Thousands rally for higher wages at Asia’s May Day marches, Europeans to protest austerity
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — May Day moved beyond its roots as an international workers’ holiday to a day of international protest Tuesday, with rallies throughout Asia demanding wage increases and marches planned across Europe over government-imposed austerity measures.
Europeans will take to the streets to protest against the measures that are being blamed for a big increase in the number of unemployed, particularly in Spain where one in four people is out of work.
In the United States, demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience are planned, including what could be the country’s most visible Occupy rallies since the anti-Wall Street encampments came down in the fall.
In Asia, thousands of May Day protesters in the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan demanded hikes in pay that they say has not kept up with rising consumer prices, while also calling for lower school fees and expressing a variety of other gripes.
ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan (AP) — One year since U.S. commandos flew into this Pakistani army town and killed Osama bin Laden, Islamabad has failed to answer tough questions over whether its security forces were protecting the world’s most wanted terrorist.
Partly as a result, fallout from the raid still poisons relations between Washington and Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment, support for Islamist extremism and anger at the violation of sovereignty in the operation can be summed up by a Twitter hashtag doing the rounds: 02MayBlackDay.
The Pakistani government initially welcomed the raid that killed bin Laden in his three-story compound, but within hours the mood changed as it became clear that Pakistan’s army was cut out of the operation. Any discussions over how bin Laden managed to stay undetected in Pakistan were drowned out in anger at what the army portrayed as a treacherous act by a supposed ally.
That bin Laden was living with his family near Pakistan’s version of West Point — not in a cave in the mountains as many had guessed — raised eyebrows in the West. The Pakistani army was already accused of playing both sides in the campaign against militancy, providing some support against al-Qaida but keeping the Afghan Taliban as strategic allies.
A week after the raid, President Barack Obama said bin Laden had a “support network” in Pakistan and the country must investigate how he evaded capture. Pakistan responded by announcing the formation of a committee to investigate bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan as well as the circumstances surrounding the U.S. raid.
On taxes, health care and government’s role, Obama and Romney offer distinct choices to voters
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the better part of a year, Mitt Romney has tethered himself to an array of positions designed for the Republican presidential primaries, stances that put him to the right of where he’s been through much of his career and raise questions about where he really wants to go. President Barack Obama’s politicking has tacked to the left, thanks to all those speeches to Democratic fundraisers and other activist-heavy events that play up the liberal in him.
Now, though, it’s time for both politicians to start maximizing their appeal to the broad electorate, a task Obama had the luxury of starting early as the incumbent without an intra-party struggle to settle. And as they compete for that middle ground, the essential differences between them may become harder to see.
Those differences surely exist. Obama and his Republican challenger are offering voters a distinct choice on taxes, a sharp disagreement over health care and a classic ideological divide on social issues that neither candidate seems eager to talk about. So, too, Obama has shown he believes in the power of the purse — or the power of debt — to right an economic downturn in ways that Republicans find hard to swallow.
Take taxes. Romney and Obama are at odds over whether low taxes on the wealthy help fuel the engine of economic growth or are an unfair giveaway to people who don’t need it.
That’s far more than a debating-society point. Despite the substantial tax cuts Obama has supported since becoming president, he wants to push even more than in 2008 to raise taxes on the rich and on companies that outsource jobs. Romney wants lower rates for all incomes and no special tax penalties on corporate behavior.