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The January 27 demonstration in Washington DC was the largest anti-war protest in the US since September 2005.
The announcement that charges have been laid against 31-year-old Australian man David Hicks, who has now been held in US military custody in Guantanamo Bay for more than five years, has been welcomed by the Howard government, which is unable to charge Hicks with any crime under Australian law.
A man released without charge after a week in detention as one of the latest batch of police “terror suspects” has branded Britain as “a police state for Muslims”. Abu Bakr, one of nine men arrested in high-profile raids in Birmingham on January 31, made the comment on the BBC Newsnight program following his release on February 7. One other man was released along with Bakr; another seven are still being held in police custody.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the referendum that acknowledged Aboriginal people as citizens in their own country. Forty years seems like a long time — so how much has really changed?
Prime Minister John Howard created a stir in late November when, in Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, he publicly defended the Australian role in the Vietnam War. Howard said, “I supported our involvement at the time and I don’t intend to recant that … I supported the reasons for Australia’s involvement and nothing has altered my view that, at the time, on the assessments that were made then, I took that view and I took that view properly.”
Following years of a sustained campaign by the ruling elite to vilify Islam, the 2007 federal election is shaping up to be a “Muslim” election, with the two major parties trying to out-do each other with racist slurs against Arabs and Muslims.
Critics of Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, “finally feel vindicated (again)”, Venezuelanalysis.com editor Gregory Wilpert wrote in a February 6 comment piece. “The Venezuelan dictatorship that they have been predicting for the past eight years has, according to them, finally come to pass — for the sixth or so time.”
Nepalese PM Girija Prasad Koirala has vowed to amend the country’s constitution to meet the key demands of Madheshi protesters from the country’s southern plains, BBC News reported on February 8. He pledged to introduce a federal system of governance and more representation of the southern plains in the parliament.
The United States is planning what will be a catastrophic attack on Iran. For the Bush cabal, the attack will be a way of “buying time” for its disaster in Iraq. In announcing what he called a “surge” of US troops in Iraq, George W. Bush identified Iran as his real target. “We will interrupt the flow of support [to the insurgency in Iraq] from Iran and Syria”, he said. “And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
Second Sydney Latin America Film Festival
Chauvel Cinema, Paddington
Seymour Centre, Darlington and Club Marconi, Bossley Park
February 22-March 4 http://www.sydneylatinofilmfestival.org
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