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On November 16, NSW deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch ruled that five journalists from Australia’s Seven and Ten commercial TV networks who died in the East Timorese town of Balibo on October 16, 1975, were not killed by crossfire (which is what Australian authorities have previously maintained) but were deliberately murdered by invading Indonesian forces, on orders from above in what Pinch ruled to be a “war crime”.
A report on a November 17 Perth rally against the NT intervention was accompanied by a photo incorrectly credited to Barry Healy. The credit should have read: “Photo by Jodi Hoffmann/courtesy Aboriginal Legal Service of WA.”
There were emotional scenes in the Perth Coroners Court on November 28 as deputy State Coroner Evelyn Vicker read her findings into the death of a 35-year-old Aboriginal man, Carl Woods, in police custody in the suburb of Parmelia on April 11 last year. Woods’ relatives wept and expressed anger at Vicker’s finding of accidental death.
Ecuador began to implement its “citizens’ revolution” called for by left-wing President Rafael Correa on November 29 with opening of the constituent assembly, made up of elected delegates tasked with reforming the state’s institutional framework and drawing up a new constitution.
Over 50 military and civilian dissidents remain in custody following the storming of the Manila Peninsular luxury hotel on November 29 by troops loyal to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to dislodge a group of soldiers who had seized the hotel and used it to hold a press conference calling for a “people’s power” uprising against the unpopular president. Civil society and religious leaders joined the rebels at the press conference.
A 19-year-old Saudi Arabian woman has been sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail following an incident in 2006 in which she was kidnaped and gang-raped by seven men. When the kidnapping occurred, the woman was in a car in the company of a man who was not an immediate relative, a crime in the Saudi kingdom.
@body intro = BREAKING NEWS — As Green Left Weekly goes to press, the Venezuelan government has released video evidence of a violent destabilisation campaign being planned by US-funded opponents of the Chavez government and the process of change. The campaign is based on rejected the outcome of the referendum being held on December 2. Speaking to up to a million supporters of the constitutional reforms and the revolution on November 30, President Hugo Chavez threatened to cut off oil supplies immediately to the US, in retaliation against any violent attacks.
Stuart Baanstra, a Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) activist, refused to sign the 2006 census due to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) refusal to record same-sex married couples. On November 27, Baanstra faced the Magistrates Court for refusing to sign the census. Baanstra pleaded guilty with mitigating circumstances. His lawyer, Natalie Ross, who was working pro bono, asked for charges to be dismissed under Section 19b of the Crimes Act.
“Now that Labor has decisively won the federal election, it is urgent that Australian troops be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible”, Jim McIlroy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith, said after the announcement that Labor had defeated the Howard government. McIlroy also called for an end to Australian support for the war in Afghanistan. “All Australian forces should be brought home by Christmas.
Sizwe Banzi is Dead
Written by Athol Fugard in collaboration with John Kani & Winston Ntshona
Directed by Peter Brook
Playhouse Theatre
Sydney Opera House
Until 16 December
To cries of “Barry’s back, Howard’s out”, sacked union delegate Barry Hemsworth marched through the gates of Botany Cranes on November 29 to reclaim his job after 441 days picketing outside the crane yard.
Under the Volcano: the story of Bali
By Cameron Forbes
Black Inc., 2007
286 pages, $32.90 (pb)
The Dramatically Black: Djarn Djarns — Frankie Dollar is eleven years old. He is the leader of an Aboriginal traditional dance group, who are young urban blackfellas, with a responsibility to keep their culture alive. SBS, Friday, December 7, 3.30pm. Los Zafiros — Formed in 1962, Los Zafiros were known as Cuba’s answer to The Platters. The members all came from the same Havana neighbourhood, and in Cuba enjoyed a popularity comparable to The Beatles. SBS, Saturday, December 8, 1pm. The Judge and the Fanatic — Many Yemenis have fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, but when the war ended they returned to Yemen to join the long queues of the unemployed, and many of them found it hard to reintegrate. SBS, Monday, December 10, 2.30pm. Cutting Edge: Cheney’s Law — For three decades US Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the US president virtually unlimited wartime power. SBS, Tuesday, December 11, 8.30pm.
The November 24 electoral victory of the ALP was based largely upon public opposition to the Howard Coalition government’s Work Choices laws. But in the Northern Territory, opposition among Aborigines to PM John Howard’s “emergency intervention” into their communities was a major factor in boosting support for Labor.
A thousand steps
Away from the ballot box
To vote for freedom

A thousand steps
From armed men
With orders to shoot down
Anyone who votes for freedom

A thousand steps
When you have chains
On your hands and feet
To stop you from taking
A step of a single yard
Towards freedom

A thousand steps
From the grave
Where you will be buried
If you take a step
To vote for freedom

A thousand steps
From your dreams
Where you dream
That you can vote
For freedom


@auth poem = Arif Viqar
Bernie Banton, the widely-recognised face of the legal and political campaign to achieve compensation for the many sufferers of asbestos-related conditions, which they contracted after working for the James Hardie company, died on November 27, at the age of 61.

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