Cops said to be targeting mine protesters
THOOTHUKUDI (India) • Eleven days after police in southern India fired on protesters seeking the shutdown of a copper smelter owned by London-listed Vedanta, killing 13, residents say people suspected of involvement in the demonstrations are being targeted in a wave of arrests.
More than 10 people have been picked up by the police in raids over the last four days in and around the port city of Thoothukudi, said lawyer E. Athisayakumar, who is working with other local lawyers to free detainees. The crackdown highlights the tensions that continue to fester despite the Tamil Nadu government's order to permanently shut down the smelter, on environmental grounds, in the aftermath of the deadly protests - a move that sources say the company may appeal.
Nearly half of Afghan kids not in school
KABUL • Nearly half of all children in Afghanistan are out of school due to conflict, poverty, child marriage and discrimination against girls, the number rising for the first time since 2002, humanitarian organisations said in a report yesterday.
Spreading violence has forced many schools to close, undermining fragile gains in education for girls in a country where millions have never set foot in a classroom.
Some 3.7 million children between the ages of seven and 17 years, or 44 per cent, are out of school, 2.7 million of them girls, Education Minister Mirwais Balkhi told a seminar, explaining a study conducted by Unicef, USAID and the independent Samuel Hall think-tank.
JB murder suspect claims innocence
BANGKOK • The alleged mastermind of a brutal murder in the Taman Pelangi area of Johor Baru last December proclaimed innocence when a team of policemen cornered him last Wednesday in Thailand's north-eastern Chaiyaphum province.
The arrest of the 36-year-old Malaysian, along with his wife, at a house in the compound of a temple in the province brought an end to the manhunt mounted by the Malaysian and Thai police to arrest one of the most wanted men in Malaysia.
On Dec 17, a suspected triad member known as Ah Chiu was repeatedly stabbed before he was mowed down by a man driving a white BMW car at a petrol station located in Taman Pelangi.