In the week Lord Leveson published almost a million words about his inquiry into the “culture, practice and ethics” of Britain's corporate press, two illuminating books about media and freedom were also published. Their contrast with the Punch and Judy show staged by Leveson is striking. For 36 years, Project Censored, based in California, has documented critically important stories unreported or suppressed by the media most US people watch or read.
Sydney's prestigious Hilton Hotel hosted the “PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Investment Conference” over December 3-5. The event summed up the nature of the resource industry in PNG. PNG Mine Watch said on December 1: “The Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney will be a room full of white men dicing and slicing PNG’s assets with little or no participation or informed consent from the people of Papua New Guinea.
Immigrant Chinese bus drivers in Singapore began a two day strike on November 26. This is the first major strike in the tightly controlled city state since 1986. The drivers were employed by SMRT, a state owned public transport company. The strikers were all mainland Chinese – part of a growing number of immigrant workers in Singapore that perform low paid and menial jobs. The drivers are being paid less than local drivers for the same work. The workers are unhappy with housing provided, due to overcrowding and poor facilities.
One year has passed since the community of Cajamarc, in Peru's northern highlands, rose up against the “Conga” copper and gold mine, a US$5 billion mega-project proposed by the World Bank-backed Newmont-Buenaventura consortium. The unified cry of the protesters is still: “Conga no way!” The region bordering the mine site is home to an agricultural population that relies on the natural highland water system. Destroying this precious and fragile asset would end the viability of their existence.
It’s a warm night in the small village of Chuao in Venezuela. Dozens of children are playing in the square in front of the old colonial church, and a local man, beating a drum he holds between his knees, sings: “This is the taste of my cocoa. This is what we have, we black people of Chuao.” The people of Chuao, descendants of Africans brought to Venezuela’s coast as slaves by the Spanish, have been growing cocoa for more than 400 years.
Indonesian police captain Kiki Kurnia told West Papuan independence leader Victor Yeimo, “We are ready to wreak havoc and clash with all of you,” during Yeimo's arrest at a protest in Jayapura on December 1. Security forces blocked the West Papuan “independence day” march and arrested two other independence leaders along with Yeimo for organising the rally, West Papua Media said on December 2. The three were released the next day.
Venezuela has abolished entrance visas for Palestinian visitors among a set of new agreements with the Middle Eastern country. Venezuela became the first country to abolish visas for Palestinians carrying civil or diplomatic passports as part of talks in early December in Caracas between representatives of the two countries. Venezuela also committed itself to build a new hospital in Palestinian territory and made new agreements in the areas of health, education and tourism.
At a one-day assembly of more than 500 delegates on November 28, the militant socialist Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM) introduced its candidates for national elections scheduled for May 13 next year. The PLM, which now holds positions in several Barangay (neighbourhood) councils, is running 20 candidates for municipal councillor, vice-mayor, mayor and Congress. They include candidates in Negros and Iligan, in the Philippine archipelago’s south. Most candidates, however, are in Metro Manila or the semi-urban provinces surrounding the capital: Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna.
The Plurinational State of Bolivia released the statement below on December 5 about the United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar. It was translated by Richard Fidler. Below that is Bolivia's official statement to the Doha talks. Both are reprinted from Bolivia Rising. * * *
The People’s Coalition Against Regressive Taxation held a 4000-strong blockade of the upmarket Manila Shangri-La Hotel from December 5 to 6. The Bicameral Conference Committee, representing the upper and lower houses of the Philippines parliament, were inside debated the Sin Tax Bill, which will double the prices of cigarettes and alcohol. Workers and farmers were represented in the blockade, whose ranks were drawn predominantly from the urban poor.