Issue 789

Australia

New laws have been passed in the NSW parliament that allow police to conduct secret searches of people's homes, including the examination of computers. The new laws build on anti-terrorism legislation, but the new powers are for crimes as minor as growing a few cannabis plants.

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On March 23, 100 students attended a demonstration at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)_organised by the Islamic Society, as part of a long-running campaign for a dedicated Muslim prayer facility on the city campus.

The rally was addressed by Islamic Society president...

Below is speech delivered by Gaza Defense Committee activist Ophelia Haragli, at a March 2 protest in Sydney against former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, who was on a speaking tour of Australia. Gillerman told the Sydney Morning Herald...

The Australian Greens' March 21-22 national council meeting in Perth discussed the party's climate change policy. The council called on the Rudd government to adopt stronger emissions reduction targets.

"Nobody seriously believes that a 5% target, which is the only certainty the Rudd...

Attempts by the Australian Zionist lobby to discourage audiences from hearing visiting Israeli anti-occupation activist Jeff Halper, which included pulling an advertisement from the Australian Jewish News and cancelling a meeting at a Sydney synagogue, only served to gain media...

One hundred and fifty people protested in Canberra on March 21 against federal government plans to introduce a national internet filter. The protest was organised by the Digital Liberty Coalition.

The rally was addressed by representatives from the Greens, the Australian Sex Party, search...

The Western Community Action Network (WeCAN) held its first public forum at the Footscray Town Hall on March 19.

PhD student Chris Taylor told the audience that, contrary to some disingenuous claims in the mainstream media, environmentalists were not to blame for the spread of the...

The reintroduction of a rail-based public transport system for Cairns and promotion of rail freight in far-north Queensland were the key themes of a 100-strong public meeting on March 18.

The meeting was organised by Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport. On behalf of CAST, Svargo...

Hundreds of progressive activists and socialists from around the globe will descend on Sydney over Easter, for this year's most important discussion on capitalism's crises and the socialist solutions.

From the revolutions in Latin America, to resisting imperialism and war in Pakistan and...

Dozens of actions were held outside the offices of MPs nationwide on March 27 to protest the Rudd government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

The call for the March 27 protests came from the Climate Action Summit held in Canberra in late January. More than 500 climate...

A protracted industrial dispute between construction giant John Holland and 39 sacked workers at the West Gate Bridge reconstruction project in Melbourne continued on March 27, with a vibrant demonstration by union members and their supporters at the bridge.

The workers temporarily...

World

Canada's Conservative government has extended its attacks on the right to free speech.

In a story that was first leaked to the London Sun on March 20, British MP for the left-wing Respect party, George Galloway, was banned from entering the country to complete a North American...

President Hugo Chavez announced on March 21 the takeover of all national and international seaports and airports, returning them to the direct control of the national government.

These facilities had been decentralised to state jurisdiction and will now revert to the hands of the national...

The United States authorities indicted five Cubans in Miami in 1998 for their role as agents of Cuban security, infiltrating right-wing Cuban terrorist groups. The Cuban Five requested that the trial judge move their trial out of Miami, arguing it was impossible to receive a fair trail in a city...

The article below is abridged from Socialist Voice, http://www.socialistvoice.ca>. It is by the editors of SV, Roger Annis and John Riddell. Annis is among the international guests attending the World at a Crossroads conference, Sydney, April 10-12. For more information, or...

"As present deputy PM Najib Razak plans to takeover the prime ministership on April 2, there seems to be a pattern of growing repression", warned Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary general S. Arutchelvan.

"The dark ages of [former PM] Mahathir are returning with incidents such as...

On March 19, more than 3 million people joined in the second day of strikes and mass demonstrations called by France's eight main union federations so far this year.

The general strikes have been called against the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy's response to the global economic...

Like 2008, this year is witnessing waves of strikes and demonstrations by Egyptian workers in various sectors and organisations.

Students, pharmacists, lawyers, railway drivers, media people, and even microbus drivers and street cleaners are all demanding more rights, protesting against...

In one of her last acts as US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice had Nelson Mandela's name removed from the US terrorist watch list.

Many US citizens were shocked to learn that their favourite former political prisoner had ever been deemed a terrorist.

They had forgotten, or...

The article below is an abridged statement released by War Without Witness on a new report prepared by WWW on innocent Tamil civilians killed by the Sri Lankan Army's military offensive between January 1 and March 23. To read the report, visit http://www.warwithoutwitness.com.

The...

"For us in the FMLN [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front], the victory in the presidential elections is a demonstration that our people are in a state of constant revolution, and understand the necessity for real change", Rigoberto Diaz, assistant secretary of the FMLN international...

"Fat cats in terror after anti-capitalists attack Fred the Shred's home", was the headline on the right-wing British Daily Mail's March 26 report that the luxurious Edinburgh mansion of former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Sir Fred Goodwin had been vandalised by a group calling themselves...

On March 21, President Hugo Chavez announced a series of economic measures designed to strengthen the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela, in the face of the challenges posed by the international financial crisis.

Chavez proposed the measures in a speech to the national media,...

The Blue Diamond Society is the largest LGBTI (lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and intergender people) rights organisation in Nepal. The society's coordinator, Subash Pokharel, spoke with Ben Peterson about the current situation for...

For a country among the world's poorest, Nepal has some impressive architecture.

For instance, there is the Singha Durba, once among the biggest buildings in South Asia.

An enormous structure, it is an example of the fact that, when an entire nation's budget is the personal...

Denmark's supreme court found six activists guilty of financing terrorism on March 25. The activists had sold T-shirts bearing logos of two left-wing groups listed as terrorist organisations under EU law: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation...

Brett Elder died after police used a taser on him in Bay City, Michigan on March 22. The 15 year old was tasered after police were called to break up a fight in a city apartment. After first taking Elder into custody, police later took him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

...

The article below is abridged from a March 17 statement by the National Security Archive, which is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at the George Washington University. The NSA is calling for the release of military files and an investigation into the "...

The international crisis that erupted in the northern summer of 2008 demolished all the neoliberal dogmas and exposed the deception behind them. Unable to deny their failure, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claim they no longer uphold the set of neoliberal policies known...

It took Kamahl Mashni six minutes to decide to join the Viva Palestina aid convoy headed to Gaza from Britain on Valentine's Day.

The convoy, the initiative of George Galloway, a British MP for the anti-war Respect party, aimed to travel from Britain to Gaza to break Israel's siege and...

Israel is a deeply militarised apartheid society.

For the most part, the slick spokespeople of the Israeli government and the army use a well-oiled PR machine to present Israel as a peaceful society, unlucky to have such "war mongering" and "fundamentalist" neighbours.

But every...

The historic enactment of Bolivia's new constitution that grants unprecedented rights to the country's indigenous majority, approved by over 61% of the vote on January 25, represented the beginning of "communitarian socialism", according to President Evo Morales.

This was not the first...

French revolutionary socialist and leader of the New Anti-capitalist Party, Olivier Besancenot, was listed among the 50 people who will "frame the debate" on the future of capitalism in an article in the British Financial Times on March 10. Besancenot is part of a list dominated by...

Analysis

One hundred people gathered on March 17 at the Wollongong City Diggers Club to celebrate the life of NSW Public Service Association (PSA) activist Anne Meehan who passed away on March 12 after a long illness.

Anne was a librarian at the Wollongong College of TAFE for the major part of...

The federal ALP government, in league with employer organisations and conservative economists, wants workers — in particular the lowest paid and most vulnerable — to pay for the economic downturn.

The latest battle in this war is playing out in the lead-up to the Australian (un)Fair Pay...

Biochar production has been the object of considerable research and experimentation in Australia.

The most extensive work has been carried out in Western Australia, where the firm Verve Energy operated a pilot Integrated Wood Processing (IWP) plant for several years, using advanced...

On March 20, former federal court judge Marcus Einfeld was sentenced to three years jail, with a non-parole period of two years, for trying to get out of a speeding fine.

Following harsh media scrutiny, Einfeld pleaded guilty last year to perjury and perverting the course of justice....

Two reviews present the Rudd government with opportunities to readjust the policy settings of post-secondary education and determine its future funding arrangements.

The Review of Australian Higher Education, known as the Bradley Review, was finalised and released in December...

In its latest Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, released in 2009, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called on the federal government to suspend the operations of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (...

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in Washington last week to meet US President Barack Obama, made clear the ALP government's support for the US's wars overseas. The Australia-US war alliance is as strong as ever, he declared.

It was widely expected that Obama would ask Rudd to send more troops...

The tiny Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives will become carbon-neutral within 10 years. This was the pledge made by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed on March 15.

The low-lying country will be among the first in the world to be inundated by rising sea levels caused by human-induced...

Letters

Taxi industry not driven by community needs

Protesting cab drivers have been told by Victorian premier John Brumby to "get over it". According to the Brumby government, Victoria needs more cabs, another 630 this year, to address the needs of disabled people and the...

General

Christine, a stalwart of the anti-war movement in Australia, shakes her head at the gross double standards of the mainstream media in Australia when it reports the casualties in the war on Afghanistan. She shakes her fists in anger and then gets on with organising the next anti-war protest....

Resistance!

A new student group, backed by the National Union of Students (NUS), that promises to eradicate racism and hatred has been hailed by those that promote ideas based on both racism and hatred.

Students Against Racism and Hatred (SARAH), although still only existing as a group on the social...

I attended Powershift 2009, which brought 10,000 young people together in Washington DC to demand serious action on climate change, and have a few observations to make about the North American youth climate movement.

Chiefly, the work being done is movement-based and focused on reforming...

Culture

Easy Virtue

Directed by Stephan Eliot

Written by Stephan Eliot and Sheridan Jobbins

With Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas & Colin Firth

In cinemas

In the era of the Great Financial Crisis, where a...

ASIO: The Enemy Within

Written & published by Michael Tubbs, 2008

275 pages,$25

Available from the Search Foundation, lvl 3, suite 3B, 110 Kippax St, Surry Hills, NSW

Ph 9211 4164, fax 9211 1407

Faced with climate...

Tinariwen, who are touring Australia in April, first became known abroad at the initial Festival of the Desert in Mali in 2001, now an annual event. This was also the year it started travelling to Europe. Until then its music was for Tuaregs across the Sahara, an outlet during their resistance...

Watchmen

Directed by Zack Snyder

Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse

With Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup

"Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and...