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Here's this month's roundup of left-leaning music, with a strong contingent from Melbourne. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook. * * *
Protests continue to grip Mexico over the fate of 43 students from Ayotzinapawho were abducted -- in police vehvilces according to eyewitnesses -- Guerrerro state on September 26. Mexico's Attorney-General Jesus Murillo Karam says three detained “drug traffickers” had confessed to killing the students -- including burnig them alive. Dozens of police were arrested over allegations they had had students over to a drug cartel. Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca, accused of ordering the attacks, resigned on October 24.
The protests over the 43 missing students in Iguala, who are now said to have been assassinated and burned, have continued in Mexico City. Hundreds of Mexicans protested overnight on November 8 in Mexico capital. They expressed theri outrage in relation to statements given the day before by the head of the attorney-general's Office, Jesus Murillo Karam, who said the 43 students were executed and burned in Ayotzinapa.
Representatives of victims of Colombia's decades-long civil war, who are taking part in the peace talks in Cuba, issued a statement on November 2 requesting more protection from the Colombian government. They were responding to death threats and warnings from right-wing paramilitary groups. The talks are taking place between the Colombian government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Delegates from environmental groups from around the world gathered on the Venezuelan island of Margarita this month as part of the country's “Social Precop”. The event was coordinated by the Venezuelan government in a bid to take the “voice of the people” into the United Nations talks on climate change scheduled for December in Peru. Over several days, movements and activists put the final touches to the “Margarita Declaration” that was drafted in July after four days of debate and discussion.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has handed over three new schools and two roofed outdoor community centres in the Sacaca Municipality of the southern Potosi Department. “We are going to continue working, your vote has not been in vain,” said Morales, who was re-elected on October 12 with more than 60% of the vote. In the Caripuyo municipality in Potosi, Morales also inaugurated a market and an electrical system for the Caripuyo community.
In an interview with Pagina do MST's Iris Pacheco, Alexandre Conceicao, a national leader of the Movement of Rural Landless Workers (MST), said social movements played a fundamental role in the October 26 re-election of President Dilma Rousseff, the candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). Dilma won 51%, defeating her main rival, Aecio Neves. The interview, below, was translated by Federico Fuentes. * * *
The statement below was released by WikiLeaks on October 16 after it published a second leaked chapter from the proposed TransPacific Partnership trade deal. The TPP is being negotiated behind closed doors by the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. ***
The statement below was released by the British Fire Brigades Union (FBU). *** The FBU Executive Council is appalled by the ongoing siege of the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria by Islamic State (IS) forces. The executive council notes: • The IS attack on Kobane and resistance of Kurdish and other local forces. • The role of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE (all British/US allies) in building, assisting and encouraging the growth of IS.
The number of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land have doubled in the past 54 months, UN Commission on Human Rights member Cees Flinterman said ton October 31. Middle East Monitor said that day that Flinterman presented the fourth stage of a report monitoring activity of Israel's practices in Palestinian territory.
An incredible political transformation has been taking shape in the “Land of the Upright or Incorruptible People”, Burkina Faso. Twenty-seven years after the assassination of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, Burkinabes turned out in their hundreds of thousands, for several days of protest. Chanting “enough is enough”, it echoed a long history of trade union activism against political repression in the country, as well as protests staged through the Balai Citoyen collective. After four days of the popular anger, president Blaise Compaore vacated his post.
The controversial Sivens dam project in south-west France has been temporarily suspended after the death of 21-year-old activist Remi Fraisse while protesting at the site on October 25. An autopsy found that Fraisse had likely died from a police stun grenade that hit him in the back. Protests erupted across France in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
About 1700 people packed Sydney Town Hall, and an overflow crowd of thousands filled the adjacent square, for the official memorial service for former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on November 5. Sprinkled through the crowd were people who still had their iconic “It's Time” T-shirts and badges from the 1972 election that brought the Whitlam government to power. It was a memorable gathering not just because of the passing of this former PM, but because Whitlam has come to symbolise a long-lost era of progressive reform in this country.
A campaign organised by Cambodians has led the country’s first vice-president of the National Assembly to urge Australia to back down from its bid to resettle refugees there. Kem Sokha said in a letter to the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Alison Burrows, that the deal to transfer up to 1000 refugees from Nauru could have “negative impacts which would possibly be caused by economic, social situations”. Joyce Fu, who works for NGO Corner Link and was part of organising protests and petitions calling for the refugee deal to be abandoned, said Cambodia was ill-equipped for the plan.
Oxfam released a report in January that found companies have hidden between $21 trillion and $32 trillion in offshore bank accounts to escape paying tax. That amount is double US GDP or about 20 times Australian GDP. One of the issues that will be discussed at the G20 meeting in Brisbane is how to set up an international framework to stop this tax avoidance. Unfortunately, it will not work.
The witch-hunt into unions descended into farce last month as the Royal Commission’s attempt to justify its existence instead showed that it is an inquiry compromised by its politically motivated construction and damned by its own incompetence. The week began with Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) assistant secretary Tim Lyons attacking royal commissioner Dyson Heydon and senior counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar for confusing workplace bargaining with corruption and failing to understand the role of unions they had been asked to investigate.

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