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On March 16, federal immigration minister Chris Evans announced that the Rudd government would cut the skilled migration intake for the current financial year by 18,500. This, claimed Evans in a ministerial statement, would “protect local jobs”.
On March 16, Tasmanian timber company Gunns' Ltd withdrew its legal case against the Wilderness Society (TWS), and now has to pay $350,000 in costs.
In 2002, the CityPass consortium was awarded the contract to build and run the Jerusalem light rail. Amnesty International, the Arab League, and unions, church and community groups worldwide have condemned this project as another step in Israel's annexation of Palestinian land.
A March 20 Sydney Morning Herald article reported that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now predicting that world economic growth for 2009 will be negative for the first time in more than 60 years — shrinking by as much as 1%.

The ingredients of big-business operations in NSW were all there: a multinational tourism operator; environmental groups with varying interests; a donation to the NSW Labor Party; the apparent channelling of another donation; a local council decision overturned by the Land and Environment Court; and development approved by the then-Labor Party planning minister, Frank Sartor.

In the late evening of March 15, the NSW correctional services department used management personnel to transfer 107 prisoners from the Cessnock jail in preparation for its privatisation.
Maintenance workers from Foster’s Carlton and United Brewery have had a partial victory in their dispute with Foster’s over jobs. The workers are covered by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).
Australian agriculture both contributes to climate change and is adversely affected by it. Any campaign in to force urgent government action on climate change has to include a demand for the radical transformation of rural land use and farming systems to be ecologically sustainable.
On March 19, record numbers of people took to the streets as part of a general strike against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s anti-worker economic policies, a British Guardian article said the following day.
In the aftermath of the killing of two British soldiers and one Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer by so-called dissident republicans, opposed to the peace process in the six counties in Ireland’s north still claimed by Britain, right-wing and reactionary forces have sought to use the killings to whip up anti-republican hysteria and attack civil liberties.
El Salvador’s new president-elect, Mauricio Funes from the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), has pledged to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“From now begins a new chapter in the history of El Salvador. The victory of the FMLN [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front] presidential team is based on the whole Salvadoran people”, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, newly elected vice-president for the FMLN, told a cheering crowd of thousands of red T-shirt-wearing party supporters at a huge rally on the night of the March 15 presidential elections.
The “long march” of lawyers and pro-democracy activists, who faced-down state repression including hundreds of arrests, won its key demand on March 16 when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) backed down in the face of huge resistance and, following five days of mass protests, restored the chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry and other sacked judges to their positions.
The article below is combined from reports published at http://www.tamilnet.com.

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