health

About 4500 people marched and rallied in Hobart on November 12 against the state government cuts to essential services.

Angry health care, education, children's services and other public sector workers, including police, joined with the broader community to chant "no more cuts", drowning out the efforts of Labor Premier Lara Giddings who tried to convince them that the government had no other option.

Greens leader and cabinet minister Nick McKim was also booed and heckled as he tried to defend the cuts.

There was a sea of red when public sector nurses filled Melbourne’s Festival Hall on November 11 to decide on further industrial action. About 50 buses brought nurses from across the state.

A swing version of “Danny Boy” played in the background to set a sombre but defiant tone. Messages of support came from Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney and the California Nurses Association.

It was “shameful” of the Victorian Liberal government, the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association (VHIA) and the state's hospitals to consider locking out nurses or using a strikebreaking workforce to end the enterprise bargaining campaign of public sector nurses, Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said on November 9.

In October, the Sydney branch of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) toured Dr Merita Armindo Monteiro, an East Timorese doctor trained for free in Cuba. Armindo Monterio is also an activist in the Timor Leste-Cuba Friendship Association.

Since 2004, Cuba has undertaken a large-scale medical training program for East Timor and sent hundreds of Cuban medical personnel to work on the island. Cuban medical collaboration in the region has since been extended to Kiribati, Nauru, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands. Papua New Guinea may soon benefit from Cuba’s generosity as well.

More than 3000 people turned out on October 16 to walk across the Sea Cliff Bridge in the Illawarra in protest against coal seam gas mining plans in the area. The protest was further proof the coal seam gas (CSG) industry is in trouble. Its problem? An informed public.

The Australian said on October 10 that a survey had showed the CSG industry was “losing the PR battle”, with 63% of respondents recalling a negative media story about CSG.

Driving the bad coverage has been the large grassroots campaign against the industry.

Fremantle in Western Australia is emerging as a key battleground between a Liberal-National state government committed to building freeways at any cost and a community that wants to see better public transport and an expansion of rail freight.

Container movements at Fremantle Port are predicted to double by 2020, yet the percentage being carried to port by train has declined from 17% in 2007 to 11% in this year. It is predicted to dwindle to 8.5% by next year.

The Tasmanian Labor-Greens coalition government has forged ahead with savage cuts to the state’s health services, causing anger, frustration and despair in the community. More than 7600 people have been languishing on the elective surgery waiting list. Yet the government said on October 4 that it would cut elective surgery by $58 million over the next three years.

This will cause 130 health jobs to be lost and wards to be closed in all the state’s big hospitals. It is possible that only emergency cases will be dealt with in future.

Disconnect: The Truth About Mobile-Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It & How to Protect Your Family
By Devra Davis
Scribe, 2010
274 pages, $27.95 (pb)

Meet SAM ― Standard Anthropomorphic Man.

SAM is a big man and also the silent type who spends little time using his first-generation mobile phone held a safety-conscious half an inch from the ear.

Safety standards for mobile phones have been based on SAM’s low exposure to mobile phone radio frequency radiation.

United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks make it clearer than ever that foreign troops occupying Haiti for more than seven years, under the banner of the United Nations, have no legitimate reason to be there.

They show that this a US occupation, as much as in Iraq or Afghanistan, and it is part of a decades-long US strategy to deny Haitians the right to democracy and self-determination.

The debate over genetically modified (GM) food has flared up again recently, after Greenpeace destroyed an experimental CSIRO wheat crop in Canberra on July 14.
 
The Australian Federal Police is now investigating Greenpeace over the incident, which CSIRO scientists claim has set their research back by up to a year.
 
Greenpeace argued the crop posed a threat to the environment and human health. Plans are underway for human trials of the GM wheat before tests are conducted on animals.
 

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