Call for global New Deal School fire claims 23 in Malaysia RE­GIONAL NOTES

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page -

GENEVA – The world must ditch aus­ter­ity and eco­nomic neo-lib­er­al­ism and un­der­take a global “New Deal” to re­bal­ance the global econ­omy and achieve pros­per­ity for all, the United Na­tions trade and de­vel­op­ment agency UNCTAD said in a re­port yes­ter­day.

UNCTAD chief Mukhisa Ki­tuyi said the global econ­omy was pick­ing up but still not lift­ing off.

“A com­bi­na­tion of too much debt and too lit­tle de­mand at the global level has ham­pered sus­tained ex­pan­sion of the world econ­omy,” he stated.

Much of the blame was aimed at “neo-lib­er­al­ism”, a term used to re­fer to gov­ern­ments cut­ting back on their own role and leav­ing the pri­vate sec­tor to lead eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment within a freemar­ket cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem.

The sys­tem was per­ceived to be un­duly bi­ased in favour of a hand­ful of large cor­po­ra­tions, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and wealthy in­di­vid­u­als, the re­port said.

The world now needed a “21st cen­tury makeover”, it said.

“The whole neo-lib­eral mantra that ‘there is no al­ter­na­tive’ has be­gun to fall apart,” Richard Kozul-wright, UNCTAD’S glob­al­i­sa­tion di­rec­tor, told a news con­fer­ence.

“We need a global ‘New Deal’,” he said, re­fer­ring to the poli­cies that re­vived the United States econ­omy in the 1930s.

The aim should be to end fis­cal aus­ter­ity and pri­ori­tise re­fla­tion, full em­ploy­ment and de­cent jobs, rather than tack­ling in­fla­tion and cut­ting gov­ern­ment debt. ( Reuters) KUALA LUMPUR – A blaze at an Is­lamic board­ing school in the Malaysian cap­i­tal killed at least 23 peo­ple yes­ter­day, most of them teenage boys who cried for help from barred win­dows, of­fi­cials and wit­nesses said.

The fire broke out at around 5:40 a.m. in a top-floor dor­mi­tory in the three-storey build­ing, fire­men said, where most of the stu­dents were sleep­ing in bunk beds, with many of the win­dows cov­ered by metal grills. One sur­vivor said there was just one win­dow the boys man­aged to open.

Two teach­ers were also killed in the fire at the Darul Qu­ran It­ti­faqiyah, a 15-minute drive from the iconic Petronas Twin Tow­ers in Kuala Lumpur, po­lice said, adding that most of the vic­tims died from smoke in­hala­tion.

The youngest was just seven, me­dia said.

The dis­as­ter has re­newed calls for greater scru­tiny of so­called “tah­fiz” schools, where stu­dents learn to mem­o­rize the Qu­ran. They are un­reg­u­lated by the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry, be­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the re­li­gious depart­ment.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said at least 31 fires had been re­ported at such schools in Malaysia since 2011, adding that they must fol­low safety reg­u­la­tions. ( Reuters)

Pub­lic sec­tor lay­offs on hold

PORT OF SPAIN – The gov­ern­ment has agreed to put a mora­to­rium on re­trench­ment in the pub­lic sec­tor un­til the end of the year.

This agree­ment was reached on Wed­nes­day by Prime Min­is­ter Dr Keith Row­ley fol­low­ing a three-hour long meet­ing with the Joint Trade Union Move­ment (JTUM), led by Oil­field Work­ers’ Trade Union pres­i­dent gen­eral An­cel Ro­get, at the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter.

Ro­get said the mora­to­rium was in re­turn for the unions re­turn­ing to the Na­tional Tri­par­tite Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil. He said the unions had ini­tially left the coun­cil be­cause they were not sat­is­fied with the way “mass re­trench­ments” were tak­ing place in the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors within the last two years. ( CMC)

Probe into plane fire

NAS­SAU – The au­thor­i­ties have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing a fire that de­stroyed a small plane at the Lin­den Pin­dling In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The small plane, op­er­ated by Golden Wings Char­ter, was de­stroyed in a fire at the Golden Wings’ main­te­nance bay on Wed­nes­day. The owner and oper­a­tor of the charger com­pany, Cameron Roach, said the plane was in for sched­uled main­te­nance when the fuel tank ig­nited with­out warn­ing. ( CMC)

Res­i­dents dis­arm gun­man

HANOVER, Ja­maica – The po­lice have show­ered res­i­dents in Green Is­land, Hanover, with praises af­ter they dis­armed a gun­man along the Orange Bay Main Road on Wed­nes­day night.

The res­i­dents re­port­edly ac­costed the man about 8:40 p.m. and handed him over to the po­lice. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the ac­cused was armed with a home­made shot­gun, loaded with two car­tridges. ( Ob­server)

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