Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

U.S. immigrant population dips in recession

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By Tim Gaynor

The foreign born population in the United States dipped slightly last year for the first time in more than a generation, as this nation of immigrants weathered its worst recession in decades, figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week indicated.

The Bureau’s American Community Survey showed the total foreign-born population dipped by around 99,000 people to 37.9 million in 2008, as the U.S. sank into its most extended recession since the Great Depression. It was the first recorded decline since 1970.

The Census Bureau cautioned that the dip in the foreign born, to 12.5 percent of the population in 2008 from 12.6 percent in 2007, was well within the margin of error, although analysts found it nevertheless suggestive.

“It’s a modest decline when you’re looking at the overall size of the foreign born population of about 38 million ….  but that said, it is the first time that there has been one,” said Michelle Mittelstadt, of the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington.

Oz PM Rudd gets an “F” for language

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As the U.S. Congress roils over use of the word “liar” against President Barack Obama, Australia
is in uproar over the prime minister’s use of the F-word.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, once a diplomat, was this week forced to defend his “robust” language used against a group of unhappy junior lawmakers in his own centre-left Labor Party while slashing back their official pay entitlements.

from Africa News blog:

Nigeria’s image problem

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For anyone who has seen the hit film District 9, it’s no surprise a Nigerian minister would be upset by it.

The science fiction film, set in South Africa, is an allegory on segregation and xenophobia, with alien life forms cooped up in a township of the type that grew up under apartheid and victimised and despised by humans of all descriptions.

Fringe parties abound but have little chance in German election

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Strangers to electoral office and with little experience in government, 23 parties outside the political mainstream are aiming to gain ground in Germany’s federal election this month, and their success or failure may give a taste of what’s to come in a country whose two main parties are losing appeal. Some analysts say that without reform, the number and importance of smaller parties will rise and make the country’s coalition system of government unmanageable – a harrowing reminder of the chaos of the Weimar years that made Hitler’s rise possible. At the moment the small parties are polling at around 5 percent, compared to the last election when they won 4 percent. But none alone is even close to clearing the 5 percent hurdle to access parliament.

Most of the micro-parties are based on single issues, some focusing on things like pensioners rights or animal protection. A smattering of religious parties are calling for stronger Christian values, and far-left groups urge different visions of proletarian revolution and state economic control. The computer-geek founded Pirate Party, which is also the fastest growing party in Germany, wants to legalise free downloads.

Trust in Lebanese financier shakes Hezbollah’s image

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By Yara Bayoumy

The case of Salah Ezz el-Din, a Shi’ite Lebanese financier who has been accused of embezzlement and alleged to have defrauded Shi’ite investors, including Hezbollah officials, of hundreds of millions of dollars, has Lebanon in a stir.

The overall amount pales in comparison to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, but in a community of little more than a million Shi’ites, it has meant that many have had their life-savings wiped out.

Germany’s ‘Pirate Party’ hopes for election surprise

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Founded by computer geeks in Sweden in 2006 and now active in 33 countries, the Pirate Party is hoping to win over young, disaffected voters in Germany’s federal election on Sept. 27 with demands to reform copyright and patent laws along with their policies that oppose internet censorship and surveillance. But do the single-issue activists, with no stance on foreign policy or the economy, even have the faintest hope of overcoming the five percent hurdle needed to enter parliament?

This looks unlikely given the 0.9 percent of the vote they won at the European parliamentary elections in June.  Nonethless, the Piratenpartei with more than 8,000 members is the fastest growing party in Germany, a development partly sparked by the German parliament’s ratification of controversial legislation on blocking certain websites in a bid to fight child pornography.

Aflaq, symbol of Iraq and Syria’s shared past

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The blue-domed memorial Saddam Hussein built in Baghdad to honour Baath party founder Michel Aflaq, a Syrian Christian who started the movement that dominated Iraq for decades and governs Syria today, has been turned into a shopping centre for U.S. soldiers.
Aflaq’s tomb, sitting at the centre of a vault adorned with Koranic verses and Arabesque designs, has been boarded up to make way for a barber shop, a store selling kitschy Iraq souvenirs, a pirate DVD vendor and a ring of other stores.

The new mall at Aflaq’s tomb, located on what is now a U.S. military base in central Baghdad, has thus sealed off a powerful symbol of the deep, and often strained, shared history between Iraq and Syria, one which is being tested in a new feud between Baghdad and Damascus.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad jumps the gun on Afghan poll

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By Golnar Motevalli

On Friday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — accused by thousands of Iranians back in June of stealing Iran’s own disputed election — congratulated Afghan president Hamid Karzai on being re-elected.

It was a bit premature: even Karzai himself hasn’t actually claimed victory in last month’s presidential poll.

U.S. Hispanics riled over immigrants’ healthcare exclusion

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By Tim Gaynor

President Barack Obama’s signature battle to overhaul the United States’ $2.5 trillion healthcare industry to extend coverage and lower costs for Americans has met fierce opposition from Republicans.

But a move by Democrat backers to exclude 12 million illegal immigrants from buying health coverage and restrict the participation of authorized migrants has drawn the ire of U.S. Hispanics — a bloc that overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Obama in last year’s election.

China’s Long March into Latin America

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A $16 billion oil deal between China and Venezuela signed this week illustrates Beijing’s growing economic might and political influence in Latin America.

Trade between the region and China has swelled from $10 billion in 2000 to more than $102 billion in 2008.

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