Christians call for end to wharf conflict
Melbourne: Anglican Archbishop Keith Rayner said the waterfront dispute had "terrible ramifications for individuals and the nation" and generated a "deep sense of anxiety" in a Easter Sunday address.
The Anglican Primate of Australia, said he fears the waterfront dispute could become a long, drawn-out and bitter confrontation. Dr Rayner, addressing a "Reclaiming Easter" march in central Melbourne, said he feared the dispute might even end in bloodshed.
In a dramatic move on April 7, anti-union employers Patrick Stevedores announced the sacking of its their entire Australian waterfront workforce of 2100 workers. The announcement was made just before midnight Tuesday night by Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith.
Dr Rayner also expressed concern about "the grim prospect of a divisive race-orientated election" because Federal Parliament could not agree on fair native title laws. He said Easter gave Christians a chance to shun cynicism and disillusionment in favour of new life and new ideals.
Uniting Church of Victoria social justice spokeswoman Elizabeth Hastings said the Howard Government had colluded to sacrifice wharf workers and their families to win an ideological battle.
"1998 will be an Easter to remember," Ms Hastings said. "With waterfront division and the Wik schism reminding us of the fragility of our national unity: from coastal port to outback station our national spirit is being torn apart by these disputes."
Christians of all denominations also gathered in capital and regional cities yesterday. Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, speaking to 3000 people at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral,also appealed for an end to industrial and political conflict.
Bishop Robinson said breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations showed ways of violence did not work. "Why must it (be), the Aboriginal people or the pastoralists, it can't be both?" Robinson asked. "It must be the waterside workers or the stevedores, it can't somehow be both? "Yet the message in Jesus Christ is that it can be both, it must be both, there is no other way to peace, there is no other way to happiness."
Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Harry Goodhew said the community was concerned about native title and industrial relations on the waterfront. "In both those issues we must continue to urge consultation between the stakeholders," he said.
Awakening 2000 national co-ordinator Mal Garvin said hundreds of thousands of Christians also participated in weekend festivals leading up to Easter Sunday. About 17,000 gathered in capital cities for Awakening 2000 events yesterday.
More than 100 unionists and their families have attended an Easter ceremony at the Fremantle docks, in support of the wharfies sacked by Patrick Stevedores last week. The tense stand-off between the former Patrick workers and security guards at the terminal was put on hold for a short time last night, when family, friends and fellow unionists gathered at the picket line for an Easter service. Supporters lit candles, prayed and sang hymns.
On March 30 former Patrick Stevedores employee, Jamie Meek, blew the whistle that Patrick was going to sack all its workers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle at Easter, and that the Federal Government was going to fund their redundancy payouts.
Meek said P&C recruits include strikebreakers including SAS soldiers, ex-police, and martial arts experts, who talk in terms of establishing "beachheads" and securing the wharves against resisting union members in a military style high security operation - one where telephone scanners and video surveillance are used to monitor the activities of the "enemy'.
In a disinforming lie at the time, Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith said the Maritime Union had a vivid imagination and had found a person to come up with the story. But the real truth emerged on Wednesday morning when Reith confirmed the Easter lockout of all Patrick's warfies and announced the predrafted Federal Government redundancy bailout, even before the official company sacking statement was made to the news media.
Pope urges world against new seeds of death
Vatican Rome: In his Easter message Sunday, Pope John Paul urged humanity not to repeat the tragic errors of the 20th century and warned that the world was being sown by new ``seeds of death'' as it neared 2000.
The Pope said he hoped his message would inspire leaders of nations especially in the Middle East and particularly in Jerusalem, where he said peace is put at risk by dangerous political decisions.
The 77-year-old Pope's plea for humanity to avoid what he called ``a sad tomorrow'' in the new millennium came in his ``Urbi et Orbi'' (to the city and the world) message read to more than 150,000 people in St Peter's Square.
The Pope said he wanted to pay tribute to those who proclaimed Christ's message "in the concentration camps and the gulags, under the threat of bombs and guns, amid the terror unleashed by the blind hatred which has tragically engulfed individuals and whole nations."
Speaking to hundreds of millions of people around the world though live television and radio links with 65 countries, the Pope said it was necessary to proclaim the peace of Christ "to all humanity on its way to the Third Millennium."
He offered prayers also for people caught up in the strife and slaughter of ethnic rivalries in Africa and Europe. He said those divisions are sowing the seed of new conflicts for a sad tomorrow. But he said the world could not close its eyes to men and women caught up in "fratricidal strife and slaughter."
These tragedies had reopened "the wounds of ethnic rivalries and, in different parts of every continent, especially in Africa and Europe, are now sowing in the earth the seed of death and new conflicts for a sad tomorrow," he said.
"This proclamation of peace is for all those who are undergoing a Calvary seemingly without end, thwarted in their aspiration for respect for their dignity and human rights, for justice, for employment, for fairer living conditions."
He prayed that his proclamation of peace would be heard by leaders of nations and all people of good will. The Pope said he hoped the spirit of Easter could "give fresh courage to those who have believed and still believe in dialogue as the way to settle national and international tensions."
John Paul II celebrated the Easter Saturday vigil in Saint Peter's basilica, warning in his sermon that modern man is "so conscious of his ability to dominate the universe" that he "is no longer capable of recognising traces of the Creator".
In Havana Cuban Roman Catholics, buoyed by Pope John Paul II's recent visit , celebrated Easter Sunday with an unprecedented public ceremony.
During a Midnight Mass at Havana Cathedral, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, head
of the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba, led several hundred worshipers into
a nearby square for a brief ceremony to light a candle representing the
British set to leave Northern Ireland
Belfast: 82 years after Easter uprising the British are negotiating to leave Northern Ireland.The UK Government of Ireland Act is to be replaced with legislation recognising the right of the Northern Ireland people to choose, if they wish, to unite with Ireland in a peace deal signed at Easter.
As word of the deal spread, a small group of Catholics and Protestants gathered in a Belfast park to pray. "We need to have your hearts weep over Belfast as Jesus wept over Jerusalem," the Reverend Jim Campbell, Presbyterian minister of the Cook Centenary Church, told about 400 Catholics and Protestants on a cold, sunny Good Friday.
The agreement will see:
Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution claiming sovereignty over the six Northern Ireland counties amended to ensure that the Ulster population must consent before such a claim can be realised.
A new council of the isles with representatives of the Dail and the Westminster Parliament, the Belfast assembly and new assemblies in Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Copies of the agreement were being printed on Friday night to be distributed
to every house in Northern Ireland before a referendum on the agreement
on 22 May.
Split-up of Yugoslavia -a CIA plot
United Nations: Radmila Milentijevic, former Minister for Information of the Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, said that the dismemberment of the old Yugoslavia had not been an accident, it had been planned ahead of time.
Ms. Milentijevic cited a November 1990 report of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which the CIA predicted that Yugoslavia was on its way to dismemberment and that there was no force in the world that could stop it.
However, according to the report, the process of that dismemberment had been supposed to begin with an armed struggle in Kosovo and Metohija. Yugoslavia had been dismembered but the armed struggle in Kosovo and Metohija had not then occurred -- that was in part due to the skilful leadership on the part of Yugoslavia and Serbia at that time, Ms. Milentijevic said.
For several years after the process of dismemberment had begun, Kosovo had been fairly quiet, she said. There had then been a sudden irruption of the situation. When the dismemberment of Yugoslavia had started, many young Albanians had found their way out of Kosovo into Germany and other European States and States around the world.
A good many of them had joined the armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now that the war had ended in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many of those warriors were back in Kosovo. Others were returning from Germany via Albania. "So they are finding their way to Kosovo, through Albania, armed to their teeth.
And what we have here is a terrorist attack on the population of Kosovo
and Metohija", she said.
The tactic had not worked because the vast majority of the Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija were for peace and maintenance of the status quo, and were against terrorism and separatist forces. As a result, tactics had been changed. That had resulted in organized attacks against the police forces in the area, with the hope of provoking a strong reaction and, therefore, an internationalization of the problem.
She said those attempts had been successful. Then, the Serbian police forces, in discharging their duties, had reacted by dealing a fatal blow on 5 March to a main centre of terrorist activity near Srbija. The international community had moved in force. The Government of Serbia was against that development for the simple reason that there was no war going on in Kosovo. It was an internal issue and the Government was dedicated to resolving the issue through political dialogue with the Albanian nationals in Kosovo and Metohija.
On 10 March the Government of Serbia met and adopted a three-point position,
Ms. Milentijevic said. It had called for: immediate peace in Kosovo; an
immediate beginning of political dialogue without any preconditions; and
the implementation of agreements on education reached between President
Slobodan Milosevic and Ibrahim Rugova in 1996. Because of anti-Serbian
propaganda in the West, the Government had called on the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to come to the area of concern to establish
Iraq has complied says IAEA
United Nations: Iraq has complied with all requirements to declare and destroy its nuclear weapons capability, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Monday.
The IAEA reported that its recent inspections of eight presidential sites in Iraq revealed no immediate indications of the presence of prohibited materials or of the conduct of prohibited activities with respect to the mandate of IAEA under the relevant Security Council resolutions.
``The IAEA's ongoing monitoring and verification activities carried out since October 1997 have not revealed indications of the existence in Iraq of prohibited equipment, material or of the conduct of prohibited activities,'' said the report from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.
In its latest report to the Security Council, the IAEA indicates that Iraq has satisfactorily completed its undertaking to produce a consolidated version of its full, final and complete declaration on the country's clandestine nuclear activities.
``Iraq has satisfactorily completed its undertaking to produce a consolidated version of its 'Full, Final and Complete Declaration' '' it said. The agency said Iraq has also fulfilled its obligation to provide a document summarizing its nuclear programme. ``The summary is regarded by the IAEA to be consistent with the technically coherent picture''.
However the agency said it would continue to monitor and test air samples, particularly focusing on isotopes used for medical purposes.
In its current report, the agency said it was still reviewing data in Iraq's declarations, adding that the latest data was still under review but appeared to take into account ``many of the requested clarifications.''
Russia and China made a strong bid to close the nuclear weapons file on Iraq in January arguing the Security Council should acknowledge that progress had been made and should give a political and psychological signal to Iraq.
The Vienna-based IAEA is in charge of neutralizing Iraq's nuclear weapons
programme while the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM), headed by Richard
Butler, handles biological, chemical and ballistic weapons.
US behind children's death in Iraq
Baghdad:At Easter, US church leaders and Iraqi women, accused the United States of genocide against their children. On Monday Iraq buried 29 infants that died from shortages of medicine caused by U.N. sanctions.
The 29 coffins, some for children as young as two months, were carried atop taxis in central Baghdad. ``There is no God but God! Clinton is the enemy of God! Clinton has killed your brother!'' chanted the crowd of about 150 men and women. Most of the women wore black head-to-toe Islamic-style chadors.
Some women marchers wiped tears from their eyes as the procession passed. The coffins carried the picture, name and age of each child, some shown in hospital beds before or after death. ``God is Greatest, O Arabs...Our children are being slaughtered!'' shouted the women.
A U.S. church leader Rev. Rodney Page of the National Council of Churches said the ``sanctions on Iraq are inhumane, unjust and have got to be lifted.''
Page is leading a group of U.S. clergymen who arrived Thursday in Iraq with $100,000 worth of medicine and surgical supplies for hospitals. ``I have been to Cuba, North Korea, Haiti and many other places in the world but haven't seen such suffering and malnutrition,'' Page said.
Mel Lehman, a member of Page's group, described the situation during a one-hour visit to a hospital as ``heart-wrenching'' after witnessing two children die because they lacked antibiotics.
``We are facing a genocide against our people, especially against our children,'' said Sultan al-Shawi, head of the Iraqi Child Support Society, who headed the funeral procession.
``We participate in this funeral to show all over the world the cruelty of the U.S. against the people of Iraq because the U.S. administration (is) prolonging the embargo against Iraq, although Iraq obliged with all Security Council resolutions.''
``You see these children, our children, they die every morning. In Baghdad alone, 50 children die (a day) because of the lack of food and medicine. They are deprived from their essential right to life and survival,'' Shawi said.
``We have many children dying all over Iraq because there are no emergency cars (ambulances). We can't transport them from other provinces to bring them to Baghdad to cure them,'' added Shawi, who spoke to reporters in English."I call upon all the people in the world to defend our children because by defending Iraqi children, they will be defending their children."
Infant mortality rate has risen sharply to 6,500 a month this year from 450 before the stringent economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990. Parliament Speaker Saadoun Hammadi on Saturday said that 1.5 million Iraqis had died from shortages of food and medicine since 1990. He put the average monthly infant mortality rate at 7,500.
Monday's funeral procession was joined by members of an Egyptian delegation of doctors and pharmacists who arrived on Friday bringing medicines and other medical supplies.
To highlight the suffering in Iraq, visiting British Labor MP George
Galloway will take back with him a four-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from
leukemia for treatment in Britain.