URF calls strike to boycott President’s visit
Imphal, April 13 2013 : Boycotting the proposed visit of President of India Pranab Mukherjee to Manipur on April 15, the proscribed United Revolutionary Front (URF) has called a state-wide general strike from 6 am on April 15 until the President left Imphal on the following day. Religious ceremonies, employees of health sector, medical emergencies, electricity, water supplies and media, however, would be exempted from the purview of the general strike.
Announcing this in a statement, Secretary of Information and Publicity of URF AK Pibarel observed that the visit of Pranab Mukherjee is like mocking at the people who have been under the colonial rule for the last 63 years. It is ridiculous for the President of India to come to Manipur just to attend a foundation day celebration of a small educational institute. But the successful effort of the school in making the President to come and participate in its foundation day celebration, however, is praiseworthy, URF said.
The outfit, nonetheless, has warned the people to refrain from inviting such persons to Manipur in future unless they do not want to face the consequences.
Kyegudo quake-hit Tibetans held for protesting demolition of rebuilt homes
Chinese authorities have demolished around 1,000 Tibetan homes in the Kyegudo (Chinese: Jiegu) county-town of Yulshul Prefecture, Qinghai Province, provoking a clash between protesting Tibetans and Chinese paramilitary People’s Armed Police on Apr 9, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Apr 11.
The clash, which ensued after the paramilitary troops used violence to break up a protest by more than 100 Tibetan residents, ended with at least six Tibetans and four security personnel being injured and 21 Tibetans being detained. The area was hit by a devastating earthquake on Apr 14, 2010, officially resulting in nearly 3,000 people being killed. Tibetans have accused the authorities of demolishing Tibetan homes after the natural calamity on the pretext that they were unsafe and dispossessing Tibetan land in the name of rebuilding with little or no compensation.
With regard to the recently demolished homes, however, many were newly built by Tibetans on their own land, but the authorities claim that the victims were not officially registered residents of the town. Tibetan did not even have time to collect their belongings when the Chinese authorities sent in the bulldozers.
Meanwhile, some 200 more Tibetan homes are said to be set for demolition. The protesting Tibetans had demanded an end to the forced demolition of their homes and for the return of their confiscated land.
Masked, armed teachers revolt against Mexican president’s reforms in test of his wider agenda
ATLIACA, Mexico – Easter vacation was over, but there wasn’t a teacher in sight at the boarding school for indigenous children on the edge of this sunbaked southern Mexico hill town. A 37-year-old cook who hadn’t finished high school sat between two little girls on a cement stoop outside the kitchen, peering at their dog-eared notebooks as they struggled with the alphabet and basic multiplication.
“I’ve got the children here. If there aren’t any classes while they’re here, I have to teach them,” said the cook, who shared only her first name, Gudelia, for fear of retaliation from striking teachers. A short drive away, teachers marched by the thousands through the streets of the state capital, some masked and brandishing metal bars and sticks in an escalating showdown over education reform that’s become a key test of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s sweeping project to reform Mexico’s most dysfunctional institutions.
The fight is dominating headlines in Mexico and freezing progress on a national education reform that Pena Nieto hoped would build momentum toward more controversial changes. Those include opening the state-owned oil company to foreign and private investment and broadening Mexico’s tax base, potentially with the first-ever sales tax on food and medicine. Pena Nieto’s first major legislative victory after taking office in December was a constitutional amendment eliminating Mexico’s decades-old practice of buying and selling teaching jobs, and replacing it with a standardized national teaching test. That’s heresy to a radical splinter union of elementary and high-school teachers in Guerrero, one of the country’s poorest and worst-educated states.
The teachers claim the test is a plot to fire them in mass as a step toward privatizing education, although there is little evidence the government plans that. Reform advocates say the dissidents simply fear losing control over the state education system and the income it provides, despite the need to reform a system that eats up more of the budget and produces worse results than virtually any other in the world’s largest economies.
The 20,000-member group walked out more than a month ago, turning hundreds of thousands of children out of class. Then it launched an increasingly disruptive string of protests. On Wednesday, the protesters won support from a wing of the armed vigilante groups that have multiplied across poor Mexican states in recent months. On Thursday, they blocked the main highway from Mexico City to Acapulco for at least the third time, backing up traffic for hours. On Friday, they shut down entrances to some of the biggest stores in the state capital.