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Within hours of the November 7 mid-term US congressional elections, in which voters expressed their disaffection with the US-led war in Iraq by ousting a raft of Republican legislators, US war secretary Donald Rumsfeld fell on his sword, handing President George Bush his resignation.
Who Killed the Electric Car? exposes the scandal involving oil companies, car manufacturers and the US government in killing the EV1 - the battery-powered electric car produced by General Motors in 1996. The EV1 was clean, non-polluting, cheap and efficient, and could have contributed to saving the environment.
“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.
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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.
The arrival of the 43 West Papuan asylum seekers in Australia in January forced Australians to confront two blights on this country’s history: the government’s appalling treatment of refugees and the same government’s ongoing support for the Indonesian occupation of West Papua. The nation held its breath (and some of us kept up the protests) while Canberra sent the West Papuans off to Christmas Island and decided on what to do next.
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.
When history is denigrated, such as in these times, Renato Redentor Constantino’s book of essays, which brings together an array of little-known facts about the history of imperialism — from the Philippine-American war, World War II, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq — is a welcome and refreshing read. The sharp analysis is delivered with passion, humour and style. Underlying his writing is the commitment of an activist involved in the struggle for social change.

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