It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn’t. Less than a week after the huge rallies in defence of “free expression” after the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony. The arrest is part of a harsh crackdown on free speech in the country that has prompted criticism from national and international human rights groups.
Allegations made by south Indian Tamil fisherfolk against the recently deposed Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka reveal a trail of death and corruption. They said 750 fisherfolk have been killed by the Sri Lankan navy since 1983. Eighty-four boats were seized in the past six months alone.
The wave of social and environmental destruction sweeping India in the age of globalisation can be seen in the “development” being imposed on entire sections of small farmers, fishing communities, forest tribes and small artisans. It can be gauged from two instances of attempts to build coal-fired power stations in sensitive ecological regions of coastal Andhra Pradesh, a state in south-east India.
Venezuelan assistance to Palestine has played an important role in helping Palestine achieve domestic development goals, said Palestine's ambassador to venezuela, Linda Sabeh Ali. Sabeh Ali said her people hope to achieve some of the same freedoms the Venezuelan people have enjoyed in recent years. “Venezuela is a free land of liberators. We dream of a free country like this [Venezuela],” Sabeh Ali said in a January 21 interview to Venezuelan state media.
The workers of International Flavours & Fragrances began occupying their building on January 27 as part of an ongoing strike. The Dandenong Leader reported workers "were locked out today after negotiations for a new workplace agreement stalled. About 60 workers were stranded by indefinite lockout by management early this morning. Negotiations have been ongoing since June, after contention arose over management’s proposal of a 55 cent an hour wage increase if workers forfeited one of their two paid ten minute breaks.
The victory of SYRIZA — Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left — in the January 25 elections caused enormous outpouring of joy on the streets of Athens and confirmed general expectations. The “poll of polls” done on the day before the election had SYRIZA winning 37.5% and 146 seats. The final result was 36.49% and 149 seats. SYRIZA will now form government in alliance with the socially conservative, but anti-Brussels, Independent Greeks.
Leader of the Greek radical left wing party SYRIZA Tsipras, took an oath pledging to "always serve the interests of the Greek people", rather than the traditional religious oath, in his swearing-in as the nation's new prime minister on the afternoon of January 26. The ceremony was held before the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias at the Maximos Mansion in central Athens. This is the first time in the history of Greece that a prime minister has not taken the traditional oath and blessing of holy water from the Archbishop of Greece.
The Venezuelan government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the left-wing Syriza party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25. Tsipras has been inaugurated as the country's prime minister. A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”
In Australia, the life of a teaching student comes with certain inconveniences, but not acute physical danger at the hands of law enforcement, political authorities and organised crime. Sadly, that is not the case in Mexico. On the night of September 26-27 last year, in the southern state of Guerrero, police attacked a bus convoy taking a group of students from their normales rurales (rural teaching college) in Ayotzinapa to the city of Iguala.