Hamas government can’t make payroll
The new Hamas-led government is broke and missed the April 1 monthly pay date for tens of thousands of Palestinian public workers, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday.
It was the government’s first admission it will have difficulty running the West Bank and Gaza without massive foreign aid.
Haniyeh offered no solutions to the cash crunch, pledging only to do his best to make up for tens of millions of dollars in aid being withheld by international donors and appealing to the Arab world to send more donations.
Youths’ slayings spark protests
Protests erupted across Venezuela’s capital Wednesday with demonstrators blocking streets and police responding with tear gas as the slaying of three young brothers by kidnappers set off an outcry against violent crime and police corruption.
At least five areas in the city were hit by demonstrations.
The unrest was touched off by the discovery Tuesday of the bodies of the three Faddoul brothers – John, 17, Kevin, 13, and Jason, 12, with dual Canadian-Venezuelan citizenship. The bodies of the boys, who were shot in the head and neck, were found near an electrical tower outside of Caracas, more than a month after they were kidnapped at a bogus police checkpoint on their way to school.
Union demands withdrawal of law
French labor unions, emboldened by this week’s massive turnout of demonstrators on the streets of several cities, issued an ultimatum Wednesday for the government to withdraw its contentious labor reform law by April 15, holding out the threat of more disruptive nationwide protests and strikes.
Meetings between union and government officials ended without agreement late Wednesday after a day on which President Jacques Chirac’s government was brutalized on the editorial pages of newspapers from across the political spectrum and by lawmakers on the floor of Parliament.
A new survey by the polling agency CSA, scheduled to be published in Thursday’s editions of the newspaper L’Humanite, showed that 72 percent of those questioned said they were dissatisfied with the way the government was handling the crisis.
Dozens detained to avoid strike
Police detained dozens of politicians and imposed a night curfew in Nepal’s capital Wednesday to thwart a planned opposition strike, while rebels killed at least 11 security forces in attacks elsewhere in the country, officials and activists said.
Police detained about 75 pro-democracy activists, including several journalists, who defied a ban on rallies in the capital, Katmandu. They had gathered to support a four-day strike starting today to pressure King Gyanendra to restore democracy more than a year after he seized control of the government.
Compiled from wire reports