North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles off the east coast and into the sea, Japan’s prime minister has said. Yoshihide Suga said the launches threaten “peace and safety in Japan and the region” and that Tokyo would closely coordinate with Washington and Seoul about the North’s testing activities. North Korea’s ballistic missiles are banned under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
The mission to unblock the Suez canal after a vast container ship became wedged has entered its third day, as pressure builds on authorities to get one of the world’s key trade arteries flowing again. Efforts to refloat the 220,000-ton, 400-metre-long Ever Given resumed on Thursday after a brief overnight suspension, amid fears the operation could potentially take weeks if the vessel needs to be unloaded.
Retail giants Nike and H&M are facing a backlash in China after they expressed concern about the alleged use of forced Uighur labor in the production of Xinjiang cotton. Many Chinese have called for boycotts, celebrities have cut ties, and e-commerce platforms have dropped H&M. It comes as several Western countries imposed sanctions on China this week.
European Union leaders meet on Thursday to discuss a coordinated path out of the COVID-19 pandemic as infections surge again in many of their countries, seeking agreement on how to ramp up supplies of vaccines after a feeble start to inoculation. Ahead of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron spelled out the frustration over vaccine rollouts that are far behind those of Britain and the United States, acknowledging that European leaders had been too timid.
The torch relay for the postponed Tokyo Olympics began its 121-day journey across Japan on Thursday and is headed toward the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. The relay began in northeastern Fukushima prefecture, the area that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown of three nuclear reactors. The first runner with the torch was Azusa Iwashimizu, a key player in the Japan team that won the Women’s World Cup in 2011.