Philippinnes: Armed men chop DOLE banana plants
Armed men believed to be NPA guerillas chopped down undetermined number of banana plants 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at Ortiz and Pagaran areas of DOLE STANFILCO, located at Brgy. Anahao Daan, Tago in Surigao del Sur. Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office reported to the regional police headquarters here that the armed group accordingly entered forcibly and destroyed the stockroom of the said company and took away number of rubber shoes.
A security guard whom police identified as Isidro Dalagan and an employee of DOLE identified also as Romeo Laurente were reportedly missing. After chopping down a considerable number of banana hills, the group accordingly withdrew towards the mountainous area of the place heading in a southwest direction.
Tago Police are now conducting a deeper probe into the incident while a joint operation of the Surigao del Sur Police Public safety Company and 29th Infantry Battalion, PA are now conducting a hot pursuit operation against the perpetrators. Based on Police Regional Office XIII risk assessment of vital installations, DOLE Philippines in Tago, Surigao del Sur ranks No. 1 in the high risk level. It is followed by SUMIFRO in Surigao del Sur and Geen Stone Mining in Surigao del Norte. The SRMI Mining in Agusan del Norte, JCA Rubber Plantation in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur and the Power Barge in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte followed as Nos. 4, 5 and 6th respectively and were placed at medium risk levels.
2 army militias killed in NPA clash in Mindanao
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 29, 2013) – Communist rebels killed two pro-government militias in firefight Friday in Butuan City in the southern Philippines, reports said. It said the fighting occurred in the village of Antical where militias were deployed to secure the area during the holy week.
It was unknown what triggered the fighting, but the clash coincided with the 44th anniversary of the New People’s Army, which has been waging a separatist war the past decades. There was no immediate statement from the NPA about the clashes, but rebel leaders have previously warned that they would continue offensive operation against police and military targets in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)
Big Students’ Protest Against Athena
There was tension at the students’ demonstration outside the Parliament, in protest of the changes the Athena project will implement to Universities. Students burned the EU flag and the police made use of tear gas. A little after 4 a.m. students holding bats and flags attacked the riot police vans. The police made limited use of tear gas to expel them. About 5,000 students from the Panteion University, from the Faculty of Political Sciences of the School of Law, as well as from faculties of Patras and other cities, participated in the demonstration in the center of Athens.
The students from Thessaloniki and Serres gathered at 11 a.m. in front of the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace. Then they marched to the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) of Neapoli, the greater space of apprenticeship in the region. Among them were students of Vocational Training Istitutes (IEK), of OAED, of Technological Educational Institutes, of evening schools, as well as members of the metal union who supported the manifestation.
In Larissa, students of the Technological Educational Institute marched in the city center and proceeded to a symbolic occupation of the entrance of Larissa City Hall On March 28, the amendment of the Ministry of Education for the creation of directions in University departments and Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) was voted.
The amendment gives the ability of establishment, merging, splitting, renaming and removal of entrance directions and advanced semester directions in the departments of Universities and Technological Educational Institutes with the Presidential Decrees provided for the establishment, merging, renaming of Faculties and University departments, in application of the provisions of the L.4009/2001.
Clashes as Chile students march for education reform
Thousands of Chilean students have clashed with police on the streets of the capital, Santiago, during a protest calling for education reforms. Some threw petrol bombs at the riot police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. This was the first demonstration of 2013 calling for high-quality and free education, but protests on the issue date back to 2011. Authorities said 60 people were arrested and one policeman was injured.
The clashes occurred after authorities changed the agreed route, students say. But the government said they only kept the march within the authorised course and blamed “vandals” for the violence.
Bomb explodes near Acropolis in central Athens
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A bomb exploded outside a Greek ship owner’s house near a crowded pedestrian area under the Acropolis in central Athens on Wednesday night, causing minor damage but no injuries, police said. The explosion a few hundred meters from the country’s most famous monument occurred at about 8:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), after a warning call to a Greek newspaper.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which follows a string of bomb attacks in the financially-struggling country by anarchist groups that have caused no major injuries or loss of life. Police spokesman Panagiotis Papapetropoulos said officers were able before the blast to evacuate one or two people from the building and to seal off the area. “Judging by the minor extent of the damage, it can’t have been a very strong explosive device,” he said.
The house belongs to a member of the Tsakos ship owning family, police said. The blast, which was heard across the city center, occurred very close to one of the Greek capital’s favorite pedestrian walks that skirts the key tourist site of the Acropolis. At the time of the explosion, the walkway was busy with strolling families and tourists.
Greek gov’t spokesman condemns second attack on brother’s home in two months
ATHENS, March 29 — Greek government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou strongly condemned on Friday the second fire bomb attack on his brother’s home in Athens in two months. Unknown arsonists targeted Giorgos Kedikoglou’s house with a makeshift explosive device made of gas canisters in the early hours of Friday, according to police. On January 12 this year, the three-floor building came under a similar attack, while the family was inside. No injuries, but material damage occurred in both incidents.
Colombia Kills Leader of ELN Guerrilla Group During Military Operation
A leader of one of Colombia’s main rebel groups was killed during a clash between guerrilla fighters and the country’s army, military sources said. During a military operation in the southwestern Colombian department of Cauca, the leader of the National Liberation Army’s Camilo Cienfuegos brigade —known only by his nom de guerre, Omar”— was killed when his company was attacked by the Colombian military in an operation that also netted the seizure of 10 rifles, a mortar grenade launcher, two pistols, ammunition, land mines, grenades and uniforms of the national police and army.
Venezuela Election is a High Stakes Affair for Local Vigilante Groups
In the Caracas barrio of 23 de Enero, a coalition of armed vigilante groups serves as the de facto security force. It also helps run social welfare programs for a neighborhood overrun by drug dealing. The vigilante groups, known as colectivos, have a great deal at stake in the upcoming presidential election, which will pit opposition candidate Henrique Capriles against Hugo Chávez’s handpicked successor, acting President Nicolas Maduro.
“If [Capriles] wins, he will go after all of the colectivos and cut the social programs. That would be terrible,” said William Ortega, a member of the colectivo Monteraz. “We will not let the police come into 23 de Enero and we will risk our lives to defend this area.” There are more than 20 autonomous colectivos in Caracas, and they’re mostly centered in 23 de Enero, a community of makeshift shacks and public housing projects that is home to about 100,000 people. Their arsenal of weapons includes AK-47s, handguns and homemade grenades.
These Marxist-leaning groups are firm supporters of Venezuela’s current socialist government, and over the past decade, have organized massive voter turnout campaigns that helped Chávez to comfortably win a majority of votes in the areas under their control. On April 14th, they will engage in another such campaign, and every member of the colectivos will be required to bring ten residents to the polls.
“We support Nicolas Maduro, whom we have known since he was a kid. He was a member of revolutionary groups just like ours. We are going to do whatever it takes to win the 10 million votes [that the government is aiming for in this election],” said Lisandro “Mao” Perez, director of colectivo Guerrilla Pedagogica. But more than just shared ideology aligns these groups with Venezuela’s government.
For years now, the colectivos have profited from an informal deal that was made with the Chávez administration: They could patrol their crime-ridden neighborhoods and act against local drug dealers, and police would stay out of their areas. Colectivos say the arrangement is necessary because police, who fall easily into alliances with criminals, can’t be trusted to do the job.