Must-Reads from Around the World

Singaporeans protest over the government’s plans to increase its population by accepting more immigrants, mothers in Indonesia are being persuaded by milk formula companies to give up breastfeeding their babies and British Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived in India for Britain’s biggest ever business delegation to the country

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Nicky Loh / Getty Images

A view of the residential skyline in Singapore, February 17, 2012.

Singapore’s Immigration Debate – Singapore’s government plans to increase its population by 30% by 2030 through regulated, legal immigration, which has sparked protests among residents, reports the International Herald Tribune. Leaders of the city-state said in its Population White Paper, which was passed earlier this month, that the rise in immigration is needed if Singapore is to continue to grow, as the population is aging and people are not having enough children, notes the Guardian. Racial tensions between Singaporeans and foreigners already run high in the city-state, where the population is currently 5.3 million and about 40% are immigrants, the Guardian points out.

Baby Formula Mothers in Indonesia are being persuaded to formula feed their babies by milk formula companies who are enlisting the help of midwives, the Guardian reports. Until 2011, milk formula companies had established relationships with village midwives to sell boxes of formula, who were then rewarded a yearly monetary sum. Although milk formula companies aren’t allowed to contact new mothers or pregnant women directly, patient data is being given to them by midwives who believe it is part of the program deal. Since 2010, all babies have had to be breastfed exclusively for six months, unless there were compelling medical reasons not to, notes the Guardian.

Suicidal Elderly Koreans  – The number of people in South Korea 65 or older committing suicide has nearly quadrupled in recent years as changes in the family structure have driven the elderly to despair, reports the New York Times. In Korean culture, it was customary for parents to sacrifice everything for their children in order to ensure their success. In return, children were expected to care for their parents as they aged; however, the ambitions of South Korea’s younger generation have left parents behind and unprepared to support themselves. The Korean government is apparently trying to assist its elderly population with proposals of a higher retirement age so people can save more money, but it hasn’t taken hold amid the rising youth unemployment, according to the newspaper.

Britain Trade Visit — British Prime Minister David Cameron and representatives from more than 100 British companies have arrived in India for Britain’s biggest ever business delegation to the country, reports Bloomberg. The three days of talks are aimed at increasing trade between the two nations. With economies in Europe struggling, Cameron said that Britain needs to increase exports to developing nations such as India, writes Bloomberg. A network of trade offices is set to open across the country by 2017. Among other measures, Cameron said the U.K. will relax visa rules for business people, reducing the time it takes to obtain a visa from three days to one. He also wants to reignite Indian interest in the Eurofighter Typhoon — the next generation of jet fighters made by BAE Systems Plc — as authorities in New Delhi continue talks to buy 126 fighter planes from France, reports Bloomberg.

Dead Lawyer Trial – A pre-trial hearing in the case against a deceased anti-corruption lawyer has taken place in Moscow, reports the BBC. In 2008, Sergei Magnitsky uncovered what he described as a web of corruption involving Russian tax officials, including the alleged theft of more than $200m. But he was subsequently detained on suspicion of abusing tax incentives to help a company avoid paying taxes in 2001. An investigation by Russia’s presidential council on human rights concluded that Magnitsky, who had pancreatitis, had been severely beaten and denied medical treatment, writes the BBC. The posthumous trial — understood to be the first in Russian or Soviet history — is part of a Russian government response to blacklists such as the Magnitsky law, passed last December in the U.S., which bars Russian officials accused of human rights violations. The idea is that, if Magnitsky is found guilty, countries adopting such legislation would then find they have a law named after a convicted criminal, notes the Financial Times.

Egypt Protests — Protests in the Egyptian city of Port Said have blocked access to state buildings, public transport and the city’s harbor, reports Euronews. The protests came close to threatening the operations of the Suez Canal, which remains open, the New York Times writes. A day of civil disobedience came amid a spate of protests against the death sentences handed down three weeks ago to 21 local soccer fans for their roles in a deadly riot last year. The protesters urged employees of the provincial government, the courthouse, the telephone and natural gas utilities, customs offices and other government institutions to leave work and join their strike. The protesters also sent students home from several schools, reports RT.