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Issue #1721      March 2, 2016

Region Briefs

At least ten people were killed and another 150 injured in a riot in India’s northern state of Haryana. The riot entered its second day after a week-long protest. The protesters threw rocks at police, set houses, train stations and police cars on fire, as well as damaging the water supply system. The local government has proposed to negotiate with the rioters. The rioters were mainly students from a higher class of the Indian Caste System. They demanded the government abolish favourable policies toward people from lower Caste classes, as the government preserved some government work and university positions for them. The Caste System was preserved by the British colonists for the purpose of helping them to maintain India’s social hierarchy under the pretext of cultural preservation. The Indian government made favourable policies to lower Caste classes after gaining its independence, but in practice the lower Caste hardly benefited from any policies or protection by any law, due to ingrained social discrimination. That riot was an inevitable outcome.

More than 400 workers at India’s Tata Motor Nano plant recently went on strike last week, demanding the company rehire 28 workers who had been sacked on the pretext of discipline. Twenty-six workers went on a protest a month ago to support another two sacked workers, but the company then sacked them all and accused the workers of damaging cars in the plant. The company transferred easy-controlled workers from another plant where there are no unions.

Hundreds of Japanese students at student organisation T-nsSOWL21 went on a protest to fight against the Abe government. The students shouted “Abe administration steps down”, opposing the Prime Minister’s war legislation and reactionary policies. The Japanese opposition parties were also actively campaigning on the streets, trying to block Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party winning the upcoming upper house parliamentary election in summer.

China’s State Council has announced a set of new policies to promote the use of a New Energy Vehicle (NEV), aiming to upgrade the automobile industry and reduce pollution. According to the policy, the government will increase investment and subsidies to build more than 12,000 new battery charging stations for the NEV before 2020. It will increase the share of the NEV in the public transportation system. It also requires that more than half of the government and public institutions that purchased new vehicles must be the NEV. A total of 331,100 NEVs were sold in 2015, tripling the number from 2014.

A generator recently exploded at a power plant under construction in Indonesia’s North Sumatra. The explosion killed seven workers and seriously injured six while they were working in a tunnel nearby.

Next article – Culture & Life – “Illegal, immoral, indefensible” – UK supplying arms

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