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“A high-ranking official close to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the Greek government is not planning to give in to its creditors’ pressures and go against the program they had promised to the Greek people who brought them to power,” on April 16. The comment came amid rising tensions between Greece's SYRIZA-led anti-austerity government and its creditors — the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Meral Cicek (pictured) is the chair of Kurt Kadin Iliskiler Merkezi, the Kurdish Centre for Women's Affairs in Erbil, in the autonomous Kurdish Region in northern Iraq). Cicek spoke to the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Florian Wilde during the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunis last month. It has been translated by Leandros Fischer. * * *
Workers in more than US 200 cities across the US went on strike and joined marches on April 15 “during what organisers claimed was the largest protest by low-wage workers in US history”, the .

The revolutionary “The Law for Labour Justice and Recognition of Work from Home,” was passed by Ecuador's National Assembly on April 14, . The law, which was first proposed by President Rafael Correa on November 15 to about 100,000 workers, passed by 91 votes to 29. The law will extend the benefits of the social security system to all Ecuadoreans wishing to be affiliated.

Photo: Unite.org.nz. Striking McDonald’s workers took part in marches and pickets in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin on April 15, with many speaking to the crowds and media about the hardship of living with insecure work and income.
Up to 90% of the electorate voted in Bolivia’s “local” elections on March 29 for governors, mayors and departmental assembly and municipal council members throughout the country. The governing Movement for Socialism (MAS) of left-wing President Evo Morales once again emerged as the only party with national representation. It is by far the major political force in Bolivia, and far ahead of the opposition parties, none of which has a significant presence in all nine departments.

Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) persisted with April 13-15 national elections, despite widespread condemnation of the process from inside and outside the country. Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 coup, contested the presidency among 15 mostly unknown candidates. The election was boycotted by opposition groups. They have called for an inclusive consultation process to resolve the country’s substantial problems, establishing a transitional government, and immediately ending the repression of dissent as prerequisites for free and fair elections.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks published a on April 16 casting light on secretive efforts by entertainment and electronics giant Sony to lobby the US government on hot button issues such as cracking down on online piracy. One collection of emails indicates staff from Sony's US subsidiary, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), sought to maneuver around a US$5,000 limit on corporate contributions to political campaigns to contribute to Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's re-election war chest.
The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again by Paul Geoghegan Luath Press 2015 177 pages The British-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7 looks set to be very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government. Opinion polls suggest that neither of the two main British parties, Conservative or Labour, will win enough seats for a majority of their own in the House of Commons.
Ecuador has lifted 1.3 million people out of poverty in the past eight years, a new survey revealed on April 13, . The results of the first “Survey of Living Conditions in Ecuador” showed that poverty has fallen by one third. It also revealed that 900,000 individuals have been lifted out of extreme poverty, whilst the Gini coefficient, which measures wealth gaps, has dropped 4.8 points since 2006.
A recently published report has revealed that the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq was responsible for the deaths of about 1 million Iraqis, or 5% of the population. The report also tallies hundreds of thousands of casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the US-led war.
Tony Abbott’s government is gearing up for another budget, and much has been made about how to raise revenue and what to cut. The government has toned down its previous rhetoric about a budget emergency, which appears to have disappeared despite the government failing to pass most of last year’s budget measures, but it still looks as if they will make the most disadvantaged pay while keeping things sweet for their mates in the big end of town.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES TO REMAIN OPEN Remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia will remain open despite federal funding cuts. Last year, the federal government announced it would leave it up to the states to fund remote communities. About 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia are under threat of closure after the Western Australian government refused to step in and fund them.
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela began his visit to Panama City for the Summit of the Americas with a visit to the impoverished neighbourhood of El Chorrillo to lay a wreath at the monument to those killed by the US bombing of the community during the 1989 US invasion of Panama. The seventh Summit of the Americas, held in Panama City on April 10 and 11, was widely hailed as a victory for left-leaning and progressive forces in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba.
Recently I went to an asylum seeker forum at Gosford Anglican Parish. Hosted by the awesome Father Rod Bower and chaired by Labor’s Senator Deborah O’Neill, it featured special guest speaker, Labor’s Shadow immigration minister Richard Marles. I was nervous when I arrived. When I left, I was furious! Here’s why… Despite talking a lot, and very well, Marles made just seven points. Let’s take a look at each of these points individually. 1. Liberal is worse than Labor
VIC TRADES HALL CONDEMNS SDA ON PENALTY RATES The Victorian Trades Hall Council has condemned the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association’s agreement with the South Australian Chamber of Commerce to remove penalty rates for retail workers. The VTHC said it opposed any move to further the federal government’s agenda by attacking hard fought entitlements and condemns attacks by the business lobby to reduce workers' wages. EAST WEST LINK PAYOUT

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