Survival International reported on August 2 that a large group of uncontacted Indians had fled to Bananeira, a remote village across the border in Brazil. It is believed that the Indians were escaping illegal loggers, who have been destroying their lands in their search for “red gold” (rare mahogany) in Peru’s rainforests. Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior, head of the Indian Protection post near the Peru border, said in an urgent alert to the Brazilian government that, “We are on the verge of disaster. Illegal logging in protected areas in Peru is pushing the uncontacted tribes into Brazil, which could cause conflicts and lead to their appearance in places where they have never been seen before.” Because of their isolation, the Indians, among some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes, do not have immunity to diseases that could be contracted by contact with outsiders. Survival International director Stephen Corry said: “If it’s not ‘black gold’, it’s ‘red gold’. The Peruvian government must act now to stop the logging on the uncontacted tribes’ land. If it doesn’t, they could be the first people to be made extinct in the 21st century.” Visit <http://survival-international.org>.
#151; A report in the August 2 Herald Sun has Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn calling for ticket inspectors to be issued with handcuffs, because he says, “Our officers get publicly vilified for what looks like an assault on someone, but in fact they are trying to restrain them after they’ve been arrested”.
On August 2, the federal government announced it would legislate to stop same-sex couples adopting a child from overseas. The move follows the landmark adoption of a boy by two gay men in Western Australia in June.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting will be held in Sydney in September. Twenty-one nations are represented, from both the First and Third Worlds. It describes itself as the “premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region”. In reality, it works to ensure that the Third World nations attending further open their markets. This makes it easier for multinational corporations, along with First World nations, to strip the poorer countries’ natural resources with no regard for the environment and to further exploit their work forces.
#151; The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is on the verge of formal affiliation to the ALP despite many members expressing their opposition. The proposed affiliation was endorsed in March by the union’s governing council, reversing a decision two years ago not to affiliate to the ALP.
“How many more innocent lives is Howard prepared to destroy in the name of fighting a war on terror?”, asks Socialist Alliance candidate for the Victorian federal seat of Gellibrand, Ben Courtice, following Dr Mohamed Haneef’s release from three weeks of hell in police custody.
Imagine a world where international trade was fair. Where, instead of sending troops and police overseas, the Australian government sent thousands of doctors and teachers to poor countries to provide free medical care and education to help the people there improve their lives. The Australian government is not doing this. It has sent hundreds of troops to help steal Iraq’s oil and sends police to the Solomon Islands and other places in the Pacific to guard the theft of these countries’ natural resources.
On July 29, Queensland University of Technology staged a protest on QUT’s “open day” to symbolically “lay to rest” the school of humanities and human services, and mark “the death of critical thinking and freedom of speech” at QUT.
When Rafael Correa was elected president of Ecuador in 2006, campaigning on a strong anti-neoliberal platform to bring about a “citizen’s revolution”, one key social force seemed notably absent from his campaign — the country’s powerful indigenous movement.
When US President George Bush comes to Sydney this year, it will be vital that we use his visit to draw attention to the ongoing struggle for same-sex marriage rights and an end to all homophobic policies. PM John Howard and Bush top the list of threats to civil liberties, including some of the most basic rights queers are still fighting for.
Hundreds of people packed out the State Cinema in Hobart to watch the premiere of The Wilderness Society’s (TWS) pulp mill film Tasmania’s Clean Green Future: Too Precious to Pulp. The short film was made by award-winning film-maker Heidi Douglas, who is one of the “Gunns 20’’ defendants being sued by Gunns for previous films. It aims to counter the Tasmanian government’s latest propaganda campaign supporting the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, which consists of television and newspaper ads and large glossy brochures.
For the last week, I’ve woken up each morning at five to join ordinary Hanoi residents exercising in Lenin Park, which surrounds one of several huge lakes in the centre of the city. The first time I went out of curiosity, but it was such a buzz I’ve returned every morning.