3MARCH 26, 2009 THE ARGOSY • NEWS
• 93 Tibetan monks are being held in custody by Chinese police after a crowdattacked the police station in La’gyab township, Qinghai province. Protestsbegan in the ethnically-Tibetan town after a monk who had been imprisonedfor speaking in favour of independence disappeared. Chinese authorities statethat he escaped and is still missing, while reports from Tibetan sources say that he jumped into a river and died.
is comes a week after the ﬁftiethanniversary of the unsuccessful uprising led by the Dalai Lama againstChinese rule.• Two female American reporters have been arrested and are being heldin North Korea after allegedly entering North Korean territory withoutpermission.
e reporters were investigating the status of Korean refugees inChina. It is unsure whether or not the women were indeed illegally in NorthKorea or still in China.• Two people were killed and over 18 others needed medical assistance after astampede in a crowd that gathered to see Pope Benedict VVI during his visitto Angola. Catholics account for 55 per cent of the population, and hundredsof thousands showed up the day after the tragedy.
e Pope is spending a week in Africa, and has denounced corruption in many of his speeches to thepeople.• 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s three week attack on Gaza,according to medical authorities. Recently, personal accounts from Israelisoldiers reveal the extent of the violence unleashed on civilians. IsraeliDefense Minister Ehud Barak rea
rmed the moral integrity of their forces,but states that the reports will be carefully examined on a case-by-case basis.Separately but subsequently, UN human rights investigator Richard Falk expressed concerns of the legality of the Israeli incursion.
is week in the world
A weekly miscellany compiled by Rebecca Dixon
• 24 crew members on board the Greek cargo ship
e Titan were seized by Somali pirates along with their vessel.Last month another Greek ship was captured. Piracy in the the Gulf of Aden has been an increasingly serious concernsince last summer, and now accounts for 40 per cent of 293 pirate attacks last year.• A 6.7 per cent budget cut from decreased government spending, and a 20 per cent rise in minimum wage are amongmeasures proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to counteract decreasing oil revenues. Oil accounts for 50per cent of the country’s national budget. He also plans to increase sales taxes and cut salaries of senior public o
cials.Opponents, however, have called these steps unconstitutional means of consolidating power in an already centralizedsystem.• 600 Spanish troops will be withdrawing from Kosovo by the end of the coming summer. Fellow NATO allies weredispleased, with the United States expressing its “deep disappointment” and claiming the Spanish had not notiﬁedits allies through the proper channels. Spain is one of only ﬁve European Union members that does not recognize theindependence of Kosovo, which made a unilateral decision to separate from Serbia in 2008.• Two crew members were killed in a plane crash at Tokyo’s Narita international airport.
e cargo plane attemptedto land amidst extremely strong winds and burst into ﬂame after impact. Many ﬂights have been canceled with onerunway has been closed.
is is the ﬁrst fatal aircraft accident at Narita Airport since it opened in 1978.• One trillion dollars US worth of toxic assets that form the basis of the ﬁnancial crisis will be bought up in a “Public-Private Investment Programme.”
e US Treasury and the private sector will both contribute to the plan. Investorsare feeling encouraged, with banks forecasted to be less anxious, and stocks already rising.• More than 50 essential medical items were delivered to the last remaining medical clinic in Sri Lanka’s rebel-heldterritory.
e Red Cross helped transport the supplies, the ﬁrst to be received in over two weeks. Sri Lankan army forces have backed the Tamil Tiger rebels into their last stronghold, but civilians continue to su
e defenseministry claims that 1,000 people have ﬂed the rebel-held region for government safety zones. You might have seen their posterson campus, and you might have evenripped one down. Over the past two weeks, a small group of “pro-life”students have been putting up signsadvertising their group. However,“the posters get torn down pretty fast,”said group member Abdon Cox.An anti-abortion, or pro-life,group has existed on campus in someincarnation since 2006, and hasalways been very small. Accordingto Cox, “Since pro-life is such aminority ideology, it’s useful to have agroup just so you know you have otherpro-life people around. Beyond that itdepends on what the new people feellike doing with it.”In the past, the group hasparticipated in a few “days of silence,” put ribbons on trees, andsent a members to an anti-abortionconference in Moncton last year.
is past week, the group’s signshave been ripped down, and some
have been vandalized.“One of the things that’s been written on our posters is, ‘my body,my choice’ on one in the Fine Artsbuilding, which is a bit annoying, butit’s better than taking it down,” saidCox.Cox stated that the Mount Allisoncommunity is “generally unreceptive”to the group’s message, due in largepart, he believes, to student culture.“[Students] try to be free andexperimental and you always wantmore rather than fewer rights,”explained Cox. “And students aremore able to imagine themselvesin situations with an unwantedpregnancy then they are able toimagine themselves as an unbornfetus or even as a parent who would want the child.”However, Cox believes that if students were willing to engage withthe issue, then some minds could bechanged.“I think a lot of people avoidthinking about the abortion issueentirely,” he noted.Mt. A student Chris Rickettsdoes not agree with the vandalismof the signs, but feels the issue ismisrepresented by pro-life groups.“I think there is a problem with‘pro-life’ language. It makes it seemlike if you are pro-choice, you aren’tfor life. I am pro-quality of life whichhappens when children are wanted,”he explained. “If women need to havean abortion for whatever reason, itshould be legal, available, and safe.Nobody wants to have an abortion. Itis a very di
cult decision but people who choose to have one should berespected.”Cox said that religious values werenot the primary motivation for hisinvolvement with the group, but thatthey are for some members.“It’s a useful medium, it’s a good way to connect with other people,” hesaid. “
ere is a greater tendency to bepro-life if you are strongly religious.”
e group has held a few meetingsthis year, and is currently waiting foranother week or two to see the e
ectof the poster campaign.
Pro-life group advertised, vandalized
A pro-life group has been putting up signs around campus. However, these signs have been torn down orvandalized, including the poster pictured above.
“In the gallery, students were theonly ones smiling,” said Mark Brister,VP External of the SAC, describingreactions to the provincial budget.Brister and other New Brunswick Students Alliance (NBSA) o
cials were on hand in Fredericton on SaintPatrick’s Day to listen as the province’sLiberal government handed down thebudget, which among other things,cuts taxes by 143 million dollars inthe 2009-2010 year alone. What had the students smiling was that of the three main pointsthe NBSA has been lobbying thegovernment on, there was action onall.“It was a grand slam for students, we got everything we were asking for,and during a recession,” said Brister.He accredited the NBSA’s successas the outcome of the “persistentorganized criticism, activism, andconstant legitimizing negotiation”the NBSA has taken on this year.He even admitted that group had notexpected the result, and had spentover a hundred dollars on printingsigns with which they were going toprotest.
e individual features of thebudget a
ecting students includesthe creation of a pseudo ‘debt cap’ forstudents in post-secondary education.Named the Debt Reduction for Timely Completion Program, theprogram aims to cap student debt at26,000 dollars by forgiving studentsup to 14,000 of the provincialcontribution to a 40,000 student loan.
e stipulation involved is the timely completion; the loan is targetedat those who ﬁnish their program within its timeline (e.g. four years for
a university degree).In addition, NB’s debt repaymentprogram is now harmonized withthe federal governments, meaningthat New Brunswickers earning low incomes will never have to pay morethan 20 per cent of their salary in debtrepayment. Additionally, graduatesstill paying o
their debt after 15 years will have it forgiven by thegovernment.Rounding out the educationportions of the budget include the factthat tuition freeze will be continuednext year, and three million dollars will be invested in programs toincrease underrepresented groups’participation in post-secondary education.
e budget’s tax cuts have businessorganizations pleased as well.Businesses are expected to save 20million in taxes this year, and 40million in the 2012-2013 ﬁnancial year.
e reductions will make NB’s2012 corporate tax rate the lowestin in the country at eight per cent.Personal income tax will be decreasedas well, with government promisingto introduce a two bracket tax systemby 2012.
ose frowning in the gallery included those representing organizedlabour.
e government has said it willimplement a two year wage-freeze onthe civil service, meaning all collectiveagreements up for re-negotiation will receive no wage increases, andthe government is encouragingmunicipalities, universities, and allCrown corporations to do the same.Seven hundred civil service jobs willalso be eliminated. Other notablecuts included the court social work program, free ambulance service,and river ferry services in Gagetown,Hampstead, and Belleisle.
Provincial budget favours NBSA points