Pat Denny

“The brutal killings of these Indonesian domestic workers occurred in an atmosphere of impunity fostered by government inaction”, argued Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women’s Rights Division of New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW), on August 17. Varia was referring to the deaths in early August of Siti Tarwiyah Slamet, 32, and Susmiyati Abdul Fulan, 28 — two Indonesian women domestic workers beaten to death by the Saudi family that employed them.
On July 17 the British House of Commons’ standards and privileges committee recommended the suspension of George Galloway, the former Labour MP who is now an MP for the left-wing Respect coalition, for 18 days. Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 because of his opposition to the Iraq war.
Cuban newspaper Granma reported on June 6 that Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, had called for an expansion of ALBA — the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a solidarity-based alternative to US-backed bilateral “free trade” agreements and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Chavez made the call during the closing of the first meeting of ALBA’s Council of Ministers in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.
On March 16 police arrested Satur Ocampo, a member of Congress from the left-wing Bayan Muna party list. Ocampo, who had been in hiding for eight days, was taken into custody shortly after he filed a court petition to quash the arrest warrant. He faces charges of killing military spies in the ’80s, according to a March 17 Philippine Daily Inquirer report.
During May-June this year, Queensland’s Shoalwater Bay will host tens of thousands of Australian and US troops engaged live-fire, large-scale military exercises that will pose grave risks for the environment and people’s health. The Shoalwater Military Training Area (SWMTA) is located inside the Great Barrier Reef National Park.
The queer rights activists of Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) believe that Peter Jensen, the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, should condemn a highly oppressive anti-gay law being introduced in Nigeria that is being backed by the Anglican Church in that country.
At a joint November 17 press conference with his New Zealand counterpart Helen Clark, Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced that a “joint Australian-New Zealand force of both military personnel and police will, in response to a request from the government of Tonga, go to Tonga tomorrow morning”.
On October 13, 50 people from the local Your Rights at Work campaign group protested outside a real estate agent’s office over his attempt to pressure Gail Austin, a long-term employee, to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement (individual contract) that “would have slashed [her] income by $30,000”, according to Workers Online. Austin said that she was told to sign the agreement or quit. Mark Ptolemy from the Your Rights at Work group said: “This company has done nothing illegal, but that doesn’t mean its actions are not highly immoral.”