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November in Review Part I

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Issue: 56 Section: Month in Review Geography: Earth

November 15, 2008

November in Review Part I

Coal plants shut down in Australia, march against the tar sands in Edmonton, Nigerians take oil giant Anglo-Dutch Shell to court

by Dominion Staff

Members of Rising Tide Australia shut down the Bayswater coal fired power station through occupations and lock-downs. Photo: Conor Ashleigh - conorashleigh.com

Barack Obama was elected president of the United States with a 62.5 per cent voter turnout, the highest in 44 years. 2.2 million more young people voted than did in 2004; over 2 million more African Americans voted this time 'round; and Hispanic voters made the difference for Obama in Colorado, Florida, and New Mexico. New Hampshire became the first US state ever to elect a majority of women to their State Senate. Residents of Washington DC, 75 per cent of whom are non-white, still do not have the right to vote for representatives in Congress.

Puerto Ricans elected Luis Fortuno governor. Fortuno wants the island to become the 51st US state.

Rupiah Banda was elected president in Zambia. Opposition leader Michael Sata said that elections were fraudulent and called for a recount.

Johnson Toribiong won the presidency in the North Pacific island nation of Palau.

New Zealand shifted to the right as Conservative John Key was elected, ending nine years of Labour rule.

McClatchy Papers reported that Obama's army of online volunteers may be used in the coming months to help him intimidate his enemies, rally his allies and promote his agenda. Others have suggested that, having been trained as organizers, volunteers and campaign workers may take on other campaigns.

Peg Oliveira and Jennifer Vickery became Connecticut's first same-sex couple to wed. Connecticut is the third state to legalize gay marriage (Massachusetts became the first in 2004 and California the second this past June).

The town of Silverton, Oregon, elected a transgender mayor. Said Stu Rasmussen, the first man to run a town in heels, "Some guys' midlife crisis is sports cars or motorcycles or climbing mountains or trophy wives. I always wanted cleavage."

In the days after the US federal election, tens of thousands in communities across the States protested the passage of Proposition 8 in which gays lost the right to marry in California.

Chileans honoured Salvador Allende, who became president of the country on November 3, 1970. Allende's presidency lasted just over 1000 days before he was killed during a coup orchestrated by the CIA.

Two hundred activists marched through downtown Edmonton to demand a halt to new approvals for tar sands projects. Photo: Council of Canadians

People continued to flee eastern Congo for refugee camps in Goma. Leaders of African countries called for an immediate ceasefire to the fighting between government backed forces and Tutsi rebels.

Members of the Congolese community demonstrated in Montreal and Ottawa, demanding that the Canadian government end its silence about war in the Northern Kivu region of Congo. UN reports have implicated several Canadian mining companies in atrocities committed in Congo. An estimated 50,000 Congolese live in Canada.

The Tyendinaga Mohawk Police issued arrest warrants for 30 Tyendinaga Mohawks who oppose the construction of a $1.9 million police station. The new police station is to be financed by the Band Council and the Ministry of Public Safety and Security. According to a statement from Tyendinaga territory, "The people targeted for arrest are Longhouse people who maintain scrutiny over Band Council operations and spending."

3,350 teaching assistants and contract faculty went on strike at York University, demanding job security and wage increases. Top University officials have recently given themselves raises of up to 112 per cent.

Organizers, leaders, and spokespeople from indigenous communities across Canada gathered in Winnipeg for the Defenders of the Land Gathering. Attendees hope to discuss common strategies for achieving "land rights and self-determination."

Britain's National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit disclosed that they are monitoring environmental groups including Earth First. The "anti-extremist unit has already alerted a number of major companies which have been accused of being carbon polluters with advice on how they can withstand being targeted by eco-terrorists," reported the Guardian.

Astronomers at both the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Victoria, BC, and at University of California, Berkeley, believe they have taken the first pictures of extrasolar planets – planets orbiting other stars.

CanWest Global, which spent the 1990s buying up newspapers and television stations, laid off 560 workers, about five per cent of its workforce.

CanWest dropped its lawsuit against Mordechai Briemberg, but is still suing Gordon Murray and Carel Moiseiwitsch. The latter two created a spoof version of the CanWest-owned Vancouver Sun, which Briemberg helped to distribute. Canwest is claiming trademark violations.

Thousands of copies of a spoof version of the New York Times were distributed in Manhattan. The paper, dated July 4 2009, conveyed a utopic post-election scenario. The main headline read "Iraq War Ends," and articles discussed progressive legislation that had been passed since Obama was elected. A New York Times report called the stunt flattering, and the paper has announced no plans to press charges.

An Iranian man who is imprisoned in Maple Ridge, BC, began a hunger strike. According to his cell mate, Mohammad Reza Nouri does not know why he is being jailed and wishes to return to Iran. There are currently 46 people jailed because of "immigration violations" in BC.

A secret deal in which the City of Vancouver would lend an additional $100 million to Millennium Development Corporation, the entity responsible for building the Athlete's Village for the 2010 Olympics, was revealed. Vancouver has already lent $30 million to the project and may tap into a $90 million line of credit, on top of a $190-million loan guarantee that the City previously made to Millenium's lender, Fortress Investment Group.

The American Civil Liberties Union demanded a probe into a street battle at the Democratic National Convention that documents the fight was staged by police. According to a letter written by the ACLU, "The actions of the undercover detectives on August 25, 2008, may have had the effect of exacerbating an already 'tense situation,' as their feigned struggle led nearby officers and the public to believe that a commanding officer was being attacked by protesters and that the situation necessitated the use of chemical agents."

Israel's Supreme Court issued a decision allowing an ancient Muslim cemetery to be removed to make way for a $250 million "Museum of Tolerance," designed by architect Frank Gehry.

A Harvard School of Public Health study revealed that 330,000 people died in South Africa, and 35,000 babies were born HIV positive, because of former President Thabo Mbeki's failure to make HIV treatment available to South Africans.

CBC television journalist Mellissa Fung was freed in Afghanistan. She was abducted in Kabul on October 12. Her abduction was kept a secret until she was rescued.

CBC-TV announced its intent to launch Current Canada (no relation to CBC-Radio program The Current), a joint venture with Al Gore's Current TV. The interactive digital channel will feature content based on material generated by viewers on its website.

Documents obtained through the Access to Information show that up to 12 members of the CBC's senior executive team divided up a bonus of $964,860 they gave themselves in the 2007-08 fiscal year. CBC is a crown corporation financed by Canadian taxpayers.

Two companies won licenses to explore for oil and gas off the coast of Nova Scotia. They are Shin Han F&P Inc. and 1164214 Alberta Ltd.

Public Works Minister Christian Paradis and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced the signing of two contracts totaling approximately $2 billion for Lockheed Martin. The contracts are for the installation, integration and long-term in-service support of a new combat system for Canada's Halifax-Class frigates.

Details emerged about a wide ranging questionnaire to which every Indian national that visits Canada will be subjected. The questionnaire is being used by Canadian Border Services Agency. It asks sweeping questions about personal and family activities and links with a host of organizations, some of which are listed as "terrorist" groups in Canada. According to immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, "Not even the Americans, who are post-9/11 paranoid, engage this intrusive a questionnaire."

Community members from Fort Chipweyan and their supporters marched through Edmonton to demand a stop to approvals of new projects in the tar sands. Mike Mercredi referred to the tar sands as causing "slow industrial genocide" in Fort Chipweyan. In the community of 1200, 20 people died of cancer last year.

Four Nigerian citizens and Friends of the Earth Netherlands/Nigeria filed a law suit against Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell. The Nigerian plaintiffs, fishermen and farmers from the oil-rich Niger Delta, have had their villages heavily polluted by oil spills.

A school in Port au Prince, Haiti, collapsed, killing at least 93 people. Poor building standards were blamed for the incident. The school was under construction when it fell in.

People across Australia temporarily shut down four coal fired power stations across the country. Activists from Rising Tide occupied the coal yard and blockaded the conveyor belt supplying coal to the Bayswater power station. Twenty-nine people were arrested. Three other coal fired power stations were subject to lock downs, stopping electricity production: the Hazelwood power station near Melbourne, the Collie power station in Western Australia, and the Tarong power station in Queensland.

Part time employees at York University went on strike, shutting down the university. Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903, which represents teaching assistants, research assistants and contract faculty, walked out to demand higher wages, better benefits, and more job security.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada filed allegations of unfair labour practices in contract talks with Canada Post to the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

The global financial crisis continued. At a meeting of G-20 countries in Brazil, Robert Zoellik from the World Bank warned that poverty could grow worldwide as a result of the crisis, stating, “All countries are moving into a danger zone.” The IMF predicted that "developed" countries will see their economies contract. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said that the bottoming out of markets, which would mark the end of the downwards economic slide resulting from the financial crisis, will likely be “sometime in the first half of next year.” In Canada, a coalition of industry groups and lobbyists wrote a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to mount a government rescue package – including emergency lines of credit – to keep Canada's battered manufacturing sector afloat during the financial crisis.

A firehall in in Oakhill, Nova Scotia, caught fire.

The obscure two-sentence pledge by the Conservative Party of Canada in their recent platform to "establish a new, non-partisan democracy promotion agency that will help emerging democracies build democratic institutions and support peaceful democratic change in repressive countries," could lead to US Republican-style interference in the affairs of other countries, NDP and Liberal representatives told the Canadian Press. Concerns were also raised over proposals for the upcoming CPC convention to once again introduce legislation to protect "unborn children" and to examine establishing a "North American perimeter" with the United States.

The United Kingdom was warned by the EU's Joint Committee on Human Rights that if prisoners don't have the right to vote in the next general elections, the elections will be considered illegal. Britain's 84,000 prisoners currently do not have the right to vote, nor do "people with learning disabilities or a mental illness deemed incapable of making a reasoned judgment," according to the Guardian.

Studs Terkel died on October 31, at age 96. He was considered to be among the finest oral historians in the USA.

Known as "Mama Africa," singer and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba died of a heart attack.

The Tyee released an in-depth report on housing standards in the City of Vancouver. The report highlights how a major Vancouver slumlord has avoided doing repairs on their buildings and dodged any attempt at City enforcement.

Members of the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty (HCAP) occupied the office of Nova Scotia Department of Community Services in response to the closure of Pendleton Place, a “harm reduction” shelter in Halifax. “The decision not to reopen Pendleton Place is a cost cutting move by the provincial government that will take $150,000 out of the shelter system in Halifax,” stated a pre-action notice by HCAP.

The world economic order continued to shift as Cuba and Russia agreed to several trade agreements involving automobiles, wheat, oil and nickel.

The tiny nation of Bhutan underwent a major political shift as Bhutan's new king became the youngest monarch in the world.

A 42-year-old American living in Berlin who is recovering from leukemia therapy appears to have been cured of AIDS. Doctors have not been able to detect HIV in his blood for more than 600 days. The patient's hematologist had replaced his bone marrow cells with those from a donor who has a naturally occurring genetic mutation that renders his cells immune to almost all strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Japanese scientists created clones from mice that had been dead and frozen for 15 years. The experiment "gives some hope for those who might seek to clone extinct species from frozen carcasses," said one scientist.

Writer Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, died.

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Comments

Conservative hacks

The CPC is a cheap and vulgar knock off of the Liberal party: democracy promotion interventionism, expeditionary foreign policy, north american perimeter homeland security, predatory neoliberal economics, Bay St welfare-baby funders... Save for the nutty promise-keeper-type religious populist social fascism, what's the difference?

Which of these policies didn't start as Liberal? Which of these will be discontinued under Rae or Ignatieff?

The American Civil Liberties

The American Civil Liberties Union demanded a probe into a street battle at the Democratic National Convention that documents the fight was staged by police. According to a letter written by the ACLU, "The actions of the undercover detectives on August 25, 2008, may have had the effect of exacerbating an already 'tense situation,' as their feigned struggle led nearby officers and the public to believe that a commanding officer was being attacked by protesters and that the situation necessitated the use of chemical agents."

"Union of American Civil"

Leaders of every nation must

Leaders of every nation must bring their country towards progress. Unfortunately, the world isnow struggling hard just to pass the economic crisis that it is facing. A lot of people are now looking for a mortgage revamp these days. A mortgage revamp, or a refinance, could be the key to saving the bacon of people with mortgage problems. The lending boom of the past few years had a lot of people sign up for ARMs, or Adjustable Rate Mortgages. The problem is that they were always adjusted up, making them less affordable and sending people running for cash advances to meet the minimum payments. Still, a lot of people are struggling with mortgages as many workers have been laid off, and many who retained their jobs have had to accept reduced salaries. A short term loan may help people ride out the interim time until a mortgage revamp.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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