General strike shuts country
An opposition-called general strike against next week’s general elections shut down schools, markets and industries across the country yesterday. Protesters attacked vehicles that defied the strike call and torchedt half dozen buses and trucks, police spokesman Ganesh Chetri said. Police have arrested 51 protesters. The alliance of 33 opposition parties called the strike in an attempt to disrupt the Nov. 19 elections and plan a complete transport strike until the poll day.
North executes TV watchers
North Korea publicly executed about 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows, Seoul’s JoongAng Ilbo reported yesterday. The paper cited a single, unidentified source, but at least one North Korean defector group said it had heard rumors that lent credibility to the front-page report. The source said the executions were carried out in seven cities on Nov. 3. Most were charged with watching illicit South Korean TV dramas, and some with prostitution.
Petitioning system to change
The central government is changing the way it deals with petitioners who raise grievances with it, eliminating pressure on officials to intercept them before they travel to Beijing, the Beijing News reported. Under the current system, provincial officials may hurt their chances of promotion if too many people from their area get to Beijing to press their case. The current system will be replaced by direct communication between higher and lower levels of government, with supervision based on interviews with petitioners, the paper said.
Schools bans Malala’s book
Private schools have been barred from buying a book written by Malala Yousafzai due to its “anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam content,” All Pakistan Private Schools Federation head Kashif Mirza said on Sunday. “Yes we have banned Malala’s book [I am Malala] because it carries the content which is against our country’s ideology and Islamic values,” he said. He denied any threat or pressure by any militant group to ban the book.
Workers attack factories
Garment workers demanding higher pay yesterday clashed with police and attacked factories in an industrial belt on the outskirts of Dhaka, forcing more than 100 to shut down. The workers rejected a 5,300 takas (US$66.25) monthly minimum wage, a raise of 77 percent from 3,000 takas. They want 8,114 takas. The chaos came amid a nationwide general strike enforced by the main opposition party and its 17 other allies to demand a caretaker government with people from outside political parties to oversee national elections due by early January. Yesterday was the second day of the strike, which ends tomorrow.
Batman going to jail
A man whose superhero-sounding name turned him into a social media celebrity was jailed for nearly three years yesterday for theft, housebreaking and drug offences. Batman bin Suparman, an unemployed 23-year-old whose name translates to “Batman son of Suparman,” was arrested on Aug. 19 after security videos showed him twice sneaking into a store at night, where he stole a total of S$500 (US$400), court documents showed. He also pleaded guilty to stealing his brother’s ATM card and consuming heroin. He was sentenced to a total of 33 months in jail.