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November in Review Part II

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Issue: 56 Section: Month in Review

December 1, 2008

November in Review Part II

Barriere Lake Algonquins press demands, OCAP builds a wall, the Minga shakes Colombia

by Dominion Staff

Outgoing VP Dick Cheney has been indicted on charges of "organized crime" because of his stake in a private prison where abuses against prisoners were known to have taken place. Photo: Tony Schwartz CC2.0

Thanks to the high price of food and recent drought in Afghanistan, it is estimated that 1.6 million children under five years of age and 625,000 women of child bearing age are at risk of dying this winter.

A study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety found that mice fed with genetically modified corn developed by the US-based Monsanto Corporation had lower fertility and body weight.

The UN called on the Harper government to investigate why hundreds of deaths and disappearances of Aboriginal women remain unsolved.

Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom asked Governor General Michäelle Jean to prevent the opening of the Rosia Montana gold mine. The proposed open pit mine, owned by Gabriel Resources, would flood out villages and cemeteries.

The ETC Group released "Who Owns Nature?", a report on corporate concentration in commercial food, farming, health and the strategic push to commodify the planet's remaining natural resources. The report reveals that 10 companies now control more than two-thirds of global proprietary seed sales. The report also points to a very different reality and a powerful contrast to the corporate-controlled life sciences. Although a single company--Monsanto--accounts for almost one-quarter of proprietary seed sales, about three-quarters of the world's farmers routinely save seeds from their harvest and grow locally-bred varieties.

As part of the International Week Against Israel's Apartheid Wall, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty erected a cement wall in front of a building owned by elite real estate developer Leviev-Boymelgreen. According to OCAP, Leviev-Boymelgreen builds Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine as well as luxury condos in Toronto.

Barriere Lake Algonquins blockaded highway 117 in Northern Quebec for a second time. The community wants Quebec and Canada to respect environmental and revenue-sharing agreements and Canada to end interference in their leadership selection.

Wal-Mart shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death at the Valley Stream location on Long Island, NY. The shoppers took the store's doors off their hinges and stampeded towards the Christmas discounts, crushing the worker underneath. Two people were also reported dead after a shooting in a Toys R Us store in California. The killings took place on November 28, aptly named "Black Friday," the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. November 28 is also Buy Nothing Day.

Independent journalist Anthony Fenton revealed Pierre Pettigrew's current role as an adviser to Canadian oil companies in Iraq.

Six teenagers were arraigned for gang assault and hate crimes in the killing of an Ecuadorean man who had lived in the US for 16 years. The killing occurred in Long Island during one of the teenagers' regular outings during which they would target and hurt (in this case fatally) Latinos. “To them, it was a sport. We know for sure that there are more victims out there,” said Thomas J. Spota, Suffolk County’s district attorney.

Fifteen Palestinian fishermen and three international Human Rights Observers (HROs) were surrounded by the Israeli Navy and taken from their boats seven miles off the coast of Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip. The HROs have been accompanying Palestinian fishermen who are regularly attacked by Israeli navy vessels from as little as three kilometres from shore. They have filmed Israeli forces using live ammunition, shells and water cannons against unarmed fishermen. These attacks constitute breaches of the current cease-fire. Over 40,000 people in Gaza make a living from the fishing industry.

Mike Mercredi from the community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, continued to speak out about the effects of the tar sands on his community. He referred to the dirty crude projects as "slow industrial genocide" for the Athabascan Cree people living downstream.

Over 1,500 women activists from around the world gathered in Cape Town, South Africa to participate in the 11th International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development. Organized by the Toronto based Association of Women in Development, the forum featured discussions on women’s struggles for respect of labour, health, housing and indigenous rights, peace building efforts in conflict and post-conflict situations, building social movements across the Occupied Territories and Israel (and beyond), and initiatives to counteract global religious fundamentalist tendencies. For Papua New Guinean Onge Nufuk of the Mining Affected Women’s Foundation and the International Women and Mining Network, “We are fighting for issues affecting our communities as a whole; our societies as a whole, not just for individual development based on the concept of ‘me.’”

Jack Layton canceled a visit to Vancouver because of the possibility that opposition parties may bring down the Harper government through the formation of a coalition. The Conservatives floated a proposal to ban strikes for all public service workers until 2010-2011, a plan which the Public Service Alliance of Canada called "an affront to free collective bargaining."

Gregor Robertson was elected Mayor of Vancouver. Robertson's Vision Vancouver candidates, together with two elected COPE councilors, took away every council seat but one from the right-wing Non Partisan Association.

The route to be followed by the Olympic torch was announced. The torch route will crisscross Canada, visiting 1,020 communities including 115 "Aboriginal Centres" over 106 days. The Vancouver Sun quoted Tewanee Joseph from the Four Host First Nations Secretariat saying that he hoped that the "native resistance" to the games would be alleviated due to their inclusion in the torch ceremonies. In addition, Vancouver's Olympic Organizing Committee announced where road closures would be during the 2010 Olympics, and asked businesses to shut down during the games. “We have hundreds of thousands of people earning less than $10 an hour in this province. They simply cannot afford to lose two weeks pay because their employer decides to shut down their business during the Olympics,” said Jim Sinclair from the BC Federation of Labour. Anti-Olympics protestors garnered media attention by doing outreach to the international press, who were visiting Vancouver on a junket.

The number of families who applied to receive Christmas hampers in Charlottetown has soared to over 400, up from 50 last year.

The NDP spoke out about the fact that children who are removed from their families by the Ministry of Social Services are being housed in daycares and hotels in Saskatchewan.

The CBC reported that people who immigrate to PEI often do not get back the "deposits" that they are required to give the provincial government under the Provincial Nominee Program. One deposit is for $25,000 and acts as a "guarantee" that the person will stay in the province for at least a year, the second is for $20,000, and is refunded after the person learns English.

Irish politicians pushed for a second referendum on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish voted against ratifying the EU harmonization deal in June, but the Treaty will not go ahead unless all 27 EU states ratify it. Together with Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic have not yet ratified the Lisbon Treaty.

Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales were indicted for organized crime by a South Texas grand jury. The indictment relates to Cheney's stake in the Willacy County's federal detention centers, and an alleged failure by Gonzales to properly investigate prisoner abuse at the jails. The indictment has not been seen by a Judge.

The time line for bringing the Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick up to full capacity has doubled from four to eight years.

A cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed at least 400 people, which represents only the "tip of the iceberg" of how bad the crisis could get, according to the United Nations.

Rafael Correa, the President of Ecuador, announced that the country "will seek to not pay the illegitimate, corrupt, and illegal foreign debt." According to the the Americas Policy Program, Ecuador's foreign debt increased from $240 million in 1970 to $17.4 billion in 2007.

Tens of thousands of people marched from the southern Colombian city of Cali to Bogotá as part of a popular movement known as a Minga. "The Minga once again confirms that this government is not with the people, that its economic policies favor multinational capital at the expense of the people, that it does not respect the fundamentals of the Constitution, that it accuses anyone who demands their rights of being a terrorist, and that it uses the tools of the mass communication media to silence the popular will, and distract public opinion with lies and threats," reads the final document of the mobilization.

Attacks in Mumbai killed over 195 people as bombs were detonated in different areas of the city. "So many simultaneous attacks on so many different parts of the city, with gunmen taking hostages in some places, setting off bombs in others, settling in to fight commandos for days in others, is something new, and terrifying," wrote Justin Podur. “People of India are resilient. People of India are strong. They have built a vibrant, multiethnic democracy that can withstand this trial. Their financial capital of Mumbai will continue to be the center of commerce and prosperity,” said George W. Bush, speaking from the White House lawn.

Seven prisoners were murdered, five of them beheaded, during fighting between inmates at the Pavoncito prison in the outskirts of Guatemala City.

Ten thousand high school students in Berlin protested accelerated testing and demanded more teachers, smaller class sizes, and free education for all. Some students began a riot, which German paper Die Welt called an "orgy of destruction." During the riot, a monument to ‘Reichskristallnacht’ or Night of the Broken Glass, was partially destroyed, and university staffers "placed themselves in front of the busts of the intellectual giants such as Hegel and Fichte that line the hallways in order to protect them."

Research on Australian army recruits and athletes in Las Vegas showed that touching your toes before a workout is bad for you. In fact, “There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” explains Malachy McHugh, director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The central nervous system rebels against stretching. Static stretching – holding a stretch for 30 seconds – also weakens muscles, by up to 30 per cent. Before a workout, opt for dynamic stretching, and save static stretching for afterwards to realign pooped muscle fibres.

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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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