The Socialist Party of Timor (PST) is fielding 65 candidates in the June 30 parliamentary elections, and also has 25 candidates on the supplementary list (which comes into operation if candidates withdraw or die, or vacate their position after the election). Fourteen parties are contesting the elections. Topping the PSTs list of candidates is party secretary-general Avelino Coelho da Silva. PST president Nelson Correia is second on the list; two well-known women activists, Angela Fraga and Maria de Carvalho, are the third and fourth candidates.
The start of the official campaign period for East Timor’s June 30 parliamentary elections has been marred by violence, including killings. The most serious incidents took place in Viqueque district, where two men were shot dead on June 3. An investigation by the Major Crime Investigation Unit and the National Investigation Unit is underway, focusing on a number of East Timorese police officers (PNTL).
Tom Morello is an outspoken musician and political activist who has played in the bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. Recently, he has been working on a solo acoustic guitar project he calls The Nightwatchman. Morello spoke to US Socialist Worker’s Kris Jenson and Keith Rosenthal about The Nightwatchman and his album One Man Revolution.
The Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew the expired free-to-air broadcasting licence of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), while still allowing it to broadcast online or via cable, has created a sharp debate in Venezuela about democracy and freedom of speech.
The latest attempt by the US to isolate the revolutionary government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez failed when the Organisation of American States general assembly meeting in Panama on June 4 refused the US demand to criticise and investigate Venezuela for supposed attacks on freedom of expression.
Labourstart.org reports that a Tehran court has given bus workers union leader Mansour Osanloo a five-year prison sentence after convicting him of acting against national security and making propaganda against the system. Another jailed Iranian union leader, Mahmoud Salehi, has announced that his kidney problems have worsened and his blood pressure has fallen dramatically. His life could be in danger as the authorities are doing nothing to help him. Salehi, the former president of the Bakery Workers Association in Saqez, was arrested at a 2004 May Day rally but released on bail after going on hunger strike. On April 9 this year he was jailed for one year, and was denied the right to take his medicine with him. To send a protest message demanding Saqezs release, visit <http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=231>.
Concerned about the health effects of a chemical plant proposed to be built in the coastal city of Xiamen by a Taiwanese capitalist, up to 2000 protesters took to the citys streets on June 1 and 2 seeking to have the project scrapped.
On June 4, Chinas National Development and Reform Commission issued a 62-page climate change action plan that seeks to reduce the countrys carbon dioxide emissions. The plan seeks to realise by 2010 three goals under the UN climate change convention to reduce the countrys energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20%, to increase its renewable energys share in the countrys primary energy mix to 10% (up from its existing share of 7%, and to increase forest coverage to 20% (up from its existing 18%).
Under the banner of “For freedom of speech and against imperialism”, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on June 2 in defence of their revolution, and as a direct response to the domestic and international campaign being whipped up by Washington in the wake of the non-renewal of Radio Caracas TV’s (RCTV) broadcasting concession, dwarfing all of the opposition marches that had occurred in preceding days. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced: “If the Venezuelan oligarchy believe that they will stop us with their threats, with their manipulations or with their destabilisation plans, forget it!”
On June 2, masses of people from different parts of the country descended on the streets of Caracas to march in support of the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez, and the new TV channel Venezuelan Social Television (TVes). TVes is broadcasting on Channel 2, previously used by RCTV owned by multi-millionaire Marcel Granier whose 20-year concession ran out on May 27. RCTV will continue on cable, but many Venezuelans feel that after helping organise the April 2002 coup against the elected government, RCTV is lucky to remain on air at all.