Daily round-up, Sep 27: Singapore population increases after 2 years of decline; Japan bids farewell to Shinzo Abe; Vietnam braces for Typhoon Noru
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Singapore's total population grew by 3.4 per cent to 5.64 million as of June this year, after two straight years of decline, according to the National Population and Talent Division on Tuesday (Sep 27). Despite the growth, the total population in Singapore remained slightly lower than the pre-COVID level of 5.7 million as of June 2019.
Citizen marriages in 2021 saw an increase, with Singapore also seeing its resident fertility rate recovering slightly from a historic low in 2020. The National Population and Talent Division said that the increase in marriages in 2021 was due in part to the progressive easing of COVID-19 safe management measures.
Last year also saw 21,537 people granted citizenship and 33,435 granted permanent residence. These figures were higher compared with 2020, due to the easing of travel restrictions and safe management measures.
The report added that Singapore's population is ageing rapidly. By 2030, about one in four citizens will be aged 65 and above. The number of citizens aged 80 and above has also increased by more than 70 per cent from 2012.
Japan honoured slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (Sep 27) at the first state funeral for a former premier in 55 years. About 4,300 people attended the funeral ceremony itself, along with at least 48 current or former government figures, including US Vice President Kamala Harris, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Outside the funeral venue, thousands of Japanese people stood in line as the ashes arrived, waiting to deliver flowers and say a prayer in two mourning tents.
The decision to give Abe a state funeral - only the second for a former prime minister in the post-war period - provoked opposition, with about 60 per cent of Japanese against the event in recent polls. Some lawmakers from opposition parties boycotted the funeral altogether.
Bloomberg Opinion’s Gearoid Reidy says a partisan debate over the state funeral embarrasses Japan on the world stage.
Vietnam urged more people on Tuesday (Sep 27) to evacuate as an intensifying Typhoon Noru barrelled towards the southeast Asian nation, after causing at least eight deaths and widespread flooding in the Philippines.
Vietnam's meteorological agency said Noru was expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday before weakening and moving on to Thailand.
Vietnam's aviation authority closed nine airports across the country from Tuesday, forcing hundreds of domestic and international flights to be cancelled. Around 270,000 military personnel have been placed on standby.
Dozens of people took part in a rare protest in Chinese tech hub Shenzhen after officials announced a snap lockdown over a handful of COVID-19 cases.
At least 14 "high-risk areas" across three districts were under lockdown on Tuesday (Sep 27), with residents forced to stay in their homes. Another 15 neighbourhoods were marked as medium-risk, with residents only allowed to walk inside their housing compounds.
Videos circulating on Weibo and Instagram since Monday - verified by AFP - showed dozens chanting "lift the COVID lockdown" as rows of police in medical protective gear look on.
Shenzhen had just emerged from strict COVID-19 restrictions that saw schools and entertainment venues closed for weeks in early September.