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British Prime Minister David Cameron may want a politics-free Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but campaigners have railed against sponsors’ links to deaths and human rights abuses at home and abroad. The Tory PM told business leaders on a jaunt to Glasgow University on July 23 that he wanted to steer clear of politics as the clock wound down to the games opening ceremony. A crowd of protesters thronged outside the university library where he spoke, with picketers ranging from the Radical Independence Coalition to Our People’s National Health Service.
The city of Detroit has been declared bankrupt, reeling from the closure of many auto plants and related enterprises that were once the backbone of the city. City administrators are making working people bear the brunt of this severe economic crisis. They are driving many out of their homes and out of the city, while a small area is gentrified. Whole neighbourhoods are disaster areas. Schools and community centres are being shut. Now a new twist has been added -- cutting off water to the poorest, creating a humanitarian and health crisis.
Mississippi cuts $1,3 billion from schools, gives $1.3 billion to Nissan “Since 2008, Mississippi has violated a constitutional mandate to adequately fund the state’s public K-12 schools,” Reader Supported News said on July 23. “Mississippi has spent $648 less per student than it did in 2008. Currently, Mississippi has underfunded its public schools by at least [US]$1.3 billion.
During a recent visit to China, Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa signed an agreement to give China 1200 acres of land in the Trincomalee area on a long term lease for “defence-related development”. Part of this land is occupied by temples, mosques, schools and houses. The Tamilnet website said about 450 families will lose their homes. Those affected are mainly Tamil-speaking Muslims. China’s plans for the area are unknown. However, Trincomalee’s renowned natural harbour, situated on the north-east coast of the island of Sri Lanka, was used as a naval base by the British.
Data Brainanta is one of quite a few Indonesian socialists who have been supporting the successful presidential bid of Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi” as he is popularly known. So he was happy when Indonesia's electoral commission (KPU) finally confirmed on July 22 that Jokowi had defeated his sole contender, the sacked former Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto, by 57% to 43% of the nearly 130 million direct votes cast on July 9.
The Feminist Collective and newly-formed group the No Shelter Collective held a meeting at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on July 16 to address the NSW state government’s plans to defund key women and children’s refuges across the state. About 130 people came to hear about government plans to defund around 80 specialist refuges, which could potentially force many women and children’s refuges to shut down, or be handed over to be run by private organisations. Many women’s refuges have already been shut down or are under the process of being handed over.
Two Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) members addressed Unions NSW on July 17 about their dispute with Ausreo for wage parity with their Victorian counterparts. Ausreo supplies concrete reinforcing products to the building and construction industry. According to its website, it “takes pride in manufacturing products which meet the highest industry standards and providing superior services and support to match”.
At the weekly meeting of Unions NSW, unionists handed an open letter to Secretary Mark Lennon, calling for it to organise another daytime mass delegates meeting of all unions following the July 6 “Bust the Budget” rally and to plan for a NSW-wide strike. The letter also calls on Unions NSW to call a weekday stopwork protest against the budget and coordinate with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and other state union peak bodies to turn this into a national day of action.
You know, sometimes it seems these days all I ever do in these columns is rant angrily about terrible suffering and misery. So I thought I'd try and change it up this week and talk about Gaza.
Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan was sentenced at a hearing of the Supreme Court in Sydney on July 25. He was sentenced to one year and eight months imprisonment, but was released immediately on a two-year good behaviour bond with $1000 surety. Moylan was charged under the Corporations Act for issuing a press release on ANZ letterhead saying the bank had withdrawn its $1.2 billion loan facility from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Project on environmental and ethical grounds. Whitehaven’s share price temporarily fell before quickly recovering.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched across the West Bank on July 25, following large protests the day before that in with Israeli bullets. The largest rallies in years in the occupied territory came as Israel's ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip killed at least 850 people, including hundreds of children. Israel has fired on protesters, shooting at least nine dead, Electronic Intifada said that day.

The repeal of Australia’s carbon price is a milestone for a Coalition government that thinks nothing should stand between a mining company and big pile of money.