Plot to disrupt UCPN (Maoist) gathering foiled: Police
BARDIYA, April 22: Police on Monday arrested four people along with arms and ammunition they had allegedly hoarded in their attempt to disrupt the mass gathering of the UCPN (Maoist), which was to be addressed by senior Maoist leaders including Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Gulariya. According to police, a pistol, two bullets, a bucket with five kilos of explosive and sharp weapons among other ammunition were recovered from the Bokatiya Pahadi tole in Kalika VDC in the district.
Police also recovered documents that included a secret plan by eight different groups including the CPN-Maoist (Revolutionary) to disrupt the gathering. Following the arrest, the gathering organized by the Far-western Bureau of the UCPN (Maoist) took place as per schedule. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Dahal and Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai addressed the gathering. According to Superintendent of Police Suresh Bikram Shah there was no disturbance in the gathering due to pre-emptive arrests.
Private schools locked
Palpa: The All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (Revolutionary), aligned to Mohan Baidhya-led CPN-Maoist, today padlocked some private schools in Tansen. The student union padlocked the account section and administration department of St Kapitaniyo, New Horizon, Bethal and Palpa Residential Boarding schools, putting forward a 15-point demand to the concerned authorities.
Chairman of the ANNFSU-R Aashish Dudharaj said the union demanded end to financial anomalies in the schools, facilities to teachers and other staff as per the education act, stop charging extra fees, manage student friendly school bus at the earliest, provide sufficient teaching material, scholarships scheme to students from the Dali, indigenous communities among others. ANNFSU Chairman Dudharaj warned of stringent action if their demands were not addressed at the soonest. — HNS
Algeria Oasis Towns Clamor for Jobs in Shadow of Al-Qaeda
Amar Kouiten’s life has fallen apart since he lost his job last year as machine operator at an Algerian gas-liquification plant. His wife left him and took their two children to her parents’ home. Kouiten, 36, joined a group of unemployed workers and began organizing protests in Ouargla province, where clashes with police left 40 people injured on April 10. “We’ve really had enough of all this,” he said in an interview, explaining that he only has enough money to eat once a day. “All we want is the right to have a job.”
Rising unemployment is sparking unprecedented unrest in the southern oasis towns in Algeria, the third-largest gas supplier to the European Union. It comes when the authorities are already tightening security after a January attack by militants linked to al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, at the An Amenas gas plant that killed 38 foreign workers and amid preparations for elections next year. The government is “aware of two possible future dangers: escalation of the protests and AQIM taking benefit of something that explodes,” said I. William Zartman, professor emeritus of international studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Below the oasis towns is the desert, home to most of nation’s oil and gas reserves. Algeria produces about 1.2 million barrels of oil a day, pumped mainly by state-run Sonatrach, London-based BP Plc (BP/), Norway’s Statoil ASA (STL) of Norway and ENI Spa (ENI) of Italy. The industry provides the government with about 98 percent of its revenue.
“The instability in the south is definitely something the authorities are worrying about in the run-up to elections,” Riccardo Fabiani, a North Africa analyst at Eurasia Group, said in a telephone interview from London. “It could threaten the cash cow of this regime.” Until now, the south has remained largely free of the sporadic protests over living conditions that erupted in the north and east before and after the Arab Spring that toppled rulers in neighboring Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
The worsening of security in the south has curbed job opportunities for the majority of people in the area who depend on cross-border trade, selling handicrafts and tourism, said Mahmad Saib Musette, head of research at the Algiers-based Center of Applied Economy for Development. “This is one of the main reasons of the current unrest in the south,” he said. “The international companies need highly skilled laborers, who can’t be found there.”
The violence of the protests has been tempered by memories of the civil war in the 1990s, sparked by the military’s decision to annul elections that Islamist parties were winning. As many as 200,000 people are estimated to have died in the conflict, while thousands of northerners fled to the south, according to Algerian authorities.
“Algerians are scared stiff of the memory of the 1990s when the Islamists took out their revenge on various parts of the population, and the government on the Islamists, and no one cared who they killed,” Zartman said. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika 76, has responded to the unrest with increased police action and programs designed to assuage the anger. The government said it would make zero percent loans available to Algerians aged 20 to 40 who want to start small businesses, and require companies such as BP and Statoil to hire more people locally.
Algeria’s police force, the Directorate For National Security, announced plans to recruit 6,000 young people in eight southern provinces including Ouargla, Algiers-based El-Khabar newspaper reported today.
With oil production declining for four consecutive years, the government’s ability to buy off discontent is waning. Bouteflika, who came to office in 1999, hasn’t announced if he will stand in the 2014 election. So far, the new measures aren’t satisfying the unemployed.
The government has sent envoys to the region to meet with protest leaders, who have insisted on direct talks with ministers in Algiers. Economic growth of 2.5 percent last year and a forecast of 3.4 percent this year won’t reduce the jobless rate, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Officially, unemployment in Algeria is 9 percent, and about 20 percent among youth. “What the government is offering us is just slogans,” said Kouiten, who’s a member of the National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed. “There is nothing concrete in there for us.”
Three officials injured in Punjab jail riot
Chandigarh, April 22 (IANS) Three officials of Punjab’s Faridkot town jail were injured Monday in a clash with inmates following the death of a prisoner, police said. The inmates went on the rampage and damaged property inside the prison, police officials in Faridkot, 250 km from here, said. Police reinforcements and fire brigade had to be rushed into the jail complex to control the situation. The deputy jail superintendent and two other jail officials were injured in the clash. The inmates even set some property on fire inside the jail complex.
The prison inmates were protesting the death of a prisoner under mysterious circumstances Sunday night. They claimed that this was the fourth death of a prisoner inside the jail complex in recent weeks. Jail officials said the situation was brought under control Monday afternoon. However, tension continued to prevail in the prison complex.
Police block Mbarara varsity students’ strike
Anti-riot police Monday morning foiled a students’ strike at the western Uganda based University. Mbarara University of Science and Technology students went on a strike protesting against poor hygiene and sanitation at the university. They in particular accuse the administration for failing to improve the toiletry facilities which they claim do not flush exposing them to a risk of contracting diseases.
This is the third time in a period of two weeks for students to strike over the same. They closed lecture rooms and attempted to beat the guild president Sheila Nduhukire. The University Public relations officer Denis Lutaaya said the students’ grievances will be sorted soon.
Chinese Workers Protest Over Unpaid Wages
Around 1,000 workers took to the streets in protest on April 18, after their employer, a factory in southern China’s Guangdong Province, was unable to continue paying them. As the Shawan Dian Ji Electrical Factory in the Longgang District of Shenzhen City declared bankruptcy, its employees’ wages went into default, and the workers resorted to street demonstrations.
Riot police soon arrived by the hundreds, and lined up around a nearby overpass to form a wall blocking the protesters. A number of policemen from other departments also came as reinforcement. The confrontation between the two sides lasted for three hours, and many demonstrators were injured or arrested.
10,000 tea workers walkoff in Black Sea
The workers of the General Directorate of Tea Enterprises (Çaykur) started a strike today in order to protest against unpaid social aids and disallowed collective labor agreement rights. Around 10,000 workers in 58 enterprises went on strike for the first time in Çaykur’s history, as Tekgıda-İş and Kamu-İş have not been able to reach an agreement on a collective labor contract for five years, according to a Tekgıda-İş statement released today.
Unpaid workers time protest with Ahmadinejad’s visit to Ahvaz
Iranian sugar factory workers have staged a protest timed to coincide with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visit to the city of Ahvaz in anger at 27 months of unpaid wages. Furious employees said production lines had closed down and their factory’s future had been thrown into doubt since its ownership was transferred from two state-run banks to the Ministry of Mines and Industries.
The workers’ spokesman said in Ahvaz: “Unfortunately the state-run banks that previously had owned the factory have refused to follow up on its problems. “Therefore the factory has closed down and none of the officials are taking responsibility for the problems of the factory and its unemployed workers.” The latest protests come after widespread workers’ demonstrations across Iran in recent weeks.
In the western city of Kermanshah, municipal contract workers demonstrated outside the local government building on April 17 in anger at their unpaid New Year bonuses. Employees of the Welfare Organization in the city of Qom, central Iran, gathered last week in protest at unpaid wages and working conditions.
In Abadan, southern Iran, workers and retired staff of the city’s Oil Company staged a protest outside the company’s office to object to a recent decision by the government to give housing units that had been promised to them to the Revolutionary Guards and security forces. In Tabriz, north-western Iran, crowds gathered outside the Iran-Khodro Factory on Friday in protest at the delay in delivering vehicles they have paid for.
Reports said their protest went unheeded by factory employees. And in Gachsaran, south-eastern Iran, people protested outside the town’s main police station on Wednesday in anger a four-month delay in the payment of subsidies due to them.
Guerrilla attacks on election day in Paraguay
ASUNCION, Paraguay – A policeman and a rebel were killed Sunday in separate attacks by the guerrilla group Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) in a jungle area of northern Paraguay, authorities said. Commissioner Antonio Gamarra, head of police in the northern province of Concepcion, told reporters that the first attack of the rebels came against Kurusú police station 360 kilometers from Asunción. After the shooting,the death of one of the attackers and wounding of two policemen was confirmed. Then, about five kilometers away a homemade explosive device killed one policeman and wounded four others traveling in an official vehicle.