Parallels
7:13 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Headlines From Around The World

Germany, Deutsche Welle

We begin with the fallout from the leaks over the National Security's Agency surveillance operations.

Germany has summoned the U.S. ambassador over allegations the NSA spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel called President Obama on Wednesday to demand an explanation over the allegations, which were revealed by Der Spiegel. Obama denied the German chancellor was targeted.

The German news report is the latest embarrassment for the U.S., which earlier this week found itself trying to explain a report in the French newspaper Le Monde that the NSA had monitored millions of French phone records during a 30-day period.

Merkel had previously defended cooperation with the NSA.

The revelations follow the leak of classified information by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Kenya, Daily Nation

It's an apparent case of shooting the messenger.

Kenya's police chief David Kimaiyo says journalists will be arrested and prosecuted for reporting on the apparent looting by Kenya Defence Forces personnel at Nairobi's Westgate Mall during the siege there last month.

The newspaper reported that Kimaiyo accused journalists of "provoking propaganda" and inciting citizens against authorities with their reporting. The newspaper says:

"The Inspector-General's announcement is the latest in a sustained assault on press freedom in Kenya in recent months, which has seen the tabling in Parliament of bills giving government control over media operations."

The military says soldiers weren't looting, but were, in fact, carrying water in shopping bags.

But The Associated Press reports that security camera footage its reporters saw appeared to show armed forces looting a store during the four-day siege that began Sept. 21. At least 67 people were killed in the attack by Islamists militants.

Canada, Globe and Mail

Canada mostly was unharmed during the global economic crisis, but a gloomier outlook prompted the country's central bank to put on hold a planned increase of a key interest rate. And that decision is upsetting pension funds, insurers and banks.

"For anybody who is in the business of saving money, this is not good news," Jim Leech, CEO of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, told the newspaper. "It will be tougher and tougher for people to save money to meet their retirement needs. And it doesn't matter if you're in a defined benefit [pension plan] or defined contribution pension plan or your own RRSP, your savings rates are going to be low."

Long-term interest rates in Canada began rising this year, boosting the country's pension funds. Those funds have struggled over the past decade because of low interest rates. The newspaper cited data as saying the average Canadian pension plan was 88 percent funded as of Sept. 30; it was at 69 percent at the start of the year.

The newspaper reported that insurers expressed relative confidence with the Bank of Canada's decision while commercial banks also saw a silver lining: low mortgage rates.

Singapore, Straits Times

Finally, police in Singapore are investigating an incident at a bus stop on Tuesday in which a man spat at two women following a dispute over cutting in line.

A video of the incident was posted on Facebook where it went viral, the newspaper reported.

Singapore's public transport operator SMRT reminded passengers that "that inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated and will be reported."

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