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Global issue 20

Inbox News in brief Leaders pay tribute to Zambia’s Michael Sata Tributes have been paid to President Michael Sata of Zambia, who died in a London Hospital on 28 October. The 77-year-old, who had ruled Zambia since 2011, had been suffering from an undisclosed illness for some time. Fears for his health had increased after he repeatedly missed state functions, and he left Zambia on 19 October for treatment at London’s King Edward VII Hospital. Vice President Guy Scott has been appointed acting President and has called presidential elections, scheduled for 20 January. Condolences were offered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma. Both praised Sata’s commitment to the people of Zambia and the country’s history of democratic presidential elections. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond added: “He played a commanding role in the public life of his country over three decades, as Governor of Lusaka, as the holder of several ministerial positions in the 1990s, as the main opposition leader and finally as President.” Sata formed the Patriotic Front Party after splitting with the Movement for Multiparty Democracy in 2001 and subsequently contested three presidential elections – in 2006, 2008 and 2011 – the latter of which saw him appointed President. He often stirred up controversy in election campaigns, particularly with criticism of his political opponents and Chinese copper mining companies operating in Zambia, earning him the nickname King Cobra. He was equally hailed as fiercely anti-colonial and anti-apartheid. Typhoon destroys Filipino farmland Ecological farmers in the Philippines have pooled their resources to help farmers in Dolores, Eastern Samar, following the destruction of all of the region’s farmland by Typhoon Hagupit (or ‘Ruby’) in December. The damage, estimated to have cost the country US$42.5 million, is being gradually replenished by the donation of seeds, crops and fertilisers. Population set to fall in Japan Japan’s birthrate has dropped by 9,000 since 2013, with 2014 figures recording 1,001,000 births. This demonstrates the fourth consecutive fall in as many years, even as the number of annual deaths continues to rise. By 2050 Japan’s population could be as low as 97 million – down 30 million from today – says the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. Treasure hunters are quids in after haul One of the biggest hoards of ancient coins ever found in Britain has been unearthed in Buckinghamshire by a group of metal detector enthusiasts. The bucket of more than 5,000 coins is thought to date back to the 11th century late Anglo-Saxon/early Norman period and is due to be examined by the British Museum. Egypt sees draconian clampdown Authoritarian laws are being passed in Egypt at a rate surpassing that of any presidency since 1952. Following the removal of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, interim presidents Adly Mansour and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have passed a string of decrees restricting citizens’ freedom, leading to political commentators labelling them “worse than the dictators”. The current lack of elected parliament has allowed controversial rulings – including laws restricting the media and citizen rights to protest – to be pass unquestioned. Plea for women to abandon ISIS A handbook allegedly published by Islamic terror group ISIS condoning the mistreatment of captured women has sent shockwaves through the Western world. The ‘handbook’, copies of which have surfaced in Iraq, tells followers it is permissible to have sex with prepubescent girls and sell female slaves. And yet women continue to join the terrorist organisation. Mass abductions, such as the attack on a Yazidi village in northern Iraq in August 2014, have resulted in the detainment of what Amnesty International believes could be thousands of women and children. Reports have since surfaced of the women’s fates, which include being sold into sex slavery and forced into marriage. Iranian-American Middle East expert Haleh Esfandiari said: “To the men of ISIS, women are an inferior race, to be enjoyed for sex and be discarded, or to be sold off as slaves.” ISIS is promising money and wives to new recruits, but women, including foreigners, are also joining at an alarming rate. An estimated 300 foreign female recruits from the West have joined ISIS. Although two all-female battalions were formed in early 2014, the majority of women are not fighting on front lines. Instead, their role is restricted to that of home-maker, encouraging their rebel husbands and providing a hot meal each day. All that opposed parties can do is plead that the limited amount of power the women possess is not used at the expense of other women. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, a Syrian-Kurdish all-female militia – making up a quarter of the forces fighting against ISIS in northern Syria – has taken up arms and is standing alongside men in a bid to escape inevitable repression in the case of defeat by the rebels. 4 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global


Global issue 20
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