Selasa, 18 Mac 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

China to boost textile jobs in Xinjiang in stability push

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 08:45 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to more than double the number of people working in the textile industry in the far western region of Xinjiang to help maintain social stability by drawing people away from extremism, a state newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people and strategically located on the borders of central Asia, has been beset by violence for years, blamed by the government on Islamist militants and separatists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

Exiles and many rights groups though say the real cause of the unrest is China's heavy-handed policies including restrictions on Islam and the Uighur people's culture and language.

The government strongly denies such accusations but it has begun to recognise the economic roots of some of the upheaval, especially underdevelopment and a lack of jobs in heavily Uighur areas like rural southern Xinjiang, and it has poured money in to rectify the problem.

In the last plan, the government wants to increase to one million people the number of people working in Xinjiang's textile industry by 2020, up from the current 200,000, the official China Daily said.

"Textiles is a labour-intensive with a long production chain. The best option is to create a large number of jobs in southern Xinjiang," Liang Yong, deputy head of a Xinjiang economic development body, told the newspaper.

More than half of China's cotton is grown in Xinjiang, much of it by a commercial arm of the country's military.

The government says young people with little education and few job prospects can be drawn to militancy.

"High school graduates who are under 28 and unemployed are much more easily manipulated by religious extremism," the paper quoted Guilistan Azez, the deputy headmaster of a school in the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, as saying.

The southern Xinjiang city of Aksu will be one of the focus hubs for textile production, the report added.

The government said last month it would pump 61.66 billion yuan ($10.17 billion) in extra funds into Xinjiang this year to improve housing and employment.

State media has reported that President Xi Jinping was shifting the region's focus to maintaining stability over development, after a series of attacks last year fuelled by what the government said was religious extremism.

More than 100 people, including several policemen, have been killed in violence in Xinjiang since last April, according to state media reports.

This month, 29 people were stabbed to death at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, in an attack blamed by the government on Xinjiang militants.

In the latest incident, near Xinjiang's capital Urumqi, police shot dead a man who attacked and killed a policeman, the Ministry of Public Security said on Wednesday. The attacker was Uighur, judging by his name. Police provided no motive.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Brazil to drop local data storage rule in Internet bill

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 08:35 PM PDT

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil will drop a controversial provision that would have forced global Internet companies to store data on Brazilian users inside the country to shield them from U.S. spying, a government minister said on Tuesday.

The rule was added last year to proposed Internet governance legislation after revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the digital communications of Brazilians, including those of their President Dilma Rousseff and the country's biggest company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Instead, the legislation will say that companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc are subject to Brazilian laws in cases involving information on Brazilians even if the data is stored abroad, congressional relations minister Ideli Salvatti told reporters.

She said the bill, which is opposed by Rousseff allies in the lower chamber of Congress, has enough support to be put to the vote on Wednesday.

Salvatti said the government will not negotiate a key provision in the bill on net neutrality, which has faced strong opposition from telecom companies in Brazil because it would bar them from introducing differential pricing according to Internet usage and speeds, such as higher rates for downloading videos.

Regulation of the business aspects of the new legislation can be done later by executive decree, she said.

The legislation dubbed Brazil's "Internet Constitution" protects freedom of expression, safeguards privacy and sets limits to the gathering and use of metadata on Internet users.

It ran into opposition from government allies in the PMDB party, Brazil´s largest, who opposed the net neutrality provision, while the requirement for in-country data storage had the Internet companies up in arms. They complained it would increase their costs and erect unnecessary barriers in one of the world's largest Internet markets.

However, following the spying revelations based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, requiring Internet companies to store data on Brazilians inside the country so that it could be subject to Brazilian laws became a priority for Rousseff.

Documents leaked by Snowden last year included revelations that the NSA secretly collected data stored on servers by Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo Inc.

Facebook has some 70 million users in Brazil, its third biggest market after the United States and India, and Google has a big slice of the local digital advertising market.

The reported espionage using powerful Internet surveillance programs upset relations between the United States and Brazil and led Rousseff to cancel a state visit to Washington in October and denounce massive electronic surveillance of the Internet in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, another leader allegedly spied on by the NSA, have led international efforts to limit mass electronic surveillance and Brazil will host a global conference on the future of Internet governance next month.

(Additional reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Venezuelan Congress seeks probe of opposition leader over protests

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 07:20 PM PDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's Congress on Tuesday requested a criminal investigation of opposition deputy Maria Corina Machado for crimes including treason in relation to her involvement in anti-government protests that have left dozens dead.

Machado, a 46-year-old engineer, has been one of the most visible leaders in six weeks of opposition demonstrations against socialist President Nicolas Maduro that have unleashed the country's worst unrest in a decade.

Ruling Socialist Party legislators, who hold a majority of the seats, voted to ask the state prosecutor to investigate Machado for offenses that range from damaging buildings to inciting civil war.

"We will not permit impunity. We will ensure revenge for those deaths. We will ensure these deaths will be paid for," said legislator Tania Diaz of the ruling Socialist Party. "Anyone who violates the right to life is violating the constitution."

The move comes a month after the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who along with Machado launched a national movement at the start of the year under the banner "The Exit" that is meant to help end 15 years of socialist rule.

Tuesday's theatrical session included a slick video of Machado's anti-government activism of the last decade that highlighted her links to the United States, the Venezuelan government's ideological adversary.

Machado sat stone-faced as legislators rattled off accusations, with some legislators chanting "Justice, justice."

"I'm convinced that this attack against me is the product of a regime that's terrified by an unprecedented citizens' movement," Machado said in a defiant press conference on Tuesday night, vowing the opposition would keep up protests.

"They are determined to break us, and we are determined to win our freedom," she said, calling Maduro a dictator.


She cannot be tried without approval from both the state prosecutor and the Supreme Court, and another assembly vote as to whether she should be stripped of her parliamentary immunity, according to a constitutional lawyer consulted by Reuters.

Decisions by the courts and the state prosecutors' office have frequently been in line with the Socialist Party, meaning the process could take place quickly.

Machado helped turned sporadic student demonstrations in the western Andes region that began in January into a nationwide protest movement that has included both peaceful marches and violent melees between hooded youths and anti-riot troops.

She has urged demonstrators to stay in the streets to protest inflation of 57 percent, chronic product shortages and one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.

Machado, elected to Congress in 2010, is frequently pilloried by Chavez supporters as an out-of-touch elitist whose wealthy background makes her incapable of relating to the poor.

Despite her high profile during the protests, many Maduro opponents criticize her as shrill and overly confrontational.

She rose to prominence in 2003 through an organization that helped the opposition gather signatures for what would ultimately be a failed recall referendum in 2004 against the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

That group received financing from the United States, in what Chavez call Washington's meddling in the country's affairs.

In one well-known exchange with Chavez in Congress, Machado called on him to halt state takeovers of private businesses, coining the phrase "to expropriate is to steal."

Chavez refused to enter into a debate, dismissing her by saying "an eagle doesn't hunt a fly."

Government critics point out that she signed a 2002 decree that dissolved state institutions during the de facto government that ruled for less than two days during Chavez's ouster.

She won less than 5 percent of the vote in the 2012 opposition primaries to choose a candidate who would face down Chavez in that year's election. Chavez died of cancer a year ago.

(Editing by Jan Paschal and Eric walsh)


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