Pakistani Push-back - In an interview with the Guardian, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani insists his country did not shelter Osama bin Laden and blames global intelligence shortcomings for allowing the late al-Qaeda leader to live there for years undetected. “There is no complicity. I think it’s an intelligence failure from all over the world,” he said. On the allegations of complicity, he adds: “Why should we do that? We have suffered the most.”
Cataloging Atrocities - The Washington Post reports that a South Korean government-funded human rights group has released a series of raw firsthand accounts of North Korea’s political prison camps. “The 381-page report, based on about 200 face-to-face interviews with defectors who survived the camps, is a significant step for a South Korean government that has long remained quiet about the human rights abuses of its neighbor,” it writes.
Facing the Haze – The AFP reports that Beijing plans to get rid of 1,200 high-polluting enterprises by 2015 to improve the air quality in the Chinese capital – one of the world’s most polluted cities. “Industrial pollution is one of the main factors influencing the air quality in this city,” it quotes the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau as saying, noting the bureau did not specify whether the enterprises would be relocated to other areas of the country.
Trigger Happy – China’s English-language newspaper China Daily writes a threatening editorial regarding the claim of the Philippines on Huangyan Island, labeling it “groundless.” The piece goes on to assert that although China has always “deemed war the last resort in handling state-to-state relations,” it is a “dangerous delusion” for the Philippines to assume that it is not “afraid to fight when necessary” in order to put an end to the Philippines “being a troublemaker” and to compel it to drop the claim it regards as “ridiculous.”
Sexual Politics – In light of President Obama’s landmark announcement in favor of gay marriage – the first U.S. president to hold such a stance publicly – the Associated Press weighs up the “gamble” that he took in order to support this cause, questioning whether his “embracing” of “younger, college-educated and largely urban voters” is a worthwhile sacrifice of the support of social conservatives in the “battleground states.”
Deficit Dilemma – After anti-austerity voters made their voices heard in European elections last weekend, the BBC analyzes the tension between growth policies and austerity measures on the continent, calling it the “conundrum that divides economists.” The piece forecasts problems ahead as Germany is bound to continue to push austerity measures, while other European powers such as France will concentrate more on growth.