839

The president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced on May 24 that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on November 28, the constitutionally prescribed date.

“The CEP is up to the task of organising general elections in the country”, said Gaillot Dorsinvil, who is also the handicapped sector’s representative on the nine-member council, handpicked by President Rene Preval.

But tens of thousands of Haitians don’t agree and have been demonstrating in the streets in recent weeks to demand a new CEP — and Preval’s resignation.

MELBOURNE — On May 25, about 50 people attended a forum on Burma's election, which is due to occur this year.

The forum was addressed by Debbie Stothard, coordinator of Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma, who noted the many undemocratic structures set up by the military junta.

She said: “The 2008 constitution will guarantee military control over the election and resulting parliament. Election commissioners are handpicked by the regime, political parties must exclude ‘convicted persons’ such as Aung San Suu Kyi and there is severe censorship and restrictions on campaigning.

The absence of war does not mean peace in Tamil Eelam — despite what we hear from the Sri Lankan and Australian governments.

The struggle for Tamil freedom continues on community radio station 3CR, 855AM. 3CR is one of the main platforms for Tamil activists in Melbourne. Aran Mylvaganam is co-presenter of the Tamil Manifest and Tamil Voice programs on 3CR.

He explains how the situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka is as desperate as it ever was.

* * *

“The life of a trade unionist in Colombia is very difficult and complex”, visiting union leader Edgar Paez told Green Left Weekly.

Paez said 4000 unionists have been murdered in Colombia in 28 years. “Last year, 47 unionists were killed, 48 the year before. Union leaders need armed guards, bulletproof cars, camera surveillance and bulletproof windows on their offices.

“They lose the possibility of a normal family life.”

“Break the war alliance” is one of the key messages anti-war groups will send to US President Barack Obama when he visits Australia in June.

Protesters plan to focus on the stepped-up US war drive in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will also demand of Obama and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that the occupying troops leave.

Compared to the Bush administration, total US defence spending is projected to rise from US$534.5 billion in 2006 to $663.7 billion in 2010 according to Congressional budget papers.

When the White House is quiet as protesters are butchered in the streets of Bangkok, suspicions are raised. Silence often equals complicity.

One can only imagine what the US government’s response would be to a Venezuelan government slaughter: the US media and US President Barack Obama would loudly condemn such an act.

The history of US-Thailand relations explains why. During the Vietnam War, the US used Thailand as one of the main “anti-communist” bulwarks in an area that included China, Vietnam and other countries that were challenging capitalism.

At the G20 Economic Forum in Pittsburgh in September, President Barack Obama said his administration would combat climate change by phasing out the US government’s grandiose subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

But a report released on April 13 by Synapse Energy Economics (SEE) said Obama hadn’t followed through on his promise to cut dirty energy handouts.

The federal Labor government’s freeze on processing visa applications by Afghan and Tamil asylum seekers is being challenged in many quarters.

Legal advice published by the Human Rights Law Resource Centre on May 23 said many of the factual and legal assumptions of the policy are open to “substantial challenge”.

The real sordid scandal in New South Wales Labor politics is not transport minister David Campbell’s visit to a gay Kensington bathhouse or Channel 7’s secret videoing of it — it’s the homophobic bigotry that continues in Premier Kristina Keneally’s government.

If Campbell had left his ministerial position because of Sydney’s public transport mess, rather than being caught at Ken’s of Kensington, it would have been justified.

The melting of the Arctic ice cap is one of the most foreboding signs of dangerous climate change.

If too much ice melts, it will set off natural feedback loops that warm the planet even faster and disrupt weather patterns.

A month ago, satellite data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) suggested the Arctic sea ice was growing back. In early April, the ice cover was close to the 30-year average.

But in recent weeks, the NSIDC has recorded a rapid drop in ice cover. By late May, the ice cover had dropped below what it was in May 2007 — the lowest year on record.

Pages

Subscribe to 839