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Canada’s Coast Guard needs help; What do defections tell us about North Korea?; Can cease-fire in Yemen last?; South African women in the workplace; Death penalty needs to go

A roundup of global commentary for the April 25, 2016 to May 2, 2016 weekly magazine.

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    A Central Committee meeting is held to mark the 104th birth anniversary of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung.
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The Toronto Star / Toronto

Canada’s Coast Guard needs help

“Given its crucial search-and-rescue role, as well [as] icebreaking, responding to oil spills and other environmental disasters, providing aids to navigation, and managing marine traffic, a breakdown at this vital agency could have catastrophic consequences...,” states an editorial. “A deep and major revamping of the service seems in order. The agency is the country’s eyes and ears on surrounding seas. From oil spills to sinking cargo ships – it’s Canada’s first responder when marine disasters strike. It’s up to the Liberal government to take action. However Ottawa opts to address these growing deficiencies, it needs to start work now to protect this service and those who rely on it.” 

The Korea Times / Seoul, South Korea

What do defections tell us about North Korea?

“The chance is that the [United Nations] sanctions are starting to bite and, if the pressure is kept up, [North Korea] may be pushed closer to collapse than ever,” states an editorial. “Its 33-year-old dictator, Kim Jong-un, appears short of the charisma that his grandfather Kim Il-sung had. He doesn’t have the same experience as his father Kim Jong-il, who apprenticed for a long time under his father.... [T]he ultimate question is: would it become a puppet government operated by China or a pro-consul appointed by the U.S. and a Seoul delegate that is put in charge? These defections may prove to be another false signal of spring but it should be borne in mind that we would be better off to be prepared just in case this time it happens.” 

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Can cease-fire in Yemen last?

“The real reason for the conflict lies in the complex geopolitics of the region,” states an editorial. “Saudi Arabia sees the Houthis as a front for Iran and does not want a Shia-dominated government in its backyard. Western countries, particularly the U.S. and the U.K., have continued to supply weapons to Riyadh and turned their eyes away from the brazen violation of human rights for fear of further antagonising Saudi Arabia.... Any practical solution will require an end to external military intervention and a cessation of violence, followed by the formation of a government of national unity. These cannot be achieved unless Iran and Saudi Arabia cooperate.... A failure to put the region before narrow geopolitical interests would result in this ceasefire meeting the fate of previous ones.” 

Business Day / Johannesburg, South Africa

South African women in the workplace

“In SA, only 23% of senior management positions are occupied by women, while just less than 40% of companies have no women at all in leadership positions...,” writes Liz De Wet. “There is a massive pool of potentially skilled labour that is not being used, not going into entrepreneurship, not creating jobs, not giving input in existing businesses. Women make up a significant proportion of the world’s consumers and shoppers, and their input in boardrooms is, therefore, invaluable.... There’s a reason corporations are supporting gender diversity in business and politics. It’s because, apart from being the right thing to do, it’s also increasingly becoming the only way to thrive.” 

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Death penalty needs to go

“The most fundamental human right – inalienable and also anchored in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – is the right to live,” Matthias von Hein writes. “This right, of course, is often violated by conflict, terrorism and crime, and it is often violated by the law.... It is senseless, gruesome and degrading; executions lead to brutal societies. The majority of countries around the world have realized that state-sanctioned killing is not the answer to murder or other crimes: A total of 102 states have completely abolished the death penalty. Four did so just last year. These countries show that justice and criminal law have no need for executioners.” 

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