World News

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Send greetings to the Cuban Five

We take the occasion of the beginning of a new year to urge readers to write to the Cuban Five. Antonio, Fernando, Gerardo, Rene and Ramon have been in U.S. federal prisons for ten years.

Afghanistan: Peace group projects a way out

Ex-presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, visiting Afghanistan this week, predicted the situation there will get worse before it gets better, “just like the surge in Iraq was.” But in the war’s eighth year, observers warn that a “troop surge” won’t reverse Afghanistan’s slide into chaos, violence and poverty.

World Notes: December 13

India: Russia aids nuclear development Somalia: Slaughter, suffering continue Italy: Historic rescue underscores risks Colombia: Gov’t evidence evaporates Cuba: Scientists, industry respond to world vaccine needs Gaza: Siege builds

Cutting cane in Colombia, workers win sweet victory

Colombian sugar cane production is confined to 500,000 acres in Valle de Cauca and Cauca, departments situated in the country’s southwest. From legalized slavery on, Afro-Colombians have done most of the cutting. Recently they’ve worked 12-14 hour days, every day, under contract with facade cooperatives, an arrangement allowing landowners and refinery operators to avoid paying for tools, transportation and workers’ retirement costs. After deductions, cutters earn less than Colombia’s minimum wage of $222 per month.

WORLD NOTES: November 22

Gaza: Collective punishment remains Malaysia: Rights protests grow Nicaragua: Sandinistas win city elections Switzerland: Gender gaps shrink Zambia: Change in the wind Cuba: New cooperation with Russia

Cuba survives third major hurricane, this time Paloma

Aida Perez, 44 years old, was waiting out Hurricane Paloma with her two daughters in a dormitory at the University of Camaguey inland, along with 900 others from Santa Cruz del Sur, a small city on Cuba’s southern coast. Her house was probably gone, she told an AP reporter, “But what’s important is that we are alive.”

World Notes: November 15, 2008

Australia: Unions go global re climate change Iraq: Awakening Council role in question Italy:School privatization elicits protests Japan: Profitable Toyota lays off thousands Panama: Tolerance of terrorism gets second look

Populist president faces long odds

President Fernando Lugo, up against an agrarian oligarchy and answerable to a mobilized peasant movement, has yet to introduce transformative measures reminiscent of those initiated by his Venezuelan, Bolivian and Ecuadorian counterparts.

Gardens, forests and Black artists: documentaries worth seeing

Some of the documentaries shown at the 44th Annual Chicago International Film Festival should be of interest to progressive activists. They deal with flora — one in the form of a community garden, another the Amazon rainforest — and with Black artists and film.

World reacts to Obama presidency

International media coverage of the election last week of Barack Obama has continued non-stop. A survey follows.

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