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A new “security pact” between Australia and Indonesia, to be signed on November 13 in Lombok, will strengthen Canberra’s military and economic alliance with Jakarta, at the expense of the peoples of both countries.
“In practice, it has been a shabby affair, marred by serious flaws that call into question the capacity of the tribunal, as currently established, to administer justice fairly, in conformity with international standards”, Amnesty International spokesperson Malcolm Smart told journalists in London after the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) imposed the death sentence on Saddam Hussein and two of his seven co-accused on November 5.
As the November 7 emergency water summit of federal and state parliamentarians was told that the current drought is the worst in 1000 years, the opposition parties criticised the governments for fiddling while the drought worsens. Greens Senator Rachel Siewert claimed the summit “shied away from making the tough decisions at a time when urgent action was sorely needed”.
For Margarita Windisch, an anti-war leader and one of the organisers of the G20 protests in Melbourne, the “Hey, vote for us! We’ll sort it all out!” attitude of the two major parties is not only condescending, it is increasingly falling on deaf ears. This is because the major parties have not, and cannot, “sort it” to meet people’s needs, she said.
In the deadliest single attack on Palestinians in four years, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed 19 civilians at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on November 8. Seven homes were bombed in the early hours of the morning as the victims slept and, according to the Gaza-based United Nations Relief and Works Agency, more than 60 civilians were injured in the attack.
John Howard’s new industrial laws contain a raft of penalties for workers and unions taking “unlawful” industrial action. Workers can face individual fines of $6600 ($22,000 for those in the building industry), and unions face $33,000 or more. One result has been a decline in industrial disputes since Work Choices was enacted in March.
North Korea The imposition of sanctions on North Korea by the United Nations is another small victory for John Bolton, United States' ambassador to the UN, in his avowed campaign to either make the UN a mouthpiece for the US or to destroy its
Under an historic November 8 agreement between the ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Maoists will dissolve their parallel government by November 26 and join an interim government that will be set up no later than December 1. The CPN(M) waged a 10-year guerrilla war seeking to end Nepal’s feudal monarchy. It has established a parallel administration in some 80% of the country.
On September 28, Victorian construction workers enjoyed a well-earned barbeque and a few beers for the traditional shutdown weekend prior to the AFL grand final. On a construction site in Geelong, workers and union officials gathered to also celebrate and commemorate union legend John Cummins’ life.
The October release of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s (ASIO) annual report reveals that it is concentrating in great detail on protest actions, even small ones.
Just as a five-month-old campaign to oust him was losing momentum, President Chen Shui-bian was rocked on November 3 when the public prosecutor indicted his wife, Wu Shu-chen, and three other people for allegedly embezzling US$450,000 from a special diplomatic fund.
For most of us, if you lose your job you’re in serious financial trouble. Not so for recently sacked US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.