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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.”
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.
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.
November 18 will be the second anniversary of the police killing of Mulrunji in Palm Island’s watchhouse. On that day, members of Queensland’s Aboriginal community and their supporters will rally in Brisbane to demand an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
More than 300 workers at Feltex Carpets are being pressured to sign individual contacts (Australian Workplace Agreements — AWAs) as a condition of employment by the company’s new owner. If they refuse, they will lose their jobs and receive no redundancy entitlements.
Forty-nine workers at the largest workshop in the Latrobe Valley have been locked out for almost three months by Mechanical Engineering Services (MES). As soon as he’d locked out the workers, the company owner, Anthony Elliott, went overseas for several weeks.
Opening an October 23 public forum organised by Reproductive Choice Australia, Leslie Cannold, Melbourne Age columnist and author of The Abortion Myth, said that Victorian Labor Premier Steve Bracks had stated he favoured keeping the status quo on abortion, even though the ALP’s election platform calls for its decriminalisation.
The Second Latin American and Asia Pacific Solidarity Gathering, held on October 21-22, was attended by 200 people. Organised by the Latin American Solidarity Network (LasNet), it was addressed by Gissel Gonzales from Bolivia’s Coalition in Defence of Water and Life; Maria de Lourdes Vicente da Silva, an organiser with the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil; Rosa del Carmen Curihuentro Lancaleo, a journalist and a Mapuche (the indigenous community of Chile and Argentina); and Heriberto Salas, a representative from the Mexican People for the Defence of the Earth, among others.
Three Filipino workers sacked for speaking out about their and 37 other Filipino workers’ treatment by Ipswich welding firm Dartbridge Engineering have been found alternative employment by their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).
On October 23, 300 people rallied in this NSW regional town to protest against the Howard government’s mis-labelled Work Choices.
Staff at the University of NSW mail room are the latest victims of the university’s cost-cutting and corporatisation. Mail services at UNSW including internal mail and courier services were put out to tender via an advertisement in the November 1 Sydney Morning Herald.
The local Reclaim the Night rally, held on October 27, attracted 130 people. The rally demanded an end to sexual assault and violence against women and children.
How hard is it to raise $76,500 before the end of this year? Not hard at all for some organisations. As the November 1 Sydney Morning Herald reported: “Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam, took to the harbour last night for a fund-raising cruise with the property industry aboard a luxury cruiser owned by a developer, Greg Gav.
Three-hundred people participated in the Sydney Reclaim the Night march this year. Speakers included Karen Willis from the Rape Crisis Centre, Jane Brock from Immigrant Women Speak Out and Tegan Wagner, an 18-year-old survivor of a 2002 sexual assault by two men who were sentenced in April this year.
Large rallies were held around Australia on November 4 as part of an international day of action to protest government inaction on climate change. Organisers of the “Walk against warming” estimated that the number of people who participated was up to: 47,000 in Sydney, 30,000 in Melbourne, 5000 in Hobart, 3000 in Canberra and Perth, 1500 in Brisbane, 1000 in Adelaide and Wollongong, 800 in Newcastle and 300 in Cairns.

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