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‘Dragon Ball’ creator Akira Toriyama dies aged 68

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The creator of Japan’s hugely popular and influential “Dragon Ball” comics and anime cartoons, Akira Toriyama, has died aged 68, his production team said Friday.

First serialised in 1984, “Dragon Ball” is one of the best-selling manga franchises of all time and has spawned countless anime series, films and video games.

Toriyama died on March 1 because of a blood clot on the brain, a statement posted to the official “Dragon Ball” account on X, formerly Twitter, said.

“It’s our deep regret that he still had several works in the middle of creation,” said the statement attributed to Toriyama’s Bird Studio, which praised the artist’s “great enthusiasm”.

“He would have many more things to achieve. However, he has left many manga titles and works of art to this world,” the statement added.

“We hope that Akira Toriyama’s unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come.”

“Dragon Ball” features a boy named Son Goku who collects magical balls containing dragons to help him and his allies in a fight to protect the Earth from evil enemies.

Toriyama was already famous for his comedy manga “Dr Slump” in the early 1980s when he created “Dragon Ball”, which he said was inspired by Chinese-style kung fu movies.

The 1990s brought the beloved cartoon “Dragon Ball Z”, and Toriyama was also part of the design team for the massively successful “Dragon Quest” games.

Not all the spin-offs have been a hit, however, with the live-action 2009 movie “Dragonball Evolution” flopping at the box office and attracting withering reviews.

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Publishing house Shueisha, whose weekly “Shonen Jump” magazine serialised the “Dragon Ball” comics, said it was “greatly saddened by the sudden news of his death”.

‘Big shoes to fill’
Born in Japan’s central Aichi region in 1955, Toriyama studied design at an industrial high school, according to Animage Plus, part of the anime magazine Animage.

He worked for three years at an advertising agency in the city of Nagoya before making his debut as a professional manga artist in his early 20s.

In an interview with Japan’s Asahi newspaper in 2013, Toriyama described himself as a “difficult” person.

“‘Dragon Ball’ is like a miracle, given how it helped someone like me who has a twisted, difficult personality do a decent job and get accepted by society,” he said.

He told the newspaper he had “no idea” why “Dragon Ball” had become such a huge hit worldwide, saying his comics were “dedicated to entertainment”.

“I just hope that readers will have a fun time reading my works,” he said, adding he had “never been preoccupied with getting a message across through my manga”.

“When I was drawing the series, all I ever wanted to achieve was to please boys in Japan,” he said.

The news of Toriyama’s death immediately made headlines in Japan, with many fans expressing their grief.

Eiichiro Oda, creator of Japan’s major “One Piece” manga franchise, said in a statement that Toriyama’s death was “too soon” and had left “too big shoes to fill”.

“To think I’ll never see him again… I’m overwhelmed by sadness,” Oda said.

Fans paid tribute with art posted under the statement on X, including of Son Goku ascending to the sky with angel wings and a halo.

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“You have touched so many lives and inspired millions throughout the entire world,” one wrote, while another said: “Thank you for making my childhood awesome.”

Anime journalist Tadashi Sudo told AFP that for many manga artists, Toriyama was “a role model”.

“Toriyama knew exactly what everybody wants to read — adventure and the growth of characters,” he said.

“Many people — not only creators in Japan, but those abroad — saw in his works the culmination of what entertainment should be like,” Sudo said.

 

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PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

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PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer meets US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington DC, during his visit to the US to attend the Nato 75th anniversary summit.

UK Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has met with the US President Joe Biden, saying the special relationship between the two nations remains stronger than ever.

BBC reports that the new prime minister met President Biden for the first time at Nato’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington just hours before their private talks in the Oval Office.

Starmer said his first face-to-face talks with President Biden were an opportunity to “recommit” to Nato and the “special relationship” between the UK and US.

Addressing reporters in the White House, Starmer told the president: “The special relationship is so important. It’s forged in difficult circumstances, endured for so long, and stronger now than ever.”

President Biden called the US and UK the “best of allies”, saying the UK was “the transatlantic knot” that ties Nato together with its European members.

The meeting comes as Starmer is looking to form a new security pact with EU nations to strengthen co-operation on defence.

The two leaders’ meeting came as Nato agreed further support for Ukraine at the Washington summit.

Starmer also confirmed that the UK’s £3bn a year military aid for Kyiv would continue.

President Biden said “things are moving in the right direction, I’m feeling really optimistic”.

The prime minister congratulated President Biden on hosting the summit, adding it was “a bigger Nato, a stronger Nato and a Nato with the resolve that we need”.

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

The Labour leader – on his first overseas visit as prime minister – is a season ticket holder at Arsenal Football Club and gave President Biden a personalised team shirt as a present.

It has President Biden’s surname on the back and the number 46 – a reference to him being the 46th US president.

Starmer also gave him a copy of the Atlantic Charter – the 1941 US-UK declaration which paved the way for the formation of the military alliance – featuring amendments from the then Labour leader Clement Attlee.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy, who accompanied Sir Keir on the trip, met his US counterpart Antony Blinken.

The State Department said the pair “re-affirmed the importance of ensuring Ukraine has the economic, security, and humanitarian assistance it needs to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

They “discussed the need to reach a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of hostages and lays the groundwork for durable peace”.

Source: Vanguard

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First US Senate Democrat asks Biden to step aside

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US election: Democrat lawmaker asks President Biden to withdraw from race

Peter Welch on Wednesday became the first Democratic senator to publicly call on US President Joe Biden to ditch his reelection bid as concerns rise over his age and fitness.

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” the Vermont senator said in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

 

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Pakistan grants 1.4m Afghan refugees one more year of stay

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Pakistan grants 1.4m Afghan refugees one more year of stay

Pakistan has announced its willingness to stretch the stay of 1.45 million Afghan refugees by one more year.

The government said Wednesday it will extend the registration cards of the nearly 1.5 million Afghan refugees after a senior UN official appealed to the country to pause its deportation plan.

“The federal cabinet approved a one-year extension of the validity of POR (Proof of Registration) cards of 1.45 million Afghan refugees,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement at the end of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday

The office said the affected refugees’ PoR cards expired over a week ago, on June 30, but that extension has now been granted until June 30, 2025.

Afghans cherish their stay in Pakistan and are hurt when pushed out by their host country.

Quite a number of those asked to go are defiant, insisting they are not returning to Afghanistan.

The new lease of life for the Afghans in Pakistan is a product of a discussion on the status of the refugees between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the chief of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, who visited Pakistan days ago.

Pakistan has been a major host country for Afghan refugees since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

There was a lull after a while, but a further influx started when the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in August 2021, when an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 Afghans sought refuge in neighbouring Pakistan.

Troubled by the large number of refugees, Pakistan last year launched a repatriation programme to return millions of Afghans.

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Government sources have it that Pakistan currently hosts nearly three million Afghans, out of whom almost 1.5 million hold a UNHCR Proof of Residence card and another 800,000 possess an Afghan Citizenship Card.

Source: Daily Post

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NATO: Ukraine to continue defending self from Russia with F-16s jets – US

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NATO: Ukraine to continue defending self from Russia with F-16s jets – US

The United States, US, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on Wednesday, said Ukraine can continue to defend itself against the aggression from Russia.

Blinken said the first batch of US-built F-16 fighter jets are being transferred to Ukraine to allow the country defend itself from Russia.

He spoke on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington DC where world leaders pledged continued support for Kyiv.

Blinken said the F-16s were being transferred from Denmark and the Netherlands.

He said: “And those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine can continue to defend itself against Russian aggression effectively.”

Top of the agenda at the NATO summit would be the backing of Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long sought advanced Western aircraft to combat Russia in the ongoing war.

In August last year, President Joe Biden gave the green light to transfer F-16s to Ukraine despite concerns about how long it would take Ukrainian personnel to train to fly the planes.

Source: Daily Post

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Exit from ECOWAS irreversible – Mali Govt

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Exit from ECOWAS irreversible – Mali Govt

Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop has maintained that the exit of his country, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic, from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is irreversible despite reconciliatory efforts from the union.

DAILY POST recalls that the military juntas in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso broke away from regional grouping, ECOWAS, earlier this year and formed a confederation of their own on Saturday.

ECOWAS Heads of State assembled in Abuja a day later and appointed the presidents of Senegal and Togo as mediators of dialogue with the three Sahel states.

According to Diop, Mali is ready to cooperate with ECOWAS but it’s against the possible introduction of visas for nationals of the three countries travelling within the bloc.

“Our Heads of State were very clear in Niamey when they said the withdrawal of the three countries from ECOWAS is irrevocable and was done without delay, and from now on we must stop looking in the rear-view mirror,” Diop said.

Mali remains “open to working with our neighbours and other organisations with which we share this space,” he added.

“We will have to maintain discussions with others in order to move forward, but I believe that the path we have embarked upon is not reversible.”

Source: Daily Post

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Israeli attack hits Syria’s coastal port city

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Israeli attack hits Syria’s coastal port city

Two powerful explosions were heard near the outskirts of Baniyas in the coastal region of Syria after midnight on Tuesday, in what appeared to be a new Israeli attack.

The Syrian Ministry of Defence confirmed on Tuesday that the Israeli forces conducted an aerial attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Baniyas.

The Israeli forces targeted a site in the vicinity of the city.

The assault resulted in some material losses.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported that two explosions occurred in Baniyas.

While it is unclear if they were the result of an Israeli attack, the city of Baniyas is known to house an oil port.

 

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