Quebec Shooting – Reuters observes how the narrow electoral victory of Quebec’s separatist Parti Quebecois has been overshadowed by a fatal shooting at a victory rally for incoming Premier Pauline Marois. The shooting was a particular shock for Canada, “where murder levels are around a third of those in the United States and political violence is extremely rare.” Despite ending nine years of rule by the Liberals, Quebecois failed to gain sufficient votes to form a majority government, preventing them from holding a referendum on Quebec’s independence from Canada.
Expensive False Spy Claim – The BBC reports that a South Korean court has ordered the government to award $2 million to a Korean fisherman who was falsely imprisoned as a North Korean spy for 15 years. In 1982, the fisherman, only identified by his last name Cheong, was “detained by the authoritarian, military-backed government then in power in South Korea and interrogated by anti-espionage agents,” it wrote. In 1965, Cheong was abducted by North Korea along with 109 other fishermen while fishing near the disputed border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea. He was released a month later but his stay in North Korea led South Korean authorities — nearly 20 years later — to arrest him without a warrant, torture him to make a false confession, and coerce witnesses to fabricate testimonies.
Fishing War — A fishing dispute between India and Sri Lanka is damaging bilateral relations, writes the New York Times, as Indian fishermen, many of them poor and desperate, cross into Sri Lankan waters and come into conflict with the Sri Lankan Navy. One report estimates that at least 100 Indian fishermen have been killed and 350 seriously injured in such conflicts in recent years. The NYT attributes the fishing war to several local factors: “The steady depletion of fish stocks; the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, which saw relief funds partly used to expand the Indian fishing fleet even as fish populations declined; and the end of the long Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, which has meant the return of the nation’s fishing boats to waters once plied almost exclusively by Indians.”
Fattening of Latin America — Obesity rates are rising rapidly in Latin America and Mexico is neck and neck with the U.S. when it comes to being the world’s heaviest nation, reports the Christian Science Monitor. From 1990-2010, Mexico saw one of the fastest increases in obesity rates in the world and Mexican government data indicates that 70% of the country’s adult population is overweight or obese. Bigger waistlines in Latin America, according to CSM, are a reflection of global patterns: a growing number of women working outside the home, easy access to packaged and processed foods, and more sedentary lifestyles. The issue has triggered a political response in Mexico and Chile but the food industry in the region remains too big and influential, it said.
China Critiques Clinton – The Financial Times covers U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s struggle to “soothe Beijing fears” of U.S. containment in talks with Chinese officials on Wednesday. While she was warmly received by president Hu Jintao, Chinese state media has attacked the U.S as a “sneaky troublemaker” and warned, “If American foreign policy damages China’s core interests, that can only lead to China hitting back strongly.” Meanwhile, vice-president Xi Jinping, who is widely tipped to succeed Jintao next year, cancelled a scheduled talk with Clinton.