Tears for a Dying World

Protesters take part in a rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in Tokyo's Shibuya district in May. | BLOOMBERG

Secrecy of TPP talks fuels concern about influence of corporate property lobby

WASHINGTON – Higher costs for needed generic drugs. Longer copyright protections than the global standard. Foreign investors empowered to overrule governments. A more tightly-regulated Internet. Those are just some of the potential pitfalls from any deal that could emerge from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation free trade and investment pact shrouded in secrecy as negotiations head into the final stage in Hawaii this week. A handful of draft chapters of the TPP, leaked via WikiLeaks, have highlighted the proposed treaty’s heavy emphasis on expanding protections for corporate rights and assets like intellectual property — patents, copyrights and databases — that...

Protesters march ahead of Monday's last State-of-the-Nation-Address by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III in Manila's suburn of Quezon City on Saturday. Thousands of protesters are expected to gather near the venue on Monday to protest. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Philippines’ Aquino struggles with legacy as clout fades

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino addresses parliament for the last time on Monday, racing to secure fragile legacies of peace in the war-torn south and a stronger economy. Aquino will make his final “State of the Nation Address” with his political clout fading and struggling to choose a successor for next year’s elections that would continue with his agendas, analysts told AFP. A peace treaty with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, aimed at ending decades of fighting that has claimed 120,000 lives, is in peril as a draft law granting self-rule to the Muslim minority is stalled in parliament....

Donald Trump

The Dangers of Democracy: Trump in the White House Race

  NEW YORK: He hogs the headlines, has satirists in stitches and the Republican establishment tearing their hair out. Donald Trump has hijacked the race for the White House. Since launching his campaign on June 16, the billionaire real estate mogul has cornered the limelight on almost daily basis — most strikingly by attacking Mexican immigrants and former prisoner of war Senator John McCain. This week he called rival Republican candidate Lindsey Graham a “total lightweight” and, in a stunning breach of normal political etiquette, read out his personal cellphone number to the crowd. He ridiculed former Texas governor Rick...

nepal-quake-759

Nepal faces monumental quake-debris problem

TSUKUBA, IBARAKI PREF. – A disastrous earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck Nepal on April 25. Barpak, a mountain village between the capital Kathmandu and the tourist town of Pokhara was the epicenter. More than 8,000 people died and 18,000 were injured. The catastrophic earthquake caused extensive damage to infrastructure, such as buildings, historical and cultural monuments, temples, and roads. A major aftershock on May 12, magnitude 7.3, killed an additional 65 people and left another 1,926 injured. The April 25 temblor was the most catastrophic earthquake in Nepal in eight decades, and it caused utter panic and chaos....

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ article in Le Monde newspaper: Europe at crossroads

On 25th of last January, the Greek people made a courageous decision. They dared to challenge the one-way street of the Memorandum’s tough austerity, and to seek a new agreement. A new agreement that will keep the country in the Euro, with a viable economic program, without the mistakes of the past. The Greek people paid a high price for these mistakes; over the past five years the unemployment rate climbed to 28% (60% for young people), average income decreased by 40%, while according to Eurostat’s data, Greece became the EU country with the highest index of social inequality. And...

Industrialization in Japan

The human cost of industrialization

  In the year the West knows as 604 A.D., one of Japan’s most revered statesmen, Shotoku Taishi, issued a “constitution,” the first of whose 17 articles states, “Harmony is to be valued.” So it was; so it is to this day — valued so highly that it is apt to be seen whether it exists or not. Japan’s industrialization was a government-led forced march to a national goal expressed in a government slogan: “Rich country, strong army.” Individual suffering counted for little. There was a good deal of it, inevitably. Peasants pouring into cities were herded into factories. Hours...

Obama and Abe

Obama afraid of improved relations between Japan and Russia, putting pressure on Abe

  U.S. President Barack Obama asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to deal cautiously with Russia at their summit in Washington in April, Japanese government sources said Saturday. Fully aware of Japan’s hope to realize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tokyo, Obama apparently wanted to make sure that Japan does not concede easily over the Ukraine crisis, according to the sources. In the summit, Obama stressed the importance of a careful approach toward Russia. The Group of Seven major economies have moved in step with one another on the issue and should continue to do so, Obama told Abe. Japan...

A girl about 12 years old has carried out a suicide attack at a bus station in north-eastern Nigeria, killing seven and injuring 31, witnesses say.

Little 12-year old girl, used by Muslims as suicide bomber, kills seven, injuring 31 in north-east Nigeria

“A girl aged about 12 detonated an explosive under her clothes as she approached the station’s perimeter fence,” said Danbaba Nguru, a shopkeeper who witnessed the attack in the town of Damaturu. “The road leading to the gates is always full of small traders … I was lucky not to have been hit.” The head of the local Sani Abacha hospital, doctor Gara Fika, said six bodies and at least 31 injured had arrived there with one person dying after being admitted. The Damaturu bus station has been repeatedly targeted in a string of previous suicide attacks. “I was in...

Soldiers stand guard on a road as they are deployed to remote villages in Jolo, Sulu southern Philippines, in this October 17, 2014 file photo. (Reuters)

This is what happens if you have Muslims in your backyard: 4 killed as Philippine troops clash with Abu Sayyaf

MANILA: Philippine troops overran a bomb factory of Abu Sayyaf militants after a firefight that killed three insurgents and a soldier in the country’s restive south, the military said Friday. Troops on Basilan Island, the birthplace of the militant Abu Sayyaf movement, clashed with 25 rebels who also included one Malaysian on Thursday, said Rear Adm. Reynaldo Yoma, a military task force commander. The four-hour running battle left one soldier dead and seven wounded, and on the side of the militants, three killed and three wounded. Soldiers, however, recovered the body of only one Abu Sayyaf fighter. Troops later entered...

Vatican calls for urgent action on climate change: Wealthiest have moral obligation to find solutions

Pope Francis is right to call for climate action

Pope Francis is calling on the world to take action against global warming, and many conservatives in the United States are up in arms. The pope should stick to morality, they say, and not venture into science. But, as the climate debate unfolds this year, most of humanity will find Francis’ message compelling: We need both science and morality to reduce the risk to our planet. The first point to note is that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Francis’ call for climate action. Unfortunately, their views are not represented in the U.S. Congress, which defends Big Coal and...