Issue 661

Australia

Rachel Evans & Farida Iqbal, Sydney On March 14, the NSW Greens launched a campaign to win public support to remove loopholes from the 1977 NSW Anti-Discrimination (Equality in Education and Employment) Act, with a meeting at the Mori Gallery
HOBART — On March 16, 3000 people attended a rally organised by the Wilderness Society to protest against forestry practices in Tasmania. The theme of the rally was "Our state, not Gunns!", referring to the Gunns corporation's political
Tony Iltis, Melbourne At a reception for Queen Elizabeth II on March 15, held at the Royal Exhibition Building and hosted by PM John Howard, Australian flags and Union Jacks were well outnumbered by Aboriginal flags. Royal well-wishers were also
Peter Boyle Once a week I have a chat to Simon, an aged pensioner, who learned the meaning of real hunger as a child growing up in a poor family in Ireland. In his working life in Australia, first as a labourer in the Snowy Mountains scheme and
Stella Riethmuller, Brisbane University of Queensland staff and students will meet on March 21 in response to proposed cuts to the arts faculty budget and plans to restructure the arts degree. "The university is responding to changing student and
PERTH — A veteran peace campaigner has sent a complaint to the International Criminal Court in The Hague seeking the prosecution of the Australian government for war crimes committed in invading Iraq. In his letter, posted on March 13, Kevin
Sarah Stephen On April 2, protesters will rally around Australia in support of a free and independent West Papua, and to demand immediate asylum for the 43 West Papuans who remain on Christmas Island awaiting the outcome of their applications.
Thousands of people protested in cities around Australia on the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. On March 17, 1000 people marched in Melbourne against war and racism, angered by news of the largest US air strikes since the
Paul Ferris & James Robertson, Sydney On March 16, Sydney University played host to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who spoke to a crowd of select students and members of the university administration at the Conservatorium of Music (the
Dave Riley, Brisbane Four-hundred anti-war activists — mostly young people — gathered on March 18 to protest the continuing occupation of Iraq. "Bring the troops home" was the main theme hammered home from a speaking platform that included
Sarah Stephen, Sydney On March 14, Huang Hao, a Chinese detainee at the Villawood detention centre, attempted suicide by swallowing four razor blades. Immediately after the incident, immigration department (DIMA) and Global Solutions Ltd
"It looks as though we'll have to have a memorial service for free speech, a state funeral for democracy. These arrests are a symptom of Australia's arrested development. Whilst the A-list enjoyed a tribal gathering at the expense of the
Barry Healy, Perth Prominent Western Australian union leaders have called for the resignation of WA police minister John D'Orazio following revelations that he had not paid superannuation entitlements for 15 workers at his former pharmacy business
Niko Leka, Newcastle After nine months on strike, 25 specialist maintenance workers at Boeing at Williamtown returned to work on February 24. This followed a February 17 NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) finding that the dispute could be
Sibylle Kaczorek, Sydney Across NSW, Queensland and South Australia, 150 technicians employed by National Cash Registers (NCR) stopped work from 6.30am on March 13 for a week of industrial action in support of a new enterprise agreement. The

World

On March 14, after the sudden withdrawal of British and US observers, Israeli troops laid siege to the Jericho Prison for more than eight hours and arrested six Palestinian prisoners. Several people were killed during the attack, as Israeli armed
Following the death of Tom Fox from the Christian Peacemaker Teams three months after he was kidnapped in Iraq, anti-war spokesperson Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, sent a letter to Fox's family describing the death a "tragedy" and
The Haretz newspaper reported on March 15 that a hospital in East Jerusalem refused to release a newborn baby until the mother's hospital bill had been paid. The baby was one of triplets born prematurely, and according to Haretz, "due to the
According to the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen website, the Trade Union Congress and a number of British parliamentarians are protesting attempts by the Iraqi government to take control of the country's emerging trade union
On March 17, Tirso Cruz from the United Luisita Workers Union was shot dead by gunmen as he walked home. Cruz is a key witness in the November 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre, in which the army and police attacked a picket line, killing 14 people
Stuart Munckton The sale of heavily discounted heating oil by the Venezuelan government to poor citizens inside the US continues to spread despite opposition from the US government. Venezuela uses Citgo, the refining and distribution subsidiary of
On the back of years of struggle by Bolivia's social movements, the Movement Towards Socialism's (MAS) Evo Morales was elected president in December and announced his governmental cabinet on January 23. In the following article, abridged from
Islanders from three US nuclear test-affected atolls are filing lawsuits in US courts seeking more than US$1 billion compensation. Bikini Atoll will file a claim during March, 60 years after the US Navy removed their population to start the first
Doug Lorimer On March 12, Iraqi interior minister Bayan Jabr announced that four employees in his ministry had been arrested for being members of a death squad. This was the first time that the US-backed Iraqi government had admitted the existence
David Spratt On February 26, Andrew Buncombe and Patrick Cockburn reported in the British Independent: "Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of
On March 11, Congress of South African Trade Unions president Willy Madisha condemned Israel's apartheid policies at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign trade union conference in London. He said South Africa's apartheid was "characterised by killings,
The SupersizeMyPay.com campaign has pressured McDonald's into giving all workers a pay rise that the fast-food giant previously threatened to only give to non-union members. The reversal came two weeks after the Unite union filed legal papers to the
On March 10, some 300,000 people protested in Chicago in defence of immigrant rights. Three days earlier, 20,000 people marched in Washington against proposed legislation that would criminalise undocumented migrants and those who support them, as
Venezuela's communication and information minister Yuri Pimental has proposed the formation of Radiosur, a Latin America-wide radio station. Venezuela, with the participation of Cuba, Uruguay and Argentina, has already launched the Latin America-wide
Eva Cheng As China reported a record-breaking economic growth rate of 9.9% for 2005, its workers were owed wages totalling 21.5 billion yuan (US$2.6 billion). This stark contradiction was revealed during the 10-day annual meeting of China's
Doug Lorimer While pushing for international sanctions against Iran for pursuing its legal right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to research the production of nuclear fuel (low-enriched uranium), US President George Bush has agreed to
On March 17-20, anti-war protests took place around the world on the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the occupation forces.From Green Left Weekly, March 22, 2006. Visit the Green Left
Venezuela has a new national flag, approved by the National Assembly and launched by socialist President Hugo Chavez on March 12, the 200th anniversary of the original flag. The most significant addition is an eighth star to honour the province
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic died in his cell at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague on March 11, where he was facing trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Balkans during the 1990s, including the 1995 massacre of
Vannessa Hearman East Timor's 2006 Human Development Report prepared by the United Nations Development Program and the Timorese government shows the country is suffering from deep structural poverty. The report argues for "integrated rural
Lara Pullin The March 12 National Assembly and municipal elections were marked by a record 52% participation of eligible voters. Yet the elections have been rife with irregularities and violence against the left-wing Farabundo Marti National
Zely Ariane, Jakarta On March 15, at least 2000 poor people, most of them housewives, rallied outside the office of the minister for people's welfare, before marching to the presidential palace and the Jakarta governor's office, to demand that the
Farooq Tariq, Lahore More than 4000 people protested on March 18 in Lahore against the Iraq occupation by US imperialists and other allied forces. The rally, one of the largest held by progressive forces in some time, was organised by the Anti-War
West Papuan protesters demanding the closure of the US-owned Freeport-McMoRan gold and copper mine were attacked by police on March 16, who used tear gas and batons before firing on the crowd. Several police and protesters were killed in the clashes.
Duroyan Fertl Several weeks of turmoil have escalated as thousands of workers, students and indigenous groups have taken to Ecuador's streets and highways, bringing the country to a standstill, forcing the resignation of the interior minister and
Peter Boyle Six Pakistani left parties and groups have united to form Awami Jamhoori Tehreek (AJT — the People's Democratic Movement), which has the potential to become the fifth-largest political group in Pakistan. The AJT aims to contest the
Alex Miller Universities all over Britain were closed down on March 7 as higher education unions staged a national one-day strike over pay. The Association of University Teachers (AUT) and the University and College Lecturers Union (NATFHE) called
Stuart Munckton Associated Press reported on March 14 that the left-wing Venezuelan government has hiked up the rate of income tax being paid by oil multinationals that invest in Venezuela, from 34% to 50%. Multinationals have already had to
Coral Wynter, Santiago On March 8, 5000 people rallied outside the Catholic University in the Chilean capital to celebrate International Women s Day (IWD). Contingents of students and members of the Central Organisation of Workers (CUT), the peak
On March 14, Nguyen Van An, chairperson of Vietnam's National Assembly, opened the new Vietnamese embassy in Caracas, with the aim of fostering closer relations between the countries. During Van An's visit, he met with various representatives of
Murray Smith, Paris Over the last four years, France's right-wing government has forced through a whole series of neoliberal policies. Sometimes resistance has been fierce, such as to the reform of the pension system in 2003. But overall the

Culture

As it Happened: The Other Side of SuezDirected by Eron SheeanSBS, Saturday March 25, 7.30pm REVIEW BY JENNY LONG A ruthless and bloody imperialist policy, using dodgy intelligence, against an independent country of the Middle East, in order to
You Have to be Careful in the Land of the FreeBy James KelmanPenguin Books, 2004437 pages REVIEW BY ALEX MILLER I've been a fan of James Kelman's books for nearly 20 years, but I have to admit that his last two works of fiction left me feeling
TsotsiWritten and directed by Gavin HoodWith Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto and Kenneth NkosiScreening in Australia from April 13 REVIEW BY PERCY NGONYAMA When the much talked about South African-produced movie Tsotsi won the coveted Oscar for
Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist: The Autobiography of Wilfred BurchettEdited by George Burchett and Nick ShimminUniversity of NSW Press785 pages, $59.95 REVIEW BY BRENDAN DOYLE This weighty volume contains the full, unexpurgated autobiography of
The Chaser's War On Everything — The Chaser team confront and lampoon key players from the world of politics, business, religion, media and culture. ABC, Friday, March 24, 9.45pm. The Other Side Of Suez — On 26 July 1956, Gamal Abdul Nasser of