Prachanda for greater economic ties with China
KATHMANDU: Nepal, located between India and China, could play an “important role” in strengthening the ties between the two Asian giants, Maoist Chairman Prachanda said today. The former rebel leader, who is in China on a week-long private visit, also said the Chinese assistance for improving the Nepal’s economy is indispensable.
Noting that both China and India have attained economic prosperity owing to their mutual partnership, former Prime Minister Prachanda said Nepal could attain such prosperity if it cooperates well with the two neighbouring giants.
He said the whole Asian continent could reap benefits from the cooperation between the poor and the developed nation. “India and China have been experiencing economic progress through mutual cooperation and Nepal could play an important role in strengthening the ties of the two Asian giants,” he said. Prachanda was addressing a programme organised by the Sichuan University in China. He left Kathmandu for Beijing yesterday.
Stating that peace and economic prosperity are intertwined, the former rebel leader added that the political stability is possible only after attaining peace and economic prosperity. “We welcome the Chinese investment particularly on the hydropower, road, industry, ropeway, railway and agricultural sector,” he said.
He is scheduled to meet the new Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, among other leaders of the Chinese Communist Party during his trip. Talking to mediapersons at the Tribhuvan International Airport before leaving Kathmandu, the UCPN Maoist Chairman had said his visit would focus on economic agenda rather than pursuing political agenda. Prachanda is also likely to pay a private visit to India after he returns from Beijing. However, the date of the visit is not yet announced.
NPA rebels attack Palawan pearl farm
Ten pearl farm workers and three security guards in Palawan were briefly held hostage by suspected members of New People’s Army following an attack, police said.
Senior Supt. Anatacio Macalan, police chief, said eight employees and three guards were held captive in Cagdanao Island in Caluag. He said the attackers took five handheld radios, eight shotguns. They also took the three speedboat operators with them. The hostages were put on a speed boat and taken to nearby Taytay Island where they were released.
Military intel eyes NPA areas on elections
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A high-ranking military official revealed that their intelligence will focus on armed groups, particularly the New People’s Army (NPA), come May 13 elections.
Major General Ariel Bernardo, commanding officer of the 10th Infantry Division, says Monday the military “will be occupying conflict-affected areas,” or about 15 percent of his unit’s area of responsibility, which he calls “guerilla bases.” These are in the boundaries of Davao del Norte-Bukidnon, Davao del Norte-Agusan Sur and Compostela Valley-Davao Oriental.
The 10th ID covers Region XI’s four provinces as well as the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani; the cities of Kidapawan and General Santos; and six municipalities of North Cotabato province. Since January, Bernardo claims, the NPA has been sending out letters demanding certain amount of materials to politicians or has been asking for permit-to-campaign (PTC) fees.
PTC is said to allow both the local and national candidates to campaign while the permit-to-win is said to guarantee a candidate’s victory in NPA-stronghold areas. Candidates, Bernardo urges, should not “give in” to the NPA as he offers for military assistance with respect to security concerns. “The NPA can’t claim they have control areas or that they have command votes because we have covered all villages,” he says.
The villages in the Davao Region alone, according to the National Statistical and Coordination Board, are: Davao del Sur, 337; Davao City, 183; Davao del Norte, 223; Compostela Valley, 235; and Davao Oriental, 183 But, in its earlier statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman for NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command, said that the AFP and even the Philippine government “fail miserably” to debunk that “revolutionary forces” can determine the outcome of the elections.
“The AFP is allergic to the very idea that the NPA can let progressive and neutralized candidates win while it can also isolate the most rabid ones,” Sanchez said. The NPA also said that politicians should “provide material and financial help to fund mass production campaign, education, health, and immediate infrastructure projects especially in areas badly hit by Typhoon Pablo and other calamities.”
Rebels abduct 2 cops, 7 militiamen in Agusan
MANILA — Communist rebels said they have abducted two policemen and seven suspected government militiamen in separate attacks in the southern Philippines.
Regional rebel spokesman Jorge Madlos said the policemen were captured during a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel assault Sunday on an outpost in Agusan del Sur province. Three government militiamen, including a woman, were separately seized in nearby Surigao del Sur province. Madlos said fellow Marxist insurgents seized four more militiamen in Agusan del Sur on Monday.
He said the captives may be freed if the rebels determine they have not committed human rights violations and other abuses. Regional army spokesman Major Leo Bongosia said the abductions have been reported to military officials, who are gathering more details.
Injuries in French airport protest
Protesters at a planned airport site in the western French city of Nantes have clashed with police. Three officers and one demonstrator were reported to have been injured and two arrested. Police claim they were subjected to a planned attack. The controversial airport plan is dear to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault – who was the mayor of Nantes – and it has split the government.
Togo shuts schools following student protests
LOME — Togo’s government on Monday temporarily shut all primary and secondary schools following student protests last week that got out of hand, a government statement said. It said the protests caused “considerable damage to public and private property.” There was no mention of when schools would re-open. Thousands of students took to the streets last week to demand that classes re-open after teachers and health workers staged a three-day strike to demand a 100 percent pay rise.
Togo police kill 12-year-old boy during protest crackdown
A 12-year-old boy in Togo was killed on Monday by a policeman who fired in warning to disperse a protest demanding the country’s schools re-open, an official said. “A student in the sixth form was killed by a bullet when police fired warning shots” to stop students ransacking local government buildings in the northern town of Dapaong, Security Minister Colonel Damehane Yark told AFP.