India Central Bank Employees on Strike; Sharif Gives Compensation Deadline for Quake Victims; Afghan Taliban Overrun District in Badakhshan Province
India Indian central bank employees on strike Most of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) 17,000 employees went on strike on Thursday nationwide to demand higher pensions and to protest against decreasing the regulatory authority of the central bank (FT, BBC). The central bank referred to the strike as “mass casual leave” and reported “some interruptions” to clearing and settlement ...
Indian central bank employees on strike
Most of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) 17,000 employees went on strike on Thursday nationwide to demand higher pensions and to protest against decreasing the regulatory authority of the central bank (FT, BBC). The central bank referred to the strike as “mass casual leave” and reported “some interruptions” to clearing and settlement operations, but it reported that other systems were operational. Basic pensions for RBI employees do not increase with inflation, and employee unions in a joint statement expressed their concern that this “puts thousands of RBI pensioners in extreme penury in these days of soaring prices, increased medical costs, etc.” The Indian government has proposed legislation that would establish a new monetary policy committee, which would be dominated by government nominees, to set interest rates, decreasing the RBI’s independence and authority. Currently, the RBI governor has complete autonomy in setting interest rates. The unions have warned that additional strikes are possible if their demands are not met.
PM Modi to visit Malaysia
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Malaysia on Saturday for official talks with Malaysian and other Southeast Asian leaders (The Hindu, NDTV). Modi is set to attend the ASEAN-India Summit and the East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur to increase cooperation between India and Southeast Asian countries on a range of political, security, and economic issues. Modi is scheduled to meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to discuss bilateral defense and security ties, and he is also expected to address the Indian diaspora at a cultural event. Following his Malaysia visit, Modi will travel to Singapore to discuss bilateral ties with President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, coinciding with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between India and Singapore.
“Man-eating” tiger shot dead
Forest workers in the Bandipur National Park in the southern state of Karnataka reported that a tiger was shot dead after it attacked a guard on Friday (BBC). The workers described the tiger as a “man-eater” for having killed and partially eaten a 55-year old farmer a month ago. The guard, Shiv Kumar, was in the process of tying a buffalo calf to a tree as bait for the tiger when he was attacked. “It was when Shiv Kumar was trying to tie the bait that we suddenly heard the tiger’s growl and the guard’s shriek. That’s when our sharpshooter Sushil Kumar shot the animal,” said Ravi Ralph, the chief wildlife warden of Karnataka. Kumar was taken to a hospital, where his condition was described as “out of danger.”
Bonus Read: “Imran Khan Sees His Vindication in a Calmer Pakistan,” by Rod Nordland (NYT)
Bonus Read: “Pakistan’s Middle East Problem,” by Fahd Humayun (FP)
PM Sharif: Earthquake victims must be compensated by Nov. 25
Speaking in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed district administration to distribute compensation checks for the Oct. 26 earthquake before Nov. 25 and said delays “will not be tolerated” (Dawn). Sharif spoke in the Upper Dir district of KP to assure victims of the quake that efforts were being made to “mitigate their suffering” and compensate them so that houses destroyed or damaged could be rebuilt before winter. During his visit Sharif, accompanied by KP Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid, distributed checks among the victims.
Gunmen kill three Pakistani Rangers in Karachi mosque attack
Gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire outside a mosque in Karachi on Friday, according to a senior Pakistani security official (NYT, ET). Maj. Gen. Bilal Akbar, director-general of Pakistan’s paramilitary Rangers, confirmed the attack, and said a fourth Ranger was critically wounded. According to Akbar, the Rangers were parked in a vehicle near the mosque — which officials believe was being targeted — when the assailants opened fire. It is unclear at this time if the shooters were affiliated with a militant organization.
Abuse of young boys rises in Pakistan
According to a report released on Wednesday by Sahil, a Pakistani nonprofit organization, reveals that the number of young boys being sexually abused in the country has increased this year (Aljazeera). The study said the total number of abused boys increased by 4.3 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year. Boys aged six to 10 were abused more than girls in the same age range because “they play in the streets and spend more time outdoors as compared to young girls,” said Mumtaz Gohar, spokesperson of Sahil. “We try our best to counsel those children who are sexually abused at a very young age,” Gohar said. “We also assign lawyers to fight these cases and to make sure the culprits are punished.”
Bonus Read: “We Aren’t Jihadists, Afghan Refugees Say,” by Jamie Dettmer (VOA)
Taliban overrun district in Badakhshan province
Afghan officials and insurgent sources say the Taliban have captured Yamgan district, a remote district in Badakhshan province (VOA). A spokesman for the provincial police told local media Thursday that Afghan security forces have staged a “tactical” retreat and taken positions in surrounding villages, awaiting reinforcements for a counteroffensive. The battle for control of Yamgan left 14 Afghan security forces and six insurgents dead, according to a Taliban spokesman. This is the second time this year that insurgents have overrun the embattled district.
German campaign asks Afghans to think twice before migrating
The German Embassy in Kabul launched a large media campaign in Afghanistan late this week prompting would-be migrants to “think twice” before leaving (RFE/RL). Large billboards have been erected in Dari and Pashto in Kabul and other major cities. They direct Afghans to a Facebook page run by the Germany Embassy that deliver messages like: “Do not believe the rumors and false information deliberately spread by human traffickers about the allegedly easy trip and the easy life in Germany. Do not risk your lives by trying to flee to Europe. Human traffickers are criminals who are only interested in money. They don’t tell the truth and don’t care about human lives.” The German Embassy’s campaign has come under criticism from Human Rights Watch. Wenzel Michalski, Germany’s director for the organization, labelled the campaign “unusually stupid,” adding that “it is completely idiotic or very, very cynical” of Berlin to discourage Afghans from fleeing their homeland given the soaring violence in Afghanistan.
–Alyssa Sims and Udit Banerjea
Edited by Peter Bergen
SEBASTIAN D’SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
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