Short international news

November 2, 1994

Korean socialists arrested

The Committee to Defend South Korean Socialists is asking trade unionists, women's organisations, academics, MPs, journalists and members of progressive organisations to support the defence 36 members of the International Socialists of South Korea who were arrested by the government on October 15. Among those arrested where Il-bung Choi and Sun-bong Park, who runs the left-wing press Chadegkalpi.

Il-bung Choi was sentenced to two years in prison in January 1993 for his political activities as an open socialist and publisher of left-wing literature. After an international campaign his sentence was reduced to six months in prison.

Protests in support of the jailed socialists have been held in the USA, Canada and England.

Suriname logging

Surinamese human rights, environmental and indigenous peoples organisations are sending a joint letter to the National Assembly to try to head off authorisation to hand over around 3 million hectares of concessions to three big timber companies: MUSA Indo-Suriname of Indonesia, Berjaya Timber Industries Suriname of Malaysia and Suri-Atlantic of Indonesia.

This will more than double the area under concession in the country and extend logging into the more fragile hilly areas south of the present logging belt. The Suriname Forest Service (reduced to just two professional foresters and about five "secondary level" forest rangers) has no chance of regulating logging in this area.

The Surinamese groups have appealed for letters opposing the concession to be written to: Mr J. Lachmon, Chairman, National Assembly, Gravenstraat 1, Paramaribo, Suriname.

Illegal sludge dump

Since October 17, tribal members assisted by a diverse group of supporters have blockaded an illegal sewage sludge dump located on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian reservation in Thermal, California, near Palm Springs.

Although the dump has been declared illegal by both the tribal and the federal governments, it continues to ignore tribal law and a federal order demanding that all operations stop immediately.

The federal government admits that the site is illegal but is dragging its feet in enforcing the law. The Department of Interior assures the Cahuilla Nation that it has submitted a request for injunctive relief to the Department of Justice, but no order has been issued.

Finnish nuclear waste

HELSINKI — As more Finnish spent nuclear fuel was prepared for shipment to Russia, a petition signed by 3370 inhabitants of the south Ural Chelyabinsk region against the waste was presented to the Finnish government on October 26 by a local activist.

Natalya Mironova of the Russian anti-nuclear group Movement for Nuclear Safety presented the Finnish minister for the environment with the petition and held a press conference at the Finnish parliament with the Green League of Finland and Greenpeace.

The Finnish government stated last December that Finland should take responsibility for its own nuclear waste in future. "The fact that Finland is still sending spent fuel to Russia proves that the nuclear industry is in trouble with its deadly wastes", says Iida Simes from Greenpeace Finland. "If waste management was as easy as the industry is trying to convince us, spent fuel would not be going to Russia now."

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