Probing Tragedy – The Guardian exclusively reveals a nine-month Council of Europe investigation found a “catalog of failures” by NATO warships and European coastguards led to the deaths of dozens of migrants left adrift at sea last year. “… Ambiguity in the coastguards’ distress calls and confusion about which authorities were responsible for mounting a rescue, were compounded by a long-term lack of planning … over the inevitable increase in refugees fleeing north Africa during the international intervention in Libya,” it writes.
Assessing Estrangement – Pakistani daily Dawn features an op-ed on the future of U.S. relations following a meeting between the two countries’ leaders on the sidelines of the recent Seoul nuclear security summit – and calls for compromise in DC and Islamabad. “… both countries will have to get less stubborn and more pragmatic … a clear-eyed view of the relationship makes it plain that such compromises will be necessary,” it concludes.
Pirate Party – Germany’s Der Spiegel reports on the political establishment’s struggle to deal with the country’s newest political force, which now has seats in two state parliaments and owns the debate on internet issues. “But although the party’s radical experiments in transparency and participation may have caught its rivals off guard, its no-holds-barred debating culture can also backfire,” it says.
National Strike – Spain’s El País reports that commerce and industry will be most effected by Thursday’s 24-hour general strike against labor reforms. Union leaders are claiming 90% observance though the effects are strongest felt in larger cities and in the north. The strike comes on the heels of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s 2012 budget. The New York Times explains that to meet the requirements of the European Commission, the budget contains an additional $26 billion in spending cuts in a country with unemployment more than twice the European average.
Pasty Problems – The New Statesmen explores how a meat pastry became a larger symbol of Britain’s current political battles. The so-called “pasty tax,” equaling a 20% price increase on hot supermarket food became the opposition Labour Party’s latest attack on how the current government is out of touch with everyday Britons. The Daily Telegraph adds the topic has politicians scrambling to declare their love for the savory delight.
Death Row- Three Japanese prisoners were hanged Wednesday marking the first executions in more than a year and a half. The BBC reports that Japan, along with the U.S., is one of the few advanced industrialized countries continuing to use the death penalty. Usually reserved for those convicted of multiple murders, conditions on Japan’s death row are hard. Inmates spend almost all of their time in solitary cells and are given no advance warning of their execution date, meaning prisoners live in fear each day is their last, the author writes.