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Friday, November 15, 2013

Cameron Mobbed by Protesters in Sri Lanka

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s entourage was mobbed by protesters in the streets of Jaffna, in northern Sri Lanka, who claimed their relatives had been killed by the state during the more than 25 years of conflict. The BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, who was travelling with the prime minister, wrote that “he was greeted by two rival demonstrations. On one side of the road, there was a group of clearly pro-regime demonstrators who, amusingly, carried almost identical printed signs written in English. Their rival group, composed largely of women, was equally well-organised. As the prime minister arrived they rushed forward to try to see him and were held back by a police. They were carrying in their hands identically laminated pictures of their loved ones, the so-called disappeared – sons, daughters, mothers and fathers who went missing during the civil war”. Cameron is in the country for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and has said he would bring up the question of human rights violations during a meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

China to Loosen One-Child Policy

The Chinese Communist Party has said it will loosen the country’s one-child policy in an attempt to shore up public support for its rule as part of a number of reforms decided upon during its 18th Central Committee meeting. “We will begin to allow couples to have two children if one of them is an only child. We will gradually change and perfect our family planning policy and boost the population to grow steadily in the long term”, said one of the documents released by the party. Currently the policy only applies to the country’s urban population. Rural Chinese residents can have a second child if their first is a girl and ethnic minorities are exempt from the rule altogether. The government will also close the country’s labour camps, give farmers some rights to their lands and also use 30 percent of the profits made by state companies for public spending.

IAEA Says Iran Has Stopped Expanding Nuclear Programme

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that Iran has slowed the expansion of its nuclear programme during the past three months, coinciding with the beginning of the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. A report published by the IAEA also says that no further components have been added to a plutonium-producing reactor that worries the P5+1 group composed of the US, Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “not impressed” by the report since Iran had “enough facilities, enough centrifuges to develop and to complete the fissile material which is at the core of an atomic bomb”. Talks between Iran and the P5+1 group are to resume in Geneva next week. The US had said that Iran backed out an agreement at the last minute during the last round of negotiations.

Typhoon Death Toll Increases as Aid Trickles In

The death toll in the Philippines after the passage of Typhoon Haiyan has been doubled by the UN, now standing at more than 4,000 on Friday. Filipino President Benigno Aquino had earlier predicted that the toll would reach at most 2,500, saying that any estimate higher than that had been influenced by “emotional drama”. A government estimate now has the figure above 3,600, but still below the UN figure. Meanwhile, helicopters from the USS George Washington have begun transporting aid supplies to some of the more devastated towns, such as Guiuan and Tacloban. But the transportation from the point where the supplies are dropped to the cities themselves is still a problem. “In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough. The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can’t reach everyone”, said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

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