL

Protesters commemorated victims of the Urumqi fire and continue to call for the easing for coronavirus restrictions.

Dozens have been also detained and arrested on Urumqi Road in Shanghai after calling for President Xi to step down.

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Media

Nude Britney Spears post sparks concern among fans

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A nude Britney Spears post has many fans concerned about her wellbeing

Pop sensation Britney Spears is no stranger to a controversial social media post, where she openly flaunts her body.

However, her latest post to Instagram has many of her beloved followers concerned.

The 40-year-old posted an explicit photo of herself in a near-empty bathtub, with a flower emoji the only thing between the world and her private parts.

It was paired with an unusual captions that read, “I like to suck!!! Never professional pics … sucking comes easy for me!!! Keep clapping bitch!!!”

The icon has 41 million followers on the social media app, many of whom were quick to share their concerns.

Some are suggesting Spears’ account is being controlled by someone else, attempting to make her look bad.

While others backed the pop stars post, supporting her desire to be open with her body image because she struggled during her younger years in the spotlight.

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Climate Change

Why ‘zombie viruses’ could be the next biggest public threat

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A new report reveals the world will see an increase in so-called ‘zombie viruses’ that are emerging beneath us

A new report by scientists at the French National Center for Scientific Research has revealed the global threat of ‘zombie viruses.’ As climate change continues to take effect, the earth is undeniably getter hotter.

Global warming essentially means significant areas of permafrost are now melting. Permafrost is a frozen layer on or under the Earth’s surface, holding beneath it millions of ‘zombie viruses’ not seen in millions of years.

The now melting permafrost means it is lifting the veil on potentially dangerous microbes that human kind isn’t prepared for.

In Siberia, the scientists uncovered a ‘zombie virus’ which they believe is 50,000 years old. This would be the oldest age of a frozen virus returning to life and able to infect.

Researchers are concerned about the global health impact if the earth continues to warm at its current rate.

 

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