South Korea has elected its first female president. The 18th president of the republic was named Park Geun-hye was announced yesterday. A ceremonial role, the new president has been well received, despite being the daughter of a thecountry’s Cold War dictator.
The world was shocked by the coordinated attack and killings of eight aid workers in Pakistan. The victims, all killed within 48 hours, were members of a scheme to immunise children against the crippling polio virus. The attacks have been blamed on Islamist groups. Polio has been in retreat across the globe, with the exception of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, all of which have Islamist groups operating and targeting foreign aid workers, seeing them as agents of Western governments. Fuel was added to this view when it emerged that the CIA has used a Pakistani doctor to spy on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, under the guise of a polio vaccinator.
Russian lawmakers are debating a bill that would see adoption of Russian children my Americans. From 1999 to 2011, 45,112 adoptions to the United States came from Russia, second to only China. The bizarre move is widely seen as retaliation to a recent law U.S. President Barack Obama signed on December 14, the Magnitsky Act, that imposes U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia.
The Republic of Ireland is to pass legislation allowing abortions in cases where the mothers life is at risk. Ireland has one of the strictest regimes on abortion in Europe, with many Irish women travelling to the UK for the procedure, while others risk using backstreet home made clinics. Ireland’s cabinet took the decision following a public outcry over the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman in October who died after her repeated requests for an abortion were refusedwhile she was suffering a miscarriage.
Israel have announced plans for more settlements on the West Bank, in spite of criticism from across the world, and a growing anti settlement movement inside the Jewish state. 1,500 new apartments are planned for East Jerusalem, the city many Palestinians view as their future capital.
V for Vendetta, a film much loved by both Left Wing anarchists and Right Wing libertarians alike, previously censored in China, was aired on China Central Television Station (CCTV) Channel Six on December 14. Many were surprised by the screening, in particular the mask of V, which has been used by activists all over the world as a symbol of resistance against government oppression.