Dec 22 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Conditions for Abu Dhabi’s migrant workers ‘shame the west’

 Calls for urgent labour reform after Observer reveals construction workers face destitution, internment and deportation

David Batty

The Observer, Sunday 22 December 2013

Trade unions, human rights activists and politicians have called for urgent labour reforms to protect the thousands of migrant workers building a complex of five-star hotels and museums on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates, including a new Louvre and the world’s largest Guggenheim.

The International Trade Union Confederation and art activism group Gulf Labor have urged the western institutions involved in the project, including the British Museum, to take active steps to address the workers’ welfare and press the UAE government to improve their conditions.

Sunday’s Headlines:

New hardline abortion law prompts protests across Spain

Kim Jong-un rounds up the relations

South Sudan rebel Riek Machar ‘controls key state’

Cuba president notes tone of recent relations with U.S.

Mexico’s indigenous languages get nod from the Church

New hardline abortion law prompts protests across Spain

Women’s organisations predict the re-emergence of ‘abortion tourism’, with many travelling to Britain for operations

ALASDAIR FOTHERINGHAM  Author Biography  MADRID  Sunday 22 December 2013

Countrywide protests erupted in Spain early this weekend over the government’s approval of a new hardline abortion law that will permit the procedure only in cases of rape, serious mental or physical risks to the mother, or life-threatening foetal deformities.

Three protesters were arrested on Friday when hundreds gathered outside government buildings in Madrid and burnt an effigy of Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, who masterminded the law.

Other demonstrations were organised in about 20 other cities including Bilbao, Malaga and Barcelona. Spain’s Socialist Party has already announced further protests.

Kim Jong-un rounds up the relations

December 22, 2013 – 2:56PM

 Julian Ryall

More than a hundred relations of Jang Song-thaek, who was executed by firing squad on charges of plotting to overthrow the North Korean state, have reportedly been arrested and sent to prison camps.

Security officials are said to have descended on a suburb of Pyongyang, the capital, to round up family members of Jang, who was uncle by marriage to Kim Jong-un, the reclusive state’s leader.

Although it is common in North Korea for family members of anyone found guilty of a crime also to be punished, the scale of the latest arrests underlines the lengths to which the country’s new “Dear Leader” is going to eradicate his former mentor from the nation’s history.

 South Sudan rebel Riek Machar ‘controls key state’

22 December 2013 Last updated at 05:49 GMT

 The BBC

Former South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar has said rebel troops have captured the key oil-producing state of Unity and control much of the country.

Mr Machar also confirmed to the BBC that the forces fighting the government were under his command.

The country has been in turmoil since President Salva Kiir accused Mr Machar a week ago of attempting a coup.

The BBC’s former Sudan correspondent James Copnall says the situation now looks very much like civil war.

At least 500 people have been killed since the fighting began with the government struggling to keep control of the capital, Juba.

Cuba president notes tone of recent relations with U.S.

By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday called on the United States to establish civilized relations with his country, recognizing a new tone in bilateral talks on secondary issues while reiterating that the country’s political and economic system were non-negotiable.

The United States and Cuba have appeared more positive of late as talks around immigration, postal services, disaster prevention and other security issues have taken place, with officials from both countries cautiously welcoming each other’s pragmatism and seriousness in interviews with Reuters.

Mexico’s indigenous languages get nod from the Church

22 December 2013 Last updated at 01:33 GMT

 By Will Grant

BBC Mundo, San Cristobal de las Casas

As the bells toll at the church of Templo la Caridad in the picturesque colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas, the local bishop leads a group of indigenous teenagers on the next step in their religious instruction.

Confirmation is an important rite of passage for any devout Catholic.

It is the moment in which they repeat the commitments and promises to God made on their behalf when they were baptised.

But for these young people, the spoken word in the ceremony is particularly resonant. It is being conducted in Tzotzil, the main Mayan language in this part of Mexico.