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At least three strikers were killed on January 3 when police in Cambodia opened fire to break up a protest by garment workers.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police deputy head Chuon Narin claimed three were killed and two others wounded in a suburb of the capital. Police fired AK-47 rifles after several hundred workers blocking a road began burning tyres and throwing objects at them.

Police described the protesters as "anarchists destroying public and private property".

The following is an edited version of a speech by Mary Merkenich at the December 15 rally against the Victorian government's proposed East-West Link tollway tunnel. Merkenich is on Manningham Council’s Residents Advocacy group for Rail to Doncaster, speaking here in personal capacity.

Our residents group in Manningham is campaigning for a new rail line to Doncaster because it will reduce traffic and congestion on the Eastern Freeway.

The Rail Revival Alliance is a group formed in response to the Victorian coalition government’s Rail Revival feasibility study into returning passenger trains between Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo via Meredith and Newstead. After being let down by the previous state Labor government, the group is now determined to hold the coalition state government to their policy.

Socialist Alliance WA senate candidate Alex Bainbridge has added his voice to those rejecting a proposed $5 or $6 Medicare co-payment.

"We should be moving in the direction of reducing out of pocket costs for medical care not increasing them," said Bainbridge.

"The proposal to introduce a co-payment is a major attack on Medicare which has already been significantly undermined since it was first introduced," Bainbridge said.

More than 500,000 houses have been built since mid 2011 under the Venezuelan government’s mass housing building construction program.

Launched by former president Hugo Chavez to tackle the South American country’s shortage of affordable housing, the program has the ambitious aim of building three million new homes by 2019.

On Christmas Eve, the Queen of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Commonwealth deigned to pardon one of the 20th century’s most important mathematicians of the crime of homosexuality.

In 1952, Alan Turing was tried and convicted of engaging in sex with other men. He was presented with the choice of prison or chemical castration. He chose the latter, estrogen treatments that caused him to grow breasts, made him impotent, and drove him to depression.

Striking Cambodian shoe and clothing workers have blocked roads and scuffled with police. At least seven people were injured and seven others arrested after clashes between the workers and riot police, local rights monitors said.

Community Legal Education Centre spokesman Huy Pichsovann said that police had beaten the marching workers with truncheons. After the clash thousands of workers led by two of Cambodia's biggest unions blocked roads in front of the Labour Ministry.

Three hundred firefighters gathered in Treasury Gardens on December 12 and marched to Parliament House to protest against inadequate staffing levels.

United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said the former ALP government had promised to employ 342 extra firefighters and had allocated money for this purpose. However, the Coalition government has failed to implement the planned increase.

Marshall said that this puts community safety at risk. He said that the bushfires royal commission showed the need for more firefighters.

Refugee activists in Melbourne and Geelong rallied on December 20 to present a new "Code of Conduct" to the Immigration Department for Coalition ministers, after immigration minister Scott Morrison proposed a new "code of conduct" for asylum seekers.

Hundreds of paramedics rallied on December 11 for a better deal from the Victorian government. Poor pay and long hours have adversely affected ambulance response times. Negotiations have been delayed 16 months by the Napthine government.

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