Unheralded Stuff: 21 January 2014

by Lord Sutch

Breaking newsI’ve noticed an improvement in the calibre of the world news on both Stuff.co.nz and the Herald. So well done. Long may it continue.

Anyway here are some more stories that you may not have noticed in your haste to tweet your reaction to Wellington’s Anniversary Day earthquake.

Seven bombs have killed at least 28 people in Baghdad. That’s seven times the number who were killed in the Boston Marathon Bombings. I was talking to a friend about this and he said “we expect this sort of thing in Baghdad, but not so much in Boston.” Does that change the morality/news-worthiness of it though? Tough question.

The Taliban, who I thought operated out of Afghanistan, seem to have a Pakistani faction. And they’ve set off a suicide bomber who killed at least 13 people in Rawalpindi. Nine more than who died in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

11,000 “detainees” have been apparently murdered by Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, evidence smuggled out of the country would suggest. This could be the ‘smoking gun’ to bring war crime charges against the brutal dictator.

Iran is sticking to its side of the deal and has halted the enrichment of uranium as sanctions are slowly lifted by the EU and the US.

Over 200 dolphins are trapped in Japan’s infamous “the Cove” (as seen in the documentary of the same name). The dolphins have been trapped for over 72 hours and will be/have been slaughtered for meat. Unsurprisingly the West has condemned it as barbaric, while the Japanese defend it as saying it’s no different to slaughtering other meats. Fascinating debate that one. Are we just imposing our own moral judgement on a culture that isn’t the same as ours? And if so, do we have the right?

China’s economy grew at a woeful 7.7 per cent last year. This is worrying economic forecasters who are famous for getting this sort of thing right all the time *cough*GFC*cough*. Apparently this is bad news for the world (and I think NZ might wear this pretty badly because a lot of our trade economy is tied pretty closely to China). I don’t understand this myself, because New Zealand is set to the be “rock star” economy and our growth is forecast around 4 per cent I think.

An American who has been organising tours into North Korea was arrested over a year ago and appeared in a press conference recently to plead for his Government to negotiate his release.  Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years for attempting to “topple the Regime” of North Korea but has been in a hospital recently suffering from ill health. He was flanked by security guards during the conference, and many people think he was put up to it to try and open up negotiations between North Korea’s crazy-ass leader and the United States’ crazy-ass leader.

The Ugandan President has refused to sign a bill that would make homosexual acts punishable by life in prison. But just when you think he did it because he’s some kind of progressive altruist, you find out the real reason is because he thinks gays and lesbians are sick and need medical help, not punitive help. Now if only we applied that reasoning to our drug consumption…

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