Issue 621

Australia

Andrew Hall, Bundanoon Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), the movement of grassroots rural and regional refugee supporters, now has 90 groups in towns across Australia. Ninety members and supporters gathered at RAR's 2001 birthplace in
Annolies Truman, Perth Ram Seegobin, a leader of the Mauritian socialist organisation Lalit (meaning "struggle" in Creole) addressed a meeting here on March 30 and spoke at a Fremantle showing of The Control Room on April 1. The meetings were
Ben Courtice MELBOURNE — Les Thomas, brother of Melbourne resident Jack Thomas who is charged with terrorist offences, told the media on April 1 that his brother's case demonstrates the current threats to civil liberties. He particularly singled
Pilar Aguilera Aleida Guevara, the 44-year-old daughter of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, will speak at public meetings in Australia in May. A pediatrician in a Havana children's hospital, she has emerged as a prominent figure in the anti-globalisation and
Graham Matthews, Sydney The decision by the NSW Labor government to allow defence contractor Boeing exemption from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act was slammed by NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon as nothing more than the government sponsoring racism.
NEWCASTLE — On March 23, 170 students braved the rain and cold at the University of Newcastle to protest the federal Coalition government's assault on student unions. The university's vice-chancellor, professor Nick Saunders, stated his
CANBERRA — More than 100 students gathered at the Australian National University on March 31 for a speak-out organised by the student association's education department against the federal government's moves to introduce "voluntary student
Bill Mason, Brisbane Townsville "stolen wages" campaigner Yvonne Butler has described the offer by the Queensland government of compensation for the theft of Aboriginal workers' wages and entitlements over decades — amounting to fixed payments of
SYDNEY — Participants in the Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference rally in Redfern on March 26 demanding justice for TJ Hickey, a young Aboriginal man who died while being chased by police. Hickey's family presented documents
Jim Green, Adelaide Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Adelaide's Campaign Against Nuclear Dumping are hosting a tour of South Australia's nuclear sites on April 15-23. FoE has organised many similar trips over the past decade, attracting people from
Brianna Pike, Melbourne Students campaigning against "voluntary student unionism" at Deakin University won a victory against the university administration on March 25. The university's attempts to use security guards and police to forcefully remove
Selena Black Parents may be forced to choose between meeting compliance demands and their children's interests under proposed welfare changes to force single parents of primary school age children into work, according to the National Council of
MELBOURNE — On March 31, 200 students from university campuses across Melbourne rallied at the University of Melbourne to protest federal education minister Brendan Nelson and the introduction of "voluntary student unionism" (VSU) legislation.
Shua Garfield, Sydney As University of NSW Student Guild representatives crossed their picket line, guild staff organised by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) leafleted passers-by to explain the one-day strike action they took on March
Jon Lamb, Darwin Hundreds of teachers participated in a series of rolling 24-hour strikes across the Northern Territory from March 21 to March 30, demanding better pay and conditions as well as more funding for the NT's ailing education system.
Seventy people attended an all-day trade union seminar organised by the group Union Solidarity on March 19. The highlight was a panel on the lessons of the 1998 maritime dispute featuring Kevin Bracken, secretary of the Victorian branch of the
James Vassilopoulos, Melbourne "If the government touches one, they touch all. We need a national stoppage organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and labour councils", Martin Kingham, Victorian secretary of the Construction, Forestry,

World

Doug Lorimer Acute malnutrition among Iraqi children under five years of ago had doubled since the US invasion and occupation two years ago, Jean Ziegler, the UN Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food, told a session of the
The First People of the Kalahari, a Botswanan Bushmen organisation, has lodged a complaint with the World Bank about a BHP-Billiton venture in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is funded by the World Bank's private arm. BHP-Billiton has
Rohan Pearce and Alison Dellit "Masses of Americans are against this war and are looking for a way to express that", Ahmed Shawki, the editor of US journal International Socialist Review, told the audience at the Asia Pacific International
More than 150,000 Quebecois post-secondary students are on strike, in a serious attempt to defeat a CN$103 million cut to the student bursary program. The strike began seven weeks ago when 30,000 students attended a walkout, and has grown steadily in
Kim Bullimore Palestinian women in the Salfit district of the Israeli-occupied West Bank were joined by international and Israeli peace activists to marked the 29th annual Palestinian Land Day on March 30. Palestinian Land Day, known as Yom al
Stuart Munckton The Venezuelan government headed by President Hugo Chavez repeatedly accused the US government of planning a "new aggression" against Venezuela, including a plot to assassinate Chavez, despite pro-Chavez forces winning nine national
More than 1000 members of the Young Communist League and the Swaziland Solidarity Movement protested outside the Swaziland embassy in Pretoria on March 30, calling for democratic reform of the monarchy and condemning the current constitutional reform
Barry Healy Karol Jozef Wojtya, known as John Paul II since assuming the office of pope in October 1978, will be remembered as one of the most significant, though certainly not the most progressive, figures in the history of the Roman Catholic
Lee Sustar, Chicago A mass uprising that chased the authoritarian president of Kyrgyzstan out of his country on March 24 went beyond Washington's scripted "people power revolutions" in the republics of the former USSR. But newly empowered
Roberto Jorquera, Caracas On March 29, more than 5000 students gathered outside the National Assembly to support proposed changes to higher education. Inside, education minister Aristobulo Isturiz and higher education minister Samuel Moncada were
At dawn on March 6, 14 immigration officials raided the home of the Murselaj family — Tade, her husband Sadush and their three children Agnese (15), Gentian (12) and Leonard (9) — and took them into immigration detention. Roma refugees from
Towards the end of March, the US media was consumed with an issue that even squeezed out Michael Jackson: the attempts by US President George Bush to intervene to "save the life" of Terri Schiavo, who has been in a vegatative state for the last 15
Barry Healy The Movement Of United Farmworkers (MTC), a Guatemalan community organisation in the San Marcos region where the Canadian-US company Glamis Gold is operating, has issued an urgent appeal for international solidarity following the
US Treasury figures released on March 31 have revealed that US company profits soared 13.5% to US$1.3 trillion in the last quarter of last year, boosted by "labour's weak bargaining power". This brings profits to the highest portion of US income
Allen Myers, Ho Chi Minh City April 30 will be the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and the liberation of southern Vietnam from foreign occupation and domination. As part of the preparations for celebrating the anniversary, the Ho Chi
Allen Myers, Ho Chin Minh City The most commonly used addictive drug in Vietnam is heroin, according to officials of the Nhi Xuan rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. The centre is one of eight managed by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union
US Army documents released in early May have revealed that a US military "investigation" into the alleged rape of two Iraqi women by US soldiers was shut down for lack of evidence — without contacting the alleged victims. It is alleged that the
Roberto Jorquera, Caracas A coalition of pro-Chavez forces including the Venezuelan Communist Party, Socialist League and community organisations held a press conference on March 29 to explain that they are prepared to unite and present their own
Jamal Juma, Jerusalem Over the last two months there has been a wide-scale escalation of popular resistance confronting the ever-intensifying Israeli occupation. The Ramallah demonstration on March 14 reflected the highpoint of mobilisation against
Somewhere in a Chilean warehouse, 10,000 health department posters with the slogan "Emergency contraception: It's your decision; it's your right" lie gathering dust, after the March 8 announcement by the assistant secretary for health, Antonio
In mid-May, the British immigration department rejected a visa application from Tamil Sri Lankan Theivanai Balanchandran, who is willing and able to donate a kidney to her desperately ill British daughter-in-law Suthakaran Lalitharani. Lalitharani
Members of the Porgera Special Mining Lease Landowner Association have demanded the closure of the Porgera Gold Mine, in a letter sent to PM Michael Somare in late March. The landowners claimed that more than 21 people have been killed in the mine
Kathy Newnam Among the most exciting developments discussed at the Asia-Pacific International Solidarity Conference held in Sydney at Easter was the rapidly changing map of New Zealand politics, in particular, the development of the Maori Party,
Doug Lorimer "The Iraqi people ... have lost much of their trust in the parliament, and some are regretting their participation in the [January 30] elections", Abd al Karem al Mohammedawi, a Shiite tribal leader, told the March 30 London Financial
On March 20, the Royal Society released the results of its government-sponsored review of genetically modified winter seed oil crops, concluding that wildlife and the environment would suffer if the crops were allowed to be grown. According to the

Culture

The making of Pregnant Woman 2002Queensland Art Gallery, Melbourne St, South BrisbaneMarch 12 - June 5Free admission REVIEW BY LYNDA HANSEN The first time I heard about Pregnant Woman 2002 was on the lifestyle show Brisbane Extra. Apparently the
Someone said somethingand it flew overone ear and passedthrough the other. And the third worldrolled over and groanedfor it had been beaten.and its organs were seeping outof deep, blood red wounds. it was tired.hungry.its bed mate, unhurt,white
BY DERRICK O'KEEFE Like so many, I've by now become used to my childhood heroes letting me down. I long ago accepted that hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, to whom I dedicated many an early adolescent hour of memorising statistics (just ask me how many
RickyBy Ricky TomlinsonTime Warner, 2004448 pages, $24.95 (pb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON "A window got broke, a door frame got knocked over and a couple of walls were toppled. Some guy slipped off scaffolding and sprained an ankle. Another claimed a
The Black Meteor — The arrival of a black South African soccer player to a small Dutch town challenges racism and small-mindedness. SBS, Monday, April 11, 11pm. Cutting Edge: Al-Qaeda in Europe — In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the locus