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

United States: Those whose adolescenthood was enlightened by Harper Lee’s wisdom-packed novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, would be heartened with HarperCollins’ announcement on 3 February to publish the Pulitzer Prized author’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman” in July this year.

The now 88-years-old novelist emerges from a 55-year of hiatus after the publication of her widely popular modern classics to release its sequel.  “Go Set a Watchman” tells the story of Scout Finch, protagonist of Harper’s first novel, who returns home two decades later to visit her father, Atticus Finch.  In “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Atticus, a white lawyer, defended a black men accused of raping a white female in a racist-stricken Alabama town in the 1930s.

The curious fact is, “Go Set a Watchman” was completed well before “To Kill a Mockingbird”, but did not make it to the printer because the manuscript was believed to be lost.  It is recently unearthed by Harper Lee’s lawyer, Tonja Carter.

When the new novel hit booksellers’ shelves, Harper Lee will officially leave the order of one-novel authors including Margaret Mitchell and Emily Bronte.

Here’s actor Gregory Peck talking about the movie adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird” in a 1962 trailer for the film:


Middle East: The world learns with grief of the Islamic State’s brutal execution of Goto Kenji on 31 January and later, on 3 February, of Moath al-Kasasbeh, who was seen to be burned alive in a cage.

While the Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo condemned the violence and vowed to bring the killers to justice, Jordan reacted swiftly by executing at least two convicted terrorists, including the Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi, who was sentenced to death for being involved in a deadly 2005 suicide bombing.  Jordan’s King Abdullah II (pictured above) is said to be personally leading an air-strike in Syria against ISIS.

Having seen so many unnecessary deaths during wars and armed conflicts in the past century in name of religion, patriotism and different ideologies, the world should come to sense and work for lasting peace and congeniality.  To repay an eye for an eye may sound instantly gratifying, but violence is never the cure to violence.

King Abdullah II talked about foreign extremism with interviewer Charlie Rose this past December:


The World Economy: Deflation characterized the global economic outlook last week. Indicators in the U.S. show weak business spending and a growing trade deficit, as the economy grew by half of the rate as recorded in the previous quarter.  Prices in the eurozone fell by 0.6% over the previous year, prompting fears of recession and driving the European Central Bank to pump another €1.1 trillion into the economy.  Additionally, the global fall in oil prices have driven inflation down below 2 per cent in Japan, causing the Bank of Japan to consider another round of quantitative easing.  Deflation also looms in the world’s second largest economy with China experiencing falling prices and production as the manufacturing sector shows excess supply and insufficient demand.

What is quantitative easing?


Australia: Queensland state premier and Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman’s defeat at the state election early this week might signal an early-bird vote of no-confidence against the troubled Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, whose popularity has been waning due to dubious policies and personal blunders.  Many have become worried that Abbott might drag the coalition down in other coming state elections, such as the one in New South Wales at the end of March.

The Guardian reports that the Queensland federal MP, Jane Prentice, has “refused to endorse Tony Abbott as the leader of the Liberal party”, whereas the Financial Times mentioned earlier this week that, while Julie Bishop, the foreign minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party was supportive of the prime minister, she “has not ruled out contesting the position if it were vacated.”

We leave you with the best moments in Australian political history:


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


Lead-In Image Courtesy of 360b /