One Piece has entered its final phase, according to Eiichirō Oda

One Piece has entered its final phase, according to Eiichirō Oda

One Piece has entered its final phase

Eiichirō Oda, the author of the One Piece manga, candidly announced on Twitter that the adventures of Luffy Straw Hat and crew have entered their final phase, making it clear that we will soon see the conclusion. Consider that we are talking about a work begun in 1997 and which boasts several records such as being the best-selling manga ever, as well as one of the longest-running.

After all, the revelations of the last narrative arc had made to suspect to many that the moment of the end was near. The confirmation of Oda came in a message celebrating the launch of the 100th volume of the series. Oda joked about the space occupied by the hundred volumes and reiterated his commitment to the series and all the fans who have followed him so far. To make the souls jump (sorry for the terrible pun) was however a small part of the text: "The story is in the final phase".

It would also be time to see the end of One Piece, even if it is not easy to understand how much this "final phase" corresponds to oda, in terms of other volumes that await us. Of course, many of his first readers have grown up by now, considering that almost twenty-five years have passed since the first volume. After all, we are all very curious to understand what will be at the end of this long journey.

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Afghanistan live news: warnings of ‘imminent’ terror attack as evacuations enter final phase

6.34am EDT 06:34

Qatar is offering Covid-19 vaccines to evacuees from Afghanistan who are temporarily staying in the country, which has been facilitating global evacuation efforts since the Taliban seized Kabul, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Qatar, which hosts the largest US military base in the region, has so far helped evacuate more than 40,000 people to Doha and will continue to facilitate international efforts in “the coming days”, the ministry said in a statement.

Those who do not immediately transit to other countries are being provided with a PCR test and Covid-19 vaccine, if requested, it said, adding that Doha is temporarily hosting “a large number of evacuees most of them students, families and journalists”.

Pressure to complete the evacuation of thousands of foreigners and Afghans who helped western countries during the 20-year war against the Taliban has intensified, with all American and allied troops due to leave the airport next week.

Qatar has also agreed with the United States to temporarily host 8,000 Afghan nationals while the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have both said they would host 5,000.

6.00am EDT 06:00

India says it has evacuated most of its nationals from Afghanistan and is doing everything to bring them back home.

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a meeting of political leaders today that India has operated six flights so far from Kabul. “A few of them (Indians) are still there.”

He didn’t give the exact number of Indians and Afghans evacuated so far from Kabul but the Indian media put their numbers around 800.

He declined to say how India is going to deal with the Taliban government in Afghanistan. “The situation in Afghanistan is yet to settle down. I will talk about it later,” Jaishankar told reporters.

New Delhi had stayed away from the Taliban except for back-channel contacts in recent months. It did not recognise the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

5.56am EDT 05:56

Qatar says it has helped the evacuation of more than 40,000 people from Kabul airport.

The small nation on the Arabian Peninsula says most will transit through Qatar after staying in temporary accommodations.

Qatar says that “the evacuation efforts will continue in the coming days in consultation with international partners.”

Qatar also hosts an office of the Taliban and was the site of negotiations between America, the toppled Afghan government and the insurgents.

Evacuations to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, continue as Afghans hurried to escape Taliban rule. Photograph: Noah Coger/US AIR FORCE/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 6.53am EDT

5.43am EDT 05:43

The Royal Air Force has so far airlifted more than 12,000 people out of Afghanistan in the race against time to help those fleeing the Taliban before the deadline for the departure of foreign forces.

But there are fears hundreds could be left behind, with a terror threat at Kabul airport heaping pressure on the evacuation effort during its final stages.

Yesterday, it was believed nearly 2,000 people assessed as eligible under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap) remained on the ground.

But UK armed forces minister James Heappey said the number outstanding has now dropped to “potentially half” of the previous estimate.

Arap is designed to allow those Afghans, such as interpreters, who helped the UK forces and are there at a heightened risk of persecution by the Taliban.

Embassy staff and British nationals are also being evacuated, as are some from allied countries.

An unidentified number of “special cases” may be eligible for evacuation, such as LGBTQ advocates, judges and human rights activists.

British ministers have conceded that they will not bea> able to help everyone flee before UK troops leave Kabul.

They hope that Afghan citizens may be able to depart at a later date, despite the Taliban having said “we are not in favour of allowing Afghans to leave”.

Heappey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he expects that Kabul’s airport will be able to reopen for civilian flights because the “Taliban don’t want to be an international pariah”.

Passengers evacuated from Afghanistan are escorted across the tarmac after disembarking a British military transport aircraft at RAF Brize Norton station in southern England in the early hours of the morning. Photograph: Jacob King/AFP/Getty Images

5.18am EDT 05:18

Poland rounds up its Kabul airlifts after evacuating more than 1,300 people

Poland has completed its Afghanistan evacuation mission after transporting more than 1,300 people from Kabul, officials said today.

The evacuees were mainly Afghan staff of the Polish military contingent, but also included employees of the European Union and International Monetary Fund, AFP reports.

“More than 1,300 people have been transported to Poland,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz told reporters in Warsaw, adding that evacuations were being stopped “for security reasons”.

Przydacz said Taliban authorities were only allowing foreign citizens to depart as of yesterday.

Among the evacuees there were also 175 former employees of the Lithuania military contingent and a few who had assisted Estonian troops.

There was also a Dutch family and a person evacuated at the request of the International Olympic Committee, Przydacz said.

5.10am EDT 05:10

Pakistan calls for continued engagement with Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister has called on the international community to continue engagement with Afghanistan, saying it was a “way forward to avert any humanitarian crisis and secure peace and stability.”

Imran Khan made his comment during a meeting with David Beasley, the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program who met with him in Islamabad.

Khan also called for the formation of an inclusive government to ensure peace and avoid an humanitarian crisis, after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

The latest development comes as dozens of Afghans continue to enter Pakistan via its land borders. But the number of Afghan people entering Pakistan through land routes has been steadily decreasing since earlier this week.

5.06am EDT 05:06

A British man who got married in Kabul a week before it fell to the Taliban has described the experience as a “rollercoaster of emotions”.

Abdul and Fatima, whose names have been changed, had their wedding at the start of the month and within days the Taliban had arrived outside the capital, which fell into their control on Sunday 15 August.

Since then the couple have been threatened with death by Taliban soldiers, fled the country and are now spending their “honeymoon” in quarantine in a hotel in London.

The 25-year-old medical student, who was born in Afghanistan, told the PA news agency:

I got married in the first week of August, on the second week, I heard the Taliban were on the outskirts of Kabul.

You’re happy you’ve just had your wedding, invited hundreds of people, then suddenly you hear the news.

I’ve never been in such a situation before where you’re very happy and then it hits the ground, and then it’s hard to come back up.

Abdul grew up in the outskirts of Kabul before relocating to London as a teenager, and returned to his birthplace in early July after finishing his second-year exams at a UK medical school.

He and his wife arrived into Birmingham airport on Monday night after an evacuation flight from Kabul, and are now quarantining in a hotel in Westminster.

They are now concerned for the safety of those left behind.

He said:

Right now, if I don’t listen to the news I can gain peace of mind just for a while.

But my wife, because she has family members in Afghanistan, she keeps watching TV.

I think with people who are in Afghanistan at the moment, they have no hope... they are expected to be beaten up by the Taliban.

Abdul said a Taliban member threatened to kill him in front of his wife last week after he showed his British passport at a checkpoint in Kabul.

“They told me ‘if there wasn’t international pressure on us, we would have shot you dead’,” Abdul said.

Updated at 5.06am EDT

5.02am EDT 05:02

An Australian citizen has been beaten and kidnapped by the Taliban as he tried to leave the country, before being released after pleas from his family.

He remains in hiding in Afghanistan. His wife and brother are in Australia.

The man, whom the Guardian is choosing not to name for fear of further attacks, was shown in a video with blood streaming from wounds on his head.

4.58am EDT 04:58

Russia to supply weapons to Afghanistan's neighbours

Russia has said it has received new orders for arms and helicopters from Central Asian republics bordering Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

The orders come as countries in the ex-Soviet region, where Moscow holds military bases, have raised concerns over the militant group sweeping to power.

“We are already working on a number of orders from countries in the region for the supply of Russian helicopters, fire arms and modern border protection systems,” Alexander Mikheev, the head of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told the RIA Novosti news agency.

While Russia remains cautiously optimistic about the new leadership in Kabul, it has warned of militants entering neighbouring countries as refugees.

Uzbekistan and Tajikistan earlier this month held joint military exercises with Russia close to their borders with Afghanistan.

While the Taliban has said it does not pose a threat to Central Asian countries, the ex-Soviet republics in the region have previously been targeted by attacks attributed to allies of Afghan Islamists.