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Japan reports 36,189 coronavirus cases

Japan Today

Japan reported 36,189 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, up 19,381 from Monday.
Tokyo reported 5,302 new coronavirus cases, up 2,530 from Monday and up 2,788 from last Tuesday. It was the first time since April 28 that the number has topped 5,000.
The number of infected people hospitalized with severe symptoms in Tokyo is seven, up one from Monday, health officials said. The nationwide figure is 60, down two from Monday.
Other prefectures reporting high numbers were Osaka (4,523), Aichi (2,481), Okinawa (2,266), Kanagawa (1,939), Fukuoka (1,864), Hyogo (1,595), Kumamoto (1,589), Chiba (1,327), Saitama (1,089), Kagoshima (791), Shimane (a record high 755), Kyoto (679), Shizuoka (678), Saga (592), Ehime (a record high 582), Gifu (565), Hokkaido (561), Nagasaki (542), Oita (504), Miyagi (442), Shiga (363), Hiroshima (359), Gunma (319), Yamaguchi (306), Aomori (305), Mie (302), Miyazaki (285), Wakayama (279), Nagano (267), Tochigi (236), Okayama (231), Kochi (223), Tottori (204), Niigata (191), Toyama (184), Ibaraki (181), Kagawa (178), Fukushima (178) and Yamanashi (171).
The number of coronavirus-related deaths reported nationwide was 20.

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Typhoon weakens to tropical cyclone, bringing torrential rain

Japan Today

Typhoon Aere has been downgraded to an extratropical cyclone after making landfall in southwestern Japan’s Kyushu region early Tuesday, bringing torrential rain primarily to the country’s west and raising concerns of destabilized conditions nationwide through Wednesday, the weather agency said.
The extratropical low-pressure system is moving slowly eastward toward the western and central parts of the country, and the Japan Meteorological Agency is asking people to remain vigilant for potential landslides and overflowing rivers.
Amid hot and humid conditions in the area around the cyclone, 200 millimeters of rain is forecast for the western main island of Shikoku and the central Tokai region in the 24 hours through Wednesday noon, and 150 mm for the western Kinki region and Kanto-Koshin regions in central and east Japan.
In the southern Kyushu region, 100 mm is forecast to fall, while the Hokkaido and the Tohoku region are expected to receive 80 mm. The following 24 hours are projected to see 50 to 100 mm of rain in Tokai and Kanto-Koshin. Lightning and hurricanes could also develop, the agency said.
The agency also confirmed the year’s first linear rainbands in west Japan’s Kochi Prefecture, where more than 50 homes have flooded. Elsewhere in the prefecture, the city of Susaki recorded 85 mm of rain in an hour, and the town of Nakatosa saw a major road closed due to landslides.
In Kyushu, the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Omuta received 85 mm of rain in an hour, with the city’s roads, as well as those in Kumamoto Prefecture’s Arao, blocked by flooding. Some of the Kyushu Railway Co. express services have been suspended, and local lines are also experiencing delays.
In west Japan’s Kinki region, Wakayama Prefecture’s Cape Shionomisaki saw 46.5 mm of rainfall, and an artificial slope by a prefectural road in the town of Kushimoto also collapsed.
Typhoon Aere weakened into an extratropical low-pressure system about three hours after making landfall close to Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, at around 6 a.m. Tuesday. It was the first typhoon in 2022 to make landfall on the Japanese archipelago.

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KDDI mobile service failure ends after 86 hours; minister criticizes company's handling of disruption

Japan Today

KDDI Corp said its au mobile phone service had been fully restored by Tuesday afternoon, ending 86 hours of service disruptions that affected millions of customers and a range of business activities.
But the company’s woes were far from over amid mounting criticism of its handling of the unusually long network disruption, including from the regulator, while affected customers called for proper compensation.
The company said the previous day that voice calls and data communications had almost been restored nationwide after the disruption that commenced in the early hours of Saturday.
The service outage affected up to 39.15 million mobile connections, disrupting banking systems, the transmission of weather data, parcel deliveries and network-connected cars, among other things.
Earlier Tuesday, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yasushi Kaneko criticized KDDI for its handling of the disruption, saying the mobile operator failed to provide sufficient information to customers in a timely manner.
The company “has not fulfilled its responsibility as a telecommunications operator,” with some customers still unable to make voice calls after KDDI said it had ended restoration work Sunday, Kaneko told reporters.
Taking into account the unprecedented impact of the outage, the government will set up an expert panel to compile measures to prevent a recurrence, Kaneko said.
Referring to the disruption of emergency calls, the minister said, “It is extremely regrettable that it has got to the point of potentially threatening people’s lives and we are taking the situation seriously.”
KDDI, Japan’s second-largest mobile carrier by subscribers, first suffered a disruption at around 1:35 a.m. Saturday. The company said Monday afternoon that its services had almost been restored nationwide, but it stopped short of announcing the problems were resolved, saying it still needed time to check its network.
The company said Tuesday its services had fully been restored as of 3:36 p.m.
The Japan Meteorological Agency has demanded that KDDI come up with measures to prevent a similar incident after some data distribution from its regional weather observation system was suspended.
The system observes and distributes temperature and precipitation data. Of the around 1,300 observation stations nationwide, about 550 had stopped transmitting data due to the outage, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito said, adding the situation had returned to normal.
“Real-time observation data from the system is important for local people and organizations involved in disaster prevention,” Saito told reporters Tuesday.
Health minister Shigeyuki Goto has requested the country’s 47 prefectures to make efforts to prevent any impact on medical services in the event of a similar situation, he told reporters Tuesday.
Some municipalities had reported that medical facilities were unable to communicate with on-call doctors and drivers who were delivering pulse oximeters to coronavirus patients because of the outage, he said.
“To ensure there is no serious interference with medical and nursing-care services, we will work with prefectural governments to secure a stable system,” Goto said.
The network failure occurred when a router for voice calls was replaced during regular maintenance, with repair work triggering a concentration of traffic that led the company to reduce user access.
During that time, the carrier experienced a cascade of technical problems that further prolonged the connection difficulties.
The latest service outage follows a system failure at NTT Docomo Inc, Japan’s largest mobile carrier, in October last year that lasted around 29 hours and affected at least 12.9 million users.

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Passenger arrested for breaking connecting door glass while fighting on train

Japan Today

Police in Tokyo have arrested a man in his 50s on suspicion of causing property damage after he broke the glass on a connecting door during an altercation with another man on a train operating on the Tokyu Den-en-toshi line.
According to police and passengers, the two men started arguing loudly and then scuffled with each other at around 3:20 p.m. on Monday between Sangenjaya and Ikejiri-Ohashi stations, Kyodo News reported. Train operator Tokyu Corp said the the glass on a connecting door between the sixth and seventh carriages was broken during the fracas. A passenger pushed the emergency button.
No injuries were reported.
When the train stopped at Ikejiri-Ohashi Station, police arrested one man but the other man involved in the fight left in the confusion.

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Japanese gov't to launch survey on weight, dietary habits of young women

Japan Today

The government has set up a research group to investigate issues including body image attitudes and diet and lifestyle habits, as part of attempts to lower the high proportion of underweight young adult women in Japan, the health ministry said Monday.
Being underweight puts individuals’ health at greater risk, and can present dangers to newborn children, so the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare intends to use the group’s findings to improve understanding of the importance of maintaining a normal weight by spreading awareness on the risks of excessive and unbalanced diets.
Within the current fiscal year through March, the research group will review how to survey young women to get a picture of their understanding of eating habits and nutrition, and to capture trends.
The 2019 National Health and Nutrition Survey showed 20.7 percent of women in their 20s had an underweight body mass index of below 18.5, while 70.4 percent had a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 deemed a normal weight, and 8.9 percent had an overweight BMI of 25.0 or above.
The proportion of underweight people is higher than in other age groups, and Japan’s level is above those of other developed nations.
The government’s 10-year Health Japan 21 plan launched in 2013 was aimed at bringing the section of women in their 20s with an underweight BMI to below 20 percent. But it has been unsuccessful.
Limiting food intake can lead to malnutrition and symptoms of anemia, and there have also been cases of people wanting to be thin to the point of developing anorexia, health experts say.
Underweight mothers have a higher risk of low weight births in which the infant is 2,500 grams or less. Children born underweight are said to be more likely to have body compositions that readily store nutrients, and are more susceptible to lifestyle-related diseases in adulthood, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Fumi Hayashi, an associate professor at Kagawa Nutrition University, said media and other sources have cultivated “mistaken societal standards that being thin is ideal.”
“Although some people might be concerned that an appropriate weight excludes them from enjoying the latest fashions, there are also advantages such as not being as easily fatigued. It is important that society as a whole changes its attitudes,” she said.

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Japan protests Chinese navy sailing near disputed islands

Japan Today

Japan lodged a protest with China on Monday over a Chinese naval vessel sailing near disputed islands, a Japanese official said, as reports emerged of Russia also sending its own navy ship to the area.
The islets in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku by Tokyo and the Diaoyu by Beijing, are at the centre of a long-running dispute between Japan and China.
Japanese officials regularly protest the presence of Chinese coastguard vessels in waters near the islands, but it is the first time since 2018 that a navy ship has been spotted there, according to public broadcaster NHK.
At around 7:44 a.m. on Monday, a Chinese navy frigate “was observed entering Japan’s contiguous waters” southwest of one of the Tokyo-controlled islands, a statement from the Japanese defense ministry said.
Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters.
“We expressed grave concerns and lodged our protest to the Chinese side through a diplomatic route, and urged them to prevent a repeat” of similar incidents, deputy chief cabinet secretary Seiji Kihara told reporters.
The islets “are Japanese territory from the viewpoints of both history and international law,” he added.
Separately, a Russian naval ship was also spotted in the contiguous waters of the disputed islands on Monday morning, NHK, Jiji Press and other Japanese media reported, citing anonymous defense ministry sources.
The ministry could not immediately confirm the reports to AFP.
In May, Chinese and Russian fighter jets carried out joint flights near the East Asian country as leaders of the so-called Quad bloc — Japan, United States, Australia and India — met in Tokyo.
While the planes did not breach territorial airspace, Japan said the move was “provocative” given that the timing coincided with the leaders’ summit.
Beijing said the flights were part of Chinese and Russian “annual military cooperation plan”.

© 2022 AFP

Cabinet minister draws fire for saying gov't won't listen to opposition

Japan Today

A member of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet admitted Tuesday to making a “misleading remark” after drawing fire for saying during campaigning for the upcoming upper house election that the government will not listen to the opposition.
Daishiro Yamagiwa, minister in charge of economic revitalization, stopped short of retracting his remark ahead of Sunday’s House of Councillors election in which the ruling coalition led by Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party is projected to easily retain its majority.
“I was told to be careful not to cause any misunderstanding among the people, and I would like to speak more carefully,” Yamagiwa said, apparently referring to a warning from Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno the day before.
Opposition parties criticized Yamagiwa after he said in a stump speech in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, on Sunday, “The government will not listen to what the opposition says at all. If you want to make your lives better, you have to elect politicians of the Liberal Democratic Party or the ruling coalition as Diet members.”
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told a press conference Monday that the government will listen to lawmakers regardless of the parties they belong to, as the Kishida administration’s basic stance is to carefully listen to people.
“We will not ignore the opposition,” Kihara said.
Yamagiwa’s remark drew a backlash from opposition parties, with Seiji Osaka, acting leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan posting Sunday on Twitter that the minister “does not understand democracy.”
“Listening only to the voices of the ruling parties is dictatorship by intimidation,” Osaka said.
Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the opposition Democratic Party for the People, also told reporters Monday that Yamagiwa’s remark was “arrogant.”

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Asia shares rise on optimism about easing COVID restrictions

Japan Today

Asian shares advanced Monday across the board as buying set in after the lull of a U.S. national holiday.
Analysts said the optimism may be driven by expectations the U.S. may decide to cut Chinese tariffs, a welcome move that would also help tame inflation.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that Vice Premier Liu He spoke with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about coordinating economic policy between the two biggest economies and maintaining the stability of supply chains.
In a statement, it also said the Chinese side “expressed its concern over issues such as the removal of additional tariffs and sanctions imposed by the United States on China and fair treatment of Chinese companies.” The two sides agreed to continue their discussions, it said.
Investors also have been encouraged by the lifting of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic across the region, including in Japan, which had been booming with tourists from abroad ahead of the pandemic.
“The quiet economic calendar yesterday brings sentiments to focus on the single relief headline of a potential US tariff-easing decision, which could run the risks of a sharp paring back in speculative bullish bets in the event of any inaction,” in taming inflation,” Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG in Singapore, said in a commentary.
But risks remain because of inflation and slowing economic activity in some countries. A resurgence in COVID-19 infections in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia is also looming, bringing the threat of a reversion to pandemic precautions.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 269.66 points from Monday to close at 26,423.47. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.4% to 2,332.32. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4% to 21,915.99, although the Shanghai Composite reversed course, falling 0.3% to 3,395.72.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% to 6,655.40 after the central bank lifted its benchmark interest rate for a third time in three straight months, changing the cash rate to 1.35% from 0.85%. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s half a percentage point rise on Tuesday was the same size as its June increase.
When the bank lifted the rate by a quarter percentage point at its monthly board meeting in May, it was the first rate hike in more than 11 years.
Global investors have been worried about surging inflation and the possibility that higher interest rates could bring on a recession in some economies. U.S. trading was closed Monday for Independence Day.
Minutes of the latest policy meeting of the Federal Reserve are due out on Wednesday and could bring hints on future policy.
The futures for the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 were both up 0.4% early Tuesday.
Shares ended last week with a rally, with the S&P 500 surging 1.1%. The Dow gained 1% and the Nasdaq rose 0.9%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 1.2%.
In the first half of this year, the S&P 500 had its worst performance since the first six months in 1970. It’s now down 20.2% from the peak it set at the beginning of this year.
The risk of a recession is simmering as the U.S. Federal Reserve aggressively hikes interest rates. The Fed is raising rates to purposefully slow economic growth to help cool inflation, but could potentially go too far and bring on a recession.
In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz gathered top employer and labor union representatives at his Berlin office Monday to seek ways of addressing the impact of rising prices while preventing a spiral of inflation in Europe’s biggest economy.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude surged $2.00 to $110.43 a barrel. It gained $2.67 on Friday to $108.43 a barrel. Trading was closed Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 24 cents to $113.74 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 136.31 Japanese yen from 135.69 yen. The euro cost $1.0446, up from $1.0423.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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China sees record rains, heat as weather turns volatile

Japan Today

From the snowcapped peaks of Tibet to the tropical island of Hainan, China is sweltering under the worst heatwave in decades while rainfall hit records in June.
Extreme heat is also battering Japan, and volatile weather is causing trouble for other parts of the world in what scientists say has all the hallmarks of climate change, with even more warming expected this century.
The northeastern provinces of Shandong, Jilin and Liaoning saw precipitation rise to the highest levels ever recorded in June, while the national average 112.1 millimeters (4.4 inches) was 9.1 % high than the same month last year, the China Meteorological Administration said in a report Tuesday.
The average temperature across the nation also hit 21.3 degrees Celsius (70.34 Fahrenheit) in June, up 0.9 C (1.8 F) from the same period month last year and the highest since 1961. No relief is in sight, with higher than usual temperatures and precipitation forecast in much of the country throughout July, the administration said.
In the northern province of Henan, Xuchang hit 42.1 C (107.8 F) and Dengfeng 41.6 C (106.9 F) on June 24 for their hottest days on record, according to global extreme weather tracker Maximiliano Herrera.
China has also seen seasonal flooding in several parts of the country, causing misery for hundreds of thousands, particularly in the hard-hit south that receives the bulk of rainfall as well as typhoons that sweep in from the South China Sea.
China is not alone in experiencing higher temperatures and more volatile weather. In Japan, authorities warned of greater than usual stress on the power grid and urged citizens to conserve energy.
Japanese officials announced the earliest end to the annual summer rainy season since the national meteorological agency began keeping records in 1951. The rains usually temper summer heat, often well into July.
On Friday, the cities of Tokamachi and Tsunan set all-time heat records while several others broke monthly marks.
Large parts of the Northern Hemisphere have seen extreme heat this summer, with regions from the normally chilly Russian Arctic to the traditionally sweltering American South recording unusually high temperatures and humidity.
In the United States, the National Weather Service has held 30 million Americans under some kind of heat advisory amid record-setting temperatures. The suffering and danger to health is most intense among those without air conditioning or who work outdoors, further reinforcing the economic disparities in dealing with extreme weather trends.

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Zelenskyy praises IOC for supporting bans on Russian sport

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the IOC for supporting a ban on Russian teams and athletes competing in most Olympics sports, ahead of a court hearing Tuesday to challenge the ruling in international soccer.
Zelenskyy met in Kyiv on Sunday with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and praised “his unwavering position” on sports sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus, according to a readout of the visit provided by his presidential office.
“While Russia is trying to destroy the Ukrainian people and conquer other European countries, its representatives have no place in the world’s sports community,” Zelenskyy said.
The IOC advised sports leaders on Feb. 28 to act and soccer bodies FIFA and UEFA made a joint ruling later that day. It is the subject of an appeal Tuesday by the Russian soccer federation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the Olympic home city of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Russian teams have been removed from more than 15 soccer competitions including qualifying games for the men’s and women’s World Cups, and the women’s European Championship finals tournament which starts Wednesday in England.
Bach has consistently said sports sanctions on Russia, including as an events host, are to protect the integrity of competitions and the security of athletes rather than to punish on the basis of nationality.
Zelenskyy’s office detailed the toll on Ukrainian sport during the Russian invasion now in a fifth month.
A total of 89 athletes and coaches have died “as a result of hostilities,” 13 more have been captured by the Russians, and “more than a hundred thousand Ukrainian athletes do not have the opportunity of training,” Zelenskyy said.
The IOC said it has now tripled its fund for Ukrainian sport to $7.5 million since the war started.
Bach told Zelenskyy he hoped for “a strong, successful, proud Ukrainian national Olympic team” to compete at the 2024 Summer Games in Paris and the 2026 Winter Games in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
“We want to support you to make your Olympic dreams come true,” the IOC said its leader told Ukrainian athletes Sunday when visiting their training center.

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6 dead, 30 wounded in shooting at Chicago-area July 4 parade; man detained

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A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday, killing at least six people, wounding at least 30 and sending hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles fleeing in terror, police said.
Authorities said a man named as a person of interest in the shooting was taken into police custody Monday evening after an hourslong manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago’s north shore.
The July 4 shooting was just the latest to shatter the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing grounds in recent months. This time, the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together.
“It definitely hits a lot harder when it’s not only your hometown but it’s also right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend returned to the parade route Monday evening to retrieve chairs, blankets and a child’s bike that he and his family abandoned when the shooting began.
“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said of what he called yet another American atrocity. “We don’t blink anymore. Until laws change, it’s going to be more of the same.”
The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had staked out prime viewing points early in the day for the annual celebration. Dozens of fired bullets sent hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fleeing. They left a trail of abandoned items that showed everyday life suddenly, violently disrupted: A half-eaten bag of potato chips; a box of chocolate cookies spilled onto the grass; a child’s Chicago Cubs cap.
“There’s no safe place,” said Highland Park resident Barbara Harte, 73, who had stayed away from the parade fearing a mass shooting, but later ventured from her home.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled over Robert E. Crimo III about five miles north of the shooting scene, several hours after police released the man’s photo and an image of his silver Honda Fit, and warned the public that he was likely armed and dangerous. Authorities initially said he was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo’s social media said he was 21.
Police declined to immediately identify Crimo as a suspect but said identifying him as a person of interest, sharing his name and other information publicly was a serious step.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference “several of the deceased victims” died at the scene and one was taken to a hospital and died there. Police have not released details about the victims or wounded.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said the five people killed at the parade were adults, but didn’t have information on the sixth victim who was taken to a hospital and died there. One of those killed was a Mexican national, Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North American affairs, said on Twitter Monday. He said two other Mexicans were wounded.
NorthShore University Health Center received 26 patients after the attack. All but one had gunshot wounds, said Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness. Their ages ranged from 8 to 85, and Temple estimated that four or five patients were children.
Temple said 19 of them were treated and discharged. Others were transferred to other hospitals, while two patients, in stable condition, remained at the Highland Park hospital.
“It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference.
“I’m furious because it does not have to be this way… while we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”
The shooter opened fire around 10:15 a.m., when the parade was about three-quarters through, authorities said.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander on scene, said the gunman apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to fire from a spot atop a commercial building where he was “very difficult to see.” He said the rifle was recovered at the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.
“Very random, very intentional and a very sad day,” Covelli said.
President Joe Biden on Monday said he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”
Biden signed the widest-ranging gun violence bill passed by Congress in decades, a compromise that showed at once both progress on a long-intractable issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists.
As a word of an arrest spread, residents who had hunkered in homes began venturing outside, some walking toward where the shooting occurred. Several people stood and stared at the scene, with abandoned picnic blankets, hundreds of lawn chairs and backpacks still where they were when the shooting began.
Police believe there was only one shooter but warned that he should still be considered armed and dangerous. Several nearby cities canceled events including parades and fireworks, some of them noting that the Highland Park shooter was still at large. The Chicago White Sox also announced on Twitter that a planned post-game fireworks show is canceled due to the shooting.
More than 100 law enforcement officers were called to the parade scene or dispatched to find the suspected shooter.
More than a dozen police officers on Monday surrounded a home listed as an address for Crimo in Highland Park. Some officers held rifles as they fixed their eyes on the home. Police blockaded roads leading to the home in a tree-lined neighborhood near a golf course, allowing only select law enforcement cars through a tight outer perimeter.
Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting on social media dozens videos and songs, some ominous and violent.
In one animated video since taken down by YouTube, Crimo raps about armies “walking in darkness” as a drawing appears of a man pointing a rifle, a body on the ground and another figure with hands up in the distance. A later frame shows a close-up of a chest with blood pouring out and another of police cars arriving as the shooter holds his hands up.
In another video, in which Crimo appears in a classroom wearing a black bicycle helmet, he says he is “like a sleepwalker… I know what I have to do,” then adds, “Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, even myself.”
Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Highland Park in 2019, calling himself “a person for the people.”
Highland Park is a close-knit community of about 30,000 people located on the shores of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, with mansions and sprawling lakeside estates that have long drawn the rich and sometimes famous, including NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in the city for years when he played for the Chicago Bulls. John Hughes filmed parts of several movies in the city, including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Weird Science.”
Ominous signs of a joyous event suddenly turned to horror filled both sides of Central Avenue where the shooting occurred. Dozens of baby strollers — some bearing American flags, abandoned children’s bikes and a helmet bedecked with images of Cinderella were left behind. Blankets, lawn chairs, coffees and water bottles were knocked over as people fled.
Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with his daycare class ready to walk onto the parade route when she heard a loud sound that she believed was fireworks — until she heard people yell about a shooter. In a video that Troiani shot on her phone, some of the kids are visibly startled at the loud noise, and they scramble to the side of the road as a siren wails nearby.
“We just start running in the opposite direction,” she told The Associated Press.
Her 5-year-old son was riding his bike decorated with red and blue curled ribbons. He and other children in the group held small American flags. The city said on its website that the festivities were to include a children’s bike and pet parade.
Troiani said she pushed her son’s bike, running through the neighborhood to get back to their car.
“It was just sort of chaos,” she said. “There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their wagons, grabbed their kids and started running.”
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was preparing to turn onto the main route when she saw people running from the area.
“People started saying: ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,’” Glickman told the AP. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”
She didn’t hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.
“I’m so freaked out,” she said. “It’s just so sad.”
Foody contributed from Chicago. Associated Press writers Mike Balsamo in New York, David Koenig in Dallas, Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Georgia, Fabiola Sánchez in Monterrey, Mexico, Jim Mustian in New Orleans, Bernard Condon in New York, and Martha Irvine and Mike Householder in Highland Park contributed reporting.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Floods worsen as thousands more Sydney residents evacuate

Japan Today

Torrential rains kept battering Australia’s east coast on Tuesday, intensifying the flood crisis in Sydney as thousands more residents were ordered to leave their homes after rivers swiftly rose past danger levels.
About 50,000 residents in New South Wales, most in Sydney’s western suburbs, have been told to either evacuate or warned they might receive evacuation orders, up from Monday’s 30,000, authorities said.
“This event is far from over, please don’t be complacent,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet told reporters. “Wherever you are, please be careful when you’re driving on our roads. There are still substantial risks for flash flooding.”
The latest wild storm cell – which brought heavy rains with several places receiving a year’s worth in three days – is likely to ease in Sydney from Tuesday as the coastal trough moves north, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said.
But the risk of flooding could remain through the week with most river catchments already near capacity even before the latest deluge. Some regions received 800 mm (31.5 inches) of rain since Saturday, eclipsing Australia’s annual average rainfall of around 500 mm (20 inches).
About 90 mm (3.5 inches) of rain could fall over six hours in the state’s mid-north coast from Tuesday, reaching up to 125 mm (5 inches) in some places, BoM said.
Winds up to 90 km per hour (56 miles per hour) are also forecast in several flood-hit places, raising the risk of falling trees and power lines.
“We’re asking people across Sydney today to please stay at home unless you really need to leave the house,” state Emergency Management Minister Steph Cooke said.
Battling rough seas, emergency crews continued their rescue operation on Tuesday to tow a bulk carrier ship that lost power off the coast of Sydney after tow lines broke in severe weather, officials said.
Major flooding is occurring at Windsor in Sydney’s west, its third and most severe flood this year, according to the weather bureau.
Footage on social media showed submerged roads and bridges, while emergency crews rescued stranded people from partially submerged vehicles that became stuck in rising waters.
Nigel Myron, a Windsor resident, said he has kept an inflatable boat ready if he had to evacuate though he is looking to move back to his place once waters recede.
“At the end of the day, what can you do? It is what it is and we dust ourselves off from the ashes and rebuild after the floods have come and gone,” Myron told ABC television.
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers warned the economic impact from the floods “will be substantial”.
Floods have likely inundated several food-producing regions and that would hit supplies and lift prices, further straining family budgets already reeling under soaring prices of vegetables and fruits, Chalmers said.
“There’s no use tiptoeing around that … that inflation problem that we have in our economy will get worse before it gets better. It’s got a lot of sources, but this (flood) will be one of them,” Chalmers told Sky News, ahead of an expected rate hike decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The federal government late on Monday declared the floods a natural disaster, helping flood-hit residents receive emergency funding support.
The Insurance Council of Australia, which declared the floods a “significant event,” urged affected people to apply for claims, even though the full extent of damage was unknown now.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.