The Guardian 8 June, 2005

Global briefs

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has announced that Iran is interested in developing relations with Russia in all areas. During a meeting between Khatami and new Iranian Ambassador to Russia Gholam Reza Ensari, the Iranian president pointed out the significant role played by Russia on the global arena and said, "Russia is an important partner of the Islamic Republic of Iran and we are interested in the development of bilateral relations with this country in all spheres. I must emphasise the high potential of the two countries in the development of cooperation and mention the positive experience of its development and strengthening in recent years. The technological and industrial spheres are strong points of our economic cooperation and form a solid basis of interaction between Moscow and Tehran on the global and regional levels", he added.

CUBA: Cuba and Russia have a great potential for the development of bilateral trade and economic relations, and Havana is for boosting them, said deputy chairman of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, Odalis Seijo Garca, at a meeting with well-known Russian businessman Ara Abramyan, heading a delegation of Russian businessmen. "We are ready to supply full information on potentialities for Russian businessmen, interested in entrepreneurial activities in Cuba", Seijo noted. She emphasised that Havana "is for cooperation between the two countries to be specific and mutually advantageous rather than it to be only a scrap of paper". In turn, Abramyan expressed confidence that the visit of the Russian delegation would help to develop bilateral commercial contacts.

TURKEY: Workers at a government-owned aluminium processing factory in the industrial town of Seydisehir, in Middle Anatolia, are fighting against the privatisation of the plant. They have so far barred entry to the factory by potential buyers. The government then had police come into the factory to allow the private sector representatives in. In response the workers on night shift refused to leave the factory while the day shift entered earlier than their starting time. Then the 2000 workers locked themselves in by welding the doors. When the potential buyers again arrived there was a confrontation outside the factory between the relatives of the workers and the police after the relatives crossed a police barricade to march on the factory. The police then gained access to the factory and attacked the workers with truncheons and pepper spray, but still the company representatives were unable to enter and eventually left the site.

JAPAN: A bill is before the Japanese Diet (parliament) that is intended to make people with disabilities pay for the services they use. The Japan Council for the Disabled has organised rallies to protest against the measures, with 13 major organisations representing the disabled taking part. One woman with polio said she would need three times her wage from a sheltered workshop to pay for the services she needs.

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