30 Apr 2019

Today's world news: What you need to know

8:45 pm on 30 April 2019

Japan readies for a new era

Japan's Emperor Akihito stepping down in a ceremony starting about 8pm NZT.

Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrive at Kashiharajingu-mae Station in Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture

Photo: AFP

The ceremony will take place in a room in the Imperial Palace but much of it will be held behind closed doors.

It's the first time in 200 years that an Emperor has abdicated.

Emperor Akihito will be replaced by his son Crown Prince Naruhito, ushering in a new royal era.


Major US bomb plot foiled

US authorities have arrested an army veteran saying he was in the final stages of a plot to bomb a white supremacist rally in California.

US Attorney Nick Hanna stands next to photos of Mark Steven Domingo during a news conference.

US Attorney Nick Hanna stands next to photos of Mark Steven Domingo during a news conference. Photo: AP / Richard Vogel

They have also alleged that Mark Domingo, 26, who had recently converted to Islam, was planning terror attacks on Jews, churches and the police in revenge for the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Prosecutors said the investigation had disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause maximum numbers of casualties.

Read more:

  • US combat veteran arrested over rally bomb plot
  • Experts seek to verify IS video

    The US has reiterated its determination to defeat Islamic State after a video was posted, purportedly of the group's elusive leader.

    Experts are working to verify the video and if confirmed, it would be the first sighting of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in five years.

    The 18-minute video shows a bearded middle-aged man praising the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka and promising a long battle yet to be waged.

    The US State Department said it was clear the fight against IS was not finished despite the group's loss of territory in Syria and Iraq.

    - BBC

    Strip club controversy for One Nation

    A leading One Nation Party candidate in Queensland has resigned after sensational footage was released of him in a US strip club.

    Steve Dickson was filmed drunkenly making derogatory comments and touching dancers.

    Last month it was revealed that Mr Dickson and a One Nation advisor had travelled to the US seeking campaign help from lobby groups such as the National Rifle Association.

    Party leader Pauline Hanson said Mr Dickson's actions could not be condoned and she accepted his resignation.

    Read more:

  • Australia's One Nation politician Steve Dickson resigns over strip club footage
  • US Deputy Attorney-General quits

    The US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has resigned.

    Mr Rosenstein appointed the Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate links between the Russian government and President Donald Trump's campaign.

    He will step down on 11 May in a departure that had been expected for months.

    He had a fraught working relationship with Mr Trump, who once tweeted an image depicting Mr Rosenstein jailed for treason.

    Read more:

  • US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quits
  • 007 Beluga

    Officials in Norway are investigating an incident involving a beluga whale which was found wearing a tight harness.

    The whale had been approaching fishing boats and a harness strap with the words "Equipment St Petersburg" was found around it, along with a mount for an action camera.

    There has been speculation it may have escaped from a Russian military facility and may have been used for spying.

    Read more:

  • Beluga whale with Russian harness raises alarm in Norway