News Headlines - 17 May 2021

Survey: Suga Cabinet approval rating ties record low of 33% : The Asahi Shimbun

The approval rating for the Suga Cabinet plummeted to 33 percent, matching the lowest level since the administration was formed in September, while dissatisfaction with the COVID-19 response increased, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
The Cabinet approval rating was down sharply from 40 percent in the previous survey taken in April.
The disapproval rating jumped to 47 percent from 39 percent, according to the nationwide telephone survey of voters conducted on May 15 and 16.

Japan's top court holds state liable for asbestos diseases in workers

Japan's top court on Monday ruled in favor of around 500 plaintiffs in four suits seeking damages from the state over diseases contracted by construction workers following exposure to asbestos.
In the first unified judgment handed down by the Supreme Court over the suits, the ruling said the government was negligent in its duty to protect workers from contracting lung cancer and other diseases linked to asbestos... Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who will meet with the plaintiffs on Tuesday, is planning to offer them an apology, a ruling party source said.
As a way to support the victims, the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito decided to propose that the government pay compensation of up to 13 million yen ($119,000) to each victim exposed to asbestos.

Penpa Tsering elected president of Tibetan exile government

Penpa Tsering, the former speaker of Tibet’s parliament-in-exile, has been elected the new president of the exile government, the election commissioner announced Friday.
He will succeed Lobsang Sangay, who completes his second five-year term at the end of May, Election Commissioner Wangdu Tsering said in Dharmsala, a northern Indian town where spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been living since he fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959... It was the third direct election of the Tibetan exile leadership since the Dalai Lama withdrew from any political role in the running of the exile government in 2011.

Chile's govt in shock loss as voters pick independents to draft constitution

Chile's center-right ruling coalition suffered a shock loss on Sunday night after failing to secure a critical one-third of seats in the body that will draft the country's new constitution.
With 90% of the votes counted, candidates backed by President Sebastian Pinera's centre-right Chile Vamos coalition had won only a fifth while independents picked up the most votes. New proposals will require two-thirds approval and without a third of the delegates, the government will struggle to block radical changes to the constitution unless it can forge new alliances... The vote to pick 155 citizens to rewrite the constitution was borne from fierce protests that erupted over inequality and elitism in October 2019. The current constitution drafted during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet is widely perceived to favor big business over the rights of ordinary citizens.

Spencer Silver, an Inventor of Post-it Notes, Is Dead at 80 - The New York Times

Spencer Silver, a research chemist at 3M who inadvertently created the not-too-sticky adhesive that allows Post-it Notes to be removed from surfaces as easily as they adhere to them, died on May 8 at his home in St. Paul, Minn. He was 80.