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Around 5000 lawyers protesting on March 21 vowed not to rest until they succeed in removing General Pervez Musharraf from office, forcing the withdrawal of the reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and gaining assurance of a full independent judiciary capable of protecting the constitution. They called for the establishment of a truly democratic government through free and fair elections. The dispute was sparked on March 9 when Musharraf suspended Chaudhry.
Sixteen landed estates will be expropriated for Venezuela’s land reform program, announced President Hugo Chavez on March 25, during his television program Alo Presidente. The total area of land that will thus become available for redistribution to peasants and agricultural cooperatives will exceed 330,000 hectares in the states of Apure, Anzoategui, Barinas, Guarico, Portuguesa and Aragua.
“Today was a victory for democratic forces, not only for the Labour Party Pakistan, but for all the other parties who were able to go onto the streets in support of democratic rights”, LPP general secretary Farooq Tariq told Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy in Lahore on March 26, following a round of demonstrations.
East Timor’s presidential election campaign is now officially underway. Voting will be held on April 9. Max Lane spoke by phone with presidential candidate Avelino Coelho, secretary-general of the Socialist Party of Timor (PST).
Zalmay Khalilzad, the departing US ambassador to Iraq, told journalists in Baghdad on March 26 that US embassy and military officials had met several times with representatives of Iraqi groups that have ties to the anti-occupation resistance movement.
To no-one’s surprise, the Beijing-anointed incumbent Donald Tsang was returned in Hong Kong’s March 25 “election” for the territory’s chief executive — the third such election since the territory’s reversion to Chinese rule in 1997. What was surprising was that the rival candidate, lawyer Alan Leong — billed as representing the politically moderate middle-class democratic camp and the first ever challenger in this highly managed ballot — secured a respectable 123 votes compared to Tsang’s 649.
On March 25, Iran announced it would limit inspections of its nuclear activities by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to its legally binding requirements under the country’s 1974 nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

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