- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2008

JAPAN

Prime minister likely to face censure

TOKYO | Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda could well suffer an embarrassing if non-binding censure in parliament’s upper house next week, but for now the betting is he can keep his job at least for the rest of the year.

Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party is likely to submit the rare censure motion against Mr. Fukuda in the opposition-controlled upper house, where it would almost certainly pass, party sources said Thursday.

Mr. Fukuda’s ratings have slipped below 20 percent in some polls as he has struggled to cope with a divided parliament, where the opposition has taken every opportunity to delay key legislation.

That has prompted talk that the ruling party may replace its leader after he hosts a Group of Eight summit in July.

Democratic Party officials said a censure motion would take aim at Mr. Fukuda’s introduction of a confusing national health insurance measure that has outraged many elderly by forcing some aged 75 and over to pay more. The Democrats want to abolish the new system.

INDIA

Fuel price increase triggers strikes

CALCUTTA | A rise in the price of fuel prompted strikes in three Indian states Thursday, and Malaysia’s resurgent opposition vowed street protests as pump prices there rose by up to 60 percent.

Communist allies of the ruling coalition in India started a week of protests against Wednesday’s price increases by calling one-day strikes in the three states they rule, West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, leaving streets, offices and airports largely deserted. The Indian government raised heavily subsidized prices of gasoline and diesel by about 10 percent.

In Malaysia, where the government said gasoline prices would rise by 41 percent and diesel by 63 percent, the opposition said it hoped to bring 100,000 people out on the streets on July 12 to demand fuel prices be cut back to their earlier level.

INDONESIA

No more reporting of bird flu deaths

JAKARTA | A teenager died of bird flu last month, becoming Indonesia’s 109th victim, but the government did not announce the death right away. It is part of a new policy aimed at improving the image of the nation hardest hit by the disease.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said Thursday she will no longer announce deaths immediately after they are confirmed. But she promised to make the information available on a regular basis eventually, several cases at a time.

Indonesia’s decision could aggravate the World Health Organization, which waits to update its official tally of Indonesia’s bird flu deaths until after they are formally announced by the government. The toll on its Web site stood at 108 Thursday - accounting for nearly half the 241 recorded fatalities worldwide.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide