World Briefs: Japan eyes record $63b defence budget

Japan eyes record $63b defence budget

TOKYO • Japan is planning a record 5.19 trillion yen (S$63 billion) defence budget for the next fiscal year to strengthen its missile defence against the threat posed by North Korea, a report said yesterday.

The government is expected to set aside the money for defence in the country's initial budget proposal for the fiscal year starting April 2018, the Nikkei daily said.

It will mark the sixth straight year of increases in defence outlays, topping the 5.12 trillion yen budget for the current fiscal year, the Nikkei said.


Saudi women can drive trucks, m-bikes

RIYADH • Saudi Arabian women will be able to drive trucks and motorcycles, officials have said, three months after the kingdom announced a historic decision to end a ban on women driving.

In September, King Salman issued a decree saying women will be able to drive from next June as part of an ambitious reform push in the conservative kingdom.

Women involved in road accidents or who commit traffic violations will be dealt with at special centres that will be established and run by women.


South Africa's ANC to elect new leader

JOHANNESBURG • Thousands of delegates from South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) gathered yesterday for a five-day meeting to elect their new leader in a divisive race seen as a pivotal moment in the country's post-apartheid history.

The ANC will today announce a successor for President Jacob Zuma, whose reign has been marred by graft scandals. He is stepping down as ANC chief but will remain as head of state ahead of general elections in 2019.

The two front runners for the party leadership are his ex-wife and former African Union Commission head, Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman.


Knife wielder shot at Amsterdam airport

AMSTERDAM • A Dutchman wielding a knife was shot by military police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Friday and taken into custody, an official said.

The police said the suspect is a 29-year-old man from The Hague. He is known to the police in connection with previous violent incidents.

There were no reports of other injuries.

The man had made threats with a knife and was shot in the central plaza of Schiphol Airport, in an area with shops and restaurants.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe