Political parties in El Salvador formally wrapped up their campaigns on February 25 ahead of local and legislative elections schedule for March 1, with polls showing the left-wing Farabundu Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) ahead of right-wing rivals. Electors in Latin America's smallest country will head to the polls to elect mayors as well as representatives to the country's Legislative Assembly.
Radical candidate for mayor of Chicago Jesus Garcia finished in second place in the first round of the city’s election on February 24. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff for President Barak Obama from 2008-2010, failed to reach the 50%-plus-one threshold, so there will be a runoff election. The New York Times said: “It was a serious blow after a campaign in which Mr. Emanuel had a huge fundraising edge over lesser-known opponents, not to mention an in-person endorsement last week from President Obama in his adopted hometown.”
Greece’s new SYRIZA government submitted its list of proposed economic reforms to the Eurogroup (the finance ministers of eurozone nations) on February 23 as a precondition for its international creditors to approve a four-month loan extension. The deal was signed on February 20. With Greece’s existing loan arrangement expiring on February 28 and bankruptcy looming, a last-minute deal was finally agreed after three weeks of intense negotiations. The talks had been characterised by daily — sometimes hourly — twists and turns, claims and counterclaims, leaks and threats.
It seems there is no end to the incredible bias facing the poor, beleaguered Tony Abbott government. If it isn't an ABC journalist daring to ask a government minister a question they don't like, it's the Human Rights Commission releasing a report on the plight of children in immigration detention centres that even the most impartial observer would have to admit shows a distinct and unmistakable bias in favour of respecting human rights.
The Redfern Tent Embassy survives, a week after an eviction notice was served demanding that they vacate by February 23. For four long days, locals and supporters have kept watch to protect the Block from an expected hoard of Redfern police coming to enforce the eviction. About 20 people gathered at the embassy on Monday after the initial 5am call out for supporters, and about 150 people were at the embassy after Mick Mundine, the Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Housing Corporation (AHC), said on NITV that he would “definitely be coming in the afternoon”.
Venezuela has faced new attempts to subvert its democracy and roll-back the pro-poor process of social change known as the Bolivarian revolution, which aims to build a “socialism of the 21st century”. The attacks have taken the form of new US-imposed sanctions, an economic war by private business owners to cause shortages and what Venezuelan officials say is a thwarted coup plot to overthrow the government. On February 25, Venezuelan National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello presented evidence relating the the coup plot thwarted earlier in the month.
Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance released this statement on February 25. * * * Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance condemns the passing of the Higher Education and Research Amendment Bill, which included fee-deregulation, in the House of Representatives on February 25. This legislation has passed despite the ongoing opposition from students, the National Tertiary Education Union, economists and progressive political parties.
Legal experts have criticised new child protection laws pushed through Northern Territory parliament on February 18 for not including safeguards to protect Aboriginal culture and risking a repeat of the damage done to the Stolen Generations. The new legislation allows children who are removed from their parents by the Department of Children and Families to be placed on Permanent Care Orders, which would mean that their carers would have control over most decisions to do with the child, free from judicial or DCF review.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions says the federal government has cut 8000 public sector jobs since coming to power and plans to slash another 8000 more. Now the government is making a pay offer to public servants that the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says is, in effect, a pay cut. The government’s offer of a 3.25% pay rise over three years to employees in the Department of Human Services (DHS) is below the inflation rate — 1.7% according to Trading Economics.
A crowd of up to 80 people rallied on the steps of Western Australian parliament house on February 25 to demand justice for the family of Miss Dhu. Dhu was a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who died in police custody on August 4 last year. She was imprisoned in Port Hedland for non-payment of fines.