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UPDATE: The media are reporting a second day of large anti-government protests. The regime has cracked down, with reports of at least 500 people arrested across the country.

See also:
Tunisia: People's power ousts dictator
Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear

Renowned investigative journalist and film maker John Pilger interviewed Wikileaks' editor-in-chief about the “war on WikiLeaks” in response to the website “speaking truth to power”. For more information on Pilger's work, visit www.johnpilger.com .

More Wikileaks coverage:
Assange awarded Sydney Peace Prize ‘gold medal’
Pilger, Wilkie, Burnside to defend WikiLeaks at Sydney public forum

iNTervention Intervention
Curated by Teena McCarthy & Brendan Penzer
The Vanishing Point gallery
565 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
January 13-30

“The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future....

“We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country....

Reports that the WA state government is planning to give police "stop and search" powers during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year should concern all Western Australians.

Even more worrying — albeit unsurprising — is that the ALP has dropped its lukewarm opposition to the laws, at least for the duration of CHOGM.

Stop and search laws were rejected by the state upper house November and the CHOGM summit is no excuse to bring them in by the back door.

There are more revelations than you can count in the now-infamous Wikileaks cables — a fact highlighted by the arrest and extradition attempts against Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

But here’s another one that’s been buried, and it definitely hammers home the need to defend not just Wikileaks, but freedom of speech in general.

If it is Your Life
By James Kelman, Penguin Books 2010
280 pages, hardback
£18.99

This is Scottish author James Kelman’s first collection of short stories since The Good Times in 1998.

Right from the very first sentence you know you are back in the distinctive world of Kelman’s fiction: “When I presented myself at the Emergency section of the Social Security Office I knew things could go wrong but I was not expecting a leg amputated.”

One of the claims made most often by Israeli officials and supporters is that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. But in recent weeks, media outlets around the world have reported on a string of new laws in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) meant to curtail the work of human rights non-government organisations (NGOs).

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has even referred to such groups as “terrorism aids”.

The targeted NGOs report on human rights abuses in the entire area under Israeli control: that is, within the state of Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.

On December 31, the Bolivian government of President Evo Morales repealed a decree, passed five days earlier, to remove subsidies for fuel.

The repeal came after protests and discontent at the resulting price increases from many of the government’s poor supporters.

“Why is the government making us suffer during these days … I don’t understand, I don’t understand”, Carla, a housewife in El Alto told Radio Atipiri on New Years Eve.

On December 10, surrounded by union leaders and foreign dignitaries, President Evo Morales announced Bolivia’s new pension law at the headquarters of the Bolivian Workers Central (COB), the country’s militant national trade union federation.

The unprecedented and highly symbolic event was the result of a four-year negotiating process, during which the COB agreed to suspend its mobilisation for higher wages in exchange for comprehensive pension reform.

At last someone has dared to defend the oppressed people of the British banking community. Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays bank, who himself has to suffer the trauma of an £8 million bonus, said yesterday that the bankers’ “period of remorse and apology should be over”.

And you feel his pain, because the first words to cross your mind when you see a banker are “remorseful and apologetic”.

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