On March 22, World Water Day, more than 40 people were arrested in New Delhi while protesting against water theft by Coca-Cola and Pepsico. The India Resource Centre reports that more than 300 people marched to the planning commission’s offices to demand action from the government over the soft-drink companies’ creation of severe water shortages and contamination of soil and groundwater. An organiser of the march and one of those detained, Nandlal Master from Lok Samiti and the National Alliance of People’s Movements, said the protest was aimed at “one of the world’s worst abusers of water, the Coca-Cola company”, which has “destroyed the lives of thousands of people in India as a result of its thirst for water”. For more information, visit <http://www.indiaresource.org>.
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.
Jewish Voices I I am an activist of Jewish descent and read with interest the interview in GLW #703 with Antony Loewenstein on the setting up of Independent Australian Jewish Voices. The IAJV statement follows a similar initiative from British
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has declared it will go ahead with an April 3-4 “stay away” by workers despite the wave of repression suffered by opponents of President Robert Mugabe’s regime and authorities’ threats to crush the ZCTU strike. Already ZCTU members have been arrested, their offices raided and material relating to the stay away confiscated.
On February 14, readers of the Weekly Times, a local Ryde paper that covers Bennelong, PM John Howard’s electorate, couldn’t believe their eyes when confronted with the headline: “Global Warming? Climate Change? Bulldust!” The article, written by editor John Booth, dismissed global warming as “scaremonger propaganda” put forward by “Armageddon pedlars”.
The most important elections for many years in the Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) are set for mid-April. This election will be a showdown between the incumbent unified Victorian branch leadership and the conservative vehicle division of the union and its supporters.
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.
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”.
There was something very sad about the debate in federal parliament around the Labor opposition’s grand plan to bring Australia up to speed on internet broadband. Behind the noise and smoke of the furious jousting was the sobering fact that both sides of the House embrace the corrupt logic of privatisation.
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.


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