PRESIDENT OFFICIALLY OUT, PARLIAMENT TO SEEK REPLACEMENT
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has officially stepped down as president of Sri Lanka. It comes after months of anti-government protests over a worsening economic crisis.
Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker officially accepted Rajapaksa’s resignation on Friday. Earlier this week, the now-former leader fled the country with his wife. He is now reportedly in Singapore.
It brings an end to more than a decade of Sri Lanka’s rule by the Rajapaksa dynasty. Both Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda have served as president, while their relatives have held key government positions.
Colombo, the country’s largest city, is still under a state of emergency after a week of unrest. Protesters clashed with security forces on Wednesday, and the official residences of both the president and the prime minister remain occupied by demonstrators.
The country remains critically short on food and fuel and lacks the funds to import more.
UKRAINIAN EVACUEE DECIDES TO RETURN HOME, DESPITE RISKS
The futures of many people who’ve fled Ukraine are in limbo more than four months into Russia’s invasion. One Ukrainian woman who evacuated to Japan is now on her way back, even as the fighting rages on.
Fifty-three-year-old Nataliia Kulakova left the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia in April. She was headed for Sapporo on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, where her daughter Veronika lives.
Nataliia started learning Japanese and gradually got used to life in Japan. Last month, she was granted the right to stay and work for one year.
But Nataliia has decided to return to Ukraine. She says she was asked to return to her police job. Under changes to the law in her country, she worries she could lose her job if she stays away too long.
And the day before leaving Japan, her feelings are mixed.
“I feel very safe in Japan. I’m scared to go back to Ukraine. But I have to go home for work.”
JAPAN RANKS 116TH IN GENDER GAP REPORT
Analysts with the World Economic Forum have released their annual report on the global gender gap. They ranked Japan 116th out of 146 countries.
The report examines gender gaps in four areas: political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival. Iceland tops the list for the 13th straight year.
Japan fared well in the education and health categories. But it received poor assessments in the political and economic ones.
The report notes the percentage of women working in the Lower House of the Diet and the Cabinet is small. It indicates the percentage of women holding corporate managerial positions is low as well.
The document states the coronavirus pandemic had a harmful effect on gender equality. That may be because women provided most of the care for their children when daycare centers and schools were closed.
EX-TEPCO EXECS ORDERED TO PAY FOR FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER
A lower court in Tokyo is ordering four former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company to pay nearly 100 billion dollars in damages to the utility. Shareholders claim the company suffered massive financial losses because of the 2011 accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The trial focused on the reliability of a long-term assessment of potential seismic activities. The report was issued by a government panel nine years before the accident.
The shareholders argued the assessment is reliable and the former managers should have done more to safeguard the plant against the huge tsunami they knew was possible.
But the managers claimed the assessment had low credibility, so they could not foresee damage from a massive tsunami. They argued even if they did, they would not have had time to take the necessary preventive measures.
The presiding judge ruled on Wednesday the executives fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility as the operator of a nuclear plant.
SCORCHING HEAT WREAKS HAVOC ACROSS EUROPE
People in Europe are enduring a record heatwave. Scorching temperatures have touched off wildfires in France, Spain, and Portugal. Residents have been forced to evacuate as flames approach their neighborhoods.
This video was taken on board a Spanish train during an emergency stop. Passengers watched as flames surrounded them.
In France, the heat is breaking records, with the mercury rising above 40 degrees Celsius. The coastal city of Biscarrosse recorded 42.6.
In Britain, it was hot enough to put some transportation out of commission. The runway at Luton Airport near London was damaged, temporarily suspending flights. British rail operators also cancelled some services and imposed speed limits after defects were found on tracks.