Duncan Roden

A report has found that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would be likely to adversely affect the health of the Australian population.

The TPP is a free trade deal being negotiated by countries on the Pacific rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.

Australia signed a free trade agreement with China on November 17. The Coalition government and the media praise the agreement, but other groups are concerned about the implications.

More than 85% of Australian exports will be tariff free initially, rising to 93% in four years. Some of these goods are subject to tariffs of up to 40%. On full implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, 95% of Australian exports to China will be tariff free.

Australian-based company OceanaGold is suing El Salvador for US$301 million for its “right” to continue operating a gold mine that is destroying the Central American nation's water supply.

The El Dorado goldmine was originally owned by Canadian company Pacific Rim, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of OceanaGold last year. The Australian company is continuing Pacific Rim's lawsuit, suing the Salvadoran government over a moratorium on mining permits.

In 2008, the right-wing National Republican Alliance (ARENA) government was forced by public demand to issue the moratorium.

What's The Catch is a new three-part documentary series that will premiere on SBS on October 30. The series follows Gourmet Farmer star Matthew Evans as he uncovers the state of Australia's seafood industry and begins a campaign for labelling laws.

The High Court ruled on September 11 that an asylum seeker given a temporary visa should be allowed to apply for permanent protection. It said that immigration minister Scott Morrison's issuing of a form of temporary protection visa to a Rohingya man was "invalid".

The court said an asylum seeker can only be detained for the purpose of removing them from the country, assessing whether to grant them a permanent visa, or assessing whether to allow them to apply for a visa to live in Australia.

Indonesian authorities are pushing for two French journalists arrested in West Papua to face trial and up to 20 years jail.

Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois, journalists working for French media company Arte TV, were in West Papua filming a documentary about human rights. They were arrested in Wamena on August 6. Indigenous leader Areki Wanimbo, who was interviewed by them, was also arrested.

With Israel’s assault on Gaza claiming more than 1400 lives as of August 1, mostly civilians, Israeli leaders claim the offensive is self defence against Hamas, the party governing Gaza, in response to rockets fired at Israel.

However, it is hard to ignore the many genocidal incitements coming out of the mouths of Israeli politicians and other commentators.

The most recent infamous case was an August 1 op-ed published at widley-read website The Times of Israel by Yochanan Gordon entitled "When Genodice is Permissible".

The article below draws its information substantially from ABC Radio National's Background Briefing program "Deep sea riches could spark Pacific mining boom" from October 20 last year by reporter Ann Arnold. You can listen to the program or read the full ABC Radio National Background Briefing program transcript.

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If you had to pick one place in the world that could be considered safe from the rabid expansion of the mining industry, you might choose the deep sea floor.

“The rising sea levels caused by global warming threaten the very existence of some of our neighbours,” Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF).

“Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands ― and are already swamping the coastal areas of many Pacific nations, including Fiji.”

The first Free West Papua campaign office in Australia was opened in April in Perth, signalling the growing international campaign for West Papuan self-determination. West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s, despite an ongoing struggle for independence.

Benny Wenda, a leader of Free West Papua living in exile, said he hoped the Australian government would withstand pressure from Indonesia over the office opening.

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