Hiroshima is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb being dropped by a US aircraft.
A ceremony, attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was held at Hiroshima’s memorial park before thousands of lanterns are released on the city’s Motoyasu river.
The bombing – and a second one on Nagasaki on August 9 – is credited with bringing to an end World War II.
It claimed the lives of at least 140,000 people in Hiroshima.
A US B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay dropped the uranium bomb, exploding some 1,800ft above Hiroshima, at around 08:10 on August 6, 1945.
On that day alone, at least 70,000 people are believed to have been killed. Many more died of horrific injuries caused by radiation poisoning in the days, weeks and months that followed.
People across Japan have observed a minute’s silence to mark the anniversary. In Hiroshima a bell tolled at 08:15 local time – when the US aircraft dropped the bomb that flattened the city centre.
Addressing 40,000 people who attended the commemoration ceremony at Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack, Shinzo Abe called for worldwide nuclear disarmament.
The prime minister said that that atomic bomb not only killed thousands of people in Hiroshima but also caused unspeakable suffering to survivors.
“Today Hiroshima has been revived and has become a city of culture and prosperity.
“Seventy years on I want to reemphasize the necessity of world peace,” he said.
Shinzo Abe and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matusi were joined by US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy for the official ceremony of remembrance on August 6, which included silent prayers, the release of doves and a declaration of peace.
Kazumi Matsui described nuclear weapons as an “absolute evil” while urging the world to put an end to them forever.
“To coexist we must abolish the… ultimate inhumanity that is nuclear weapons. Now is the time to start taking action,” he said in his annual speech.
Later in the day, thousands of paper lanterns will be released on the city’s Motoyasu River – symbolizing the journey to the afterlife of those who died.
The Hiroshima bombing commemoration comes as divisions in Japan rise over Shinzo Abe’s bid to pass unpopular legislation to expand the country’s military role worldwide.
Greece has threatened to seize German property as compensation for a Nazi atrocity in World War II.
Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said he was ready to approve a Supreme Court ruling from 2000 backing payment to relatives of the 218 victims.
The debt-ridden government is already calling for Germany to pay billions of euros in wartime reparations.
Germany insists the issue of compensation was settled in 1990, before the country was reunified.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said on March 11 it was Germany’s firm belief that the question had been resolved legally and politically.
“We should concentrate on current issues and, hopefully what will be a good future,” he said, referring to Greece’s financial crisis and the Athens government’s proposals for a renegotiation of its bailout package from the EU and IMF.
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras told parliament late on March 10 that he had a duty to pursue reparations dating back to the Nazi occupation of 1940-1944, arguing that Germany had adopted “silence, legal tricks and delays” since reunification in 1990.
However, the justice minister went further, saying he was prepared to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2000 relating to the massacre of 218 civilians in the central Greek village of Distomo on June 10, 1944.
The court ruled that Germany should pay €28 million to the relatives of those killed, although the decision was not enforced, and the dispute effectively reached stalemate in international courts in the following years.
The ruling allowed for German-owned property to be seized as compensation but it was never acted on by then-Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos.
Among possible assets are property belonging to Germany’s archaeological school and the Goethe Institute, a cultural association.
Greek relations with Germany have deteriorated in recent years because of the financial crisis, with Germany one of the big contributors to the eurozone bailout that began in 2010.
German ministers have been among the most vocal advocates for budget and income cuts in Greece, which has led to growing resentment among Greeks.
The new leftist government in Athens argues that austerity measures be relaxed, a demand opposed by Germany and other eurozone creditor nations.
Germany did pay compensation of 115 million Deutsche marks in 1960, as part of an agreement with several European countries for the Nazi occupation.
Greece says the 1960 deal did not cover key demands, including payments for damaged infrastructure, war crimes and the return of a forced loan exacted from occupied Greece.
PM Alexis Tsipras said Greece would honor its bailout creditors, but that he would not “abandon its irrevocable demands'” for World War II reparations.
North Korea has decided to deport US citizen Merrill Newman, who had been detained in the country since October.
State news agency KCNA says Merrill Newman was expelled on “humanitarian grounds” after confessing to “crimes” in the 1950-53 war and “apologizing”.
Merrill Newman, 85, had been held on charges of “hostile acts” against the North, while visiting as a tourist.
The US state department welcomed the decision to free Merrill Newman, who has now arrived in Beijing.
“We are pleased that Mr. Merrill Newman has been allowed to depart the DPRK (North Korea) and re-join his family. We welcome the DPRK’s decision to release him,” said state department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
“I’m very glad to be on my way home,” Merrill Newman told Japanese reporters after arriving in the Chinese capital.
North Korea has decided to deport US citizen Merrill Newman, who had been detained in the country since October
“And I appreciate the tolerance the DPRK government has given to me to be on my way. I feel good. I want to go home to see my wife.”
Last week, KCNA said Merrill Newman had ordered the deaths of North Korean soldiers and civilians in the Korean War.
Although Merrill Newman did serve during the Korean War, his family says he is the victim of mistaken identity.
Merril Newman – a pensioner from Palo Alto, California – had been held in North Korea since being taken off a plane as he prepared to leave the country on October 26, following a 10-day tourist visit.
In a video released by North Korean authorities last week, Merrill Newman was shown reading his alleged apology, dated November 9.
It claims he was an “adviser of the Kuwol Unit of the UN Korea 6th Partisan Regiment part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Far East Command” – an apparent reference to one of the special operations units acting against the North.
Merrill Newman apparently confessed to trying to contact surviving soldiers during his trip as a tourist.
The statement added: “Please forgive me.”
However, Merrill Newman’s family said there must have been “some dreadful misunderstanding” as another veteran, also named Merrill Newman, was awarded a Silver Star medal for his efforts during the Korean War.
President Joachim Gauck has become the first German senior dignitary to visit Oradour-sur-Glane in France, where 642 people were killed by Nazi troops in June 1944.
The ruins of the village are preserved just as they were after the massacre.
Joachim Gauck said that he had accepted a French invitation to visit the site with “gratitude and humility”.
More than 200 children were among the victims of the World War II atrocity that left deep scars in France.
After the war General Charles de Gaulle – who later became France’s president – ordered the village not to be rebuilt but instead remain a memorial to the evils of Nazi occupation. A new village was built nearby.
“I want to reach out to the victims and tell them: I am at your side,” President Joachim Gauck told Europe 1 radio ahead of the visit.
“I am 73-years-old, I was born during the war, I was steeped in the discussion of our guilt… I will tell the victims and their families: <<We know what was done>>.”
President Joachim Gauck has become the first German senior dignitary to visit Oradour-sur-Glane
Joachim Gauck said on Tuesday that he would not refrain from making the point to others during his visit that “the Germany that I have the honor of representing is a different Germany from the one that haunts their memories”.
He was joined in Oradour-sur-Glane by his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, and together they visited the village square, where residents were rounded up by Nazi troops ostensibly to have their identity papers checked.
They also walked around a church where women and children were incarcerated before it was set on fire. The village’s men were taken to a barn where they were shot with machine-guns.
The two presidents were accompanied by two of the three living survivors, including 88-year-old Robert Hebras.
He was 19 at the time of the massacre, and survived because he was buried under the bodies of other men who had been shot.
“I was consumed by hatred and vengeance for a long time,” he was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
At a joint news conference on Tuesday, Francois Hollande praised Joachim Gauck’s decision to go to the massacre site as a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation.
In 2010, Germany reopened a war crimes case into the attack when a historian discovered documents implicating six suspects who were now in their 80s.
Prosecutors said 12 members of the SS-Panzer Division “Das Reich” – which had spent three years on the Russian front before being deployed to the Normandy battlefields to fight Allied invasion forces – were suspected of involvement in the massacre.
The reason for the mass killings is unclear. One theory is that the Nazis sought to avenge the kidnapping of one of their officers, but another is that Das Reich troops were angered by what they believed was theft of a large amount of gold by villagers.
President Joachim Gauck, a former East German human rights activist, has paid two other visits to the sites of Nazi mass killings in Europe – the Czech village of Lidice, near Prague, and the Italian hamlet of Sant’Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany.
In 1984, French President Francois Mitterrand and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl joined hands while attending a memorial service for fallen soldiers at the World War I battlefield of Verdun.
Hungarian Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary has died at the age of 98 while awaiting trial, his lawyer said.
Laszlo Csatary died in a Hungarian hospital after suffering from a number of medical problems, Gabor Horvath said.
He at one time topped the list of most wanted Nazi war crimes suspects and is alleged to have helped deport 15,700 Jews to death camps in World War II.
Laszlo Csatary faced charges relating to his wartime activities in both Hungary and in neighbouring Slovakia.
Gabor Horvath said his client died on Saturday morning.
“He had been treated for medical issues for some time but contracted pneumonia, from which he died.”
Hungarian Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary has died at the age of 98 while awaiting trial
Laszlo Csatary had denied the allegations against him, saying he was merely an intermediary between Hungarian and German officials and was not involved in war crimes.
He was charged in June by Hungarian prosecutors in relation to what they said had been his role as chief of an internment camp for Jews in Kosice, a town then part of Hungary but now in Slovakia.
Kosice, known at the time as Kassa, was the first to be established after Germany occupied Hungary in March 1944.
Prosecutors said in a statement that Laszlo Csatary, a Hungarian police officer at the time, had “deliberately provided help to the unlawful executions and torture committed against Jews deported to concentration camps… from Kosice”.
Laszlo Csatary was sentenced to death in his absence in Czechoslovakia in 1948 for war crimes.
Slovakia was seeking his extradition from Hungary so it could formally sentence him although, with the abolition of the death penalty, it intended to imprison him.
The legal proceedings in Hungary were halted last month on the grounds of double jeopardy.
Laszlo Csatary was named in 2012 by the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center as its most wanted suspect. It claimed he oversaw the deportations of Jews from Kosice to the Auschwitz death camp.
He was tracked down in Budapest in July 2012 by reporters from the UK’s Sun newspaper, with help from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and was put under house arrest.
Laszlo Csatary fled to Canada after the war, where he worked as an art dealer in Montreal and Toronto. He disappeared in 1997 after being stripped of his Canadian citizenship.
The city of Beverly, a suburb of Boston, called off its Memorial Day parade this year because so few veterans would be able to march.
Veterans in Beverly gathered in a park to mark Memorial Day this year rather than hold a parade because of failing health and dwindling numbers.
The parade has been a fixture in the town since the Civil War.
Vietnam veteran Ron Innocenti tells WBZ-TV he hates canceling because of the message it sends to current service members. But he does understand the reason.
Many veterans who were gathered at the Herman A. Spear American Legion Post this weekend are upset by the decision.
“It’s not right to me,” says Ron Innocenti. He is a Vietnam veteran who has not only marched in the city’s Memorial Day parade in the past; he says he has also been its grand marshal.
He hates to cancel because of the message it sends to men and women serving now.
“It’s a slap in the face to them that we’re not doing it,” Ron Innocenti says.
“But on the other hand, I can see why we’re not doing it because of the age of the veterans we have now.”
The city of Beverly, a suburb of Boston, called off its Memorial Day parade this year because so few veterans would be able to march
That gets to the heart of the problem. In Beverly, there just are not enough veterans alive who are well enough to march in the parade anymore.
As for younger veterans – like the men and women who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan – they are often too busy to take part.
World War II Navy veteran Bill McPherson tells NECNhe’s upset about parade cancellation but “there aren’t that many of us left”.
“My wife and I have both been quoted as saying we are upset by the whole thing,” said Bill McPherson.
There are veterans that are OK with the fact there is no longer a parade. People like the town’s Veteran’s organizer Jerry Guilebbe.
He says it can be difficult for older vets to take part.
“It’s not about parades and down the street and waving flags, it is about what we did all week long, spending countless hundreds of hours putting flags on every veteran’s grave, and remembering who they were,” said Jerry Guilebbe.
Tom Condon is the town’s oldest veteran, at 93, he recalls those who were lost.
“That people remember, who left and never came back, which is a lot of them, that’s who I remember,” said Tom Condon.
Tom Condon’s daughter, Suzanne, believes that it is about more than older vets who can no longer march a mile.
“It’s a little bit of a reflection to people who are in younger generations not really realizing how many people fought for us and how hard life was for them to make life great for us,” she said.
“It’s very disappointing to me. I think it’s a shame,” says Robert Driscoll, a local veteran who served in Korea.
“Hopefully maybe next year we can change that.”
City officials think that if enough veterans come forward to participate next year, or if the city can come up with another way to have them be a part of the parade, then the city will bring it back.
President Vladimir Putin will lead Russia tributes to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad.
The city of Stalingrad, which was renamed Volgograd in 1961, will regain its wartime name for the event, following a council decision.
Around one million people are thought to have died in the battle, as Soviet troops defeated the Germans.
It is considered one of the major turning points of World War II.
The vast death toll is not the only reason why the battle has huge significance in Russia.
It is seen as the moment when the tide was turned against the Nazis.
From Stalingrad some Soviet soldiers fought all the way to Berlin.
The defeat threw Hitler’s offensive in the Soviet Union into disarray.
The victory in World War II is one of the things that unites all Russians.
President Vladimir Putin will lead the solemn commemorations at the battle site, which will include a military parade and a wreath-laying ceremony at the eternal flame in the Hall of Heroes.
There will also be an 18-gun salute with World War II-era Soviet artillery.
President Vladimir Putin will lead Russia tributes to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad
“At the heart of all Russia’s victories and achievements are patriotism, faith and strength of spirit,” Vladimir Putin said in a televised speech on Friday.
“In World War II, these true values inspired our people and our army.”
Some German veterans have also been invited to the tribute, along with senior military commanders from Russia’s allies in the war – Britain and the US.
On Wednesday, the council of Volgograd passed a decision to restore the city’s wartime name of Stalingrad on six specific days a year.
The dates, all associated with military commemorations, are February 2, May 9, June 22, August 23, September 2 and November 19.
Under the decision, the title “Hero City Stalingrad” will be used during commemorations as “a symbol of Volgograd”, the council said.
“We may use this symbol officially in our speeches, reports and while conducting public events,” the council ruling states.
The decision was taken after “numerous requests” from World War II veterans, officials said.
The city has had three names during the past century. It was originally known as Tsaritsyn before being renamed in 1925 in honor of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who led Bolshevik forces there during the Russian Civil War.
The German attack on Stalingrad began on August 19, 1942.
Stalingrad was a strategically important city in their campaign to occupy the south of Russia and take control of the Caucasus oilfields.
It was also of symbolic importance because of its name.
After six months of ferocious fighting, Soviets troops eventually smashed the German siege.
It is one of the bloodiest battles in modern history.
Certain areas of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport have been closed after a suspected World War II bomb was discovered, a spokeswoman said.
The departure hall serving most European destinations has been evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Delays are now affecting some departures and passengers are advised to check their flights before leaving for the airport.
A bomb disposal team is trying to establish whether the device is live.
Certain areas of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport have been closed after a suspected World War II bomb was discovered
The bomb was uncovered by workers digging near Pier C, which connects the main plaza with Departure Hall One, serving most destinations within Europe’s 26-country passport-free Schengen zone.
“This will have a big impact. We can park planes somewhere else to some extent but at some point it will lead to cancellations or delays,” the spokeswoman said earlier, according to Reuters news agency.
Schiphol was used as a military airfield by Nazi Germany during the 1939-45 war, and was often attacked by allied bombers, Dutch media said.
It is now one of Europe’s busiest airports, handling some 48 million passengers every year.
Unexploded bombs dating back to the war are still frequently discovered in Europe.
A 550 lb (250 kg) American bomb was detonated by a bomb disposal team in the German city of Munich on Tuesday.
A 1.5-tonne mortar bomb probably fired by Nazi forces was also safely removed from the Polish capital, Warsaw.
US divers have found what appear to be remains of a crew of an Army amphibious plane that went down in the Eastern St Lawrence River during World War II.
The PBY-5A Catalina capsized in rough water on its way back to base in Maine on 2 November 1942.
Parks Canada first found in the plane in 2009 during a survey, and contacted US officials when they saw the plane’s fuselage was largely intact.
Divers also found sunglasses, film negatives and an operations log.
“The paper is still readable, you can see the typewritten print, it’s a list of procedures for the radio,” Marc-Andre Bernier, chief underwater archaeologist for Parks Canada said.
“It’s quite phenomenal.”
US divers have found what appear to be remains of a crew of an Army amphibious plane that went down in the Eastern St Lawrence River during World War II
The amphibious plane was serving an airfield in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan during the war as part of a corridor linking the US to Europe.
According to reports at the time, the plane failed to take off during a storm due to high waves.
On the second attempt, the plane hit a large wave and began taking on water.
Four of the nine people on board were pulled to safety before the plane sank.
Parks Canada divers originally found the plane upside down under 40m of water.
Marc-Andre Bernier confirmed that divers had found what appeared to be remains, and that they were being sent to a laboratory in Hawaii. Search teams were withholding further details out of respect for the families.
US officials say there are more than 83,000 Americans missing from past conflicts.
“This recovery effort is a solemn and significant undertaking,” US Consul General Peter O’Donohue said in a statement on the recovery operation.
“For the United States, this is a sacred mission to honour those who served their country to the last.”
A YouTube video presents 100 years of world events from 1911 to 2011 into a 10-minute clip using authentic footage.
The video clip, uploaded by YouTube user derDon1234 charts some of our greatest achievements, but also some terrible acts.
The footage begins with Roald Amundsen reaching the South Pole in 1911 and then takes in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, World War I, the erection of the Empire State Building in 1931, Hitler’s inauguration in 1933, World War II with Pearl Harbor and the atomic bomb attack on Japan in 1945 through to the Vietnam War, the election of Pope John Paul II in 1978, the Berlin Wall coming down, the last French atomic bomb test in 1996, the Mars Rover landing in 1997, the Twin Towers attack in 2001 and this year’s dreadful tsunami in Japan.
A YouTube video presents 100 years of world events from 1911 to 2011 into a 10-minute clip using authentic footage
A few events are noticeably absent, such as: the discovery of insulin, England’s 1966 World Cup win, Steve Jobs’ death and the formation of The Beatles.