Weekly News Review Archive

Saturday, 14th April, 2001

17th April: International Day of Action

Via Campesina is an international movement which coordinates peasant organisations of small and middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women and indigenous communities from Asia, Africa, America and Europe in opposition to neo-liberal globalisation. The 17th April is the commemoration of the International Day of farmers' struggle, established because of the massacre of 19 farmers from the Landless movement (MST) in Brazil on the 17th of April 1996 during the second conference of Via Campesina in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Via Campesina will mobilise on the 17th of April for an international day of protest against the import of agricultural products at low prices that destroy local food production and also against GMO's and patents. To find out what's happening in your area there are a number of email contacts which can be found on their website.

New Colonialism with a Fishy Taste

The European Union is demanding huge increases in the quantity of fish its member states' boats are allowed to pull out of West African waters, despite advice from scientists that bigger catches will destroy the fishing grounds. Having ruined Europe's own fisheries through its Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU is pressuring governments of poor countries along the 1,200 miles (2000 kms) of coastline from Morocco to Guinea-Bissau. Since EU trawlers were first allowed into the grounds a decade ago, fish stocks have been massively depleted, undermining a major source of calories and protein in an area where malnutrition and the diseases it leads too are rife. EU negotiators are attempting to force Senegal to accept increases of over 60%. This plunder is designed to create employment for the thousands of fishermen from Spain, Portugal and other EU countries who will be thrown out of work by planned cuts in the fleet. Thanks to the CFP, the EU now has more out of work trawlermen than fish. If the Senegalese don't agree to the demands, the European Commission could exclude its products from the Union's huge market.

UN Veto Confirms Bush Administration's Contempt for Human Rights

The US veto of a UN Security Council resolution calling for the deployment of unarmed monitors to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip merely confirms the new administration's contempt for human rights and it's intention to support the Israeli government's blatant acts of terrorism against the Palestinian population. Hardly surprisingly, the US was the only country to vote against the resolution, which came before the Security Council on March 28 after five days of tortuous negotiations that moderated the wording of the original draft. Still, this was not enough for the US, which cast its first veto of a UN Security Council resolution in five years. The call for international monitors has grown over the past six months as reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli group

B'tselem have documented a pattern of gross and systematic human rights violations by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian population. For further information about the situation in Palestine we can recommend the Gush Shalom website. Gush Shalom is an Israeli organisation dedicated to a peaceful settlement in Palestine and they clearly demonstrate that contrary to what we hear in the mainstream press not all Israelis agree with their own government's actions.

Corporate Europe Observer: Issue No. 8 (April 2001)

The Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is an Amsterdam-based research and campaign group targeting threats to democracy, equity, social justice and the environment posed by the economic and political power of corporations and their lobby groups. In the Spring issue of their newsletter there are a number of articles that are worth taking a look at, the first of which is a successful example of creative internet-activism. They report on attempt made by EuropaBio, the giant biotech industry coalition, to close down www.insanex.dk, a website introducing 'Insanex Genomics', a spoof 'life sciences' company. Despite the threats of legal action by EuropaBio, the group of Danish anti-biotech activists that run the Insanex site are determined to continue their use of internet satire against the European biotech industry. There is an article about the events surrounding the World Economic Forum which took place in Davos in January. Also in this issue is an analysis of the future of the Kyoto Protocol and the consequences that

the EU's new Nice Treaty will have for decision-making on international trade and investment policies. In addition, is coverage of a report on the activities of former Trade Commissioner Leon Brittan who is continuing his close relationship with the corporate lobby groups in his latest role working for the UK financial services industry to lobby the EC on its WTO policies. Finally, CEO reviews the report 'Big Business and the European Agenda' written by Keith Richardson, former secretary-general of the European Roundtable of Industrialists. To find out more about the CEO you can visit their website or contact them by email.

International Viewpoint No.329

This is a monthly publication with news and analysis published under the auspices of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. In the March edition there are articles on the Zapatista march in Mexico, Ernesto Herrera writes on the success and challenges of the World Social Forum, whilst Pierre Rousset reports on the 'Attac phenomenon'. There are also articles on the permanent instability of the Congo, the Indian section of the Fourth International and their recent conference, the role of military service in Israel since its creation in 1948, the destruction of Chechnya, Serbia and the fall of Milosevic, and the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) which took place last December. Finally, with the British general election on the horizon Alan Mccombes looks at the present and probable future developments in Scotland. As usual they have a website and email address.

Quote of the Week

"When you receive 'An Italian Story', put it in an envelope, mark it Return To Sender and don't attach a stamp." - Italian newspaper Il Manifesto's advice to its readers as to what to do when the free copy of far right megalamaniac Silvio Berlusconi's 'autobiography' An Italian Story plops through their letterboxes.

A Toast for a Free Cuba

for those of you living in Belgium, the Cuban Solidarity organisation is organising a protest against the US blockade which will take place in front of the US Embassy in Brussels (27 Boulevard du Regent) on the 16th April at 17h 00. They have invited people to come and toast the Cuban victory at the Bay of Pigs which took place almost 40 years ago to the day. Along with some other volunteers from a local Oxfam Fair Trade shop, yours truly will be giving away real Cuban rum during this event in protest at Bacardi's assaults on Cuba's sovereignty..

Vigil in Parliament Square against NMD and in support of the ABM Treaty

From 2pm until 4pm on Tuesday the 24th April London Region CND and Labour CND are organising a protest which will continue on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the same time thereafter. For more information you can contact them through their website.

Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign

This EU-critical group from within the British Labour Party recently sent us their latest bulletin (March) which contains questions and answers on the European Union and the coming General Election. To find out more about them they have a website and email address.

That's all folks - see you next week. Have a Happy Easter and don't buy any Nestle's eggs.