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In the face of a general strike called by Shiite militants in Baghdad’s northeastern Sadr City district, home to 2.5 million people, US troops ended their week-long siege of the district on October 31.
The US, Britain, Italy, France, Australia and Bahrain began two days of joint naval exercises in the Persian Gulf on October 31, including marine boardings of ships 32 kilometres from the Iranian coastline. Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters in Tehran: “We are watching their movements very carefully. We do not consider this exercise appropriate. US moves go in the direction of more adventurism, not of stability and security.”
A Congolese prosecutor has called for three former managers of the Perth-based Anvil Mining corporation to be indicted for “complicity in war crimes” — involvement in the massacre of up to 100 people in the village of Kilwa in October 2004. The slaughter, committed by Congolese Armed Forces soldiers ferried to the scene by Anvil-chartered planes and company-owned trucks, took place 50 kilometres from the company’s Dikulushi silver and copper mine in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We’re showing the world that no multinational company can just come here to humiliate Venezuelan employees”, Nixon Lopez, a Venezuelan workers’ leader, told BBC News on October 24. Lopez was referring to the actions of over 10,000 former employees at the Coca-Cola Femsa bottling company, the second-largest soft drink bottling company in the world.
What sort of dogmatic free-market ideologue would use poor people’s (often socially constructed) desire for credit to justify shrinking the already beleaguered welfare policies of wretched Third World states?
Thousands across Canada took to the streets on October 28 against the country’s military intervention in Afghanistan. In wind, rain and in some cases snow, people turned out in more than 30 communities to stand against the mission. Forty-three Canadians have died in Afghanistan since 2002. The country has around 2300 troops serving there.
Six miners were killed by the Special Operations Unit of the Venezuelan Armed Forces (TO5) on September 22 in the remote jungle area of La Paragua, 200km south-east of Ciudud Bolivar in the eastern state of Bolivar. Fourteen soldiers landed their helicopter at the El Papelon de Turumban mine, destroyed the miners’ heavy machinery and shot them in the back, according to a report in the October 8 Ultimas Noticias.
Many of the 2.6 million US soldiers who served in the Vietnam War have contracted cancer and a cocktail of serious health problems that they believe to be directly linked to their exposure to the dioxin-contaminated defoliant Agent Orange. The US military sprayed Agent Orange heavily in some parts of Vietnam for 10 years during the war.
On November 3, 450 people packed the Brisbane Convention Centre to hear a lunchtime address from US Marine Corps Major Michael Mori, the US military-appointed lawyer for Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.
On October 30 primary and preschool teachers went back to the classrooms, ending seven weeks of strikes and actions, with their key demand of a 40% wage increase unmet. They will continue their campaign for wage justice with 24-hour strikes and education rallies on November 3 and 9.

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