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Cambridge Feature Archive

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11-07-2004 19:03

Funny Weather

Have you noticed that we don't seem to get seasons any more, just weather ...

Does it make you wonder what's going on? It's July, and we have cold nights, storms, showers. Is it just more bad weather, or is it another sign of climate change?

Hold on a minute. Wasn't this whole global warming thing meant to lead to long hot summers? Vineyards and orange groves in the south of england. No one said anything about storms ...

Sorry to disillusion you, but as the temperature rises, there is more and more energy in the global weather system. And more energy leads to more extreme weather - high winds, heavy downpours and severe storms.

Get involved [ Rising Tide | Stop Esso | No New Oil ]

Full Story >>

06-06-2004 12:23

Who are the G8? -- A week of action and discussion in Cambridge

G8 protests From June 8th-10th in Sea Island, Georgia, the world's 8 most powerful governments met. Next year, they're coming here.

The eight most powerful men in the world are on the run. Rocked by the scandals of third world debt, growing global inequality and violence in the service of neoliberalism, the G8 have been chased around the world since 1998, when 70,000 confronted them in Birmingham (the last time they met in the UK). Nowhere is safe for these eight global superpowers, so they find themselves forced to retreat into brutally enforced 'red zones' (as in Genoa, 2001) or inaccessible mountains (as in Canada, 2002, or Switzerland, 2003). This year, the eight prime ministers and presidents were protected from protesters by the sea, on a small island of the coast of the US. Even so, in case the sound of the sea failed to drown out the sound of dissent, a state of emergency was declared in the state of Georgia, allowing police to halt any demonstrations. And next year, the eight most powerful men in the world will be coming to the UK.

[G8 2004 in Georgia: News (official) | Maps]
[Cambridge pre-event publicity: flier 1 | flier 2 | Forum | Peoples' Golfing Association | East Anglia]
[Cambridge event reports: Anarchist golf photos | street theatre | forum | G8 explanation-leaflet | Corporate media on anarchist golf]
[Background: Debt and the G8 (WDM) | Arms Trade and the g8 (Amnesty) | Unfair Trade Rules (Oxfam) | Iraq War and the G8 | Health (MSF) | Global Policy Forum Analysis | Toronto University Background | `Better World' G8 links]

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31-05-2004 19:57

Scream against war, torture and occupation

Scream It has become clear that the British and American governments are guilty of serious abuses in Iraq. A leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross contradicts George Bush's assertion that Abu Grahib had been a scene of "...disgraceful conduct by a few American troops...".

The ICRC director of communications, Pierre Kraehenbuchel insisted that there was "a broad pattern, not individual acts, there was a pattern and a system." Furthermore the occupying forces have not improved the humanitarian situation (Read more), and the number of Iraqi civilians killed is estimated to be between 9921 and 11071.

Full Story | 1 comment >>

25-05-2004 16:32

Asylum campaigners fight on

Photo of Boris Local anti-deportation campaigners have shrugged off a refusal by Immigration Minister Des Browne MP to lift the threat of deportation hanging over Cambridge postal worker Boris Lidovski.

According to a letter sent by the Immigration Minister to Boris's constituency MP Ian Gibson last week, the only alternative to the forced removal of Boris from the UK to Russia would be for him to "voluntarily depart".

Speaking on behalf of the Cambridge-based 'Boris Lidovski Must Stay Campaign', Nick Savage described the letter as "a setback for the campaign, but certainly not a fatal one."

Boris arrived in the UK in April of 1997. He applied for asylum three days later. Over six years later, in June of last year, his asylum claim was refused.

[Background Info]

Full Story | 2 comments >>

07-05-2004 15:56

Space for Cultural Diversity in Cambridge under Threat

Cafe Afrika One of the few spaces in Cambridge where cultural diversity is thriving - Café Afrika - recently had its public entertainment license revoked after a petition from 28 residents was sent to the Cambridge City Council, complaining of "anti-social behaviour" from people leaving the venue. The Council also claims there was "a consistent failure to observe licensing conditions". However, partly due to the more than 400 signatures collected on a petition in support of the Cafe, that decision has been reversed until an appeal has been heard.

Café Afrika is one of only a few venues in Cambridge actively pursuing a culturally diverse program and, as they stated in their original response to the council decision:

We are the only venue which consciously promotes community values, cultural diversity, and equal access to the arts. We fundraise regularly for charity organisations, we always welcome local talent and local artists, we provide a free space for many promoters, community groups, meetings and activities.

Full Story | 1 comment >>

30-04-2004 22:00

Grafton Centre Mayday picnic: security "extremely jealous"

The Grafton Grapple "Once inside, the group converged to make plans and set up the picnic. 'We are more than just consumers' leaflets being handed out, information about the shop-workers unions was distributed to shopkeepers. A few short puffs and a 100 'End Child Labour' balloons were inflated and soon a 100 small children were happy with their new shiny red 'activist' balloons, parents struggling to try and think of a reason to take a balloon from their child."

More reports from Cambridge Mayday activities: [1 | 2] [Photos] [Video]

Full Story >>

20-04-2004 23:00

Targeting Civilians: Anti-Personnel Landmines

Afghanistan Landmine Victim Anti-personnel, or antiman, landmines (APLs) are odious devices designed to mutilate or kill the person who activates the explosion mechanism. Antiman mines do not recognise the soldier's uniforms, they do not distinguish a child from an adult, a civilian from a combatant. They hit almost exclusively the civilian population, creating an army of mutilated invalids that weighs on the health system, the economy and the future of a country.


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19-04-2004 02:13

SHAC World Day for Lab Animals

Demonstrators More than 1,000 people gathered on Saturday in Cambridge for the World Day for Lab Animals. The demonstrators gathered on Parker’s Piece before marching through Cambridge town centre.

The march was organised by the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign, formed to force the closure of Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Full Story | 6 comments >>

13-04-2004 16:21

Massacre in Fallujah

Iraqi woman shot by American snipers in the neck. As this is being written a massacre is taking place in Falluja, Iraq. Falluja is a town which has been resisting the occupation of Iraq since June. US troops have been forced to the border of the town since then. It has fought hardest and most uncompromisingly and has regularly been pummelled by F16 fighter jets and apache helicopter gunships since then, with civilians being slaughtered on a regular basis.

Well over 470 people have now been slaughtered by US troops in Falluja, this week. 1700 have been injured. The deathtoll is expected to rise due to the siege nature of the military cordon around the town. ambulances are being fired upon and followed by sniper sights if they attempt to enter the town. Eyewitnesses have reported seeing bodies lying dead in the streets. Hospitals have been attacked. Medical supplies and bed shortages are at crisis levels. Residents are calling it a massacre.

Eyewitness accounts:
From Jo Wilding: 1, 2 | Rahul Mahujan's description | More descriptions | From Dahr Jamail: 1, 2 | From Occupation Watch, Baghdad.

For more information, Voices in the Wilderness have produced a briefing on the current state of affairs in Fallujah. You can also read accounts at the Electronic Iraq portal. By any measure the situation there is appalling.

Update: The US have responded by saying they will install some of Saddam Hussein's old security officers to restore order. More information is here.

Full Story | 1 comment >>

02-03-2004 23:00

STA- Making a killing in Burma

On Monday the 1st March, students across the country took action in protest against the promotion of tourism to Burma (Myanmar) by the STA travel agency. The protest was called by the Burma Campaign Student Network, which has asked STA Travel to follow the example of other tourism companies, for example Explore, Rough Guides and Northwest Airlines, which have publicly stated that they will not do business in Burma.

In Cambridge a group of protestors gathered outside the STA office on Sidney St at noon. Several activists entered the shop and attempted to give out leaflets to the customers waiting inside. However, they were prevented from doing so by the store manager, and by a couple of helpful policemen who had turned up to lend a protective hand. The activists then attempted to engage the manager in discussion on STA’s role in supporting the Burma regime. He refused to be drawn and answered all questions with the same line “STA Travel does not promote tourism to Burma” This was an intriguing response considering the information available on the STA website. The two policemen escorted the activists out of the shop. The group remained outside the shop for another hour giving out leaflets to passersby, who seemed very receptive to what was being said. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the event was when the store manager came up to the front window and stood there holding up a large printed poster, obviously pre-prepared, with the words:

“STA TRAVEL DOES NOT PROMOTE TOURISM TO BURMA (though we do have lots of other good offers)”

Full Story | 2 comments >>

28-02-2004 14:36

Uni Teachers & Students Demonstrate Over Pay and Fees

With the ongoing controversy over the Labour government's plan to introduce top-up fees for university tuition rumbling away in the background, lecturers represented by the Association of University Teachers (AUT) went on strike this week over pay reductions, working conditions, proposed changes to union representation of lecturers, and differential treatment of staff based on where they work rather than the jobs that they perform. The Cambridge AUT has called upon students to campaign with them for better pay, and have pledged their support for student campaigns against variable top-up fees.

Meanwhile, at Essex University in Colchester, students occupied the boardroom of university boss Ivor Crewe, a high-profile advocate of fees, and called for a protest movement that can "force a shift in society's priorities, away from warfare and greed and towards satisfying human welfare and need." Occupations have also occurred at Oxford University and in Sheffield, where the Town Hall was taken over by students. Direct actions against threatened closures of the chemistry, philosophy, development studies, sociology and anthropology departments at Swansea University are planned for the 10th of March.
[Video: Cambridge AUT & CUSU pickets] [Cambridge AUT Ballot on Industrial Action] [How to Occupy Your University]

Top-up fees and the university system in the UK are usually discussed as if Britain was a lone island of turmoil in a wider ocean of calm worldwide. Within the mainstream press, there has been little recognition that a systematic, consistent set of structural reforms is being implemented around the globe by proponents of what might be called a "neoliberal", "marketized" approach to education. Here is a sampling of what is going on in:
[Argentina] [Australia] [Canada] [Germany] [Pakistan] [Russia]

Full Story | 6 comments >>

05-02-2004 00:00

Some Hutton puzzles

The Hutton report has provoked an enormous debate about the culpability of
the government and the BBC - a debate which has hinged upon the accuracy
and completeness of its findings. Much has been written about what Hutton
'didn't say'. Surprisingly little detailed analysis, however, has dissected
what he did say. The following, based upon an admittedly cursory reading of
the report, suggests that

1) the report's conclusions reflect a pattern of biased and selective
consideration of evidence 2) The report's avowed refusal to comment upon
the actual WMD issue conceals sufficient comment upon the issue to give the
government the opportunity to forestall further criticism.

Full Story | 6 comments >>

03-02-2004 17:33

Bridge Activist Arrested...Again!

The protester who was charged with 'Causing a Public Nuisance' after hanging a banner at Cambridge railway station in the run-up to the George Bush visit in November of last year has been re-arrested and charged under section 5(1)(a) of the Public Order Act 1986.

Since the police dropped the ludicrous Criminal Damage charge against him in early December, the activist has been re-bailed to appear at Parkside Police Station several times while the Crown Prosecution Service struggled to decide how to proceed with the case.  On arrival at Parkside today he was surprised to be confronted by the original arresting officer who proceeded to read him his rights and arrest him under the Public Order Act, almost three months after the alleged offense took place.

Full Story | 3 comments >>

15-01-2004 23:00

What happened after the war on Afghanistan?

Bande Amir: Reconstruction after the war in Yakawlang (Sep 2002)

On 7 October 2001, the US and UK began air attacks on Afghanistan. At that time, so soon after 11 September, there was some support for military action (1). On 7 December 2001, Kandahar, the last Taleban stronghold, fell prompting those in the West to declare the war to be won. (2).

But what was the end result of this war? Certainly Osama Bin Laden wasn't captured, though some Al-Qaeda infrastructure may have been destroyed. In the immediate aftermath of the war, it appeared that the UK and US' most obvious achievement had been the overthrowing of the Taliban - harbourers of Bin Laden, supporters of Al-Qaeda and oppressors of the local Afganistan population. So what did this mean for the people of Afghanistan?

Full Story | 2 comments >>

12-01-2004 21:34

Demo and direct action against the Cambridge primate lab

Hundreds of people demonstrated in central Cambridge on Saturday 10th January against the University of Cambridge building a new primate testing facility [report, pictures and comments]. After the demo was over, a number of people went to Girton, where the laboratory is to be built, and blocked a section of the A14. The five people arrested appear tomorrow at the Cambridge magistrates' court [report]. A lot of controversy has surrounded the planning permission to build the lab, when the decision of the local council not to give permission was overruled.

[Previous coverage 1 |Discussion 1,2]

Full Story | 2 comments >>

24-12-2003 11:52

Shaheedah in Nablus, Palestine

Tank in Palestine Mika is a Cambridge activist who has been based in Nablus, Palestine since the summer. What follows is an account of the killing of a young woman by the Israeli army as she tried to visit her husband near Ramallah. `Shaheedah' means female martyr.

The roads from Asira Shamaliya to Nablus city, the regional capital, have been closed for some time. Those trying to brave the mountain trails or skirt around settlements risk military aggression. Kamleh Mohamed Asa'd Sawalha was a recent victim.

Full Story | 2 comments >>

02-12-2003 23:00

Cambridge Drinking Ban

On Thursday night, Cambridge City Council agreed to introduce a bye-law which is intended to "control anti-social behaviour arising from the drinking of alcohol in our public places". The bye-law will give police the power to "stop people from drinking alcohol in public places if they are causing, or are likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to other members of the public."

Full Story | 4 comments >>

25-11-2003 23:00

Hunger Strikers in Critical Condition

Cambridge Thessaloniki solidarity stall Cambridge activists have been raising awareness of the plight of 7 men, including Simon Chapman from the UK, who are currently on hunger strike in Greek Prisons after being arrested at protests in Thessaloniki in June. Passers by were given leaflets and shown a short film explaining the clear evidence that Simon was framed by Police who planted incriminating 'evidence' in order to give the impression that he had been carrying molotov's, a hammer and an axe.

One of the activists said, “The evidence is striking! Simon was seen wearing his blue rucksack when he was first dragged across the street by the police. Minutes later he was filmed surrounded by three black rucksacks which the police had filled with molotov's. It's all on film!”

LATEST UPDATE -- They're OUT! All 7 have been released on bail. See IMC UK for more information.

Full Story >>

12-11-2003 16:20

George gets ready for an exciting few weeks

Perfect colour coordination! Five years ago, only a very few die-hards would have crossed a street to spit on G.W. Bush. How times have changed! These days, he is hated and feared by billions of people all over the planet. As people in Cambridge drop banners from bridges and set up film screenings in preparation for the Bush state visit (19-21 November), let's take a quick look at what George will be doing over the next few weeks...

Full Story | 1 comment >>

11-11-2003 11:01

Freeing Asylum Seekers from Oakington

Currently asylum-seekers in Oakington who dare to challenge the labelling of their asylum application as "clearly unfounded" by way of Judicial Review are being "slow tracked" to discourage others from following their example. Some are being locked up for months awaiting a full hearing of their case.

Concerned individuals in Cambridge have therefore set up the Cambridge Bail Circle. The Bail Circle aims to attract individuals from the area and link them up with Oakington detainees identified by lawyers as having arguable cases. The individuals are asked to meet the detainee, attend court with them for a "bail hearing", and stand as "surety" for the them. The asylum seeker is then at least freed from detention whilst they await the review, although conditions are imposed.

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