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Late one night in 2007, in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia, 21-year-old Australian man Jock Palfreeman was walking home after a night out with friends. He saw a group of about 15 men attacking two others. The two men were Roma, an ethnic minority who are often the targets of racist attacks by neo-Nazi gangs. Outraged, Palfreeman intervened to prevent the attack, but instead the crowd turned their violence on him, hurling concrete blocks. Palfreeman pulled a knife to protect himself and during the subsequent fight, one man was stabbed and later died.
Tens of thousands of Haitians spontaneously poured into the streets of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on the morning of March 12, 2007. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had just arrived in Haiti all but unannounced. A multitude, shrieking and singing with glee, joined him in jogging alongside the motorcade of Haiti’s then President Rene Preval on its way to the National Palace (later destroyed in the 2010 earthquake).
Football Rebels Presented by Eric Cantona Al Jazeera Started screening March 11 http://aje.me/YaPbYC Al Jazeera is screening a five-part documentary on the stories of five football heroes whose social conscience led them to challenge unjust regimes, join opposition movements and lead the fight for democracy and human rights.
The international boycott campaign against the world’s third largest defence company is about to arrive in Australia and the first battleground may be at RMIT University in Melbourne. Palestine solidarity activists have focused a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign on the Max Brenner chocolate store chain, a subsidiary of the Strauss Group, which supplies and supports the Israeli army. This year however, cross-campus activist based group Students for Palestine has decided on a new target. Meet BAE Systems — short for British Aerospace Engineering.
Socialist Alliance WA co-convener Alex Bainbridge has hit out at legal threats issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Recall management. Recall is a document storage company whose workers have entered their fourth week on strike for an agreement that recognises union rights. “Yesterday we received a letter indicating that Recall's lawyers are seeking to subpoena documents from the Socialist Alliance regarding the dispute,” Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.
“Not joining the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement doesn’t mean that you’re not taking a stand,” Associate Professor Jake Lynch told a meeting at the University of Sydney on March 14. “By continuing institutional links to Israeli high education, universities here risk unwittingly becoming indirectly complicit in violations of international laws and abuses of human rights.”
A 72-year-old man overly fond of a cold shandy on a hot day and a cigarette or two, was found dead in the room he rented in a pub in Waterloo, Sydney on February 23. There was nothing particularly unusual about it except that the man, Eddie Trigg, was the last person to see Juanita Nielsen alive. Nielsen was a society heiress, a member of the family that owned the iconic Sydney retailer Mark Foy’s. In the 1970s she was living in Victoria Street, Kings Cross, running a local paper called Now.
Former Coalition government treasurer Peter Costello envisions Queensland as a privatised, “small government” state in the final report he has written for the state government. A huge sell-off of remaining public assets was recommended in the 32-page executive summary released on March 1. The full report in excess of 1000 pages has been withheld until after the May budget.
I have always found tests and exams, whether the NAPLAN or Victorian Certificate of Education, very problematic. For one thing, it only tests English and numeracy, as if other subjects are not important and do not contribute to numeracy and literacy skills. For several years, educators have known that there are different learning styles and techniques. Some people have one dominant learning style, others use different styles in different situations, and styles are not fixed.
This year marks the bicentenary of the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains in NSW. For white Australia it was a great triumph and a significant step forward in the process of colonising the entire continent. For the Aboriginal people of this area, however, it was a disturbing development that heralded the most significant challenge they had ever faced.

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