News Headlines - 25 February 2021

Japan opposition urges resignation of elite female bureaucrat over scandal

Opposition parties demanded Thursday the resignation of an elite female bureaucrat who was treated to a luxury dinner by the eldest son of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, but the government rejected the call.
Cabinet Public Relations Secretary Makiko Yamada, 60, was found to have been treated to a meal in 2019 worth 74,000 yen ($700) by Seigo Suga and other officials of Tohokushinsha Film Corp., which runs a satellite broadcasting business.
As she was then a vice minister for policy coordination at the communications ministry and Seigo Suga represented a stakeholder, the dinner violated the ethics code.

Farm ministry to punish 6 officials over meals | NHK WORLD

Japan's agriculture ministry plans to soon announce disciplinary measures for six senior bureaucrats who were wined and dined by a major egg producer involved in a bribery scandal.
The ministry says the six are suspected of breaching the National Public Service Ethics Code. Egg producer Akita Foods, an interested party, paid for meals for the officials.
The ministry says the officials attended meals with former agriculture minister Yoshikawa Takamori and a former head of Akita Foods in October 2018 and September 2019.

IOC expects decision on overseas fans at Tokyo Olympics in April - Nikkei Asia

The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday a decision on whether to allow overseas spectators to attend the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, would be made by around the end of April.
Speaking at an online news conference, Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said the IOC wanted the decision made "as late as possible, but as early as needed," to observe the progress of worldwide efforts to combat the virus, while also allowing enough time for planning.
"Towards the end of April would be the right time," said Dubi, who also suggested separate decisions might be made for fans traveling from abroad and those based in Japan.

Armenian Prime Minister calls army's demand for his resignation an attempted 'military coup' - CNN

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said he is facing a military coup attempt after the general staff of the country's armed forces called for his resignation... Onik Gasparyan, the army's chief of general staff, issued a statement earlier in the day criticizing Pashinyan's decision to sack Tiran Khacharyan, the army's first deputy chief of the general staff.
Gasparyan called for Pashinyan's resignation and said the prime minister's cabinet should also step down.

Texas Power Companies Face Liquidity Crisis as Bills Mount - Bloomberg

Texas’s grid operator has already seen some retail electricity providers default as bills for last week’s grid emergency come due, officials said Wednesday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as Ercot, is working to manage ongoing financial stress in the power market as several billions of dollars in invoices are still outstanding from the grid emergency that saw power prices hit $9,000 a megawatt-hour for several days, according to Kenan Ögelman, vice president of commercial operations.