Headlines for Wednesday, August 22, 2012
- Year: ÿþ2
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Worker grievances spread to another South African mine
Workers at a second platinum mine in South Africa have issued wage grievances. This follows a week of protest at the Marikana mine near Pretoria. There, a total of 40 people died during clashes between miners and police officers. FSRN’s Davison Mudzingwa reports from Cape Town.
Workers at Rasimone mine have registered grievances similar to those of fellow miners at Marikana mine. They are demanding more pay and better working conditions. A large group of workers has reportedly gathered at the mine. Some commentators believe the worker action was spurred by last week’s violent clashes between striking miners and the police. The government of South Africa is battling to contain the situation at the mines. Today President Jacob Zuma made his second visit to the Marikana mine within 4 days. He called for a quick inquiry into last week’s violence. Zuma’s visit follows a hostile reception for government officials Tuesday. Workers gathering at a rocky outcrop near the mine told the ministers they wanted a salary increase, not sympathy from the President. Meanwhile, Lonmin management has extended their ultimatum, saying workers would not be punished for missing work this week. The government is calling this a week of mourning, and has planned an official memorial service Thursday. Workers said they will hold a parallel event. Davison Mudzingwa, FSRN, South Africa.
Iran bans women from 77 fields of university study
Women in Iran have been banned from university courses in 77 different fields, after administration said they have a “manly nature” not suitable for women. According to the US State Department, 36 universities have instituted the bans. They won’t allow women to pursue courses such as engineering, education, English language, computer science and literature. The Iranian Science Minister said the ban was put in place to protect morality. The US is calling on Iran to reverse the policy and uphold women’s rights. Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi has reportedly written a letter to the UN protesting the change in policy.
Bank workers strike in protest of new Indian banking regulations
The Indian Parliament is set to approve new banking reform legislation intended to encourage more foreign investment in the country’s public-sector banks. These state-run banks account for about 75 percent of India’s banking industry. But employees are opposing the bill, fearing job cuts. FSRN’s Prabhakar Mani Tewari reports from Kolkata.
Under current law, bank investors have a 10% share of votes on policy in private banks, and 1% share in public sector banks. The reforms would increase the investor vote to 26% and 10% respectively. Analysts say these changes could improve bank health. But unions fear that if the government continues with the reforms, their influence will weaken, leading to job losses. They’ve threatened to intensify agitation unless their demands are met. Nearly one million workers are striking today. Consequently, the general public has had a difficult time accessing bank services. Brank branches and ATMs are closed. The strike is scheduled to last through Thursday. Prabhakar Mani Tewari, FSRN, Kolkata.
Court document: NYPD surveillance of Muslims provides no terror investigation leads
In New York City, a civil rights group released testimony of a NYPD official they say was involved in spying on Muslim communities with no cause other than demographics. From New York, FSRN’s Matthew Petrillo reports.
The New York Civil Liberties Union showed testimony from New York Assistant Chief of Police Thomas Galati saying quote, "I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a Demographics report.” - meaning the surveillance didn’t result in any leads in terrorism investigations. The NY-CLU says this shows the New York Police Department was spying on Muslim communities based solely on the basis of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Cyrus McGoldrick is Civil Rights Manager with the New York Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“Now it is absolutely clear without any doubt that this does nothing for anyone’s safety. That all it is, is the perfect manifestation of racial and religious profiling, the iconic manifestation of discrimination in this city, in this state, in this country.”
The Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims may have violated a 1985 federal court sanction that prohibits the NYPD’s from spying on political and religious activity. Matthew Petrillo, FSRN, New York.
Australia posthumously apologies to Olympian for ostracization after 1968 civil rights stand
And finally, an Australian Olympian, long spurned for his support of two African-Americans who gave the black power salute on the Olympic podium, is finally getting an apology from his country’s government. Two-hundred meter silver medalist Peter Norman wore a human rights badge along with Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 games in Mexico City. The action sparked a firestorm of controversy, and led to Norman being ostracized in Australia. He was excluded from the Australian Olympic team in 1972, even though he had run qualifying times. This week, the Australian parliament issued a posthumous national apology, acknowledging Norman’s accomplishments. The Olympian died in 2006.