Aung San Suu Kyi is in Europe on a goodwill tour and it hasn’t gone well so far. She faces growing condemnation for the Myanmar Armed Forces’ treatment of the Muslim minority Rohingya people – and her unwillingness to acknowledge the subject. Her rejection yesterday at a press conference in Brussels of the UN’s decision to investigate the alleged abuses is certain to prompt even more questions. Aung San Suu Kyi may try to present a different face of Myanmar but many observers can’t see past the continued violence in the country – Europe extended an arms embargo by another year just last week.
Canada’s Senate believes it has found a way to engage the next generation in the political process – by publishing a children’s book. The Wise Owls follows a group of forest-dwelling animals (representing Canada’s House of Commons) that are incapable of managing the woodland’s affairs without the oversight of the sage nocturnal birds (plumed representations of the senators) keeping watch from the branches above. The book, which was written and illustrated entirely in-house by Senate staff, and cost just over CA$6,000 (€4,000) for an initial print run of 3,500, will be taken to classrooms when senators visit. The unpopular Senate has been mired in an expenses scandal for the past two years and the upper chamber’s hope is that a charm offensive with the help of feathered friends will win young hearts.
While many cities are working on major upgrades to their public transport, from allowing for better wi-fi access to introducing sleekly designed subway carriages, Angelenos will soon receive a more basic improvement – the smell. The LA Metro has revealed that after one too many passenger complaints about the whiff on the Metro Rail, they will be installing lavender and vanilla-scented deodorisers in the carriages travelling on the Purple and Red lines. That won’t be the only improvement to the metro system: mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that a new committee will be launched this summer, which will focus on making the city’s public transport cleaner, safer and more reliable.
To South Korea, the name of the body of water that separates the Korean Peninsula from the Japanese archipelago is an affront. After more than a decade of lobbying to change the name of the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s efforts have paid off: the International Hydrographic Organisation – whose job is to chart the seas and oceans – has decided to form a consultation group to debate whether it could be called the East Sea. It’s significant because the Monaco-based global organisation has the authority to revise the chart that’s used to produce world maps. Seoul says that the East Sea name was in use for 2,000 years but Tokyo strongly opposes any change. Of course, there is no guarantee of a conclusion within the consultation group’s three-year time frame. In 2012 the IHO decided to shelve the topic amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
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