Over October 16-17, 120 people participated in lively and informative discussions at the Latin America Solidarity Conference. “Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world” was organised by the Latin America Social Forum. LASF brings together the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN — Australia), Guatemala Human Rights Committee, Ibiray-Fondo Raul Sendic (Uruguay), Honduras’ National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and Socialist Alliance.
Venezuela’s representative in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Alfredo Missair, spoke on October 18 about Venezuela’s achievements in the field. He said that 14 million citizens (about half of the population) now have access to food at fair prices. On the TV show Desperto Venezuela, broadcast by VTV, Missair stressed the country is on track to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals of halving the proportion of the population that is undernourished.
The outcome of a trial against a Cairns couple for procuring an abortion has turned the tables on the Department of Public Prosecutions and the Queensland government. The Cairns jury swiftly returned a “not guilty” verdict on October 14 and the question now being asked is “what real crimes are exposed by this case?” For many, the real crime is the fact that the anti-abortion laws from 1899 have not been repealed.
Pip Hinman has been pre-selected to run for the Socialist Alliance in the NSW seat of Marrickville in the March state elections. She is an activist journalist and stood in the seat in 2007. Hinman was active in the pro-choice movement in Sydney and Brisbane in the 1980s and 1990s. Below, she responds to the October 14 not guilty verdict in the trial of the Cairns couple charged under Queensland’s abortion laws. * * * The not guilty finding of the young Cairns couple should be the impetus for the NSW government to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act of 1900.
We’re told that Australia is an egalitarian country. Our prime minister is a working-class migrant girl made good, while her predecessor was raised in regional Queensland by a single mother after the early death of his father. Anything is possible; our origins need not hold us back. A new report, linking health outcomes with social status, casts doubt on this. It concludes that those born poor are more likely to live in poor health during adulthood, and to die younger.
On September 10, the commercial television regulator, Commercials Advice (CAD) withdrew approval for the screening of a pro-euthanasia ad by Exit International on September 12. Exit International condemned the decision as an attack on free speech. According to its website, Exit International is ”a leading end-of-life choices (voluntary euthanasia/ assisted suicide) information and advocacy organisation”.
A new dictionary to help deliver health care to Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land was launched in Darwin on September 7. Linguist Marilyn McLellan and Yolngu translator Yurranydjil Dhurrkay from the Elcho Island community of Galiwin'ku have produced a dictionary of 200 medical and anatomical terms in English and Yolngu Matha. The dictionary has been produced and published by the Aboriginal Resource Development Services (ARDS), a not-for-profit organisation based in Nhulunbuy and Darwin.
Five families are suing Xstrata, the Queensland government and the Mt Isa council over alleged lead contamination. As part of their case, they commissioned US neuroscientist Theodore Lidsky to examine brain tests on Mt Isa children. His report found some Mt Isa children had brain damage from long-term exposure to lead, the families’ lawyer, Damian Scattini, told ABC News on September 17.
A special film screening will take place in Petersham, Sydney on September 28 to celebrate the graduation of the first 18 East Timorese students through Cuba's medical training aid program, which began in East Timor in 2003. The event will be presented by Dr Tim Anderson of the University of Sydney, who has followed the journeys of these doctors from the start. He will present his films The Doctors of Tomorrow and The Pacific School of Medicine, as well as footage from the recent graduation ceremony.
The article is abridged from an August 11 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report. * * * The signs which dot the beach along the Gaza City waterfront read: "This beach is polluted.” Yet they serve only as obstacles for children running to the sea, rather than warnings of the serious health risks. One need only stroll north along the beach for a couple hundred metres to see raw sewage being pumped directly into the Mediterranean Sea from one of the 16 discharge sites along the coast. Yet thousands of people fill Gaza's beaches.