General strike over jobs hits Tunisia city

Tunisians wave their national flag as they take part in a general strike against marginalization and to demand development and employment on Tuesday, in Tataouine, south of Tunisia. (AFP)
Updated 12 April 2017
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General strike over jobs hits Tunisia city

TATAOUINE, Tunisia: More than a thousand people demonstrated Tuesday in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine during a general strike to denounce marginalization and demand development and jobs, an AFP correspondent said.
The city some 500 km south of Tunis on the edge of the desert has been the scene of several protests over the past fortnight.
The general strike went ahead despite measures announced Monday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed after meeting ministers, industry and union leaders and regional representatives.
A ministerial delegation had visited Tataouine on April 4 but with no tangible effect.
On Tuesday, cafes, shops and public buildings closed, although pharmacies, bakeries and hospitals remained open.
Demonstrators chanted slogans including “Employment is a right, not a favor” and “No to the decline of our rights.”
“I am famished. I eat dry bread. I am needy. I can’t take it anymore. I’m fed up. We no longer have any alternative,” Fathi Azlouk, an unemployed man in his 50s, told AFP.
The measures announced by Chahed on Monday include opening up of petroleum companies’ representations in the region, asphalting roads and a Cabinet meeting in Tataouine next month.
Six years after Tunisia’s revolution sparked the Arab Spring, the country has yet to resolve problems such as poverty, unemployment and corruption that led to the ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.


Turkey train crash leaves 9 dead, dozens injured

Updated 18 min 17 sec ago
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Turkey train crash leaves 9 dead, dozens injured

  • The high-speed train usually passes through that station without stopping
  • Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 84 other people had sought medical help after the crash

ANKARA, TURKEY: A high-speed train hit a railway engine and crashed into a pedestrian overpass Thursday at a station in the Turkish capital of Ankara, killing nine people and injuring dozens, officials said.
The 6:30 a.m. train from Ankara to the central Turkish city of Konya collided head-on with the engine, which was checking the tracks at the capital’s small Marsandiz station, Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan told reporters after inspecting the site. The high-speed train, which the Anadolu Agency said was carrying 206 passengers, usually passes through that station without stopping.
At least two cars derailed, hitting the station’s overpass, which then collapsed onto the train. Three engine drivers and six passengers were killed in the crash, Turhan said. One passenger died after being hospitalized while the others were killed at the scene.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 84 other people had sought medical help after the crash.
Television footage showed emergency services working to rescue passengers from wrangled cars and debris. Hurriyet newspaper said sniffer dogs assisted efforts to find survivors. Turhan said later no one else was believed to be trapped.
It wasn’t immediately clear if a signaling problem caused the crash. Authorities detained three state railway employees over suspected negligence and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a thorough investigation.
Passenger Ayse Ozyurt told the IHA news agency that the accident occurred 12 minutes after the train left the main station and that it had not yet gained its maximum speed.
“The train was not fast at that time yet,” she said. “Suddenly, there was a frightening breakage ... and the train was off the rail.”
Konya, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Ankara, is home to the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet Jalaladdin Rumi, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists. The crash occurred during an annual week of remembrance for Rumi, when many travel to Konya to watch Whirling Dervishes, members of a Sufi sect, perform.
Turkey has had a raft of train crashes this year.
In July, 24 people were killed and more than 70 injured when most of a passenger train derailed in northwestern Turkey after torrential rains caused a section of the tracks to collapse. Last month, 15 people were injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train in Turkey’s central province of Sivas.