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“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on March 11, 2011. The nuclear industry, however, is trying its hardest to make us forget. It is downplaying the impacts of the accident, ignoring the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still not under control and claiming that lessons have been learned. Nothing is further from the truth.
VIDEO: Tariq Ali on the legacy of Hugo Chavez Marking one year since the untimely death of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, eminent writer and film maker Tariq Ali gave a passionate memorial lecture in central London on February 20 at an event organised by the British Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign. VIDEO: Die Linke and the fight against austerity
The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aboriginal people made Australia Bill Gammage 434pps, $40 Allen & Unwin, 2012 This is an extraordinary book that details how Australian Aboriginal people cared for the land, or as Bill Gammage calls it the “Biggest Estate on Earth”. Gammage describes, with many examples, how Aboriginal people looked after the land. No corner was ignored, from deserts and rainforests to rocky outcrops, across the entire continent for at least 60,000 years until British colonisers began to destroy all this work after their arrival in 1788.
Israel's air force bombed nearly 30 targets in the besieged Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip on March 13. The Israeli military said it pounded the territory in retaliation for rockets fired into southern Israel by Islamic Jihad resistance fighters. But the group said the rocket fire was itself a response to an Israeli air strike on Gaza on March 11 that killed three of its members.
As the May 25 European elections approach, a question that concerns left and progressive people in the Spanish state is just how many left alternatives will end up running against the “parties of government” ― the ruling conservative People’s Party (PP) and the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).
Jean-Luc Melenchon is co-president of France's Left Party and a member of the European parliament. Melenchon is also leader of the broader Left Front, involving other parties such as the French Communist Party, on whose ticket he won about 11% of the vote in the 2012 presidential elections. Below, Melenchon gives his perspective on the crisis in Ukraine ― from Russia's actions in Crimea, to the West's saber rattling, to the mass protests that brought down an unpopular government and the new regime, featuring fascist forces, that has taken its place.
The dangers of global warming due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is well-established. But there is more damage done by the capitalist system of production, including the release of toxins into the atmosphere, water and the rest of the biosphere. Two notable examples have occurred in the first months of this year in the United States. In January there was a huge spill of 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM, a chemical mixture used in the coal production process, into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia.
Colombia's election results are all but in and one thing is clear: Álvaro Uribe, the first ex-president to run for senate, is the man of the moment. President Juan Manual Santos's U Party may have come out on top with 21 out of a possible 102 seats in Congress, compared with 19 from Uribe’s newly formed ultra-right party Democratic Centre ― Firm Hand, Big Heart, but it is clear where the momentum lies.
Western Australia will go to the polls on April 5 to re-elect its federal Senators. The election was called to fix a mammoth electoral bungle, which left many Western Australians questioning the democracy of the political system. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam appealed for a recount of the Senate vote when it looked like he had narrowly lost his seat to the Palmer United Party in the September federal election. During the recount, it came to light that 1375 votes had gone missing, and the result of the election was declared void. Six seats are up for re-election.
Victoria’s upper house passed the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill on March 11. Debate was interrupted by protesters in the public gallery, who were removed by police.
Luca Belgiorno-Nettis resigned from his position as chair of the board of the Biennale of Sydney on March 7. Biennale organisers announced it was cutting ties with major sponsor Transfield, of which Belgiorno-Nettis is a director. The divestment was the result of pressure from artists boycotting the Biennale, because of Transfield's connection to the detention of asylum seekers. The company has a $1.2 billion contract to run the Nauru and Manus Island centres.
The older you get, apparently, the more you abandon the daft socialist ideas of your youth to become sensible and conservative. There will never be a greater retort to this miserable myth than the life of Tony Benn. Because somehow he became more defiantly, inspiringly, stroppily, youthfully socialist every year up to 88. If he’d lasted to 90, he’d have been on the news wearing a green Mohican and getting arrested for chaining himself to a banker.
Community opposition may soon put fracking on hold in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia. This could culminate in the first big victory for the anti-fracking movement in Western Australia. Buru Energy, partnered with Mitsubishi, intends to frack four wells east of Broome 34 times this year, starting in May. This is the largest single fracking proposal to be put forward in Western Australia so far. The area is a wetland used by Aboriginal owners.
Coal seam gas (CSG) company Santos has admitted to polluting an aquifer in north-western NSW with uranium, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on March 8. The incident is the first recorded groundwater contamination in Australia from CSG operations.
About 30 Aboriginal people with intellectual impairments are locked up in Australian prisons without charges, ABC’s Lateline reported on March 12. The report highlighted the case of Rosie Anne Fulton who has spent 18 months in a prison in Kalgoorlie without facing trial or being convicted of a crime. There is no specialist accommodation for people with disabilities in the Northern Territory. Fulton wants to move to Alice Springs to be closer to her family, but an application to house her in specialist accommodation has been rejected.
Modestly describing herself as “Australia's richest intellect”, Gina Rinehart has launched a new intervention into Australian politics that is calling for a cut in government spending and other measures to make private corporations “thrive”. True, she is not calling for an end to government subsidies to the mining industry. She is not calling for an end to corporate welfare and she's not calling for a reduction in wasteful military spending.

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