Anti-Crime Strategy — The Mexican government has announced a new crime-fighting strategy to strengthen communities affected by the ongoing drug war, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The multifaceted strategy targets the roots of crime, such as violence in schools and in the home, and aims to prevent drug addictions and detect behavioral problems in young people early. Nine different federal agencies including health, education, economy and social development will work together to achieve these goals, according to CSM.
Korea’s Imported Workforce — South Korea is accepting immigrant workers as a solution to its aging workforce and low birthrate, notes Bloomberg. Government data show that the number of immigrants has increased sevenfold since 2000 to 2.8% of the population and could make up more than 6% of the country by 2030. Most foreign workers, who account for about 3.2% of the country’s workforce, reportedly take dangerous and dirty jobs that are shunned by Koreans.
Just the Fax — Although Japan is one of the world’s most technologically-advanced nations, the fax machine is still widely used there, reports the New York Times. As of 2011, almost 100% of business offices and 45% of private homes in Japan had a fax machine, according to the government’s Cabinet Office. “Japan’s reluctance to give up its fax machines offers a revealing glimpse into an aging nation that can often seem quietly determined to stick to its tried-and-true ways, even if the rest of the world seems to be passing it rapidly by,” reports the Times.
Nuclear Program — Iran has announced that it has started installing next-generation machines for the enrichment of uranium – sparking fears that the country could speed up its development of nuclear weapons, reports the AP. If used successfully, the new centrifuges could refine uranium several times faster than the equipment Iran currently has. If refined to a high degree, enriched uranium can provide material for bombs. Iran vigorously denies that is its aim, despite Western suspicions to the contrary. Iran’s stated aim is to fuel nuclear power plants, writes the AP. The announcement coincided with a new round of talks with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors over claims that Iran might have carried out tests on triggers for atomic weapons, notes the AP. Talks with six world powers, planned for later this month, may also be affected by the announcement.
Freedom of Expression — Turkey has taken a step towards greater freedom of expression by drafting changes to the penal code which narrow the definition of terrorist propaganda, reports Reuters. The changes are in line with E.U. demands for Turkey, which regularly tops the list of countries violating the European Convention of Human Rights, to distinguish between incitement to violence and expression of non-violent ideas. Since 2009, Turkey has used anti-terror legislation to prosecute thousands of Kurdish politicians, activists and journalists for making speeches and writing articles, alleging links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by the E.U. and Washington, as well as Turkey. The new changes may lead to the release of defendants accused of links to the PKK, writes Reuters.
Peace Talks — The Philippines is nearing a peace deal with Islamist rebels, whose 40-year insurgency over resources, land and religion has claimed 120,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people, reports the Guardian. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has broken away from regional terrorist groups linked with al-Qaeda in a move partly inspired by the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland, and encouraged by Manila’s reformist presidency, writes the Guardian. President Benigno Aquino visited the MILF stronghold in Mindanao earlier this week to meet rebel leaders, reports the daily. He said the government and MILF leaders were close to agreeing on a joint transition commission that will oversee the creation of the Bangsamoro — a self-governing Muslim political and geographical entity which should come into formal existence by 2016.