Issue 808

Australia

Last week, Seran Sribalan and Vishna Sivaraj finished a grueling 300 kilometre walk from Sydney to Canberra in a bid to focus attention on the plight of Tamils still trapped in concentration camps in Sri Lanka's north and east.

The Sri Lankan government declared an end to the latest phase...

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission interim report was released on August 17. It found government and fire authorities failed to properly manage the deadliest bushfires in Australia's history.

The errors identified in the report contributed to the deaths of 173 people and the...

Chanting "stop Bligh, stop thief — she'd even sell her grandma's teeth!" and "community action is what we need, no sell-off to corporate greed", 100 people marched to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's West End office on August 15.

The rally was organised by Save Our Public Assets (SOPA)....

Fundamentalist Christian and NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione has made possible the introduction of a specially created "Police Bible" for the state's serving police officers.

The bible's producers, the Bible Society, hope that most of the 20,000 police officers in NSW will get a...

Community Public Sector Union (CPSU) members of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) launched a "Love Our Leave Campaign" to build support for a strong enterprise agreement.

The CPSU said protecting and improving leave entitlements was a top priority for general staff at the...

Doctors at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital will no longer perform medical terminations due to legal uncertainty, after criminal charges were laid against a 19-year-old woman and her partner in Cairns for allegedly procuring an abortion, said the August 21 Australian.

The...

Unions NSW unveiled its "Better Services for a Better State" campaign at a seminar for public sector union delegates and Your Rights at Work activists in Parramatta on August 20.

The seminar was attended by delegates and organisers from the Public Service Association (including a delegate...

More than 500 people attended the launch of the Victorian chapter of the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) on August 15.

Dr Sri Srithar told the meeting that the struggle for national self-determination for the Tamil people of Sri Lanka must take a new form. From the 1950s-'80s, the Tamils...

World

The article below is a August 27 statement by the Australian Tamil Congress. Media contact: Dr. Sam Pari – 0433 428 967

The Australian Tamil Congress, a national body representing Australian Tamils, wishes to bring to your attention the disturbing video evidence of members of the Sri...

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808.

The article below is by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and abridged from an August 10 column.

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808.

The coup d'etat carried out by the generals and their civilian front men in Honduras on June 28 poses an immediate threat to the Venezuelan revolution...

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808.

Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network national co-convenor Frederico Fuentes spoke to Heryck Rangel, an environmental activist and leader of the...

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808. Daniel Sanchez and Yoly Fernandez will be addressing public forums around Australia in their "People's power speaking tour" during August and September. Visit...

The president of Venezuela's National Statistics Institute (INE), Elias Eljuri, said on August 7 that since Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, "Poverty has been dropping ... from 49% in 1998 to 26.4% in 2009".

Eljuri cited the INE's national survey of 40,000 homes.

The INE also...

Since being evicted from their homes in the East Jerusalem community of Sheikh Jarrah on August 2 in a pre-dawn raid, the Hannoun and al-Ghawe families, both Palestinian, have been living on the street.

On August 2, 53 Palestinians were evicted from homes where their families had lived...

The British Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which represents 85% of firefighters and support staff in Britain, plans to move motions at the Trade Union Congress's (TUC) annual congress in September for the British trade union to work to increase Israel's international isolation.

The FBU's...

Happy days are here again for super-bank Goldman Sachs.

Less than a year after bankruptcies took down some of the biggest names on Wall Street, and only months since Goldman received US$10 billion in bailout money from the federal government, the bank is looking like a winner again....

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was found guilty on January 31, 2001, of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in Scotland that killed 270 civilians.

The evidence was extremely weak. It amounted to Megrahi having purchased clothes of the same type as found in the suitcase containing the bomb that...

The article below is from the Bolivarian News Agency (ABN). It is reprinted from Boliviarising.blogspot.com.

"We have to liberate ourselves economically in order to have political power", Bolivian President Evo Morales told representatives of the indigenous peoples, campesinos (...

The following article is abridged from an August 13 statement by the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM). The full article can be found at www.links.org.au.

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Today was the moment of truth for Kampung Buah Pala villagers. It was the third time their homes have faced demolition....

A few weeks ago, I publicly exposed a potential collapse of the health system in Honduras. Today, public hospitals have only four basic medicines.

They are being told to make emergency purchases from pharmaceutical firms owned by the golpistas (coup makers): Laboratorios Finlay,...

"The Cuban Five must be released", Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon said in a televised August 11 speech, an El Habanero article said the following day. Speaking directly to US President Barack Obama, Alarcon said: "You could and should free them immediately."

...

The "transparent government" that President Barack Obama guaranteed during his electoral campaign has become yet another broken promise. The August 14 Huffington Post revealed a memo containing details of "the deal" Obama cut with health care mega-corporations in secret White House...

Recent events in Honduras — where a Washington-backed military coup deposed President Manuel Zelaya on June 28 — conform to the historic pattern of United States involvement in Latin American affairs.

Since the declaration of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, put forward by US president James...

Having just returned from Cuba, I find some US-propagated lies about the country particularly galling. I want to lay some to rest.

The Cuban Revolution nationalised US agribusiness, telecommunications, petrol and every other private robber baron that pillaged the island.

Angry at...

Afghanistan held presidential elections on August 20 amid a major offensive by US and NATO troops and counter-attacks by a resurgent Taliban. The results are not expected until September.

Even before the election, Anthony Cordesman, a top civilian advisor to US commanders, said 45,000...

The article below was published the day before Afghanstan's presidential election by Malalai Joya, who was the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament elected in the 2005 elections. Joya was subsequently suspended from parliament for labelling it full of warlords. Joya...

The military coup carried out by masked soldiers in the early hours of June 28 against the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was a bandit act with differing messages for different audiences.

One audience was the oligarchic groupings throughout the hemisphere,...

Analysis

On August 11, thousands of TAFE teachers met at statewide stop-work meetings. Ninety-nine point nine percent voted for further industrial action if there is no satisfactory progress in the dispute. This includes a possible 24-hour strike in the week commencing August 31.

The teachers...

On August 12, Australia's formerly government-owned telecommunications
company, Telstra, announced a $4 billion profit for the 2008-09 financial year.

Telstra's profit increased 10.3% on the previous year, at the same time as it shed 2881 jobs. Telstra has cut 11,665 jobs over the...

Jim Davidson was sacked as the head of the Northern Territory's Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) on August 18.

Davidson was fired after revelations that SIHIP's administration costs would absorb a great deal of the program's $672 million budget. The program...

While the NSW government is wavering over a Shooters Party's proposal to allow hunting in national parks, less well known, but just as worrying, are plans for private commercial developments.

The government wants to change laws protecting national parks from development. New plans have...

On August 19, about 170 people skipped dinner and found someone to care for the kids so they could attend the High School for Coburg (HSC) forum at Coburg Town Hall.

There is not one open-entry, all-years high school between Brunswick (which is bursting at the seams) and Box Forest (miles...

A typically dusty drive 25 kilometres south of central Australia's Alice Springs brings you to an unlocked gate beside the old Ghan railway line.

Behind the fence, among the rolling red desert hills, drilling workers are boring 120 holes into an area of earth said to contain about 12,000...

Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. In the atmosphere it has a warming effect more than 20 times that of carbon dioxide.

Methane escapes into the atmosphere in many ways — rubbish tips, coalmines and cow farts are well-known sources. But the biggest known concentration of...

Dare the ALP gaol Adelaide building worker, Ark Tribe? Tribe's refusal to attend a secret hearing of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC — aka the "Construction Stasi" because of its secret police-type powers) renders him liable to six months in prison or a fine of $22,000...

Family First Senator Steve Fielding returned from a US international climate deniers' conference in June, armed with a shonky graph and some dodgy questions.

Fielding has used these tools of climate scepticism to try to reignite doubt about the science of global warming.

The...

Federal parliament passed a renewable energy bill on August 20. The target is to source 20% of Australia's energy from renewables by 2020. The reality is that it won't do what Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says it will.

The government and the opposition hailed the new laws as a big step...

August 21 was a nice day to be out on Sydney harbour with my best friend. But we were at Circular Quay not to go on a romantic ferry ride but to protest against the planned privatisation of Sydney ferries by the NSW Labor government.

The rally, organised by the Maritime Union of Australia...

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition (StWC) used the day of the sham presidential elections in Afghanistan to again call on the Rudd government to get the Australian troops out of the country. The war on Afghanistan was not a "good war", the peace group said on August 20.

"Hamid Karzai,...

Letters

Afghanistan under occupation

Horrifying UN statistics demonstrate that the elections to be held in Afghanistan under occupier guns will not be democratic.

According to UN Population Division statistics, the "annual death rate" is 7% for infants under five years...

General

The current issue of Green Left Weekly, #808, is a two-week issue. The next edition will be dated September 9.

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly is proud to publish a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The August, 2009...

Resistance!

Sydney Resistance member Aaron Roden presented the following talk at the NSW Socialist Alliance conference on August 8.

The key issue facing young people today, tomorrow's leaders, is climate change. It will be our generation that will decide the long-term balance of life on this...

From August 10 to 14, the University of Wollongong's (UOW) Environment Week brought together campaigners and environmentalists for a variety of events. The climate emergency was a central focus.

The UOW environment collective, which organised the events, is a coalition of climate...

Culture

Rethink AfghanistanDirected by Robert GreenwaldDVD for sale in October, visit www.rethinkafghanistan.com

Australia has 1550 soldiers in Afghanistan. It is likely to send more. Why? US director Robert Greenwald's latest film, Rethink Afghanistan, does not...

Tales from a Suitcase — Anne Duffy-Lindsay grew up in a radical IRA family in southern Ireland. Upon arriving in Australia in the early 1950s, she took up the communist cause. SBS1, Tuesday August 25th, 2.30pm.

Costa's Garden Odyssey —...