Issue 655

Australia

Dave Riley, Brisbane Queensland train drivers and crews went on strike for 14 hours at midnight on February 2 over a new enterprise bargaining agreement, in defiance of an order from the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) banning
Jody Betzien Five men have been charged in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court over the shooting injury of two Aboriginal youths in Rockhampton on January 26, "Australia Day". In separate incidents, a 13-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl are alleged
Alex Turner, Brisbane The 600 workers at Queensland Rail's Redbank workshops returned to work on February 3, after voting on February 1 to strike in protest at a pay offer from management. The offer undermined an enterprise bargaining agreement
Laws are being introduced in Victoria to allow children as young as 10 to be strip-searched in public by police of the opposite sex without the knowledge of the children's parents. The Terrorist (Community Protection) (Amendment) Bill 2005 will be
HOBART — On February 1, Metro Tasmania — Tasmania's primary public transport provider — logged a claim with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission seeking an end to the bargaining period with its bus drivers. This would make a planned
James Vassilopoulos, Melbourne The Communication, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) and the community group Union Solidarity have achieved a victory against Australia Post management, which is now seeking mediation in the union's case to
Sarah Stephen, Sydney On January 31, 47-year-old former Afghan diplomat Naqib Ahmed Noori was released from Villawood detention centre after six years and four months of imprisonment. Noori, a former member of the People's Democratic Party of
Peter Short, Perth "The voice of West Papua must be heard, it has been silenced for 45 years", West Papua solidarity activist Ned Byrne told a crowd of 140 people who packed into Fremantle's Kulcha venue on January 31. Organised by Project
SYDNEY — Sydney Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen is spearheading a conservative call within the Anglican Church to declare same-sex practices a sin. He also defended his church's "obsession" with sexuality, according to the February 3 Sydney Morning
Tim Stewart, Canberra Legal action launched by two Filipino guest workers last week has lifted the lid on wage exploitation and racism in the hospitality industry in the ACT. The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) has learned of
Australian Electoral Commission figures released on February 1 show that in 2004-05 the Pharmacy Guild and pharmaceutical companies increased their donations to the NSW Labor government by almost $150,000, giving six times more than in the previous
Jim Green, Adelaide Friends of the Earth (FoE) is being relaunched in South Australia with a focus on promoting sustainable, socially and ecologically conscious technologies as an alternative to the nuclear industry. FoE Adelaide will also be
Amelia Taylor, Gold Coast A group of casual and low-paid workers on the Gold Coast has begun to organise, inspired by the New Zealand-based Unite union's "Super-size my Pay" campaign, which has mobilised thousands of casual workers in industrial
Sue Bolton The deadline for the petition circulating among unionists calling on the ACTU to organise a national stoppage and mass protests on the day the federal government's Work Choices legislation is enacted has been extended until February 19.
Kathy Newnam More than 40 people gathered at the "Let's get seditious" forum at Groove Cafe on January 28, to hear from speakers challenging the federal Coalition government's new anti-sedition laws. Anti-war campaigner Emma King spoke about the

World

Farooq Tariq, Lahore A criminal case was registered against 60 leaders of the Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union (covering brick kiln workers) on January 24 in Qasur. Their only crime was organising a rally. Police claimed the slogans raised by the
Doug Lorimer The number of Iraqis living below the poverty line has increased since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 to one-fifth of the population, according to figures released by Iraq's labour ministry on January 25. "A study
Doug Lorimer In a study for the Pentagon, Andrew Krepinevich, a retired US Army officer, concluded that the US Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to defeat the anti-occupation insurgency. He also suggested that
Sam Wainwright Discussion in the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) about whether or not to present a candidate in the 2007 presidential election has become a source of front-page speculation in the French media. The LCR, famous for its part in
On January 31, Saharawi political prisoners launched a 48-hour hunger strike to protest their treatment in Moroccan jails. The activists issued a media release citing torture, repression, humiliation and threat of assassination by prison authorities.
On January 31, 20,000 health workers joined a strike by doctors seeking higher pay. More than 3000 members of the Medicos Pro Salario physicians' guild have been on strike since November 14. The Health Workers Federation (Fetsalud), which covers
Kerryn Williams On February 2, Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez announced in a television speech that the US embassy's naval attache Captain John Correa was expelled from Venezuela. According to a February 3 Venezuelanalysis.com report,
On January 20, the Tupinikim and Guarani indigenous communities were violently evicted from their land in Espirito Santo by 120 police using rubber bullets and armed with sub-machine guns and tear gas. Thirteen people were injured. The equipment used
According to a February 1 media statement by the India Resource Center, Coca-Cola is the subject of police investigations into the death of V. Kamsan, a community leader who campaigned in opposition to the soft-drink company's proposed bottling plant
Michael Ascroft, Melbourne Just two days after a deliberately burned Australian flag was put on display above a Footscray street, it was seized by police. The flag was installed outside Trocadero Art Space for the exhibition Proudly unAustralian by
Eva Cheng Last September, Delphi Corporation, the largest US auto parts maker, demanded from its current and retired workers huge cuts in wages and entitlements. When the United Auto Workers union refused to agree to the cuts, Delphi filed for
Jim McIlroy, Caracas The Venezuelan government has informed Spain that it will shop elsewhere for military aircraft and patrol boats if Madrid cannot overcome Washington's veto on selling items that contain US technology to Caracas. The US has also
Several hundred trade unionists at Tehran's bus company Sherkate Vahed were arrested and many badly beaten following a strike on January 28. The union's leader, Mansour Osanloo, has been in prison since December 22. On January 24, the union called
Jon Lamb Journalists and human-rights organisations within East Timor and internationally are increasingly concerned about the consequences of a new penal code on defamation, which includes the penalty of up to three years' imprisonment for
Lara Pullin Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) leader Schafik Jorge Handal — Comandante "Simon" — died suddenly of a heart attack on January 24. He collapsed at the airport on his return to El Salvador from Evo Morales's
On January 31, Military Families Against the War led a protest and vigil in London's Parliament Square following the 100th death of British soldiers in Iraq. Similar vigils were also organised in 100 towns across Britain. Rose Gentle, whose son
The US-based Human Rights Watch has criticised the US government for aligning itself with Iran and Zimbabwe in an anti-gay vote in the United Nations. The US and other countries voted to deny UN consultative status at a meeting in late January to any
ExxonMobil made some US$36 billion in 2005 — the largest profits ever recorded by a US corporation — generated at the expense of the environment, human rights and workers' rights around the world. The ExxposeExxon.com campaign has responded with
Patrick Bond, Durban The ruling African National Congress will win the vast majority of seats in the March 1 elections for South Africa's city, town and district councils, given the lack of left electoral opposition. An ANC vow that half of its new
Jim McIlroy, Caracas In a series of fiery speeches on the closing day of the World Social Forum, January 29, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned the US government that a US attack on Iran would be "10 times worse than Iraq". "Enough already
The National Institute for Women (INAMUJER) aims to fight for equal opportunity and equality before the law for Venezuelan women. Green Left Weekly's Rachel Evans and Coral Wynter spoke to Corina Fumero, INAMUJER's assistant for international
Doug Lorimer An "emergency" meeting of the UN's Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, was convened on February 2 to consider a resolution sponsored by the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) to ask IAEA director-general Mohammed ElBaradei

Editorial

Evidence emerging from the Australian government-appointed commission of inquiry, headed by Terence Cole, into whether or not AWB Ltd, Australia's wheat export monopoly, had violated the rules governing the UN's "oil-for-food" program, has revealed

Culture

By Sarah Stephen Sydney Latin American Film FestivalFri Feb 17-Sun Feb 19Campbelltown Arts Centre, Art Gallery Rd (cnr Camden & Appin Rd)Fri Feb 24-Sun Feb 26Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers St, Surry HillsFor full program visit
War and Peace: Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation TigersBy Anton BalasinghamFairmax Publishing Ltd, 2004 REVIEW BY CHRIS SLEE On November 17, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate Mahinda Rajapakse narrowly defeated United National
REVIEW BY SARAH STEPHEN Papers Of a Dead Man7.30pm, Friday February 24Performance Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts420 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, BrisbanePhone bookings $19/$24, (07) 3872 9000 (noon-4pm, Mon-Fri)Online
Message Stick: Rosie — Based on the life of Indigenous woman Rosalie Fraser's journey of self-discovery through the trauma of physical and emotional abuse. ABC, Friday, February 10, 6pm. Political Assassinations: Anwar Al Sadat — Traces the