Japan racism survey reveals one in three foreigners experience discrimination

Justice ministry sent survey to thousands of foreign residents to gain an unprecedented glimpse into their experiences

Nearly a third of foreigners living in Japan say they have experienced derogatory remarks because of their background, while about 40% have suffered housing discrimination, according to a landmark survey.

Japan’s justice ministry sent questions to thousands of foreign residents to gain an unprecedented glimpse into their experiences of racism in a country that has experienced a surge in overseas visitors.

Continue reading...

Can anyone rescue Labour from this deep irrelevance? | John Harris

The turf wars go on, while the leadership appears bafflingly unable to address the national post-Brexit turmoil

If we hadn’t fully grasped it during the period of phony war that began on 24 June last year, now we know: for the foreseeable future, Brexit and its fallout will define British politics, and subjects that were once barely discussed – trade, tariffs, the fate of our farms and fisheries – will be at the heart of the debate. But so too will the most profound questions our politicians have to deal with: what role Britain can now expect to play in the world, what kind of society will emerge from the mess, and whether the increasingly fragile United Kingdom can hold together.

This is, then, arguably the most momentous period the country has entered since 1945 – which brings us to the Labour party, and its quite astounding irrelevance.

Continue reading...

Confusion over May’s veiled Brexit threats signals problems ahead | Patrick Wintour

Different takes on whether article 50 letter seeks to blackmail the EU on security shows Downing Street must up its game

In Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, currently playing at the Old Vic, the two protagonists discuss the contents of a diplomatic letter they are conveying from Denmark to London. Guildenstern says “everything is made clear” in the letter, adding it contains “greetings to the family, expressions of loyalty, asking of favours, calling in of debts, obscure promises balanced by veiled threats”. In other words, diplomacy, he says.

Not everything was as clear with Theresa May’s article 50 letter to Europe on Wednesday, at least judging by the reaction, which alighted squarely on the veiled threats, rather than the many expressions of loyalty.

Continue reading...

UK defence role lies with US, not EU, says Michael Fallon

Defence secretary downplays EU role in Nato ahead of meeting with US counterpart James Mattis

The defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, has emphasised the extent to which he believes the UK’s defence role lies outside the European Union.

In a press release ahead of a meeting with his US counterpart James Mattis in London on Friday morning, Fallon put a post-Brexit spin on Britain’s defence policy. The Ministry of Defence said that Fallon, a confirmed Eurosceptic, would set out in the meeting ways in which the UK hoped to step up its role globally after the triggering of Brexit on Wednesday.

Continue reading...

Mexico: authorities install ‘penis seat’ on Metro to combat sexual harassment – video

The uncomfortable looking seat, labelled ‘for men only’, was installed on one of the busiest trains on the Mexico City Metro in an effort to highlight sexual harassment on public transport. The campaign is aimed at male passengers, who can be seen recoiling in the film after unwittingly sitting on the seat. New research revealed that 65% of women Mexico City women have been sexually harassed on the city’s buses or trains.

Continue reading...

School will allow black students to keep hair braids after ‘ban’ furore

Twins Grace and Tahbisa were pulled out of class and told their hair ‘did not represent’ their Melbourne school

A Melbourne public school that told two students of South Sudanese descent to remove their braids because they did not represent the school has relented, after the students took their story to the media.

Sixteen-year-old twins Grace and Tahbisa told Fairfax Media they had been pulled out of class at Bentleigh Secondary College and told to remove their braids by the end of the week, in a move they said was attacking their African culture.

Continue reading...

New Zealand’s #thatwanakatree becomes social media sensation

A crack willow tree, believed to have grown from an old fence post, is a magnet for photographers travelling to Lake Wanaka in the South Island

A spindly, crooked tree that appears to have grown up out of a lake has become an unlikely internet star and the most photographed tree in New Zealand.

The crack willow tree of Lake Wanaka, in New Zealand’s South Island, has been photographed tens of thousands of times, with queues of photographers routinely forming on the lake’s shore to capture its beauty.

Continue reading...

New rules for Indian mothers – so long as the government accepts they exist

Campaigners brand maternity bill elitist over failure to include women working in India’s informal sector, who represent 95% of female workforce

The Indian government’s new maternity bill, which comes into force this week, has been branded an elitist policy that will do little or nothing to help the vast majority of the country’s mothers.

According to women’s groups, the new rules – which raise maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks, putting India ahead of France and the US – will apply only to a small fraction of the female workforce.

Continue reading...

New rules for Indian mothers – so long as the government accepts they exist

Campaigners brand maternity bill elitist over failure to include women working in India’s informal sector, who represent 95% of female workforce

The Indian government’s new maternity bill, which comes into force this week, has been branded an elitist policy that will do little or nothing to help the vast majority of the country’s mothers.

According to women’s groups, the new rules – which raise maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks, putting India ahead of France and the US – will apply only to a small fraction of the female workforce.

Related: Outsourcing pregnancy: a visit to India's surrogacy clinics | Julie Bindel

Continue reading...

Melbourne and western Sydney driving most of Australia’s population growth

Much of fastest growth occurred in outer suburbs, while mining towns suffered population loss after end of resources boom

Most of Australia’s population growth is being driven by outer Melbourne and western Sydney, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed.

Statistics for 2015-16 show Melbourne has become Australia’s fastest-growing city, while greater Sydney’s total population pushed past five million as of June last year.

Continue reading...

NT youth detention system a failure, say royal commissioners

Margaret White and Mick Gooda criticise operation that focuses on punishment over rehabilitation as they deliver interim report

The system of youth detention in the Northern Territory has failed and is still failing, the royal commissioners said on Friday after delivering their interim report to the federal government.

The report will not be publicly available until it is tabled by the federal government, but on the final day of the current public hearing, commissioners Margaret White and Mick Gooda hinted at its findings. They also revealed it would contain no specific recommendations.

Continue reading...

From president to prisoner: Park Geun-Hye’s new life behind bars

After nearly two decades living in Seoul’s presidential Blue House, the former leader will sleep on a foldable mattress on the floor and bath twice a week

Daughter of a dictator and later head of state herself, South Korea’s Park Geun-Hye has spent nearly two decades living in Seoul’s sprawling presidential palace. Now she will be locked in a cell, eating $1.30 meals and doing her own washing up.

A court on Friday ordered the ousted South Korean leader to be jailed as a criminal suspect in the vast corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought millions of people into the streets, and culminated with her impeachment.

Continue reading...

Michael Flynn: ‘When you’re given immunity, you’ve probably committed a crime’ – video

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn has suggested he will testify about potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia in exchange for immunity. But speaking to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd in September 2016, Flynn criticised immunity deals offered during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. ‘Five people around her have been given immunity,’ he said. ‘When you are given immunity, that means that you probably committed a crime.’

Continue reading...

Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar’s great hope fails to live up to expectations

A year after her party swept to power, the Nobel laureate faces questions over her leadership and silence on persecution

It was never meant to be this way.

The script called for the lead actor, a Nobel prize winner, to seize control of a country, bring peace where there was conflict and prosperity where there was poverty. A nation emerging from years of military dictatorship was to become a beacon of hope not only for its cowed population but also for much of a fractured and turbulent south-east Asia.

Continue reading...

Tammy Duckworth joins effort to block Neil Gorsuch confirmation vote

Illinois senator criticized Gorsuch’s refusal to meet, as more than 30 Democrats plan now plan not to support Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth announced Thursday that she would join fellow Democrats in blocking a confirmation vote on Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee.

Duckworth, a combat veteran of the Iraq War who was first elected to the Senate in 2016, cited in a statement the refusal of Gorsuch to meet with her as one key reason for her vote.

Continue reading...

Lost in space: debris shield bag floats away from astronauts during ISS spacewalk

US astronauts were halfway through their mission to prepare a docking port for upcoming commercial space taxis when they lost a bag of equipment

A 1.5m (5ft) debris shield being installed on the International Space Station has floated away during a spacewalk by two veteran US astronauts.

Peggy Whitson, who became the world’s most experienced female spacewalker during the outing, told ground control teams that a bag containing the debris shield floated away at about 10am EDT/1400 GMT on Thursday.

Continue reading...