News Wrap


Tribals have vehemently opposed uranium mining at the Nallamala Forest, in the Eastern Ghats, primarily stretching over Kurnool, Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, which are among the largest stretches of undisturbed forest in South India. The Telengana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has not given any permission for uranium mining in Amrabad Tiger Reserve, and is opposed to the destruction of Nallamala forest. It was the erstwhile Congress government which had allowed uranium mining in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2009, and following that uranium mining began in the state. There are fears that uranium mining will contaminate the waters of Krishna river which is the source of drinking water for Hyderabad, the capital of Telengana state. Nagarjuna sagar and Srisailam dams are both on river Krishna, and even the river delta will face contamination, if there is mining in the Krishna river. In 2016 the state forest department had rejected permissions for mining of uranium in Tallamala Forest.

Primary Teacher Training In Christian Schools
Three West Bengal government aided primary teacher training institutes, run by Christian Missionaries, have been without a single permanent teacher, for years. According to the schools, the delay is on the state government's part to form uniform rules for filling vacancies. The Christian missionaries enjoy the freedom to select their teachers, even though they are state-aided. For the past several decades, the institutes have had to follow a recruitment procedure, that is based on state government guidelines. Among the three institutes, the United Missionary Teachers' Training Institute and Loreto St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary Teacher's Training Institute in Kolkata, were set up in 1910. Siksha Sangha Teachers Training Institute is in Bishnupur (South 24 Parganas district). Each of three institutes has government approved teaching posts for principal and three teachers. There are four non-teaching posts in each of the three institutes. All the posts are currently vacant. There is a similar problem while appointing permanent teachers in state-aided primary and secondary schools, run by churches when there were no fixed rules. In the absence of uniform rules, the district inspector schools, changes the recruitment procedure for the three institutes from time to time, leading to delays. The absence of a uniform rule has caused all permanent posts in the three primary teacher training institutes to lie vacant. All three are being run by part-time and contractual teachers, and non-teaching staff.

Yemeni Drones And Saudi Bombing
In recent months, the Houthi rebels have carried out a spate of cross-border missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi air, bases, and other facilities, in what they say is a retaliation for a long-running Saudi led bombing campaign on rebel held areas in Yemen. In May 2019, Yemen rebel drones targeted two oil pumping stations on Saudi Arabia's key east-west pipeline shutting it down for several days. An attack in August 2019, claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels sparked a fire at Aramco's Shaybah Natural gas liquid liquefaction facility, close to the Emirati border, but no casualties were reported by the company. Four years after a Saudi-led coalition launched a military intervention in Yemen the growing rebel attacks underscore how Saudi infra-structure including oil installations are increasingly vulnerable to rebel attacks. On 14 September 2019, the Saudi-led coalitions launched air strikes on Yemen's Northern Saada province, a Houthi strong-hold. War planes targeted a military camp. Again, as 14 September 2019, Yemen's Iran aligned Houthi group, conducted drone attacks, sparking fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities. 5 million barrels per day of crude production has been impacted, close to half of the Saudi kingdom's output, or 5% of global oil supply. The pre-dawn Yemeni drone attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia, follow a spike in regional tensions with Iran. The increasingly advanced weaponry of the Iran-linked Houthi rebels, from ballistic missiles to unmanned drones, poses a serious threat to oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter.

The Abqaiq facility, 60 kms southwest of Aramco's Dhahran headquarters is home to the company's largest oil processing plant. It has been targeted by militants in the past Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming the Houthis, a charge denied by the rebel groups and Iran. On 14 September 2019, Houthi drones hit refineries at both Saudi sites which are over 1000 kms from the Yemeni capital Sanaa. There are fears of widening of assaults on Saudi Arabia.

Back to Home Page

Vol. 52, No. 19, Nov 10 - 16, 2019