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Monday, October 1, 2012

Eurozone Unemployment Reaches Record Levels, 18 Million Out of Work

More than 18 million people are currently unemployed in the countries that compose the Eurozone, according to numbers released by EU statistics agency Eurostat. The number of those out of work rose by 34,000 in August, taking the unemployment rate up to a record high of 11.4 percent. The highest unemployment figures were recorded in Spain, where 25.1 percent of the workforce is idle. Austria, with the lowest figure, had 4.5 percent unemployed. Youth unemployment provided grimmer figures. The rate among under-25s without a job reached 55.4 percent in Greece and 52.9 percent in Spain. Last week the European Commission had warned that governments and businesses in the region should act in order to avoid the “disaster” of “a lost generation”.

Suicide Bomber Kills 20 in Eastern Afghanistan

A suicide bomber killed at least 20 people during an attack on a convoy in the eastern Afghan city of Khost. The Taliban claimed the attack, which killed six police officers, three Nato soldiers, an Afghan interpreter for Nato troops and 10 civilians. Witnesses said the attacker waited until the soldiers had stepped out of their vehicles before detonating the explosives. Another 60 people were injured in the attack. Khost is on the border with Pakistan and is the operating base of the Haqqani network, affiliated with the Taliban, known to carry out sophisticated suicide attacks. A spokesman for the international coalition, interviewed by the New York Times, said that suicide bombers pose a grave threat to soldiers in the region. “Suicide bombers on foot can get closer, they can be feet away from their victims”, said Major Adam Wojack.

Muslim Protesters Torch Buddhist Temples, Homes in Bangladesh

Hundreds of Bangladeshi Muslims protested an alleged derogatory photo posted on the social networking site Facebook by burning at least four Buddhist temples and 15 homes in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar, near the border with Myanmar, on Sunday. Protesters interviewed by Reuters complained that the picture, of a burnt Quran, had been posted by a Buddhist. “We brought the situation under control before the dawn and imposed restrictions on public gatherings”, said Salim Mohammad Jahangir, the local district police superintendent. The man accused of posting the photo and his mother were escorted to safety by police officers. Bangladeshi Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said the attacks were a deliberate attempt to disrupt harmony and pledged to rebuild the Buddhist temples.

South Africa to Begin Investigating Miner Shootings During Strikes

A commission set up by South African President Jacob Zuma has begun investigating the deaths of 44 people at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, near Pretoria, in mid-August. The investigation will look into the deaths of 34 miners during the initial day of troubles and also the deaths of another ten people, including two policemen, in the weeks of unrest at the site. The killings on 16 August were the most deadly police action since the end of apartheid in 1994. The three-member panel, led by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Ian Farlam, will look into the roles played by the police, the platinum mine managers, the Lonmin company, the unions and the government in the incidents. It is expected to complete its findings within four months. The miners’ strike ended on 18 September, when a 22 percent salary rise was accepted by the strikers.

Marseille Residents Burn Temporary Camp, Force Roma to Flee

Residents of a housing estate in Marseille, the country’s second largest city, located on its Mediterranean coast, forced a group of Roma families to move on from a temporary camp by burning their makeshift homes to the ground. The vigilantes, known to be from the 15th arrondissement of the city, where the Crenaux housing estate is located, accused the Roma of carrying out burglaries in the local community. One resident told a local newspaper that “we were given to understand that we had to sort out the matter ourselves” when authorities told them investigations would have to be carried out before any action was taken. “So that’s what we did. In the afternoon we phoned each other and turned up at the camp. We all know each other here. It happened very fast.” France’s Socialist government under François Hollande has continued the policy of the Sarkozy administration of dismantling Roma camps and deporting inhabitants back to Eastern Europe.

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