International News

Palestine admitted to UNESCO in defiance of US bullying

Palestine achieved a significant breakthrough in its bid for recognition as a state on October 31. In a landslide vote of 107 in favour and 14 against, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) admitted Palestine as its 195th member.

On occupations

“Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws.” “You speak of — ” said Egremont, hesitantly, “the rich and the poor.” Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil, or the Two Nations (1845)

Indonesia: Strikes and protests as discontent rises

The simmering discontent throughout Indonesia regularly overflowed throughout October and November. There were student protests against the Yudhoyono government, attacking corruption, economic injustice and political manipulation of local government, in cities including Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Cirebon, Samarinda (in Borneo), Makassar, Surabaya and Kediri.

Fight against Greed in Papua

(A slightly shorter version of this article has been published in New Matilda.)

It was 10 o’clock in the evening on September 11. Sudiro, the chief negotiator in West Papua’s ongoing Freeport strikes, was sitting alone on the veranda of his house. He had spent all day with Freeport Indonesia management, bargaining for a wage rise for the members of his union – the All Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) Freeport division.

Egyptian protests demand end to military rule

More than 100,000 Egyptians packed Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Friday, November 27 for the ninth consecutive day since new protests began on November 18, calling for democracy, social justice and an end to the military’s control of the country.  Despite the death of at least 40 protesters and injuries to more than 2000 others at the hands of the security forces, hundreds of thousands have continued to flood onto the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other major centres.

Brussels summit fails to end eurozone debt crisis

After 11 hours of talks in Brussels throughout the night of October 27, the 17 leaders of the states that share the euro as their currency announced a package of measures they hoped would be regarded by international financial markets as a “comprehensive” solution to the eurozone debt crisis.

Iranian parliament endorses president's cabinet nominations

In early August Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominated four new ministers to the 290-member Majlis, the Iranian parliament. Among the four was a new oil minister, Rostam Ghasemi. Until his nomination Ghasemi was the head of the major engineering arm of the 125,000-strong Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which employs 25,000 staff on projects worth an estimated US$7 billion. These include government contracts to develop oil and gas fields.

Workers strike at Iranian petrochemical complex

More than 6000 workers at the petrochemical complex in Mahshahr City in Khuzestan province struck for 10 days from September 25, demanding an end to individual contracts and abolition of all subcontracts at the complex.

Philippine Airlines workers fight retrenchment

In a major attack on workers’ rights, Philippine Airlines moved to retrench and lock out some 2600 workers and members of the Philippine Airline Employees Association (PALEA) between September 26 and October 1. PALEA has responded with a campaign of actions and the establishment of a protest camp at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Eurozone debt crisis increases fears of new global recession

On September 29 the European Financial Stability Facility cleared a major hurdle when German MPs voted to ratify an increase in its size and scope, including enabling it to buy government bonds from eurozone nations facing bankruptcy. The expansion of the bailout fund from 440 billion to 780 billion euros almost doubles Germany’s contribution — to €211 billion.