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July in Review, Part II

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Issue: 62 Section: Month in Review Geography: Canada

August 4, 2009

July in Review, Part II

Strikes, Spies, Salamanders and Sexy Bubblegum

by Dominion Staff

Land defenders standing in a circle for a grounding ceremony at sunrise. They have been occupying a proposed development site to protect Guelph's Old Growth Forest. Photo: Sal Jefferson

The coup in Honduras entered its second month. Ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned briefly to Honduras, but left under threat of arrest. Putchist president Roberto Michelleti announced support for Zelaya's return to office with drastically reduced presidential powers, but claimed there was opposition from political and business leaders. The US sent mixed signals: a State Department representative claimed events in Honduras did not qualify as a coup, while the US government revoked the visas of Honduran coup-government officials. Canadian protesters rallied outside the Vancouver offices of mining company Goldcorp Inc. to highlight its link to Honduran groups endorsing the coup. The Canadian Government confirmed that it was still training members of the Honduran military.

Anti-mining groups held a 36-hour sit-in at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico to mark the first Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining. Seventy per cent of the mining concessions in Mexico are held by Canadian corporations.

Emprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier was granted his first parole hearing in 15 years. Peltier, who maintains his innocence, has been jailed for 33 years for the shootings of two FBI agents in Oglala Oyanke, Lakota Territory (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, North Dakota). The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in South Dakota, where Peltier grew up, argued for his release, saying they would help the 64-year-old re-integrate into society. A decision is expected around mid-August.

Sixty people occupied the site of the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park in Guelph, Ontario. Protesters say the HCBP development, which includes the city's Old Growth Forest, threatens local clean water sources and will destroy the habitat of the Jefferson Salamander, on the Ontario list of threatened species. The City of Guelph sent an eviction notice to the protesters, but has yet to take action.

Protestors marked the Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining with a 36-hour sit-in at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City to denounce the country's complicity in mining companies' abuses in Mexico. Photo: Tamara Herman

A farmer in Richmond, BC, who was cut off from harvesting his crops when part of his farm was expropriated for highway construction, vowed to continue with his harvest. "August is harvest period and nothing will keep me off the land," he said.

Representatives of Jefferson County, Colorado, sought legislation that would make it illegal for bicyclists to cycle freely on any country road in the state. "This issue may be the biggest challenge yet to bicycling in Colorado," according to Bicycle Colorado.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson stated that he'd like to see a new jail built in the city's downtown east side.

The Integrated Security Unit for the 2010 Olympics posted a request for proposals for the construction of 2,000 handgun storage lockers, "big enough to not only store a pistol, but also contain a separate compartment for up to 50 rounds of ammunition and a 110-gram pepper spray canister," according to Vancouver's 24 Hours.

A spy working for the US Army as an infiltrator in anarchist and anti-war organizing in Tacoma and Olympia, Washington, was outed by local researchers. John Towery, aka John Jacobs, spent two years undercover, and according to local anarchists he "admitted that he reported to an intelligence network that included county sheriffs from Pierce, Thurston and other Washington counties, municipal police agencies from Tacoma, Olympia, Seattle and elsewhere, Washington State Police, the US Army, FBI, Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency among other agencies."

A dozen professors in New Brunswick announced a boycott of the provincial Telegraph-Journal newspaper in response to the firing of a student intern who wrote about an academic protest of an honorary degree for NB Premier Shawn Graham. The professors claim censorship, while the TJ's editor claims the student was fired for comiting factual errors.

Inside and outside Toronto, city workers voted to return to work, ending the city's longest-ever labour dispute. Described commonly as a 'garbage strike' because of cancelled waste collection, union representatives said city tactics had set labour relations back "decades."

Seventy-five members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty went to Toronto's city hall to demand the city issue welfare checks and grant benefits to people on social assistance. The city has been illegally withholding special diet and other benefits to welfare recipients, blaming the municipal workers' strike. CUPE lifted its picket of city hall so OCAP protesters could cross.

Via Rail workers went on strike for 48 hours before negotiations were announced and service resumed. They had been without a contract since December 31, 2006.

Workers at the Vestas Windsystems factory on the Isle of Wight, UK, conducted a sit-in at the factory to protest its closure, slated for July 31. The closure, which would result in over 600 lost jobs, comes as the UK government claims to be increasing their support for climate friendly energy production. "We are calling on the government to intervene to save jobs at Vestas - through nationalisation if that is what it takes - to show that it is serious about saving the planet," reads a statement from the Save Vestas campaign.

The Ritz and Mariott hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, were hit by explosions, killing eight and wounding dozens. The attacks, carried out by suicide bombers, are the first in Indonesia since the Bali bombings in 2005.

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo was elected as the new Chief of the Assembly of First Nations during their General Assembly in Calgary. "They're talking about all this poverty, and yet here they are spending a million dollars on booze and posh hotels," delegate Rachel Wuttunee told The Tyee.

The Pittsburgh G-20 resistance project released a call-out for convergence in Pittsburgh from September 22-25, when the G-20 will be meeting in the city.

Between 55 and 100 people were killed in clashes in northeastern Nigeria. The Nigerian army is battling Islamist militants, who are allegedly attempting to impose Sharia law.

The European Union ruled against importing any products that come from the seal hunt in Northern Canada. According to data compiled by the Canadian Press, "The decision affects more than 6,000 sealers in small coastal communities along the Atlantic coast, as well as Inuit and other northern Aboriginal populations."

The Conservative government announced four priorities for their Arctic strategy. The plan includes "$37.6 million to support initiatives related to the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project," and the procurement of new Arctic patrol ships. "While the four priorities set out in this strategy are useful, they need to be accompanied by a fifth priority. That fifth priority should be a specific and direct relationship with Inuit in the four Inuit land claims regions," stated Mary Simon, national leader of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), in a press release.

Hamas accused the Israeli army of distributing gum that increases the sex drive of youth in the occupied territories. "The intelligence services are aiming to corrupt the young generation by distributing these products among students," a police spokesperson for Hamas told AFP.

Dubliners took direct action against rock band U2 after complaints about round-the-clock truck traffic went unheard. Angry locals blocked several of U2's trucks, which were moving the group's gargantuan 390-ton stage setup to their next date in Sweden. The trucks missed a ferry as a result of the blockade.

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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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