South Korean union vows all-out strike in sympathy with rail workers
SEOUL – (Reuters) – South Korea’s militant labor federation announced a general strike from Saturday in sympathy with rail workers, after police hauled away scores of strikers in a two-week dispute that has hit President Park Geun-hye’s popularity ratings.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has more than 690,000 members from sectors including construction and public transport and any stoppage could bring the country to a halt.
Workers with the state-run Korea Railroad walked off the job in protest against a decision to set up a unit to run a high-speed bullet train, which they say will lead to privatization and layoffs.
Hundreds of riot police stormed into the umbrella group’s head office on Sunday in a bid to arrest union leaders. They detained about 130 strikers and confederation members.
“The KCTU will show our anger by action, not words, against infringement of KCTU,” the confederation said in a statement on Monday, promising an all-out strike from Dec 28.
Continue reading Massive national strike shakes South Korea
Canadian security officials say they have thwarted a terrorism plot and arrested two suspects in Ontario and Quebec.
By: Michelle Shephard National Security Reporter, Andrew Livingstone News reporter
Two terrorism suspects charged with plotting to derail a VIA passenger train travelling between Toronto and New York, in what police are calling a “Al Qaeda-sponsored” attack with alleged ties to Iran, will appear in court Tuesday morning.
Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto, and 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier, from Montreal, both face five charges including a conspiring with a terrorist group, although the RCMP said the public did not face “imminent” danger.
The Tunisian-born Esseghaier is an engineer with a master’s degree in industrial biotechnology from Tunis, according to an online blog that was deleted shortly after his arrest was announced. He studied at Quebec’s Université de Sherbrooke from 2008-2009 and is currently listed as a doctoral student at the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique, near Montreal.
RCMP officers flew Esseghaier to Toronto Monday, escorting him off a small aircraft at Buttonville Municipal Airport in handcuffs and shackles 10 minutes before his arrest was announced publicly.
By SELIG S. HARRISON
While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.
The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.
China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.
Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.
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