Abe’s Burma Visit – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Burma on Friday, becoming the first Japanese leader to do so in 36 years, reports Bloomberg. Masaki Takahara, executive managing director of the Japan External Trade Organization’s Rangoon office told Bloomberg that cheap labor and an untapped market of more than 60 million people are attracting Japanese companies. “There is not a market like this in the whole world right now,” said Takahara. Abe’s visit comes as Burmese President Thein Sein returns from the U.S., where he met President Barack Obama on the first such visit for a Burmese leader in half a century.
Mozambique Displacement – A new report shows that more than 1,400 families in Mozambique were displaced to make way for Brazilian and Australian coal mining operations in Tete province, reports VOA News. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report reveals that even though the foreign mining companies did provide new homes for the displaced families in resettlement areas, many of the people lost the ability to grow their own food, forcing them to rely on short-term food handouts financed by Vale and Rio Tinto. An HRW researcher said the resettlement problem will intensify as Mozambique continues to exploit its coal and natural gas resources in the north of the country.
Darfur Conflict — The U.N.’s top humanitarian official said the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region has displaced roughly 300,000 people in the first five months of this year — more than the total number of people displaced there over the last two years, according to the BBC. Valerie Amos called the situation “extremely worrying” and added that as many as 1.4 million people live in refugee camps with terrible living conditions and chronic food shortages. The Darfur conflict goes back to 2003 when rebels accused Khartoum of oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs and began attacking government targets.
E.U.-China Investment — The European Union‘s trade chief Karel De Gucht said he would seek the support of the 27 member states for an investment pact with China that would get rid of barriers to enter each other’s markets and encourage flows of capital, reports Reuters. Brussels wants greater ties with its second-largest trading partner China to help the bloc emerge from the economic crisis. De Gucht, according to Reuters, “sees a potential investment pact with China as part of a wider strategy to force Beijing into line with international trade rules.” If the E.U. and China can overcome their differences, a free-trade agreement could also be considered after the investment pact.
Swedish riots – Violence that has raged in the Swedish capital Stockholm for five nights has stoked national debate over issues of immigration, unemployment and social inequality, reports Al Jazeera. The violence began west of Stockholm in the Husby district, which has an immigrant population of around 80%. Sweden has the highest population of immigrants out of all Nordic countries, at 15% of the overall population. Vehicles have been attacked during the unrest, as have schools, a station, a library, a bank and a police station, the BBC notes. Police are trying to co-ordinate with community leaders rather than use aggression, the BBC continues. But some locals feel the police have been too forceful after fatally shooting a 69-year-old who was wielding a machete in public 10 days ago.