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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.

Two cases of ruthless exploitation of Chinese guest workers have recently come to light in the printing industry, throwing the spotlight on the plight of the growing number of guest workers.

The federal government last week pushed through its new cross-media ownership laws, ensuring greater concentration of media ownership and a loss of diversity in Australia’s media. The following article by Christian Downie, published on Online Opinion (<http://www.onlineopinion.com.au>) provides some background to the debate over the media laws.

In a blow to Canberra’s campaign against the government of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, a no-confidence motion put by pro-Australian opposition leader Fred Fono was defeated on October 11 by 28 votes to 17 in the impoverished Pacific nation’s 50-member parliament.

The last issue of Green Left Weekly published the story of gay asylum seeker Mohatar Hussein. Hussein fled homophobic persecution in Bangladesh to seek refugee status in Australia, only to be locked up in Villawood detention centre for the last two years. The Refugee Review Tribunal twice knocked back Hussein’s applications, despite having ample evidence that he had suffered persecution as an openly gay man.

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