A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

World: Snippets

The Supreme Court of India just overturned the archaic British-era law that prohibits women from working as bartenders. A lucrative new opportunity for women! Details at the NYT.

Approximately 100 children between the ages of five and 15 years have disappeared from displaced persons' camps housing Reang tribespeople. The Reang fled their homes in the neighbouring province of Mizoram under pressure from the majority Mizo tribes. Auntie Beeb states that 5,000 women have also disappeared from various such camps over the past decade. Most of these tribal people are illiterate, and it is believed they were tricked into signing away their parental rights. Their children have reportedly been taken for the sex trade or for cheap labour. Some of the children have apparently been traced to the Ananda Marg, a secretive Hindu cult that is involved in various, often illegal, acvtivities.

China and India are holding joint war games as part of their joint fight against terrorism. Despite a border dispute which once marred their friendly relations, the two great nations are showing every inclination of strengthening their ties.

Workers in Macau protested the lack of democracy in the PRC-controlled island that prevents the workers from enjoying the economic benefits of Macau's current boom. Protests are uncommon in the island, although one occurred earlier this year against the importation of cheap foreign labour.

Lee Myung-bak is the new President of South Korea. Unfortunately, he appears to be a hardliner and a conservative, which means difficulties in improving relations with North Korea. Even more unfortunately, the South Korean National Assembly has voted to appoint a special counsel to look into charges of fraud against Mr. Lee. Although he will not automatically lose his post if convicted (unless for treason), a conviction would weaken both the President-elect and his political party.

Thailand is holding elections this Sunday, the first since the Thai generals ousted the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra. Martial law is still in effect in 31 of the country's 76 provinces, mostly those in the North. The Northern provinces strongly support Thaksin, whose populist policies awoke the sleeping rural giant and brought enormous change to Thailand. Regardless of what happens in the elections, the ultimate result will be a coalition government composed of several different parties.

Jacob Zuma is the new President of South Africa. A great achievement after years of imprisonment by the former apartheid government and many other dangers that he has overcome. However, what does it mean that South Africa's Chief Prosecutor, Mokotedi Mpshe, has just announced that he has a substantive case against Mr. Zuma on charges of criminal corruption, and he is ready to go to court? Either way it bodes ill for the country. If the prosecutor proves his case, Mr. Zuma will be forced to step down and a new head of state must be chosen. If the prosecutor fails to prove his case, it will still mean a lengthy legal battle, and a cloud may continue to hang over the presidency.

Australian police, acting on a tip from Interpol, have arrested 31 men on charges of child pornography. They identified one child as being "at risk" and removed the child from further harm.

Lex the German Shepherd bomb-sniffing dog has officially been released from duty. He is retiring to the home of his former handler's family. His handler was killed on duty in Iraq.

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