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Issue #1795      September 20, 2017

Region Briefs

Kazakhstan: On August 31 at the Kazakhstanskaya coal mine operated by ArcelorMittal Temirtau in the Karaganda region, nearby capital Astana was rocked by a major explosion. The blast was caused by extremely high levels of methane gas. Three workers were killed while three others were seriously injured. This was not the first time that a major incident has occurred at this mine. Coal mining is a very hazardous industry worldwide as companies put profits before safety. The mine stopped operation and staff began procedures for de-gassing the mine, as the gas concentration in the mine was 70 percent instead of the allowed 4 percent.

Korea: On September 7, as tensions in the Korean peninsula remained high, the South Korean government proceeded with the deployment of further Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) systems in Seongju. Hundreds of South Koreans clashed with security forces when the police sent thousands of officers to remove the protesters who were blocking a road to a former golf course where the THAAD system has been set up. At the protest 38 people, including six police officers, were injured in the clashes. Activists from all over South Korea have been protesting for months against these deployments which they believe puts them at risk of being a North Korean target.

India: On September 5, the Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot in the front yard of her home by two assailants on a motorbike, in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru. Gauri was a staunch critic of right-wing Hindutva politics and a well-known local journalist who was also critical of government corruption and the growing dangers of Hindu nationalism and sectarianism. In her last column, she exposed the generation of “fake news” and how it is spread by powerful interests to sow hatred towards minorities. She was given a state funeral and demonstrations to condemn her murder were held all around India. Statements of protest were released by many media bodies, as well as by several unions.

Pakistan: In Baldia, it has been five years since the Ali Enterprises factor fire. On its anniversary on September 11, survivors, victims’ families and others paid tribute to the 257 workers killed in 2012. The Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association (AEFFAA) and National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) held a gathering on September 11 outside the factory where the fire took place. Anniversary speakers said that justice was not delivered to the victims, and factory owners have been relieved of all charges. When the accident occurred, there was no emergency exit at the factory and the only gate used was locked after the fire started. The absence of fire alarms contributed to a large number of deaths.

Next article – Culture & Life – Fossil fuel and fascism

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