General Pervez Musharraf obituary

Former president of Pakistan who supported the US in its war on terror and was hailed as George Bush’s ‘best buddy’

Of all Pakistan’s assorted mixture of leaders since independence, none so divided opinion at home and abroad as General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup in October 1999.

Vilified and praised in equal measure, Musharraf, who has died aged 79, left a legacy that is certain to compound the uncertainties that have dogged Pakistan since its creation in 1947. For many of his critics, the general was typical of the country’s long line of ruthless military dictators, who appeased Islamic militants in an effort to clip the ambitions of secular parties opposed to military rule.

For others he represented a man of vision, who offered Pakistan the best hope of restoring its image as a beacon of, as he described it, “enlightened moderation”, and an example of a Muslim state at ease with the demands of modernity.

It was, however, beyond the borders of his own country that Musharraf enjoyed his greatest acclaim. In the US he was hailed as President George W Bush’s “best buddy”, and indeed it was to the Bush administration that Musharraf owed his rehabilitation as the respected four-star general who at a stroke helped elevate Pakistan from a “rogue” state peddling nuclear technology on the international black market to a pivotal “frontline” state in the “war on terror”.

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The moment a suspected Chinese spy balloon is shot down over east coast of US – video

Footage shows a suspected Chinese spy balloon being shot down over the Carolina coast. Two US fighter jets circled the balloon before launching an air missile to destroy it. Beijing claimed it was a weather observation airship that had been blown off course, but the Pentagon claimed it had been able to manoeuvre and make deliberate turns. The US said it reached Montana, home to some of the US arsenal of nuclear ballistic missiles. Some Republicans called for the balloon to be shot down over land, despite the risk of deaths and property damage below. The Biden administration took the decision to disable it once it reached Carolina's coastline

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Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf dies after long illness

Military ruler, one of country’s most divisive leaders after seizing power in coup, has died in exile in Dubai

Pervez Musharraf, the former army general and president of Pakistan who ruled for almost a decade after seizing power in a coup in 1999, has died in Dubai after a long illness.

The Pakistani military confirmed his death in a statement, expressing “heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Gen Pervez Musharraf, former president, CJCSC and chief of army staff”.

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Now the Chinese ‘spy balloon’ is down, the question is: what was it for?

Was Beijing trying to sabotage talks with the US, monitor the speed of its military response, or just test Joe Biden’s mettle?

Now the Chinese balloon has been brought down in a puff of smoke and debris by a US air-launched missile, after perplexing Washington with its three-day odyssey over the continental US, the question is: what was it all for?

Once the balloon was spotted, Beijing claimed it was a weather observation airship that had been blown off course, drawing a snort of derision from the Pentagon, which said the balloon was able to manoeuvre and had made some deliberate turns, bringing it at one point over Montana, home of some of the US arsenal of silo-based nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

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Hong Kong 47: trial of dozens in pro-democracy movement set to begin under national security laws

Group of legislators, activists and community workers are accused of holding unofficial pre-election primaries that authorities say constitutes subversion

One of the most significant national security trials in the Chinese government’s crackdown on Hong Kong will begin on Monday, two years after many of the city’s most prominent government critics were first brought into custody.

The case concerns the Hong Kong 47 – a group of pro-democracy legislators, politicians, activists and community workers who have been charged with conspiracy to subvert state power under the national security law.

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Japanese prime minister fires aide over anti-LGBTQ+ remarks

Fumio Kishida says official’s comments ‘outrageous and completely incompatible with policies’

The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has sacked an aide who said he would not want to live next to LGBTQ+ couples and that people would flee Japan if same-sex marriage was permitted.

In remarks reported by local media, Masayoshi Arai, an economy and trade official who joined Kishida’s staff as a secretary in October, said he did not even want to look at same-sex couples.

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