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Smoke rises after a Russian drones strike on Kyiv, Ukraine.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Drones over Kyiv, GOP’s advantage, Kishida’s church probe

Russia starts droning on

Russia attacked targets across Ukraine on Monday with Iranian-made “suicide drones,” which fly into targets and then explode. At least four people were killed when one of them struck an apartment complex in Kyiv. The building is located across the street from the offices of Ukraine’s national energy company, which may have been the intended target. That’s consistent with Russia’s recent approach of striking critical civilian infrastructure in retaliation for Ukraine’s sabotage of the Kerch Strait bridge earlier this month. Also on Monday, a Russian drone strike crippled a major sunflower oil export terminal in the southern city of Mykolaiv, raising the prospect of a renewed turbulence in prices for cooking oil, a staple in kitchens around the world. Tehran denies supplying the drones, but experts say they are clearly Shahed-136 drones from Iran. Until now, drones have been deployed to the most devastating effect by the Ukrainians, but Russia — suffering military setbacks on the ground and unable to establish aerial dominance — could be seeking a way to strike lots of targets crudely and at a relatively low cost. Although drones are slow-moving and easier to shoot down than jets or missiles, Ukraine is still calling for better air defenses overall. See our recent interview with a Ukrainian drone operator here.

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The State Funeral of Shinzo Abe | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Grief & controversy in Japan for Shinzo Abe's state funeral

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here from Tokyo, Japan, where it has been a pretty intense day. The state funeral of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister who, of course, of Japan was assassinated some 80 days ago. In some ways just kind of an astonishing couple of weeks for the world. Beginning of last week, of course, you had the funeral for Queen Elizabeth, by far the most important figure for the United Kingdom in the post-war period. Then the United Nations, where the entire world comes together in New York, and now in Japan, the state funeral, the first state funeral that you've had in Japan, 55 years for Abe Shinzo, who is by far the most important figure in Japan in the post-war period.

And in both cases, an astonishing outpouring of emotion, of grief in both countries. In the United Kingdom, of course, because she had ruled for 70 years, through so many prime ministers, since Churchill. In Japan, because Prime Minister Abe was gunned down, was assassinated by a young man with homemade weapons in a country that has virtually no violence and certainly not gun attacks against a former prime minister in broad daylight.

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Jess Frampton

Why Japan’s political Moonies have staying power

When Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet for the first time since former PM Shinzo Abe’s assassination earlier this summer, it was a response to his falling approval rating. His government was struggling to tame rising COVID infections and acute inflation.

But it was also seen as damage control for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties to the controversial Unification Church. Kishida fired cabinet ministers linked to the cult-like religious movement born in South Korea whose members are known as Moonies (after founder Sun Myung Moon).

Although the PM also promised only to appoint future cabinet members who agree to review their relationship with the church, it wasn’t enough. After his popularity plummeted 16 percentage points in just a month to 36%, its lowest level since he took power, Kishida this week demanded all cabinet members review their past ties to the religious group.

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