HYDERABAD, India – The Asian Social Forum (ASF) was held in the capital of the Indian state Andra Pradesh from Jan. 2-7. Conceived as a part of international debates that have been taking place after the birth of the World Social Forum in Brazil, ASF has become the venue for organizations, unions, intellectuals, workers, dalits, peasants, tribals and activists who are engaged in creating an alternative world order and socio-economic system.
TEL-AVIV – Israel faces a very deep and dangerous economic crisis. 2002 was the worst year Israel has had since the first few years of austerity after the war of Independence (1949-53). The annual rate of inflation and consumer price index hikes reached 6.5 percent, up from one to two percent over the previous few years. Unemployment at the end of 2002 stood, according to official figures, at 10.4 percent of the civil workforce. Long-term unemployment is at almost 14 percent.
The U.S. Navy started another round of military maneuvers and bombing on the island municipality of Vieques, Jan. 13, even though they have officially announced they will leave Vieques by May 1, 2003
Britain: Train drivers refuse war cargo / Iraq: ‘Confidential’ UN document cites humanitarian crisis / Venezuela: Transport workers won’t strike / Haiti: Aristide urges release of loan funds / Canada: Kyoto Climate Protocol ratified / Italy: Police faked evidence vs. Genoa protesters
TEL AVIV – Remarkable developments abound as people prepare to go to the polls Jan. 28 to elect a new government and Prime Minister. Incumbent Prime Minister and warhawk Ariel Sharon continues to face major challenges from his and his families’ corruption activities.
On December 31, 2002, Alfredo Porras Rueda was detained by the Colombian government. In a televised statement hours later, General Jairo Duvan Pineda, commander of the Fifth Division of the Colombian Army, accused Rueda of being a member of the insurgent group Ejercito de Liberación Nacional (ELN).
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela received its first shipment of 525,000 barrels of oil from Brazil to help relieve the shortages because of a strike against President Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan Constitution.
Retreating under intense pressure from South Korea, China and Japan, the Bush administration announced Jan. 7 that they are willing to hold face-to-face talks with government leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Brazil: Lula puts butter before guns / Lebanon: Unions will protest gov’t tax hikes / Britain: Protests good for health / China: CP head stresses re-employing laid-off workers / Germany: Public worker strike likely
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released three reports detailing the harm of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. “Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and Their Use by the United States in Afghanistan,” exposes civilian casualties caused by cluster bombs.