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The global financial crisis had its origins in the US when interest rates fell from 6% in January 2001 to 1% in mid-2003. This led to banks and other financial institutions awash with cheap money to conclude that lending to home buyers at obvious risk of defaulting their repayments was a safe bet.
Australia is at risk of becoming a scientific backwater due to the federal government’s budget cuts to the CSIRO. The government has proposed a $111 million cut to CSIRO funding in the May budget — about 20% of its total funding — and at least 1000 full-time staff will lose their jobs over the next four years. Eight CSIRO sites around the country will close. Many are in regional country towns, which rely on the sites for employment.
Over 100 people rallied in Sydney on the anniversary of Eddie Murray’s death in police custody in a northwestern New South Wales town of Wee Waa 33 years ago. Murray's murder was one of the black deaths in custody that led to the historic Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
“At the end of the day,” Bella Bropho of the Swan Valley Nyungah Community told Green Left Weekly, “we want that land returned to us.” She was referring to the Lockridge camp site which was home to the community until it was closed by the Western Australian government in 2003. Despite the closure, the community has maintained a continuous connection with the site and still meets there every week. At 5pm on June 10, government contractors moved in to remove fences and “desecrate” vegetation that was planted by community members.
Central Melbourne was filled with union flags, political banners and home-made placards on June 12 as about 25,000 protesters marched through the streets in a “bust the budget” rally organised by the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC). The rally combined the colourful and humorous placards and diversity of participants seen at recent March Australia rallies, along with a much more substantial and organised union presence.
NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker organised a “Bust the Budget” meeting for local residents on June 3 at Glebe Primary School. Speakers addressed the extreme nature of Abbott’s budget, its disingenuous rationale and the need to fight back. Parker told the crowd of about 120 people that there will be “a tsunami of funding cuts in NSW” that will have “far-reaching effects”, especially for the community’s most disadvantaged.
As news spread of the abdication of the Spanish king Juan Carlos on June 2, a strange rustling sound could be heard across Barcelona. Hard to work out at first, it soon became clear what it was. It was the city — the capital of Catalonia — laughing. In the city’s thousands of bars, people were hooting with glee at the wave of tweets that the king’s decision to abdicate in favour of his son, Felipe, was provoking. Probably the favourite in my local bar of young and old unemployed, read: “With Mariano Rajoy [Spanish prime minister] in charge, even the king gets to lose his job.”
“On June 1, 2014, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, historic leader of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN), was inaugurated as President of El Salvador,” CISPES.org said on June 3.
Pakistan is witnessing a rise in fanaticism. Ever since last year’s electoral victory of the right-wing Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-Insaaf (PTI), right-wing ideas have become more popular. Banned terrorists networks are able to work publicly using different names, or sometimes even under their own name. There is no state control of their activities. With this right-wing turn, the mosques are full of worshipers. More and more young men grow beards to show their identity as Muslims. Religion is used to silence arguments. Violence has become a norm.
Willy Meyer, who was elected to European parliament in the May poll as lead candidate for United Left (IU), has demanded a binding referendum to allow the people of Spain to choose between the current model of a parliamentary monarchy or a republic. The call came after the June 2 announcement of Spain's King Juan Carlos that he would abdicate in favour of his son, Felipe.
“Riot police were on standby as tens of thousands took to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities across Spain on Monday to demand a vote on whether to rid Spain of its royal family,” Al Jazeera reported on June 3.