Ex-dictator goes to prison
Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt spent his first full day as a convict Saturday in a 16-by-13 foot cell with a small bed, bathroom and window, after receiving a landmark 80-year sentence for genocide and crime against humanity. It was a steep fall for the now-86-year-old former strongman who ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983, during the height of a brutal civil war that killed 200,000 people, mainly Indians. A tribunal on Friday ruled that Rios Montt knew about the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Maya in Guatemala’s western highlands and didn’t stop it, handing down the first genocide conviction ever given to a Latin American strongman in his own country.
Japan policies reviewed
Finance leaders from the Group of Seven leading industrial economies say Japan’s stimulus policies are directed at boosting its economy out of a two-decade period of stagnation, not an attempt to drive down its currency to make Japan’s exports more competitive. At the conclusion of a two-day meeting of leading financial representatives from the G-7 countries — the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom — host British Treasury chief George Osborne said there was a formal acknowledgement that each member needed to secure their own countries’ growth by balancing austerity measures with growth-enhancing policies The officials also agreed on the importance of finding measures to deal with failing banks and working collectively to stop companies and individuals from dodging their tax bills.
Tax plans draw protesters
Protesters marched Saturday night in Tel Aviv over proposed tax increases and benefit cuts. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said about two thousand people rallied. Protesters are angry over the proposed decrees by Israel’s new finance minister Yair Lapid who started his job several weeks ago. Lapid ran in January’s election on a ticket vowing to help the middle class. The proposed budget hits that demographic deep in their pockets with raised taxes and slashed benefits. Some voters feel betrayed as it appears contrary to a central part of Lapid’s popular campaign.
Compiled from wire reports.