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In June, Australia will host the largest military exercises ever undertaken in peacetime. Talisman Sabre 07 will involve 12,400 Australian and 13,700 US troops converging on various locations for their biennial “war games”.
On May 13, the Left party won 8.4 % of the votes in Germany’s smallest state, the adjoining north-western cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. This was sufficient for the party to enter a west German state parliament for the first time, with seven MPs.
Big performer “Allan Moss is worth 446 construction workers, 669 graduate teachers, 335 GPs or 108 prime ministers. The head of Macquarie Bank, who was paid $33.49 million last year, is worth 747 times the average Australian worker, who was paid $862 a week. It would take Mr Moss just three hours to earn that worker’s yearly income of about $45,000… But Mr Moss only gets paid so handsomely if he performs. Virtually all of his pay is tied to the bank’s profit performance, and his day-to-day salary is just $670,819 a year.” — Sydney Morning Herald, May 16.
On May 13, the Left party won 8.4 % of the votes in Germany’s smallest state, the adjoining north-western cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. This was sufficient for the party to enter a west German state parliament for the first time, with seven MPs.
On May 23, Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) issued a call for support for a Chinese asylum seeker at Villawood detention centre who has been on hunger strike for 57 days. There are reports that the man was transferred to hospital from Villawood’s medical centre on May 22.
Tom Lewis, 83, is a long-time Green Left Weekly subscriber in a small town between Bundaberg and Gin Gin, Queensland. His eyesight is rapidly failing and he can no longer read. But last week he renewed his subscription to the paper and made a $100 donation to our fighting fund.
In a Brisbane court on May 25, Palm Island resident Lex Wotton was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in relation to riot charges, after Judge Phil Nase found that Wotton had been asked to plead illegally.
“Australian Tamils demand protection not persecution” was the theme of a gathering of more than 500 members of the Tamil community outside the Victorian parliament on May 22.
On May 10, British PM Tony Blair finally made his long-awaited resignation statement. Blair will stand down as prime minister with effect from June 27. He will also stand down as leader of the Labour Party, and preparations for the election of the next Labour leader — who will simultaneously become PM — got underway immediately.
Tom — not his real name — became a “person of interest” after taking part in the G20 protests in Melbourne last November. This softly spoken 24-year-old, a postgraduate student at Sydney University, is one of the latest victims of the police-state laws that seem designed to intimidate activists from organising, or attending, protests.
Between May 16 and 24, almost 100 Palestinians died and more than 340 have were injured in Gaza through a combination of renewed Israeli military attacks and fighting between Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.
On May 18 the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) expressed its support for Iraqi railways workers, who on May 15 began an indefinite strike to win a pay rise and basic rights. The strike action, backed by the vast majority of rail workers, paralysed the country’s main north/south rail corridor. Workers wanted improvements in salaries and conditions, as well as improved safety, protection from attack and fundamental workers’ rights. The ITF’s Mac Urata commented: “It beggars belief that the dictatorial anti-union laws of the Saddam Hussein era are still in place. Legislation denying rail and other public services workers the right to strike and belong to a union must be removed immediately. The ITF fully supports this legitimate action.”
A Hard Rain
By David Bradbury
Frontline Films
For copies or screening information visit <www.frontlinefilms.com.au>
Cutting Edge: Africa, America’s New Oil Target — As world oil reserves decline, the US and other world powers are competing for African oil. SBS, Monday, June 4, 1.30pm.
The May 23 advocate (lawyers) solidarity conference decided to build more public support for the advocate’s movement for an independent judiciary and an end to the military dictatorship. The movement erupted after Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was suspended on March 9. The conference vowed to bring more and more people to future demonstrations and rallies.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation’s eight-year effort to seek justice for one of its party activists who was kidnapped in 1999 in the north-east Bihar state concluded on May 8 when the alleged culprit — MP Mohammad Shahabuddin — was sentenced to life imprisonment. Chhote Lal Gupta, the victim, is officially presumed dead.

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