International

Japan: Imperial Dilemma

PRIME Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have further consolidated their political gains after the latest round of elections to the upper house of the Diet, held in the third week of July. The LDP will now have the brute majority in both the lower and upper house that will help the government to pass controversial legislation relating to the constitution and other important issues. Though the upper house is not as powerful as the lower house, it has the power to block legislation.

Colombia Peace Talks, Referendum and After

COLOMBIA and the world was stunned when the NO vote won the referendum on the peace agreements on October 2, 2016. The referendum was held to vote YES or NO on the historic Final Agreement for the Termination of the Armed Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace that was signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP) and the government of Colombia on August 24, 2016.

North Korea Nuclear Test: Getting Bigger and Bigger

IN the second week of September, North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test. The last two tests have been in quick succession. The latest nuclear test, the most powerful so far, coincided with the country's 68th independence day celebrations. It was conducted in the underground testing facility of Punggye-ri in the northeast of the country. The magnitude of the blast has been estimated at between 10 and 20 kilotons, much higher than the test in 2013 which was estimated to be between 6-7 kilotons. Pyongyang has claimed that the latest test was that of a hydrogen bomb.

Thailand: Democracy Trampled

THE Thai army junta which calls itself the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that seized power from a democratically elected government on May 2014 now seems intent to permanently convert electoral politics in the country into a farce. In the first week of August, Thais were told to vote in a referendum that in effect sought to curtail their democratic rights.

National Conference of Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain) Held

THE national conference of the Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain), one of the oldest NRI organisations, took place in Derby on September 11. Delegates from across the UK assembled to discuss and deliberate upon the report presented by Joginder Kaur on behalf of the Central Executive Committee of IWA (GB). The conference was organised in a hall dedicated to all the founders of the Association. Derby is home to the former national president of IWA (GB), late Prem Singh Perdesi, and the incumbent national general secretary Joginder Kaur Bains.

ICWA Organises Public Mela in Surrey

THE Indo-Canadian Workers’ Association (ICWA) of Canada organised its annual Public Mela on August 14 at Stetson Boyal Stadium in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. This year’s mela was dedicated to the Gadhar martyrs of 1916 -- Babu Harnam Singh Sahri, Sohal Lal Pathik, Beer Singh Bahowal, Uttam Singh Haans and Easher Singh Thudike among others. The event also marked the 300THanniversary of martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur. The mela started with the inauguration of an exhibition on Gadhar heroes.

Ongoing Saudi led Massacre in Yemen

IT has been more than 16 months since the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a war on Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arabian peninsula. The other members of the military coalition are the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco and Kuwait. Most of the bombing raids are being conducted by Saudi planes these days. The UAE air force which was very active in the earlier phase of the campaign is now only playing a limited role. The UAE forces on the ground are concentrating their firepower on the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Daesh (Islamic State).

Europe: Growth of Far Right and Challenges

In Germany, for the first time since the Second World War, a far right-wing party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) is emerging as a major political force. The growth of various right-wing parties in Europe, the latest being the AfD, has forced some commentators to call it as the 'spectre haunting Europe'. Some of the commentators had even started questioning the future of the Left as a political force in these changed circumstances. Of course, writing epitaphs for the Left in general and communists in particular, is nothing new in Europe.

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