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Daily briefing

Japan

New COVID-19 restrictions approved

TOKYO — Japan approved new restrictions on Friday to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the three most affected southwestern regions of Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima.

“Given the sudden surge in infections, the medical system runs the risk of suffering a heavy burden in the near future,” Daishiro Yamagiwa, the minister in charge of COVID-19 responses, said at a government panel meeting. The new measures include earlier closing hours for restaurants, a ban on serving alcohol and restrictions on large-scale events. Details on these measures, which will begin Sunday and last through the end of the month, are decided at the local level and will likely vary.

Kazakhstan

Security told to shoot to quell unrest

MOSCOW — Kazakhstan’s president authorized security forces on Friday to shoot to kill those participating in unrest, opening the door for a dramatic escalation in a crackdown on anti-government protests that have turned violent.

The Central Asian nation this week experienced its worst street protests since gaining independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago, and dozens have been killed in the tumult. The demonstrations began over a near-doubling of prices for a type of vehicle fuel and quickly spread across the country, reflecting wider discontent with authoritarian rule. In a televised address to the nation, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev used harsh rhetoric, referring to those involved in the turmoil as “terrorists,” “bandits” and “militants.”

“I have given the order to law enforcement and the army to shoot to kill without warning,” Tokayev said. “Those who don’t surrender will be eliminated.”

Montana

Avalanche blocks interstate

MISSOULA — Three small snowslides on Friday, and concerns there might be more, led the Montana Department of Transportation to close the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 near Lookout Pass overnight, while avalanche warnings were in place in western Montana and for the Cooke City area north of Yellowstone National Park, officials said. Heavy snow fell over the last several days and more was forecast Friday, along with strong winds and some rain, leading to the warnings and treacherous road conditions in several areas of the state.

The snowslides included one that covered the westbound lanes where drivers had to shovel a path out, officials said. The snowslides were cleared by Friday afternoon and most vehicles were moved out of the area, with the possible exception of semi drivers who were sleeping in their trucks, Felix said.

Michigan

Fraternity sued to stop parties

YPSILANTI — A prosecutor filed a lawsuit to try to temporarily stop parties hosted by a Eastern Michigan University fraternity, citing sexual assaults and excessive alcohol consumption. Delta Tau Delta has created a public nuisance, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

“We are trying to address what are very dangerous conditions that have been associated with partying and alcohol consumption at that fraternity,” a prosecutor said. A public nuisance lawsuit is a legal strategy sometimes aimed at drug houses or other crime dens. This lawsuit also seeks sexual assault and alcohol awareness training. “We detailed 15 reported sexual assaults since 2014 that either occurred at parties or following parties at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house as well as other sexual assault-adjacent incidents,” Savit said.

The fraternity hasn’t commented on the lawsuit. Separately, local and national chapters recently settled a lawsuit with at least 10 women who said they were assaulted.

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