1045

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.

To date, Vice-Chancellor of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Attila Brungs has supported Prime Minister Tony Abbott's fee deregulation legislation. Last year he said fee deregulation “could have some positive impacts” and result in “teaching quality going up”. Arguing that it is positive that students finish their course with $100,000 debt is a hard sell, and Brungs felt the heat as students at UTS signed petitions calling on him to oppose it.

This month two reports were released in Canberra. The first was an important analysis of economic data, the 2014 national accounts issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. What Australia’s national accounts show is an economy in deep trouble. As David Harvey reminds us, to function satisfactorily it is necessary for capitalist economies to achieve a minimum 3% compound growth forever.
Refugees on Nauru have defied government and police attempts to ban protesting, as the United Nations adds to the growing body of evidence that Australia's asylum policy is violating human rights. The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) said 300 refugees held a peaceful protest on March 11, “just one week after Nauruan police staged mass arrests on the island in a bid to stifle the campaign of non-cooperation being waged by the refugees”.
A largely unknown region to the rest of the world became one of the most talked about globally in recent months. Kobane is a town that suffered a too-harsh fate. Innocent civilians never think that one day they would face massacres — except that being a Kurd in a town like Kobane (in a largely Kurdish area in the north-west of the Syrian state), means you face such things.

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