Scenes of joy and relief erupted outside the Brisbane courts complex on March 21 after a Supreme Court jury cleared four Palm Islanders of charges of rioting causing destruction.
On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a new Hamas-Fatah “national unity” government by 83 votes in favour and three against. The formation of the new government followed agreements reached in Mecca last month between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of Hamas.
“Nuclear fools’ day” protests will mark Palm Sunday — April 1. The protests are in response to the most significant push for expanded uranium mining in Australia since the Hawke Labor government’s 1983 decision to defy public opinion and allow uranium mining to continue at Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory, and to be developed at Australia’s two other largest uranium deposits — BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs) mine in South Australia, opened in 1988, and Rio Tinto’s Beverley mine (also in SA) in 2001.
Midnight on March 26 is the deadline for a power-sharing executive to be formed from the newly elected Northern Ireland Assembly so that devolution of power from Britain to the Belfast-based assembly can proceed. In the Stormont assembly elections, held on March 7, Ian Paisley’s ultra-loyalist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won 36 of the assembly’s 108 seats and Sinn Fein won 28. The traditionally dominant Ulster Unionist Party won only 18 seats and the Social Democratic Labour Party won 16. Voter turnout was approximately 63%, out of a total population of 1.7 million.
Tanya Reinhart, the Israeli linguistics professor and champion of Palestinian rights, died of a stroke in her sleep on March 17 in New York at the age of 63. Palestinian organisations issued a statement from Gaza on March 19, describing Reinhart as “a great indefatigable activist against the policy of the Zionist government of apartheid Israel towards us Palestinians”.
An Esperance Port Authority (EPA) safety worker has been sacked for “asking too many questions” and a blood specialist has been dispatched to the area as WA authorities scramble to cope with a widening heavy-metal contamination crisis.
On March 8, Greenpeace announced that a community campaign had stopped the construction of Mighty River Power’s Marsden B coal-fired power station, which would have been the first coal-fired power station to be built in New Zealand in 30 years. The campaign, launched in 2004, involved the local community, indigenous people and environmental organisations.
As the ALP’s electoral fortunes lift with each new poll, unionists want to know exactly how a federal Labor government would carry out its promise to “tear up” the Coalition’s anti-worker Work Choices laws.
#147;In the US, we are living on borrowed time in terms of a nuclear accident”, Kevin Kamps from the US-based non-government Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) told a March 21 public forum organised by The Wilderness Society.
Below is an abridged account by Tim Davis-Frank of the police raid on his home and his arrest in Sydney on March 14. His “crime” was to take part in the protests outside the G20 meeting in Melbourne last November. Davis-Frank is the University of Sydney student representative council’s global solidarity officer. Four G20 protesters from Sydney went to court on March 19, and will face court again in Melbourne on May 11.
Lawyers acting for 12 of the “Melbourne 13”, a group of Muslim men who have been held in Barwon’s Maximum Security Prison for more than a year, argued on March 20 that the possibility of a fair trial had been jeopardised and applied for a stay in proceedings.
The University of Western Sydney decided to sell off “the Swamp” and student residences at Kingswood and Werrington South campuses. A mass of degrees were merged into the Bachelor of Business and Commerce. Half the majors for the Bachelor of Economics were axed. These are just some of the many changes that happened to UWS in the first few weeks of semester.