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Thirty people protested outside the US consulate on October 13 calling for justice for five Cubans unfairly imprisoned in the United States. The Cuban Five helped expose the activities of US-based terrorists planning attacks on Cuba, for which they were imprisoned, even while known terrorists in Miami walk free. Cuba solidarity activist Tim Anderson told the crowd that the Cuban government is not going to let the case rest until justice is achieved.
Architects for Peace, Australia, took an active part in the protests against Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. Beatriz Maturana, a founder of the group, told Green Left Weekly that the group formed in February 2003, in response to the invasion of Iraq. It continues to campaign against the US-led occupation of Iraq.
On October 10, 50 people joined a memorial service at Melbourne University to commemorate the drowning of 353 refugees when their Indonesian boat — the SIEV X — sank in international waters off Christmas Island in October 2001. A year after the sinking, a Senate select committee investigation concluded that it was “extraordinary that a major human disaster could occur in the vicinity of a theatre of intensive Australian [border patrol] operations and remain undetected until three days after the event, without any concern being raised within intelligence and decision making circles”.
In the first eight days of October, 30 coalition troops and close to 300 Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed. Iraq has become such a shameful example of Western arrogance that such figures barely warrant a mention on our television screens or in newspapers.
The NSW Labor government has been forced to partially back down on its plans to enforce the educationally unsound A-E report system.
Pope Benedict XVI is reported to be on the verge of authorising the return of the Latin Tridentine mass. This would open the way for some of the most extreme clerical reactionaries and anti-Semites to rejoin the Catholic Church.
Technicians employed by Radio Rentals who were locked out of work for a month have returned to work after the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the company agreed on an enterprise agreement that was better than Radio Rentals’ original offer.
One of the first things I usually do on a Saturday morning is read the “Number Crunch” column in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine. I find the assorted collection of interesting statistics irresistible.
Changes to Australia’s “landmark” environment and heritage law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999, will give the federal environment minister more discretionary power to reject public nominations to protect areas of natural and cultural significance. The proposed amendments were tabled by the federal government in parliament on October 12 in a 414-page document.
Australia has the most concentrated media ownership in the Western world. Nonetheless, the new media bill passed by the Senate on October 12 will further relax ownership regulation and allow the media barons to operate in two out of three media sectors — print, radio and television.

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