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EU to send 100 million euros in Palestinian aid

Al Akhbar – September 14, 2012

The European Commission on Friday announced an extra 100 million euros in aid for water, sanitation, and refugees in the Occupied Palestinian territories.

There will also be an extra package of support to Palestinians living in the so-called Area C, which is under direct Israeli authority but where it is currently almost impossible for Palestinians and international donors to obtain building permits.

After the Israeli demolition there of community buildings and infrastructure such as rainwater cisterns, the EU’s new funding will provide training to build new infrastructure.

Additional funding for the United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians (UNWRA) will provide support on education, health, relief and social services for Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

The new funds brings European Union aid to the Palestinians this year to 200 million euros.

Israel has in the past angered European donors after destroying several costly, high-profile infrastructure projects in the Occupied Territories.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

September 14, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 2 Comments

Labor on the Ropes

By DAVID MACARAY | CounterPunch | September 14, 2012

There are plenty of notable labor events occurring at the moment.  And by “notable,” of course, we mean hideous and horribly depressing.  Clearly, management people all over the world believe the stars are in perfect alignment and that they now have a decided advantage when it comes to negotiating with their workforce.  Naturally, they’re looking to exploit that advantage.

First and foremost, at least from an American perspective, is the Chicago teachers’ strike, with nearly 26,000 teachers having walked off their jobs.  Predictably, the teachers are being portrayed by the mainstream media as greedy (they’re overpaid already), callused (they don’t care about their students), and gullible (they’ve been whipped into a frenzy by their militant union).  It’s positively stunning to see what the media are doing to America’s teachers.  This once noble profession is being treated with outright disdain.

There’s also a strike in South Africa, involving 41,200 miners; Lufthansa flight attendants have hit the bricks; Olive Garden and Longhorn workers have sued their employers for wage violations; American Crystal Sugar workers have been locked out for over a year; a salt mine in Louisiana was shut down for egregious safety violations; and union activists in Bangladesh are under assault (a Bangladeshi union leader was murdered last year).

Clearly, global management feels it’s in the driver’s seat.  And because they have so little to fear, they’re practically daring workers to put up a fight, utterly confident that the moneyed interests will win in the end.

One could argue that the scariest part of all this is the apparent lack of support from the public.  Historically, there have always been four components to a strike:  labor, management, government, and the public.  Each component played a role.  While the government almost always sided with management, there was a time when the citizens sided with the workers.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

I saw a Chicago mother on the news, plaintively asking, “What do I tell my daughter about why she has to miss class?”  She was furious.  “What do I tell her??!” she shouted.

It was obvious her anger was directed at the teachers and not at Rahm Emanuel, the smug, bullying, mega-maniacal mayor of Chicago, who, more than anything, needs to have a couple of motivated pilgrims take him out behind the woodshed and beat the crap out of him (Note:  we’re not advocating violence, only indicating that the only thing a bully understands is force).

Of course, the TV news crew was eating up this melodrama.  What a great visual for the six o’clock news—a tax-paying mother worried that her child’s education was being destroyed by arrogant union members.  But if anyone on that mobile crew (presumably union members themselves) had had the moral courage to speak up, they would have set her straight.

They would have advised her to tell her daughter that this is a classic labor-management dispute, that what the teachers are asking for is reasonable, that the arguments being used against them are frivolous, and that the anti-union fervor sweeping the country is being orchestrated by evil men seeking to fill their pockets with gold.  That’s what you tell your daughter.  And, believe me, she couldn’t get a better lesson than that if she spent a whole semester in civics class.

~

DAVID MACARAY, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former union rep.   He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

September 14, 2012 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | Comments Off on Labor on the Ropes

Minister: Tehran Determined to Complete Iran-Turkmenistan Railway

Fars News Agency | September 10, 2012

TEHRAN – Iranian Minister of Road and Urbanization Ali Nikzad said Ashgabat’s recent decision to annul a contract with an Iranian company over the construction of a key railway linking Iran to the Central Asia does not mean an end to the project and Tehran will accomplish construction of the railway which is a vital North-South corridor.

“The termination of Turkmenistan’s contract with an Iranian company will not affect the two country’s joint railway construction project,” Nikzad told FNA on Monday.

“This railway line will be inaugurated in due time,” the Iranian minister reiterated.

Meantime, he said Turkmenistan might have annulled the contract with the Iranian company in a bid to strike a better deal with the same or a different contractor.

Yet, the Iranian minister underscored that Iran will accomplish its undertakings with regard to this project.

Earlier media reports said that Turkmenistan has annulled a $700 million contract for an Iranian company to build a key section of the key railway line.

The decision was made at a cabinet meeting chaired by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov.

During the cabinet meeting, the Turkmen president said Turkmenistan will build this section independently.

Yesterday, Iran started laying the rail line of a key transit and transportation project linking Iran’s Northern city of Gorgan to IncheBoron in Turkmenistan.

Speaking to FNA, Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Urbanization Seyed Ahmad Sadeqi said that the last phase of the construction of the railway officially started in a ceremony with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in attendance.

He said that construction of the infrastructures of the 80km long railway has already been finished.

The railway will link Iran to Turkmenistan and then to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and will connect the CIS countries with the Indian Ocean and high seas and the Persian Gulf littoral states.

The primary agreement on the construction of the rail link among Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan was signed between presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in April 2007 in the city of Turkmenbashi and its final agreement was signed in a summit meeting in Tehran in September of the same year by the three presidents.

The total route of the railway is 1000 kilometers, of which 90 kilometers would be in Iran, 700 kilometers in Turkmenistan and 210 kilometers in Kazakhstan.

The railway facilitates transportation of goods from the Central Asian countries to the Persian Gulf.

September 14, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Minister: Tehran Determined to Complete Iran-Turkmenistan Railway