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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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).

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