23 June 2016   Leave a comment

Refugees fleeing violence perpetrated by Boko Haram in Nigeria are slowly dying of starvation in the refugee camps.   More than 2 million Nigerians have been displaced by the violence and tens of thousands have been killed.  The Nigerian government has proven unable to bring the northeast region of the country under control and Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to Daesh (the Islamic State) and is trying to create it own state in Nigeria.

For more than 50 years the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have waged a bloody war that killed 250,000 people and displaced 6 million people. The FARC was a revolutionary peasant’s army at the beginning of the conflict but it morphed into a drug-dealing, kidnapping, and extortion movement that induced the Colombia government to resort to bloody repression and vigilante action.  Today, a peace agreement was signed between the two sides.  It needs to be ratified by a referendum and there are many splinter rebel groups that need to be brought into the agreement.  But the agreement is a hopeful sign for a country that deserves far better.

Protests against changes to the French labor laws continued as the government continues to press for reform.  According to the BBC, the changes to the laws include the following:

French labour reform bill – key points:

  • The 35-hour week remains in place, but as an average. Firms can negotiate with local trade unions on more or fewer hours from week to week, up to a maximum of 46 hours
  • Firms are given greater freedom to reduce pay
  • The law eases conditions for laying off workers, which is strongly regulated in France. It is hoped companies will take on more people if they know they can shed jobs in case of a downturn
  • Employers to get more leeway to negotiate holidays and special leave, such as maternity or for getting married. These are currently also heavily regulated

The protesters view the changes as challenges to not just the economic system, but to the French way of life.  It seems likely, however, that the government will likely win most of these reforms.


Posted June 24, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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