875

A popular rebellion is shaking the regime of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad — and highlighting the hypocrisy of US policy in the region. The protests of recent weeks spread further following Friday prayers on March 25. The Syrian regime responded with vicious repression that left at least 61 people dead, and with a belated promise of reform.
The online journal Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is hosting a series of commentaries from left-wing groups and commentators from around the world on the crucial question of whether or not to support the US-NATO military intervention in Libya.
The bad news for Ohio’s 350,000 public workers is that a new law bans them from striking — the good news is at least they will no longer risk jail for doing so. A March 30 Reuters article said: “Ohio’s legislature on Wednesday passed a Republican measure to curb the collective bargaining rights of about 350,000 state employees, and Governor John Kasich said he will sign it into law.” The new law will ban unions from striking in support of public workers and limit workers’ ability to collectively bargain.
Secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks on March 15 show that former US ambassador to Nepal, James Moriarty, actively sought to destabilise Nepal’s peace process in order to prevent a Maoist rise to power. The Maoist-led People’s Liberation Army waged a decade-long “people’s war” against Nepal’s centuries-old feudal monarchy. A people’s uprising in 2006 brought the monarchy down, opening the way for an elected constituent assembly in 2008.
US coal giant Drummond paid right-wing paramilitaries accused of murder and human rights abuses for protection of its Colombian operations, Colombiareports.com said on March 16. The article said the information was revealed in secret diplomatic cables sent between 2006-2010 released by WikiLeaks to the Colombian paper El Espectador,
Climate change is often called the greatest environment threat facing humanity. The threat is very real. Unless we cut carbon pollution fast, runaway climate change will worsen existing environmental and social problems, and create new ones of its own. But it’s no longer enough to simply refer to the climate crisis. Climate change is one part of a broader ecological disaster, brought about by an economic system that relies on constant growth, endless accumulation and ever-deepening human alienation.
About 2000 people rallied in Melbourne on March 26 to support equal marriage rights. Speakers included Sally Goeldner from Trans Victoria, comedian Joel Creasey and James Campbell from the Melbourne-based gay and lesbian underage group and Minus-18. Protesters marched to the Marriage Registry at Treasury Place. For more information on the campaign, visit www.equallove.info
More than 100 people rallied outside the South Australian Parliament on March 25 in solidarity with the people of the Middle East. The focus of the rally was the attacks on protesters by snipers in Yemen, the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi troops and the ongoing civil war and bombing in Libya. People from various Middle Eastern communities waved flags and placards demanding an end to the military crackdowns.
MC NxtGen

Good politicians are few and far between, but British health secretary Andrew Lansley is among the worst. In 2008, he was forced to apologise after saying recessions brought "good things" such as people being able to spend more time with their families.

The Australian government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It permitted the forcible deportation of Afghan refugees — including children separated from their families — from Australia back to Afghanistan. Refugee advocates have sharply criticised the MOU. They say it does not guarantee the safety of returned asylum seekers and point out that the Afghanistan puppet government is illegitimate and corrupt.
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) issued a statement on March 29 calling for the immediate release of five West Papuan nurses who have been arrested and jailed by the Indonesian government for taking part in industrial action. Eight nurses and midwives were detained on March 20 by the criminal investigation unit of the Papuan police in Jayapura, ANF acting federal secretary Yvonne Chaperon said. Five remain in jail.
The largest anti-nuclear protests in German history were held on March 26. About 250,000 people marched in Germany’s four largest cities. Under the slogan “Fukushima Warns: Pull the Plug on all Nuclear Power Plants”, more than 120,000 took to the streets of Berlin, 50,000 in Hamburg, 40,000 in Koeln and upward of 40,000 marched in Muenchen. In state elections held the next day, the German Greens won a historic victory in Baden-Wuerttemberg. They will form Germany’s first-ever Green-led government. They also tripled their vote in elections in Rheinland-Pfalz.