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Chanting “bring our troops home”, anti-war protesters rallied in front of the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 27 to pressure President George Bush’s administration to end the war on Iraq, now only two months short of entering its fourth year.
A mixed message — combining celebration and auto-critique — came from the Nairobi World Social Forum, held from January 20-25 in a massive sports complex 10km from the city. The 60,000 registered participants heard triumphalist radical rhetoric and yet, too, witnessed persistent defeats for social justice causes, especially within the WSF’s own processes.
More than 200,000 public service workers in the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) held a nationwide strike on January 31, which is being followed by a two-week overtime ban. The February 1 Morning Star reported that “the action hit 200 government departments, halted important court cases and paralysed passport offices, benefit centres, and tax offices”. In addition, the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff was forced to abandon proceedings, and in London the British Library, Tate Modern and Tate Britain were closed.
Reuters reported on February 3 that at least 23 people had died in armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza during the previous 24 hours. The deaths helped bury a short-lived ceasefire that had been declared by the groups the two largest Palestinian political parties on January 30. In the two months prior to the ceasefire, more than 60 Palestinians had been killed, half of them between January 25 and January 29.
Comrade Roberts: Recollections of a Trotskyite
By Kenneth Gee
Desert Pea Press, 2006
207 pages, $29.95 (pb)
The Battle For Islam — Looks at how in some Muslim countries, it is women who are leading the charge for change. SBS, Friday, February 9, 1.30pm.
At an extraordinary Ard Fheis (congress) of Sinn Fein held in Dublin on January 28, delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), long known for its discriminatory and violent practices towards the Irish republican movement and Northern Ireland Catholics. About 90% of the 982 delegates at the congress accepted the motion put forward by Sinn Fein’s Ard Chomhairle (national executive), paving the way for a devolution of power to the Northern Ireland Assembly as outlined in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Prosecutors are calling Amber Abreu a murderer. But the 18-year-old is a victim of restrictions on access to abortion. Prosecutors recently charged Abreu, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, with “procuring a miscarriage” — a felony that can carry a penalty of seven years in prison. They say they are planning to file additional charges, including a possible homicide charge, against her.
“As long as I’m breathing, I will fight with the foreign troops who are coming to our country”, said Abdiqadir Hassan Diriye, Associated Press reported on February 1. Hassan Diriye was one of hundreds of protesters in Mogadishu demonstrating in response to the African Union’s announcement the day before that three battalions of AU “peacekeepers” would be deployed in Somalia.

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