The strategic fuel refinery blocked by striking workers, which had been a bastion of resistance to French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, was forced open by French riot police Friday in an attempt to end major gasoline shortages. The Interior Ministry said the operation succeeded “without incident,” but the CGT union said three workers were injured. The police entered the fuel depot in Grandpuits east of Paris, the closest source of gasoline supplies to the capital, as the French Senate prepared to vote on the pension reform, reported the AP. The push to raise the retirement age without a protracted debate led more than one million workers to take to the street and, at one point, blocked fuel supplies for 40 percent of the country’s fuel stations.
GOP Congressional Candidate Says Violent Overthrow of Government Is “on the Table”
Republican Congressional candidate Stephen Broden said he would rule out violent overthrow of the government if the coming elections did not produce a desired change in leadership. Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising is not the first option, but is “on the table.” He was swiftly denounced by the head of the Dallas County GOP for his “inappropriate” remarks, reported The Dallas News.
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Haiti Confirms Cholera Outbreak
Haiti’s first cholera epidemic in a century has killed at least 138 people in the quake-hit country’s central region, reported Reuters, heralding the nation’s biggest medical crisis since the January 12 earthquake. Haitian President Rene Preval confirmed the outbreak. International aid workers are hoping to stop the disease from spreading to the sprawling camps in the capital, where 1.5 million people left homeless by the January quake are living in tents.
Humanitarian Aid Convoy Enters Gaza
A “Viva Palestina” aid convoy has arrived in the Gaza Strip, breaking the Israeli siege of the area. The convoy of over 300 activists left Britain over a month ago and crossed into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, reported Democracy Now!. The group included several dozen people who were on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla attacked by Israeli forces in May.
Chamber of Commerce Campaigns With Corporate Donations
As the US Chamber of Commerce (CoC) aggressively works to thwart federal regulations, major corporations such as Prudential Financial and Dow Chemicals have been pumping money in the CoC behind the scenes. The tax-exempt chamber keeps its donors secret – The New York Times traced the donations through corporate tax filings and tax records – and has carried out well-funded campaigns on behalf of Congressional candidates and against key Obama measures such as the health care bill and the overhaul of national financial regulation.
Tibetans Protest China’s Plan to Curb Language
Thousands of Tibetan students in Western China have come out in protests against Chinese efforts to curb or eliminate the use of the Tibetan language in school. According to Tibet advocacy groups, the protests are the largest in the area since the March 2008 uprisings, but have so far been peaceful and involved mostly students. A protest against the proposed policy in Beijing on Friday also drew hundreds of Tibetan students, reported The New York Times.