Monday, May 14, 2007

Buffalo, New York —A massive warehouse complex of at least 5 buildings caught on fire in Buffalo, New York on 111 Tonawanda Street, sending a plume of thick, jet black colored smoke into the air that could be seen as far away as 40 miles.

As of 6:40 a.m., the fire was under control, and firefighters were attempting to stop it from spreading, but could not get to the center of the fire because of severe amounts of debris. Later in the morning, the fire was extinguished.

“The fire is mostly under debris at this point. It’s under control, but it’s under some debris. We really can’t get to it. We’re just going to have to keep on pouring water on it so it doesn’t spread,” said Thomas Ashe, the fire chief for the North Buffalo based fire division who also added that at one point, at least 125 firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze. One suffered minor injures and was able to take himself to the hospital to seek medical attention.

Shortly after 8:00 p.m. as many as 3 explosions rocked the warehouse sending large mushroom clouds of thick black smoke into the air. After the third explosion, heat could be felt more than 100 feet away. The fire started in the front, one story building then quickly spread to three others, but fire fighters managed to stop the flames from spreading onto the 3 story building all the way at the back.

According to a Buffalo Police officer, who wished not to be named, the fire began at about 7:00 p.m. [Eastern time], starting as a one alarm fire. By 8:00 p.m., three fire companies were on the scene battling the blaze. Police also say that a smaller fire was reported in the same building on Saturday night, which caused little damage.

At the start of the fire, traffic was backed up nearly 4 miles on the 198 expressway going west toward the 190 Interstate and police had to shut down the Tonawanda street exit because the road is too close to the fire.

At one point, traffic on the 198 was moving so slow, at least a dozen people were seen getting out of their cars and walking down the expressway to watch the fire. That prompted as many as 10 police cars to be dispatched to the scene to force individuals back into their cars and close off one of the 2 lanes on the westbound side.

One woman, who wished not to be named as she is close to the owner of the warehouse, said the building is filled with “classic cars, forklifts, and money” and that owner “does not have insurance” coverage on the property. The building is not considered abandoned, but firefighters said that it is vacant.

Officials in Fort Erie, Ontario were also swamped with calls to fire departments when the wind blew the smoke over the Niagra River and into Canada.

It is not known what caused the fire, but a car is suspected to have caught on fire and there are reports from police and hazmat crews, that there were also large barrels of diesel fuel being stored in one building. Firefighters say the cause of the blaze is being treated as “suspicious.” The ATF is investigating the fire and will bring dogs in to search the debris.



Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.



Saturday, November 5, 2005

The Seabourn Spirit, a cruise ship sailing off the coast of Somalia, narrowly escaped an attack by gunmen believed to be pirates.

The pirate attack occurred on Saturday, when two boats approached the ship and began firing automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades, injuring one crew member.

The crew took evasive action and escaped safely by employing an acoustic bang which caused the gunmen to flee believing they were under fire.

302 passengers and crew, mostly from the United States, Canada, and Australia, were onboard when the gunmen opened fire. The attack took place 160km (100 miles) off the Somali coastline, which has a reputation for pirate activity.

Deborah Natansohn, president of the Seabourn Cruise Line told CNN Radio, “The occupants of those boats did not succeed in boarding the ship and eventually turned away … our captain and crew did a terrific job taking responsive action.”

Edith Laird, from Seattle, told the BBC, “My daughter saw the pirates out our window. […] There were at least three RPG that hit the ship, one in a stateroom four doors down from our cabin.”

According to Mike Rogers, a passenger from Vancouver, the captain opted not to sound the alarm and instead announced the attack over the speakers, fearing the sound would drive people to the deck and place them in the line of fire.

Natansohn has stated that the company will re-evaluate future trips to the area.

The Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP) is planning on highlighting the incident and its potential costs for tourism on Monday.

Pirate attacks have been an increasing problem in the area, with 23 hijackings and attempted seizures recorded by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). Two of the attacks were on ships carrying aid for the United Nations World Food Program. One attack involved a ship carrying 935 tons of rice for Asian tsunami victims. The crew had been held for three months before being released. According to the IMB, the pirates – mostly made up of the Horn of Africa’s former navy as well as former fishermen – represent a serious threat to commercial shipping.

Somalia has been a volatile area since the ousting of former dictator Mohamed Said Barre. The country has been operating without a central administration since 1991 and is now controlled by warlords.

Australian media has speculated that the attack on the ship may be an act of terrorism rather than one of piracy.



Thursday, January 3, 2008

At 12:50 pm on January 3, a ski chairlift ride cost a German skier’s life and another German woman was left with serious injuries after the lift cable derailed from the mast sheaves in a windstorm. The derailed chairlift is the two-seater Fallboden lift at Kleine Scheidegg, next to the Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland.

Two more Australian tourists were lightly injured. About 20 further people had to be evacuated from the stopped chairlift. Wind velocity peaking at 90km/h prevented a helicopter from rescuing the trapped passengers, complicating the rescue.

According to 20min.ch, the lift was manufactured by Garaventa AG, a major Swiss ski lift company, now a part of an international group Doppelmayr/Garaventa. When contacted no one was available for comment.

Shortly before the accident, a wind alarm was activated few times by a 60km/h wind. The operator decided to close the lift and waited for the lift to unload all passengers; at the moment of the catastrophe the bottom station of the lift was already closed, but 75 passengers were still on the lift.

According to the Swiss law, every chair lift must be designed to withstand a lateral wind load of 250 newtons (approx. 25kg) per square meter. However there is no law limit at which wind speed or lateral loads the chair lifts have to be stopped. This safety aspect is left to the responsibility of the operator. The safety of the lift was checked by the Swiss Federal Office of Transport in January 2006. This chairlift accident is said to be the worst in Switzerland for the last 8 years.



Tuesday, May 2, 2006

According to the Washington Post, nearly sixty percent of the federal government’s workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next ten years; with ninety percent of senior executive service officials expected to do so. Besides depleting Social Security funds, baby boomers will once again leave a big impression on the American workforce and economy. Calling it a “federal retirement tsunami,” the United States Office of Personnel Management (the bureau responsible for government human resources) is preparing for this event in a few manners. In a news release today by the bureau, Director Linda Springer announced that the office would be releasing a major media campaign in efforts to recruit future employees.

With only twenty four percent of United States citizens with a bachelor degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s no wonder it has been difficult to attract qualified or interested employees for federal government positions; particularly young people. “We’ve been hearing for so long about how incompetent and shady the government is, but a lot don’t understand the benefits,” said Howard University sophomore Victoria Hooks.

“The challenge is clear, and we are hard at work… with a 21st Century approach to the workplace, the federal government will ride the retirement wave and set the standard for a modern workplace… It will be a modern workplace, one that requires innovative training and encourage more flexibility by managers. The federal workforce will be one that the American people can count on,” said Springer in support of the initiatives for recruitment. Other efforts for recruitment will also include additional employment benefits such as special salaries and relocation bonuses, especially for women.

The recruitment advertisements will reveal themselves in a series of four commercials around the country beginning in mid May 2006.



Click Here To Know More About:

byAlma Abell

You will find trailers for every purpose you can imagine at Vintage Transport. They sell custom fabricated trailers if the model you want is not readily available. The trailers for sale can be categorized into use for construction, motor sports, agricultural use, and lawn and garden trailers. Browse website for more information.

* The construction category includes material handling, utility, dump, and general utility trailers. Equipment trailers are also available for construction use.

* Trailers for hauling agricultural supplies such as flatbed models, models with enclosed sides for hauling hay, and horse trailers are ready for purchase.

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* Motor sports have a variety of trailers to select from. The single rail trailer for hauling a motor cycle and the custom built ramp trailers for car hauling are also available. Snowmobile trailers are available are tow dollies. Auto and boat models are also sold. Tow dollies and ATV carriers are available.

* Enclosed trailers are sold for protecting a custom car or other vehicle which needs to be protected from the elements or vandalism.

Trailer Sales in Placerville can arrange to have trailers custom made for utility, dump, off-road jeepers, car and heavy equipment haulers, lawn and garden trailers, quad haulers, or for any use. They can arrange for custom build truck flatbeds and loading ramps, fabricated to meet your specific needs. Dump trailers are available with a hydraulic lift.

Trailer accessories are sold for the added flexibility of the trailer you own. Items like:

* Hitches for heavy duty hauling

* Tool boxes made by well known manufacturers.

* Tires and wheels

* S-Line tie downs

* Draw-Tite products

Trailer Sales Placerville can arrange for custom made ramps for any trailer. These make loading and unloading a trailer very easy. Any type of vehicle can be loaded from any angle by using ramps which are designed and manufactured for this purpose. The Royal T Horse trailer is a very functional and beautiful looking trailer for use in traveling with horses. These are made in several models and for hauling one horse or several horses.

The Tow Dolly available is made for durable use and vibration-free hauling. The materials and the engineering are designed to eliminate the usual vibration. The wheel bearings are made for long wear and for use on most every road condition. This is just one of many products you can purchase from Vintage Transport.



Saturday, August 18, 2018

US soul singer Aretha Franklin died in her Detroit, Michigan home on Thursday morning, her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn stated on behalf of the family. According to the statement, the official cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

Per the statement, Franklin died at about 9:50 am local time, “surrounded by family and loved ones. In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. After some time in Buffalo, New York, the family settled in Detroit around 1946. Her father was a preacher, and Aretha sang solos at his church when she was 10. Her mother died that year, having left the family four years earlier. Aretha had her first son before age 13, and recorded gospel music at 14. She contracted in 1956 to JVB Records, with her father’s help, then in 1960 to Columbia Records, and in 1966 to Atlantic Records. At Atlantic she focused on soul and rhythm and blues (R&B), and was highly successful. She acquired the nickname “the Queen of Soul” in 1967. Over the next seven years she was 33 times on the R&B Top Ten list. One of her signature songs, Respect, won her the Grammy Award for best R&B performance in 1968, and she won best R&B performance every year from then through 1975. In 1987 she became the first woman in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Franklin’s musical career resurged in the 1980s. Her last number-one hit was a 1987 duet with British singer George Michael, I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me). Her last public performance was in November of last year, at an Elton John AIDS Foundation event in New York City. As of June last year, according to Billboard, she was working on an album of collaborations with others, mentioning Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Lionel Richie.

Franklin’s career was entwined with the civil rights movement. Her father’s politics brought her in contact with Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she toured in the late 1950s. Her father was involved in organizing the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom with King, and when King was assassinated in 1968, she sang at his funeral. Respect, and others of her songs, became anthems for the civil rights and feminism movements. She told Vogue magazine in 2015 she didn’t record Respect for a political movement; “Not just me or the civil rights movement or women — it’s important to people. And I was asked what recording of mine I’d put in a time capsule, and it was Respect. Because people want respect — even small children, even babies. As people, we deserve respect from one another.”

She sang at Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration as President of the United States. On her death, Barack Obama tweeted, “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”

Aretha Franklin is survived by sons Clarence, Edward, Ted, and Kecalf.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wikinews interviewed one of the owners of a New York City bar about a popular new politically-themed cocktail drink called Santorum. The beverage was inspired by the santorum neologism coined in advice columnist Dan Savage’s column Savage Love in response to comments made by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum about homosexuality; Savage’s readers voted to define santorum as: “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”



Monday, November 19, 2012

Three astronauts return to Earth today, after touching down safely in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz capsule in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning. The landing marks the culmination of a 127 day mission to the international space station, and only the fourth time a Soyuz capsule has landed at night in its missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts Yuri Malenchenko, Sunita Williams, and Akihiko Hoshide were carried to reclining chairs to help them re-acclimate to gravity after being extracted from the sideways capsule by Russian recovery forces. The astronauts bundled up in their recliners as air temperature at the site hit -11°C (12°F).

The group started their trip to the ISS on July 15 launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In their four and a half month stay on the station they completed a variety of different studies including the effects of microgravity on the human spine and studying melting glaciers. They also were aboard to receive the first commercial shipment made by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo resupply mission.

“It was a beautiful departure. It was just beautiful to watch the ship fly away,” said Kevin Ford, now the current commander of the ISS. Ford was passed command of the ISS after in a change of command ceremony on Saturday. During the ceremony Williams remarked, “I think we’ve left the ship in good shape and I’m honored to hand it over to Kevin.”

Upon approval of the medical team Williams and Hoshide will return to Houston, Texas, while Malenchenko heads back to Star City, Russia.



Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Japan government panel met last Tuesday and is drafting a report aimed to urge Japan to loosen restrictions on participation in military combat — restriction of military to self-defense — imposed in its constitution since the end of World War II. They expected to finalize the report after April. North Korea reacted by calling the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, an “Asian Hitler” on Wednesday.

The government panel — fourteen members headed by Shunji Yanai, former ambassador to the US — sought ways to reinterpret the constitution on the grounds there was not enough public support for revising, or rewriting, the constitution itself.

Shinzo Abe said he was motivated to help keep international peace — by protecting other nations’ troops, which was beyond the scope currently allowed under the constitution. He interpreted it as a country’s right, commenting, “it’s about whether we can exercise this right that every country has”.

During the Tuesday meeting, Abe also expressed a concern that the country’s national security was not ready for potential regional conflicts: “Japan’s preparation for national security threats in the region is not sufficient. We must cover all the bases to protect the people’s lives and safety in any possible scenario”. Yousuke Isozaki, a security policy adviser to Mr Abe, said a revised military policy would strengthen Japan’s ties with allies, the US in particular.

The Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of the North Korean government, commented in an editorial, saying Abe was trying to conjure up fears of North Korea using missiles or nuclear weapons to help justify expanding Japan’s military. The Korean Central News Agency were likening Abe to Hitler. The editorial followed a comment by Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party — Workers’ Party of Korea — newspaper, which described Abe as a “militarist maniac” last month. The reaction was also inspired by Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine in December.

Under Japan’s pacifist constitution, the country has not been able to engage in militaristic combat since the end of World War II.

CHAPTER II. RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9
  1. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
  2. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Commenters related the move to escalated tensions with China, who had set up an Air Defense Identification Zone over a part of the East China Sea, including Japan’s Senkaku Islands, in November last year.



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