Limits on climbing Mount Fuji are being set to fight crowds, littering

tokyo — Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails on Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji will have to book a slot and pay a fee as crowds, littering and climbers who try to rush too fast to the summit cause safety and conservation concerns at the picturesque stratovolcano.  The new rules for the climbing season, July 1 to September 10, apply for those …

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All-women rock band jams out as conservative Saudi society loosens up

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Leaning into the microphone in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Nora let loose a primal scream. Guitars wailed and drums throbbed behind her as part of a set with her bandmates during a recent show. The performance by Seera, an all-women psychedelic rock band that blends traditional Arabic melodies with the resurgent psychedelia of bands like Tame Impala, would have been unthinkable just years …

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Despite Biden’s ICC rejection, US sometimes sides with court

white house — The Biden administration denounced an International Criminal Court announcement this week that it is pursuing arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes during Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and the militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel.   “We made our position clear on the ICC,” President Joe Biden said Thursday. “We don’t recognize their jurisdiction, the way it’s …

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Myanmar violence draws global condemnation

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French court issues life sentences to three senior Syrian officials for war crimes 

washington — A court in the French capital on Friday ordered life sentences for three senior Syrian government officials in a landmark case.  After a four-day trial, the Paris Criminal Court said three Syrian officials had been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the war-torn country.  The case against Ali Mamlouk, former director of Syria’s National Security Bureau; Jamil Hassan, former head …

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Iran: Raisi’s helicopter caught fire after crash, no sign of attack

TEHRAN, Iran — The helicopter carrying Iran’s late President Ebrahim Raisi caught fire soon after it crashed into a mountain and there was no sign it was attacked, state media reported, citing the military’s crash investigators. The statement from the general staff of the armed forces in charge of investigating the crash was read on state television late Thursday. The first statement on the crash did …

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US, allies urge Taiwan participation in World Health Assembly

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Thai American soccer player dazzles on the pitch

Women’s soccer in the U.S. has been on the rise, bringing more girls than ever into the fold. Thai American Madison Casteen embraced soccer at a young age and aims to be one of the few Asian Americans to break into the professional leagues. Warangkana Chomchuen has the story, narrated by Neetikarn Kamlangwan. …

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More than 100 feared dead in Papua New Guinea landslide

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Thailand moves toward ratifying UN convention against enforced disappearances

BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thailand is set to ratify a U.N. convention that would see new ways to protect at-risk individuals from being extrajudicially abducted, kidnapped or disappeared.  The Southeast Asian country with a poor human rights record in recent years is seeking a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, and apparently hopes ratification will help its candidacy later this year, human rights advocates say. The …

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Top UN court to rule on South Africa Gaza cease-fire bid

The Hague, Netherlands — The top United Nations court on Friday will rule on a plea by South Africa to order a halt to the Israeli military offensive in Gaza, with Pretoria accusing Israel of “genocide.” Pretoria has urged the International Court of Justice to order an “immediate” stop to Israel’s campaign, including in the southern area of Rafah, and facilitate access of humanitarian aid. Israel …

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New Caledonia airport to stay closed to commercial flights until Tuesday

Noumea, New Caledonia — The international airport in the New Caledonian capital, Noumea, will remain closed to commercial flights until at least 9 a.m. Tuesday (2200 GMT Monday), Charles Roger, director of the body that operates the facility, told AFP. That would extend the shutdown to nearly two weeks in total, after flights were halted on May 15 in the face of deadly rioting that broke …

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Macron says he will not force voting reforms in New Caledonia

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3 US servicemembers suffer noncombat injuries during Gaza pier operation

washington — Three U.S. servicemembers suffered noncombat injuries in the effort to make a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza into a conduit for humanitarian aid, with one in critical condition at an Israeli hospital, U.S. officials said Thursday.  The injuries were the first for U.S. forces during the latest operation to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.  The pier was announced by U.S. President Joe …

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In photos: Gaza families search for haven to wait out the war

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Chinese journalist freed after four years in prison for COVID reporting

Washington — In early 2020, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a handful of citizen journalists emerged as voices from the epicenter. Among them was Zhang Zhan, then a 36-year-old former lawyer who bravely chronicled the unfolding crisis in the city where the virus first surfaced. Standing in front of a Wuhan train station in …

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IS turns to artificial intelligence for advanced propaganda amid territorial defeats

Washington — With major military setbacks in recent years, supporters of the Islamic State terror group are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence (AI) to generate online propaganda, experts said. A new form of propaganda developed by IS supporters is broadcasting news bulletins with AI-generated anchors in multiple languages. The Islamic State Khorasan (ISKP) group, an IS affiliate active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, produced in a video …

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Thousands gather for Iranian president’s funeral

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Bangkok hospital: most seriously injured from turbulence-hit flight need spinal operations 

Bangkok — Many of the more seriously injured people who were on the Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence need operations on their spines, a Bangkok hospital said Thursday. Twenty people remained in intensive care and a 73-year-old British man died after the Boeing 777, which was flying from London’s Heathrow airport to Singapore, descended following turbulent weather over the Andaman Sea on Tuesday. A …

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Palestinian health officials say Israeli raid killed 12 in West Bank 

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China begins military drills around Taiwan as ‘punishment’ for new leader

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — China kicked off a two-day large-scale military exercise in the water and airspace around Taiwan on Thursday, emphasizing that it is “a strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence forces’” and “a stern warning” against provocation by external forces. The Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army will conduct drills in the Taiwan Strait, the north, south, and east of …

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Lebanon’s reforms insufficient for recovery, IMF says

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Humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza

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Taiwan residents offer views on China, defense, US

As a new president takes office in Taiwan, the island’s residents have mixed views on how well the new administration will handle Taipei’s relationship with Beijing. VOA’s William Yang reports from Taipei. Camera: William Yang. …

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