Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/27/07-1

VZCZCXRO6190
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1345/01 0860843
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270843Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2082
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/COMPATWING ONE KAMI SEYA JA
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 2877
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0413
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3928
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 9761
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 1360
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6319
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2396
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3707

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 001345

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA
SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03/27/07-1


INDEX:

(1) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties

(2) Poll on Abe cabinet, its job performance over past 6 months,
political parties

(3) Six months pass since Abe cabinet inaugurated; Prime Minister
Abe shifting policy stance toward the right

(4) Start of debate on re-reorganization of central government
offices

(5) Revision of Kono Statement

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 26, 2007

Questions & Answers
(T = total; P = previous; M = male; F = female)

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

T P M F
Yes 35 (36) 33 37
No 42 (41) 47 37
Not interested 22 (22) 20 23

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the above question) Why?

T P M F
Because the prime minister is from the Liberal Democratic Party

20 (17) 21 18
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's leadership

10 (11) 10 10
Because there's a young, fresh image about the prime minister

51 (53) 49 53
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's policy
measures
17 (16) 19 17

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the above question) Why?

T P M F
Because the prime minister is from the Liberal Democratic Party

6 (10) 7 5
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's leadership

53 (49) 47 60
Because the prime minister is inexperienced, weak
19 (21) 20 18
Because I'm opposed to the prime minister's policies
21 (19) 25 17

Q: Which political party do you support?

TOKYO 00001345 002 OF 011

T P M F
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
27 (26) 28 26
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
14 (13) 18 10
New Komeito (NK) 5 (4) 3 7
Japanese Communist Party (JCP)
3 (2) 2 3
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto)
2 (2) 1 3
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto)
0 (--) 0 --
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon)
0 (1) -- 0
Other political parties
2 (1) 1 2
None
47 (49) 46 47

Q: The LDP has reinstated former House of Representatives member
Seiichi Eto, who voted against postal privatization and left the
LDP. In addition, the LDP has decided to officially recognize him as
its candidate for this summer's election for the House of
Councillors. Do you support this?

T P M F
Yes 12 13 12
No 82 83 80

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes") Why?

T P M F
The LDP should have not ousted him
34 30 38
It has been over one year since he voted against postal
privatization
34 39 30
Because his ideas are close to Prime Minister Abe's
26 23 28

Q: (Only for those who answered "no") Why?

T P M F
It's strange to give special treatment to a person who is close to
Prime Minister Abe
15 12 17
It's contradictory to the decision to oust him
75 80 71
It will have a bad influence on the election
8 7 9

Q: Agriculture Minister Toshiharu Matsuoka has earmarked about 5
million yen for his Diet office's utilities in his report of
political funds. What do you think about this?

T P M F
He should resign as agriculture minister
48 49 47
There's no need for him to resign as agriculture minister, but he
should fulfill his accountability
46 45 46
There's no problem because he is not required under the law to do so

TOKYO 00001345 003 OF 011

3 4 3

(Note) Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. "0" indicates that
the figure was below 0.5%. "--" denotes that no respondents
answered. "No answer" omitted. Figures in parentheses denote the
results of the last survey conducted Feb. 24-25.

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted March 24-25 over the
telephone with the aim of calling a total of 1,000 voters across the
nation on a computer-aided random digit sampling (RDS) basis.
Answers were obtained from 1,073 persons.

(2) Poll on Abe cabinet, its job performance over past 6 months,
political parties

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
March 24, 2007

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of a
survey conducted in February. Some portions already reported.)

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

Yes 43.8
No 43.9
Other answers (O/A) 4.4
No answer (N/A) 7.9

Q: Which political party do you support now? Pick only one.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 36.4
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 11.3
New Komeito (NK) 2.1
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 1.8
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 0.7
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.1
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1
Other political parties ---
None 46.0
N/A 1.5

Q: (Only for those who answered "none" to the above question) Pick
as many reasons as you like from among those listed below, if any.

They won't carry out their pledges 14.8
They're only thinking of their interests 26.5
They're always struggling in their parties 16.5
They won't resolve problems close to us 17.3
None of them is trustworthy 26.6
Politics is unlikely to change whichever political party I may
support 47.8
Uninterested in politics 14.1
O/A 1.5
N/A 2.5

Q: (Only for those who answered "none" to the above question) If you
had a political party to support in the past one year or so, pick
the most recent one from among those listed below.

LDP 10.5
DPJ 11.5

TOKYO 00001345 004 OF 011


NK 0.5
JCP 1.1
SDP 1.4
PNP ---
NPN ---
Other political parties ---
None 69.6
N/A 5.4

Q: What's your impression of Prime Minister Abe from the following
five aspects?

Action
He's steadily done what he said 19.5
He's failed to come up with actual results unlike his policy slogan
71.9
N/A 8.7

Leadership
He's been displaying leadership 16.1
He's failed to display leadership 77.5
N/A 6.3

Opinion, belief
He's translated his opinion and belief into action
48.7
He's failed to translate his opinion and belief into action
41.8
N/A
9.5

Reform posture
Positive about reform 42.3
Negative about reform 47.5
N/A 10.2

Friendliness
Feel friendly 59.6
Don't feel friendly 34.9
N/A 5.5

Q: Do you have expectations for Prime Minister Abe?

Yes 27.6
Yes to a certain degree 26.2
No to a certain degree 20.0
No 24.8
N/A 1.4

Q: Prime Minister Abe has been in office for nearly six months. Do
you appreciate his or his cabinet's performance over the past six
months?

Appreciate very much 4.5
Appreciate somewhat 31.8
Don't appreciate very much 40.3
Don't appreciate at all 19.8
N/A 3.6

Q: If there is anything you can appreciate in what Prime Minister
Abe or his cabinet has actually done, pick as many as you like from
among those listed below.


TOKYO 00001345 005 OF 011


US ties 7.9
China ties 17.5
South Korea ties 8.6
Efforts for North Korea issues 27.9
Defense Agency upgrade to ministry 11.0
Efforts for educational reform 18.2
Efforts for social divide correction 3.2
Efforts for constitutional revision 4.9
Postal rebels' reinstatement in LDP 3.4
Response to cabinet ministers' scandals and gaffes 3.3
Response to political funds, including office spending 3.1
O/A 0.1
Nothing in particular 38.5
N/A 3.5

Q: If there is anything you cannot appreciate in what Prime Minister
Abe or his cabinet has actually done, pick as many as you like from
among those listed below.

US ties 9.4
China ties 10.8
South Korea ties 7.9
Efforts for North Korea issues 22.7
Defense Agency upgrade to ministry 8.6
Efforts for educational reform 12.4
Efforts for social divide correction 22.8
Efforts for constitutional revision 9.1
Postal rebels' reinstatement in LDP 31.6
Response to cabinet ministers' scandals and gaffes 53.9
Response to political funds, including office spending 37.9
O/A 0.5
Nothing in particular 13.3
N/A 3.7

Q: Who do you think is most influential now in government
administration? Pick only one from among those listed below.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 21.3
Chie Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki 1.5
Foreign Minister Taro Aso 7.1
LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa 10.1
LDP House of Councillors Chairman Mikio Aoki 4.4
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi 17.1
Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori 7.6
New Komeito President Akihiro Ota 0.8
Others 0.5
None + N/A 29.6

Q: What's your impression of the Abe cabinet? (A) It's pulling
together to work on policy tasks. (B) It's failed to work together.
Which one is close to yours?

(A) 3.8
(A) to a certain degree 9.6
(B) to a certain degree 28.4
(B) 54.2
N/A 4.0

Q: Do you think the LDP's nature and political approach have changed
for the better with Prime Minister Abe coming into office after
Prime Minister Koizumi?

Changed for the better 2.0

TOKYO 00001345 006 OF 011


Changed for the better to a certain degree 6.2
Remain unchanged 48.1
Changed for the worse to a certain degree 22.7
Changed for the worse 18.1
N/A 2.9

Q: How long would you like the Abe cabinet to stay on? Pick only one
from among those listed below.

March 2007
Step down as early as possible 16.1
About six more years 7.8
About 1 more year 22.1
2 or 3 more years 28.3
As long as possible 18.0
O/A 0.2
N/A 7.6

November 2006
Step down as early as possible 5.1
About six more years 2.6
About 1 more year 11.2
2 or 3 more years 34.8
As long as possible 36.1
O/A 0.5
N/A 9.7

Polling methodology
Date of survey: March 17-18.
Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random-sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
interviews.
Number of valid respondents: 1,741 persons (58.0% )
Breakdown of respondents: Male-49%, female-51% ; persons in their
20s-11%, 30s-16%, 40s-16%, 50s-20%, 60s-21%, 70 and over-16% ; big
cities (Tokyo's 23 wards and government-designated cities)-22%,
major cities (with a population of more than 300,000)-18%,
medium-size cities (with a population of more than 100,000)-25%,
small cities (with a population of less than 100,000)-23%, towns and
villages-12%.

(3) Six months pass since Abe cabinet inaugurated; Prime Minister
Abe shifting policy stance toward the right

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 27, 2007

The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe celebrated yesterday its
six-month anniversary in office. During the past six months, Abe has
been criticized for not displaying leadership. Public approval
ratings for the Abe cabinet have continued to decline. However, Abe
has shown a slight change in his political stance. He appears to
have begun showing his own political identity.

Koizumi Style

Abe instructed to Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi Watanabe in
an informal cabinet meeting on March 22 to come up with a plan to
reform the civil servant system until the 27th.

Asked by reporters about his instruction to Watanabe, Abe responded:

TOKYO 00001345 007 OF 011


"I ordered him to follow my instruction and draft a detailed plan."
He said five times that he had so instructed. He has recently often
insisted on his own opinions. His top-down leadership is similar to
that of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who pushed through
his postal privatization plan.

When assuming office, Abe underscored that he would place emphasis
on teamwork, saying, "I want to implement policy measures with the
participation of many people." He picked those who have similar
visions and policies to him to serve in the Prime Minister's
Official Residence and let them handle policy issues, without giving
specific instructions.

The assessment that he lacks leadership has spread among the people,
and the Abe cabinet has suffered from poor popular support.
Therefore, the prime minister has begun to change his policy
stance.

Some has reacted coolly toward a change in Abe's stance, saying,
"It's just his performance of trying to impress his leadership. He
will be tested as to whether he can show a clear direction of reform
of the public servant system.

Conservative color

Abe's assuming leadership means that he will bring his political
identity to the fore.

For example, soon after taking office, Abe took a position of
following the apology statement for the wartime comfort women issued
by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono.

Of course, he has still upheld his basic position, but there is a
delicate change in his recent remarks.

When the US House of Representatives began to discuss seriously a
resolution criticizing Japan for the wartime comfort women issue,
Abe met with a group of LDP lawmakers calling for a review of and
reinvestigation into the Kono statement and pledged to cooperate
with the party's reinvestigation into the Kono statement. All the
more because it is well known that Abe is critical of the apology
statement, some say that he has finally revealed his real view.

Such a change in his stance seems to have taken favorably by
conservative supporters of the LDP. There is an analysis that
because of this reason Abe's cabinet support rates in the polls have
unchanged recently.

It is unknown how unaffiliated voters, who will determine the
outcomes of the unified local elections and the July Upper House
race, will take such a change in Abe's stance. The fate of the Abe
administration, which has begun to shift its policy toward the
right, remains uncertain.

(4) Start of debate on re-reorganization of central government
offices

YOMIURI (Page 11) (Full)
March 23, 2007

The Committee on Reform of the Central Government Offices, headed by
Hiroyuki Sonoda, of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Administrative
Reform Promotion Headquarters heard views of Kiyoshi Mizuno, who

TOKYO 00001345 008 OF 011


served as secretary general of the former Administrative Reform
Council in the Hashimoto cabinet, reorganized the ministries and
agencies. With this, the LDP has begun a full-scale debate on
re-reorganization of the central government offices. Six years have
passed since the Hashimoto government reorganized the ministries and
agencies into one cabinet office and 12 ministries and agencies in
January 2001. Social conditions, including globalization and a
declining birthrate and graying society, have changed greatly.
Chances are that procedures for giving body to the re-reorganization
of the central government offices will be pushed forward.

Chairman Sonoda stressed in a meeting of March 22: "We must discuss
the issue in the concept of transferring jobs 'from the state to the
prefectures' and 'from the public sector to the private sector,' not
just reducing the number of ministries and agencies." Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe pledged in his policy speech in January that he would
substantially review the basic framework of the administrative,
education, and economic systems based on the Constitution.
Therefore, the Abe administration appears to have been motivated to
play up its stance of placing priority on reform.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga in
January proposed setting up an information and telecommunications
ministry, creating a stir. This idea came up in the process of
administrative reform by the Hashimoto government in 1997, but it
was shelved in the face of strong resistance by LDP lawmakers
connected to postal interests. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and
Communications (MIAC) is now in charge of regulations on and
promotion of communications and broadcasting. The Ministry of
Economy and Industry (METI), the Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA),
and Information Technology Headquarters of the Cabinet Secretariat,
are involved in the promotion of communications and broadcasting.

In the LDP's session on March 22, Mizuno proposed that regulatory
administration of broadcasting and telecommunications should be an
independent committee, and that the promotion sector straddling the
MIAC, METI, and ACA should be merged into an information,
communication and broadcasting agency. METI is alarmed about the
MIAC-led idea of establishing an information and communications
ministry.

Amid the dropping birthrate and an aging population, Japan's tax and
social security systems will likely become issues. The idea of
creating a revenue agency, which would collect both taxes and social
insurance premiums, will likely become an issue.

The largest opposition party, Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan)
proposed streamlining the National Tax Agency as part of effort to
reform of the NTA, and creating a Revenue Agency, which would also
collect pension premiums.

However since of about 22 million persons who should pay the
national pension, only 15% have paid the national taxes, some view
that whether collecting taxes and pension premiums by one agency
will be effective is uncertain.

(5) Revision of Kono Statement

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 18, 2007

An argument calling for revising the then Chief Cabinet Secretary
Yohei Kono's statement offering an apology and self-reflection to

TOKYO 00001345 009 OF 011


wartime comfort women is gaining momentum. The focus is on whether
the former Japanese Army forced those women into such servitude.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is following in the footsteps of the
statement, claimed, "There is no evidence of coercion in the narrow
sense of the term, that is to say, there is no evidence that the
authorities forced those women to serve as comfort women." The Tokyo
Shimbun asked lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and
the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) about the issue.

Yasuhide Nakayama, Lower House member of the LDP: Urges accurate
grasp of the matter through reinvestigation

-- Do you think that the Kono Statement should be revised?

"That is the basic thought of many members of the Group of Lawmakers
who Think about the Future of Japan and History Education. The Kono
Statement starts with words 'regarding the so-called wartime comfort
women.' As an unimpeachable historical fact, there were comfort
women, but there were no military comfort women. Under the then
state-regulated prostitution system, the authorities recruited
comfort women in the form of consignment to service providers and
established wartime brothels. Some lawmakers are skeptical about the
way hearings were conducted toward former comfort women, the basis
for the Kono Statement. We would be able to release highly accurate
results, if a reinvestigation is conducted."

-- Prime Minister Abe has repeatedly said that he would follow in
the footsteps of the Kono Statement. He also expressed an apology to
former comfort women.

"Women who worked as comfort women were in poor surroundings. I
imagine Prime Minister Abe shares the same thought with other prime
ministers in the past, who sent letters of apology. This is clearly
demonstrated in his stance of following in the footsteps of the Kono
Statement. However, in my view, the Kono Statement should be
revised, because new facts have been discovered since then."

-- The US House of Representative is deliberating on a resolution
seeking an apology from Japan on this matter.

"We have established a subcommittee under the Dietmen's League and
started discussions on the issue with the move of the US Congress as
the occasion. Japan and the US have a friendly relationship, but the
US is seeking an apology from the Japanese government, based on a
unilateral perception that is not based on objective historical
facts. It is only natural for us to express our concern."

-- Isn't there concern about the matter developing into a diplomatic
issue?

"The people have criticized the Japanese government's hitherto
diplomacy as being kowtow (to the US). If there are historical
evidence or facts substantiating that Japan did not carry out sordid
things, we must make efforts to correctly grasp what happened and
stake out its position."

-- Which should conduct a reinvestigation - the LDP or the
government?

"It would be fine for the LDP to carry out that work, if the prime
minister wishes so. However, in that case, there is the possibility
that even if a highly accurate and balanced result is obtained, some
may say that the result is biased toward the LDP. In my view,

TOKYO 00001345 010 OF 011


reinvestigation by the government will become necessary sooner or
later from a just and fair perspective."

Yasuhide Nakayama: Graduated from the Seijo University Law
Department. First elected in the 2003 Lower House election, after
working at Dentsu Inc. Serving as chairman of the Group of Lawmakers
who Think about the Future of Japan and History Education consisting
of voluntary LDP members. Elected twice. 36 years old.

(Interviewer Hitoshi Tojo)

Upper House member Toshio Ogawa of JDP: Coercion in narrow sense of
the term is pointless argument

-- Do you think it is necessary to review the Kono Statement?

"The involvement of the former Japanese Army became clear through
appropriate investigation conducted by the government. The
government offered an apology, based on the result of the
investigation. Why then is it necessary for it to revise it? It is
logical for it to thoroughly reflect on Japan's conduct in the past.
It is strange for it to say that there were no facts on which it
should reflect."

-- Some disagree with the very fact that there was coercion.

"Service providers played a key role in recruiting comfort women,
but the military had a direct part in the action. Since it was
highly likely that it was impossible to defy the military, it is
unavoidable to decide that there was coercion."

-- The prime minister has recognized coercion in the broad sense of
the term, including application by those women for recruitments
against their will due to their financial standing, but he is
negative toward coercion in the narrow sense of the term.

"Whether it is a narrow sense of the term or a broad sense of the
term does not matter. The Kono Statement does not mention that the
authorities were involved in the forcible taking of those women. My
impression is that the prime minister wants to reject the Kono
Statement, but since it is impossible for him to do so because of
his position, he made up the term 'in a narrow sense of the term'.
However, that is a pointless argument. It would not be accepted."

-- Why do you think the prime minister wants to reject the Kono
Statement?

"He presumably wants to make a public appeal that he is maintaining
his own reactionary stance."

-- How do you evaluate the resolution submitted to the US House of
Representatives?

"Since it is the matter concerning the trustworthiness of our
country, it will be troublesome if it is accepted. However, behind
the submission of such a resolution is criticism from the
international community that Japan is not implementing the Kono
Statement to the letter. Since Japan is in a position where it must
offer an apology, the international community would not agree, if it
insists that the testimony given by comfort women is groundless."

-- Some DPJ members are positive toward revising the Statement. What
is your view on that?

TOKYO 00001345 011 OF 011

"The more they make a fuss over the issue, the more likely Japan
will be judged as not really reflecting on the matter. The party's
basic stance is that the government should deal with the issue,
based on the Kono Statement."

-- Will this issue serve as a useful material in pursuing the Abe
administration?

"As also in the case of the constitutional issue or the Yasukuni
visit issue, the prime minister's essential characteristic that he
is a hawk and ethnic nationalist is reflected in the wartime comfort
women issue. I want to bring into bold the potential danger that the
Abe administration is reactionary."

(Interviewer Shoichi Takayama)

Toshio Ogawa: Graduated from the Rikkyo University Law Department.
Elected for the first time in the 1998 Upper House election, for
which he ran from the Tokyo constituency, after serving as a judge
at the Shizuoka District Court and a public prosecutor at the Tokyo
District Public Prosecutors Office. Currently secretary general of
DPJ members in the Upper House. Attorney. Elected twice. 59 years
old.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Rights Office On Syria: The “Monstrous Annihilation” Of Eastern Ghouta

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held Eastern Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas... Ninety-two of these civilian deaths allegedly occurred in just one 13-hour period on Monday. More>>

ALSO:

Cyclone Gita: 70% Of Tonga Population Affected

The full scale of destruction is beginning to emerge from Tonga in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Gita. Around 50,000 people, or almost 70% of the country’s population, have been affected, a third of whom are children. More>>

ALSO:


Gita: Samoas Clean Up After Being Swamped By Cyclone

Apia in the wake of Gita Photo: Rudy Bartley The clean up is continuing in the two Samoas after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit on Saturday morning. More>>

ALSO:

Grand Coalition : Germany's two main political parties set to govern under Angela Merkel.

The liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night in a marathon final push to nail down an agreement. More>>


80 Passengers: Kiribati Ferry Disaster

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike. Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures. More

ALSO: