abe-feature

News In Focus:
From Abe To Xi

News In Focus: A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories

Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured a final passage of the security bill on Saturday morning at the Upper House of Japan’s Parliament.

The legislation allows the country’s troops to fight overseas, either in self-defense or for the aid of an ally, without Japan being in a security threat.

The terms of the legislation is at odds with Article 9 of the 1947 Japanese Constitution which outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes involving the state.

The bill met with strong opposition within the legislature and in the community.  The Japanese public is worried that the country will be dragged into military hostilities unconnected with its interest.

Although Mr. Abe managed a hard-won political victory in forcing through the controversial bill, he suffers a huge set back as his popularity rating plunged as a result.

Things even got hot in Parliament as seen by this footage…

***

Business: German carmaker Volkswagen was found to have used software to cheat U.S. emission tests of their diesel vehicles.

The diesel version of VW Passat, Beetle and Audi A3 — which appear to have qualified as emission standard compliant — could be producing as much as 40 times above the permitted pollutant ceiling.

The announcement was made by the US Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, and the authorities have ordered VW to recall 482,000 cars.

Volkswagen may also face up to US$18 billion in penalties, and incalculable damages to its reputation.

The company’s share value plunged on Monday and almost €15 billion (US$16.87 billion) was wiped off the company’s market value.  At the market opening on Tuesday shares were down a further 3.6%.

Volkswagen’s  68-year-old chief executive,  Martin Winterkorn, credited for turning Volkswagen into a global giant that rivaled Toyota and General Motors, apologized and ordered an world wide investigation into the scandal.  He resigned on Wednesday.

The Volkswagen was a brainchild of Adolf Hitler to build an affordable car for all Germans. It was said that Hitler designed the prototype of the VW Beetle at a restaurant in Munich in the summer of 1932, and gave the design to the head of Daimler-Benz, Jakob Werlin.

Here’s a 2-minute history of the car company, as told by the good folks at Fast Company:

***

China: Chinese President Xi Jinping began his week-long state visit to the U.S. on Tuesday.

President Xi first landed in Seattle where he met U.S. business and technology leaders, including Warren Buffett, Apple chief Tim Cook, and the Amazon.com head, Jeff Bezos.

Xi addressed the issue of alleged Chinese cyber-attacks (his government won’t stand for it) before amazing US aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Co., with a generous buying spree worth US$38 billion.

The shopping list includes 190 model 737 aircraft, 50 wide-body planes for Chinese airlines, and 60 single-aisle planes for leasing companies ICBC Financial Leasing Co. and CDB Leasing Co., according to Boeing Co.

Xi will fly to Washington for a black-tie state dinner and talks with President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday.  The visit will conclude with an address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 28.

For more we go to CNN:

***

Greece: Alexis Tsipras is back, again.

The 41-year-old, a charismatic left-wing populist, resigned as prime minister in August after his U-turn on the controversial EU-backed bailout plan that most Greeks opposed.

But Alexis Tsipras led his Syriza party to win a decisive victory in elections on Sunday that claimed 145 seats in the 300-seat parliament.  He was sworn in as the new Greek prime minister on Monday.

Tsipras’ personal triumph in the elections gives him a new mandate to promote a bailout rather than to fight one as in his previous term in office.

As the Syriza is still short of six seats to command a majority in the parliament, Tsipras has announced a partnership with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, which won 10 seats.  The new government took office on Wednesday.

Tsipras’ priorities will be to tackle corruption and renegotiate new terms of Greece’s debt mountain.

***

We leave you this week with the Pope’s address to the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.

***

Have a story that you’d like us to cover or review? Contact NewsWhistle’s Tony Church at Tony@NewsWhistle.com

***

PHOTO CREDIT
Image Courtesy of Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com