During Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Panama on June 5, she described Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s decision not to renew the licence of Radio Caracas Television as his “sharpest and most acute” move yet against democracy. She urged the Organisation of American States to send its secretary general to Caracas to look into the move and deliver a full report on his findings. Rice declared: “Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of the government. Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy.”
On June 12, Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) organised a protest in front of the Lahore Press Club against the illegal detention of LPP general secretary Farooq Tariq, who was arrested on June 5 and given a three-month detention order. Braving 47°C heat, more than 300 protesters gathered, raising slogans against General Pervez Musharraf’s regime and demanding the immediate release of Tariq and all other political prisoners.
With opinion polls showing his government is headed for defeat in this year’s federal election, PM John Howard has been sure to pull out the, now well-weathered, “economic management” card in an attempt to regain voter support.
As Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution continues to deepen and accelerate, President Hugo Chavez has announced a spate of pro-worker changes, which mark a continuation of the Chavez government’s orientation toward the country’s oppressed, and a victory against the right-wing offensive that has heightened since Chavez’s re-election in December.
The 36th annual national conference of the socialist youth organisation Resistance will be an important stepping stone towards the protests against US emperor George Bush’s visit to Australia in September for the APEC summit.
The ABC’s 7.30 Report on June 11 reported that 200 miners at BHP Billiton’s iron ore mine at Mount Newman in Western Australia had signed a petition complaining about “an atmosphere of intimidation and victimisation” of workers on individual agreements (AWAs). The workers’ petition complained that management was forcing them to work in unsafe conditions and warned that a serious accident was likely.
Since community opposition stopped plans for a national nuclear waste dump in South Australia, John Howard seems determined to now go for a site in the Northern Territory — despite promising not to and opposition from Indigenous custodians.
The Howard government’s so-called fairness test for all new workplace agreements (individual contracts and collective agreements) is destined to become law, with Labor Party support, before the end of June. The legislation, which purports to guarantee “fairness” to workers who trade off their entitlement to penalty rates, overtime pay and holiday leave loading, passed through the House of Representatives on May 29.
In recent years there’s been a concerted campaign by right-wing Vietnamese exiles around the world to resurrect the defunct flag of the old Saigon regime.
The breaking of a six-month deadlock in Bolivia’s constituent assembly has paved the way for the opening of an intense debate on the future of this politically polarised country nestled in the heart of South America. Beginning to lose the battle within the halls of the assembly, the right-wing opposition has threaten to take the fight onto the streets, announcing that it may reject any new constitution that emerges out of the body.


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