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Japanese MP: LGBT Are ‘Unproductive’

Rabat – Mio Sugita, a member of the Japanese parliament, has sparked a wave of criticism by calling LGBT people “unproductive.”The controversy-prone MP from the parliament’s lower house argued in a recent article that taxpayer money should not be used to support same-sex couples because they are unproductive and of no use to Japanese society, the Guardian reported. They “don’t produce children,” Sugita’s article said of same-sex couples. She added: “In other words, they lack productivity and, therefore, do not contribute to the prosperity of the nation.” Sugita, a member of the incumbent Liberal and Democratic Party (LDP) and an ally of Prime Minister Abe, has not offered an apology for her remarks, despite the shock and the nationwide criticism her article has caused. A statement from her office has said, however, that the MP “took the matter seriously.”While Sugita is not new to political firestorms—she once said that the use of sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during the second war, a historically documented fact, was a Korean fabrication—her LGBT comments were roundly dismissed by her own party.Expressing its commitment to diversity and respect for minority rights, the party said in a statement that they did not support the MP’s controversial article because “it shows her lack of understanding of (LGBT) issues and consideration for the feelings of the people involved. Despite Prime Minister Abe subsequently saying that it is “natural to aim to create a society where human rights are respected and diversity is cherished,” the party’s perceived offhand attitude towards LGBT and minority issues ignited further criticism earlier this week when Tomu Tanigawa, another LDP MP, said that homosexuality was “a matter of choice.”When asked to comment on his “matter of choice” statement, Tanigawa offered a more ambivalent explanation, saying that while he did not oppose same-sex relationships, he disapproved of the legalization of same-sex marriages. “A man and woman get married and have children. That is how a traditional family is formed,” Tanigawa said. “Humans have been doing so from antiquity to prevent nations from falling into decline and ruin.” read more

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Plantation companies refuse to agree to wage hike demand

In the wake of indefinite strike action declared by Trade Union (TU) leaders from 4th December onwards, the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) firmly reiterated the position of its membership – that a 100% increase in daily basic wages as demanded by the TUs simply cannot be sustained by the industry.“All Regional Plantation Companies pay their employees’ through what is earned as revenue; however the demands of Trade Union leaders far exceed this capacity. At this crucial moment, we urge all stakeholders, especially those whose daily living depends on this industry, to consider the fatality of this industry and those dependent on it if impractical, untenable decisions are taken,” Planters’ Association of Ceylon said in a statement. The PA noted that current TU demands are devoid of any incentives which could in effect curtail the earning potential of the worker by locking them into a system that only provided for a basic daily wage. Additionally, tea harvesters who are able to bring in harvests above the norm will continue to be entitled to an over-kilo pay of Rs.28.75 per kilo in excess of the plucking norm which could easily expand their earnings beyond the Rs. 1,000. Planters’ Association of Ceylon said that RPCs have already advanced multiple productivity- linked models that could easily enable workers to earn beyond Rs. 1,000 per day. This time’s RPC proposal is a 20% increase in the basic wage escalating it from Rs 500/- to Rs. 600/- . A 33% increase in the Attendance Incentive (AI) up to Rs. 80 plus the Productivity Incentive (PI) and Price Share Supplement (PSS), all totaling Rs 940/- per day, amounting to an average increase of Rs. 3,375 per month per worker. read more