International News Briefs

Hunger persists despite food production surpluses

MALAWI: Despite a report of significant surpluses of maize, over one million Malawians will still be food-insecure, according to The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said this week that the problem is a lack of organization and funds to transport the extra crops to the country’s south, a region suffering from continuing drought. Despite five consecutive years of overall crop surpluses, the number of people who are food insecure increased by 850,000 from last year.

Minimum wage finds little support in Hong Kong

HONG KONG: A commission to find a fair rate for Hong Kong’s first minimum wage will likely find little approval among either employers or employees, the BBC reported. Hong Kong, which is semi-autonomous from China, sets many of its own laws and is behind other countries in the region in setting up a minimum wage. The final number decided on by the commission – the equivalent of $3.75 CAD – has been deemed too high by employers and too low by workers. The mandatory minimum will increase the wages of about 11 per cent of Hong Kong’s population.

Politician’s unusual tactics raise funds, eyebrows

VENEZUELA: In an effort to raise money for his election campaign, Gustavo Rojas has created a raffle with a breast enlargement operation as the grand prize, according to the BBC. Rojas, who hopes to be elected to Venezuela’s National Assembly later this month, describes the raffle as being only a “financing mechanism.” Approximately 30,000 Venezuelans opt to receive breast enlargement of some kind each year, which could make Mr. Rojas’s $6 raffle tickets very tempting. The success of the raffle will become clear on Sunday, Sept. 26 when Venezuelans go to the polls.

Tiger will not fly

THAILAND: A Thai woman was caught last week in the Bangkok airport while trying to smuggle a tiger cub onto a flight to Iran, the BBC reported. Only two months old, the tiger had been drugged and then placed in a large suitcase among several stuffed toy tiger cubs for camouflage. Thai authorities said the foiled smuggling attempt highlights the need for stronger penalties to dissuade wildlife trafficking. The cub is being cared for at a rescue centre while authorities investigate whether the animal is wild or was bred in captivity.

Afghan prosecutor fired for seeking corruption charges

AFGHANISTAN: Aljazeera reported last week that Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, fired one of the country’s top prosecutors who had insisted on proceeding with investigations into top government officials. The former deputy attorney-general, Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, told the New York Times that the investigations into more than two dozen government officials were frustrated by Karzai, who continually refused to sign the necessary documents. Karzai’s government has insisted that Faqiryar was simply due for retirement. Afghanistan is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, with bribery accounting for an estimated one-quarter of its GDP, according to the UN.

Published in Volume 65, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 9, 2010)

Related Reads