Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is trying to make good on his announcement on July 11 that his army, or the fascist militias fighting alongside it, will kill “dozens and hundreds” of people in the east of the country for every Ukraine soldier dying in the war his regime is waging there. Since his pronouncement, his armed forces have been bombarding cities and towns in south-east Ukraine. Fighter aircraft, tanks and other armoured vehicles are engaged.
In a September 2006 article for the Electronic Intifada, I defined the Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip as an incremental genocide. Israel’s present assault on Gaza alas indicates that this policy continues unabated. The term is important since it appropriately locates Israel’s barbaric action ― then and now ― within a wider historical context.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has launched an “SOS Palestine” campaign to demand an end to Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Palestine’s Gaza strip, Venezuela Analysis said on July 12. “Enough already, I’ve joined the campaign,” he told supporters during a televised broadcast. “#SOS Palestina, let’s launch it.” Holding up a handwritten placard, he asked fellow citizens to join the campaign, stating, “The Palestinian people have the right to live in their ancestral lands in peace.”
Two teenage asylum seekers have been taken from their homes in a community detention program in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs and sent to a closed detention centre, causing other young asylum seekers to run away from their homes in fear. On June 26, two young Vietnamese asylum seekers, who attended Woodville High School, were taken from their homes and detained by the immigration department.
A US drone attack in North Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) killed 20 people on July 16. It brought the number of people killed by US drones in North Waziristan since June 12 to 50. The July 16 Nation reported, “five drones are still flying over the Datta Khel area and hampering the relief activities underway there. This … is fomenting a fear of the death toll rising.”
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe came out in an interview with Michael Parkinson on July 13. Thorpe is a sporting hero. He has smashed 22 world records and won five gold, three silver and one bronze Olympic medals. He retired from professional swimming in 2012 after battling depression. In the interview, Thorpe said: "I'm not straight and this is only something that very recently — we're talking in the past two weeks — I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me."
The Australian government's efforts to pressure Cambodia to take refugees from Christmas Island is fraught with risks, experts told a forum organised by the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) on July 14. Kyja Noack-Lundberg from RAC told the meeting that Cambodia could soon be signing a memorandum of understanding with the Australian government to resettle refugees from Nauru. The deal being negotiated between Australia and Cambodia appeared to be on track in May, however news of it has all but disappeared from the media since then.
The case of 153 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka taken into Australian custody at sea returned to the High Court on July 18. Due to government secrecy, court proceedings have so far been the only reliable source of information about what is happening to the group. Documents submitted to the High Court on July 17 revealed further details about the conditions in which 153 Tamil asylum seekers are being held. Lawyers representing 86 of those taken aboard an Australian Customs ship but not brought to Australia say the asylum seekers have not been able to make any formal refugee claims.
NSW Premier Mike Baird has pushed ahead with plans to privatise the state's power network, without waiting for the results of the NSW election in March next year. The Stop the Sell Off campaign has condemned the move, saying it makes a mockery of the premier's claim that he would seek a mandate from voters before pressing on with the sale of 49% of the state-owned electricity network businesses Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Transgrid and Essential Energy.
Journalist Nic Maclellan spoke at a public meeting in Melbourne on July 10 about his visit to New Caledonia to observe the May 11 elections. Maclellan said New Caledonia was colonised by France in 1853. Indigenous Kanaks have been reduced to a minority in their own country. Kanaks are now 44% of the population. In addition to settlers from France itself, there are also people from other French colonies in the Pacific (Tahiti, Wallis and Futuna), as well as people whose ancestors came from former French colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria.