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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.
Irish socialist republican party eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson has labelled the Dublin government’s four-year fiscal adjustment plan “a criminal charter for the wrecking of working class communities”. Among the measures contained within the plan are: • A €2.8 billion cut in the social welfare budget. • The gradual increase of the pension age to 68 by 2028 and the reduction of the pension rate for retired public sector workers. • The reduction of the minimum wage to €7.65 an hour. • The raising of university registration fees to €2000.
A rising tide of homophobic aggression in Uganda has divided religious leaders. At the root of the problem, Western missionaries have been spreading anti-gay sentiment and dividing the community. Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since British colonisation in the late 19th century. However, many Ugandans trace the current crisis to March 5, 2009, when right-wing evangelical missionaries from the US held a three-day conference at the Triangle Hotel in Kampala.
Portugal's working class brought the country to a standstill on November 24 to press the Socialist Party government to scrap its regressive cuts program. The general strike against European Union-mandated austerity, the first to be organised jointly by Portugal's two main unions since 1988, is the country's largest ever stoppage. Trains and buses did not run, planes were grounded and banking services halted.
Media fanfare has subsided around the October rescue of 33 miners from the San Jose mine in Chile — an event watched by an estimated 1 billion people across the globe. But could this event at least help bring about change for miners’ rights and conditions? Unfortunately, if we look behind all the commotion and government rhetoric about making big changes for the lives of miners in Chile, the answer seems to be no. On November 7, two miners were killed in an accident in the Los Reyes mine near Copiapo, close to where the San Jose mine accident took place.
The 190th Annual Meeting of Southern Baptists, held on November 16 in Columbia, South Carolina, approved a resolution calling its pastors to preach against homosexuality — “to uphold the biblical standard of human sexuality against all onslaughts” — but also to “love and show compassion toward homosexuals and transgendered persons”. Mixed in with this “hate is love” doublespeak is a great deal of defensiveness about the loss of social status by the US religious right.
The public finances of Ireland will, for the next three years at least, be subject to “regular reviews” by external monitors working on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the British and Swedish governments. On November 21, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen and minister for finance Brian Lenihan, after a week of shocking lies and deceit, said they would accept the IMF/EU bailout. It later emerged that the G7, made up of the seven most powerful countries in the world, had met to give its approval to the deal.
Pope Benedict XVI has told a German journalist that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS. News of the Pope’s historic new stance was first posted online on November 20 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.
The Israeli government agreed “in principle” on November 17 to withdraw from the northern part of Ghajar, a village in the occupied Golan Heights. The village was conquered by Israel in 1967, during the six-day war. In 2000, Ghajar was split in two. The northern part was to be controlled by Lebanon, the southern part by Israel. The southern part of Ghajar was deemed by the United Nations (UN) to be a part of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
About 150 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University have been stood down after taking part in lawful and protected industrial action. The union put a ban on the transmission of student results after more than two years of negotiations failed to make progress on improving job security, pay and other conditions for staff. A key sticking point in the negotiations is management’s unregulated use of fixed-term contracts and casual employment.
National rallies on November 20 and 27 were held in support of equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) couples. November 20 was also Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day started in 1999 to remember those who were killed by anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Across the country, trans activists addressed equal marriage rights. A minute's silence was held to remember those killed by transphobic violence.
Tough talk by the warmongers at the November 20-21 NATO conference in Lisbon, Portugal, obscured the growing opposition in the US and Europe to the nine-year occupation of Afghanistan. Ten thousand people took to the streets of London on November 20 to protest the war. Angry at the British government’s recent cuts to services and pensions, many carried “Cut war not welfare” placards.

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