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Japan and South Korea solved their Korean "comfort women" dispute last week with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offering an apology for the victims and pledging US$8.3 million to create a foundation to help provide support for them. The pledge isn't considered governmental compensation that the Koreans had demanded. Moreover, the deal was made orally and there isn't a written accord.
Recently a friend of mine called to inform that his nephew (studying in class three in an English medium school in Dhaka) has been severely beaten by his teacher.
A few days ago I read B.R. Ambedkar's essay, "Buddha or Karl Marx." Ambedkar writes that the basic tenets of Marxism involve violence, as the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be established without. The second objection was on the duration of dictatorship.
Shape the term "comfort women" on your lips, and pronounce its separate sounds aloud in your mind. This is easy to do. Indeed, talking about "comfort women" on a shallow level is not difficult. The more however we contemplate upon a few realities here, the more complicated the topic seems. An apparently simple expression becomes a nasty combination of complex notions, not to mention emotions, each more troubling than the other.
"Nattering nabobs of negativism," is probably the most enduring of the many alliterative pronouncements of Spiro Agnew, vice president in the Nixon administration until forced to resign because of corruption. This particular phrase, penned by Nixon speechwriter William Safire, derogatively denigrated diligent reporters for placing bad news above good.
The end of a calendar year is an occasion to take stock of everything that has gone before and look forward to a new timeframe where things will hopefully be better.
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It's time to consult the crystal snow globe for a look at both the likely and unexpected events which will shape the New Year. Serious strife both in the Middle East, and Africa to a lesser extent, have expanded leading to a culture of conflict with the ensuing reverberations of refugees which have swamped into neighboring countries and deeper into Europe.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998)
Today ASEAN wakes up to a new reality: the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This new reality marks the culmination of the region's long-held aspiration for the people of Southeast Asia to determine their own political, economic and socio-cultural courses.
It's official. Mainland China has put an end to its highly contentious "one-child policy," dating to the late 1970s. As of Jan. 1, all mainland Chinese couples are now allowed to have two children.
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