India

Common Man Party government resigns

After just 50 days in power, Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, resigned last week, prompting another province-wide election. His Common Man Party (AAP) minority government, which shattered the two-party mould of Delhi politics by promising tough action on the corruption that is endemic in India, resigned after ky legislation was blocked by opponents. However, the AAP hopes to defend its new position as a major political force. It is fielding 20 candidates in the new election, though under intense competition from the centrist Congress Party and the popular centre-right opposition.

UN: North Korea regime guilty of “crimes against humanity”

In what has been described as the “most devasting” report even issued by the United Nation, its Human Rights Council has demanded that the leaders of the North Korea dictatorship should be brought to trial for “the great wrongs that have been done to the people of North Korea”. The council cited testimonies made to it by refugees from the authoritarian state, such as numerous cases of families being beaten and imprisoned merely for watching foreign soap operas. These allegations were brushed off by the North Korean government, who responded that: “We will continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime-change and pressure under the pretext of ‘human rights protection'”.

US Volkswagen workers reject representation

In a tremendous blow to the American labor movement and a shock to Volwagen’s US arm, which was supportive of the proposal, employees of a Tennessee car factory rejected an historic unionisation and representation deal. Workers voted by a 3% majority against joining the United Auto Workers (UAW) trade union, which would have meant the establishment of a European-style ‘work council’ in which elected employees would have an equal say on key decisions with management. However, opposition against the UAW-Volkwagen plan was boosted by an extensive campaign by right-wing campaigners who highlighted UAW’s connection with the Democratic Party.

Merkel sets out anti-spying plan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has outlined her proposals for responding to the scandalous interception of European telecommunications by the US’ NSA and the UK’s GCHQ. Merkel revealed that she wanted to work with other European governments to build a communications network on the Continent that would allow messages- like emails- to bypass the United States, through which they are currently routed. Also, the British and American embassies in Berlin are themselves to be placed under surveillance. The strength of feeling in Europe is such that there is little alternative but to react decisively to the NSA scandal.

“New IRA” claims responsibility for parcel bombs

British police have confirmed that the group calling itself the New IRA is responsible for sending several ‘suspicious packages’ to provincial army recruitment centres around England. The Ministry of Defence successfully dealt with the parcel bombs before they could detonate. The attacks mark a resurgence in the strength and activity of militant republican groups, who are increasingly active on mainland Britain. Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister, leader of the Sinn Fein party (originally the political arm of the Irish Republican Army) said “Those responsible belong to the past. Their futile acts must be condemned.”

Women hold 3% of top civil service jobs in Japan

The Japanese government has hailed the progress it has made towards its target of having 5% of the most senior posts in its civil service held by women by the end of 2015. There are no senior women at all in the National Police Agency and the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. The current figure, 287 women of the 9,691 senior officials, is a record high yet is dismissed by equality campaigners as a laughably low figure for an advanced economy like Japan. This compares with 53.7% female bosses in the Philippines’ civil service.

BY: JACK DARRANT