Every so often I want to share some things I picked up in the news that I find more interesting than the level of coverage would suggest. Hence “Not the Front Page News”.
What’s currently buried in the news stories at the moment that stands out for you?
Qantas and Fijian Union Laws
Qantas has a 46 percent stake in Air Pacific, whose majority stakeholder at 51 percent is the Fijian government. Air Pacific appears have have commissioned a United States law firm to draft the Fijian Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree, which strictly limits union membership and industrial action in the airline industry among others, and which has been denounced by human rights groups. It appears Qantas is yet to comment on whether it knew of or was involved in Air Pacific’s lobbying for and funding the drafting of this decree.
The original source of the allegation is these leaked documents at Coup Four and a Half. Current press coverage includes news.com.au, Qantas called on to explain Fiji decree from Air Pacific supporting military regime, which also appears at Coup Four and a Half. I listened to the Radio Australia report (no known transcript) this evening; they were completely unable to obtain comment from either Air Pacific or Qantas.
ACTA to be signed this weekend
The Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) is reportedly to be signed on Saturday by countries including Australia. ACTA is considered quite harsh, and probably paving the way fo0r governments to implement “three strikes” copyright infringement penalites (as in, if an Internet connection has been discovered to be downloading or sharing infringing material three times, it gets cut off, probably including shared connections such as those of families and employers). Negotiations have been criticised for taking place in a great deal of secrecy.
Near-final text is now public. Coverage includes ITNews, Australia to sign copyright treaty this Saturday and Computerworld, ACTA will be signed Saturday, US and Japan say. It’s reported elsewhere that the EU does not intend to sign. Kim Weatherall did some analysis on the negotiations and the state of play as of 2008 at The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: What’s It All About?.