Citizen workers go on strike
About 2,000 workers at a factory that manufactures parts for Japanese watchmaker Citizen Holdings Co have been on strike since Monday last week over work conditions and overtime pay, Hong Kong media reported. The strike, the latest of a series that have hit the country’s southern manufacturing hub in the past year, brings low pay, runaway inflation and difficult work conditions in the region into focus. Workers at the Shenzhen factory also complained about having their salaries docked for taking washroom breaks, which they said has been a policy since 2005, according to reports in the Chinese--language Sing Tao Daily and Ming Pao newspapers. Sing Tao Daily also cited factory workers as saying that some of them were beaten and had their salaries withheld after they started going on strike. Officials from Citizen Holdings in Japan were not immediately available for comment.
Treaty with France signed
The government signed a treaty with France calling for more information-sharing on security and terrorism, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said yesterday after meeting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Tokyo. Separately, the two countries will work together to improve nuclear safety following the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, the leaders said in a joint statement. The countries will form a committee to promote collaboration on nuclear energy security, the statement said. The meeting between Noda and Fillon took place ahead of a G20 meeting hosted by French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Cannes next week, which Noda will attend. After Fillon, German President Christian Wulff will visit Noda today and British Prime Minister David Cameron tomorrow.
Karzai would back Pakistan
If the US and Pakistan ever went to war, President Hamid Karzai said his country would back Pakistan. Karzai made the comment to the private GEO television station in Pakistan in an interview broadcast on Saturday. It is a surprising remark given Karzai’s recent criticism of Pakistan and his show of alliance with the US during US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s visit to Kabul last week. Both Clinton and Karzai vocally accused the Pakistan government of providing sanctuary to terrorist groups launching attacks in Afghanistan. A military conflict between the US and Pakistan is not likely, but Karzai says that if Pakistan were attacked and asked for his country’s help, they would support the Pakistanis.
Bridge collapse toll rises
Officials say the death toll has risen to 31 after a wooden bridge collapsed in the northeastern district of Darjeeling. The 30m bridge gave way as more than 150 mountain villagers gathered on it on Saturday night to hear speeches by local officials in Bijanbari, about 30km from the hill town of Darjeeling. The bridge was built in 1942 and was weakened by an earthquake last month. Authorities say some who fell about 30m into the swirling Rangeet Khola River were likely swept away in the rapids. Rescuers searched yesterday in areas down river. West Bengal state police official Surajit Kar Purakayastha says more than 100 people who were injured in the collapse have been found.
Suspected rebels kill five
Suspected Muslim rebels killed five rubber plantation workers yesterday in the latest eruption of violence in the south of the country, the military said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Basilan Island, which came just days after Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels launched deadly attacks that left 27 government forces dead. “Five were killed in this morning’s ambush,” regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said. He said the motive for the attack as well as those behind it were not immediately clear. However, he said MILF rebels were known to operate in the forested area where the ambush took place and the attack could have been meant to divert military attention from an ongoing offensive against comrades responsible for earlier attacks.
Clashes leave 20 dead
Clashes between government troops and a renegade army unit killed at least 20 people, including three civilians, in Sana’a on Saturday, officials said. The fighting broke out early on Saturday between renegade soldiers joined by allied tribal fighters and government forces in the Hassaba neighborhood. The district has been the scene of a tense standoff for months between forces loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and rivals who have sided with protesters demanding the longtime leader step down. A medical official said three civilians and five troops from the renegade army unit, lead by Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, were killed in Saturday’s clashes. One of the civilians killed was a staffer in a local TV station that was caught in the crossfire, station executive Mukhtar al-Qassasi said. Seven tribal fighters and five government troops were also killed, officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the press.
Rebels kill 20 soldiers
The army reported 10 soldiers killed on Saturday in an attack blamed on leftist rebels, the second such loss in less than three days. Ten deaths in a single battle is the heaviest loss by security forces in more than a year, since 14 police officers died in September last year when their convoy was attacked. The military blamed both of this week’s attacks on the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The army command said Saturday’s attack happened in a rural area of Tame municipality in the northeast, about 320km northeast of Bogota. Ten soldiers also died when an army patrol was attacked with mortar fire on Thursday near the Pacific port of Tumaco in the southwest.
Twins deliver on same day
Two identical twins in Indiana now have another birthday in common: They delivered babies on the same day at the same hospital. The Herald-Times reported that 21-year-old Jessica and Jennifer Patterson gave birth on Wednesday at Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital. Jennifer Patterson gave birth first to a girl, Adalynn Rose Patterson. Eight-and-a-half hours later, Jessica Patterson gave birth to a boy, Mason Douglas Patterson, by Cesarean section. Jennifer Patterson calls the same-day births “kind of cool.”
Hunter kills Marine “bear”
A member of the US Marine Corps Reserves was shot and killed in Oregon after authorities said a hunter mistook him for a bear. Christopher Ochoa, a 20-year-old from French Camp, California, and a friend were hiking through a field in Western Oregon on the way to Silver Creek Falls Park on Friday evening. Ochoa was wearing dark-colored clothing when an Oregon man hunting for bear with his 12-year-old grandson saw something moving in the brush and fired one shot from a .270-caliber rifle, striking Ochoa, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. The sheriff’s office said the hunter, Gene Collier, 67, hasn’t been charged and said the shooting appeared to be accidental.
S Koreans rescued at sea
The navy has rescued four South Koreans from their catamaran after it suffered a breakdown while sailing across the Caribbean, an official said on Saturday. “We responded to a call from the Korean embassy, which alerted us to a boat with four of its nationals aboard,” Commander Carlos Serrano said, in describing the Thursday rescue off the coast of La Guajira. The quartet had been sailing from St Martin, in the Lesser Antilles on the east end of the Caribbean, to Panama, when their vessel named the Adventure suffered a mechanical failure, Serrano said.
Five die in fight over grazing
Fighting between pastoralists over grazing land in the drought-ravaged north killed five people on Saturday, officials said. Clashes over grazing land and water are relatively common in the dry patches of East Africa and often escalate into revenge attacks. Witnesses said several grass-thatched houses were burned in fighting between the Borana and Somali ethnic communities against the Turkana on the outskirts of the northern town of Isiolo. Police commander Augustine Nthumbi said five people were killed in fighting on Saturday, and seven people were killed the previous day in similar ethnic clashes in the neighboring Samburu district.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable