Issue 795

Australia

The statement below was read out at a May 16 rally in Melbourne, called to denounce the Sri Lankan government's brutal war against the Tamils.

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Both [Victoria] Trades Hall Council Executive and Australian Education Union (AEU) Branch Council have declared their solidarity with...

Protesters will again travel to Rockhampton to oppose the Talisman Sabre war games between the US and Australian military machines over July 10-13 — estimated to cost well over $100 million.

The war games will take place at sites of high cultural and environmental significance at...

Rallies across Australia are planned for May 23 to call for an end to the Sri Lankan government's genocide against the Tamil people.

The protests will demand the Australian government condemns the Sri Lankan government's brutal offensive and applies diplomatic and economic pressure for a...

As students across Australia sat the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests last week, the media reported NSW government plans to introduce league tables, comparing student performance across schools.

The May 6 Sydney Morning Herald reported state...

Vision Australia announced on May 6 that it will slash more than 130 jobs. This includes cutting 90 jobs in Victoria and the closing of three regional offices.

Nearly 20% of the people who have lost their jobs either have a vision impairment or are legally blind.

Vision Australia...

On May 19, more than 37,000 state school teachers will stage a one-day strike against the Queensland government's pay offer. The offer would keep Queensland's teachers among the lowest paid in Australia.

The offer is for 4.5%, 4% and 4% over the three-year agreement, and comes 6 months...

Palestinian supporters in Melbourne and Sydney rallied on March 15 to commemorate 61 years since the Palestinian Nakba — the day of the catastrophe.

From March 15, 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland by Zionist forces. More than 500...

Greens candidate Adele Carles is set to win a historic victory at the May 16 by-election – the first time the Greens have won a lower house seat in Western Australia. Carles polled 44% of primary votes and 54% of two-party preferred votes at the close of counting on election night.

This...

Twenty people protested outside the offices of private prison operator GSL in Perth on May 14. The protest demanded justice for Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died due to excessive heat in a prison van operated by GSL. The coronial inquest finished on May 1. Findings are due to be presented on...

World

The following statements are reprinted from Links, international journal of socialist renewal

Solidarity from Timor Leste: 'Support the people and legitimate government of Nepal!' Solidarity message for the people and legitimate government of Nepal, by Luta Hamutuk, Timor Leste...

The Peruvian government decreed a 60-day state of emergency on May 9 across various districts in the Amazonian region in the east.

The move is in response to a wave of indigenous protests that began one month earlier against a series of laws granting greater privileges to mining, oil and...

Venezuela's National Assembly passed a law on May 7 that assigns control over goods and services connected to the country's petroleum industry to the state.

The law re-establishes government control over a range of activities previously contracted out to foreign transnational companies...

The political crisis caused by the refusal of the head of the Nepalese Army to implement instructions from the elected civilian government is continuing in Nepal.

The crisis resulted in the resignation of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist from the government it led. This...

"Socialism will save Venezuela; socialism will save the world", Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on May 10 during his weekly TV program Alo Presidente.

Chavez was answering a question put to him live on air by Coral Wynter, a member of the Australian Socialist Alliance and...

In the early 1960s, it was the Irish of Derry who would phone late at night, speaking in a single breath, spilling out stories of discrimination and injustice. Who listened to their truth until the violence began?

Bengalis from what was then East Pakistan did much the same. Their urgent...

The Unite union is New Zealand's newest trade union and one of its most dynamic.

It is at the forefront of a revitalisation of a section of the labour movement that has resulted in thousands of young and marginalised workers gaining union representation for the first time. Significant...

On May 3, Visteon workers occupying their west Belfast plant voted to end their 36-day sit-in protest, An Phoblacht said on May 7.

The occupation occurred after it was announced the plant would be closed. The workers' actions were in protest at the reneging by Visteon UK and Ford Motor...

Israel calls it the anniversary of independence. But for Palestinians, May 15 commemorates terrible ethnic cleansing.

On May 15 this year, Palestinians commemorated 61 years of Israeli apartheid — including continued ethnic cleansing and decades of military occupation.

In 1948,...

At an April 5 anti-NATO protest in Strasboug, Matthis Chiroux apologised to Afghan feminist Malalai Joya for the crimes of the US-led occupation of Joya's country.

Chiroux is a US soldier facing prosecution for refusing to be deployed to Iraq on the grounds that the US-led occupation of...

On the night of May 9, the Sri Lankan Army conducted one of the most brutal assaults in recent history against a civilian population. Medical sources within the so-called safe zone in, told Tamilnet.com that as many as 2000 people had been killed by heavy shelling in the Vanni region in the...

The US Socialist Worker is running a series of commentary from a range of left-wing perspectives assessing the first 100 days of US President Barack Obama. Two contributions are published below. To read more of the commentary, visit www.socialistworker.org.

The first contribution...

The Bologna process is the name for the measures contained in the proposed European Higher Education Area. The stated aim of the European Union's EHEA is to create compatible and coherent higher education systems across the continent.

Under the Lisbon Recognition Process of the Council...

Workers and activists gathered in the central plaza of Asuncion, Paraguay on May 1 to commemorate International Workers Day. Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, a former priest elected in April last year on a pro-poor platform, marked the day by raising the minimum wage by 5%, half of what many...

The statement below was initially circulated at the World at a Crossroads conference hosted by Green Left Weekly in Sydney, April 10-12. A selection of the much larger number of names that signed on are included below. To add your name to the statement, email stuartmunckton@gmail.com...

Analysis

"One hundred percent renewable energy in Australia by 2020!" That was the bold call endorsed by members of more than 150 climate action groups at the Climate Action Summit held in Canberra in January.

By and large, the establishment media have ignored this call — or else dismissed it as...

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered the Labor government's second budget on May 12. Swan's bleak message was clear: for those with a job, it's a matter of work until you drop.

For those without — particularly the unemployed, single parents and many Indigenous Australians — it's poverty...

More than 100 members of the Australian-Afghan community and supporters protested in front of Parliament House and the Afghan embassy in Canberra on May 12.

Under a new law in Afghanistan, women are prohibited from leaving their homes without their husband's permission to seek work,...

Two hundred people protested at Parliament House on May 6 against the Victorian government's proposed solar feed-in tariff legislation.

The rally was organised by Environment Victoria, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), the Moreland Energy Foundation and Friends of the Earth...

On May 9, local residents gathered in the remote Clouds Creek State Forest to protest Forest NSW logging operations.

The residents' group, STAND, has planned a protest in Coffs Harbour on May 29 to oppose the inadequate public consultation process and the decimation of local wildlife in...

On May 10, federal treasurer Wayne Swan announced that Australia will finally join the overwhelming majority of developed countries in implementing a national paid parental leave scheme. But the plan falls way short of what women need.

The proposal is to pay primary carers earning less...

On May 11, ABC's Four Corners screened an interview with a young woman from New Zealand. She recounted an alleged 2002 sexual assault in a Christchurch hotel room by at least 12 players and staff from the Cronulla Sharks.

The program has triggered a new wave of discussion about...

While federal and state governments focus on the need for state-based reconciliation groups to bring better understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, Reconciliation Victoria Incorporated (Rec Vic) will have to close in July due to a lack of funding.

A Rec Vic...

The Sri Lankan government's war against the Tamil minority has again exposed the extent to which the corporate media reinforces the status quo — no matter how unjust.

It has become standard practice in recent years for mainstream journalists covering a war zone to become "embedded" with...

Since police raided the Florentine Valley protest camp on May 4, at least 32 people have been arrested for participating in protests against logging in the southern Tasmanian valley.

Twenty-two protesters were arrested on May 10 for simply walking through or behind a police blockade to...

A week after the Rudd government announced Australian troops would join the US and NATO-led troop surge in Afghanistan, a May 4 US air strike on two villages in the country's south-west killed up to 150 civilians, including many women and children.

It appears that the US army used white...

More than 50 people joined a public meeting in Lawson in the Blue Mountains on May 11 and discussed a new campaign to stop plans by the Roads and Traffic Authority to upgrade the Great Western Highway.

The upgrade is meant to accommodate huge, polluting b-double trucks.

The 25-...

In a new lease deal proposed by Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin in early May, Aboriginal people in Alice Springs town camps could lose control over their housing.

The proposal requires residents of the town camps to sign their land over to the Northern Territory government on 40...

Editorial

Greens Senator Bob Brown moved the following motion to the Australian Senate on May 12: "That the Senate, in regard to the massacre of civilians, including hundreds of children, in the Tamil homelands of northern Sri Lanka, calls on the government to take decisive action commensurate with the...

Letters

New laws a slur on civil liberties

New NSW laws that allow police to move-on people who are "noticeably" drunk ("slurring their speech") and arrest those who fail to comply, will mostly target Aboriginals, teenagers, young people and people with disabilities.

All...

General

On May 13, a team of three British adventurers measuring ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic found themselves on thin ice and asked to be airlifted out weeks before they had planned.

Pen Hadow, the leader of the Catlin Arctic Survey team, said scientists had told them they would find a...

Read the March edition of the Flame here

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement.

The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking...

Resistance!

Labor delivered its budget on May 12 in the context of Australia's slide into recession. With the economic crisis hitting hard, young people are one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

The budget delivered young people many losses and a few small gains. Overall, it doesn't resolve...

The federal government announced in its budget that $1.3 billion will be spent over six years "aimed at tackling people-smuggling and securing Australia's borders", the Australian reported on May 13.

This follows the interception of two more boats carrying asylum seekers by the...

Culture

When Sri Lankan state unleashed its hate,

World failed to defend Tamils' fate.

When they killed without hesitation,

World stood still in hallucination.

@poetry = When they sent us on boats to the North,

World looked at us as refugees of no...

We Will Not Fight: The Untold Story of World War One's Conscientious Objectors

By Will Ellsworth-Jones

Aurum Press, 2008

296 pp, $49.95 (hb)

John Hubert (Bert) Brocklesby, was a teacher in the Yorkshire mining village of...

Star Trek

Directed by JJ Abrams

Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

With Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy and Eric Bana

I've never emerged blinking into the sunlight from an afternoon screening in a porn cinema. My...

Exit Music

By Ian Rankin

Orion, 2007

460 pages, $26.95 (pb)

Exit Music is the 17th and final novel in Ian Rankin's Rebus series. The series, which began in 1987 with Knots and Crosses, features the hard-bitten...

World War Il: Behind Closed Doors — focuses on the secret history of the non-aggression pact between Hitler and Stalin. SBS, Friday, May 22, 8.30pm.

Sex, TV and Ugly George — Explores censorship and public decency on television using...