Philippines socialists: `No to imperialist intervention in the Libya! Saudi, UAE troops out of Bahrain!'

Support Middle Eastern democracy struggles! End imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan!
Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines
March 19, 2011 -- On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorising military intervention by the Western imperialist powers or their puppets in Libya. The justification for this is to prevent further loss of life in fighting between forces remaining loyal Muammar Gaddafi and forces supporting the uprising that began on February 15 against his 42-year-old rule, and to support the pro-democracy forces.

Nuclear means catastrophe: The lesson of Fukushima

[People are tested for radiation exposure near Fukushima.]
By Daniel Tanuro
March 17, 2011 -- International Viewpoint via Climate and Capitalism -- What has happened was entirely predictable: yet another major nuclear “accident”. At the time of writing, it is not yet certain that it will take on the dimensions of a disaster similar to Chernobyl, but that is the direction in which things, alas, look set to evolve. But whether it develops into a major disaster or not, we are once again faced with evidence that nuclear technology can never be 100% secure.

Japan: Left appeals for solidarity with earthquake/tsunami and nuclear victims

[Evacuees sit through an earthquake at a temporary shelter at a stadium in Koriyama. Photo: Reuters.]
Appeal for financial solidarity with the victims and evacuees of the northeastern Japan earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

By the Japan Revolutionary Communist League (JRCL) and the National Council of Internationalist Workers (NCIW)

March 17, 2011 -- On March 11, at 2:30 PM (JST), the tremendously powerful earthquake of magnitude 9 hit the vast area of eastern Japan, comprised of northeast and Kanto regions. The earthquake gave rise to the formidable tsunami, which devastated numerous cities and towns all along the Pacific coast from the northernmost prefecture of Aomori to the southern Chiba prefecture. At the time of March 17, the number of deaths and missing persons is already close to 20,000, and the number continues to increase.

Sri Lanka: The ‘colonisation war’ against Tamils

[Within the box is one of the Tamil areas targeted by the Sri Lankan government for Sinhalese settlements. Map from Tamilnet.]
By Chris Slee
March 14, 2011 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Tamilnet website has accused the Sri Lankan government of waging a "colonisation war" against the Tamil people of the island of Sri Lanka. The government has been establishing Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas. The website compares this to Israel’s policy of establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying: "Sri Lanka is aiming at creating an Israeli model situation as fast as possible".[1]
Just as Israel uses Jewish settlements to break up the areas inhabited by Palestinians into small fragments, thereby trying to make a Palestinian state impossible, Sri Lanka is using Sinhalese settlements to break up the Tamil areas of northern and eastern Sri Lanka, with the intention of making an independent Tamil state impossible.

Philippines: Thousands march for reproductive health bill

[Image: International Women's Day march, Manila, March 8. Photo by Tony Iltis.]
By Tony Iltis, Green Left Weekly
March 13, 2011, Manila -- About 10,000 people marched on the Philippines Congress on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) and demand passage of the Reproductive Health Bill before Congress.
The bill would allow greater access to modern contraceptives and sex education.
The bill proposes more maternal health services, raising the number of midwives to one for every 150 deliveries. Contraceptives would also be funded for poor women and would be included in the standard supplies of medicine in hospitals.

Thailand: Why the lese majeste law is an abomination

[Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul (`Da Torpedo').]
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
March 3, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The lese majeste law (which forbids "insulting" the monarchy) in Thailand represents a gross attack on the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and academic freedom. It is a fundamental attack on democracy carried out by the military, the palace and the elites. The practical impact is that Thailand has struggled for years to achieve a fully developed democracy, a free press and internationally accepted academic standards in our universities.

Veteran Filipino leftist on stormy times

[Pictured: Sonny Melencio.]
Review by Tony Iltis, Green Left Weekly
February 27, 2011
Full Quarter Storms, By Sonny Melencio, 2010, Transform Asia Inc.

Veteran Filipino socialist activist Sonny Melencio’s political autobiography, Full Quarter Storms, covers a lot of history.
The book tells the story of the “First Quarter Storm”, the student uprising in 1970 (from which the book draws its title), and the driving of this powerful movement underground by the declaration of martial law by then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.

Two hundred thousand workers march to parliament in India

February 24, 2011, -- In a historic March to Parliament on February 23, 2011 around 200,000 working people of India rallied in New Delhi demanding control on price rise, strict enforcement of labour laws, linkages of employment protection with the stimulus package, universalisation of social security, enhanced social security fund and to stop privatisation of central public sector enterprises.

India: Bhopal Survivors Protest Unethical Drug Trials

Press statement by Bhopal survivors
February 24, 2011 -- Survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal today marched to the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre (BMHRC) demanding suspension of senior consultants involved with unethical drug trials on gas victims and compensation for those on whom drug trials have been conducted. Decrying preferential treatment of non gas victims at BMHRC they opposed attempts by the state government to take control of the hospital and demanded taking over of the administration of the hospital by the central government.

The organizations leading the march stated that senior consultants of BMHRC broke the law in 2004 by carrying out Phase III drug trials because such trials were illegal prior to 2005. They condemned the state government for not disclosing the findings of the investigation on these trials and demanded that the central government must act against the consultants who were interfering with the medical records of the trials.

Malaysia: Court rules Penan land case can go ahead

[Penan children relaxing in their rainforest home, Sarawak, Borneo. © R. Hanbury-Tenison/Survival.]
February 23, 2011, Survivial International -- A Malaysian court has ruled that members of the Penan tribe can sue the government and a timber company for trespassing on their land.
The Court of Appeal in Sarawak, the Malaysian part of Borneo, has overturned a previous decision that a case filed by five Penan could not be heard. The case had been disallowed because more than six years had passed since the Sarawak government issued the Merawa timber company with a licence to log their ancestral land.