Six In The Morning Tuesday 30 April 2019

After audience with the sun goddess, Japan’s emperor Akihito prepares to abdicate

Akihito will become the country’s first monarch to give up the chrysanthemum throne in two centuries

Japan’s emperor Akihito is preparing to become the country’s first monarch to abdicate in two centuries, a day before his eldest son takes his place as the new occupant of the chrysanthemum throne.

Akihito, who expressed a desire to abdicate in 2016, fearing his age would make it difficult for him to carry out public duties, will enter the Matsu no Ma (Hall of Pine) at the imperial palace early on Tuesday evening and relinquish his title in a short ceremony that will be broadcast live on TV.

Earlier the same day, the 85-year-old emperor, the first Japanese monarch to spend his entire reign stripped of political influence under the country’s postwar constitution, was due to report his abdication to his ancestors and the Shinto gods at sacred spots inside the imperial palace grounds in Tokyo.

Though Isis leader al-Baghdadi is alive, this poor strategist may not be a huge threat

His only response to any challenge was extreme violence, thus ensuring that Isis faced a vast array of enemies too numerous to defeat

Patrick Cockburn @indyworld

The reappearance of the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has the same shock effect as that of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of 9/11. It has all the greater impact because of claims that, with the elimination of the last territory held by Isis in March this year, that group was close to being out of business as a serious threat.

The slaughter of some 250 civilians in Sri Lanka had already showed that Isisretains its ability to take control of the international news agenda with suicide bombing attacks directed at civilians. “As for our brothers in Sri Lanka, I was overjoyed when I heard about the suicide attack, which overthrew the cradles of the Crusaders, and avenged them for our brethren in Baghouz,” al-Baghdadi said.

Just before the bombings in and around Colombo, the leader of the Isis cell had pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

Man arrested after suspected explosive device found in Christchurch

New Zealand police said on Tuesday a man was arrested and bomb disposal officers found a package with a suspected explosive device at a vacant property in Christchurch, where 50 people were killed in attacks by a lone gunman on two mosques in March.

Police cordoned off streets in the Phillipstown area of the city on New Zealand’s South Island, with a bomb disposal team, ambulance and fire and emergency crews sent to the scene.

“Police have located a package containing a suspected explosive device and ammunition at a vacant address … in Christchurch,” district police commander Superintendent John Price said in a statement.

Sudan protesters say army trying to break up sit-in

The protesters who want the military to hand over power to a civilian administration have been camped out since April 6.

Sudan’s main protest group said on Monday the army was trying to disperse a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum by removing barricades, but witnesses said troops had not moved in.

Thousands of protesters remain camped outside the army headquarters, almost three weeks after the military and security forces removed former president Omar al-Bashir from power on April 11.

The pro-democracy protesters want the ruling military council to hand over power to a civilian administration.

‘Yeti footprints’: Indian army mocked over claim

The Indian army has claimed to have found footprints of the yeti, sparking jokes and disbelief on social media.

The army tweeted to its nearly six million followers on Monday that it had discovered “mysterious footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’ at the Makalu Base Camp [in the Himalayas]”.

The yeti – a giant ape-like creature – often figures in South Asian folklore.

There is no evidence proving yeti exist but the myth retains a strong appeal in the region.

‘They don’t get it’: South Africa’s scarred ANC faces voter anger

Divided party faces ‘deep moral crisis’ despite anticipated victory in election in May

Major Mgxaji, a retired union official in the poor township of Khayelitsha near Cape Town, was repeatedly jailed and tortured by apartheid authorities for his political activism with the ANC in the 1970s and 80s.

“It is not the same party as back then,” the 67-year-old said in an interview in Khayelitsha, where rolling power cuts in recent months have been widely blamed on corruption at the national electricity provider. “The ANC people have developed the struggle of the belly instead of the struggle to better the lives of our people. That is very dangerous.”

Twenty-five years after its victory in South Africa’s first free elections ushered in a new democratic era for the “rainbow nation”, the African National Congress has called on voters to rescue it from a “moral