Cables sent from the US Embassy in Quito during Rafael Correa’s first three years as president document rising tensions between Ecuador and the US. Correa’s government, first elected in 2006, increasingly rejected US hegemony and asserted control over Ecuador’s economic and political development. The cables highlight the embassy’s preoccupation with Ecuador’s “difficult investment climate”, with many reports attempting to assess and predict Correa’s economic policies.
In the past five years the global bee population has been devastated. This matters because they are critical to the food chain, pollinating 70% of our food either directly or indirectly. Besides pollinating vegetables, fruits and nuts, they also pollinate the lucerne that feeds our cattle and cotton that makes our clothes. The US lost 60% of its bee population in 2012 and then another 40% last year. The European wild honey bees have all but disappeared.
After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence with 55% backing compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence. The referendum saw an unprecedented level of engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.
More than 40 renewable energy suppliers have written an open letter to the federal government urging it to save jobs by not scrapping the renewable energy target (RET). They say the renewable energy industry employs tens of thousands of Australian workers, both directly and indirectly. This open letter to federal and state politicians from businesses supplying the sector highlights the importance of the RET in generating jobs and investment. ***
The Save Millers Point spring picnic, held at Argyle Place in the heart of the historic inner suburb on September 14, drew thousands of people to support the campaign to stop the sale of public housing by the NSW Coalition government. Live music, market stalls, a free BBQ and information about the campaign were features of the day. An art exhibition and film screening was held. In addition, a history walk took attendees on a tour of the unique architectural sites of the area.
A meeting of about 200 union delegates and activists, organised by Unions NSW on September 17, unanimously supported a call for statewide action against the federal budget to defend jobs, workers’ rights and services. Unionists concerned that Unions NSW was failing to lead a campaign against the budget attacks drafted the motion, which was moved from the floor. Initially, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon told the group there would not be time to move the motion. However, just before the meeting closed the motion was put to the vote and unanimously supported.
Refugee Council of Australia President Phil Glendenning told a forum on September 15 that refugees sent from Australia back to Afghanistan by the John Howard government have been killed. The Refugee Action Coalition organised the forum called “Stop Deportations — Why Afghanistan is not safe”, which also heard from Hazara Youth Perspectives Organisation organiser Sabira Naseri.
A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national elections, the big news is the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, with some polls predicting the former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist could end up winning the presidential race. Incumbent president and PT candidate Dilma Rousseff maintains a narrow lead over Silva, but the election will almost certainly go to a second round run-off on October 26.
United States President Barack Obama pledged on June 30 that in the face of Republican intransigence on immigration, he would take executive action to ease the plight of undocumented immigrants facing deportation. On September 6, the White House announced that it would delay any action until after the November midterm election. Cristina Jimenez, managing director for United We Dream, an advocacy coalition for immigrants largely made up of young Latinos, said: “The President’s latest broken promise is a slap in the face of the Latino and immigrant communities.”
The Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance club on University of Western Sydney (UWS) Bankstown campus organised a free barbecue for students and staff on September 10. The BBQ raised $100 in donations for Gaza recovery charities. A week later, on September 16, it held a campus film screening of Hope in a Slingshot, a film about Palestinian resistance. Resistance is taking a proactive stand for support of Palestine with weekly petitioning and distributing information and organising contingents for upcoming rallies and events.