Issue 618

Australia

Alex Bainbridge, Hobart The Tasmanian Labor government has spent $30,000 organising a bus to tour the state to bolster support for Gunns' new pulp mill. Gunns Limited is Australia's largest woodchipper and the company behind the lawsuit against 20
Dave Riley The Green Left Weekly email discussion list was set up two years ago as an adjunct to this paper's publishing venture. It has now reached the 500 subscriber mark, making it one of the largest open discussion lists on the left. Over
Nicole Hilder, Melbourne A popular 15-year-old year student at Thornbury Darebin Secondary College, Nak Assavatheptavee, was forcibly deported by immigration officials to Thailand on February 25. Assavatheptavee has lived in Australia for the
Jim McIlroy, Brisbane Opposition to Prime Minister John Howard's decision to send an additional 450 troops to Iraq was the main theme of a speak-out sponsored by the Stop the War Collective (STWC) on the steps of King George Square on March 4.
Robyn Marshall, Brisbane An International Women's Day rally and march on March 5, attended by 400 people, called for the decriminalisation of abortion. Long-time abortion rights campaigner Katrina Barben condemned the state Labor government for
MELBOURNE — On February 21, the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) stated that the federal government is likely to cut funding by 10% to Supported Accommodation Assistance Programs (SAAP). Both federal and state governments are currently
HOBART — In response to the high-profile abortion-bashing by federal health minister Tony Abbott and friends, the Hobart International Women's Day collective has decided to prioritise pro-choice campaigning this year. Meeting on February 28, the
Kiraz Janicke, Sydney During the University of Sydney's orientation week, Students Against War, which has been running a campaign against Australian companies profiting from the occupation of Iraq, planned to picket the ANZ bank's stall. ANZ is
Paul Oboohov, Canberra Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) are currently debating the future direction of the union in response to yet another round of proposed restructuring. Under the proposal, decision-making power will be
Max Lane, Sydney On the evening of March 2 at Jakarta airport, Dr Ed Aspinall, a lecturer in South East Asian history at the University of Sydney, was prevented from entering Indonesia. "I was stopped at immigration at the Jakarta airport. The
BRISBANE — A protest was held outside state parliament on March 2 in solidarity with the Palm Island community and the family of Mulrunji Doomadgee, who died in police custody in November. The protest demanded the sacking of Labor Premier Peter
Kathy Newnam, Darwin The One Mile Dam community, an Aboriginal camp just outside Darwin's CBD, is still waiting for answers about government plans for the future of the special purpose lease on which the camp resides. In recent months, rumours
Jim McIlroy, Brisbane He was the "minister for black-outs, now he's the minister for out-Blacks", Aboriginal leader Sam Watson told Green Left Weekly on March 4, describing the new Queensland minister for Aboriginal policy, John Mickel. Mickel
SYDNEY — Activists in the Sydney anti-war movement received good news over the past week when the University of NSW branch of the National Tertiary Education Union and the NTEU NSW division both passed motions of support for the March 20
HOBART — The Friends of the Gunns 20 have launched an official website at <http://www.gunns20.org>. According to the home page, the website provides "information on one of the biggest lawsuits ever launched in Australia by a rich
Ian Jamieson, Fremantle After four weeks on strike, 430 workers involved in the expansion of the BHP-owned Worsley Alumina plant near Bunbury in south-west Western Australia appear close to victory in a dispute in which individual strikers were
James Vassilopoulos, Melbourne Multi-campus stop-work meetings of the Victorian University of Technology (VUT) branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on February 9 resolved to strike on March 8 and to hold a 48-hour strike on March
CANBERRA — The daily struggles of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were the focus of International Women's Peace Service volunteer Kim Bullimore's address to a Socialist Alliance forum held on March 3. Also addressing the forum was
Louise Moran, Canberra On March 2, rows of Israeli flags lined Commonwealth Avenue to signify the Australian government's welcoming of Israeli President Moshe Katsav. But outside the Israeli embassy, 70 protesters gathered to express their outrage

World

Tamara Pearson On February 7, Venezuela's governing party, the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR) established a 50% quota for women candidates for the National Assembly and district and municipal council elections. This will be applied to the
In an email home on September 29, Brayden described how the US multinational Halliburton took over the lucrative laundry facilities at the Baghdad airport. Stationed here at BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) for the past year, we saw the local
Stuart Munckton Speaking on his television program, Hello President on February 27, Venezuela's popular pro-poor president, Hugo Chavez, explained: "I am convinced, at this stage of my life — I am now 50 years old — after six years as a
Carlos Ortega, formerly a leader of the pro-boss "trade union" CTV, was arrested in Caracas on February 28. Ortega, who was carrying false identity documents, was one of the key leaders of the 2002 shutdown of the oil industry, orchestrated by the
Five anti-war activists were arrested on March 2, after they forced their way into the Irish embassy to protest the use of Ireland's Shannon Airport to refuel US war planes on their way to Iraq. The activists were members of the Irish group Pit-Stop
A February study carried out by researchers from Glamorgan and Cardiff universities has concluded that a third of child asylum seekers in Wales experience racial abuse. Released by charity Save the Children on February 24, the researchers' report
James Balowski, Jakarta Washington announced on February 26 that Indonesian participation in the US International Military Education and Training (IMET) program would restart immediately. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said US
Figures released on February 28 by the Morgantown veteran centre reveal that the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have produced the most grievously wounded veterans since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Of the 244,054 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans
On March 1, federal Judge Henry Floyd ordered the federal government to release Jose Padilla within 45 days, or to charge him with a criminal offence. Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in May 2002, when he arrived back to the US at Chicago airport.
Left-wing students contesting student union elections at Jerusalem University have had their stalls shut down and leaflets confiscated y campus security, as well as a staff supporter sacked. The Student Social front ticket, which includes Palestinian
On February 19, 500,000 people flooded Rome calling for an end to the war and occupation, and for the freeing of kidnapped Il Manifesto journalist and feminist activist Giuliana Sgrena. During Sgrena's one-month imprisonment, Italian television
On March 2, the BBC screened a documentary showing footage of asylum seekers being assaulted, sexually humiliated and racially abused at Oakington detention centre, run by Global Solutions, a Group 4 company. In November, the prison passed an
Doug Lorimer "Residents of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province some 100 kilometres west of Baghdad, have started to flee the city following the latest offensive launched by US Marines and the [puppet] Iraqi army", IRIN news, the news service of
On March 4, the US State Department confirmed that it had denied a visa to Dora Maria Tellez, one of the leaders of the 1979 revolution in Nicaragua, and the first health minister in the post-1979 Sandinista government, because of her involvement in
Alex Miller Thousands of anti-capitalist and anti-war activists are expected to protest against the G8 summit that is to be held in Gleneagles from July 6-8. The summit will bring together the leaders of the world's wealthiest countries,
Stuart Munckton According to a February 22 article by Venezuela Analysis commentator Jonah Gindin, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on February 20 that the recently expropriated paper company, now known as the Venezuelan Endogenous Paper
On March 1, South African police opened fire on a group of unarmed striking road freight workers in Johannesburg. The workers were toyi-toying on the pavement, a block from a mass rally of the strikers, who are demanding a 9% wage increase, when a
Doug Lorimer US President George Bush's "broad coalition" of countries participating in the US-led "multinational force" (MNF) occupying Iraq is steadily shrinking. Since Spain's pull-out of its 1300 troops last April, a dozen other countries have
James Balowski, Jakarta Swimming against a tide of opposition, on March 1 the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced that it will raise fuel prices by an average of 29%. Fuel subsidy cuts have been mooted since the Yudhoyono
A Zogby survey released on February 25 has found that, a month after his inauguration, US President George Bush does not have majority support for his policies. According to the poll, 53% disagree with Bush's "overall policy", and 43% support it. The
On February 4, 2000, agricultural labourers in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu turned what had been planned as a rally into a militant, hours-long blockade. The state assembly had shut down aid relief in the area 40 days after the Boxing Day
On March 1, Uruguay formally resumed diplomatic relations with Cuba, which had been broken in 2002 by right-wing president Jorge Batlle. Cuban foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque, in Uruguay for the inauguration of new President Tabare Vasquez,
On February 5, the English Socialist Alliance was wound up as a national organisation at a conference called for that purpose. The alliance, which drew to its banner all the main English far-left organisations, had been a viable left unity project
The left-wing Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (Liberation) won seven seats, up from five previously, in the 243-seat state assembly of Bihar in the month-long state elections completed in early March. One of the new seats won was in
Eva Cheng On February 14, while 574 miners were working 242 metres underground at the Sunjiawan coal mine in China's Liaoning province, a blast occurred, killing at least 213 of the miners. This was the deadliest mine accident in China since 1949.
Lee Sustar, Chicago It's still far from clear who ordered the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut on February 14. But under the guise of the "war on terror", the US is seizing an opportunity. Washington is working
On February 28, hundreds of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal disaster protested outside the headquarters of Indian Oil Corporation, in response to the announcement that IOC proposed purchasing Union Carbide technology from its new owner, Dow chemical.
Pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru was elected president of Tahiti on March 3, with the support of 29 of the 57 members of the semi-autonomous parliament that governs France's "overseas territory". Until last year, Tahiti had been governed for 20

Editorial

"We have stated clearly and on many occasions ... that we do not recognise abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance", Ellen Sauerbrey told a UN-sponsored global women's conference on

Culture

REVIEW BY ROGER ANNIS Cuba: A Revolution in Motionby Isaac SaneyFernwood Press and Zed Press240 pages, $25 How was it possible for poor and beleaguered Cuba to win twice as many Olympic medals as Canada? Why was Cuba able to send more than
REVIEW BY RACHEL EVANS Bob Brown: Gentle RevolutionaryBy James Norman Allen & Unwin, 2004232 pages, $29.95 I grew up with parents who loved bicycles, bush walked madly and stuck "No dams" stickers everywhere. This book made me realise where they