Under the banner of the Lock the Gate Alliance, about 100 demonstrators assembled outside Brisbane’s Convention Centre for the Queensland Gas Conference and exhibition on October 9 to protest their exclusion from the Australian Petroleum and Production Association’s (APPEA) inaugural Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Conference and Exhibition. Lock the Gate formally requested that its observers be permitted entry to the conference seminars concerning “social licence to operate”.
Sydney Stop CSG organised a human sign action at Sydney Park, St Peters, as its part of an Australia-wide week of action on this issue. A thousand people participated in this successful event.
Malalai Joya is an Afghan feminist and democracy activist who organised underground resistance to the Taliban regime and opposes the US-led occupation of her nation. Joya was elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005, and was undemocratically expelled from it for exposing the fundamentalist warlords in the US-backed Hamid Karzai regime. In an October 13 statement, Joya responded to the Taliban's attempted murder of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai for the crime of organising for women's rights. * * *
Tommy Docherty, the legendary wit and former manager of Manchester United, once quipped after his team had suffered a humiliating defeat, “We lost 4-0 and frankly we were lucky to get the nil”. The Tories in Scotland know just how he felt, for they are so hated that out of 56 MPs they have just one, and they were lucky to get that!
Indonesia has further intensified its repression of West Papuan independence activists, in an apparent response to independence leaders speaking to foreign media. Eight independence activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNBP) were arrested in Wamena on September 29 and accused of bomb-making and treason, West Papua Media (WPM) said on September 30. The operation involved the notorious Australian funded and trained Detachment 88 anti-terrorist unit.
“Venezuela Elections 'Free, But Not Fair'”, was Germany’s Spiegel Online headline on a piece about Venezuela's October 7 presidential poll, won by socialist President Hugo Chavez by more than 55% of the vote. “Chavismo wins, Venezuela loses”, was The Wall Street Journal's take. Compared with such headlines, the Sydney Morning Herald’s reprint of a New York Times article “Socialist Chavez hangs onto Power in Venezuela” by William Neuman might seem a reasonably balanced report. It is not.
There is something incredibly frustrating about the fact that the Red Hot Chili Peppers played a concert in Israel, ignoring international pleas for them to cancel and observe the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Admittedly, I wasn’t even quite aware of just how much their decision stung until the day after their appearance at the Pic.Nic festival in Tel Aviv.
Nothing quite prepares you for a first visit to Venezuela ― especially when the country is polarised between two very different visions for the future. This is how it was just before the October 7 presidential elections, which socialist President Hugo Chavez won with 55% of the vote in the largest turnout, more than 81%, in Venezuelan history.