International News Briefs

South African miners charged with murder under apartheid-era law

SOUTH AFRICA: After South African police opened fire on striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine, killing 34 and wounding 78 others on Aug. 16, South African prosecutors have charged the miners with murder and attempted murder for provoking the police. The prosecutors are using an apartheid-era law to charge the 270 strikers at the protest, which culminated in the bloodiest state-sanctioned violence seen in the country since the end of apartheid in 1994. Prosecutors moved to charge the miners before the completion of a judicial commission of inquiry into the shootings, drawing criticism from many who claim the governing African National Congress has been corrupted, the Canadian Press reported.

Eurozone unemployment reaches record levels

EUROPE: Unemployment levels in the economically beleaguered 17-nation eurozone reached record levels by the end of July, according to Eurostat and BBC World News. Some 88,000 people are newly unemployed in the vast European region, bringing the total of unemployed to 18 million, by far the highest since records began in 1995. Countries particularly hard hit by the unemployment spike include Greece (16.8 per cent to 23.1 per cent), Cyprus (7.7 per cent to 10.9 per cent) and Spain (21.7 per cent to 25.1 per cent). Unemployment among youth was pegged at 50 per cent in both Greece and Spain as they grapple with a massive debt crisis.

China, North Korea set to open border trade zones

BEIJING: China and North Korea are set to develop two special economic zones along the border between the two countries, garnering conflicting reactions from observers of the secretive North Korean regime. The economic zones are titled Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zone (focusing on tourism, finance and technology) and the Rason Economic Trade Zone (logistics and manufacturing), reports the Los Angeles Times. According to official statements, the two zones will help bolster the struggling North Korean economy. However, critics view the move as a means for the young regime, under new leader Kim Jong-Un, to consolidate power with new funds flowing to the Korean Workers’ Party elite. The North Korean economy is currently valued at $40 billion while China, the country’s main source of food and other aid, is valued at $7 trillion.

U.S. strike kills 18 in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A day after Pakistan’s foreign ministry publicly decried U.S. military drone attacks on their soil as a “contravention of international law,” the U.S. launched a drone strike in the country, killing 18 people in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The region, known as the Shawal valley region, is believed to be home to the Haqqani Network (an affiliate of the Afghan Taliban), the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda militants. Nine of the 33 drone missile strikes in Pakistan this year have targeted this region. The identity of the 18 strike victims is unknown, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Published in Volume 67, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 5, 2012)

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