Good news for a "live and let live" Britain, a pause on Syria strike plans, and a verdict on the Delhi gang-rape case.by Prospect Team / September 10, 2013 / Leave a comment
Potential breakthrough in Russia’s Syria proposal? Obama pledges to put Syria strike on hold if Assad complies with Russian demands Obama has announced that he is prepared to put any military action on hold if Syria complies with Russia’s demands to hand over any chemical weapons and agree to their immediate dismantlement, says The Independent. In a surprise move, Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced the initative which secured immediate backing from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, came just as Obama was building up momentum in Congress to approve limited strikes against Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons. Obama told NBC news that he initially received the proposal from Damascus “with a grain of salt,” but added that he would “absolutely” defer a military strike if Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons was successfully secured. Towards an individual, liberal and cynical Britain The Guardian leads this morning with a survey that finds the UK has become a more “live and let live” society over the past 30 years. The survey conducted by NatCen Social Research found that Britons have become significantly less bound by class, gender and sexual differences. Today 83% think that it is “acceptable for a homosexual person to be a teacher in a school,” compared with 41% in 1983. The findings also indicate that Britons has assumed a more tolerant stance on welfare benefits, with 51% of people surveyed with the view that benefits to unemployed people are “too high and discourage work,” down from 62% in 2011. However, the articles notes that this increasingly beneficent outlook is not reflected in political standing, with only 20% that trust Westminster. Delhi court announce gang-rape verdict The four men charged with the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi last December have been found guilty today in a special fast-track court, Time reports. The student was brutally assaulted on a moving bus in the Indian capital and died two weeks later. The four men, whose identity has been unveiled for the first time today, could face the death penalty. A fifth defendant was found dead in his cell in March. More than 100 witnesses have testified in the landmark case. BBC executives argue over pay-offs BBC executives accused each other of misleading MPs about excessive payoffs in a “grossly unedifying” list of claims and counter-claims before a committee of MPs yesterday, the BBC reports. Margaret Hodge, who led the committee, said that the misuse of licence-fee-payers’ money and conflicting accounts over who was responsible could only damage the broadcaster’s reputation. Former BBC director general Mark Thompson accused Lord Patten of making “unfair and untrue” claims about not knowing about Byford’s payment. MPs seemed to accept Patten’s argument that he “couldn’t have been expected to know” about the payments. Former BBC executive Lucy Adams was called a “liar” by MPs and accused of treating licence-fee-payers’ money as “sweetners.” EU Immigration adds £60 billion to UK economy A major new study reveals that the coalition’s plans to curb EU immigration could result in an estimated loss of two per cent to the GDP by 2050, an equivalent to £60 billion, The Huffington Post reports. The Centre for Economics and Business’s analysis showed that EU-born workers are more likely to be economically active than UK-born citizens. The study comes weeks after the Office of National Statistics published data predicting that the UK would require an additional seven million migrants to counterbalance its aging population and an increasingly strained health care system.