Two brothers have been jailed for 40 years for killing a Maltese journalist, whose 2017 death sparked global anger.
George and Alfred Degiorgio admitted to murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, just hours after pleading not guilty.
She was killed by a car bomb in October 2017. Many suspect the killing was ordered by top establishment figures.
Known as the “one-woman WikiLeaks”, she uncovered networks of corruption in Malta and abroad, and was know as a harsh critic of the government.
The year Caruana Galizia died, she effectively triggered an early election by publishing allegations linking Joseph Muscat, the then-prime minister, to the Panama Papers scandal, which exposed the use of tax havens by the rich.
Last year, two men were charged with supplying the car bomb in the attack, while another man, Vincent Muscat, was jailed for 15 years when he admitted involvement in the murder.
The man who is accused of ordering the killing, Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, is yet to stand trial – he denies any involvement.
One of Caruana Galizia’s three sons, Paul, who publicly campaigned for justice on her behalf, said the sentencing was “a break in the clouds”. The family were in court on Friday to hear the sentence handed down.
It was also welcomed by Maltese Prime Minister, Robert Abela, who said the judgement was “another important step towards justice for the Caruana Galizia family”.
A public inquiry into the assassination of the investigative journalist found the state responsible for her death. The report said the state had failed to recognise risks to the reporter’s life and take reasonable steps to avoid them.
An investigation also led to the resignation of Mr Muscat in 2019 after his close associates were implicated. He has denied corruption allegations.
India suspends visas for Canadians
India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid an escalating row over the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.
Visa service provider BLS posted a message from India’s mission blaming “operational reasons” for the decision.
Tensions flared this week after Canada said it was investigating “credible allegations” linking India with the murder of the separatist leader.
India angrily rejected the allegation calling it “absurd”.
Analysts say relations between the countries, which have been strained for months, are now at an all-time low.
The message about the suspension of visas was first posted on the BLS website on Thursday.
“Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” it read.
India’s foreign ministry refused to comment on the matter and asked the BBC to refer to the BLS website.
The move comes a day after India issued an advisory urging its citizens travelling to or living in Canada to “exercise utmost caution” in view of the “growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada”.
Canada has 1.4 million people of Indian origin, making up 3.7% of the country’s population, according to the 2021 census. India also sends the highest number of international students to Canada – in 2022, they made up 40% of total overseas students at 320,000.
One in 10 people now aged 80 or older
For the first time ever, more than one in 10 people in Japan are now aged 80 or older.
National data also shows 29.1% of the 125 million population is aged 65 or older- a record.
Japan has one of the lowest birth-rates in the world and has long struggled with how to provide for its ageing population.
It has the world’s oldest population, measured by the proportion of people aged 65 or up, the United Nations says.
That proportion stands at 24.5% in Italy and 23.6% in Finland, which rank second and third respectively.
In Japan, those aged over 65 are expected to account for 34.8% of the population by 2040, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
The country’s elderly employment rate is among the highest across major economies – workers aged 65 or more make up more than 13% of the national workforce.
But this has done little to relieve the burden on the country’s social security spending.
Japan has approved a record budget for the next fiscal year, in part due to rising social security costs.
Efforts to boost its birth rates have also met with little success amid the growing cost of living, and notoriously long working hours.
Birth rates are slowing in many countries, including Japan’s neighbours, but the problem is particularly acute in Japan.
The country was estimated to have had fewer than 800,000 babies born last year – the lowest number since records began in the 19th century.
In the 1970s, that figure was more than two million.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in January that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society because of its declining birth rate.
However authorities remain hesitant about accepting migrant workers as a solution to falling fertility.
Other countries in Asia are facing similar demographic challenges.
Last year, China’s population fell for the first time since 1961, while South Korea has reported the lowest fertility rate in the world.
UK to ban American bully XL dogs
The British government has announced steps to outlaw the American bully XL by the end of the year.
The American bully XL is a popular breed that likely descended from pit bulls.
The ban was announced after a string of dog attacks that caused outrage on social media last week.
PM Rishi Sunak said it was clear the American XL bullies were “a danger to communities” and a ban was needed.
He added that experts and police will work together to “accurately define the breed” and powers will be used in the Dangerous Dogs Act.
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