Unrest continues in Missouri; Fear of another muddle in Iraq; UK bosses’ gender pay gap at 35%

1 Unrest continues in Missouri (BBC) US police say they have arrested 31 people during another night of angry protests in the town of Ferguson in the state of Missouri. Unrest flared hours after President Obama called for calm following the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on 9 August. The US attorney general is due to visit Ferguson on Wednesday to meet federal officials investigating the killing. The National Guard has been deployed to support police operations.

The killing of Mr Brown by a white policeman in a street has inflamed racial tensions in the largely black community of Ferguson. A new poll by the Pew Research Center has found US reaction to the police killing of Michael Brown falls along distinct racial lines. Officer Darren Wilson shot the teenager last week after reportedly stopping him for walking in the street.

Police Captain Ron Johnson said officers were forced to use tear gas and stun grenades on Tuesday after they came under “heavy gunfire” and were attacked with petrol bombs and bottles. President Barack Obama said he recognised that in many communities in the US a “gulf of mistrust” existed between local residents and law enforcement. “In too many communities, too many young men of colour are left behind and seen only as objects of fear,” he said.

Earlier, a former New York pathologist hired by Mr Brown’s family performed an independent post-mortem examination. Dr Michael Baden said he believed six bullets struck the teenager, two of which may have re-entered. “All of the gunshot wounds could have been survivable, except the one at the top of the head,” he said.

Witnesses have said Mr Brown was shot as he held his hands up in a position of surrender, while the police and supporters of Mr Wilson have said he fired during a fight with Mr Brown. The officer who shot Mr Brown, Darren Wilson, has been suspended with pay since the shooting. Mr Brown’s family have called for his arrest.


2 Signs of another Iraq muddle (Straits Times) The United States is at risk of getting sucked into another misadventure in Iraq, three years after President Barack Obama ended what he called a dumb war. That entanglement of dubious justification left Iraq – the fabled Mesopotamia of antiquity – in a shambles for the net gain of one dictator’s removal. (Of course, America also coveted the oil.)

Mr Obama has consistently argued that there is no American military solution to Iraq’s existential dilemma spawned by conflicting regional allegiances based on ethnicity and faith. Just last week, when ordering air strikes to evacuate persecuted minorities fleeing the murderous Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, Mr Obama said he would not allow the US to be dragged into another war in Iraq.

But military operations unfolding in the past 48 hours show he is being pulled along by the dynamic of war. He seems to have little choice, given the threat of ISIS militants establishing a firmer hold on the ground. In Baghdad, the central government, which controls only about half of the country after losing territory to the ISIS advance, is pressing the US to widen its air attacks on ISIS positions, including around the region of the capital.

Pressure also is growing from Mr Obama’s Atlantic allies, principally Britain, to extend the scope of intervention to counter the ideological virulence that ISIS represents. This is much like a reprise of Afghanistan and the Taleban. Yet, if the Americans end up fighting the Iraqi government’s war to evict the extremists and shut down their caliphate, it will be war all over again as no such campaign is possible without the use of troops.


3 UK bosses’ gender pay gap at 35% (Simon Goodley in The Guardian) Women bosses are still earning only three-quarters as much as their male colleagues, meaning they would have to work until they were nearly 80 to catch up with men’s lifetime earnings, according to new figures.

More than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act outlawed less favourable pay and conditions in the workplace, the data shows that discrepancies in salaries widen at the higher echelons of management, with a “midlife pay crisis” particularly hitting female managers aged over 40, who earn 35% less than men. The average pay gap between men and women aged between 46 and 60 stands at £16,680 a year, while among company directors men take home £21,084 more than their female colleagues.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said: “This is all about apathy and ignorance. Companies think it is not a problem for them, so they don’t do anything about it. There are very few good guys.” Including men and women managers of all ages, the CMI said that the pay gap stands at £9,069, with men getting an average salary of £39,461 where women get £30,392.

This means women are earning only three-quarters (77%) of what men in full-time comparable jobs earn,” the CMI said. “Yet the gap is far worse for women aged 40-plus, where the problem is twofold. Not only does the salary gap increase with age and seniority, but there is also a persistent “bonus pay gap”. The average bonus for a female director stands at £41,956, while for male directors the average payout is £53,010.”



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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