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With the support of all of the political parties in Dublin's parliament (the Dail), a May 22 referendum on same-sex marriage could bring official state recognition for Ireland’s gay community and their relationships for the first time. Homosexuality in Ireland was decriminalised in 1993. The referendum could mark a further break from a culture which has for decades forced LGBTI members to live covertly or suppress their identity entirely. The referendum has been opposed by most, though not all, of Ireland’s clergy. Polls have shown strong opposition among Ireland’s oldest age groups.
Photo: TeleSUR/Rael Mora. A three-day general strike against the Tia Maria mining project of transnational Southern Copper Corporation in the southern region of Arequipa in Peru was launched on May 12.
“Greece avoided another financial crisis by paying about €500 million in wages to public sector workers, but suffered another downgrade of its credit rating,” The Guardian on May 16. The payment came with Greece's SYRIZA-led government, that is seeking to break with austerity, locked in difficult talks with its creditors. Greece is seeking to release €7.2 billion in bailout funds to avoid a default and exit from the eurozone.

Britain's May 7 elections revealed the deep divides emerging in British society and offered the promise of a constitutional crisis and social struggles to come. Most commentators had expected the result to be a hung parliament; polls had consistently shown the Conservative (Tory) and Labour parties to be neck and neck. In Scotland, the polls pointed to a wipe-out of the previously dominant Labour Party, with the Scottish National Party (SNP) poised to make sweeping gains on a platform of opposing austerity and Trident nuclear weapons.

Chile has been hit by another round of protests by student groups demanding substantial reforms to the country’s education system. Two student activists were killed in Chile on May 14 amid nationwide protests. The two students were shot in the city of Valparaiso, near the Plaza Victoria, at the end of a huge rally. Local media said both students were gunned down by a Valparaiso store owner as they attempted to hang a banner over his shop.
It is a point of honour for the Venezuelan government that despite the sharp plunge in oil prices and acute shortages of goods, President Nicolas Maduro has ruled out austerity measures. In a recent TV interview with former vice president Jose Vicente Rangel, Venezuelan Central Bank president Nelson Merentes explained why, saying: “Do you remember what happened on February 27, 1989?”
A special May Day conference was convened on May 1 and 2 by the five trade unions affiliated to the Right2Water campaign, which is leading the huge struggle against water charges in Ireland. The conference discussed a set of core principles that will underpin a “Platform for Renewal”, with the aim to unite left and progressive forces before the next general election.
Mexican gov't blocks investigation over missing students Demonstrators demanding justice in the case of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. Photo: Clayton Conn/TeleSUR. The lawyer representing the parents and relatives of 43 missing Ayotzinapa students criticised the Mexican government on May 14 for stopping a meeting between experts from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and army officials.
In the United States Senate, Republicans eventually reached a deal on May 13 with a group of Senate Democrats over a bill that Democrats had unanimously rejected a day earlier, TeleSUR English said that day. It grants special “fast-track” powers to President Barack Obama to negotiate key free trade agreements.
The United States was criticised for its human rights standards on May 12 after the country's compliance with international human rights standards were assessed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR). The UN criticised the US for police violence, racial discrimination, torture, use of the death penalty, and Guantanamo Bay prison, among other issues.
Protest at Kentex factory, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila, May 15. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa/Facebook. Revelations have continued emerging over safety and labour abuses at the Philippines factory where 72 people died in a fire on May 13.
New mothers will be pushed to return to work sooner and non-working families will be punished by having childcare subsidies reduced in the government’s latest budget. Treasurer Joe Hockey chose Mother's Day on May 10 to announce that almost 80,000 women will have their existing paid parental leave slashed, saving $1 billion. At the moment the government provides 18 weeks of paid parental leave at the minimum wage of $600 a week.
One of my guilty, I won't say pleasures so let's go with habits, is skimming through the Daily Telegraph while waiting for my coffee at the local cafe. It kills time and I can check out the content without giving any money to Murdoch’s media empire.
Moses Havini, former leader of the Bougainville independence movement, died in Sydney on May 2 after a long battle with cancer. Vikki John from the Bougainville Freedom Movement said: “Moses inspired so many people and will be truly missed. The love, dignity and freedom for his people on Bougainville and their right to self-determination were at the forefront of Moses' life.
The Abbott government has coped a lot of flak for breaking promises, but this budget bucks the trend. Abbott always promised a “no surprises” approach to government, and with this self-proclaimed “dull” budget, his government has finally delivered. Few may have predicted some of the weirder moments of Abbott's reign, like knighting Prince Philip, threatening to shirtfront Vladimir Putin or making Bronwyn Bishop speaker of the House, but who could honestly say they were surprised by more proposals to hurt the poor and help the rich.
An open letter to the Australian government calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations is gathering support. Initiated by the Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan campaign committee, the open letter has attracted some notable endorsements. The letter and endorsements can be viewed here.

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