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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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
On October 23, 300 people rallied in this NSW regional town to protest against the Howard government’s mis-labelled Work Choices.

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