Greek terrorist convictions spur hopes violence will subside
The convictions by a Greek court of five people tied to the Revolutionary Struggle group that claimed responsibility for a spate of bombings in Greece indicates that the government is taking a tougher stand against terrorists and anarchists, experts said. Nikos Maziotis, his wife Panagiota Roupa and Costas Gournas were sentenced to 25 years in prison, while two others received prison terms of 7½ years.
The court acquitted three others. “The government wants to show it will be very tough on anyone involved in terrorist activities as they want to prevent more [attacks] from taking place,” John Nomikos, anti-terrorist analyst who heads the Athens-based Research Institute for European and American Studies, told SETimes. Revolutionary Struggle, which emerged in 2003, claimed responsibility for several bomb attacks in Athens, including against the Athens Stock Exchange, and for a massive bomb outside Citibank offices which failed to explode.
The group was active from 2003 through 2009 and did not kill anyone in its attacks, but it seriously wounded a riot policeman in 2009. Nomikos said the government for too long took a lenient stand against violent extremism. “Now it wants to make sure the punishment is tough to deter other groups,” he said. The government is taking action after two more bombing incidents. Police discovered a bomb in an empty Metro car prior to detonating last year, while earlier in the year a bomb exploded in Athens’ largest shopping mall on a Sunday morning prior to movie theaters opening for business.
Authorities subsequently arrested four young men in February for a string of robberies, but the men were suspected of having ties to terrorist groups. The convictions are good news, although two major Revolutionary Struggle figures are still at large, said Ioannis Michaletos, analyst at the Institute for Security and Defense Analysis in Athens. “Although dozens of arrests were made over the past few years, no co-ordinators, controllers or trainers of these networks have been arrested,” Michaletos told SETimes.
A series of arrests in 2011 crippled the operations of another group, Consiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF), but members of the group also remain at large. Western intelligence said the SPF has led co-ordinated attacks against the Greek government. It claimed responsibility for a November 2010 parcel bombing campaign that targeted international leaders and institutions outside Greece. In 2010, then-Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis was targeted with a letter bomb which was opened by an assistant, killing him.
The minister had been the driving force in the pursuit of terrorist groups, including the arrest of six members of Revolutionary Struggle. In March, two more groups popped up, the Informal Anarchist Federation-International Revolutionary Front and Intact Revolutionary Cell, which together said they were responsible for a gas canister bomb attack on a courier service that caused damage but no injuries.
The groups issued a proclamation on the Internet expressing solidarity with jailed members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire and threatened to target police and judges.
We are ready to die for our land -Nkroful chief warns
The chief and people of Nkroful in the Western Region are up in arms against attempts to relocate them for an Australian Mining firm registered as Adamus Mining Company Limited to start its commercial activities. Nana Kwasi Kutua V indicated their preparedness to die and protect the land where Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was born. According to him, Adamus Mining Company Limited in collaboration with the Western Regional Coordinating Council has concluded arrangements with the National Security apparatus to deprive them of their birth right.
Backed by the Nkroful Small Scale Miners Association at a news conference over the weekend at his palace, the chief said the land acquired by Adamus Mining Company Limited is approximately 10 meters away from his palace behind which Ghana’s firs President Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was originally buried. He lamented, “We believe this undue attempt by Adamus if allowed to materialize will have serious consequences on the entire Nkroful community as it has the potential of destroying the community and rendering over thousands of residents not only homeless, but also jobless.”
Nana Kutua V thus threatened to mobilize his people against any attempt to enslave them saying, “All we are asking for is that, because of the proximity of the land in question to the town, commercial mining will have grave consequences on the community and we cannot trade the lives and comfort of our people and the heritage Osagyefo left behind in with the interest of Adamus.”
He insisted that allowing such a deal to take place will also mean eradicating the legacy their cherished begotten Kinsman, Kwame touted as the shining Star of Africa left behind for them. He further accused the National Security apparatus of using state security to intimidate indigenes of Nkroful whose only source of livelihood is small scale mining.
“It is of note that in 2007, a riot broke out when they tried to ransack the site, the youth resisted the national security attacks on them, this same Adamus arrested the royal family head and some nine opinion leaders and they were manhandled and imprisoned for about two weeks before they were giving surety; this case is in the court till now.”
Residents continue to protest over Latpadaung project
Residents in the area surrounding the Latpadaung copper mine project held protests on April 5 and 6 as their demands have not been met yet. Villagers shout slogans as they protest against Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s stand on a Chinese-backed copper mine project, in Monywa northern Myanmar on March 14, 2013. Suu Kyi urged protesters to accept a controversial Chinese-backed mine that was the scene of a violent crackdown last year, or risk hurting the economy. “We have already protested six times for the Latpadaung copper mine project.
We are now here again because they still haven’t done anything for us regarding this matter,” said Win Win Htay from Sel Tel Village. She said that the protests are within the boundary of law and will be continued until the authorities have solved their problems. The residents said that on April 5 from 1 pm to 4 pm, a group of 500 residents walked from the east part of the Tone Ywar village to Nyaung Pin Gyi port.
They protested with slogans saying “completely shut down the Copper mine project”; “ the revocation of section (144)”; “take actions on those explosive bomb offenders”; “say no to Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd”; and, “say no to Wanbao Mining Company which is colonizing Myanmar People”. “Sel Tel Village, Tone Ywar Thit village, Middle village, Taw Kyaung and Moe Kyoe Pyin Village took part in the protest.
The protesters started to walk and demonstrate from Tone Ywar Thit to Nyoung Pin Gyi port. Not more than 500 people were allowed to take part in the protest,” said resident Aung Than Myo. “We protested and demonstrated within the boundary as Aung San Suu Kyi told us to protest only after applying for permission,” said Ma Aye, another Sel Tel villager. Tin Myo, another local resident, said that two wagons from Wanbao Mining Co. came into the Moe Kyoe Pyin (Middle) village on April 5 at 10 am and told the residents to gather at the Village Health Office to hear a speech. However, the Wanbao Mining Co. staff simply told them to accept the compensation and did not say anything about environmental conservation, according to Tin Myo.
The President’s Office formed a committee of 15 people to write a final report about Latpadaung copper mine project on March 11. Government media announced that the committee had begun their field observation on March 15 and began to give out compensation the following day.
According to state-owned media from March 16 to 31, 1,570 million kyats (US$1.8 million) was given to 536 villagers from 20 villages for 1,400 acres of cultivating land taken over or destroyed by the project. The compensation ranged from one million kyat ($1,130) to 1.5 million kyats ($1,704) per acre.
Maharashtra farmers to protest land buy for key industrial corridor
Mumbai, April 8: For the multi-billion dollar Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, land acquisition is becoming a major hurdle. After facing resistance in Rajasthan, the project is now being opposed by farmers in Maharashtra. The corridor is a mega project, requiring an investment of $95 billion.
The Japanese Government has promised financial and technical help for the 1,480-km corridor that will link the political capital with the business capital with a high-speed rail and industrial corridor. Starting Wednesday (April 10), around 1,000 farmers from Mangaon in Raigad district have decided to hold an indefinite ‘dharna’ at the local sub-division office against the acquisition of 67,500 acres from 78 villages in that area.
Leading civil rights activist Ulka Mahajan is leading the farmers against the DMIC project. Mahajan is a veteran of many protests, and was also responsible for the cancellation of the Mukesh Ambani-promoted 10,000-hectare Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone.