A full-scale workers’ uprising in the Mexican state of Oaxaca has shut down transportation and businesses throughout the region. Access to an important oil refinery has been blocked. As of June 23, there were 21 highway blockades there.Oaxaca is an impoverished and mostly Indigenous state in Mexico’s rural south. In one small town, reports said, the air was heavy with the smell of burning tires on a strategic highway that leads from the neighboring state of Puebla to the state capital, Oaxaca de Juárez. The highway was blocked with burned-out cars, buses and trailers. Dozens of trailers waited in line to pass.The uprising came after some 800 Mexican federal police had shot into a crowd of demonstrators who were armed with only stones, sticks and Molotov cocktails. The crowd was defending a barricade in the town of Nochixtlán. At least eight demonstrators were killed and some 100 wounded. Another 22 are missing, and some 27 were arrested and report being tortured. At least five more died from their wounds.“They are shooting at us as if we were animals,” William Velázquez, a 34-year-old teacher, told a reporter. He picked up a large stick. “These are the only weapons we have. We don’t carry guns. They were firing on unarmed civilians.” (latino.foxnews.com)At first, the Mexican government claimed that the cops did not carry weapons. But after many news organizations showed video of police firing bullets, the government tried to say that “unknown gunmen” began firing at both sides, even though none of the cops had been shot. Finally, Federal Police Chief Enrique Galindo acknowledged that he had sent in officers with guns. “The police obligation is to protect the population,” he said, as if that excused the carnage from police bullets.The day after the shootings, Ramos Zárate, a journalist covering the Oaxaca events for the newspaper El Sur, was mysteriously shot and killed. He is one of eight journalists killed in Mexico so far this year.Solidarity with teachers’ fightto save unionThis all stems from a confrontation between the Mexican central government, led by President Enrique Peña Nieto, and the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), the Oaxaca section of the largest teachers’ union. The government demanded that the teachers pass a national certification test or be discharged. Dozens of teachers were then quickly fired. Several CNTE leaders were arrested on trumped-up corruption charges, which the teachers describe as a move designed to break their union.The CNTE is calling for the removal of the test requirements, which they point out fail to take into account the special conditions of the impoverished people of Oaxaca, where some 21 Indigenous dialects are spoken. The union is also demanding the immediate release of its leaders.Since the police shootings in Nochixtlán, protesters have burned police headquarters in San Pablo Huitzo and Santiaguito. They have blockaded roads, a shopping mall, even train tracks in the western state of Michoacán. They have forced bus lines to cancel trips to Oaxaca, a popular tourist spot. And in Oaxaca city itself, the teachers have set up an encampment in the city’s main square, where thousands of teachers from around the country have arrived to defend it.Militant acts of solidarity with the Oaxaca teachers have erupted throughout Mexico and, indeed, around the globe. In Chiapas, Mexico, teachers and residents set up numerous blockades, including one that cut off the Pan-American Highway. On June 21, for example, a mass solidarity assembly of faculty, staff and students was held at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.Six thousand people marched in solidarity in Monterrey, Chihuahua and other cities in northern Mexico. In the U.S., the Chicago Teachers Union, which has expressed its solidarity with the CNTE for many years, staged a “die-in” at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago.On June 20, at the Mexican National Indigenous Congress, the Zapatistas issued a statement calling on “our peoples and civil society in general to stand with the teachers who resist at this moment, to see us in them. … We invite all the peoples from the fields and the cities to be aware and in solidarity with the teachers’ struggle, to organize ourselves autonomously to be informed and alert in the face of the storm falling on us all.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
By Andréa Barretto/Diálogo May 16, 2018 The Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) is set to receive by October 2018 eight MK3M modernized vehicles, capable of firing a missile and four different types of rockets from a single launcher. Brazilian company Avibras was contracted in 2012 to update the technology on 38 MK2 and MK3 vehicles used by the 6th Missile and Rocket Group (GMF, in Portuguese). This will be its fourth and final delivery. The delivery marks the conclusion of strategic program ASTROS 2020. Additional key steps already took place in 2018. EB inaugurated the ASTROS 2020 Instruction Center and the program’s Logistics Center on January 25th and February 1st. The new facilities kicked off operations and are part of the Fort Santa Bárbara complex, a military conglomerate in the midst of construction in the city of Formosa, Goiás state, in central Brazil. “It’s a personal accomplishment to command a military logistics organization because I’m an officer who works with war materials. It’s particularly [important] at this installation, whose weapons system requires us to have in-depth professional knowledge and work with complex management tools,” said EB Lieutenant Colonel Giovani Siqueira, who assumed command of the Logistics Center during the inauguration ceremony. “We are building EB’s missile and rocket artillery center,” said EB Major General José Júlio Dias Barreto, ASTROS 2020 project lead, in an exclusive interview with Diálogo in Brasília. In addition to modernizing EB’s equipment and constructing new facilities, the program incorporates research and development projects and the acquisition of new vehicles. “The expectation is that the program as a whole will be finalized in 2023, if there are no funding delays.” Select group In the area of research and development, ASTROS 2020 seeks to create and manufacture tactical cruise missiles (known as MTC-300 in Brazil), SS-40G guided rockets, and the Integrated Simulation System (SIS-ASTROS, in Portuguese). The MTC-300 missile is unprecedented for the Brazilian Armed Forces. Its development began in 2005. In March 2018, the missile entered the final phase of development when test flights resumed. The missile has a range of 300 kilometers and is accurate to within 50 meters. Its smart navigation is guided by GPS and other technology. With the use of an optical-electronic sensor, the missile can follow the terrain and correct its trajectory with coordinates inserted into the onboard computer before launch. Developing MTC-300 allows Brazil to join seven countries with this technology, according to information from EPEX. As a long-range, high-accuracy defense weapon, MTC-300 can be used in missions to destroy large structures, such as hydroelectric plants and oil refineries. EB initially ordered 100 units of the missile, to be delivered between 2020 and 2023. The SS-40G guided rocket is another weapon developed within the framework of the ASTROS 2020 program. It is based off the SS-40 model rocket, which reaches a range of 40 km and which the ASTROS system already uses. With new technology, the latest version gains precision and, consequently reduces collateral damage. “Currently, the world’s artillery operates using a strategy of saturation. The aim is for this to change and follow a strategy of precision. As such, the rocket and other weapons would be guided and hit the target. The dispersion is very low,” explained Maj. Gen. Barreto. The goal is to provide service members with more adequate training to prepare them to use the new ASTROS system equipment SIS-ASTROS is developing. The system brings together several types of simulators, as well as software for computer-based training. EB and the Federal University of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul partnered to develop the SIS-ASTROS project. The project is expected to be ready in 2019, when it will be delivered to Avibras, which will manufacture the set of simulators. Once completed, SIS-ASTROS will be installed at the ASTROS 2020 Instruction Center at Fort Santa Bárbara in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina state. Multiple functions The ASTROS 2020 artillery system was created to provide EB with long-range firing support, a resource that allows for greater deterrence—a greater capacity to weaken and prevent attacks and threats from enemy forces. The ASTROS 2020 system basic training lineup includes a total of 13 vehicles, all with different functions. There are six missile and rocket launching vehicles and three passenger vehicles. There is also an armored command and control vehicle and a firing car-radar, which registers information upon launch to improve later shots. There is also a meteorological vehicle that tracks weather conditions and a car to transport personnel, which can also be used to carry out maintenance on other vehicles during operations on the ground. The 6th and 16th GMFs are organizations within EB that use the ASTROS 2020 system. The new and modernized vehicles the program acquired are gradually being delivered to both military facilities. According to Maj. Gen. Barreto, the modernized vehicles, dubbed MK3M, and the new version, MK6, are exactly the same because the old vehicles were modernized with the same technology the new ones come equipped with.
The Dutch pensions industry has concluded that the ongoing debate over the discount rate for liabilities and funding ratios is a “dead end”, according to Gerard Riemen, director at the Dutch Pensions Federation.Speaking with local financial news daily Het Financieele Dagblad (FD), he pointed out that the discount rate was used to calculate, among other things, how much cash a pension fund would need today to pay a pension in 50 years’ time.“There is no objective truth for this, however, as nobody can look into the future,” said Riemen, who recently called on the industry to come up with an alternative to the predominantly defined benefit (DB) system in the Netherlands.At the time, he recommended switching to a collective defined contribution (CDC) system, with individual pensions accrual and as much risk-sharing “as possible”. Contributions should be calibrated to achieve a pension that is 70% of salary, he added.During the FD interview, Riemen highlighted that it was not the recent performance of equity markets that worried the sector but rather the long-term prospect of low interest rates.He said Dutch pension funds had, for all intents and purposes, abandoned their call for a higher discount rate.He argued that last summer’s reduction of the ultimate forward rate – as part of the discount rate – had destabilised the discount rate and hurt coverage ratios.In the opinion of the Pensions Federation, he said, all current pension claims should be converted into CDC arrangements ”as soon as possible”.“If we don’t do this, we will keep having the same problems for decades,” he said.“We don’t want to tell people in their 30s how much exactly their will receive in 40 years’ time because this is totally impossible.”Riemen also took pains to emphasise the urgency for quick decision-making. “If markets remain suppressed this year, and interest rates don’t rise either, we are facing rights cuts for large numbers of participants next year,” he said.“As things stand at the moment, many participants won’t receive any indexation for years, and we risk losing public support for the existing pensions system.”Riemen said he hoped the new government would make a decision on the shape of the new pensions system next year, and fully implement the system no later than 2019.
A North Vernon man is facing drug charges after a traffic stop led to his arrest in Ripley County.Sheriff’s Deputy AJ Smith stopped a vehicle for minor traffic violations on US 421 in the area of the North Co-Op on Tuesday morning around 3:52 a.m.When Deputy Smith became suspicious of the driver, Sheriff Tom Grills responded to the scene to assist, who was out on regular patrol duties.Police say they found Methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.The driver, 48-year-old Michael Wilson, of North Vernon was placed under arrest and taken to the Ripley County Jail.Sheriff Grills said, “The Sheriff’s Office remains diligent in our efforts to take drugs off the street.”“My deputies work a lot by themselves in the late evening and early morning hours, so when I can be with them it is important for a variety of reasons,” he added.Wilson is being held pending formal charges or bond.