Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Word of a New Security Council Push For Humanitarian Access in Syria

A potentially big development on the diplomatic front are coupled with some awful new statistics on the violence in Syria. One day after a top UN official said 100 civilians were dying a day, there is word tricking from the USA and its western allies of a new draft UN Security Council Resolution on Syria. They hope to avoid a Russian veto this time by restricting the resolution to humanitarian issues. No ‘regime change’ talk this time. “The United States has drafted an outline for a new UN Security Council resolution demanding access for humanitarian aid workers in besieged Syrian towns and an end to the violence there, Western envoys said on Tuesday…By focusing on the humanitarian situation, UN envoys said, Western and Arab powers hoped to make it difficult for Moscow and Beijing to veto council action on Damascus a third time. Russian and Chinese backing for any council resolution, they added, would be a blow to Syrian President Bashar. There is a text, though it’s not a formal draft resolution yet,” a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “It’s been drafted by the Americans. It hasn’t gone to the full council, just to a small circle of like-minded countries.’” (JPost http://bit.ly/xnOkmO)

‘Thousands’ Fleeing DRC for Uganda

You don’t read about this too often, but a new wave of refugees have been escaping DRC for Uganda since the start of the year. “Ongoing violence in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused thousands of people to flee to neighbouring Uganda this year, government officials said. The Congolese were fleeing through different official and unofficial border points, Ugandan authorities said. Many were stuck at the Nyakabande transit camp near the border town of Kisoro, 480km southwest of the Ugandan capital Kampala. “The number of refugees who arrived since mid-January is in the several thousands,” said Uganda’s commissioner for refugees David Kazungu.”They are still moving in,” Kazungu added, although the pace had slowed to about 50 people a week. Ugandan authorities said they were struggling to cope with the fresh influx and bring the people to existing refugee camps in the country, where basic services are being offered. The refugees are believed to be escaping from marauding militia groups in the mostly lawless North Kivu province in DR Congo. There are also concerns about threats of post-election violence brewing in the massive central African country.” (News24 http://n24.cm/wDKJmf)

Millions of Indians Strike over Worker Rights

A not insignificant number of the workers in the world’s second most populous country are taking it to the streets–at least for one day. “Millions of workers in India are staging a 24-hour strike to demand improved rights for employees and to protest over rising prices. Tuesday’s strike, one of the biggest in recent times, is being backed by all 11 major trade unions in the country, including the left affiliated All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) linked to ruling Congress party, local television station NDTV said. In the capital, New Delhi, and the financial hub, Mumbai, the effect of the strike was minimal. Banks and insurance offices were closed but buses and taxis plied the streets and shops were open for business. Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri, reporting from New Delhi, said: “In states like Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura where the communist parties have presence, local agitators have blocked roads and rails and commuters are having harrowing times.” In the eastern city of Kolkata, a traditional trade union stronghold, most bank branches, shops and other businesses were closed, with taxis and rickshaws staying off the streets. In the southern city of Hyderabad, members of left-wing parties have clashed with police during street protests.” (Al Jazeera http://aje.me/wUDfHg)

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