Must-Reads from Around the World

Japan's conservative party is back in power, North Korea marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il and Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the heart of the royal prank call, is to be buried in India

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Japanese Conservatives CelebrateJapan‘s conservative party is back in power after a landslide victory in Sunday’s election, reports the Los Angeles Times. Shinzo Abe, the head of the the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which had a near-monopoly on power from 1955 to 2009, will take office as the new prime minister next week. Abe served as the prime minister from 2006-2007 and is expected to pursue foreign policy that is more nationalist in tone. “The remarkable comeback of the conservative establishment,” according to the Times, “reflects the high level of national anxiety about economic stagnation and falling behind China.” TIME’s Hannah Beech looked at the crushing defeat suffered by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), noting that “Japan’s voters duly punished the ruling party, which suffered its worst showing since its founding in 1998.”

Kim Jong-il Anniversary — The BBC notes that North Korea has marked the one year anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il, whose death on Dec. 17, 2011 wasn’t announced until two days later. Kim’s third son and the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju, reportedly paid their respects at Pyongyang’s memorial hall which houses the late leader’s embalmed body. The memorial ceremony comes nearly a week after NoKo launched a long-range rocket, a move condemned by the U.S. and its regional allies.

Afghan Gold Drain — The New York Times examines the large outflow of gold bars from Afghanistan to Dubai, as Afghan and American officials suspect a growth in cash smuggling. Almost 90% of financial transactions in Afghanistan take place outside of formal banks, according to the Times, and money laundering is common in the South Asian country. Experts said smuggled cash is “often used to finance terrorist, narcotics and other illicit operations,” writes the Times.

December Deadline – Argentina could face the prospect of eviction from the IMF, reports the Guardian, if it does not meet the December 17 deadline for providing accurate inflation and growth statistics. Since 2007, Argentina, which faced a major default and crisis in 2001, began experiencing high inflation rates. The government has been accused of falsifying these rates as being much lower, and the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, is said have “lost patience with┬áPresident Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner’s government,” writes the Guardian. If expelled, the country could face economic pariah status, even though Kirchner regards the threats as “international blackmail.”

Saldanha Funeral – Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the heart of the royal prank call, is to be buried at a cemetery in southwest India Monday reports the Daily Telegraph. The mother-of-two, who answered the hoax call by two Australian DJs at the central London hospital the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was being treated for a severe form of morning sickness, was found hanging in her room a few days later. She reportedly left three suicide notes in her room, one referring specifically to the hoax call. The Nativity Convent in south India, near where Saldanha comes from, are said to be “saddened and confused” by her death.

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