Issue 680

Australia

SYDNEY — "Viva Fidel" was the sentiment of the night as 350 people took part in a solidarity fiesta in support of the Cuban Revolution and its central leader Fidel Castro on August 13 — Castro's 80th birthday. Cuba solidarity activist and NSW
SYDNEY — 'Sri Lankan army out of the Tamil homeland' and 'Australia must bring the government of Sri Lanka to account' were some of the slogans raised by 120 Tamil Australians and their supporters at a candlelight vigil outside Sydney Town Hall
Dan Burke, Melbourne After blockading the streets of Melbourne's central business district on August 11, at least 600 taxi drivers held a rally at the Flemington Racecourse on August 15, where they confronted Victorian transport minister Peter
Dale Mills On August 15, a Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard that police investigators had formed the opinion that rogue police officers may have been behind the alleged abduction of a Muslim religious leader. Abdul Nacer Benbrika claimed that a
GEELONG — Trade unionists in Geelong send a message of solidarity to the 107 Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union members in Western Australia facing fines of up to $28,600 for striking. Geelong CFMEU organiser Shaun Reardan will
Linda Seaborn, Hobart Major Michael Mori, the US military lawyer for Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, addressed an 800-strong public meeting on August 18. The meeting was organised by Amnesty International. Hicks, 31, from Adelaide, has spent
Jason Cahill, Brisbane In the wake of his government's messy handling of Queensland's health-care crisis, Labor Premier Peter Beattie, who faces a state election on September 9, has been very keen to divert attention onto his plans for "drought
Marcus Greville, Melbourne In a bruising blow to the Howard government's anti-union laws, striking Amcor workers won an agreement on August 16 in which all legal action against the workers and their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
Annolies Truman, Perth Beginning August 6 residents of Lancelin, a seaside town 123 kilometres north of Perth, have been subjected to the effects of US military exercises conducted in the Lancelin Defence Training Area (DTA). US Navy pilots
SYDNEY — On August 18, construction union (CFMEU) officials visited the site of the multi-million dollar home being constructed by federal Coalition MP Jackie Kelly and her husband on the Nepean River, following a report in the August 12 Daily
Peter Boyle Tucked away in the business supplement of the August 16 Sydney Morning Herald was this cheerful news: "The rich are spending like there's no tomorrow. "Upmarket retailer David Jones has reported a surge in fourth quarter sales growth as
SYDNEY — The spirit of revolutionary the Venezuelan revolution was brought to the August 12-13 NSW Teachers Federation council meeting by Venezuelan charge d'affaires Nelson Davila. Davila outlined the revolutionary changes that are being
MELBOURNE — West Papua's Morning Star flag was hoisted at a rally held outside the Indonesia consulate on August 15, the 24th anniversary of the "Act of Free Choice" (a phony UN ballot that ratified West Papua's incorporation into Indonesia). West
Rachel Evans & Farida Iqbal Four thousand people rallied on August 13 to mark the second anniversary of the Australian government's ban on same-sex marriage. People in seven cities and four rural towns joined the national protest, which condemned
Fred Fuentes & Simon Cunich, Sydney According to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Sydney University may become the next battleground in the fight over PM John Howard's new industrial relations laws. The university has signalled its
MELBOURNE — On August 16, 60 workers employed by the Moonee Valley City Council attended a lunch-time rally to protest against attacks on the working conditions of library workers. Australian Services Union assistant secretary Brian Parkinson told
SYDNEY — On August 17, pro-choice students at Sydney University held a protest rally outside an anti-abortion forum organised by the university's Catholic chaplaincy. The forum was addressed by Terri Herring, the former president of Pro-Life
Ray Fulcher, Melbourne The Victorian Court of Appeal quashed the conviction for "terrorism" offences of Jack Thomas and released him from custody on August 18. Thomas was the first person to be convicted under the federal government's so-called
Russell Pickering, Perth On August 13, 600 people attended a Community and Family Day of Solidarity at the Perth Soccer Club to support the 107 construction workers who have been served with writs for taking strike action in February on the Leighton
In an August 15 media release, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary John Parker described the Gippsland Ports proposal to dredge the McLoughlin Channel as irresponsible. The area is prone to contain acid sulfate soils that can cause habitat
Graham Matthews, Sydney On August 14, a Parramatta Your Rights at Work (YRW) group was launched at a Town Hall meeting attended by 30 people, including representatives from the Health Services Union, the NSW Teachers Federation, the Australian

World

Norm Dixon Since Oscar Temaru was elected president of Tahiti Nui (French Polynesia) in June 2004, he has infuriated the Pacific country's colonial masters in Paris. The furore over Temaru's July 28 leaking of a letter confirming that the French
A 39-day-long strike by some 15,000 power-loom workers in the town of Gojra ended in a stunning victory on August 15 when textile bosses agreed to raise workers' wages from 97 rupees (US$1.61) to 160 rupees ($2.66) per day. They also conceded to
Mexico is still awaiting the outcome of a recount of votes cast at 9% of polling places in the July 2 presidential election. Centre-left candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who according to initial results lost by 0.58% to right-wing candidate
Two producers have resigned from Fox News in a protest against the network's biased coverage of the conflict in Lebanon. Serene Sabbagh and Jomana Karadshesh, based in Amman, Jordan, issued a resignation letter on July 31 described the network as "an
Stuart Munckton Four people implicated in violent opposition campaigns against the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez escaped from the Ramos Verde military prison on August 13. The former head of the corrupt right-wing Confederation of
Robert Fisk, Beirut When my electricity returned at around 3am yesterday [August 11], I turned on the BBC World Service television. There were a series of powerful explosions that shook the house — just as they vibrated across all of Beirut — as
Kim Bullimore "The responsibility for the military operation rests on my shoulders as prime minister. I have no intention and do not wish to share this responsibility with another", Israeli PM Ehud Olmert told the Knesset, Israel's parliament. An
On August 16, an appeal by the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) was rejected in court and a January 13, 2003 ruling denying the PSM's right to be registered as a political party was upheld. The two reasons provided by the judge in 2003 were that the
BHP Billiton was forced to close down its Escondida copper mine — which supplies some 8% of the world's copper — on August 18 due to strike action by workers over wages and conditions. The company also ended negotiations with the workers' union.
Steven Mather, Caracas The Venezuelan government's social programs, known as "missions", have marked new milestones. Mission Madres del Barrio ("Mothers of the Neighbourhood") has expanded to include 40,000 new participants, and Mission Robinson II
Stuart Munckton Israel is "killing innocent children and whole families". "They dismantled the legitimate government of Palestine, and thwarted tremendous efforts to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian state", Venezuela's socialist President
Alex Miller On August 10 the British government's home secretary, John Reid, announced that a major terrorist plot involving the bombing of multiple transatlantic airline flights had been discovered by security services. Reid placed the country's
Doug Lorimer The August 7 Washington Post reported that after a "predawn raid by Iraqi troops and American military advisers on a stronghold of Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr erupted into a two-hour gun battle Monday", pro-US Iraqi PM Nuri al Maliki
David Miller The island state of Singapore has banned outdoor protest demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the international financial institutions' annual meeting on September 11-20 meetings. Under
Kerryn Williams On August 14, the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) bombed the Sencholai children's home in the Mullaithivu district, killing at least 61 Tamil students and injuring hundreds of others. Students from up to 18 schools in the region had been
Eva Cheng China's brewing debate over its rulers' aggressive denationalisation program has recently been bubbling with new heat after a Chinese private firm threatened to launch a hostile takeover in an attempt to stop the US Carlyle Group
Pat Denny On August 9, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled by 10 to 2 to uphold the convictions of the "Cuban Five" — a group of men jailed on trumped-up espionage charges after infiltrating Florida-based groups linked to terrorist

Editorial

On July 5, 107 Western Australian construction workers who had worked on the Perth to Mandurah rail project became victims of some of this country's most draconian anti-union laws. They face persecution at the hands of the Australian Building and

Culture

Battle's Poison Cloud — The US legacy of chemical spraying in Vietnam continues 30 years after the war has ended. ABC, Sunday, August 27, 5pm. Islam Unveiled — Examines the issues surrounding the status of women in Islam, both traditionally and
Right Place, Right Time, Live at Tipitina's, Mardi Gras '89Dr JohnAvailable from Hyena Records <http://www.hyenarecords.com> REVIEW BY BILL NEVANS This is a great CD in its own right, but the social and political context it's released
UnspeakBy Steven PooleLittle, Brown and Company 2006282 pages, $24.95 (hb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON "War on terror", "coalition of the willing", "weapons of mass destruction", "surgical strike", welfare and labour market "reform" — these familiar
Wages of SpinVersion 1.0 theatre group With Stephen Klinder, Kym Vercoe and David WilliamsBrisbane: Aug 23-26, Powerhouse, $29/$24Melbourne: Aug 30-Sept 9, ArtsHouse, Nth Melbourne Town Hall, $20/$18, Hobart: Sept 13-16, Salamanca Arts Centre,
Moscow 1941By Rodric BraithwaiteProfile Books 2006446 pages, £20 REVIEW BY ALEX MILLER When did the tide turn against Hitler's armies in the Second World War? Many would point to the defeat the Nazis suffered at the Battle of Stalingrad in