Must-Reads from Around the World

Ahn Young-joon / AP

North Korean defector Park Sang-hak hurls anti-North Korea leaflets as police block his planned rally on a road in Paju near demilitarized zone, South Korea, Oct. 22, 2012.

South Korean Leaflets – Police in South Korea blocked activists from sending propaganda leaflets over the border, according to the BBC, after North Korea threatened to carry out “a merciless military strike” if the leaflets were launched. An activist group of North Korean defectors now living in South Korea had planned to launch balloons containing propaganda leaflets from Imjingak park in the border town of Paju but authorities sealed off the launch site Monday morning. Earlier, the South Korean military was on high alert and hundreds of residents near the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas were advised to evacuate.

Reverse Brain Drain – Sluggish economic growth in industrialized nations is prompting migrants from developing countries to return home, notes the Christian Science Monitor. The flow of human capital from poor to wealthy countries has now been reversed, creating a “brain gain” for developing nations. “Emerging economies not only are faring better than most of the developed world in the current recession, they also continue to grow, drawing back their expatriates and, in some cases, even luring new high-skilled citizens of the U.S. and Europe,” wrote CSM.

Economic Reforms — Chinese policymakers asked think-tanks to draft proposals for economic reforms that could stem the power of state-owned enterprises and allow more freedom in setting interest rates and the yuan currency, Reuters reports. The proposed structural reforms also include “allowing the market to set the cost of bank credit, land and various natural resources,” which are currently set by the central government. Five policy advisors told Reuters that the order to draw up the proposals came from members of the State Council but some of them fear “a nascent rebound in economic growth could derail the recommended agenda.”
Popularity Boost – The approval polls for the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, have improved significantly since she accused the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, of being a misogynist and a sexist, writes the Guardian. The polling showed that her popularity amongst both men and women improved by five points to 47%. Millions have watched the video of Gillard’s speech telling Abbott that if he wanted to know what a misogynist looks like in modern Australia he should look in a mirror.

Under Pressure – The Director-General of the BBC, George Entwistle, has come under pressure following the revelation that the broadcasting authority dropped an investigation by its Newsnight program into Jimmy Savile last year, notes Reuters. Savile, a TV presenter for the BBC who died last year, has been accused of pedophilia and sexual harassment. John Simpson, the BBC foreign editor, described the scandal as “the worst crisis that I can remember in my nearly 50 years at the BBC,” reports the Independent. A Panorama documentary, which reveals how the investigation was put aside, will be aired on Monday evening on the BBC. The program is expected to reveal how Newsnight‘s editor Peter Rippon was allegedly pressurized to abandon any further inquiries into the Savile case. Rippon has stepped aside pending the investigation.

Anti Electoral Law – Protestors gathered in the capital, Kuwait City, on Sunday to demonstrate against changes to electoral law, writes Aljazeera. They were greeted by teargas, baton charges and stun grenades which the police used to break up what the government called a “constitutional coup.” The protest was in response to the government’s announcement last week (mainly dominated by the al-Sabah family) that it was calling elections on December 1 and would change the  electoral law. Kuwait has the most politically empowered parliament in the Gulf where government officials are often challenged by the opposition over abuses of power.