World News Quick Take


Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 7


Strike disrupts train services

More than 300 trains were canceled yesterday as workers went on strike to defend women’s rights on International Women’s Day, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said. About 200 intercity trains out of 568 were not operating, while 105 long-distance trains were canceled, it said. The underground in Madrid was also affected. The 24-hour strike was called by 10 unions. Feminist groups have also asked women not to spend money and to ditch their domestic chores for the day. The strike has been the subject of much debate over the past weeks and many famous women have thrown their weight behind the stoppage. Actress Penelope Cruz canceled events and was on “domestic” strike, leaving her partner, Javier Bardem, to care for their two children.


Farmers protest in capital

Thousands of farmers from the parched southeast on Wednesday marched in Madrid to ask the government for help as their crops are threatened by a “surreal” drought that is also putting jobs at risk. The region that goes from the cities of Alicante to Almeria has been hit hard by the worst drought in decades. According to the latest official data, the Jucar and Segura rivers that flow into the east and southeast are at 27.7 percent and 17.6 percent of capacity respectively. “They’ve cut 80 percent of our water supply,” said Jose Antonio Diaz Navarro, 38, manager of a company that grows lettuce and watermelons in Almeria Province and neighboring Murcia. He said that as a result, his firm has only been able to grow 15 to 20 percent of what it would normally. It has become so desperate for some farmers they are considering relocating at least part of their crop to the Montpellier region in southern France, he said.


Twenty-four killed in clashes

More than 20 people have died in clashes between herders and farmers, police said, part of an outbreak of violence that has piled pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari less than a year before elections. Two herders went missing in the central state of Benue on Monday and one was later found dead, a police spokesman said. In revenge, a group armed with machetes attacked people, including women and children, in the district of Okpokwu the same day, the spokesman said. Twenty-four people died in the violence, he added. “Four suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the gruesome murder,” the spokesman said. The herders are mostly Muslims from Buhari’s Fulani ethnic group, while the majority of farmers are Christians.


Smoking ape sparks furor

A video of an orangutan smoking has brought more criticism of a zoo infamous for past animal welfare troubles. In the video shot on Sunday, a young man flicks his half-smoked cigarette into the primate’s enclosure. It is picked up by the primate, who expertly puffs on it to laughter from the crowd. Activist Marison Guciano on Wednesday said that the smoking ape is further evidence of a lack of supervision and education at Bandung Zoo, about 120km southwest of the capital, Jakarta. Guciano said the man committed a crime, but the zoo is mainly responsible because of its “ignorance of supervision and education for visitors.” The zoo has repeatedly made headlines for starving and sick animals. It was temporarily closed in 2016 after a Sumatran elephant that died was found to have bruises on its body. “We very much regret that such a thing happened,” zoo spokesman Sulhan Syafi’I said.