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Holding placards stating “Save the pool” and “Uniting Care doesn’t care”, hydrotherapy patients, many of them elderly people and in wheelchairs, gathered outside Uniting Care Health in Rosalie on May 17 to oppose the proposed closure of the Wesley Hydrotherapy Centre.
Survival International reported on May 15 that Brazilian Indians were angered when Pope Benedict XVI, during his recent visit to Brazil, claimed that their ancestors had been “silently longing” to become Christians when Brazil was colonised five centuries ago. According to the BBC, the Pope also claimed that the imposition of Christianity on the region “had not involved an alienation of the pre-Colombian cultures”. Jecinaldo Satere Mawe, from the Amazonian Satere Mawe tribe, said the Pope’s comments were “arrogant and disrespectful”. The Catholic Church’s Indian advocacy group in Brazil called the Pope’s statement “wrong and indefensible”. Brazil’s indigenous population is today less than 7% of what it was in 1500, and of 1000 distinct tribes, only around 220 remain. For more information visit <international.org>.
A report released on May 14 by the Federation of Community Legal Centres of Victoria, accused police of using excessive and unwarranted force against protesters and bystanders during the November 17-19 G20 summit in Melbourne of international finance ministers.
On May 12, 60 people marked the anniversary of the deaths in 1981 of 10 Irish republican hunger strikers in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland, who were fighting for their right to be recognised and treated as political prisoners. The commemoration, held at the Gaelic Club, was organised by the Sydney Cairde (Friends of) Sinn Fein group.
On May 2, at the Barrick Gold shareholder meeting in Toronto, Protest Barrick — which includes aboriginal communities from Australia, the US, Latin America and Asia — served the company an eviction notice. The previous day, writer and film-maker Naomi Klein opened a film night in Toronto, at which films from Chile, Nevada, the US and Australia were screened. Shareholders at the meeting were given leaflets by representatives of Australia’s Wiradjuri people and Nevada’s Western Shoshone explaining the cyanide contamination of their land and depletion of water supplies as a result of Barrick’s operations. Some protesters used proxy ballots to argue their case inside the meeting. Lake Cowal, the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri, is being desecrated by Barrick’s cyanide leaching gold mine. Access to the lake for traditional ceremonies has been restricted because of the mine. Wiradjuri traditional owner Neville “Chappy” Williams, who announced the serving of the eviction notice to the meeting, was later approached by some shareholders who said they were now considering selling their shares.
The presence of heavily armed SAS troops could complement extraordinary powers for NSW police during the September 7-9 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney, which will be attended by 21 international leaders including US President George Bush.
Less than two days after its launch, more than 100 people had signed an “online pledge” to take part in peaceful direct action against the construction of a third coal export terminal at Newcastle’s port. The pledge notes that the terminal would increase Newcastle’s coal exports by “66 million tonnes per annum, producing 160 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution”.
In 2001, more than 30 workers over 50 years of age were suddenly given 24-hour termination notices by their employer, Guppy Plastic Industries Sdn Bhd. The workers were then told they could return later when they would be offered contract jobs. The chairperson of the workers’ union described the move as a dirty tactic to make the women contract workers, to further maximise the company’s profits at the expense of the workers. The 50-year retirement age for women workers is below the normal standard and is different to the company’s retirement policy for male workers. On May 15, nine of the sacked workers took the case to the industrial court, seeking back pay, compensation for loss of income and redundancy payments.
On May 12, federal opposition leader Kevin Rudd chartered a private plane to fly to Western Australia to meet with BHP, Rio Tinto and Woodside bosses. The meeting followed two weeks of the mining bosses arguing that Labor’s promise to abolish AWAs (individual contracts), confirmed at its April national conference, would harm the resources boom and lower productivity in the mining sector.
Activists from climate-action groups, environment collectives at the University of Queensland and Griffith University, Friends of the Earth, the Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance, Resistance and the Socialist Alliance are coming together to organise a “Stop Global Warming” rally in the week of World Environment Day (June 5).
Thousands of Palestinians joined rallies on May 15 throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories to mark the 59th anniversary of al Nakba (“The Catastrophe”) — the establishment of the State of Israel and the consequent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes — as renewed fighting took place between Fatah and Hamas.
A group of construction workers in Somerton have proved that it is possible to get off an individual contract (Australian Workplace Agreement — AWA) and onto award rates and an enterprise agreement.
The Wilderness Society (TWS) has taken Malcolm Turnbull, the federal environment minister, and logging giant Gunns Ltd to court in an attempt to stop a pulp mill being built in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.
As of 2004, foreign capital controlled 76.6% of Chinese industry, a study produced by academics from Beijing’s Communication University has found. The findings of the report, which was released in March, are consistent with a November 2006 report by the Development Research Centre of the State Council, China’s cabinet.
The shambles of the Airline Partners Australia (APA) private equity takeover attempt for Qantas demonstrates the greed and rapaciousness of this rotten capitalist system. All parties involved in the grubby business have shown up the irrationality of capitalism.
The Queensland University of Technology says it has yet to decide the future of its humanities and human services school. The comments came after a meeting of QUT academic board, outside which 100 students rallied for almost four hours on May 16 before pursuing an agitated QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake across campus.

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