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Eighty days on hunger strike has put an Iranian man who sought safety in Australia at death's door, as advocates around Australia fight for the immigration department to act to save his life. “Martin” took the non-violent step to refuse to eat last November after the Australian government denied him refugee protection and redetained him in the remote Wickham Point Detention Centre. At least 15 other men in the same situation as Martin have also taken up a hunger strike.
“Half the world is dying of starvation and the other half is dying of boredom.” This expression, one of many popularised during the protests of the 1960s, encapsulates a feeling of alienation that many young people today can still relate to. The capitalist world system, despite its proponents’ claims, does not offer a future worth having to any person, whether they live in the relatively secure - though increasingly less so - core nations or the impoverished and exploited periphery states.
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has campaigned against the privatisation and sale of public assets by both the Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman governments. Not4Sale was launched three years ago with financial and organisational support from the ETU and has involved union members and their local communities in the campaign to stop assets sales. This strong, popular and localised resistance was a significant factor in the recent defeat of the Liberal National Party (LNP) government.
The Australian Electoral Commission data from the declaration of donations to the major parties in 2013-14 was made public in early February. They show that a total of more than $278 million in speculative political capital was invested in the ALP, Liberals, Nationals, Palmer United Party (PUP) and the Greens.
Biologists consider the health of frogs to be indicative of the health of the biosphere as a whole. Frogs have permeable skin that easily absorbs toxins. They require specific aquatic and terrestrial environments to survive and breed, making them highly susceptible to environmental disturbances. Because of this they are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress. Frogs have lived on the Earth for 250 million years, surviving ice ages and other climate changes. Yet around the world, populations of amphibians, particularly frogs, are now in drastic decline.
Partly due to luck, and partly due to the heroic efforts of severely overstretched firefighters, the huge bushfires that swept southern Western Australia in early February resulted in no loss of life. These devastating fires also provide a glimpse into our future on a warming planet unless we cut carbon emissions fast.
There has been plenty of analysis and navel gazing from the mainstream media in the wash-up from the Queensland elections. While some looked at the personalities, others looked for someone or something to blame. One commentator, Tom Elliott writing in the Herald Sun, laid the blame for the state of the political system on voters and suggested what he called "a benign dictatorship".
This joint statement was issued by unions and campaign organisations on February 10. *** Australia’s universal health insurance scheme, Medicare, has ensured world-leading public health care is accessible for all, for over 30 years. The availability of bulk-billing has delivered a health system that is more cost-effective and equitable than in many comparable OECD countries.
As the excitement subsides on the Queensland election results, we need to take stock of what this means for the left in Australia. While the deep north of our country is a world away from Greece, there is a political trend here. But first let’s stay in Queensland. It was just three years ago that the then Bligh Labor government was thrown out suffering a 15.6% swing, one of the largest against a sitting state government in Australian political history. The Newman government lost with an 8.8% swing against it.
A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed on February 12 in a televised address. Those involved were being paid in US dollars. One of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.
Three new coalmines have been approved by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission, just weeks before the state election. The new coalmines will be in Bengalla, near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, the Watermark Coal Project, near Gunnedah on the Liverpool Plains and Moolarben, north-east of Mudgee.
A New York City police officer was indicted by a grand jury on February 10 for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in a darkened stairwell of a housing project last November, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officer Peter Liang, alongside his partner, was patrolling the stairwell in the Louis H Pink Houses, a Brooklyn housing project on Novemver 20 last year. While in the stairwell, Liang fired a single bullet, killing Akai Gurley, 28, who was in the stairwell a flight below with his girlfriend.