Lufthansa rocked by industrial action

Lufthansa, the German-owned airline conglomerate, has cancelled hundreds of flights operated by its domestic cargo and low-cost divisions in response to a three day strike held by the Cockpit Association. This will be the third stoppage in a long-running dispute between workers and management over pay and job security. Workers want an above-inflation pay rise and a two-pronged commitment that there will be no redundancies or outsourcing of divisions to agencies, which would guarantee savage pay cuts. Lufthansa, which made a £700 million operating profit last year, enabling it to restore dividends to shareholders, has refused to meet workers’ requests.

New Mexico police attacked in YouTube video scandal

A group of Albuquerque  police officers were accused of a gross abuse of their powers after footage – captured by a camera that is part of police uniform in the state – showing them shooting a Taser and a rifle at a homeless man was posted on YouTube. The man, James Boyd (38) had a history of mental health problems and had been arguing with the police officers over his alleged “illegal camping” for three hours before the footage was recorded. It shows Boyd being attacked with a “flash bang” (a device which disorientates rather than physically harms) as he was collecting his belongings to leave. Boyd died in hospital the day after the attack.

Bolivians fight against anti-drugs base

Residents of the Bolivian city of Yapacani have been embroiled in clashes with police after authorities used tear gas and roadblocks to disperse protests against a new base for the anti-drugs police in the city. Residents and local politicians fear that the base, to be built with European Union funding, and the associated increase in anti-drug police presence will lead to more intimidation and “rough” tactics that are regularly adopted by officers. In a country in which coca leaves are a key export, the difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate farmers and traffickers can be used by corrupt officials as an excuse for brutal behaviour.

Gaddafi’s son “apologises” to Libyan people from prison

It is unclear, even doubtful, if Saadi Gaddafi made an apology to Libya of his own free will. In the video, made shortly after his extradiction to Libya from prison in Niger, Gaddafi says, “I apologise to the Libyan people,… for all the harm I’ve caused and for disturbing the security and stability of Libya”. The video was promptly broadcast on the government-controlled TV station, ahead of Gaddafi’s trial for trying to suppress the 2011 revolution. The future for Gaddafi looks bleak, with the justice minister saying he is “certain to face the death penalty”.

100,000 Taiwanese march against China deal

A landmark trade deal between China and Taiwan, which has enthusiastic support from government and large corporations in the two countries, has attracted furious opposition from the Taiwanese public. They are concerned that the ease of trade and investment with and in each market will render Taiwan an economic satellite of China, which still formally claims the island as its own territory. Students have occupied Taiwan’s parliament for two weeks in opposition to the deal, which has yet to be ratified by MPs.

Brunei introduces full Sharia law

The Sultan of Brunei has resolved to introduce full sharia law in the east Asian country, warning critics that raising objections on social media would make them liable for prosecution under the new laws. Newly criminalised activities include drinking alcohol, sexual acts outside marriage and sodomy. Punishments range from stoning to the death penalty. Human rights activists have attacked the Sultan and the UK government, which pursues close financial and military alliances with the absolute monarchy. Unsurprisingly, the British government has been far from vocal on this regression to totalitarianism.

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