Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

AUSTRALIAN PM RUDD A BAD BET?

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Can Australian PM Kevin Rudd salvage his prime ministership?

AUSTRALIA-POLITICS/

By Michael Perry
Chief Correspondent, Australia

Australians love to gamble, in fact they say Aussies would bet on two flies crawling up a wall.

But even the most hardened Aussie gambler would be shocked at the recent blowout in odds for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Australia’s Centrebet online bookmaker recorded the biggest single day’s surge in political betting in May, with a rush of money against Rudd’s Labor government in favour of the conservative Liberal-National opposition.

For the past two years Rudd, elected in 2007, has been unbackable to win the next election, expected this October. But voter support for his government has nosedived in the first half of 2010 and Rudd is at risk of becoming the first, one-term prime minister since 1932, according to the latest Reuters Poll Trend.

from Afghan Journal:

An Indian in Kabul

(Outside the Indian embassy in Kabul after a blast in October 2009.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

(Outside the Indian embassy in Kabul after a blast in October 2009. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

India and Pakistan are both competing for influence in Afghanistan in a modern-day version of the Great Game that has complicated the search for a settlement, but on the streets of Kabul the Indians still seem to evoke greater goodwill.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s Ahmadi killings and the conscience of a nation

graveyardThe fierce debate about the nature of Pakistani society triggered by the killing of more than 80 Ahmadis in two mosques in Lahore last month continues to run and run.

Much of the discussion is about why the government had failed to stop the religious right from preaching hatred against the Ahmadis, who are considered non-Muslims in Pakistan because they revere their 19th century founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, breaching - according to Pakistani law - a requirement that Muslims accept the finality of the Prophet Mohammad.

from Andrew Marshall:

Political risk in Asia: What to watch this week

JAPAN-POLITICS/

My regular roundup of key Asian political risk themes to watch in the week ahead, with links to the news stories and analysis produced by Reuters correspondents across the region.

JAPAN GETS A NEW PRIME MINISTER (AGAIN)

Japan has its fifth prime minister in three years -- Naoto Kan, 63, a fiscal conservative with a reformist image.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Taliban talks and the lobster quadrille

holbrookeAll of us do thought association in different ways depending on history, culture and education. But for me personally the latest round of discussion about talking to the Taliban has me thinking about Lewis Carroll's "The Lobster Quadrille" (with one word changed):

"Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the talks?
 Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the talks?"

Life no paradise in EU’s outer regions

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The Caribbean island of St. Martin, a member of the European UnionTimes are hard in distant corners of the European Union, even when the sun is shining and the euro zone’s debt problems are thousands of miles away.

Leaders of nine regions on the edges of the EU are asking the rest of the 27-country bloc to pay more attention to their needs and shape investment policies better to their problems, exacerbated in some cases by the global economic crisis.

China suicides: 5 things you need to know

global_post_logoThis article by Kathleen E. McLaughlin first appeared in GlobalPost.

BEIJING, China – Ten suicides this year at Foxconn’s electronics factory in southern China have cast a renewed spotlight on China’s migrant workers, who staff the production lines that make iPads, mobile phones and just about everything else for the world’s electronics consumers.

In an open letter this month, prominent Chinese sociologists called on the government to reform the country’s production model, which depends on churning through low-paid quasi-legal migrants. China has an estimated 150 million to 200 million domestic migrant workers.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Killings of Ahmadis unleashes fresh soul-searching over Pakistan’s identity

ahmadiIn a country which has suffered many bombings, the killing of more than 80 people in two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore last week has unleashed a particularly anguished bout of soul-searching in Pakistan, going right to the heart of its identity as an Islamic nation.

When he heard the news, wrote Kamran Shafi in Dawn, "I ran home and put on the TV and burst into tears, first of rage and a seething anger; and then of complete and utter helplessness and sadness. Shame on us."

from Afghan Journal:

Afghanistan’s Peace Jirga – live

Afghanistan is holding a peace jirga or a meeting of tribal elders and notables to discuss plans for a political settlment of the nine-year conflict. Reuters text, pictures and television journalists will be blogging live from Kabul when the conference opens on June 2 in a giant tent under heavy security guard.

from Afghan Journal:

On the road to Bagram, a glimpse of Afghanistan’s war economy

(File picture of a refugee camp in Bagram district)

(File picture of a refugee camp in Bagram district)

Returning to Bagram, the massive U.S. and NATO base north of the Afghan capital, after an interval of two years is an instructive experience. The first thing that hits you as you drive through the dusty Shomali plains, framed by snowcapped mountains, is the war economy. All along the road out of Kabul are huge container depots and trucks -- either on their way to Bagram or returning -- lined up by the road. Most of the trucks are from Pakistan, marked by brightly decorated exteriors that have become an art form which lightens life on the road.

The U.S. military transports everything from the gum that soldiers chew almost incessantly to the armoured vehciles they use to fight the war -- there is virtually nothing the military can source from here yet. For all the troubles in Pakistan, anything up to 80 percent of the military supplies into landlocked Afghanistan are routed through there. That's the geographical reality with supplies shipped to the warm water port of Karachi and then driven up through Pakistan and into Afghanistan most of it through the northwest, but also the crossing in Baluchistan, further south.

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