From the UPI:
ZHEJIANG, China, April 12: Rioting by farmers in eastern China has forced the closure of 13 new chemical factories the farmers claim are poisoning their families and crops. The protests began in the rural village of Huaxi March 24 when farmers began erecting roadblocks to stop deliveries to and from the factories that produce fertilizer, dyes and pesticides.
A dispute over offshore oil and gas rights in waters claimed by both countries as part of their "exclusive economic zone" seems to be behind recent tensions between China and Japan—ostensibly sparked by official Japanese revisionism over its role in World War II. The popular protests in the streets ignited by new textbook portrayals of Japanese aggression in the 1930s are mirrored by diplomatic spats over industrial access to the East China Sea.
Violence continues to escalate in Nepal, with 64 Maoist guerillas reported killed in a gunbattle with security forces in western Rukum district April 14. (Reuters, April 14) A page 3 story in the New York Times April 12 notes that thousands have fled across the border to India in recent weeks, and that vigilante groups are beginning to emerge to hunt down guerillas and their sympathizers in rural villages. At least 50 are confirmed killed in vigilante violence, mostly hacked to death. The Times strongly implied a government hand in creating the vigilante groups. "We have a feeling that the people want to fight against the terrorists," King Gyanendra's deputy, Tulsi Giri, said in an interview in Katmandu. "Perhaps there will be mass uprisings organized against them, plus military action as well." (NYT, April 12) Days earlier, Nayan Bahadur of Nepal's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) told Reuters some 500 homes of suspects guerilla sympathizers have been burned down in the vigilante terror. (Reuters, April 7)
Scores are dead in Yemen, where security forces are battling Islamist forces led by Badruddin Al-Houthi in and around the northwestern town of Saada. A group of opposition parties is calling for the nation's pariliament to immediately launch an investigation into "extra-judicial killings" by government forces in the operation. (Arab News, April 9) The fighting has left at least 70 this week, and 170 over the past month.
More attacks are reported in Thailand as the country braces for the first anniversary of the April 28, 2004 massacre of 32 Islamic militants by security forces at Krue Se mosque in the restive south of the country. An all-too-typical dialectic of state-versus-insurgent terror is at play here. The massacre came just weeks after the still-unexplained disappearance of Somchai Neelapaichit, a human rights worker who had been reporting on abuses in the region. Local Muslims are also outraged over the death of 85 peaceful prostesters in custody last October—most suffocated to death after their arrest at the village of Tak Bai. Security has been beefed up as the Krue Se anniversary nears. Over the past three days, bomb and grenade attacks on Hat Yai airport, a police station and hotel have left two dead and scores injured. Ten days earlier, an army commander, a Buddhist abbot and his police escort were injured in bomb blasts in Yala province. Four Buddhist monks were killed in the region last year, and attacks on local Buddhists continue. (UK Guardian, April 5)
The City of New York has reached an agreement in a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Ya-Ya Network, a youth advocacy group. Ya-Ya activists had been threatened with arrest for handing out flyers outside public schools advising students of their right to withhold personal information from military recruiters. The activists will have the right to distribute literature on sidewalks outside schools under the agreement.
More than 400 members of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) staged a rally in Kathmandu March 29 to demand an end to press censorship imposed by King Gyanendra when he seized power last month. Unlike other anti-monarchy demonstrations in the past two months which have been quickly broken up by police, the journalists' protest was allowed to proceed uninterrupted as a strong deployment of armed police looked on.
From Connecticut's Shore Publishing group of community newspapers:
New London -- Drawing parallels to Cold War-era paranoia and fear mongering, a regional group is organizing protests of next month's TOPOFF3 drill, which will simulate a chemical attack on New London. Department of Homeland security officials have said the drill, beginning on April 4, will take place mostly at Fort Trumbull State Park, and will not interfere with daily activities in the city. Culled from the memberships of the Southeastern Connecticut Peace and Justice Network and the War Resisters League, the Mock Terror Task Force has been holding informational forums with promises of future protests in front of City Hall during the exercise.