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A Socialist Alliance statement on the ‘Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles’ *** Since its inception in 2001, the Socialist Alliance has been actively involved in campaigns to protect high conservation native forests from being logged and we support an end to the forestry conflict in Tasmania.
Haiti's November 28 election was marred by widespread fraud. Despite the call of all the leading candidates but one to cancel the exercise, officials with the UN Security Council mission as well as the United States, Canada and Europe are voicing satisfaction with the result and urging the country’s electoral commission to press ahead with a second-round runoff vote in January.
Sombat Boonngamanong is a long-time NGO activist in Thailand and has been of great help to renewing public Red Shirt activity following the bloody April-May military crackdown. Lee Yu Kyung spoke to him about the prospects for the democracy movement in Thailand. * * *
The streets of Ayala, the old financial capital of Manila, were taken over by about 5000 people on November 25 in a protest against the growing use of contract labour. Philippine Airlines, owned by the Philippines second richest man, is the latest company to sack its workforce and rehire them as contract workers – with lower wages and without the benefits and security guaranteed to formal, permanent workers.
"You can't come in”, Friends of the Earth (FOE) organiser Drew Hutton told mining companies on behalf of a coalition of farming groups from South-West Queensland, outside State Parliament on November 22. The farmers launched the campaign in opposition to mining companies’ plans for up to 40,000 coal seam gas wells and massive new coal mines on the farming land of the Darling Downs. "All the laws are weighted in favour of the mining interests and against farmers”, Hutton said.
The sixth plenum of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist — UCPN(M)) began on November 20 in Gorka District. It was the largest meeting in the party’s history; more then 7000 local members are taking part in discussions. The Nepalese revolution is in a state of limbo. The current government resigned in May, but continues in a caretaker fashion, as no alternative has come forward.
The debate around the Murray Darling Basin crisis has brought to public attention the need to rethink agriculture in Australia. Today, sustainable food production is relegated to niche status — squeezed out by methods of farming that are seen to be more efficient. However, the efficiency of the dominant mode of agriculture relies heavily on chemical inputs for fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. This agriculture degrades soils, pollutes waterways and contributes heavily to climate change.
The gas industry is rapidly increasing its scope in the Australian energy market as, state and federal government approve drilling sites across the nation with little community consultation and relaxed environmental safeguards. Natural gas will account for 33% of Australia's primary energy consumption by 2030, compared with 8% from renewables, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).
On October 23, the Age reported that increased alcohol prices are driving many young people to switch to the party drug ecstasy, according to drug researchers, nightclub owners and young people themselves. “It is cheaper and convenient to use pills”, said Professor Jake Najman, director of the University of Queensland’s Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre. “A lot of young people are making that choice to switch between alcohol and ecstasy. Pills can be cheaper, there is no question.”

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