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Aslyum seekers On February 15, the US government agreed to offer asylum to 7000 Iraqi refugees who had left their homeland and had been waiting in third countries such as Jordan and Syria. A US team is scheduled to go to Amman, Jordan, on February
Azad Arman, a socialist from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq who fled his homeland in 1991 and is now living in Australia, said life in Iraqi Kurdistan today is “miserable”.
At a meeting in Melbourne on February 8 journalist and film-maker John Pilger hailed Shirley Shackleton as one of Australia’s “heroes”. He praised her tireless dedication, since 1975, in exposing the genocide in East Timor and in pursuing the truth about the death of five journalists in Balibo, East Timor. One of the journalists killed was her husband Greg Shackleton.
PM John Howard is facing an election later this year and knows that his government’s support for Washington’s war in Iraq is highly unpopular — hence his vituperative attacks on Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s pledge to withdraw Australian troops.
The Howard government’s Work Choices laws are not bringing about “a more flexible, simpler and fairer system of workplace relations for Australia”, as the Howard government likes to argue, according to two recent damning research papers. The studies also disprove Canberra’s claim that the laws have improved productivity, increased wages, balanced work and family life and reduced unemployment.
“For two days now in parliament Treasurer Peter Costello has attacked ALP signatories of our sign-on invitation for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to visit Australia”, Kiraz Janicke from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network told Green Left Weekly on February 15. “But Costello’s attacks have been both ridiculous and factually inaccurate.”
The US troop casualty rate in Iraq surged to a post-invasion high over the four months to the end of January, according to a February 7 Associated Press. AP reported that more US troops “were killed in combat in Iraq over the past four months — at least 334 through Jan. 31 — than in any comparable stretch since the war began.”
Faced with thousands of protesters, reflecting growing popular pressure, Ecuador’s Congress voted on February 13 to allow a motion by President Rafael Correa for a referendum on a constituent assembly.
After months of internecine fighting that has resulted in more than 90 Palestinian deaths, Fatah and Hamas signed a deal on February 8 to form a new unity government. The deal, brokered by Saudi Arabia, was signed after a two-day emergency meeting in Mecca.
Over the February 3-4 weekend, 60 people participated in a conference on European anti-capitalist left unity projects organised by left-wing Swiss party SolidariteS. Held in the border town of Le Locle in the Neuchatel canton, the conference attracted mainly SolidariteS members and supporters, but members of the French Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) also attended.

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