A collective discussion is occurring throughout the revolutionary movement led by President Hugo Chavez following the defeat of the proposed constitutional reform proposals — that were intended to deepen the revolution to help open the way towards socialism — in the December 2 referendum.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spearheaded the release of two prisoners held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — Colombia’s largest left-wing guerrilla force that controls significant portions of the countryside — on January 10.
On January 9, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission released its report into mainland immigration detention facilities, based on HREOC visits to detention centres in August and November. The report noted a number of improvements in the system of immigration detention. However, there was yet another death in detention just days after the report was released.
Long-time environmental campaigner David White has been preselected by the Socialist Alliance to contest the inner-city Central Ward in the March 15 Brisbane City Council elections.
The Say No to GMO campaign launched a new petition in Western Australia this month, asking that liability for contamination of non-genetically modified crops rest with those responsible for bringing GM crops or food into the state.
On January 8, protesters took to piers around Port Philip Bay as part of the campaign against the planned dredging of the bay scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. The Port of Melbourne Corporation intends to dredge an underwater rock wall containing unique sea life.
The blatantly rigged election victory by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki in the December 27 presidential election triggered nationwide violence that took place largely along ethnic lines.
Philip Agee passed away in Cuba on January 7 at the age of 72. He was a former agent for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who broke ranks in 1968 to expose its role in intervening into foreign countries on behalf of US corporate profits. For this act of bravery, his passport was revoked and US pressure saw him expelled from a number of European countries. Marcel Hatch, education coordinator for Cuba Education Tours in Vancouver (<http://www.cubafriends.ca>) pays tribute.
Sydney Stop the War Coalition has confirmed that it will be organising an Australian tour of US Labor Against the War (USLAW) leader Kathy Black. The tour will be in the lead-up to the March 16 Palm Sunday rallies that will mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
On January 15, the Israel Defense Forces killed 17 Palestinians during incursions into east Gaza City. The IDF killed nine more in raids over the following two days. The attacks launched a new wave of Israeli violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) following the January 9-16 visit by US President George Bush to Israel, the West Bank city of Ramallah and other centres in the region.
In 1997 at Kyoto, Al Gore bamboozled negotiators into adopting carbon trading as a central climate strategy in exchange for Washington’s support — which never materialised.
In December, after 16 months of wrangling, the elected delegates to the constituent assembly finally passed a draft constitution that will be put to a national referendum sometime before September.
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