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Temp Nation: Fighting Panasonic

Editor's note: Temp Nation is a four-part series on the structural changes taking place in Japan, the world's second-largest economy. With the demise of Japan, Inc.'s lifetime employment policies, more than a third of the country's workforce is now underworked and underpaid. This series examines how some temps are starting to fight back.

Temp Nation: The demise of "lifetime employment" in Japan

Editor's note: Temp Nation is a four-part series on the structural changes taking place in Japan, the world's second-largest economy. With the demise of Japan, Inc.'s lifetime employment policies, more than a third of the country's workforce is now underworked and underpaid. This series examines how some temps are starting to fight back.

Opinion: How to approach North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea may soon release the findings of an investigation into the sinking of the ROKS Ch’onan, a 1,200-tonne coastal patrol ship, which on March 26 was blown in half by an external explosion. Many people have already blamed North Korea for the attack that killed 46 people near the disputed inter-Korean maritime boundary. They are probably right.

Indians seduced by fake gold

MUMBAI, India — The price of gold rose to its all-time high dollar value on Wednesday — more than $1,240 an ounce — which is more than triple what it was in 2001 when it started its climb. What is India, the world's largest importer of the metal, to do?  India accounts for 20 percent of global demand. But skittish global investors throughout the recession have flocked to the metal as a safe asset when real estate and stocks tottered. Now, they are taking to it again on inflationary fears stoked by Europe's debt crisis, driving up the price.

Voter respite from Philippines prison blues

Peace Jirga hangs in balance of Karzai-Obama visit

KABUL, Afghanistan — As Afghan President Hamid Karzai goes off to Washington for what promises to be a cordial meeting with his U.S. counterpart, he will be closely watched by his countrymen, who are expecting him to bring home major American concessions.

“If only someone would say ‘sorry’”

The Victims’ Jirga, a daylong event held in Kabul on Sunday, soon degenerated into one long howl of pain. What was striking about the stories of the dozens of victims present was how remarkably similar they were. Through 30 years of war, through multiple changes of government, the torture, mutilation and death continued. Victims and perpetrators may have switched places; names and faces may have changed, but tactics varied little.

Australian smokers get a rude shock

SYDNEY, Australia — Australia's smokers will be finding it even tougher to light up after a raft of tough new government legislation further tightened the country's already stringent restrictions on smoking. On April 29, the Australian government — virtually overnight — announced a 25 percent hike in cigarette tax.

Opinion: What motivates a terrorist?

BOSTON — The American reaction to Faisal Shahzad’s failed attempt at a car bombing in Times Square was: Pakistan again? Why do so many of terrorism’s hydra-heads originate in Pakistan? Pakistan answered that Shahzad had, after all, spent decades in America and had become an American citizen. So was he radicalized solely in Waziristan’s training camps? Or were the seeds of his radicalization planted here in the United States?
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