North Korea Executes Kim Jong-un’s Uncle
North Korea has executed Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, for treason after a military tribunal found him guilty four days after his arrest, which was broadcast by the country’s television. KCNA, North Korea’s official news agency, described Jang as a “traitor for all ages” who confessed to plotting a military coup against Kim Jong-un, as well as a host of other crimes including the peddling of pornography. The text also said Jang was “worse than a dog” and “despicable human scum”. His fall from grace is spectacular given that he was widely seen as the architect of Kim’s rise to power following the death of the late leader Kim Jong-il. “They are using this opportunity to scapegoat Uncle Jang by relegating responsibility for all policy failures”, said Leonid Petrov of the Australian National University in an interview to the Guardian newspaper. His execution has caused discomfort in South Korea, where the government has called an emergency session of its security council, fearing further instability in the north.
Belgian Senate Votes in Favour of Euthanasia for Children
The Belgian Senate has voted 50-17 in favour of extending its euthanasia law to terminally-ill children, a measure widely condemned by the country’s religious leaders. The law will allow for children to be euthanised if they are suffering a terminal illness, in great pain and with no recourse to treatment. It also says the patient must be fully conscious of what euthanasia is and that the request must be approved by parents and the medical team responsible for treatment. “There is no age for suffering and, next to that, it’s very important that we have a legal framework for the doctors who are confronted with this demand today and for the minors, for the capable minors, who are suffering today, and who I think should have the freedom to choose how they cope with their suffering”, said Senator Jean-Jacques de Gucht, one of the proponents of the measure.
Ireland Exits Eurozone Bailout
The Republic of Ireland announced on Friday that it was the first eurozone member to successfully complete the conditions stipulated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, exiting the financial bailout first entered into in 2008. “This isn’t the end of the road. This is a very significant milestone on the road”, said Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, adding that the country could not afford to “go mad again”. He also said that, despite exiting the bailout, the government would continue to pursue austerity measures until it could lower its deficit. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the exit was an important moment for Ireland and that the benefits of the measures taken so far would eventually filter down to the country’s most hard-pressed families.
UK Rejects EU Directive on Prisoners’ Right to Vote
British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to “clip the wings” of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), who has repeatedly ruled that the UK’s ban on prisoner voting is against European Law. “If Parliament decides that prisoners should not get the vote then I think they damn well shouldn’t. It should be a national decision taken by our Parliament”, said Cameron during a visit to a tea factory in Stockton-on-Tees on Friday. A bill which offers MPs a range of options, including the maintenance of the ban on prisoner voting, will be introduced in parliament early next year. It is expected that the ban will kept in effect by the governing coalition, which is also expected to scrap a piece of legislation binding the EU to the ECHR’s rulings.