Asia

Nepal disaster: Cuba, Venezuela rush in aid, assistance

As Nepal struggles to revive from the catastrophe caused by the April 25 earthquake that registered 7.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale and its aftershocks, Latin America's socialist governments are busy soothing the wounds of the Nepalese people.

The orange-coloured team of Venezuelan aid workers and white-coloured medical team from Cuba have brought to the people of Nepal the spirit of Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and Venezuela's late revolutionary president Hugo Chavez.

Pakistan: Baba Jan contests election from jail

On May 18, Baba Jan was declared the official candidate of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) by the returning officer of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly constituency Hunza 6. Baba Jan is in jail serving a life sentence.

This is the first time in the history of the Hunza Valley that a political activist will contest general elections from jail.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a Himalayan territory administered by Pakistan.

Latin America and Caribbean to help Asia's stranded refugees, Correa says

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa announced on May 16 that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will provide assistance to the thousands of Asian immigrants stranded off the coast of Thailand.

“This world is crazy, it shows a total disregard for human life to have people stranded on a boat, dying of starvation without being allowed to get off the boat,” Correa stated during his weekly presidential address.

Philippines: Deadly fire at factory with record of abuse


Protest at Kentex factory, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila, May 15. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa/Facebook.

Revelations have continued emerging over safety and labour abuses at the Philippines factory where 72 people died in a fire on May 13.

Nepal: Poor hit hardest amid disaster

Already struggling to cope with the devastation caused by the April 25 earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale, Nepal was hit on May 12 by a major aftershock with a magnitude of 7.3 MMS. By May 14, there had been 158 aftershocks.

The May 12 aftershock appears to have killed far fewer people than the initial quake, but the combined death toll is more than 9000 and rising. Most casualties have been in Nepal but there have also been deaths in India, Bangladesh and Tibet.

After protests, Indonesia lets journos into occupied West Papua

"After international pressure, today the Indonesian President has claimed that all foreign journalists are now free to report in West Papua without travel restrictions,” the BBC reported on May 11.

“This is historic news as for 50 years the Indonesian government has banned foreign journalists from entering West Papua."

A global day of action on April 29 featured protests in several cities that called on the Indonesian government to allow free and open access into occupied West Papua for international journalists, humanitarian agencies and human rights groups.

Nepal: Natural disaster brings unnatural suffering

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25. By May 1, 120 aftershocks had occurred. The death toll had passed 7800 by May 8 and will almost certainly reach 10,000 or more, as information trickles in from the rural areas. More than 16,000 people are injured and this number will also rise.

Sri Lanka: Small concessions, but Tamils still facing oppression

The Global Tamil Forum issued a statement on May 1 evaluating the first months of in office of Sri Lanka's new president Maithripala Sirisena.

In presidential elections in January, Sirisena defeated the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had presided over a genocidal war against the Tamil people and then kept them under military occupation.

The GTF praised Sirisena for amending the Sri Lankan constitution to cut the power of the president and increase the power of parliament.

West Papuans also victims of Indonesian state-sanctioned murder

The brutal determination of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to kill two Australian citizens comes as no surprise to West Papuan independence activists, who say they share Australia's pain.

A West Papuan independence activist, who has been in exile for 12 years after escaping the Indonesian-controlled province, has called on the Australian government to look on “in sympathy [and] in pain” for his own people, who are being “killed like animals” after the execution of two Australians.

Nepal: Anger grows as crisis worsens -- appeal for urgently needed aid

"More than three-quarters of the buildings in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, are uninhabitable or unsafe following the 7.9-magnitude earthquake nine days ago, a new survey has revealed," The Guardian reported on May 4.

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