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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.
More than 100 people filled Thirroul Community Centre for the launch of Women of Steel, a new book on the inspiring “Jobs For Women” campaign. The campaign saw working class, mostly migrant, women take on Australia's biggest corporation BHP, who refused to employ women at the Port Kembla steelworks. The event was opened with a passionate rendition of Solidarity Forever from the Illawarra Union Singers.
Thomas Sankara: An African Revolutionary By Ernest Harsch Ohio University Press, 2014 163 pages, $18.56. A popular uprising in 1983 in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), a small and poor land-locked country in western Africa, had led to an obscure, but charismatic army officer becoming head of state. This was inspiring news for those looking for a new breakthrough against imperialism. It had come after the depressing news that Margaret Thatcher's Britain had defeated Argentina in the Malvinas and Ronald Reagan's United States had crushed Grenada's revolution.
Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne. This is the second of a series of interviews with Sue Bolton. You can find the whole interview at Links: Online Journal of Socialist Renewal. * * *
DC Entertainment, Warner Bros Animation, Warner Bros Consumer Products and Mattel - forming a veritable Hollywood marketing Axis of Evil - issued a joint press release on April 22 saying they were releasing a tsunami of marketing targeted at six-to-12 year-old girls. The product they will be pushing will be “DC Superhero Girls” - including Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and more - during their formative years.
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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