The Guardian • Issue #2069

GLOBAL BRIEFS

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2069

JAPAN: Japanese retailer Seven & i Holdings Co is selling department store chain Sogo & Seibu Co to a US investment fund, even as the union representing the company’s retail workers went on strike ahead of the announcement. It’s the first major walkout the country has seen in decades. Some 900 striking workers marched and handed out leaflets on the streets near the flagship Seibu department store in Tokyo, where the shutters were closed. On a typical day, the store sees 100,000 customers walk through its doors. There is widespread speculation that Fortress Investment Group may have snapped up the department store at a cheap price in hopes of profiting off the valuable land on which its outlets sit; the US private equity fund is rumoured to have little interest in running retail locations – thus putting all the workers’ jobs in jeopardy.

THAILAND: King Maha Vajiralongkorn reduced former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s eight-year prison term to a single year, following the politician’s return from 15 years of self-imposed exile last month. The 74-year-old can apply for parole after serving one-third of his sentence – four months. Thaksin, who was removed from power by a military coup in 2006 and fled the country in 2008, was transferred to a hospital this week after a brief stay in prison.

HONG KONG: Most of the city and other parts of southern China ground to a near standstill last week, with flights cancelled, as Typhoon Saola approached. The Hong Kong Observatory issued a No 10 hurricane signal, the highest warning under the city’s weather system. The observatory said that Saola, with maximum sustained winds, would come closest to the financial hub at about midnight.

GREECE: Firefighters rescued a group of 25 migrants trapped in a forest in the north-east as flames from a massive wildfire approached. The fire department said the group had become trapped in the forest between two villages in the Evros region, near the border with Turkey. No injuries were reported. The blaze, which has been burning for two weeks, has already been blamed for the deaths of 20 people whose bodies were found last week.

RUSSIA: President Vladimir Putin hosted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks in Sochi last week, the Kremlin announced, six weeks after Moscow broke off a deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to reach world markets safely. The announcement ended weeks of speculation about when and where the two leaders might meet next as international efforts continue to patch up the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which enabled shipments of grain and other food to parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat.

ARGENTINA: Sergio Massa, the country’s current economy minister and a candidate to be Argentina’s next president has slammed proposals by right-wing opponents Javier Milei and Patricia Bullrich to “dollarise” the economy, saying: “Some propose dollarisation without further ado: putting the United States flag on the door of the Central Bank.”

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