CPN-Maoist decries 28-point Nepal-India deal
KATHMANDU, June 9: The CPN-Maoist on Sunday expressed its serious concern over the recent 28-point agreement inked between Nepal and India at the home secretary level meeting held in Kathmandu. Issuing a press statement by party Chairman Mohan Baidya, the party has accused the government of indirectly conspiring to hand over the immigration department at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and modern Police Academy at Panauti to India.
“The 20th and 21st points of the agreement that include handover of the Panauti-based modern Police Academy to India after the completion of its construction and providing the contract to India in the name of modernizing the immigration department of the TIA was a serious, condemnable act in view of national security,” reads the statement. The party has also demanded that the ‘anti-national´ decision be scrapped at the earliest.
Peru to Build this Year 10 New Counter-Terrorism Bases in VRAEM
Peru’s government plans to build an additional 10 counter-terrorism bases in a remote jungle region that is rife with remnants of Shining Path rebels, state news agency Andina reported. Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano said that the bases are to be set up this year. “This year we are planning to construct 10 more counter-terrorism bases and we are evaluating the possibility through government to government mechanisms, to acquire bases from Canada, with modern equipment that allows them to be transported easily,” Cateriano said. The bases will be built in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river valleys, a dense, mountainous jungle region that includes districts in the south-central regions of Cuzco, Ayacucho, Junin and Huancavelica.
The VRAEM, as the area is known for strategic purposes, is where the last remaining Shining Path rebels have built a network providing protection to illicit coca growers and drug traffickers. Cateriano also said that the government will revamp the few existing military bases in the area, which are known to be underfunded, and, in at least one small town, housed in local community buildings or schools. “President Ollanta Humala’s administration is taking steps to improve the conditions of all the bases,” he said.
Life sentence for Shining Path leader
LIMA, Peru (AP) — A Peruvian court has convicted a top leader of the Shining Path rebel group and sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Florindo Flores, better known as Comrade Artemio, was convicted of terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering. The three-judge court also ordered him to pay a $180 million fine. He is appealing Friday’s conviction. Artemio was captured in February 2012 in the Alta Huallaga Valley, a stronghold of the fanatical rebel group in the late 1980s and early 1990s before it was largely defeated.
Labour unrest surging in Cambodia
Hundreds of angry workers rampaged this week through a textile plant in Cambodia that supplies US sportswear company Nike Inc, clashing with police over their demands for a pay hike. The violence came just weeks after over 1 100 workers were killed in the collapse of a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh, another impoverished Asian nation where mass-produced textiles are the biggest export earner.
Cambodia is considered one of the better locations in the world for low-cost garment manufacturing with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) monitoring pay and working conditions at many factories. But strikes and sometimes violent protests have been on the rise as unions emboldened by a shortage of skilled workers press complaints that companies have failed to raise enough wages or improve safety.
Strikes by the country’s more than 300 000 garment workers nearly quadrupled last year to 134, according to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, the main industry body. The 48 strikes so far this year are already more than in the whole of 2010 or 2011.
ILO warns Europe about growing risk of social unrest
“In advanced economies, particularly in the euro area, the employment situation is more problematic,” the ILO noted this week in its annual World of Work report. “Among the 37 advanced economies with available information for 2012, only six (Germany, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Malta and Switzerland) had employment rates that exceeded pre-crisis levels.” Additionally, Malta was one of just seven EU countries (the others being Austria, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania) that have surpassed pre-crisis employment rates, the ILO said. Those most vulnerable, according to the report, were Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, where the employment rates are below 2007 levels.
“In other words, 5.2 million jobs are needed to restore employment rates to their pre-crisis levels,” the ILO said about the European Union. The ILO reports that in 35 per cent of advanced countries, employment rates had increased but had not yet reached pre-crisis levels; while rates in almost half of the advanced economies analysed had continued to fall since the beginning of the crisis. It emphasises how employment rates have fallen by more than three percentage points in the last two years alone in Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Spain.
Under current growth estimates, the ILO says, employment levels in advanced economies are expected to recover to pre-crisis levels by 2014, but when the growth in the working-age population is taken into account, the employment rate will not recover until 2018. More broadly speaking, the ILO said social unrest – strikes, work stoppages, street protests and demonstrations – had increased in most countries since the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008.
But the risk, it said: “is highest among the EU-27 countries – it increased from 34 per cent in 2006-07 to 46 per cent in 2011-2012”. However, the risk was not evenly spread and had not grown in at least seven of the member states. It also pointed out that the risk of social unrest had declined in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Sweden since 2010. Overall, the risk of unrest in the EU “is likely to be due to the policy responses to the ongoing sovereign debt crisis and their impact on people’s lives and perceptions of well-being”, the United Nations agency said. “This bleak economic scenario has created a fragile social environment as fewer people see opportunities for obtaining a good job and improving their standard of living.”
The risk of social unrest had also risen in Russia and non-EU countries of the former communist bloc, as well as in South Asia and in advanced economies outside the EU. But it had declined in Latin America and the Caribbean, where governments had followed employment-boosting policies, in the growing economies of sub-Saharan Africa and in East and in South-East Asia and the Pacific. The ILO said it had based its findings on correlating economic growth and income levels with inflation, unemployment, debt as a share of economic output or GDP, and income inequality – all factors which influence levels of social tension.
Government austerity policies of the last few years had been accompanied since 2010 by increasing wage inequalities in which middle-income groups’ revenues declined and those of top salary earners began to grow again, it declared. Across the richer countries, said the ILO, profit margins for larger companies were rising, as reflected in booming stock markets, and were now at levels similar to those of the immediate pre-crisis years. “But rather than putting these profits to work through productive investment in the real economy, increased revenues have more often been channelled towards higher cash holdings,” the agency said.
Negev residents to protest forced displacement plan
BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma’an) — Arab and Bedouin residents in the Negev announced Sunday that they would be rallying against a legislative proposal to be put before the Knesset that would see the dismantling of unrecognized villages and the forced displacement of residents. The Al-Naqab Association for Land and Human Beings said all residents were being urged to join Thursday’s protest, which includes a general strike, organized by the Higher Guidance Committee of the Arab Residents in the Negev. Protestors are set to rally in front of government offices in Beersheba at 10am, starting at the municipal market.
“Joining this rally, the general strike and demonstration is everybody’s duty because it is about the future of Arabs in Negev. If the public do not act now, it will be too late,” said Atiyeh al-Assam, the mayor of the regional council of unrecognized Arab villages. The proposal, known as the Prawer Plan, would see the forced displacement of thousands of Negev residents living in what Israel calls “unrecognized villages” to predefined areas approved by the government and the razing of their homes. The Prawer Plan was scheduled to go before the Knesset on Monday, but the hearing has been postponed until further notice, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel told Ma’an. ACRI and Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel, formally submitted their reservations to the Plan in April 2012. At the time, ACRI attorney Rawia Aburabia described the proposal as “a farce.”
“A democratic state cannot pass a law of discrimination, one that violates human rights and continues to harm a minority that has suffered from neglect and discrimination dating back to the founding of the State,” a joint statement read. In May, Israeli authorities demolished the al-Arakib village in the Negev for the 50th time, just days after an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev. The draft bill sets a framework to implement the evacuation of “unrecognized” villages, most of which existed before the state of Israel. More than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages. Israel does not recognize 35 of the 46 Bedouin towns and villages in the Negev.
Number of Indians killed in Brazil on the rise
SAO PAULO (AP) — The number of Indians killed in Latin America’s biggest country has been rising since 2002, a Brazilian indigenous rights group said Saturday. The Roman Catholic Church-backed Indigenous Missionary Council said 452 Indians were killed between 2002 and 2010 compared to 167 killed between 1995 and 2002. The council said conflicts between ranchers and Indians who claim their ancestral lands are being occupied to plant crops and raise cattle account for most of the killings. The council’s executive secretary told CBN radio that the increased killings are mostly due to government delays in the demarcation of indigenous territory.
Sudan police use teargas to break up protest
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese police used teargas to break up an anti-government protest in the capital Khartoum on Friday, witnesses said. Some 150 people gathered near a mosque in the Omdurman suburb to protest against high inflation, shouting “the people want to overthrow the regime” and throwing stones at police, several witnesses told Reuters. Among the protesters were residents from a region north of Khartoum displaced by a dam, who complained they had not been compensated for the loss of their homes. Police, who dispersed the crowd, were not immediately available for comment
Two killed, 16 hurt in Odisha clash
Jharsuguda (Odisha): Two workers of a coal transport company were killed and 16 others, including six police personnel, injured in a clash at Belpahar in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district, police said on Sunday. The incident took place after drivers and helpers, who were agitating for pay hike, allegedly attacked the transport firm office and tried to set it on fire, Deputy Superintendent of Police Anthony Tirkey said. The protesters, who had gathered at the company office premises, suddenly turned violent as negotiation for their pay hike reportedly failed and also pelted stones at Policemen deployed at the site as a precautionary measure, he said.
As the workers turned violent, the Police opened fire, Tirkey said, adding one person was killed at the site while another succumbed to injury at Hospital. At least 16 persons, including six police personnel, were injured during the clash and several of them were undergoing treatment at VSS Medical College and Hospital at Burla, he said. The deceased were identified as driver Abinash Soren of Hurduna in Purulia district of West Bengal and Gaurab Hembram of Sareipara in Mayurbhanj district, the DSP said. The six police personnel injured in the clash were a Havildar, a sub-inspector, an assistant sub-inspectors and three constables, he said. Situation in the area was tense but under control after the incident, Tirkey said, adding adequate security personnel were deployed in the area in order to prevent any further flare up. PTI