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Japan, France, U.S. plan their first joint military drills in May: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan, France, and the United States will hold joint military drills on land and sea for the first time in May next year as the Chinese military steps up activity in the region, the Sankei newspaper said on Sunday.

The exercises, conducted on one of Japan’s uninhabited outlying islands, will focus on providing relief efforts during a natural disaster, but parts could also form the basis for a defence against attack, the paper said, without citing sources.

Japan’s defence ministry was not immediately available to respond to Reuters’ request for confirmation.

The joint exercises aim to counter China, which claims Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, the paper said.

“We want to demonstrate our presence to the region and send a message about Japan-France cooperation,” Admiral Pierre Vandier, chief of staff of the French navy, told Sankei in a separate interview.

“This is a message aimed at China. This is a message about multi-lateral partnerships and the freedom of passage.”

China has said its intentions in the region are peaceful.

But Japan has grown particularly concerned about a rise in Chinese naval activity around the disputed islands in the East China Sea that Tokyo calls the Senkaku, while Beijing refers to them the Diaoyu.

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Social Media Buzz: Norway's Warnings, New Jersey Smokers, CDU – Bloomberg

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UK SMOKE FREE

What’s buzzing on social media this morning:

Norway warned Covid-19 vaccines may be too risky for the very old and terminally ill. The country reported 29 people over the age of 75 who died after taking their first Covid-19 vaccination shot.

  • Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway, and Pfizer said the companies are working with the Norwegian regulator to investigate the deaths.
  • The reported deaths were “elderly people with serious basic disorders.” Norway’s recommendation does not mean younger, healthier people should avoid being vaccinated.

In New Jersey, smokers are now eligible for Covid-19 shots under the state’s vaccine expansion plan. No proof is needed. Smoking and obesity are among the conditions listed under “individuals at high risk,” the plan shows.

Germany’s governing CDU party elected Armin Laschet as next leader, opting for the candidate who most resembles departing Chancellor Angela Merkel in policy and style.

President-elect Joe Biden picked Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state for political affairs under President Barack Obama, as deputy secretary of state. A regular critic of President Donald Trump on Twitter, Sherman was the lead U.S. negotiator in talks that led to the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

The Maryland Department of Transportation is suspending its MARC commuter train service ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration amid threats of unrest.

The Justice Department executed Dustin Higgs, 48, early Saturday, the 13th and final federal inmate scheduled to die during President Donald Trump’s term. The opinion of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the three justices who dissented, trended on Twitter, including in a post by Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the 1995 film “Dead Man Walking” based on Prejean’s book of the same name.

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    Social Media Buzz: Norway's Warnings, New Jersey Smokers, CDU – BNN

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    (Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media this morning:

    Norway warned Covid-19 vaccines may be too risky for the very old and terminally ill. The country reported 29 people over the age of 75 who died after taking their first Covid-19 vaccination shot.

    • Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway, and Pfizer said the companies are working with the Norwegian regulator to investigate the deaths.
    • The reported deaths were “elderly people with serious basic disorders.” Norway’s recommendation does not mean younger, healthier people should avoid being vaccinated.

    In New Jersey, smokers are now eligible for Covid-19 shots under the state’s vaccine expansion plan. No proof is needed. Smoking and obesity are among the conditions listed under “individuals at high risk,” the plan shows.

    Germany’s governing CDU party elected Armin Laschet as next leader, opting for the candidate who most resembles departing Chancellor Angela Merkel in policy and style.

    President-elect Joe Biden picked Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state for political affairs under President Barack Obama, as deputy secretary of state. A regular critic of President Donald Trump on Twitter, Sherman was the lead U.S. negotiator in talks that led to the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

    The Maryland Department of Transportation is suspending its MARC commuter train service ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration amid threats of unrest.

    The Justice Department executed Dustin Higgs, 48, early Saturday, the 13th and final federal inmate scheduled to die during President Donald Trump’s term. The opinion of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the three justices who dissented, trended on Twitter, including in a post by Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the 1995 film “Dead Man Walking” based on Prejean’s book of the same name.

    ©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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    How Social Media Can Approach Free Speech During A Polarizing Time – NPR

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    NPR’s Scott Simon speaks to Daphne Keller, Platform Regulation Director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center, about how social media companies should handle free speech.

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