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Kishida indicates LDP may question ex-PM Mori about funds scandal

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday indicated the possibility of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party questioning former premier Yoshiro Mori about a political funds scandal that came to light late last year. Mori “could be included” as a target of the LDP’s investigation as “he is needed to clarify political responsibility,” Kishida said at a parliamentary session, while declining to comment on whether the former leader was involved in the scandal. The ruling party has come under intense scrutiny as some of its groups, such as the biggest faction formerly led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, neglected for years to report portions of income from fundraising parties, creating slush funds in the process. Mori, who headed the faction from December 1998 to April 2000 and from May 2001 to October 2006, is suspected of having crafted the scheme, although senior members of the group have claimed that they are not aware of when the slush fund practice began. With the LDP suggesting the custom might have lasted for over 20 years, opposition parties have demanded that Mori, who served as prime minister for around one year from April 2000, be summoned to parliament as a sworn witness. The senior lawmakers of the largest faction within the LDP, which has been in power for most of the period since 1955, have also said Abe decided to stop the practice of paying money back to its members at a meeting involving its executives in April 2022. But they added the scheme was later reinstated following a gathering in August 2022, one month after Abe was fatally shot during an election campaign speech. Abe’s assassination and the death in November 2023 of former House of Representatives speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda, who led the faction for about seven years from 2014, has made it difficult for the LDP to probe how and when the group launched the slush funds practice. Related coverage

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Football: Miyazawa, Hamano back for Japan at SheBelieves Cup

Women’s World Cup Golden Boot winner Hinata Miyazawa and fellow attacker Maika Hamano are set to make their returns from injury following Japan’s announcement Thursday of the 22-player squad for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup in the United States. Manchester United attacker Miyazawa, who scored five goals for Japan in New Zealand last summer at the World Cup, returns for Nadeshiko Japan after suffering a left ankle fracture in a friendly match away to Brazil in December. Chelsea’s Hamano injured her shoulder prior to the World Cup and was limited to a short cameo at the tournament before having surgery in September. “I want to prepare the team for the (Paris) Olympics. I’d like to spur my players’ growth,” Japan manager Futoshi Ikeda said. The four-team SheBelieves Cup will be his side’s first outing since clinching a berth at the Paris Games with a 2-1 aggregate win over North Korea in February. Nadeshiko Japan, seventh in the FIFA rankings, face fourth-ranked hosts the United States on April 6, while world No. 9 Canada take on 10th-ranked Brazil in their opener. The winners and losers of the two matches will face each other on April 9. Japan squad: Goalkeepers: Ayaka Yamashita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata), Shu Oba (University of Mississippi) Field players: Saki Kumagai, Moeka Minami (Roma), Mina Tanaka, Miyabi Moriya, Hikaru Kitagawa (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Risa Shimizu, Honoka Hayashi, Riko Ueki (West Ham), Kiko Seike, Rion Ishikawa (Urawa Reds), Mami Ueno (Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina), Yui Hasegawa (Manchester City), Hina Sugita (Portland Thorns), Fuka Nagano (Liverpool), Hinata Miyazawa (Manchester United), Aoba Fujino (Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Maika Hamano (Chelsea), Momoko Tanikawa (Rosengard), Toko Koga (Feyenoord) Related coverage

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West Highland Way challenge for Prestwick schoolboy and his mum this Easter

An intrepid schoolboy will spend his Easter holidays trekking for a good cause. Jack Ross and his mum, Lucy, are strapping on their boots to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support as they tackle the West Highland Way. The duo will walk 54 miles of the iconic journey over the course of seven days. Jack, 11, is no stranger to adventure being a member of the 14th Ayrshire Scout Group. And he’s set to take in some of the country’s most beautiful scenery when setting off next Saturday, April 6. Mum Lucy said: “We only have a spare seven days in the holidays so we’ve decided to walk 54 miles, from Rowerdennan to Kinlochleven, during that time. Jack loves to get out and explore so he’ll see this as a good challenge. We’ll have a different place to rest our heads each night, including the very famously haunted Dovers Inn. It might be a case of sleeping with one eye open that night! “Jack decided it would be a good idea to also raise money for charity while doing this, so hopefully we can do that. He’s going to take his GoPro camera with him and show the footage to his classmates at Kingcase Primary as part of a video diary. “He’s also let his leader at the 14th Ayrshire Scout Group know all about the challenge and he can’t wait to get started now. We’re hoping to do a bit of gold panning on the way as that’s something which Jack also loves to do – so with a bit of luck he might come home with something extra in his pocket!” To donate to their challenge visit www.justgiving.com/page/jackandlucyswesthighlandadventure Read next: Ayr cinema opening date unveiled as blockbusters back in town for Easter McDonald’s announce plans for new £4 million restaurant in Ayrshire town ‘I’m starving to death on NHS waiting list’ Gran begs for surgery after cancelled ops Terminally ill nurse, 49, set to marry partner after devastating cancer diagnosis Post box to heaven launched by Ayrshire funeral directors in memory of precious tot Don’t miss the latest Ayrshire headlines –sign up to our free daily newsletter

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Airdrie Academy looking for memories and stories from ex-pupils and staff to help with 175th anniversary project

Airdrie Academy is appealing for anyone with a connection to the school and its history to help mark its 175th anniversary. Pupils and staff have been working with the school’s writer in residence, Martin Stewart, to create an anthology of work. To compile this milestone collection, the school is eager to hear from former pupils, parents, teachers and staff and the local community. The creative project will involve picking memorable moments in Airdrie Academy’s history as it celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. A spokesperson for the school told Lanarkshire Live: “After picking particular moments in our history, photographs will be used as prompts, writing short dialogue pieces to give the characters we imagine sitting in those classrooms a voice. “We are now looking for contributions from our local community and ex-pupils and staff to share memories and stories from the school’s rich and varied history. “Imagine all of the people who have been associated with the school in the past 175 years; from different backgrounds and lives and of varying experience. “Can you share a memory of a favourite class, teacher or show? A special sporting event or visit? Or even the school buildings themselves? “Contributions can be sent by email to airdrieacademy175@outlook.com or post to Airdrie Academy, South Commonhead Avenue, Airdrie, ML6 6NX – and must be done so no later than Friday, April 26.” *Don’t miss the latest headlines from around Lanarkshire. Sign up to our newsletters here. And did you know Lanarkshire Live had its own app? Download yours for free here.

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Stock market today: Asian shares meander after S&P 500 sets another record

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mixed on Thursday after U.S. stocks broke out of a three-day lull to close at a record. Oil prices advanced, while U.S. futures edged lower. The dollar remained strong against the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, a trend that has unsettled regulators in both Tokyo and Beijing. The dollar rose to 151.39 yen from 151.30 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0803 from $1.0828. On Wednesday, the yen dipped to its lowest level since 1990, and Japanese officials reiterated their desire for stability in exchange rates. “As the yen continues to show vulnerability, market participants will be vigilant for any hints of possible intervention in the currency market by Japanese policymakers,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a commentary. The dollar bought 7.2286 yuan. It also has weakened against the dollar in recent weeks. “We continue to think that policymakers in China and Japan will do enough to keep their currencies from weakening much further, but the risk of a break lower in one, or both, is increasing,” Jonas Goltermann of Capital Economics said in a report. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 lost 1.5% to 40,168.07. The Kospi in Seoul also fell, shedding 0.3% to 2,745.82. Chinese markets recouped losses from the day before. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.1% to 16,571.35, while the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.6% to 3,010.66. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1% to 7,896.90. India’s Sensex added 1.2% and Taiwan’s Taiex slipped 0.3%. In Bangkok, the SET gave up 0.1%. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to a record 5,248.49 in its first gain since setting its last all-time high on March 21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1.2% to 39,760.08, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.5% to 16,399.52. Both finished a bit shy of their own records. Merck climbed 5% after federal regulators approved its treatment for adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare disease where blood vessels in the lungs thicken and narrow. Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group rose another 14.2%. The company behind the money-losing Truth Social platform has zoomed well beyond what critics say is rational, as fans of former president Donald Trump keep pushing it higher. Robinhood Markets climbed 3.7% after unveiling its first credit card, which is reserved for its subscription-paying Gold members, along with other new products. On the losing end of Wall Street was Nvidia, which slumped to a second straight loss after rocketing 91% higher for the year so far, loosing 2.5%. GameStop tumbled 15% after delivering a profit for the latest quarter and a drop in revenue from the prior year. It’s the original meme stock, predating Trump Media by years. This week’s highlight for markets may arrive Friday, when the U.S. government releases the latest monthly update on spending by U.S. consumers. It will include the measure of inflation that the Federal Reserve prefers to use as it sets interest rates. Both the U.S. bond and stock markets will be closed for Good Friday. That could cause some anticipatory trades to bunch up on Thursday, the last trading day of the year’s first quarter. The S&P 500 is on track for a fifth straight winning month and has been roaring higher since late October. The U.S. economy has remained remarkably resilient despite high interest rates meant to get inflation under control. Plus, the Federal Reserve looks set to start lowering interest rates this year because inflation has cooled from its peak. But critics say a broader range of companies will need to deliver strong profit growth to justify the big moves in prices. Progress on bringing inflation down has also become bumpier recently, with reports this year coming in hotter than expected. Still, the broad expectation among traders is for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting its main interest rate in June. Stocks generally tend to do the best when more than half the world’s central banks are easing interest rates, according to Ned Davis Research. The world is not there yet, but several central banks have already begun cutting recently, like Switzerland’s, and it could happen later this year. In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 38 cents to $81.73 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 30 cents to $85.71 per barrel. Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press

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Foreign interference inquiry slated to hear from chief electoral officer

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief electoral officer, Stéphane Perrault, is slated to testify this morning at a commission of inquiry into foreign meddling allegations and how the government responded to them. The hearings are delving into possible foreign interference by China, India, Russia and others in the last two general elections. As head of Elections Canada, Perrault is responsible for ensuring Canadians can exercise their democratic rights to vote and be a candidate. The inquiry, led by Quebec judge Marie-Josée Hogue, expects to hear evidence from more than 40 people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, members of his cabinet and political party representatives. An initial report of findings from the commission is due May 3. The inquiry will then shift to broader policy issues, looking at the ability of the government to detect, deter and counter foreign interference, with a final report landing by the end of the year. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024. The Canadian Press

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Killer whale rescue tactics could involve plan to lift orca calf out of lagoon

ZEBALLOS, B.C. — Experts are reconsidering their options on a rescue plan for the young killer whale trapped by the tide in a remote lagoon off Northern Vancouver Island. Paul Cottrell, the marine mammal co-ordinator at the Fisheries Department, says they are thinking about changing tactics in efforts to convince the two-year-old calf to leave the shallow lagoon, depending on the animal’s health. He says they have not ruled out attempting to put the calf in a sling and lifting it back to the open ocean. The calf’s mother died in the lagoon on Saturday when the tide went out and a necropsy later determined she was pregnant. Cottrell says drone footage shows that the calf, which can survive up to two weeks without food, appears to be healthy but is likely not eating on its own and is probably still partially depending on its mother for milk and food. Ehattesaht First Nation Chief Simon John is part of the rescue team and says they want to see the calf in the ocean open to give it a chance to reconnect with other family members. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024. The Canadian Press

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NRL round 4 LIVE: Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium

NRL round 4 LIVE: Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later. DismissSkip to sections navigationSkip to contentSkip to footer Our network Open NavigationMenu The Sydney Morning Herald The Sydney Morning Herald close Search Site Sections Network Home Sydney NSW Politics Show subsections Federal NSW Victoria Queensland Western Australia Business Show subsections Companies Markets Bulls N’ Bears The economy Banking & finance Entrepreneurship Media Workplace World Show subsections North America Europe Asia Middle East Oceania South America Africa National Show subsections Victoria Queensland Western Australia Opinion Property Show subsections News Domain Magazine Title Deeds Living Auctions Financing Sport Show subsections NRL Rugby union Cricket Soccer AFL Racing Tennis Netball Basketball Motorsport Cycling Golf NFL Athletics Swimming Boxing Good Food Show subsections Eating out Recipes Tips & advice Drinks Culture Show subsections Movies TV & radio Music Celebrity Books Comedy Dance Musicals Opera Theatre Art & design Live reviews TV guide Lifestyle Show subsections Health & wellness Fashion Life & relationships Beauty Style Horoscopes Traveller Show subsections Destination guides Inspiration Reviews & advice Travel news Good Weekend Spectrum Sunday Life Money Show subsections Super & retirement Investing Banking Borrowing Saving Tax Planning & budgeting Insurance Education Healthcare Environment Show subsections Conservation Climate change Sustainability Weather Technology Show subsections Video games Home tech Phones Gadgets Drive PremiumSubscribe Today’s Paper Good Food Guide Daily Crosswords & Sudoku More Letters Editorial Campus Column 8 Obituaries Explainers Quizzes Podcasts The Sydney Morning Herald The Age Brisbane Times WAtoday The Australian Financial Review Domain Commercial Real Estate Drive Advertisement Live Sport NRL NRL 2024 NRL round 4 LIVE: Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium By Dan Walsh Updated March 28, 2024 — 7.44pmfirst published at 7.29pm Save Log in, register or subscribe to save articles for later. Save articles for later Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time. Got it Normal text size Larger text size Very large text size Loading Key posts 7.37pmPoll: Who prevails tonight? 7.36pmLate Mail: There is no late mail 7.32pmRookie of the year Turuva hits the open market 7.29pmThe weather: Wet weather footy’s a chance 7.26pmWelcome to Allianz Hide key posts Posts area Latest 1 of 1 Latest posts Latest posts 7.44pm Gus: Could Terrell May earn a Blues debut? 7.37pm Poll: Who prevails tonight? 7.36pm Late Mail: There is no late mail Both teams are 1-17, with former Panther Michael Jennings once again 18th man for the Roosters. A head knock from serious foul play or two failed HIAs could bring him into the game. All eyes on Penrith rookie Mavrik Geyer too, he’s got roughly 100-odd family, friends and hangers who have made the trip in from Mordor, sorry the golden west, for his NRL debut. Penrith Panthers legend Mark Geyer with his son Mavrik Geyer ahead of his NRL debut for the club on Thursday night. Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 4. Joseph Manu 5. Dominic Young 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Terrell May 11. Nat Butcher 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Naufahu Whyte 16. Egan Butcher 17. Angus Crichton 18. Michael Jennings Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Taylan May 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Brad Schneider 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Lindsay Smith 11. Luke Garner 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Daine Laurie 15. Matt Eisenhuth 16. Liam Henry 17. Mavrik Geyer 18. Soni Luke Advertisement 7.32pm Rookie of the year Turuva hits the open market NRL Rookie of the year Sunia Turuva could be on his way out of Penrith with his management set to open discussions with rival teams from next week. Turuva, a revelation for the Panthers on the wing last year, is off contract at the end of this season and is yet to strike a deal with the reigning champions despite fellow outside backs Izack Tago and Taylan May recently securing extensions. Sunia Turuva will explore his options at rival clubs.Credit: Steven Siewert/Sydney Morning Herald Penrith, who have also extended back-up centre Paul Alamoti’s contract in recent weeks, want to keep Turuva at the club but salary cap limitations have brought negotiations to a halt with the Panthers unwilling to spend more than $350,000 a season. Loading Turuva’s agent Mark Stewart recently met with the club to inform Penrith he would now seek expressions of interest and offers from rival clubs before returning to the Panthers to see if they can get closer to what he believes is his value on the open market. Turuva is expected to attract offers of close to $500,000-a-season on the open market and could be squeezed out of Penrith as a result. The Panthers are comfortable with the plan, having previously adopted a similar strategy with other players who have come back to the club with their best offers from rival teams. Read the full story here. 7.29pm The weather: Wet weather footy’s a chance 7.26pm Welcome to Allianz Evening one, evening all, Game of the round here at Allianz Stadium sports fans – no Nathan Cleary, no Penrith? Let’s find out shall we? The Roosters are warm favourites and rightly so given James Fisher-Harris also joins the best player in the NRL as the most notable of absentees, but this Penrith side is still not to be sneezed at. The Chooks are without Lindsay Collins themselves but Luke Keary is back. Kick-off at 8pm AEDT, should be a cracker. Let’s go. 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Jannik Sinner braces for Miami Open semi-final rematch as upset queens face off

Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev will renew hostilities in the semi-final of the Miami Open after the defending champion booked another showdown between the pair. Medvedev beat Sinner in last year’s Miami final, before the Italian gained revenge with a stunning comeback win – from two sets down – to claim the Australian Open title in January. Now they’re on collision course in the final four of this year’s Miami tournament, after the defending champion saw off a late challenge from Nicolas Jarry. The world No.4 cruised through the first set against Jarry 6-2, but had to battle his way through a tie-break win in the second set as the Chilean fought his way back into the match. “The first set I thought I was playing a good level, not doing anything extra, just enough to win,” Medvedev said. “Then he started to play much better and it was tough rallies, tough points. He served better and it was just a matter of a few points in the tie-break.” Sinner reached his fourth semi-final of the year as he eased past Tomas Machac 6-4 6-2 in just 91 minutes. “Physically I feel good. I’m just happy to compete,” Sinner said. “We practise very hard to be in these positions and I’m really happy I can play once again in the semis here at such a special tournament. “It’s special for me, I made my first Masters 1000 final here, so I’m really happy to be back in the semis.” In the women’s draw, queen of the upsets Ekaterina Alexandrova followed up her victory over world No.1 Iga Swiatek with another stellar display. The 14th seed beat fifth seed Jessica Pegula 3-6 6-4 6-4 to book a last-four meeting with another American, the unseeded Danielle Collins. The win, which took just under two hours, ensured the 29-year-old’s second WTA 1000 event semi-final appearance. Collins reached the last four in Miami for the second time with a 6-3 6-2 win over 23rd seed Caroline Garcia. Six years after becoming the first qualifier to reach the semi-finals, the 31-year-old former Australian Open finalist did not face a break point as she earned a third win over a seed in five matches. In her final year on tour, Collins has won 10 straight sets since losing her first of the tournament, dropping just 19 games along the way. Fourth seed Elena Rybakina faces three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka in the first of Friday’s semi-finals.

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Inside Putin’s nightmare Arctic gulag – where prisoners are regularly stripped naked in -2C

The Arctic gulag where Putin sends opponents like Alexei Navalny to die forces prisoners to suffer sub zero temperatures and even sees them threatened with rape if they fail to stump up bribes to pay off guards. One of the most harrowing accounts of life inside the IK-6 prison colony in the town of Omsk in Russia’s frozen Siberian region comes from journalist and political prisoner Vladimir Kara-Murza. Kara-Murza – a Russian-British political activist and journalist – was arrested in April 2022 and charged with disobeying police orders. After his arrest, authorities heaped on trumped up charges including “discrediting” the military. Finally, that October, he was hit with the charge of treason and slapped with a 25-year sentence in one of Russia’s worst penal colonies. Every single day, guards wake up the prison population with the Russian national anthem at 5am. What is even more important for prisoners is that it marks a 5-minute window before guards enter the cell to swipe their pillow and mattresses in a particularly vindictive move. And just 15 minutes later, his metal bed frame would be locked to the wall of his 16ft by 6ft 6in cell, so there was absolutely no possibility of him spending the day in bed with hard labour to do outside. In the middle of the room, a table and bench were bolted to the floor. The only personal items he was permitted to keep were a mug, toothbrush, towel and a pair of slippers, reports MailPlus. Kara Murza’s morning sustenance would come in the form of a bowl of gloopy porridge and tea that was pushed through a metal hatch in the cell door. Later, he would be allowed a walk, lasting no longer than 90 minutes, which involved wandering around a courtyard of the same dimensions. Overhead, any view of the sky was covered with a metal grille. At all times, Kara Murza was forced to keep his hands behind his back, even as temperatures plummet to as low as -25C. Even while carrying out the most mundane of daily tasks, surveillance cameras watched him and at 9am and 5pm, he was forced to strip naked as guards ran a metal detector over his clothes and underwear. And when guards addressed him, he was forced to identify himself in the official term, stating: “[I am] Kara-Murza, Vladimir Vladimirovich, date of birth September 7, 1981, convicted under criminal code articles 284.1 part one, 207.3 part two, 275. Start date of sentence, April 22 2022. End date of sentence, April 21 2047.” Kara-Murza has become the highest-profile political prisoner in the Russian prison system following the death of Alexei Navalny, whose body was found in mysterious circumstances at a similar colony earlier this year. Both men were victims of suspected Novichok poisoning. Kara-Murza twice fell into a coma, in 2015 and 2017, which left him with a nerve disease called polyneuropathy -which causes the sufferers’ legs to go numb. Like Navalny, he too could have decided to remain in political exile, even in Britain due to his dual citizenship. But driven by the love of his country and defiance against Putin’s hardened regime, he chose to return. He flew back to Moscow just a month after Russia invaded Ukraine. The warlord had already made it an offence to call his “special military operation” a war or conflict. Yet Kara-Murza bravely and defiantly branded it what it was, a war of aggression. Within a week, he was seized outside his Moscow home, charged with spreading “fake news”, and put on trial for treason. His court appearance took place behind closed doors after the Kremlin decided it included the dissemination of “state secrets”. He was slapped with the longest term issued to any political prisoner in the country, 25 years.

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