CPN-Maoist capture private land of Regmi
KATHMANDU, APR 03 – Cadres of CPN-Maoist captured some 35 acres of private land belonging to Interim Election Council Chairman Khil Raj Regmi in Bardiya. A team led by CPN-Maoist District Secretary Drabya Sah ‘Suman’ seized the land and hoisted the party flag on Tuesday midnight.
According to Suman, they captured Regmi’s private land at Khairichandanpur-7 in Bardiya and over 100 acres of land of local Laxmi Prasad Upadhyay and late Yubaraj Upadhyay in the district. They have said that land capture was one of the programmes as per their campaign and threatened to take action if any body tries to release the captured land. Meanwhile, police have been deployed in the area for the further investigation.
Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 20 Palestinians in pre-dawn raids across the West Bank on Wednesday, the army said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said 20 Palestinians were “taken for security questioning.” In the northern West Bank, Israeli soldiers detained seven Palestinians in Tayasir, three in Tulkaren, one in Burqin and another in Beit Furik, she told Ma’an.
One Palestinian was detained in Qaryut in the central West Bank, and further south Israeli forces detained two people in Bethlehem, one in Beit Ummar, one in Hebron and three in Bani Naim, the army official said. Locals said soldiers raided several homes in Bani Naim before detaining Thabet Zyadat, Hamzeh Manasreh and Ibrahim Sawalha. Nour Sarsour was detained in Hebron, a Ma’an reporter said.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society identified those detained in Tayasir, near Tubas, as Hamdan Ghouri, Khaldoun Ghouri, Rakan Sbeih, Salih Dabak, Mujahed Dabak, Mahdi Wahdan and Amer Wahdan. Also in Tayasir, the family of Jalal Sbeih were ordered to hand their son to Israeli forces, the PPS said in a statement. In Beit Ummar, forces detained Nadeem Sabarneh, a 32-year-old that has spent five years in Israeli prisons, said Muhammad Awad, a spokesman for the local popular committee.
Awad added that seven residents of Beit Ummar, including an 11-year-old boy, were injured in clashes with Israeli troops on Tuesday at a protest against the death of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a cancer-sufferer who died in Israeli custody. Forces fired tear gas rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, injuring protesters in the back, stomach and legs, Awad said. Israel had refused to release Abu Hamdiyeh and Palestinian officials say Israeli authorities refused to treat him until his cancer had spread. Abu Hamdiyeh’s death sparked protests in prisons and on the Palestinian street.
Striking Tunisia staff berate call centre giant
TUNIS — Bonuses slashed, bullying, forced transfers — Tunisian employees of Teleperformance angrily accused the French call centre giant of such practices during a strike over poor working conditions in Tunis. Strikes and social unrest have hampered development in the country, amid disappointment at the government’s failure to improve living conditions more than two years after the revolution, which was fuelled by similar grievances.
“No to repression,” “2003 salary = 2013 salary” and “Stop discrimination” read the slogans brandished on placards by company “advisers,” who handle calls from French or Canadian clients of phone operators Orange, SFR, Bell Canada and Free. “Normally our salaries should have risen.
But in fact they are falling. Only half of us are paid bonuses, and we don’t have medical insurance,” said Mouna Chartani, employed at the Ben Arous centre in a suburb of Tunis since 2007. “We are venting our bitterness at being exploited in our own country for 450 dinars (225 euros) while they earn billions from our efforts,” lamented the mother of two, saying she has been unable to pay for an urgent thyroid operation.
Sami Houli, a union representative of Teleperformance Tunis, reckoned the three-day strike to demand better wages and working conditions, which began on Monday, had virtually paralysed four call centres, with the two others working normally. Employed at the Charguia centre, in another Tunis suburb, Houli said the firm refused to negotiate and claimed he was attacked by three officials on Tuesday morning. “They punched me in the face and hurt my wrist. The doctors told me not to work for five days,” he added, showing the doctor’s note.
Greek court jails 5 for terrorism over attacks by militant anarchist group
ATHENS, Greece – A Greek court on Wednesday convicted five people on terrorism-related charges related to a militant anarchist group which claimed responsibility for a string of bombings over six years and fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the U.S. Embassy in Athens but caused no deaths.
Two of the main suspects, Nikos Maziotis and his wife Panagiota Roupa, were convicted in absentia. They absconded last year following their release after spending the maximum 18 months in pre-trial detention. Three other suspects were acquitted. The special court, which convened in a maximum-security Athens prison, sentenced Maziotis, Roupa and Costas Gournas to 25 years in prison, and gave 7 and 7 1/2-year terms to two more men.
Maziotis, Roupa and Gournas have admitted “political responsibility” for actions of the Revolutionary Struggle group. All the other suspects denied any wrongdoing. Nobody died in the attacks by the group, which was active between 2003 and 2009, thought if shot and severely injured a riot policeman in 2009, and several other people suffered minor injuries in other attacks.
Ex-Vietnamese Soldier Defends Action Against Eviction
Facing attempted murder charges, a former Vietnamese soldier defended his action to use arms in resisting a government eviction from his farm, as his trial opened Tuesday highlighting the growing problem of land grabs under one-party Communist rule. Scores of his supporters protested outside the Hai Phong People’s Court in northern Vietnam as Doan Van Vuon, 50, took the stand to explain why he and his family had to use land mines and homemade shotguns to repel security forces who came to repossess their fish farm about a year ago.
“This morning, Vuon was the first one to testify at the court. He was very good today. He defended his actions very strongly, so we felt glad,” Pham Thi Hien, the wife of Vuon’s brother and fellow defendant Doan Van Quy, told RFA’s Vietnamese. “Seeing them and hearing their arguments made us stronger.” Hien said that day one of the trial, which is scheduled to continue until Friday, had given the family hope that the four men will be exonerated. Vuon, Quy, their brother Doan Van Sinh, and his son Doan Van Ve have been jailed since they repelled security forces that came to repossess their fish farm in the Hai Phong’s Tien Lang district on Jan. 5 last year. Four policemen and two soldiers suffered serious injuries.
Scores of supporters traveled to the northern port city to protest Vuon’s trial, resulting in several detentions, participants said. The Associated Press quoted Vuon as telling the court under cross-examination that he had constructed improvised explosive devices and shotguns made from iron pipes to resist the police and army who came to evict them from their houses. “The eviction decision was illegal. I was pushed into a corner and I had no other way,” he said, adding that the weapons were intended to give police “a warning so they will realize it was dangerous. I didn’t intend to hurt the eviction forces.”
State media and some foreign news agencies were allowed to cover the trial on Tuesday from a separate room, where a screen displayed the proceedings. The feed was subject to black out during sensitive moments, AP said. Before the trial began, Vuon’s family had told the media that they were already planning an appeal to a higher court, suggesting that they had little confidence that the Hai Phong trial would rule in his favor.
Vuon, who served in the army in the 1980s, faces a maximum sentence of death for his charges. His wife Nguyen Thi Thuong, 43, and sister-in-law Hien, 31, are being tried on a charge of protesting during the eviction.
Vuon’s case has been widely reported in the Vietnamese media and scores of people, including his neighbors, dissidents and bloggers, showed up outside the court to offer their support for the former soldier-turned-folk hero. Several of them said they were detained and beaten.
Supporters said that policemen, security guards and plainclothes police had assembled early in the morning near the court and that security around the building was tight. “There were many policemen—about 10 or 20 times as many as civilians. There were about 30 people here up from about five early this morning,” well-known activist Pham Hong Son said from outside the courtroom.
Two busloads of around 65 evicted farmers heading to the trial from Hanoi’s Duong Noi district and nearby Van Giang district in Hung Yen province were stopped by police at a checkpoint about 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from Hai Phong and not permitted to leave, group members told RFA.
“Nobody could get close to the court. Everybody had to stand at a crossroad about 100 meters (330 yards) away. Police cordoned the area off, blocking people,” said Son, who was among dissidents and bloggers who had traveled to the court to protest Vuon’s trial. “There was a moment when the situation became very tense. They almost arrested me, but after an argument they let me go.” A blogger named Hoang Vi told RFA that some protesters had held banners calling for justice for Vuon.
Hoang Vi said that police arrested blogger Truong Van Dung, as well as prominent activists Bui Thi Minh Hang and Nguyen Chi Duc. All three were taken away in a vehicle “with other unidentified people,” he said. Blogger Dung later told RFA after his release from the Hai An district police station in Hai Phong that he had been taken away and beaten. “I saw them arrest one young man and brutally beat him. I protested, so they arrested and beat me too,” he said. “They forced me into a van used for prisoners. They handcuffed me and beat me so that I could not resist.”
Dung said he was beaten the worst out of the group that was detained by authorities and had to go to the hospital for medical attention. “Most of my injuries are external,” he said, “but the doctor was unable to predict any complications that may occur later.” Bui Thi Minh Hang posted on her Facebook account that she had also been released late on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether others who had been detained outside the courthouse were later released.
Rajkot: 7 people attempt self-immolation to protest demolition drive
Protesting a demolition drive by the district authorities seven people attempted suicide at the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) office in Gujarat on Wednesday. According to witnesses, the protesters tried to self-immolate themselves. Condition of two of them was stated to be serious. They have been admitted to Rajkot Civil Hospital. According to police, the protesters are poor people who live in shanties.They were protesting the RMC’s drive to demolish their houses.
Egypt: Socialist Party to Participate in Protest Against IMF Loan
The Socialist Popular Alliance Party will participate in Wednesday’s protests against the loan Egypt is seeking from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Several popular powers had called for protests to express their rejection for the $4.8 billion loan Egypt is striving for. A delegation from the fund is expected to arrive in Egypt tomorrow for talks with the government on reviewing the country’s need for funds. Egypt and the IMF had reached a preliminary agreement last November but the process was put on hold due to domestic political turmoil.
In a statement it issued today, the party reaffirmed its rejection for the economic policies of Prime Minister Hisham Kandil’s cabinet. The party claimed that these policies lead to Egypt’s economy being a satellite of Western international funding institutions, chief among them the IMF which is known for laying the burden of the crisis on the poor, the Middle East News Agency reported.
The party also added that it previously warned against the risk of the government’s resorting to borrowing from the IMF. In conjunction with the arrival of the IMF delegation for negotiations, the Ministry of Supply raised on Monday the prices of subsidized cooking gas by 60 percent, the statement said. The Muslim Brotherhood’s government insists on following the same economic policies used during Mubarak’s era, the party added.
Three killed in C. Philippine ambush
MANILA, April 3 (Xinhua) — Three people were killed in an ambush staged by leftist rebels in the central Philippine province of Negros Occidental, a military official said Wednesday. Maj. Ray Tiongson, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said a policeman, a government militiaman and a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel died in an attack staged by NPA rebels Monday night in Escalante City.
He identified the slain policeman as PO1 Bejein Tanguan and militiaman Joseph Lutrago. Tiongson said Tanguan and Lutrago were onboard a motorcycle enroute to the public market when three NPA rebels opened fire at them around 6 p.m., local time. Tanguan died on the spot while Lutrago was able to have a shoot out with the rebels before he perished.
Tiongson said one of the rebels, identified as one Toti, suffered injuries and died Tuesday based on the account of informants. Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, 3rd ID commander, extended his condolences to the families of Lutrago and Tanguan.
Nigeria’s MEND Rebels Pledge Attacks on Oil Region
The main rebel group in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta said it’s resuming assaults on Africa’s biggest petroleum industry after its suspected leader, Henry Okah, was imprisoned in South Africa. The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta will start April 5 to carry out “a plague of attacks,” spokesman Jomo Gbomo said today in an e-mailed statement. “The attacks will be sustained until an unreserved apology is offered to MEND and the Nigerian government shows their willingness to dialogue.”
A South African court sentenced Okah to 24 years in jail after he was found guilty of 13 counts of terrorism, including a bombing that killed 12 people in the capital, Abuja, on Oct. 1, 2010. MEND claimed the attack. While Okah denies he leads the group, he has said he commands the support of many armed factions in Nigeria’s oil region.
Attacks including kidnappings and bombing of oil installations by groups including MEND cut more than 28 percent of Nigeria’s oil output between 2006 and 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The violence declined after thousands of fighters accepted a government amnesty offer in 2009 and disarmed.