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The NSW Coalition government's proposed private North West rail link, from Chatswood to Rouse Hill, will be "unfit for the purpose" it is intended for, according to Gavin Gatenby, co-convener of EcoTransit Sydney. Instead of being a more efficient mode of mass commuter transport, the planned single-deck line would be an "entry wedge for the privatisation of the city's rail system”.
When I was in Brazil for those first days of the World Cup, I was ― with many other journalists ― tear gassed by military police. I saw sleek, urban-outfitted tanks in the streets and I felt concussion grenades send subsonic shrapnel crashing into my eardrums. I didn’t see the drones flying overhead, but then again, no one without a Hubble telescope is supposed to see the drones.
As the autocratic rule of Big Brother Generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha trundles forward, we are seeing the militarisation of politics, economics and society in Thailand. All government ministries are controlled by military personnel. Civil servants who were in their posts before the May 23 military coup are being replaced by loyal lapdogs or cronies of the junta.
Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Sri Lanka, gave a talk on “The challenge of moving from post-war to post-conflict in Sri Lanka” at a June 21 meeting held in the Darebin Intercultural Centre in Melbourne. The following is a summary of his talk compiled by Michael Cooke. *** The end of the war [between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009] does not mean the end of conflict. The guns are silent, but the sources of conflict remain, and are being reproduced.
Sri Lanka has confirmed plans for asylum seekers from its persecuted Tamil ethnic minority to be directly handed over by Australia at sea. Although the Australian government has refused to confirm or deny such plans, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on July 3 that Sri Lanka was “a society at peace” that had made “much progress” on human rights. That day, the Tamil Refugee Council released a statement explaining the true situation in Sri Lanka that included the ive points below. * * *
Diary of a Foreign Minister Bob Carr Newsouth, 2014 502 pages Too often, Bob Carr’s diary sounds like an episode of Grumpy Old Ministers. An 18-month stint as foreign minister in the doomed Rudd-Gillard-Rudd federal Labor government, the globe-trotting Carr gripes about the dead prose of his departmental talking points, the lifeless food and draining jetlag of plane travel, the awfulness of hotels, Canberra (“the City of the Dead”) and contracting viruses from shaking hands all day on the campaign trail “without a hand sanitiser in the car ― damn!”
Kirstyn Jones is from Davoren Park near Playford in Adelaide's northern suburbs, where there has been an income management trial for two years. She is the first Playford resident forced on to income management to speak publicly. She was put on income management, despite being financially competent and working part time, solely because she was on Youth Allowance and not living at home.
Perth's May 18 March in May demonstration was led by a very interesting character. Baloney Abbott is quite a sex symbol in his bright red “budget smugglers”, fake rubber chest and oversised “Proudly Australian” badge. Waving a bloodied meat cleaver, he really brought the point home that the cuts are for the good of the nation. Only Baloney Abbott could lead a 2000-strong crowd of peasants with the chant “Budget cuts, all the way! Make the sick and the poor pay!”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a recent address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, “all fit young people should be ... expected to persevere for six months to find a job or to choose a further training programme before accessing welfare payments”. The government’s stubbornness in persisting with the changes to Newstart Allowance for job-seekers under 30 ignores the advice from welfare agencies and other parties that it will lead to poverty or crime, not increased employment.
“The Australian government has reached a frightening new low as a human rights’ denier and perpetrator,” the Tamil Refugee Council said on July 3. The council was responding to “credible media reports” about immigration minister Scott Morrison's “abhorrent act of secretly sending back a boatload of Tamil asylum-seekers to the certainty of a Sri Lankan jail and the probability of rape and torture”.
For controversial sporting bans for violating “common decency”, forget Luis Suarez and his four-month ban from all football-related activities after the Uruguayan striker decided to taste a little Italian. If you want a really outrageous penalty for a sporting star, it is hard to overlook the sacking of rugby league player Todd Carney.
Clive Palmer is proving to be a more adept and unpredictable populist than many of us gave him credit for. The latest surprise was his decision to back the abolition of the carbon tax while opposing the scrapping of the Renewable Energy Target, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Commission.
Many local residents in Victorian regional city Bendigo were shocked when right-wing groups from outside of Bendigo began mobilising residents against the proposal for the city’s first mosque. The mosque is planned to be built on underdeveloped industrial land in East Bendigo. It is to include a prayer centre, a cafe and a sports centre which would be available for the general community to use. A heated council meeting on June 18 approved the mosque plans by a vote of 7 to 2. However, opponents say they will appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Conservative Murdoch mouthpiece Janet Albrechtsen and former deputy Liberal Party leader Neil Brown have been appointed as new members of the panel that oversees appointments to the ABC and SBS boards. The appointments by the Tony Abbott government come after the announcement of serious funding cuts to both public broadcasters in the May federal budget. The cuts were passed in parliament with the support of Labor and the Greens.
Sunrays pierced the cold rain to make a sudden halo around the Blackbird as it approached the Collins Landing wharf in Melbourne on June 21, docking across from the Republic of West Papua’s new state of the art Department of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade office. People in suits, high heels, dreadlocks and traditional Melanesian headdresses sang, danced and waved West Papua’s outlawed Morning Star flag as they gathered to greet the boat of West Papuan Foreign Affairs staff arriving to formally open their new office.
If anyone can get the different forces of the Catalan left to unite in support of a common cause, it is Ada Colau. The spokesperson of the anti-eviction Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) until early May, Colau is almost certainly the most popular and respected social activist in the Spanish state. On June 26, Colau launched Let’s Win Barcelona platform for next year's May municipal elections in the Catalan capital.

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