Month in brief

World Bank President steps down

Jim Yong Kim has announced his resignation as President of the World Bank after six years in the post. According to The New York Times, he plans to rejoin the board of Partners in Health, the nonprofit he co-founded in 1987. Of his tenure at the World Bank, Korean-American Kim said it had been ‘a great honour to serve as president of this remarkable institution’. There is speculation that the US President’s daughter Ivanka Trump is among the names mooted to replace him.


New Gandhi in political arena

A member of India’s leading political family has formally entered politics ahead of the forthcoming general elections. Priyanka Gandhi, sister of Rahul Gandhi– who is president of India’s main opposition Indian National Congress party – was appointed by her brother as a general secretary in the party’s central decision-making assembly,the All India Congress Committee, for the eastern part of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, according to a party statement.


Beijing visit a stepping stone?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s January visit to China – his fourth since becoming leader in 2011, and at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency – came as US and Chinese negotiators attempt to resolve the ongoing trade war between those two nations. The meeting with Xi may pave the way to a second meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump, which Kim is said to want amid an impasse over denuclearisation.


Ghosn denied bail

A Tokyo court denied the latest bid by Brazilian-born car industry legend Carlos Ghosn to be released on bail, meaning he will remain in jail until at least March 10 as Japanese prosecutors continue to build their case against him for financial crimes. The former Nissan Motor Co. chairman – who is still CEO at Nissan’s partner company Renault SA – was charged for a second time over allegations he transferred personal trading losses to the car manufacturer.


Damning report on garment industry

A recent report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed that millions of workers in Pakistan’s garment industry endure abuse and labour rights violations. Largely based on interviews with more than a 100 people, including 118 workers from 25 factories, union leaders and labour rights advocates in Karachi, Lahore and Hafizabad, the report details various contraventions in Pakistan’s garment factories, including failure to pay minimum wages, inadequate breaks and forced overtime.


Thailand will go to the polls

Thailand’s much delayed general election will be held on March 24, with a new government expected to be in situ ‘by the middle of the year’.Thailand’s Election Commission announced the news on Jan. 23, just hours after a royal decree declaring an election was released.The poll will put an end to military rule, which has been in place since 2014, when then army chief Prayut Chan-o-cha led a coup that ousted the Pheu Thai Party-led government and took over as premier.


A question of ethics

Investigators in China’s Guangdong province examining reports of the world’s first gene-edited babies seem to have confirmed that the reports are true. The scientist responsible, He Jiankui, allegedly acted alone, evading supervision of his work and violating research norms. He will be punished for any violations of law, though it is still unclear what these may be. Last November, He Jiankuistunned the world by claiming he had altered the DNA of twin girls at conception to try to help them resist infection with the AIDS virus.


An authentic experience

Backpackers keen to explore war-torn Afghanistan are having no trouble finding potential local hosts to stay with via the social networking site Couch surfing. Travellers seeking an ‘authentic’ experience are ignoring warnings from their own governments to stay away from the country, where kidnappings of foreigners and suicide bombings are rife. Nearly 2,000 Afghans, mostly men, have signed up to host guests on the website, which connects travellers around the world with locals who are willing to put them up for free.

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