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On February 1, 100 people gathered outside the State Library of Victoria to protest the Israeli siege of Gaza. The protest was initiated by the Melbourne Palestine Solidarity Network and organised by a wide range of groups including Australians for Palestine, Women for Palestine, Melbourne Stop the War Coalition, Federation of Muslim Students and Youth, Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
At 6am on January 29, environmental activists from the Bellarine Seastar — an arm of the Blue Wedges Coalition — crammed onto the Point Lonsdale pier, on the western side of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, to protest the arrival in the bay of the giant Dutch dredging ship, the Queen of the Netherlands.
On January 28, 40 people gathered at Latin America Plaza, outside Central Station, to mark the 155th anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s national hero, Jose Marti.
Palestinian resistance fighter and founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), George Habash, died on January 26 from a heart attack, aged 81.
A snap vigil in Martin Place on January 31 was called by the General Union of Palestinian Workers and others in the Palestinian community to demand an end to the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Forty people attended the vigil, held near the US consulate. They held candles in solidarity with Gaza’s 1.5 million residents, deprived of basic living necessities, including electricity, by the siege.
The campaign to stop the dredging of a new shipping channel in Port Phillip Bay had a partial victory on January 30 when a Federal Court judge ruled that the Blue Wedges environmental cCoalition must be given at least 24 hours’ notice of any plan to begin work on the $969 million project.
Market forces at work I “The world has witnessed well over 100 significant banking crises over the past three decades. The authorities have even had to rescue important parts of the US financial system — on most counts, the world’s most sophisticated — four times during the same period: from the developing country debt and ‘savings and loan’ crises of the 1980s to the commercial property crisis of the early 1990s and now the subprime and securitised-credit crisis of 2007-08. No industry has a comparable talent for privatising gains and socialising losses.” — London Financial Times, January 18.
Although it stated at the last state election in 2006 that it would not go ahead with the construction of a desalination plant, the Victorian Labor government is now pushing for a desalination plant at Wonthaggi, on the South Gippsland coast. Before the environmental impact statement has even been completed, test drilling and compulsory land acquisitions have begun at the proposed site.
Gaza I The flooding into Egypt of hundreds of thousands of Gazans that followed the breaching of the barrier between those territories is testimony to the desperation and misery of the population of that small enclave. The events have underlined
After starting contract negotiations on January 12, the Directors’ Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on January 17. It was expected that the DGA and AMPTP would come to an agreement, but the swiftness of the deal was a surprise, especially because there were six months remaining on the existing contract.

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