The Guardian • Issue #2074

GLOBAL BRIEFS

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2074
Global briefs

USA: US Republican House Representative Marjory Taylor Greene has raised concerns about the weapons Hamas militants used in their attack on Israel. Greene suggested in a social media post that the United States and Israel should jointly “track serial numbers on any US weapons used by Hamas against Israel.” “Did they come from Afghanistan? Did they come from Ukraine? Highly likely the answer is both,” the congresswoman wrote. The Biden administration pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021, leaving behind huge quantities of weapons and military hardware in the Taliban’s hands.

GERMANY: Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) suffered electoral defeat in the German states of Hesse and Bavaria. Hesse is the country’s financial hub, while Bavaria is Germany’s second largest state in terms of population and has a large economy. It is home to many industrial companies. In Hesse the winner is Christrian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of former chancellor Angela Merkel. The Christian Social Union (CSU) was the winner in Bavaria. SPD co-leader Lars Klingbeil acknowledged that the results were ‘two defeats’ for his party. ‘There were many crises in recent years that have contributed to the situation being the way it is’, he said. Scholz’s cabinet has been under pressure over high inflation, energy price hikes and policies aimed at transitioning towards a green economy. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came second in both states. The AfD advocates for higher restriction on immigrants, and is critical of Germany’s ties to NATO and its decision to supply weapons to Ukraine.

UK: Student mental health problems in Britain have almost tripled, according to a recent study by King’s College London. The proportion of university undergraduates experiencing mental health difficulties rose from 6 per cent to 16 per cent. The report says that a significant part of that increase has occurred in the last 12 months, during the cost-of-living crisis. The analysis showed that female students were more than twice as likely as males to report mental health problems. Bisexual people had the highest average levels of mental health difficulties among LGBTQ+ groups. Students who attended state schools had, on average, worse mental health than those who went to private schools. Professor of public policy at King’s, Michael Sanders said: ‘It’s clear the experiences of mental ill-health among students are deeply unequal and exist along much the same lines as in society at large, with those from most disadvantaged backgrounds or who often face discrimination being most likely in general to report struggle with their mental health.’

JAPAN: In response to an Akahata (‘Red Flag’, the newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party) inquiry on 28th September, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) admitted to the possibility that the products of government-backed Rapidus Corporation, Japan’s leading-edge semiconductor maker, will be used by the US in its military equipment. Rapidus was established in August 2022 with the support of eight major companies, including Toyota, Sony, and NEC. It plans to start mass production of cutting-edge chips in 2027 at a factory which is now under construction in Hokkaido’s Chitose City with the use of IBM’s 2-nanometer chip technology. The Kishida government, considering the success of Rapidus as the last chance to revive the domestic semiconductor industry, poured a large amount of tax money to support the company’s business. The government has already provided 330 billion yen in subsidies and plans to provide additional subsidies, while the chip maker expects to receive 2-trillion-yen financial support from the government. The JCP says that it is unacceptable that Japanese taxpayer money is used to support a company willing to become a supplier to the US military.

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