Youths forced passengers off three buses and set the vehicles on fire in suburban Paris, in nighttime attacks ahead of the first anniversary of riots in France’s poor, heavily immigrant housing projects.
No injuries were reported, but worried bus drivers refused to enter some areas after dark Thursday, and the prime minister urged a swift, stern response.
Last year’s riots raged through housing projects on the outskirts of cities nationwide, springing in part from anger over entrenched discrimination against immigrants and their French-born children, many of them Muslims from former French colonies in Africa. Despite an influx of funds and promises since then, disenchantment still thrives in those communities.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a leading contender for next year’s presidential elections whose hard-line stance has angered many in the neighborhoods, promised to track down those who set the buses on fire.
Council divided on Iran sanctions
Key U.N. Security Council nations signaled opposition Thursday to a draft European resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Russian officials indicated the measure is too tough while the U.S. said it’s not tough enough.
The three European nations that drafted the resolution – Britain, France and Germany – met for the first time Thursday afternoon with the United States, Russia and China set to discuss the text, perhaps on Monday.
The meeting took place hours after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signaled Moscow’s opposition, saying the resolution departed from agreements between the six major powers, whose foreign ministers last met in London in June to discuss sanctions against Iran.
The European draft orders all countries to prevent the sale and supply of material and technology that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. It imposes a travel ban and freezes the assets of people involved in these programs – and also orders countries to freeze the assets of companies and organizations involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
But Russia and China, which have strong commercial ties to Tehran, continue to publicly push for dialogue instead of U.N. punishment, despite the collapse last month of a European Union attempt to entice Iran into talks.
Teachers vote to end strike
Teachers in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca voted Thursday to end a five-month-old strike, allowing 1.3 million children to return to classes and potentially taking the sting out of anti-government protests besieging this historic city.
The unrest was evident earlier in the day as protesters seized a city bus, forced passengers off and set it ablaze.
Authorities have said they hope that the situation will improve when teachers return to work on Monday.
Just over 31,000 union members voted to end the walkout, union secretary Ezequiel Rosales announced in a meeting at a hotel. More than 20,000 voted to continue the strike.