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After Cyclone Pam caused widespread destruction on Vanuatu, a South Pacific archipelago, on March 14, Prime Minister Baldwin Lonsdale said the devastating cyclones increasingly hitting his nation were directly linked to climate change.

US bars UN torture investigator from jails and Guantanamo

The United Nations special investigator on the use of torture criticised the US on March 11 for stalling for over two years in granting the international human rights body access to inmates at Guantanamo Bay and other federal US prisons.

I take issue with Ben Courtice’s and Emma Murphy’s criticism of my review of Bill Gammage’s book, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia in the January 28 Green Left Weekly.

I have two major arguments with their criticism. First, Gammage has made a major contribution to our understanding of how Aboriginal Australians cared for the land for more than 60,000 years right across the continent.

Student activists dropped a huge banner from Sydney University’s Fisher Library which read "No cuts, no fees, no dereg. Fightback now!" to raise the alarm about the federal government’s looming attempt to deregulate university fees.

Six students also locked themselves to the Vice-Chancellor's office, to demonstrate their opposition, and called on all university Vice-Chancellors to oppose the bill.

The following statement was released by Aid/Watch, an independent monitor of international aid and trade, on March 5.

* * *

Australia spends $577 million a year on aid for Papua New Guinea (PNG). Two key focus areas are anti-corruption related — law and justice, and governance.

PNG has concurrently undertaken a number of national processes to combat corruption without Australian support.

Experience proves that left-wing movements can win government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more.

The problem is now being faced in Greece with with radical left party SYRIZA, which won elections in January. It will have to be faced in Spain if the new anti-austerity party Podemos wins November elections.

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness.

Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

Staff at the University of NSW took industrial action on March 11 in response to stalled enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is seeking a pay rise of 3.5%, employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and greater job security, including opportunities for permanence for casual staff, some of whom have been employed on a casual basis for many years.

Classes were cancelled for the day and about 100 NTEU members and students picketed six gates around the campus.

Some 20,000 people marched through central London on Saturday, in the Time to Act! protest, demanding that climate change be taken seriously by political parties in the coming General Election.

Time to Act!, launched by the Campaign Against Climate Change, brought together a wide coalition of environmental and left wing organisations.

The march was young, vibrant and diverse: placards from the Greens, Socialist Worker and Left Unity mixed with banners and flags from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Peoples’ Assembly and trade unions.

Members of the United Services Union (USU) at Liverpool City Council, NSW, stopped work on March 11 to discuss management’s attacks on members’ working conditions. The stopwork took place in Bigge Park in the centre of Liverpool from 10am.

USU state secretary Graham Kelly told the meeting that Liverpool chief executive officer Carl Wulff had begun talking to councillors in August last year about the outsourcing of the council’s customer services.

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