1013

Thirty-nine months after multiple explosions at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times the normal rate.
Ecuador accused US scientists on June 16 of taking thousands of unauthorised blood samples from indigenous Huaorani and selling them. The Huaorani are known for a unique genetic profile and disease immunity and the samples are believed to have been sold by the Coriell Institute for Medical Research to Harvard University Medical School. Ecuador’s constitution bans the use of genetic material and scientific research in violation of human rights.
“We seek a New Republic with equality and social justice at its core,” Sinn Fein President and member of the Dail (Irish parliament) in his June 15 address at the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration at Bodenstown, County Kildare. The address came less than a month after republican party Sinn Fein caused shockwaves in European and local elections by becoming the largest party across all Ireland.
“FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Argentinian Football Association,” on June 14, after Argentinian players displayed a banner before a June 8 friendly against Slovenia insisting the Malvinas (known as the Falkland Islands in Britain) belonged to Argentina.
At the G77 plus China Summit held in Bolivia that ended on June 15, several Latin American presidents gave public backing to Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. They called for regional unity against an bid for “conservative restoration” under way in the South American country. The summit, held in Santa Cruz, eastern Bolivia, brought together 133 countries, about two-thirds of the member states of the United Nations.
Where No Doctor Has Gone Before: Cuba’s Place in the Global Health Landscape By Robert Huish Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2013 Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla By David Kilcullen Scribe, 2013 342 pp, $32.95 It is interesting that Robert Huish and David Kilcullen inhabit the same world, because their books indicate that they view the planet differently, like black and white or perhaps like life and death.
Left forces from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus held a two-day anti-war conference near Minsk on June 7 and 8. The conference was organised by participants of internet project “Prasvet” with the support of the Belarus web journal Left. The aim of the conference was to help coordinate the internationalist, Marxist left forces of three countries under circumstances of military-nationalist hysteria and the outburst of violence and repression in Ukraine.
Activists from across Venezuela met this month to form the National Communard Council, which aims to coordinate the country’s commune movement and present its demands to the national government. The council was formed in the western state of Lara during a three-day meeting of about 2000 communards (commune members) from around the country. Most represented a particular commune. The meeting was the fifth national gathering of the independent National Communard Network since the organisation was founded in 2009.
When I was travelling from Manila to Australia, I bought a copy of a book to read on the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. Actually, when this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel that referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.
Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), has been arrested and jailed several times for holding demonstrations and for making public speeches critical of Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) government.
More than half a million Iraqis have been displaced and hundreds killed after the fall of Iraq's second largest city of Mosul to Islamic fundamentalists. But even as the crisis in Iraq dramatically worsens, Australia is refusing to offer any reprieve for the thousands of Iraqi refugees in its care.
The five seats and 7.9% won by the new Podemos (“We Can”) ticket in the May 25 European election was an earthquake in Spanish politics. Podemos was inspired by the indignado movement that exploded across the Spanish state in 2011 against austerity and for “real democracy”. The movement was driven by mass popular assemblies, which provided a striking counter-point to the frequently corrupt “politics as usual”.
The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler Ben Urwand Belknap, 2013 327 pages, $39.95 (hb) Throughout the 1930s, movie-goers all over the world got to see the German Nazi’s cut of every Hollywood film. Any movie touching on Germany contained no mention of Nazism or Jews. Both these silences, as Harvard University’s Ben Urwand unearths in The Collaboration, were the result of a remarkable agreement allowing the Nazis to dictate Hollywood movie content in return for Hollywood studios keeping their access to the lucrative German market.
Greens leader Christine Milne is challenging Prime Minister Tony Abbott to call a double dissolution election this year over the passage of a renewable energy bill. Milne said: “The Greens are ready for an election over the prime minister's global warming denial and his brutal budget.”
Union activists have written an open letter to Victoria Trades Hall Council calling for a state-wide delegates meeting to organise a strike to bust the budget. A similar petition has been launched in NSW, calling on Unions NSW to organise a mass delegates meeting to plan for a stop work protest against the budget. Sign the letter at change.org. Read the letter to the Victorian Trades Hall Council below. ***
Jo di Pietro gave the following speech to a “bust the budget” meeting organised by Unions NSW in Sydney on June 12. *** I am a technical officer in the NSW Public Health laboratories at Lidcombe (otherwise called FASS) and a proud member of the Health Services Union. NSW Health has decided to privatise food safety testing, to tender it to the private sector, so the government can distance itself from food safety work, and ultimately from its responsibility to the public.

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