- The Guardian
- Issue #2079
SAUDI ARABIA: An Arab-Islamic emergency meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia on 11 November called for an end to the war in Gaza, and rejected Israel’s description of its actions as ‘self-defence.’ The summit condemned “Israel’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, war crimes, and barbaric and inhumane massacres by the occupation government.” The summit called for an end to the siege of Gaza, allowing humanitarian aid, and halting arms exports to Israel. Arab and Muslim leaders rejected any proposal that would keep Gaza separate from the West Bank in a future Palestinian state. The final statement stressed the importance of “the unity of Gaza and the West Bank as the territory of the Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
BANGLADESH: Garment worker unions in Bangladesh have been demanding a pay rise from the present $75 a month to $208 a month. The government agreed to raise wages to $114 a month from December, the first increase in five years. The government offer was clearly not meeting the workers’ demands and protests continued. Protesters were met by an anti-terrorism unit of the police and a paramilitary auxiliary security force. The police used water cannons, tear gas, and batons to disperse the protesting workers. There were reports of casualties among the workers. Bangladesh is the second-largest clothing exporter after China. Four million people are employed in the garment industry there at 3500 factories.
MEXICO: The Mexican government has formalised the creation of the University of Indigenous Languages of Mexico (ULIM). It was officially inaugurated on 12 October, the date commemorating the beginning of the conquest of the Americas. The purpose of the new university is to carry out research, promotion and outreach activities in order to protect, revitalise, strengthen, and develop the linguistic heritage of Mexico’s indigenous peoples, and contribute to the building of a society based on recognition and respect for their linguistic, ethnic, and cultural diversity. Mexico is home to 68 Indigenous peoples, each speaking their own native language. Indigenous people represent about 17 per cent of Mexico’s population, or about 17 million people.
LITHUANIA: Next year some poor Lithuanians will be praying for dry weather. The government, in its wisdom and a wish to continue meeting excessive defence spending and military support for Ukraine, has approved a law according to which some citizens will have to pay for rain water. The law will come into effect from January 2024. The rain water tax is surely one of the most original ways of trying to squeeze extra money. In June, the Lithuanian Minister for Economy and Innovation said that Lithuania had allocated about 1.6 billion euros in aid to Ukraine, which amounted to 1.42 per cent of the GDP for 2022. They’ll need a lot of rain to balance the books!