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U.S. Envoy Visits Fukushima To Eat Fish, Criticize China’s Seafood Ban Over Wastewater Release

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TOKYO, Japan – On Thursday, the US ambassador to Japan visited Fukushima city and had a seafood lunch with the mayor, spoke with fishermen, and stocked up on local produce to demonstrate that they are safe following the release of treated radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, expressing support for Japan while criticizing China’s ban on Japanese seafood as political.

Ambassador Rahm Emanuel ate sushi of flounder and sea bass with Soma Mayor Hidekiyo Tachiya, spoke with local fisherman, and went to a grocery store where he sampled fruits and purchased peaches, figs, grapes, flounder, sea bass, and other Fukushima prefecture produce.

Emanuel remarked over the phone from his train back to Tokyo that his purchases would be served when his children visit him this weekend. “We’re all going to eat it.” As a father, I would not serve if there was a problem.”

The cleaned wastewater was released last week and is anticipated to persist for decades. Japanese fishing groups and neighboring countries oppose it, and China has promptly banned all imports of Japanese seafood.

Emanuel lauded Japan’s water release plan as scientifically sound and transparent, stating that it “stands in total contrast” to how China handled the coronavirus pandemic.

fukushima

On Thursday, the US ambassador to Japan visited Fukushima city and had a seafood lunch with the mayor.

“The Chinese ban is purely political,” he explained. The lifting of the restriction “depends on whether China wants to be a good neighbour,” according to Emanuel.

Since a severe earthquake and tsunami in 2011, which devastated cooling systems and triggered meltdowns in three reactors, radioactive wastewater has been collected at the Fukushima plant. The 1.34 million tonnes of water is held in approximately 1,000 tanks and is growing due to leaks and the use of cooling water.

According to the government and the plant’s operator, dumping the water into the sea is unavoidable because the storage tanks will reach capacity early next year, and space at the plant would be required for the plant’s decommissioning, which is estimated to take decades.

Earlier Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sampled seafood and spoke with workers at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market to examine the impact of China’s seafood embargo.

One of the seafood business owners told Kishida that his scallop sales, mostly sent to China, have decreased by 90% since the wastewater discharge began.

Kishida told reporters that he had directed officials to put up assistance measures for seafood exporters affected by China’s import ban, including increased domestic demand and new destinations for Japanese seafood to replace China.

“We will patiently and resolutely call on China to take actions based on scientific evidence,” Kishida said.

fukushima

On Thursday, the US ambassador to Japan visited Fukushima city and had a seafood lunch with the mayor.

The government has set aside 80 billion yen ($550 million) to help fisheries and seafood processing and to prevent potential damage to Japanese products’ reputation. Kishida stated that the government will do all possible to defend the fisheries industry, including using the fund and other financial measures.

Even before the wastewater spill and the Chinese import restriction, China increased the testing of Japanese fisheries products, causing lengthy delays at customs. According to Japanese Fisheries Agency officials, the action has influenced the prices and sales of fish from as far away as Hokkaido.

According to regulators and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, all seawater and fish sampling results have been far below set radioactive safety standards since the release.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited a fish market and had seafood for lunch on Thursday as part of efforts to assuage public concerns about the safety of local fishery products following Japan’s wastewater release, as his country strengthens a trilateral strategic partnership with Japan and the US in the face of a growing Chinese regional threat.

On Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno hinted at pushing the case to the World Trade Organisation, but Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi emphasized the necessity of negotiation.

The Chinese prohibition on Japanese seafood has had an impact on tourism. According to Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito, cancellations of Chinese group tours and questions about food safety in Japan have increased.

Meanwhile, Kishida directed Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Tetsuro Nomura to apologize for referring to the cleaned radioactive water as “contaminated,” as China does.

Nomura used the phrase after meeting with Kishida and other ministers to discuss fisheries support measures. He apologized and apologized for the statement, which Kishida described as “extremely regrettable.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

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WASHINGTON – With rare bipartisan support, the House advanced Friday on a $95 billion foreign aid plan for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and humanitarian aid, as a coalition of members helped it cross a procedural hurdle and reach final votes this weekend. Friday’s vote delivered an unusual outcome in the generally hyper-partisan House, with Democrats voting 316-94 in support of Republican Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan. The final House approval might come this weekend, when the package is delivered to the Senate.

It was a success for Speaker Mike Johnson’s strategy, which he put into action last week after agonizing over the legislation for two months. Nonetheless, Johnson has spent the past 24 hours making the rounds on conservative media, attempting to salvage support for wartime funding, particularly for Ukraine as it faces a critical moment in its battle with Russia, but also for his own job, as the restive right flank threatens to oust him over the effort.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

“There’s a lot of misinformation about what we’re doing here and why,” Johnson said to The Mark Levin Show’s conservative host.

“Ukrainians urgently require lethal aid right now. “We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to roll through another country and take it,” he stated of the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine. “These are very serious matters with global implications.”

After months of delay, the House moved slowly but methodically this week after Johnson decided to move forward. President Joe Biden quickly endorsed the speaker’s plan, and Donald Trump, the Republican assumed presidential nominee who opposes most foreign aid to Ukraine, has not slowed the speaker’s progress.

“The world is watching what Congress does,” the White House stated. “Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment.”

In an extremely rare move, members of the House Rules Committee banded together late Thursday in a near-midnight vote, with four Democrats supporting a procedural step, to push the package past the Republican majority’s three hardline holdouts and send it to the House floor for debate, 9-3. It was a moment unlike any other in recent House history.

Johnson will need to rely on Democrats again on Friday to pass the next procedural vote and block Republican amendments that might kill the plan. One proposed by extreme Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would cut Ukraine’s funding to zero.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

Greene has filed a “motion to vacate” the speaker from office, which has at least one Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky. It may initiate a bid to oust Johnson from the speaker’s office if she calls it up for a vote, similar to how Republicans removed Kevin McCarthy from the job last November.

With one of the most slender House majorities in modern history, Johnson can only afford to lose one or two Republican votes to pass any legislation. That dynamic has pushed him into the arms of Democrats as he seeks votes to enact the legislation.

Johnson cannot tailor the plan as the ultra-conservatives seek without risking losing Democratic support. It has prompted him to abandon severe security measures to control migrants at the US-Mexico border, among other goals.

At best, Johnson has been able to divide a Senate-passed version of the bill into different portions, as House Republicans prefer, and the final votes will be on various measures — for Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific partners.

The plan would also include a fourth clause, which incorporates several Republican demands that Democrats support or are ready to accept. Proposals include allowing the United States to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia, China, and fentanyl trafficking criminal organizations, and potentially banning the video app TikTok if its Chinese owner does not sell its stake within a year.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

Passing each package, which is set to be voted on Saturday, would require Johnson to establish intricate bipartisan coalitions, with Democrats assuring Ukraine funding is authorized but some left-leaning progressives refusing to support military aid for Israel due to the destruction of Gaza.

The components would then be automatically stitched back together into a single package and delivered to the Senate, where hardliners are plotting procedural measures to postpone final passage.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

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Florence, Italy – Amanda Knox was back on trial for defamation Wednesday after falsely accusing a Congolese man of murdering her roommate while the two were exchange students in Italy. Knox was convicted of the murder before being acquitted in a case that drew national attention.

Amanda, a 20-year-old student with limited Italian who had just arrived in Perugia, faced a long night of questioning in the death of Meredith Kercher. She eventually accused the owner of the pub where she worked part-time of killing the 21-year-old British student.

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Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

In 2016, the European Court of Human Rights found that her rights were infringed since she was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or an official translator.

In November, Italy’s highest Cassation Court overturned the defamation conviction — Knox’s lone remaining guilty decision — nine years after the same court overturned convictions for Kercher’s murder against Amanda and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

That conviction, which went through many trials and appeals, has remained a legal stain on her, particularly in Italy, while she seeks a new life in the United States, lobbying for judicial reform.

Another man was found guilty in Kercher’s 2007 murder.

Amanda, now 36, did not present at Wednesday’s court in Florence and is being tried in absentia. She stays in the United States, where she works for social justice and is working on several media projects, including a podcast and a limited series on her case for Hulu.

Amanda’s accusation against bar owner Patrick Lumumba surfaced in police-typed statements that she signed, but Italy’s highest court declared them inadmissible in the new trial.

She recanted the claim in a four-page handwritten note in English dated the following afternoon, which is the only evidence the court can consider.

knox

Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

However, Lumumba’s lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, contended that the banned documents should be readmitted as references because Knox mentioned them several times in her written statement. Lumumba, who is participating in the case in accordance with Italian law, did not attend the trial.

After nearly four hours of arguments, the court recessed and will reconvene on June 5 for rebuttals and a ruling. Eight lay jurors and two qualified judges are conducting the trial.

Despite Knox’s attempts to retract the claim, Lumumba was apprehended for questioning and detained for nearly two weeks.

Knox was sentenced to three years in prison for defamation, which she served for nearly four years until being judged not guilty by a Perugia appeals court. After six years of conflicting judgments, Italy’s highest court formally exonerated Knox of the murder in 2015.

knox

Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

Kercher’s body was discovered with her throat cut on November 2, 2007, in her locked bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox and two other roommates.

Rudy Guede, whose DNA and footprints were discovered at the scene, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was released after spending 13 years and is now being investigated for allegedly physically and sexually assaulting a previous girlfriend since his release.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

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Crowds gathered in Germany overnight to celebrate the legalization of cannabis, which begins on Monday.

There was music and dancing at the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin as many waved placards and blew smoke into the air.

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

One guy was seen cycling through the crowd, carrying a big cannabis leaf artwork on a trailer behind their bike, while another ceremoniously rolled a joint in front of news cameras.

Following a contentious national discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of making cannabis more accessible, Germany’s lower house of parliament decided last month to legalize it for restricted recreational use.

Karl Lauterbach, the health minister, praised the move in an X post on Monday.

“Weed use was already present yesterday, but it is increasing. “Now it’s out of the taboo zone,” he wrote.

“This is better for real addiction help, prevention for children and young people and for combating the black market, for which there will soon be an alternative.”

The new restrictions allow adults to carry tiny amounts for personal use, but the substance remains illegal for people under 18.

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

Under new regulations proposed by Germany’s ruling coalition party, adults can cultivate up to three plants for private use. Beginning April 1, the limit is 50g at home and 25g in public.

From July 1, cannabis will be offered in approved not-for-profit clubs with no more than 500 members, all of whom must be adults. Only club members would be able to consume their output.

The German government stated that cannabis would remain illegal for kids and severely restricted for young adults and that consuming the substance near schools and playgrounds would be prohibited.

Germany becomes the third country in Europe to legalize cannabis for recreational use, following Malta and Luxembourg, and removes it from the official list of illegal narcotics.

cannabis

Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

The Netherlands prohibits drug possession, but some towns allow them to be sold at coffee shops as part of its so-called toleration policy.

Other countries, such as Australia and the United States, have differing local restrictions.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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