LONDON — Britain has too many low-skilled migrant workers and very high numbers of international students, who often brought dependents with them, the country’s new interior minister Suella Braverman said in an interview with The Sun on Sunday newspaper.

Ms. Braverman said new Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government aimed to stick to a 2019 election pledge to lower net migration in an interview ahead of the ruling Conservative Party’s annual conference.

Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Sept. 23 that the government was looking to review immigration policy as part of an attempt to boost growth, following complaints from business groups that post-Brexit rules were too restrictive, especially for low-paid jobs.

However, Ms. Braverman said reducing migration was an aim shared by all of Truss’ senior ministers.

“What we’ve got is too many low skilled workers coming into this country,” she said. “We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents.”

“Those people are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low-skilled jobs, and they’re not contributing to growing our economy,” she added.

Since January 2021, most workers must be paid at least 25,600 pounds ($28,570) a year for an employer to sponsor a visa, causing problems for employers in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality and some manufacturing, where lower wages are common.

Numbers of European Union (EU) workers have fallen, but this has been offset by an increase in the number of non-EU workers, especially from India. Net migration to Britain totaled 239,000 in the year to June 2021, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Ms. Braverman also said she wanted to restrict the ability of migrants to challenge deportation on the basis that they had been subjected to forced labor or human trafficking, known in Britain as “modern slavery”. — Reuters

MALANG — At least 174 people were killed and 180 injured in a stampede and riot at a soccer match in Indonesia, officials said on Sunday, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

When frustrated supporters of the losing home team invaded the pitch in Malang in the province of East Java late on Saturday, officers fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” Mr. Nico said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.

Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya around 10 p.m. (1500 GMT). Scuffles can be seen, with what appeared to be tear gas in the air.

Images showed people who appeared to have lost consciousness being carried away by other fans.

The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients told Metro TV that some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old child.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be “the last soccer tragedy in the nation.”

Jokowi, as the president is known, ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.

East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.

FIFA has requested a report on the incident from Indonesia’s PSSI football association, and a PSSI team has been sent to Malang to investigate, PSSI secretary general Yunus Nusi told reporters.

Indonesia’s human rights commission also plans to investigate security at the ground, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.

“Many of our friends lost their lives because of the officers who dehumanized us,” said Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono, 22, crying, as he nursed a broken arm at the local Kanjuruhan hospital. “Many lives have been wasted.”

On Sunday mourners gathered outside the gates of the stadium to lay flowers for the victims.

Amnesty International Indonesia slammed the security measures, saying the “use of excessive force by the state … to contain or control such crowds cannot be justified at all”.

The country’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, said in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond its capacity. He said 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium that is only supposed to hold 38,000 people.

Many victims at Kanjuruhan hospital suffered from trauma, shortness of breath and a lack of oxygen due to the large number of people at the scene affected by tear gas, said paramedic Boby Prabowo.

Financial aid would be given to the injured and the families of victims, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters.

There have been outbreaks of trouble at matches in Indonesia before, with strong rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to violence among supporters.

Indonesia’s football scene has been blighted by hooliganism, heavy-handed policing and mismanagement, largely preventing the country of 275 million people who pack stadiums from harnessing its potential in the sport.

Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told KompasTV the ministry would re-evaluate safety at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.

The Malang stadium disaster appeared to be the deadliest since 1964, when 328 people were reported dead in a riot and crush when Peru hosted Argentine at the Estadio Nacional.

In an infamous 1989 British disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded and fenced-in enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.

Indonesia is scheduled to host the FIFA under-20 World Cup in May and June next year. They are also one of three countries bidding to stage next year’s Asian Cup, the continent’s equivalent of the Euros, after China pulled out as hosts.

The head of the Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news coming out of football-loving Indonesia”, expressing condolences for the victims, their families and friends. — Reuters

MIAMI — The death toll from Hurricane Ian climbed past 80 on Sunday as embattled residents in Florida and the Carolinas faced a recovery expected to cost tens of billions of dollars, and some officials faced criticism over their response to the storm.

The death toll was expected to keep rising as floodwaters receded and search teams pushed farther into areas initially cut off from the outside world. Hundreds of people have been rescued as emergency workers sifted through homes and buildings inundated with water or completely washed away.

At least 85 storm-related deaths have been confirmed since Ian crashed ashore Florida’s Gulf Coast with catastrophic force on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour.

Florida accounted for all but four of the fatalities, with 42 tallied by the sheriff’s office in coastal Lee County, which bore the brunt of the storm when it made landfall, and 39 other deaths reported by officials in four neighboring counties.

Officials in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Cape Coral and is on the Gulf Coast, have faced questions over whether they mandated evacuations in time.

Cecil Pendergrass, chairman of the county’s board of commissioners, said on Sunday that once the county was forecast to be in the cone, or the probable track of the hurricane’s center, evacuation orders were given. Even then, some people chose to ride the storm out, Mr. Pendergrass said.

“I respect their choices,” he said at a press conference. “But I’m sure a lot of them regret it now.”

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and first lady Jill Biden will see the devastation in Florida firsthand on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement on Saturday. The Bidens will visit Puerto Rico on Monday, where hundreds of thousands of people were still without power two weeks after Hurricane Fiona hit the island.

Cuba is restoring power after Ian knocked out electricity to the whole country of 11 million people, flattened homes and obliterated agricultural fields.

North Carolina authorities said at least four people had been killed there. No deaths were immediately reported in South Carolina, where Ian made another US landfall on Friday.

Chugging over land since then, Ian has diminished into an ever-weakening post-tropical cyclone.

The National Hurricane Center forecast more heavy rainfall was possible across parts of West Virginia and western Maryland into Sunday morning, and “major to record flooding” in central Florida.


As the full scope of devastation became clearer, officials said some of the heaviest damage was inflicted by wind-driven ocean surf that raged into seaside communities and washed buildings away.

Satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed beach cottages and a motel that lined the shores of Florida’s Sanibel Island had been demolished by storm surges. Although most homes appeared to still be standing, roof damage to all was evident.

Surveys from the ground showed that the barrier island, a popular tourist getaway that was home to some 6,000, was devastated.

“It’s all just completely gone,” Sanibel’s city manager, Dana Souza, said. “Our electric system is pretty much destroyed, our sewer system has been damaged badly and our public water supply is under assessment.”

The island’s link to the mainland was severed by breaches to its causeway bridge, further complicating recovery efforts, Mr. Souza said.

After waning to a tropical storm by the end of its march across Florida to the Atlantic, Ian regained hurricane strength and pummeled coastal South Carolina on Friday, sweeping ashore near Georgetown, north of the historic port city of Charleston.

Numerous roads were flooded and blocked by fallen trees while a number of piers were damaged in that area.

More than 700,000 businesses and homes remained without power on Sunday afternoon in Florida alone, where more than 2 million customers lost electricity the first night of the storm.

Insurers braced for between $28 billion and $47 billion in claims from what could amount to the costliest Florida storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to US property data and analytics company CoreLogic. — Reuters

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis for the first time directly begged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the “spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine, saying on Sunday that the crisis was risking a nuclear escalation with uncontrollable global consequences.

In an address dedicated to Ukraine and made to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, Francis also condemned Mr. Putin’s latest annexation of parts of Ukraine as being against international law. He urged Mr. Putin to think of his own people in the event of an escalation.

One Vatican official said the impassioned address was so sombre it was reminiscent of a radio peace appeal by Pope John XXIII in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It was the first time Francis, who has often condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the death and destruction it has caused, had made such a direct personal appeal to Putin.

Saying he was haunted by “rivers of blood and tears that have been spilled in these months,” Francis also called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be open to any “serious peace proposal.”

He was making an urgent appeal “in the name of God” for an end to the conflict and said it was “absurd” that the world was risking a nuclear conflict.

“My appeal goes above all to the president of the Russian Federation, begging him to stop this spiral of violence and death, even out of love for his own people,” Francis said.

“On the other side, pained by the enormous suffering of the Ukrainian population following the aggression it suffered, I address an equally hopeful appeal to the president of Ukraine to be open to a serious peace proposal,” he said.

Francis later tweeted both the appeals to the two leaders in Russian and Ukrainian.

Speaking two days after Mr. Putin proclaimed the annexation of nearly a fifth of Ukraine and placed the regions under Russia’s nuclear umbrella, Francis also emphasized all countries’ right to “sovereign and territorial integrity.”

Kyiv and its Western allies have condemned Mr. Putin’s annexations as illegal, and Mr. Zelenskyy has said his forces will continue their fight to recapture all Ukrainian territory occupied by Russian forces.

Ukraine on Sunday claimed full control of the eastern logistics hub of Lyman, Kyiv’s most significant battlefield gain in weeks.

“I strongly deplore the grave situation that has been created in the last few days, with more actions that are contrary to the principles of international law,” he said in a clear reference to the annexation.

“This, in fact, increases the risk of a nuclear escalation to the point of fearing uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences on a global level,” he said.

In a reference to ethnic Russians living in Ukraine, Francis said it was also necessary to respect “the rights of minorities and (their) legitimate worries.”

Francis said it was “anguishing” that the world was learning about Ukrainian geography through names of places such as Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Zaporizhzhia and other places where people had suffered “indescribable suffering and fear.” — Reuters

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA — The second round of Brazil’s presidential campaign kicked off Monday after right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro outperformed polling and robbed leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of an outright victory in the first round of voting. 

The unexpectedly strong showing by Mr. Bolsonaro on Sunday dashed hopes for a quick resolution to the deeply polarized election in the world’s fourth-largest democracy. 

With 99.9% of electronic votes counted, Lula had taken 48.4% of votes versus 43.2% for Mr. Bolsonaro. As neither got a majority of support, the race goes to a runoff vote on Oct. 30. 

The race has proven tighter than most surveys suggested, revitalizing Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign after he insisted that polls could not be trusted. If he pulls off a comeback, it would break with a wave of victories for leftists across the region in recent years, including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. 

Adding to tensions in Brazil, Mr. Bolsonaro has made baseless attacks on the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting system and suggested he may not concede if he loses. On Sunday night, he sounded confident victory was within reach and avoided criticism of the voting system. 

“I plan to make the right political alliances to win this election,” he told journalists, pointing to significant advances his party made in Congress in the general election. 

Mr. Bolsonaro’s right-wing allies won 19 of the 27 seats up for grabs in the Senate, and initial returns suggested a strong showing for his base in the lower house. 

The strong showing for Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies, which added to pressure on Lula to tack to the center, led bankers and analysts to expect a boost for Brazilian financial markets on Monday after Sunday’s surprising result. 

Lula put an optimistic spin on the result, saying he was looking forward to another month on the campaign trail and the chance to debate Mr. Bolsonaro head-to-head. 

Inside his campaign, however, there was clear frustration that he had fallen short of the narrow majority forecast in some polls, along with weak results in state races outside of his party’s traditional northeastern stronghold. 

“There was a clear movement of votes in the southeast, beyond what the surveys and even the campaign managed to detect,” a campaign source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. 

Support for distant third- and fourth-place finishers also fell short of recent surveys, suggesting some of their backers may have shifted to Mr. Bolsonaro when it came time to vote. 

Centrist Senator Simone Tebet, who got 4% of votes, and center-left former lawmaker Ciro Gomes, who got 3%, both said on Sunday night they would announce decisions about endorsements in the coming days. 

With the momentum in Mr. Bolsonaro’s favor, Lula may need all the help he can get. 

“Clearly Bolsonarismo was underestimated,” said Senator Humberto Costa, a compatriot of Lula’s Workers Party. — Reuters

SEHWAN, Pakistan — The emergency ward at the main government hospital in Sehwan, a small town in southern Pakistan, is overwhelmed. 

On a recent visit, Reuters witnessed hundreds of people crammed into rooms and corridors, desperately seeking treatment for malaria and other illnesses that are spreading fast after the country’s worst floods in decades. 

Amid the crush, Naveed Ahmed, a young doctor in the emergency response department of the Abdullah Shah Institute of Health Sciences, is surrounded by five or six people trying to get his attention. 

The 30-year-old keeps his cool as stretched emergency services struggle to cope with thousands of patients arriving from miles around after their homes were submerged under water when heavy rains fell in August and September. 

“We become so overworked at times that I feel like collapsing and going on an intravenous drip,” a smiling Mr. Ahmed told Reuters as he sipped a cup of tea in the hospital’s canteen during a short break. 

“But it’s because of the prayers of these patients that we keep going.” 

Mr. Ahmed is on the frontline of the battle to limit sickness and death across southern Pakistan, where hundreds of towns and villages were cut off by rising waters. The deluge has affected around 33 million people in a country of 220 million. 

Most of the estimated 300–400 patients arriving at his clinic each morning, many of them children, are suffering from malaria and diarrhea, although with winter approaching, Mr. Ahmed fears other illnesses will become more common. 

“I hope people displaced by the floods can get back to their homes before winter; (if not) they will be exposed to respiratory illnesses and pneumonia living in tents,” he said. 

Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who fled their homes are living in government camps set up to accommodate them, or simply out in the open. 

Stagnant floodwaters, spread over hundreds of square kilometers (miles), may take two to six months to recede in some places, and have already led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. 

The crisis hits Pakistan at a particularly bad time. With its economy in crisis, propped up by loans from the International Monetary Fund, it does not have the resources to cope with the longer-term effects of the flooding. 

Nearly 1,700 people have been killed in the floods caused by heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers. Pakistan estimates the cost of the damage at $30 billion, and the government and United Nations have blamed the catastrophe on climate change. 

Over 340 people have died of diseases caused by the floods, authorities have said. 

According to the health department of Sindh province, the worst-affected region, 17,285 cases of malaria have been confirmed since July 1. 

Anticipating the risk of disease outbreaks after the rescue and relief phase of the floods, the Sindh government is trying to hire more than 5,000 health professionals on a temporary basis in districts most at risk. 

“We are short of human resources considering the magnitude of the burden of disease following the unprecedented rains and floods,” Qasim Soomro, provincial lawmaker and parliamentary health secretary of the Sindh government, told Reuters. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concern about an impending “second disaster” of water-borne diseases spreading across the country, particularly in Sindh. 

In the hospital ward in Sehwan, a young man with a high fever was having fits on a bed outside the main emergency room. His mother ran to Mr. Ahmed, who attended to the patient and asked a male nurse to place cold pads on his forehead. 

The air was heavy with humidity, and there were not enough air conditioners to cool temperatures in overcrowded corridors lined with beds. The wards were filled to capacity and a handful of beds had more than one patient on them. 

Mr. Ahmed, a graduate of a university in China, described the pressure he and other medics were under. 

“With such influx, we … cannot wait for test results for each patient to start the treatment,” he said, adding he begins administering medicine for malaria as soon as he sees some symptoms. 

The institute in Sehwan serves people from neighboring towns and districts, including those living in camps while the waters recede and rebuilding can begin. 

Jagan Shahani’s daughter fell unconscious after getting a fever around a week ago. He used a boat to get out of his flooded village of Bhajara and flagged down a car on the nearby road that took them to Sehwan. 

“Doctors said she had malaria,” he said late last week. “This is our fourth night here. There is nothing here to eat but Allah has been very kind to provide everything,” added Shahani, whose 15-year-old daughter Hameeda is now recovering. 

On the outskirts of town, hundreds of displaced people queued up for rations being distributed at Lal Bagah, a tent settlement where displaced families prepared tea and breakfast on open fires. 

The Indus Highway that runs past Sehwan is dotted with tent camps for displaced people. 

Some are beginning to return home where waters have retreated far enough, but not all are so lucky. 

“There is no one here to help me but Allah. I pray to Allah that the waters recede in my village and I can return to my home,” said Madad Ali Bozdar. 

Mr. Bozdar, 52, is from Bubak, a town located on the north-eastern bank of Manchar Lake. Speaking on Friday, he said his village was still under 10 to 12 feet (3-4 meters) of water. He expected to be able to go back in around two months’ time. — Reuters

MALANG — Seventeen children were among at least 125 people killed in a soccer stampede in Indonesia at the weekend, officials said, as pressure builds on the Southeast Asian nation to explain how one of the world’s worst stadium disasters unfolded.

Violence and hooliganism have long been features of Indonesian football, especially in places such as Jakarta, the capital, but Saturday’s disaster in a small town in Java has thrown a spotlight on the problem.

“My family and I didn’t think it would turn out like this,” said Endah Wahyuni, the elder sister of two boys, Ahmad Cahyo, 15, and Muhammad Farel, 14, who died after being caught in the melee.

“They loved soccer, but never watched Arema live at Kanjuruhan stadium, this was their first time,” she added at her brothers’ funeral on Sunday, referring to the home side they backed.

Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD said on Monday the government would form an independent fact-finding team which would include academics and soccer experts as well as government officials to probe what happened.

The team will investigate for the next few weeks with the aim of finding who was responsible for the tragedy, he said.

Indonesian daily Koran Tempo ran a black front page on Monday, centered on the words “Our Football Tragedy”, printed in red along with a list of the dead.

Seventeen children were among the dead, with seven others being treated in hospital said Nahar, an official at the women’s empowerment ministry.

Saturday’s deadly crush came as panicking spectators tried to escape the overpacked stadium after police fired tear gas to disperse fans from the losing home side who ran onto the pitch at the end of the match.

Home side Arema FC had lost the match 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, though authorities had said tickets were not issued to Persebaya fans over security concerns.

Mahfud said on Sunday the stadium had been filled beyond its capacity. Some 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium designed to hold 38,000 people, he said.

The incident was a “dark day for all involved”, said FIFA, the governing body for world soccer, which has asked Indonesian football authorities for a report on the incident.

Its safety regulations say firearms or “crowd control gas” should not be used at matches.

A tearful Arema FC president Gilang Widya Pramana apologized on Monday to the victims of the stampede and said he took full responsibility for the disaster.

“Lives are more precious than soccer,” he told a news conference.

In an address on Sunday, Pope Francis said he had prayed for those who have lost their lives and for the injured from the disaster.

Police and sport officials have been sent to Malang to investigate an incident that ranks among the world’s deadliest stadium disasters.

“All those responsible should be held accountable for this disaster, regardless of their status or position,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Monday. — Reuters

KYIV — Thousands of Russians mobilized for military service in Ukraine have been sent home and the military commissar in Russia’s Khabarovsk region removed in the latest setback to President Vladimir Putin’s chaotic conscription of 300,000 servicemen. 

On the battlefield, Mr. Putin suffered a stinging setback on Sunday with Ukrainian forces claiming full control of Russia’s eastern logistics hub of Lyman, their most significant gain in weeks. 

Russia’s first mobilization since World War Two, after its forces suffered major battlefield defeats in Ukraine, has led to widespread discontent and forced thousands of men to flee abroad. 

Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s Far East, said several thousand men had reported for enlistment in 10 days but many were ineligible. 

“About half of them we returned home as they did not meet the selection criteria for entering the military service,” Mr. Degtyarev said in a video post on the Telegram messaging app. 

He said the region’s military commissar was removed but that his dismissal would not affect the mobilization. 

The mobilization was billed as enlisting those with military experience but has often appeared oblivious to service records, health, student status and even age. 

The taking of Lyman by Ukrainian forces sets the stage for further advances aimed at cutting Russia’s supply lines to its battered troops to a single route. 

Days earlier, Mr. Putin proclaimed the annexation of four regions covering nearly a fifth of Ukraine, an area that includes Lyman. Kyiv and the West have condemned the proclamation as an illegitimate farce. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the capture of the town, where Ukrainian flags were raised over civic buildings on Saturday, demonstrated that Ukraine was capable of dislodging Russian forces and showed the impact Ukraine’s deployment of advanced Western weapons was having on the conflict. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the success of the country’s soldiers was not limited to Lyman and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Washington was “very encouraged” by Ukrainian gains. 

Russia’s defense ministry said on Saturday it was pulling troops out of the Lyman area “in connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement.” 

It did not mention Lyman in its daily update on Sunday, although it said Russian forces had destroyed seven artillery and missile depots in the Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, and Donetsk. 

The recapture of Lyman by Ukrainian troops is Russia’s largest battlefield loss since Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region in September. 

Control over Lyman could prove a “key factor” in helping Ukraine reclaim lost territory in the Luhansk region, its governor, Serhiy Gaidai, said. 

Lyman commands a crossing of the Siverskyi Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defenses, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said. 

“Thanks to the successful operation in Lyman we are moving towards the second north-south route … and that means a second supply line will be disrupted,” said reserve colonel Viktor Kevlyuk at Ukraine’s Centre for Defense Strategies think tank. 

“In that case, the Russian group in Luhansk and Donetsk could only be supplied strictly through (Russia’s) Rostov region,” Mr. Kevlyuk told media outlet Espreso TV. 

Ukraine’s military said early on Monday Russian forces had used missiles, air strikes and artillery in attacks on 35 settlements in the previous 24 hours. Ukraine’s air force had attacked a command post, weapons caches and an anti-aircraft missile complex, as well as bringing down one helicopter, one attack aircraft and eight drones, it said. 

The governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, said Russian forces had attacked Zaporizhzhia city and nearby villages overnight, with at least 10 missiles. 

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports. 

The areas Mr. Putin claimed as annexed just over seven months into Russia’s invasion of its neighbor — Donetsk and Luhansk plus Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south — are equal to about 18% of Ukraine’s total surface land area. 

Russia’s parliament is to consider on Monday bills and ratification treaties to absorb the regions, the speaker of the lower house of parliament said. 

A pomp-filled Kremlin signing ceremony with the regions’ Russian-installed leaders on Friday failed to stem a wave of criticism within Russia of how the military operation is being handled. 

Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya region, on Saturday called for a change of strategy “right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons.” The United States says it would respond decisively to any use of nuclear weapons. 

Other hawkish Russian figures on Saturday criticized generals and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on social media for overseeing the setbacks but stopped short of attacking Mr. Putin. — Reuters

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday vowed to take steps to cushion the blow from rising electricity bills and maximize the benefits to the economy from a weak yen such as by resuscitating inbound tourism.

Dealing with rising inflation and the fallout from the yen’s recent sharp falls will be among steps the administration will focus on, Mr. Kishida said in a policy speech to parliament, stressing that revitalizing the economy was his “top priority.”

“A big challenge Japan will face toward next spring is the risk of a sharp rise in electricity bills. We will take unprecedented, bold measures that directly ease the burden on households and companies,” Mr. Kishida said.

The government will compile a package of measures by the end of this month to “protect people’s livelihood from rising prices,” he said.

Mr. Kishida also said Japan will fully open borders to overseas visitors from Oct. 11 to revitalize inbound tourism, which had ground to a halt due to entry restrictions imposed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will powerfully pursue policy measures to maximize the benefits of a weak yen,” with a target of having foreign tourists spend over 5 trillion yen ($35 billion) in Japan annually, he said.

Attracting chip and battery plants, and promoting exports of agriculture products would also be among steps Japan would take to benefit from the weak yen, Mr. Kishida said.

Mr. Kishida’s administration is under pressure to take measures to cushion the economic blow from the weak yen, which boosts exporters’ profits but hurts households by inflating the cost of importing already expensive fuel and raw material prices.

Japan intervened in the foreign exchange market on Sept. 22 to buy yen for the first time since 1998, in an attempt to shore up the battered currency after the central bank stuck with ultra-low interest rates. — Reuters

LONDON — The government of British Prime Minister Liz Truss was forced on Monday into a humiliating U-turn, reversing plans to cut the highest rate of income tax that helped to spark a rebellion in her party and turmoil in financial markets.

Ms. Truss, and her finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng, announced a new “growth plan” on Sept. 23 that would cut taxes and regulation, funded by vast government borrowing to snap the economy out of years of stagnant growth.

But the plan triggered a crisis of confidence in the government, hammering the value of the pound and government bond prices and jolting global markets to such an extent that the Bank of England had to intervene with a 65-billion-pound ($73 billion) program to settle the gilt market.

“It is clear that the abolition of the 45p tax rate has become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country,” Mr. Kwarteng said in a statement.

“As a result, I’m announcing we are not proceeding with the abolition of the 45p tax rate. We get it, and we have listened.”

The decision to reverse course is likely to put Ms. Truss and Mr. Kwarteng under huge pressure, less than four weeks after they came to power. Britain has had four prime ministers in the last six politically turbulent years.

Ms. Truss, Britain’s 47-year-old former foreign minister who took office on Sept. 6 after winning a leadership contest among Conservative Party members, and not the country, admitted on Sunday that she should have done more to “lay the ground” for the policy.

While the removal of the top rate of tax was only expected to cost around 2 billion out of a 45-billion pound tax-cutting plan, it was the most eye-catching element of a fiscal package that was to be funded by government borrowing, with Mr. Kwarteng not explaining how it would be paid for in the long-term.

Ms. Truss has also not denied that it would require spending cuts for public services and on Sunday she refused to commit to increasing welfare benefits in line with inflation — a toxic combination that would be seized on by opposition parties.

The pound has clawed back all of its losses against the U.S. since Mr. Kwarteng delivered the mini-budget and was at $1.125 at 0617 GMT, up 0.8% on the day. — Reuters