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SOUTH AFRICA: The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union said today that it had won a 7 per cent increase in the minimum wage for leather workers.
In addition, workers in one tanning section will receive an increase in their annual bonus of a day’s pay.
About 3,100 workers employed in 32 tanning factories nationally will benefit from the deal.
ISRAEL: The Knesset has chosen Likud party grandee Reuven Rivlin as the country’s next president.
Mr Rivlin won a secret runoff ballot today, beating veteran legislator Meir Sheetrit, by 63 votes to 53.
Mr Rivlin is a right-winger in Likud and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.
GERMANY: The Federal Constitutional Court has thrown out a complaint by the country’s biggest far-right party against President Joachim Gauck, who described protesters against an asylum-seeker centre as “nutcases.”
The National Democratic Party argued Mr Gauck violated its rights when he said last September: “We need citizens who take to the streets and show the nutcases their limits.”
The court said the word “nutcases” was acceptable “as a collective term for people who have not learned the lessons of history.”
KUWAIT: A judge has ordered the Al Watan and Alam Al Yawm newspapers to stop publishing for five days because they violated a prosecutor-ordered media blackout over the investigation of a coup plot to overthrow the Gulf monarchy’s government.
It is the second time in less than two months that the newspapers have been gagged.
GREECE: The counrty needs to improve the efficiency of its public sector dramatically to meet fiscal targets and avoid new austerity measures, the International Monetary Fund said today.
“Adjustment fatigue has set in and the coalition government has a reduced majority of just two seats in the 300-member parliament,” the IMF said.
“This is making it difficult to move forward boldly and swiftly with needed reforms.”
IRISH REPUBLIC: The government said today that it is launching an investigation into mistreatment and burial of babies who died in church homes for unmarried mothers.
Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan said he wanted a look at the high mortality rates at the homes, burial practices, illegal adoptions and whether vaccine trials were conducted on the children.
A researcher has found records showing that 796 children, mostly infants, died in a home in Tuam, County Galway, which operated from 1925 until 1962.
AFGHANISTAN: Five US troops have been killed in a coalition airstrike, officials admitted today, in one of the worst “friendly fire” incidents since the start of the nearly 14-year war.
The US-led coalition said the troops were killed in an airstrike in southern Zabul province.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.
BRAZIL: The Homeless Workers Movement, which was behind recent demonstrations against the World Cup, said today that it will not stage protests during the event.
Movement head Guilherme Boulos said that the government has agreed to its demands for low-cost housing.
He announced that the government had promised to build 2,000 houses on land invaded last month by 5,000 people just two miles from the stadium where the tournament’s opening match will be played in Sao Paulo.
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