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Why are there North Korean schools in Japan?

Original story by ‘The Economist”.

ALONG with America and South Korea, Japanis one of a handful of…

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China, North Korea Among Asia’s Worst Culprits for Torture

China, North Korea Among Asia’s Worst Culprits for Torture

China and North Korea are among the Asia-Pacific region’s worst culprits for torture, according to a new report by rights group Amnesty International which also sees many other countries in the region failing to meet obligations to protect and punish the horrific abuse.

A poll by the group revealed that 30 years after the Convention Against Torture was adopted by the U.N., almost half of the world’s population still does not feel safe from torture and other forms of ill treatment used “as a favored tool by the forces of repression.”

Amnesty, which released the report for the launch of a global “Stop Torture” campaign, said it had recorded incidents of torture in…

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#044 - Because there is no contract

The Economist reports this week on “capitalism’s waning popularity,” after a global study by GlobeScan shows an important decline on “public support for capitalism” among usual suspects like France (6% strongly support in 2010 versus 8% in 2002), and old champions like the US (59% support in 2010 from a massive 80% in 2002).

Not surprisingly support among America’s poor (income below $20,000 per year) sank sharply to 44%. In the article GlobeScan’s chairman warns about business in America “losing its social contract.” The question is which contract? Joseph Stiglitz’s Vanity Fair piece on inequality describes a situation were anything that resembled a social contract died a slow death over the last few decades.

Assuming that there is no contract could be the first step in actually writing one that makes sense for society today. Brands must play a role via developing a system were meaning is created through tangible value. This can be a powerful point of departure.

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GlobeScan’s Co-CEO Chris Coulter introduces the Aspirational consumer segment at Cranfield University.

Europe Slips in World Influence Stakes

By Harvey Morris, NY Times, May 12, 2012
LONDON–Surprise, surprise! The international standing of European nations has declined in the past year, according to a survey published this week, and Germany is no longer the state most admired by the rest of the world.

In a survey of more than 24,000 people in 22 countries around the world, the opinion research organization GlobeScan found that positive views of European states fell sharply over the past year as their leaders struggled to find solutions to the continent’s chronic economic crisis.

The standing of the 27-nation European Union as a whole fared even worse, with an 8 percent fall since last year.

Nations such as Germany and Britain are still in positive territory among the top five but China is coming up from behind in the admiration stakes, while Japan squeezed into first place with a positive rating of 58 percent.

Positive views of China rose from 46 to 50 percent, putting it at fifth place in the league table of states that others most look up to.

“The turmoil in the EU, long seen as an attractive bastion of political and economic stability, has raised doubts in people’s minds about its continued ability to be a global leader. Hopes are turning to China,” said Chris Coulter, GlobeScan’s president.

His organization conducted the survey jointly with University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes on behalf of the BBC World Service.

China received a boost, notably among respondents in Europe, because of its economy, products, and services. What held it down was a negative perception of its foreign policy and how it treats its people.

Perceptions of a nation’s influence should not, of course, be confused with the real thing.

Down at eighth place and with a positive rating of just 47 percent, the United States still lags behind even the European Union. Significantly more respondents disapproved rather than approved of U.S. foreign policy.

The findings raise the question of how much states are likely to be influenced by where they stand in the global beauty contest. It is hard to see Iran making much effort to switch course just in order to drag itself from the bottom of the table.

World powers invariably follow Nicollo Machiavelli’s dictum that it is better to be feared than to be loved, if you can’t be both.

In an interview I once had with Silvan Shalom, then Israeli foreign minister, the conversation drifted towards his well-known expertise about the English soccer leagues. I asked him if he knew the slogan of my local London team, Millwall, whose fans are known for their aggressive misanthropy.

He didn’t, so I enlightened him. “It’s: ‘No one likes us, we don’t care’,” I said, adding that I had always felt it would be a good motto for Israel.

He seemed rather pleased with the idea.