Japan’s Abe pushes for constitutional changes: Emboldened by significant gains in the upper house of the National Diet, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is calling for an overhaul of the Japanese constitution.
Abe’s proposed constitutional modifications include discarding Article 9, which forbids the use of the Japanese military to use force overseas and places tightly-controlled limits on its armed forces.
Abe’s proposals, supported in the Diet by parties allied with his Liberal Democratic Party, are aimed at what he says are regional threats in an increasingly belligerent North Korea and China and global threats such as international terrorism.
Constitutional revisions in Japan require approval by a national plebiscite.
Obama asks Poland to protect its democracy: Addressing what he sees are threats to an independent judiciary, freedom of the press and impartial prosecutions in a democracy, President Obama urged Poland to do more to protect civil liberties.
The Polish viewing audience, however, was told by national public broadcasting Mr. Obama had praised Poland’s spreading of democracy.
The Polish Law and Justice Party has been criticized for sweeping changes over the judiciary and media, and the political appointment of Jacek Kurski as director of Telewizja Polska. Kurski is criticized for tightening the grip on the circulation of news.
560 American troops ordered to Iraq: Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the addition of 560 U.S. troops to Iraq during an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday.
The revelation of further troops follows last week’s White House announcement Mr. Obama planned to maintain 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his term.
The additional troops are expected to assist in the planned assault on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.
Human Rights Watch upbraids Saudi Arabia over Yemen: Accusing Saudi Arabia of hitting civilian targets in Yemen, advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HWR) has issued a report stating Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen may amount to war crimes.
HWR described 17 Saudi airstrikes targeting civilian infrastructure, which killed over 130 civilians and injured over 170.
HWS’s report underlined the destruction of factories, two power stations and numerous warehouses which once employed over 2,500, all of whom are now out of jobs in a country ravaged by war and which requires massive humanitarian aid.
The author of the HWR report, Priyanka Motaparthy, told RT News the Saudis typically do not investigate allegations of civilian deaths and the United States and the UK do not pressure the Saudis to conduct thorough probes to avoid collateral damage.
[The Guardian] [Toronto Star] [RT News]