Mining company BHP Billiton’s whopping $10.5 billion profit for the second half of 2010 highlights the shameless greed of those making a fortune out of Australia’s valuable resources. Remember the tantrum thrown by BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata less than a year ago after then-PM Kevin Rudd proposed the Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT)? The RSPT wasn’t a radical proposal. Part of the revenue from the modest 40% tax would have been returned to the corporate sector, helping to fund a cut in the already low corporate tax rate and various subsidies to mining.
The Youth for Change organisation has called for protests throughout Sudan on March 21. The February 28 Sudan Tribune reported that spokesperson Magdi Okasha said their aim is to overthrow the regime. The call follows a series of anti-government protests by youth and students, most notably on January 30, when thousands of students inspired by the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt were met with violence from security forces. Many activists arrested during and after the protests remain in jail without charge.
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) is still holding dozens of protesters arrested during and after the January 30 protests against Omar al Bashir’s government. The protests were inspired by the Egyptian revolution. The protesters are being held without charge. There are reports that many have suffered torture, including electrocution and sleep deprivation. Women detainees have been threatened with rape.
“The situation in Egypt is different than the situation of Sudan,” Sudanese government spokesperson Rabie Atti insisted to reporters after January 30 anti-government protests. “We don’t have one small group that controls everything. Wealth is distributed equally. We’ve given power to the states.” Atti proves one similarity between Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt and that of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir: both make ludicrous public statements that show no understanding of reality or the consciousness of their populations.
Thousands of students braved the notoriously brutal Sudanese police and security forces on January 30 in anti-government protests inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, SudaneseTribune.com reported that day. Rallies took place at three universities and other sites across the capital, as well as in east and west Sudan. Students called for General Omar al Bashir’s National Congress Party government to resign and condemned recent austerity measures and ongoing attacks of democratic rights.
The January 9-15 referendum on self-determination in south Sudan looks certain to result in the division of Sudan into two countries. About 96% of the 3.9 million registered voters took part, well exceeding the required 60% turnout. The final result will be announced in February. But with 80% of the vote counted, the South Sudan Referendum Commission reported a landslide vote of almost 99% in favour of independence. The Republic of South Sudan is expected to be officially declared in July.
It was hailed as the first “competitive”, “open”, “multi-party” elections in Sudan in 24 years, but there was little free, fair or open about the national poll that began on April 11 and was boycotted by opposition parties.
“It’s been a fantastic, energising experience”, Aboriginal activist and Sydney Socialist Alliance (SA) member Pat Eatock told Green Left Weekly at the seventh SA national conference. Her sentiments were echoed by many of the more than 220 participants in the January 2-5 gathering in Sydney.
Twenty-five years after the worst industrial disaster in history, the people of Bhopal, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, are still fighting for justice.
On May 10, federal treasurer Wayne Swan announced that Australia will finally join the overwhelming majority of developed countries in implementing a national paid parental leave scheme. But the plan falls way short of what women need.
On April 15, receivers for collapsed childcare company ABC Learning announced they had found new operators for 210 of its 241 childcare centres deemed unprofitable. As well as the 55 centres already shut down at the end of last year, 19 are set to close next month.
On August 18, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib was fined $400 in the Ryde Local Court for offensive language and behaviour towards police. The ruling will be appealed in the Parramatta District Court on September 11.
After a massive campaign launched in February by survivors of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, the Indian government announced on August 8 that it would concede their demands to establish an empowered commission for rehabilitation of victims and the environment, and pursue legal action against Dow Chemicals.
Claims by immigration minister Kevin Andrews that African refugees are less capable of resettling in Australia than other migrant groups have been met with widespread condemnation by welfare, community and human rights organisations.
In February this year, a boat carrying 83 Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka was intercepted by the Australian Navy. After being detained on Christmas Island for a month, the Tamils were transferred to Nauru.
About 1400 nurses in Fiji, who began a strike on July 25, were joined on August 2 by thousands of teachers and other public servants, resulting in at least half of Fijis 20,000 public sector workers being on strike.