Almost without exception, they spend their days and nights toiling deep in the shadows. They are among the quiet ones who silently prepare your restaurant lunch, vacuum your office, wash your dirty laundry, mind your children or pick the locally grown carrots or apples on which you snack. Yesterday, for a change, they weren’t invisible.
There are facts and then there are facts. Take the case of the recent mass protests in Burma or Myanmar, depending on which name you prefer to call the former British colony. First it’s a fact which few will argue that the present military dictatorship of the reclusive General Than Shwe is right up there when it comes to world-class tyrannies. It’s also a fact that Myanmar enjoys one of the world’s lowest general living standards. Partly as a result of the ill-conceived 100% to 500% price hikes in gasoline and other fuels in August, inflation, the nominal trigger for the mass protests led by saffron-robed Buddhist monks, is unofficially estimated to have risen by 35%. Ironically the demand to establish “market” energy prices came from the IMF and World Bank.
Eight days ago, on Friday, April 25th, 2008, my husband, Shawn Brant, was arrested and detained on assault and weapons charges. Since that time, Commissioner Julian Fantino and the Ontario Provincial Police have issued numerous public statements that have wildly and, it seems, purposefully misstated the events leading to my husband’s arrest, and sought to vilify and criminalize him personally.
Thousands of activists, artists and scholars gathered Sunday for an international peace conference outside Tokyo, vowing to promote the Japanese Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9 as a global standard and prevent the clause from being weakened.
Ottawa still has not formally decided how, or whether, to get officially involved with Taliban talks. United Nations resolutions require Canada and other countries to avoid supporting terrorist groups, including the Taliban, but the resolutions do not forbid talking with those groups, and other countries have already cut deals with individual Taliban figures to bring them over to the government side.
A Canadian captured in Afghanistan at age 15 can be tried for murder in the Guantanamo war crimes court, a U.S. military judge ruled in rejecting claims that he was a child soldier who should be rehabilitated rather than prosecuted.
Tories kill Information registry used to hold government accountable.
The human cost of speculation on the financial markets by mining companies is high. This is evidenced by the grave human rights abuses that have been committed on behalf of Inco and Skye Resources. This mining project is but one example of what the promises of “development” and “corporate social responsibility” mean for the people directly affected by these projects.
With six people killed in the food protests that erupted throughout Haiti in early April, observers immediately began trying to explain why violence had once again shattered the country’s two years of apparent stability. Yet rather than blame the massive structural violence of hunger and social exclusion, or even the UN troops who were responsible for the deaths of several protestors, the source of the violence was said to lie elsewhere.
A resolution was passed with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to stop work on the West Coast docks of the U.S. on May Day in protest against the U.S. war on Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is also being reported that workers will shut down two ports in Iraq in solidarity with ILWU shutdown of ports on west coast of the U.S.