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Greece stops Gaza-bound boat, immobilizes flotilla

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/greece-stops-gaza-bound-boat-immobilizes-flotilla-112948472.html

By Renee Maltezou | Reuters – Thu, Jul 7, 2011

ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek coastguard intercepted a small French boat with Pro-Palestinian activists aboard on Thursday, the third flotilla ship to be prevented from sailing to Gaza to challenge an Israeli blockade.

Greece, just over a year after nine people were killed when Israeli marines stormed a pro-Palestinian flotilla, imposed a ban on all Gaza-bound ships saying it feared for the safety of the activists who are now trying to find a way to set sail.

The boat with about 10 activists aboard, including French politicians, an MEP and a journalist, sailed from Corsica. Activists had said it was in international waters waiting to join the rest of the flotilla, now confined in Greek ports.

The “Dignity” was detected in the early morning near the southern Greek island of Crete as it was refueling at sea and was towed to the port of Sitia for checks, the coastguard said.

“We are still checking their papers. We haven’t spotted any problem so far. They have not disclosed their destination, maybe because they have not decided yet,” said a coastguard official in Crete, on condition of anonymity.

There were no arrests, activists and the coastguard said.

The 10-ship flotilla, with about 350 passengers, was supposed to take drugs, food and building materials to Gaza by the end of June, but a priority was to challenge the blockade.

But the chances that they will reach their destination has faded due to the vigilance of the Greek coastguard which has intercepted three of their ships so far and is closely watching the other seven, moored in ports across Greece.

“WE CAN’T MOVE”

“We are still waiting. We know that the days are going by but we are waiting to see what will happen. So far, we can’t move,” said Dimitris Plionis, one of the activists.

On Friday, the Greek coastguard intercepted the U.S. ship “Audacity of Hope” just a short while after it set sail from Piraeus port, and arrested its captain. Three days later, armed coastguards boarded the Canadian ship “Tahrir” which set sail from Crete and escorted it back. Three people were detained.

Although all four detainees were freed, they face charges for defying the Greek ban, which can only be lifted if the Greek Citizen Protection Ministry issues a new order. Nine ships are being confined in Greek ports and all 10 are accounted for.

Israel says its blockade of Gaza is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the enclave’s rulers, Hamas — an Islamist group that is branded a terrorist group by some Western nations.

In an effort to calm the activists, Greece offered to ferry the aid to Gaza in cooperation with the United Nations. The activists turned the offer down saying this was “insufficient” as their mission was also about the rights of the Palestinian people and not just about aid.

“It is an offer that is always on the table and is still on the table,” said Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinides on Thursday in Vienna.

(Additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou in Athens and Michael Shields in Vienna, editing by Peter Millership)

Posted in Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Over 500 Indian workers sue US firm for human trafficking

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/over-500-indian-workers-sue-us-firm-for-human-trafficking.html

PTI – Tue, Feb 22, 2011 6:35 PM IST

Houston: Lawyers for a group of Indian guest workers, trafficked to the US from India to work in ship yards after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have sued an American company, Signal International, along with its co-conspirators and other entities for human trafficking and racketeering.

If class status is granted, the lawsuit could be the largest human trafficking case in US history, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said in a statement.

Workers were allegedly lured here with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent US residents, the statement said.

The ACLU joined a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of over 500 guest workers from India charging that the workers were trafficked into the US through the federal government’s H-2B guest worker programme with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent US residents and subjected to squalid living conditions, fraudulent payment practises, and threats of serious harm upon their arrival.

The complaint alleges that recruiting agents hired by the marine industry company Signal International held the guest workers’ passports and visas, coerced them into paying extraordinary fees for recruitment, immigration processing and travel, and threatened the workers with serious legal and physical harm if they did not work under the Signal-restricted guest worker visa.

The complaint also alleges that once in the US, the men were required to live in Signal’s guarded, over crowded labour camps, subjected to psychological abuse and defrauded out of adequate payment for their work.

The ACLU charges that the federal government has fallen short of its responsibility to protect the rights of guest workers in this country.

According to the lawsuit, the treatment of the workers violates the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO).

In addition to the federal court litigation, in partnership with the ACLU, the workers have testified before the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and senior staff at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Signal, a marine and fabrication company with shipyards in Mississippi, Texas and Alabama, is a subcontractor for several major multinational companies.

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Emerging economies are fed up by West lecturing, says Premji

Posted by Admin on January 29, 2011

Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro, India, at the ...

Wipro CEO - Mr.Azim Premji

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Emerging-economies-fed-West-pti-1342019832.html

On Thursday 27 January 2011, 10:16 AM

Prakash Chawla Davos, Jan 27 (PTI) In a harsh criticism of the US “restrictive” policies, Chairman of India-based Wipro Azim Premji told the gathering of global CEOs that the emerging economies are “more than fed up” of being lectured by the west to open their economies without any reciprocity.

“I think they (emerging economies) are fed up of being needled for opening their economies,” Premji said here at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

He particularly expressed his disappointment with the US seeking more market for its goods in the developing economies, while putting restrictions on its import of services. The liberalisation of goods and services was being treated differently.

When asked whether the Asian economies are “fed up by the lecturing” by the west, Chairman of India”s third largest software exporter said: “more than fed up”.

“People don”t seem to equate, liberalise both products and services. If you are talking about global trade–it is products and services.

You cannot have one standards of opening up economy for emerging countries to products and contrary (for the others) particularly the US, which has put all sorts of restrictions on services. This cannot be one way traffic,” Premji said.

The Indian IT industry which gets USD 50 billion of its revenue from the global outsourcing, mainly from the US is peeved at a string of restrictions by the American authorities for service imports.

These include hiking the visa fee for professionals.

On the contrary, India has given deals worth USD 10 billion to the US which will create jobs for 50,000 Americans. Services are of key interest to India, as they provide about 55 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product.

Posted in Geo-Politics, India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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