International news briefs

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International news briefs

Dalai Lama's hypocrisy

The exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, has backed the Indian government's continued violent occupation of Kashmir — including its current brutal campaign against "intruders" — and New Delhi's denial of the Kashmiri people's right to national self-determination.

Celebrations of the Dalai Lama's 64th birthday on July 6 were cancelled in sympathy with the Indian armed forces fighting in Kashmir.

"By not holding any festivities or receptions on this day, the Tibetan people wish to express their sympathy and solidarity with the government and people of India", said Tashi Phuntsok, the Dalai Lama's spokesperson. He said there was special sympathy "for the Indian armed forces who are sacrificing their lives ... to regain and protect India's territory."

The Dalai Lama's movement — which is exiled in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala — claims to lead a non-violent struggle for the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination from Chinese rule.

Bangladesh workers strike

Protesting factory workers barricaded road and rail links between the Bangladesh capital Dhaka and the country's main port, Chittagong, for the second day on June 30. The workers were demanding higher wages. The protests were fuelled by the non-payment of salaries in three private jute mills for six months.

Goods and freight piled up as buses, trucks and trains were stranded. Railway officials said the protesters uprooted some 100 metres of track.

It was the second protest over wages in two weeks. On June 16, mill workers set up a similar blockade to press authorities to implement the recommendation of a 1991 wage commission to increase their monthly wage to 1000 taka (US$20.62) from 900 taka.

Burkina Faso general strike

Tens of thousands went on strike in the tiny west African country of Burkina Faso on June 29 to protest low wages and human rights abuses. It was the first general strike since 1975.

The walkout paralysed the country on the second day of a five-day conference of Islamic countries in the capital, Ouagadougou, attended by at least 35 foreign cabinet ministers and 600 other participants from around the world.