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Issue #1789      August 9, 2017

Region Briefs

India: In Kerala, a southern Indian state that is currently run by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front, tens of thousands of nurses ended a two-month strike after the government agreed to more than double their wages from less than Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 ($196.18 to $392.30 AUD) per month. This is a great win by these workers and their unions, the Indian Nurses’ Association (INA) and the United Nurses’ Association (UNA), who were responsible for co-ordination of industrial action. The nurse’s determination was fuelled by years of being paid poor wages and increasing levels of poverty experienced.

Afghanistan: In Kabul, a bomb targeted buses carrying public servants on the way to work, killing 35 and injuring many more. Indiscriminate bombings and military actions by insurgents, government and Western forces in the “war on terror” continue to devastate Afghanistan and kill or injure thousands of workers, peasants and their families.

Iran: Over a thousand teachers in Iran issued a public statement last week, calling for the unconditional and immediate release of Mohsen Omrani saying, “We believe the authorities should stop looking at trade union activities as a security threat and unconditionally free Mohsen Omrani.” Omrani is currently serving a one year sentence for “propaganda against the state” for organising teachers in the southern port city of Bushehr. Independent unions are banned from operating in Iran, strikers lose their jobs and risk arrest, and labour leaders who attempt to organise workers and bargain collectively are prosecuted under national security charges and sentenced to a long prison sentence.

Pakistan: Former petroleum minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has been elected as Pakistan's interim Prime Minister. Ousted PM Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz is expected to take over in September and continue until the 2018 election. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party had nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the petroleum minister in former PM Nawaz Sharif's cabinet, to succeed the ousted premier for an interim period. Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz's younger brother and chief minister of the Punjab province, is expected to take over from Abbasi in September. Shahbaz will have to resign from his seat in the Punjab assembly and contest a by-election for the seat left vacant after his older brother's disqualification. Sharif's party will have to nominate Shahbaz's successor as Punjab's chief minister.

Next article – Culture & Life – The ongoing Cold War

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