Demonstrators protest Turkish gov’t attack
The Turkish Party of Labor (EMEP) issued a sharp protest this week over the brutal police attack April 6 on a massive press conference organized jointly by EMEP and the Turkish Communist Party. “The bans of the government and police terror cannot prevent the solidarity of our people with the people of Palestine,” EMEP declared. “The brutal attack by police forces on the massive press conference organized in Taksim [one of the most important centers in Istanbul] has demonstrated the hypocritical attitude of the government in the face of the massacre and genocide in Palestine.”

The statement pledged that solidarity actions with the Palestinian people will continue on a nationwide scale.

Indian People’s Front calls protest
The Indian People’s Front has sharply criticized Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi for conniving “in a shocking manner” with the extremist Hindu gangs who have been attacking the Muslim majority in the state. The People’s Front, which includes the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) together with other left organizations, is calling for mass demonstrations in major cities throughout India on April 17 to demand the removal of Modi and firm steps by both state and national governments to end the continuing violence and bring the culprits to justice.

Hundreds of Muslims have been killed in Gujarat following an attack several weeks ago on Hindu extremists traveling to build a temple where they had destroyed a mosque a decade ago.

Conference demands Israeli withdrawal
The International Conference of Left and Other Parties and Organizations, meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus, last weekend, demanded the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian territories and an immediate end to Israel’s “undeclared war” against the Palestinian people.

The conference of 43 parties and organizations from 22 countries particularly condemned the attempt to annihilate Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and demanded the immediate lifting of the siege against him.

Participants expressed great concern for the effect of the Israeli aggressiveness on peace and stability in the broader region and the world, as well as on the Palestinian people. “[T]he brutalities exercised by the Israeli army against the civilian Palestinian population and the attempt to destroy all material infrastructure and economic resources of the Palestinian people limit the possiblities of their survival and are tantamount to an attempted genocide,” the conference resolution stated.

Vietnam and Cuba: Shoulder to shoulder
At a reception last week honoring a Cuban visitor, Vietnamese Communist Party Political Bureau member Tran Dinh Hoan expressed his country’s admiration for the Cuban people’s steadfastness in defending and building up their country. Addressing Raul Valdes Vivo, head of the Communist Party of Cuba’s School for Cadres, the Vietnamese leader said his country stands shoulder to shoulder with Cuba in the common struggle for the successful building of socialism, to bring prosperity and happiness to the people of both countries.

Valdez Vivo thanked the party, government and people of Vietnam for their solidarity and assistance to his country, and wished the Vietnamese people continued success in the current renovation process.

China shuts down unsafe mines
Tens of thousands of small coal mines that failed to meet basic safety standards have been shut down to reduce coal mine fatalities, according to Zhang Baoming, head of China’s State Administration of Work Safety.

Since May of last year, China has shut down 12,257 small coal mines, including 1,284 state-owned mines, reducing the total number of small mines from 82,000 in 1997 to 23,000, Zhang said. Another 8,000 are slated to close by the end of the year. At the same time, billions of yuan were spent on improving mine safety through technical innovations and purchase of safety equipment for major state-owned mines.

The government’s work has significantly improved mine safety. In the first quarter of 2002, no serious accidents involving deaths of 30 or more miners were reported. Nine serious accidents were reported that killed 10 or more miners, a decline of 40 percent compared with the same period last year, Zhang said. Last year 1,044 miners died in 632 coal mine accidents.