Tokyo, Sep 4 (AP/UNB) — Heavy rain and crashing surf were striking western Japan as a powerful typhoon neared its Pacific coast Tuesday, disrupting train service and air travel.
Typhoon Jebi, heading north, was forecast to make landfall later in the day and cross the main island of Honshu. The Japan Meteorological Agency said it had sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour) with gusts to 215 kph (130 mph).
More than 600 domestic flights have been cancelled, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. High-speed bullet train service was suspended between Osaka and Hiroshima cities.
In Osaka, the Universal Studios Japan theme park and U.S. consulate were both closed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a scheduled trip to Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, to oversee the government's response to the typhoon, Kyodo News service said.
Basra, Sep 04 (AP/UNB) — Activists say Iraqi security forces opened fire on protesters in the southern city of Basra, killing one of them.
Two activists told The Associated Press that security forces fired bullets and tear gas on protesters demanding better services and jobs on Monday, killing 26-year-old Mekki Yasser.
A funeral procession for Yasser was held Tuesday in front of the provincial government building, where protesters threw stones, prompting security forces to fire tear gas.
The activists spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. Iraqi officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Iraqis in the south have been protesting against unemployment and poor public services since July. The protests have often turned violent, with protesters attacking government offices and security forces.
Jerusalem, Sep 04 (AP/UNB) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of widespread human rights abuses, on Tuesday praised his country's close security ties with Israel as dozens protested Israeli arms sales to his government.
At a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Duterte said he considers Israel a key strategic partner and weapons supplier.
"In terms of military equipment, particularly intelligence gathering, we only have one country to buy from them, that is my order specifically: Israel," he said.
He called the United States a "good friend," but suggested that the U.S., as well as potential suppliers China and Germany, might also be "listening." Duterte has said he suspects the U.S. and Chinese of carrying out surveillance against him, though he has offered no evidence.
Duterte, the first Philippine president to visit Israel, is known for his profane outbursts and has been accused of committing human rights abuses in his deadly campaign against illegal drugs.
In Israel, he has received a generally warm welcome from the government. But outside the Israeli presidential residence, dozens of people gathered to protest the visit. Waving Israeli flags and blowing whistles, they chanted "shame, shame, shame. We will not be silent and we will not agree to the selling of weapons."
Israel has sold assault rifles to the Philippines national police force in the past and Israeli media have reported that a new arms deal will be signed while Duterte is in town. Israel's Defense Ministry said it does not comment on arms sales.
Human rights lawyer Eitay Mack said he was protesting because he does not want Israeli weapons to be sold to "this kind of regime."
"I am sure that sooner or later the U.N. and the international community will announce that what Duterte is doing, is being responsible for crimes against humanity," he said.
A U.S. sale of thousands of assault rifles to the Philippines was canceled in 2016 due to objections in Congress to supplying weapons to Duterte's government.
In 2016, Duterte was forced to apologize after comparing himself favorably to Adolf Hitler. On Monday, he paid a solemn visit to Israel's national Holocaust memorial and branded the Nazi leader "insane" as he lamented the genocide of 6 million Jews.
At Tuesday's meeting, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called Hitler "the devil on earth."
"And probably you have realized yesterday the feelings, when you visited (the) museum of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, to really feel the atmosphere and to feel the feelings of all the people that were part of this disaster," Rivlin said.
New York, Sep 4 (AP/UNB) — The late Aretha Franklin's family said Monday that it found an Atlanta pastor's eulogy delivered at the Queen of Soul's funeral last week to be offensive and distasteful.
The eulogist, the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., was criticized for a political address that described children being in a home without a father as "abortion after birth" and said black lives do not matter unless blacks stop killing each other. Franklin's funeral was on Friday.
"He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her," said Vaughn Franklin, the late singer's nephew, who said he was delivering a statement for the family.
Franklin said that his aunt never asked Williams to eulogize her, since she didn't talk about plans for her own funeral. The family selected Williams because he has spoken at other family memorials in the past, most prominently at the funeral for Franklin's father, minister and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago.
Williams has not backed down from anything he said at the funeral, and said he respects the family's opinion. "I understand it," he said. "I regret it. But I'm sorry they feel that way."
Besides a social media uproar, Williams heard resistance at the funeral itself. Singer Stevie Wonder yelled out "black lives matter" after the pastor said, "No, black lives do not matter" during his eulogy.
Williams had minimized the Black Lives Matter movement because of black-on-black crime. "Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves."
He also said "there are not fathers in the home no more" and said that a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man. Some people suggested that was disrespectful of Aretha Franklin, a single mother of four boys.
His eulogy "caught the entire family off guard," Vaughn Franklin said. The family had not discussed what Williams would say in advance, he said.
"It has been very, very distasteful," he said.
He said it was unfortunate because everyone else who participated in the ceremony was very respectful.
Jerusalem, Sep 4 (AP/UNB) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who once compared himself favorably to Adolf Hitler, paid a solemn visit to Israel's national Holocaust memorial on Monday, branding the Nazi leader "insane" as he lamented the genocide of 6 million Jews.
The comments marked a dramatic turnaround for Duterte, who just two years ago had compared his anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust and said he would be "happy to slaughter" 3 million addicts. He later apologized.
Duterte, known for his profane outbursts and accused of committing widespread human rights abuses, spoke quietly and respectfully during his stop at the Yad Vashem memorial. He said the Holocaust should never be repeated and that "despots" have no place in the modern world.
"I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader, and I could not ever fathom the spectacle of the human being going into a killing spree, murdering old men, women and children. I hope this will not happen again," he said.
"There is always a lesson to learn: that despots and leaders who show insanity, they should be disposed of at the first instance," he said.
Duterte, the first Philippine president to visit Israel, has received a warm welcome from the government, despite criticism that it is embracing a leader accused of rights abuses in his deadly crackdown on drug dealers.
The agenda reportedly is expected to include an arms sale to the Philippines. Israel agreed in the past to sell assault rifles to the Philippines national police force.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked Monday on the countries' long friendship. He said the Philippines took in Jewish refugees after World War II and was the only Asian nation to vote for Israel's establishment. He noted that Filipino health aides now assist the elderly in Israel, including Netanyahu's father.
"We remember our friends, and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years," Netanyahu told Duterte. "There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel where thousands and thousands of families have taken heart from the support given by Filipino caretakers for the elderly."
Duterte thanked Israel for hosting some 28,000 Filipino workers and for assisting his country in times of need.
"We share the same passion for peace. We share the same passion for human beings. But also we share the same passion of not allowing our country to be destroyed by those who have the corrupt ideology, who know nothing but to kill and destroy," he said at a joint appearance with Netanyahu. "And in this sense, Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend to your country."
The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1957. Netanyahu has worked to cultivate new allies in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where many countries have historically sided with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, to help chip away at the number of anti-Israel votes at the United Nations.
But Netanyahu has come under fire for embracing Duterte, a 73-year-old former government prosecutor whose forces are accused of killing thousands in anti-drug raids since he took office in 2016.
Duterte drew outrage that year when he compared his anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust and himself to Hitler. More recently, he forcibly kissed a woman on stage and said there would be many rape cases in a Philippine city "if there were many beautiful women."
In its lead editorial Monday, the liberal Haaretz daily accused Netanyahu of selling out Israeli values for dubious allies.
"Under the shadow of Duterte's visit, Israel once again proves it's willing to overlook leaders' human rights violations for the sake of opportunities for arms deals and defense contracts," the newspaper said.
Duterte, who calls U.S. President Donald Trump a friend and in 2016 cursed President Barack Obama for alleged meddling, offered the former occupant of the White House an apology of sorts.
"I said, 'Son of a bitch, Obama you can go to hell. You son of a bitch.' I said that because he was not a civilized person," Duterte said in Israel. "It would be appropriate also to say at this time to Mr. Obama that, 'You are now a civilian and I am sorry for uttering those words.'"
Duterte has been criticized for a brutal crackdown on the Philippine drug trade. Reports of extrajudicial slayings of alleged dealers surfaced during Obama's presidency.
Official Philippine police tallies put the number of suspects killed in police-led drug raids at more than 4,500 since Duterte took office.
International human rights watchdogs have cited far higher death tolls. Duterte denies condoning extrajudicial killings, but has openly threatened drug dealers with death.
His visit to Israel was to include a stop at a monument commemorating the Philippines' rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.