Friday, January 13, 2006

Katoomba: Trees Can’t Talk

A fundraising concert by:


4pm, Sat 21st Jan 2006

Hotel Gearin
273 Gt Western Hwy

$10 or $8 concession
Proceeds will go to the Gunns 20

Environmentalists being sued by a logging company for speaking in defence of Tasmania’s forests.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The outsourcing of evil

Salmon Rushdie

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the ugliest phrase to enter the English language in 2005 was "extraordinary rendition". To those of us who love words, this phrase's brutalisation of meaning is an infallible signal of its intent to deceive.

"Extraordinary" is an ordinary enough adjective, but its sense is being stretched here to include more sinister meanings that your dictionary will not provide: "secret", "ruthless" and "extralegal".

As for "rendition", the English language permits four meanings: a performance, a translation, a surrender — this meaning is now considered archaic — or an "act of rendering", which leads us to the verb "to render", among whose 17 possible meanings you will not find "to kidnap and covertly deliver an individual or individuals for interrogation to an undisclosed address in an unspecified country where torture is permitted".

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Freedom of speach: friends of Gunns 20

On December 14, 2004, 20 environmental activists, organisations and concerned citizens were issued a 216 page writ by the Tasmanian logging company Gunns Ltd.

The woodchipping giant is sueing for a combined AU$6.3 million for actions it claims has damaged their business and reputation.

Defendants include The Wilderness Society, Greens politicians Bob Brown & Peg Putt, the Huon Valley Environment Centre, two independent film makers and other citizens who care about their families and way of life.

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Japanese whalers Greenpeace ship collide

The anti-whaling organisation Sea Shepherd says its ship deliberately side-swiped a Japanese whaling supply ship yesterday.

At the weekend, a collision occurred between Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and a whaling vessel, Nisshin Maru.

Japan blames Greenpeace for that incident, but conservationists say the whalers were the aggressors.

The Nisshin Maru is more than twice as long and six times heavier than the Arctic Sunrise. The impact has left the Sunrise "battered and bruised" but luckily no crew members were injured.

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Iraq war cost could top $US2 trillion

The cost of the Iraq war could top $US2 trillion ($A2.65 trillion) after factoring in long-term health care for wounded US veterans, rebuilding a worn-down military and accounting for other unforeseen bills and economic losses, according to a new analysis.

The estimate by Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes far exceeds projections made by the Bush Administration.

The figure is more than four times what the war was expected to cost taking in this year — about $US500 billion, according to congressional budget data.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

2006: threats, challenges and opportunities

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson

"I think the way we have campaigned this year has been sensational in regards to dealing with some of things that we have been talking about for the last 10 years, we have finally done it and the other thing is it has given us the capacity to push the envelope in the way we have campaigned. Things like running ads, actions on the ground, the Last Weekend, the Sky Channel broadcast, the targeted seats campaign.

It hasn't just been the ads that have moved people, it's been the bus around NSW, community meetings, and setting up the regional networks. All those things are about building political power, but it also builds a presence within those regional areas. With every threat comes a lot of opportunities and the outcome of this is to grab those opportunities and make them work.

I'll gauge success two ways. One is that the public opinion on these changes continues to stay where it is, that is that people continue to be concerned about it and it continues to be at the forefront of people' minds. Effectively, this campaign will be successful if we go to the next election with industrial relations is one of the top five election issues. I'll gauge success by the number of people who are involved in the campaign, rank and file people that are actively involved in our campaign in the regional networks in the targeted seats. The most obvious guage will be if our unions continue to grow as they have done this year, that would be success.

That said, the whole point of this campaign isn't simply about growing union membership, it's about raising public awareness and providing people with an opportunity to have a voice. Far and away for me, success would be reaching out to the broader community, to the faith organisations, the sporting groups and other community organisations and standing shoulder to shoulder with them in this campaign for a decent Australia."

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Boeing: Workers' New Year Wish

Twenty-seven Newcastle aircraft maintenance engineers are calling on their employer Boeing to start the New Year on a positive note by making the compromise needed to end the 215-day industrial dispute.

Australian Workers' Union National Secretary Bill Shorten said the engineers, from the RAAF Williamtown base near Newcastle, were hopeful that Boeing could put aside its pride early in the New Year and get serious about ending the dispute.

"No company benefits when it has 27 skilled workers on the picket line for more than 200 days," Mr Shorten said.

"Our members would willingly go back to work tomorrow if only Boeing was prepared to guarantee that its Newcastle workers can be represented by their union in all future negotiations about their pay and conditions.

"Millions of other Australians enjoy that right in their workplaces every day. Why should these engineers be forced to accept unfair individual contracts instead of a collective agreement?"

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