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S/Korean Court Orders Japan Corps To Pay WWII Workers $350m

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S/Korean Court Orders Japan Corps To Pay WWII Workers $350m

South Korea’s top court ruled on Tuesday that Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. should compensate four South Koreans for their forced labor during World War Two.

The ruling of the court could freeze ties between the uneasy neighbors.

Nippon Steel said the verdict was “deeply regrettable” and that it would review it before taking any next steps while Japan’s Foreign Ministry said it would summon the South Korean ambassador.

In a landmark ruling, South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld a 2013 order for the company to pay 100 million won ($87,700) to each of the four steel workers, bringing the total money to be paid to $350.8 million.

The forced workers initiated the suit in 2005, seeking compensation and unpaid wages.

The court ruled that the former laborers’ right to reparation was not terminated by a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic ties, rejecting the claim by Tokyo and Japanese courts, Yonhap news agency said.

Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan’s 35-year occupation of the Korean peninsula until 1945 and the use of comfort women, Japan’s euphemism for girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in its wartime brothels.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters that the issue of compensation was “settled completely and finally” by the 1965 deal.

Lee Choon-shik, the 98-year-old sole surviving plaintiff, welcomed the ruling, saying in a televised news conference that it was “heartbreaking to see it today, left alone alive”.

Some Seoul officials and experts fear the court’s decision, final and binding, could bring repercussions for relations.

If Nippon Steel refuses to compensate, the plaintiffs could request a seizure of the company’s property in South Korea, which may result in an exit of some Japanese businesses and a cut in investment.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said in 2016 any seizure of company assets could drive relations into an “irreversible catastrophe”.

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Time Magazine Names Jamal Khashoggi, Other Journalists As “Person Of The Year”

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Time Magazine Names Jamal Khashoggi, Other Journalists As "Person Of The Year"

This year’s time magazine “Person Of The Year” has been bestowed on a group of journalists that includes murdered Saudi writer, Jamal Khashoggi and two Reuters reporters imprisoned by Myanmar’s government.  The magazine says it named the group of journalists as “person of the year” because the idea of truth as critical to democracy is under assault.

Also honored is the founder of a Philippines news website that has been vocal in criticizing that country’s authoritarian government. A Maryland, USA, newspaper is also among the honored.

This is the first time in its ninety-five year history that time magazine has honored people in its own profession.

The annual distinction is intended to recognize the person, group or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year. It has been given to a wide range of influencers, from u.s. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. And Queen Elizabeth to Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, who was honored before the start of world war two.

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Syrian Government Using Anti-terrorism Law To Seize Properties From Dissidents

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Syrian Government Using Anti-terrorism Law To Seize Properties From Dissidents

Rights groups and some of the affected Syrian people say the government has been using a little-known anti-terrorism law to seize property from dissidents and their families as it takes back control of areas that were held by rebel groups.

Now that Syria’s conflict has stabilized, and president Bashar al-Assad again controls the biggest cities, it is left to be seen how he will handle the areas where the 2011 uprising against him flared.

International attention has focused on policies, such as legislation known as law 10, that could eventually enable the government to dispossess people in the opposition strongholds worst damaged in the war.

But human rights groups say, while law 10 has not yet been put into effect, the separate anti-terrorism law has already been used to seize property, including from people who had no hand in violence.

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Theresa May Faces Confidence Vote

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Theresa May Faces Confidence Vote

British prime minister, Theresa May faces a confidence vote in her leadership by MPs in her own conservative party, after chaos began to roil her European union exit deal.

So much now plagues the deal that has opened up the prospect of a messy no-deal Brexit or a referendum that could reverse Brexit.  Britain is due to exit on March the twenty-ninth next year.

Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s so-called 1922 committee, said the threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary conservative party seeking a confidence vote had been reached.  A vote will be taken at the house of Commons later this evening.

May could lose her position as prime minister if a hundred fifty-eight of her three hundred fifteen MPs vote against her, but a mutiny could also help sustain her through the crisis.

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