December 14, Thursday, 2023

1. Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is dealing with the fallout from a political money scandal. It involves a party faction once led by one of Kishida’s predecessors, the late Abe Shinzo. Kishida is trying to find a way ahead, and as part of that, he has replaced four members of his cabinet. The new ministers went to the Imperial Palace Thursday evening to be endorsed ceremonially by Emperor Naruhito. They have officially taken office. 2. Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun a year-end news conference with domestic and international journalists that features a call-in show with ordinary Russian people. The event began in a venue near the Kremlin in the capital Moscow at around noon on Thursday. On the conflict in Ukraine, Putin said there will be peace when Russia achieves its goals. He said those goals are the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine. 3. An alliance of the ethnic militant groups in Myanmar says it will continue fighting to the end to defeat the junta, while the military says it held talks with the rebels amid intensifying battles. The Three Brotherhood Alliance said in a social media post on Wednesday it remains committed to ending what it calls a “dictatorship.” It added if needs more time and ongoing efforts to complete this goal, but its dedication remains strong with the entire Myanmar people.