World briefs: 6/12/10
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TOKYO -- Japan's newly installed prime minister startled the nation on Friday by warning that it could face a financial crisis of Greek proportions if it does not tackle its colossal debt.
The stark words from Prime Minister Naoto Kan followed by just hours the resignation of his banking minister and ally in the ruling Democratic Party, Shizuka Kamei -- an advocate of big spending. Mr. Kamei's departure seemed to signal that the new government would focus on reducing Japan's heavy government debt, called sovereign debt, by far the highest in the industrialized world, and cutting back on the wasteful public works projects.
"It is difficult to sustain a policy that relies too heavily on issuing debt," Mr. Kan told the Japanese parliament in his first policy speech.
BEIJING -- A series of labor strikes continued to spread Friday across parts of China, as newly emboldened workers pressed for higher wages and better conditions, posing a fresh challenge to the government and the country's only officially sanctioned union.
In Zhangshan, in southeastern China, about 1,700 workers at a Honda Lock factory, which makes locks and keys for Honda Motors, staged an unusual march through the city streets Friday morning, according to media reports and labor activists. The workers walked off the job Wednesday, demanding more pay and the right to elect their own union representatives -- a direct affront to China's official union, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.
Meanwhile, the unrest spread to China's other main industrial base in the Yangtze River Delta, when 2,000 workers at a Taiwanese computer parts plant walked off their jobs in Shanghai's Pudong district.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- The worst locust plague in more than two decades is threatening to strike Australia, the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter, after rainfall boosted egg laying by the insects in major crop growing regions.
"There are hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops and pastures that are potentially at risk," Chris Adriaansen, director at the Canberra-based Australian Plague Locust Commission said in an interview by phone.
"Tens of millions of dollars" will be spent during the southern hemisphere spring to reduce the affects of the infestation, he said.
LIMA, Peru -- Angry Peruvian onlookers shouted "Disgrace!" and "Murderer" at Joran van der Sloot on Friday after a judge ordered him jailed on first-degree murder and robbery charges in the violent killing of a 21-year-old Lima woman.
Prosecutors said the Dutchman, who was taken to a segregated block of an eastern Lima prison, acted with "ferocity and great cruelty" in killing business student Stephany Flores in his hotel room after they met playing poker.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- At least 30 gunmen burst into a drug rehabilitation center in a Mexican border state capital and opened fire, killing 19 men and wounding four people, police said.
Gunmen also killed 20 people in another drug-plagued northern city.
The killings marked one of the bloodiest weeks ever in Mexico and came just weeks after authorities discovered 55 bodies in an abandoned silver mine, presumably victims of the country's drug violence.
Police had no information on suspects.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published June 12, 2010 12:00 am