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(through funding from UNISONS International development fund) our region has facilitated, which is helping SITAG ‘s capacity building . She would also be able to speak at our Regional SOG meetings In addition other regions have expressed an interest in meeting. In line with the visit the Region also plan to organise a fringe meeting at Conference with Banana link. This in turn will promote a motion from a branch in our region which will raise awareness of the issues and seek affiliation to Bananalink. The region has made a bid to the National International committee for funding towards the costs of the visit.

As You probably know the visit from Fatima Orea (Womens Officer of the Peruvian trade union SITAG) planned for December was unfortunately cancelled due to the British Embassy refusing her a Visa. This is the second time Fatima has been refused a visa.

This has now been agreed and the region will receive £1000 towards our costs (the rest Following discussions with Banana Link it being met from within our International was agreed to try again in 2013 . It was felt budget. that an ideal opportunity would be to invite Obviously any branches who would like to Fatima over for National delegate Confermake a contribution or want to be actively inence , as we would be able to invite her to volved let me know. our regional delegates meeting And hear from her how the project which

ACTSA is campaigning for the UK to increase its contribution to the Global Fund, which has played a We were all no doubt be troubled by the recent events in Gaza and the heavy disproportionate shelling by Israel forces that in such a confined and overcrowded space has caused many unnecessary civilian deaths and injuries, including children. The situation on the ground was not helped by the media bias of the BBC and its neglect of humanitarian journalism. The BBCs biased coverage of events effectively renders them as part of the problem and not the solution. A critique of the BBC recent coverage of Gaza can also be found below. The West Midlands Palestinian Solidarity Campaign have in the last two weeks organised five events in Birmingham in support of Palestinian rights, two nights protesting outside The Birmingham Hippodrome a performance by the Israeli Dance Troupe Batsheva who are funded by the state of Israel, a demonstration in the city centre at the outbreak of recent events in Gaza, a "die in" last Thursday the 22nd of November on the steps of the Mailbox in Birmingham City Centre to highlight the level of suffering in Gaza and the bias of the BBC and 2 coaches taking supporters to the national demonstration for Palestine in London on 24/11/2012. They rely solely on donations and fundraising for their campaigns that recently with the acquisition of resources such as a loudspeaker system, flags, banners and the production of leaflets and coaches to London for this weeks national demonstration in London for Palestine have badly depleted their existing financial resources. The Regional International Forum made a donation of £200 . See if your branch will support this vital regional campaign. significant role in financing programmes in southern Africa but tragically, it has been forced to cancel all new grants until 2014 due to a lack of funding Over a third of the world’s population who are HIV positive live in southern Africa and the nine countries with the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world are in the region. Many people living with the disease are without access to proper treatment and care. The consequence of this permeates every aspect of life, and has an enormous social and economic impact. In recent years many countries in southern Africa have made significant progress in the battle against HIV/AIDS. South Africa for example has reduced infection rates by nearly half since 2001. Tragically all this progress is set to go into reverse, costing many lives, unless international governments keep their promises on HIV/AIDS funding. Individual governments cannot fight this pandemic alone. The South African government, like many others around the world has benefited from financial investment in HIV/AIDS programmes from the Global Fund. Without this continued investment the tremendous progress made will be set into reverse and countless lives will be lost. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has played a significant role in financing programmes in southern Africa. Tragically, it has been forced to cancel all new grants until 2014 due to a lack of funding. It is imperative that enough money is donated by governments for the fund to resume its grants before countless lives are lost We must stand together and call for further investment now. Help the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Since the first case over 30 years ago it has claimed well over 30 million lives. Please support our campaign and give £20 or as much as you can. Your support will directly help those affected in southern Africa. The Regional International Forum this month made a donation of £250 to ACTSA’s Campaigning. Get your branch to make a donation (however small) more info at