My website is in its nascent phases, so you will see a lot of announcements along the lines of “This is a brand-new feature!” in the days and weeks ahead. Today’s novelty? The Monday Roundup: Basically, at some point on a Monday evening, I will review the obscure stories (usually the ones that are further down the journalistic food chain) and provide a bit of short commentary and the appropriate links as well. Got it? So, let’s get started!
Our first item takes us to beautiful Australia, where Prime Minister Tony Abbott isn’t exactly known as a practical man when it comes to the issue of climate change. The frontpage of today’s Sydney Morning Herald opens with an account of how Mr Abbott manoeuvred himself into a somewhat awkward position on climate change – an issue, as the Herald reminds us “has been central to the downfall of the last three prime ministers”.
Meanwhile, in India, the new foreign minister hasn’t exactly endeared herself to recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi – as she has caused a minor firestorm with controversial comments involving the intersection of religion and nationhood. Meanwhile, the prime minister himself is campaigning on behalf of the local state party in legislative assembly elections in the militarily sensitive border state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sadly, New Delhi is once again in the news for a horrific rape (which occurred in an Uber taxi), triggering a renewed introspection about the safety of women in the nation’s capital. Why serious action hasn’t been taken against prospective rapists and sexual predators by either the federal or state government is frankly beyond me. Some quarters in India are still reflexively blaming the victim. It is these kinds of antiquated attitudes that make me say: “Grow up!”. For a society wishing to be a twenty-first century global player, India isn’t doing enough to guarantee safety to women – that’s not good enough, and if the country doesn’t tackle the issue head-on, it can expect its tourist numbers to decline.
Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, the government is expecting new revelations in the LuxLeaks affair centred on elaborate tax optimization schemes designed to lower the tax burden of several multinational corporations – an affair that may still claim recently elected European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as its most high-profile victim. Watch this space! Nearby France is witnessing a rather seasonal dilemma for the Front National of prospective presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. In the municipalities in which it governs, the FN (traditionally a party defending the system of laicité) suddenly finds itself in the position of defending the display of nativity scenes in its town halls.
Last, but not least, Transparency International is offering up its thoughts for why China is becoming more corrupt.