The Guardian 16 November, 2005

Global briefs

KOREA: The Democratic Peopleís Republic of Korea (north Korea) and South Korea agreed on November 1 to send a unified team to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and to next yearís Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. After a three-hour meeting in Macau, officials from the north and south issued a statement saying they will meet in Kaesong, a city in the north near the demilitarised zone, to work out details of selecting and training the unified teams. "We have agreed to have a unified team, but we havenít agreed on the details yet", said Baek Sung Il, a spokesperson for South Koreaís Olympic Committee. "We have to work out the details on how to select our athletes and how to train them. Itís not something we can agree on at once. But we will send unified teams to the Asian Games and to the Olympics."

NIGERIA: Citing reports of ongoing human rights violations in the Niger Delta oil region, Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian Government to hold "thorough and independent inquiries" into allegations that security forces have killed, injured and raped civilians, and destroyed their property. The report, based on a recent Amnesty International mission to the Niger Delta, focused specially on events on February 4 at Chevronís oil terminal at Escravos, and on February 19 in the community of Odioma. On February 4 soldiers from Nigeriaís Joint Task Force fired on protestors at Chevronís oil terminal. One person died and 30 were injured. On February 19 at least 17 people were killed and two women allegedly raped when Joint Task Force troops raided Odioma.

URUGUAY: Uruguayan doctors, public health, and state central administration workers went on strike on November 3 to demand better resources and higher pay, Prensa Latina said. The Public Health Officials Federation (FFSP) of the Central Labour Union said the action is one in a series of protests to challenge the governmentís inflexibility. State Officialsí Confederation Chair Carmen Galizzi, who is also an FFSP member, said the unions are demanding more workers "to be able to offer medical care with dignity to the entire population". The left-led Broad Front government of President Tabare Vazquez, in power since November 2004, said the crisis and debt inherited from previous conservative administrations, and new promises of debt payments to international financial institutions, do not allow for increased spending.

CANADA: At its meeting in Ottawa last week, the Executive Council of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) called for a "complete overhaul" of policies toward aboriginal communities, in partnership with aboriginal communities and their leaders. In a statement responding to the crisis faced by the Kashechewan First Nation, where as many as 1,000 people were being evacuated from a remote community because of E coli in their drinking water. The CLC called the emergency "only the newest most visible result of a large number of negative social and economic conditions faced daily by aboriginal communities" that have placed them among the hardest-hit populations worldwide, according to the UN Human Development Index.

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