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In recent years “making poverty history” has become the fashionable cause for ageing rock stars such as Bono and Sir Bob Geldof. As global poverty means that each year 9 million children die of preventable diseases, the need to achieve this goal is undeniable.
A flotilla of waterborne vessels — kayaks, rafts, canoes and even a yellow rubber duckie — joined in the ‘People’s occupation of the world’s biggest coal port’ in Newcastle Harbour on February 10. The protest demanded ‘No new coal mines’, ‘No new coal-fired power stations’ and “No new coal loader’.
The February 6 Sydney Daily Telegraph reported that “Australians yet to establish a view on the Venezuelan president will have the opportunity to do so in person if the organisers of an online petition inviting him to visit get their way”.
The Kosova people’s eight-year wait for the same right to independence allowed to other peoples of the former Yugoslavia some 15 years ago has finally reached … anti-climax.
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Greg Combet expressed “great pride” in the role played by trade unions and union members in achieving justice for the victims of James Hardie’s asbestos products.
For more than six months, the people of Oaxaca in southern Mexico have been mobilising to oust the hated state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. The repression of the uprising has been severe, with ongoing savage attacks — including killings — on movement activists by the military-style Federal Preventative Police.
The action was in response to threats by federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to have the governor-general disallow proposed ACT legislation on same-sex civil unions. In June 2006, the federal government disallowed an ACT bill on civil unions because it could have “undermined” the “institution of marriage”.
In his first two months since being elected federal ALP leader on December 4, Kevin Rudd has made subtle, but significant changes to federal Labor policy in its “battle of ideas for Australia’s future”. As if following a dictum not to be “wedged” — politically outflanked from the right by PM John Howard’s Coalition government — Rudd is moving significant sections of Labor policy in a more rightward direction and attempting to position Labor as the defender of “the fabric of Australian family life”.
Seven-hundred people crammed into the Melbourne City Conference Centre on February 8 to hear radical journalist and film-maker John Pilger’s call for mass action against the invasion of Iraq — “the paramount war crime against humanity from which all other war crimes follow”.
According to former French intelligence security chief Alain Chouet, the terrorism-related charges against Willie Brigitte, who is being tried in France, are “weak”. Quoted in the February 5 Australian, he said Brigitte is a “person without importance whom the Australian authorities continue to play on to create fear”.

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