January 2, Monday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline read by Ms. Keiko Kitagawa

1. Worshippers flocked to a shrine in central Tokyo in the early hours of New Year’s Day to pray for good luck in 2023. Crowds of people gathered at Meiji Jingu before midnight on New Year’s Eve. They waited in line to hear the sound of a drum that signaled the arrival of the New Year.
2. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sworn in as Brazil’s president. He now faces the difficult task of reuniting the country following an intense campaign. Lula, who led Brazil’s leftist government from 2003 through 2010 during two previous terms as the country’s leader, beat former right-wring president Jair Bolsonaro in an October runoff. Lula’s inauguration ceremony took place on Sunday in the capital Brasilia.
3. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang by telephone. The talks took place on Sunday, as Qin was leaving Washington for his new role. China appointed the ambassador to the United States to head the foreign ministry on Friday.