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Elderly set to exceed 30% by 2034

The population of South Korean nationals residing in the country has dropped below 50 million for the first time in six years, largely due to low birth rates.

Projections suggest that by 2042, this figure may not even reach 47 million.

According to data released by Statistics Korea on April 11, the population of South Korean nationals decreased from 50,021,000 in 2022 to 49,847,000 in 2023. After surpassing the 50 million mark in 2018 with a population of 50,024,000, the figure had remained in the 50 million range for five years before dropping to the 40 million range last year.

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Tensions are high over the possibility Iran will retaliate for an air strike that killed senior Iranian commanders nearly two weeks ago.

US officials had told CBS News, the BBC's US partner, that a major attack on Israel could happen imminently.

Israel has said it is ready "defensively and offensively".

"I can't speak to the size, scale, scope of what that attack might look like," US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday. But he added that the Iranian threat was "viable," saying Washington was "watching this very, very closely".

He said: "We are in constant communication with our Israeli counterparts about making sure that they can defend themselves against those kinds of attacks".

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However, truck owners involved in the food deliveries, mostly Egyptian hauliers, are reluctant to let their vehicles be used inside Gaza for fear of them bombed or ransacked by starving Gazans. There is also a shortage of willing drivers after repeated incidents of aid trucks coming under fire, of which the WCK bombing has been the worst but far from an isolated incident.

The planned coordination centre, whenever it is finished, may not be sufficient to address this fundamental obstacle to delivering food, as long as much of Gaza is a free fire zone, aid workers argue.

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Japan's population, including non-Japanese residents, as of Oct. 1 last year dropped by 595,000, or 0.48 pct, from a year before to 124,352,000, down for the 13th successive year, the internal affairs ministry said Friday.

The number of people aged 75 or over exceeded 20 million for the first time ever, showing that the aging of the country's population has advanced further.

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The most senior IDF commander dismissed for his role in the drone strike which killed seven aid workers in Gaza is a settler who signed an open letter in January calling for the territory to be deprived of aid, The Telegraph can reveal.

The letter was sent on January 20 to the Israeli War Cabinet and the IDF chief of staff and implored them to “do everything in your power” not to allow “humanitarian supplies and the operation of hospitals inside Gaza City” following its evacuation.

Michael Mansfield KC, head of Nexus Chambers and one of Britain’s leading barristers, said the letter should “absolutely” be considered by those investigating the incident.

“The document is plainly relevant to a particular state of mind,” Mr Mansfield said. “In other words it is not indicating that the target of the Israeli army is primarily Hamas but Gaza as a whole by weaponising aid under siege conditions.

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Bogotá brings in water rationing with El Niño weather phenomenon meaning city could run out in under two months

Couples in Bogotá are being asked to shower together as water supplies are rationed in the Colombian capital.

Major neighbourhoods were cut off from the water grid on Thursday to preserve dangerously low water levels at reservoirs that have been starved of rain by the weather phenomenon known as El Niño.

As well as recommending that those in a relationship get under the showerhead together, the mayor of Bogotá, Carlos Fernando Galán, asked residents to consider abandoning their daily hygiene practices entirely given the reservoirs were at “historic lows”.

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Russia destroyed the largest power-generating plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region in a missile attack on Thursday, as President Volodomyr Zelensky accused the West of “turning a blind eye” to his country’s need for more air defenses.

Ukraine’s Air Force said it shot down 18 of the incoming missiles and 39 of the drones. Russia fired 82 missiles and drones in total, including six hypersonic Kinzhal missiles – none of which Ukraine’s air defenses were able to down.

There were no casualties, and the attack has not resulted in power cuts in Ukraine’s capital region Kyiv or other regions supplied by Trypilska TPP.

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A border crossing from Israel into northern Gaza remains closed a week after Israel promised to open it for deliveries of aid, as a top US official warned that famine has begun.

Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s office said on 5 April that it would temporarily open the Erez crossing for the first time during the war following a tense call with US President Joe Biden, who demanded that Israel do more to facilitate the flow of aid following the killings of seven employees of World Central Kitchen in an air strike.

But nearly a week after the announcement, three senior humanitarians working on the Gaza response told i that the crossing remains closed. An Israeli government source said it was still believed to be closed and would likely be opened next week.

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Major brands like Zara and H&M sell garments produced with cotton from Brazilian farms. These have been linked to deforestation and land grabbing, according to a new investigation

Before they reach the display windows of fashion giants like Zara and H&M, cotton pants, shorts, shirts and socks leave behind a trail of deforestation, land grabbing and human rights violations in Brazil. Though many of them carry a sustainable production label,  a yearlong investigation by UK-based NGO Earthsight detailed the connection between crops in Brazil, the world's fourth largest cotton producer, and European brands. Earthsight analyzed satellite images, shipping records, public archives and visited producing regions to track the journey taken by 816,000 tons of cotton.  

According to the report, this raw material was produced specifically for eight Asian companies which, between 2014 and 2023, manufactured around 250 million retail items. Many of them, the investigation claims, supplied brands such as H&M and Zara, among others.

"It's shocking to see these links between very recognizable global brands that apparently don't make enough effort to have control over these supply chains. To know where the cotton comes from and what kind of impact it causes," Rubens Carvalho, head of deforestation research at Earthsight, told DW.

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Russian military personnel arrived in Niamey to train their soldiers and set up an air defense system. Russia has been trying to build stronger ties with several African nations currently ruled by military juntas.

The Russian defense ministry sent military personnel and trainers to Niger on Wednesday to install systems and train soldiers, Nigerien state TV RTN said.

The channel showed people and goods being unloaded from a military cargo plane, with images showing Russian Ilyushin-76 aircraft. 

The dispatch of Russian personnel to the African nation is part of a recent agreement between Niger's military junta leader Abdourahamane Tchiani and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two countries are trying to increase cooperation.

Russia has ramped up efforts to build stronger relations with African nations, positioning itself as a military power without a colonial past.

Prior to the military coup last July, Niger and the US, France and some other European countries were cooperating to fight against Islamist militias in the Sahel region.

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Delivering a baby was already risky, but an unprecedented surge in gang violence has forced clinics and hospitals to close

The worst fears of midwives at Heartline Haiti were realised last week. As they prepared the maternity clinic for patients that evening, armed men laid siege to their neighbourhood in eastern Port-au-Prince, spraying bullets at police and rival gangs, setting cars on fire and ransacking houses.

“All of our staff were huddled in an interior hallway hearing the noises outside the gates and walls, afraid they may be next,” says Tara Livesay, the NGO’s executive director. “A gang member was shot dead outside, just two doors over.”

After a terrifying night, staff managed to make it out safely the next morning when the street battles subsided. The organisation has had no option but to close the clinic, leaving the 75 pregnant women it had been supporting with nowhere to go for medical care or to have their babies delivered.

“We’ve tried so hard to keep the clinic open but there is not much else we can do now. I can’t ask people to go to work if they might get hit by a bullet,” says Livesay.

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A Portuguese man has become the first European citizen jailed under the China-imposed National Security Law in Hong Kong, a law widely criticised by rights groups.

Joseph John, also known as Wong Kin-chung, holds a Portuguese passport and Hong Kong residency and was previously based in the UK.

He was arrested for posting pro-independence and anti-China content on social media, after returning to Hong Kong to visit family in 2022 

In February, he was convicted of "secession" and on Thursday sentenced to five years in jail.

Under the law, secession is the offence of advocating for Hong Kong to break away from China.

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A Singaporean court has begun handing out sentences in a sensational case, which saw 10 Chinese nationals charged for laundering $2.2bn (£1.8bn) earned from criminal activities abroad.

The scandal embroiled multiple banks, property agents, precious metal traders and a top golf club. It led to extensive raids in some of the most affluent neighbourhoods, where police seized billions in cash and assets. The lurid details have gripped Singaporeans - among the seized assets were 152 properties, 62 vehicles, shelves of luxury bags and watches, hundreds of pieces of jewellery and thousands of bottles of alcohol. 

Earlier this month, Su Wenqiang and Su Haijin, became the first to be jailed in the case. Su Haijin, police said, jumped off the second-floor balcony of a house trying to flee arrest. Both men will serve a little over a year in prison, after which they will be deported and barred from returning to Singapore. Eight others are still awaiting the court's decision.

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President Joe Biden has vowed that the US will defend the Philippines from any attack in the South China Sea, calling its support for Manila "ironclad".

Mr Biden's comments come amid regular skirmishes and rising tensions between Chinese and Philippine coast guard vessels in the disputed waterway.

The US and Philippines have had a mutual defence treaty in place since 1951. 

China has repeatedly blamed the US for raising tensions in the region. 

Speaking at the start of three-way talks at the White House with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Mr Biden said that "any attack on Philippine aircraft, vessels or armed forces in the South China Sea would invoke our mutual defence treaty".

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Germany’s neighbors say the measure is harming EU unity and hindering their efforts to ditch Russian energy.

The EU will haul Germany to court unless the country revises a controversial gas law that neighboring countries say is harming their efforts to diversify away from Russian energy, a senior European Commission official told POLITICO.

Germany adopted the law in 2022, slapping a levy on all gas leaving the country to help plug an almost €10 billion black hole in its budget. But Germany's neighbors say the law could violate EU rules on gas storage and undermine the bloc's single market — driving up prices and incentivizing them to buy cheaper Russian energy.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive, shares those concerns and has told Germany the measure may not be legal. 

“For us, there are grounds to consider it a clear-cut breach of competition law and the single market rules,” said the senior Commission official, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the sensitive matter.

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Added the city to the headline to be a little less click-baity.

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  • The US assured Iran it wasn't involved in the airstrike that killed an Iranian commander in Damascus, likely conducted by Israel.
  • Fearing retaliation, the US urged Iran to avoid escalation and attacks on US targets.
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