Chris Slee

The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) has met strong resistance in its attempts to seize areas of the island country that are controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE are fighting for an independent state in the predominantly Tamil inhabited north and east of Sri Lanka.

Two leaders of Melbourne’s Tamil community have been arrested and charged with terrorism offenses. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy and Sivarajah Yathavan have been accused of diverting funds raised to help tsunami victims to assist the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The arrival in February of 85 refugees from Sri Lanka, most of them members of the island’s Tamil minority, in Australian waters near Christmas Island highlights the situation of war and racial oppression in Sri Lanka.

Azad Arman, a socialist from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq who fled his homeland in 1991 and is now living in Australia, said life in Iraqi Kurdistan today is “miserable”.

Fifteen-thousand people fled from the town of Vaharai in eastern Sri Lanka following heavy shelling by the Sri Lankan army on January 18. According to the Tamilnet website, the shelling was intensified in the evening despite an urgent message sent to the International Committee of the Red Cross from Vaharai hospital authorities saying that the area around the hospital, where many displaced people had sought refuge, was under attack.

Workers at the Braeside bolt-making factory of Ajax Fasteners are waging a struggle to protect their redundancy entitlements. The company has gone into liquidation. The workers have been stood down and fear they will soon be sacked.

As the deadline passed on November 17 for the registration of how-to-vote cards for the November 25 Victorian state election, it was revealed that the Greens are issuing how-to-votes in nine Labor-held seats in the lower house that contain two options: putting Liberal ahead of Labor and vice versa. The Liberals are preferencing the Greens ahead of Labor in four Labor-held inner-city seats that the Greens hope to win.

Workers at the Tronics factory in Thomastown voted to return to work on October 6 after management agreed to an 11.5% pay rise over three years, maintenance of existing conditions and an acceptable disputes-settling procedure. During the preceding three weeks the workers had taken strike action for a total of eight full days and three half days.

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