Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Riding on the back of a scooter is an exercise in letting go. Your ride shows up and leaves the engine idling; they hand you a spare helmet; you throw your leg over and before you can remember what you were so damn worried about ... it's happening. At some magical point of weaving through choked streets lit by illegible billboards — up and under narrow one-lane overpasses — passing chicken trucks and ever-menacing blue pickups, the secret fear of handing control over to a stranger slides away and gets left behind like an old self.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Toru Hashimoto, ultranationalist mayor of Osaka, was right when he said last week Japan was not alone in using what are euphemistically called comfort women as sex slaves for soldiers. He said soldiers living with the daily threat of death needed some way to let off steam, which was provided by the comfort women system.
> Joe Hung
The recovery of the Japanese economy, just as a recession in Europe digs in, is renewing pressure on European policymakers to shift course from austerity to stimulus.
The latest tit-for-tat EU-China trade disputes could signal worse to come but both sides have a lot to lose if things get out of hand and harm the much-needed economic growth they seek, analysts said.
Data released last week showed Greece entered its sixth straight year of recession, but there is now cautious optimism about the economy's prospects although unemployment is still hitting record highs and consumers are squeezed by pay cuts and tax hikes.
Tense engineers have their eyes peeled on complex color-coded diagrams on a wall-sized screen that makes their control room look like the inside of a spaceship.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
A fairly detailed article in a local English newspaper this week on the subject of teenagers seeking cosmetic surgery lies behind my words today. The article had to have caught the attention of many, and for more than one reason.
Pakistan's National Assembly elections on May 11 provided a significant victory to Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-N. Despite violence, turnout was approximately 60 percent. A peaceful power transition to this opposition party means progress from the nation's history of military coups.
The most feared and effective rebel group battling President Bashar al-Assad, the Islamist Nusra Front, is being eclipsed by a more radical jihadi force whose aims go far beyond overthrowing the Syrian leader.
Left adrift in the wake of President Barack Obama's November election victory, the anti-tax tea party is predicting renewed popularity and relevance — thanks to the scandal now rocking the IRS.