By Dialogo March 27, 2012 STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Swedish prosecutors charged eight people on March 26 suspected of belonging to a drug ring linked to a massive Caribbean cocaine bust in 2010, following a lengthy probe in several European countries. The eight suspects, whose names were not released, were charged with aggravated narcotics crime, narcotics smuggling and money laundering for crimes committed between 2006 and 2010, Sweden’s international prosecution authority said March 26. The charges were linked to a record drug bust in June 2010 on a sailboat off the Caribbean island of Martinique, where police seized some 1.4 tons of Colombian cocaine, worth around 4 billion kronor (€505 million, US$675 million), according to the Swiss authorities. The seized cocaine corresponds to 5.6 million doses, prosecutors said. [AFP, 26/03/2012; Thelocal.se (Sweden), 26/03/2012]
Saudi Arabia’s 84-year-old ruler, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has been admitted to hospital in the capital Riyadh, suffering from inflammation of the gall bladder, state news agency SPA said on Monday.The king, who has ruled the world’s largest oil exporter and close U.S. ally since 2015, was undergoing medical checks, the agency added, without giving details.King Salman, the custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, spent more than 2-1/2 years as the Saudi crown prince and deputy premier from June 2012 before becoming king. He also served as governor of the Riyadh region for more than 50 years. Topics : The defacto ruler and next in line to the throne is the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, widely known by his initials MBS, who has launched reforms to transform the kingdom’s economy and end its “addiction” to oil.The 34-year-old prince, who is popular among young Saudis, has won praise at home for easing social restrictions in the conservative Muslim kingdom, giving more rights to women and pledging to diversify the economy.To the king’s supporters, this boldness at home and abroad was a welcome change after decades of caution, stagnation and dithering.But state control of the media and a crackdown on dissent in the kingdom make it difficult to gauge the extent of domestic enthusiasm.
NZ Herald 11 April 2012Finance Minister Bill English confirmed this afternoon that National will veto a bill to extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to six months.He said the Government would have to borrow more money to fund it just at a time when it was trying to reduce its deficit.“We have maintained paid parental leave and we currently spend about $150 million [a year] on it,” he told reporters at Parliament.“But we are still two or three years from getting out of the woods on the deficit so we think it is a bit soon to be trying to expand entitlements when our big challenge has been to maintain them as they are.”Mr English said Labour specialised in trying to get political benefit without showing the real cost by saying it would take 10 years to implement.“That’s just misleading the public. The fact is doubling it will cost another $150 million a year. You’d have to borrow half a billion over the next three or four years. We’re simply not willing to do that.”http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10798133