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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.”

“I’m just, I’m a little concerned with all this hysteria over this greenhouse gases and the environment, that the Liberal Party is not selling your message the way you sold it now to Leon, and that it’s not getting through to the average man in the street” — this is what “Emile”, an “unashamed supporter” of Prime Minister John Howard, had to say to the PM on November 2, during Leon Byner’s talkback show on Adelaide’s Radio 5AA.

November 30 is a truly national day of protest, with more than 300 rally points across metropolitan and rural Australia. Regional Victorian workers are being encouraged to come to Melbourne on November 29 to be ready for an early start the next day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or the “G”.

Bolivia, a country with a majority indigenous population, now has its first indigenous president, Evo Morales. Morales, who won the December 2005 presidential election, doesn’t just identify as indigenous, he is a fighter for the indigenous cause. His presidency is a massive step forward for indigenous rights — not only in Bolivia, but in Latin America, and possibly even the world.

“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?

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.

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