Issue 485

News

BY SAM WAINWRIGHT Only one day after an angry March 14 meeting of State Transit Authority (STA) bus drivers voted to strike for 48 hours in pursuit of their wage claim, the executive of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union has deferred the action. The
BY PIP HINMAN More than 10,100 people have signed an online petition supporting a call for a royal commission into the government's treatment of asylum seekers. Out of thousands of active petitions from all over the world listed on the
BY BARRY HEALY PERTH — Under pressure from local residents, the Western Australian health department on March 8 released worrying figures on cancer rates in the Kwinana industrial area, south of Perth. The government department is playing
BY SARAH STEPHEN Hundreds of detained asylum seekers from Afghanistan have been denied protection visas, despite recommendations from immigration department officers that they be granted. A spokesperson for immigration minister Philip Ruddock
BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE HOBART — The Stanley Burbury Theatre at the University of Tasmania was absolutely packed out on March 7 when David Suzuki presented a lecture emphasising the importance of social justice for saving the environment. Billed as
BY BARRY HEALY MIDLAND, WA — In response to the February 11 Four Corners program that exposed the extent of the devastating toxic fire at the Waste Control recycling site in Bellevue in February 2000, and a year of community protest action,
BY GARY MEYERHOFF DARWIN — "No votes for ratbags" was the headline of the editorial in the March 7 Northern Territory News. The News was referring to the Socialist Alliance and its candidate for Lord Mayor of Darwin, Ruth Ratcliffe. The same
BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE HOBART — A range of local industry bosses — Chickenfeed boss Rudie Sypkes, Steven Auld of Auld Constructions and Robert Wilkins of Wilkins Constructions — utilised the beginning of the building industry royal commission's
BY JENNY LONG SYDNEY — Up to 400 people gathered for a two-hour protest vigil for Palestine on March 15. Well supported by the Sydney Palestinian community, the vigil was called by the Council of Australian Palestinian Organisations with the
BY SUE BULL MELBOURNE — Workers sacked by Hugo Boss (formerly called Flair Menswear) found themselves under greater attack this week. Twenty-five workers and leaders of their union, the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA),

World

BY JOHN PILGER LONDON — Almost 30 years after the violent destruction of the reformist government of Salvador Allende in Chile, a repeat performance is being planned in Venezuela. Little of this has been reported in Britain. Indeed, little is
BY NORM DIXON On March 13, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was officially pronounced the winner of the March 9-11 presidential election with 55% of the vote. Mugabe's "victory" over opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate
BY NORM DIXON Some 100,000 trade unionists and anti-corporate activists filled the streets of Barcelona on March 14 to call for a "social Europe". The protest came as the European Union summit prepared to meet on March 16-17 in the Catalan
BY ALLEN JENNINGS Early on February 21, Colombia's 38-year civil conflict exploded into full-fledged war when President Andres Pastrana unilaterally broke off peace talks with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and ordered
BY ROHAN PEARCE On March 12, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan made a speech that contained some of the harshest criticisms of Israel by any UN representative since the second intifada began in September 2000. Annan said: "Large-scale military
BY SARAH CLEARY This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the historic "X case" ruling whereby suicidal women in Ireland were permitted to travel overseas to obtain an abortion. Rather than mark this anniversary with further liberalisation of
BY DITA SARI [The following statement was issued on March 8 by Dita Sari, chairperson of the Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggles (FNPBI).] International Women's Day is not just an annual tradition. This isn't also just a celebration.
BY MICHAEL KAMBER As dusk falls in Kabul, the streets fill with a choking gray smoke, despite the city's near-complete lack of industry. Nearly every family in this capital of one million is cooking its evening meal and trying to keep the bitter
SAN FRANCISCO — In a recent news release, the Canadian Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC group) announced that the biotechnology industry continues to aggressively pursue the development of genetically modified seeds

Culture

The Autobiography of Abbie Hoffman Four Walls Eight Windows, New York, 2000 $29, paperback BY RJURIK DAVIDSON In August 1967, 15 or so “hippies” took a tour of the New York Stock Exchange. There, at the Mecca of global commerce, the
Michael Franti, formerly of the legendary US rap outfit Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and now with Spearhead, is not been afraid to tackle the key political issues of the day, such as Third World debt, the HIV-AIDS crisis or the death penalty.
BY MARGARET ALLUM Despite winning the 2002 Grammy Award for best Latin/rock alternative album for Embrace the Chaos, Los Angeles-based Ozomatli's music is still firmly rooted in the streets. The band's commitment to political activism is strong.
MELBOURNE — One of Australia's most accomplished percussionists, Ray Pereira, will team up with visiting West African musician Nii Tetteh Tettey to perform at a Green Left Weekly cultural night on March 22. The theme of the evening is "End racism,

Editorial

Since the Australian government's refusal last year to allow asylum seekers rescued by the Norwegian freighter Tampa to land in Australia, a significant protest movement in support of refugees' rights has developed across Australia. The movement has