BlueScope Steel announced a full-year profit of $136.3 million on August 24. This is an improvement on last year’s loss of $83 million, but not by much compared to past profits. The results were released on the day the Australian share market suffered its worst fall since the global financial crisis, yet BlueScope’s share price went up by almost 9%.
Dyson Heydon will not step down as commissioner investigating corruption in trade unions, having decided to ignore the widespread perception of his political bias. Whatever else he might be, Heydon is no fool. When he accepted the job as royal commissioner he knew what was expected of him. The commission was set up as a political witch-hunt into unions, designed to give the Coalition government an issue which it thought it could win the next election with. Heydon was happy to oblige and has been handsomely paid for doing so.
Syrian refugees on Greece-Macedonia border. Photo: Amnesty International. “Are we animals? Why? Why?” Those were the words of one Syrian refugee to BBC's Channel 4 recently after Macedonian police attacked desperate families seeking entry into the country along the border with Greece. The refugee crisis has grown to immense proportions. Tens of thousands of people have flooded into the Balkans in recent weeks. Macedonia
Palestinians in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp demand the rebuilding of homes destroyed during Israel’s 51-day assault on the territory last year, June 15. Until July, not one of the homes destroyed during Israel’s assault on Gaza last year had been rebuilt. Why? Israeli rights group Gisha, which monitors Israel’s siege of Gaza, tries to provides answers in a recent analysis, “Where’s the housing boom?”
Human-caused global warming has worsened California's extreme four-year drought by as much as 25%, says a new study that is just the latest to link the abnormally dry conditions with human-caused climate change. The study by Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, published on August 20 in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that within a few decades, continually rising temperatures and resulting moisture losses will push California into even more persistent aridity.
The statement below was released by Palestinian BDS National Committee on August 25. * * *
Fifty-three members out of SYRIZA's 201-strong central committee, have resigned on August 26 in protest at the new bail-out deal SYRIZA signed that agrees to the type of brutal austerity measures SYRIZA was elected in January to oppose, Enikos.gr said that day. Most have joined the Popular Unity movement, supported by former members of SYRIZA's Left Platform that will run on an anti-austerity platform in new elections called when SYRIZA Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned recently.
About 400,000 people marched in New York last September as part of global 'people's marches' demanding climate action. Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky are among a group of high-profile activists, academics and political figures who issued a call to action against climate change on August 27.
President Anote Tong from the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati does not mince words on the urgent need to phase out coal. He cannot afford to — his country is literally disappearing as a result of global warming. Tong released a statement on August 13 calling on countries to commit to phasing out coal before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in December where more than 190 countries are expected to attend. “A global moratorium on new coal mines [is] an essential initial step in our collective global action against climate change,” he said.
The one thing neoliberal touts want us to forget is that the effects of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 have never been overcome – and are still felt today. There is no such thing as everlasting “natural growth” in the world economy. As John Maynard Keynes long ago pointed out, capitalism “seems capable of remaining in a chronic condition of sub-normal activity for a considerable period without any marked tendency towards recovery or complete collapse”.
Well over 1000 people attended the Bersih 4.0 rally in Perth on August 29. This was more than double the number who attended Bersih 3.0 in Perth in 2012.
On August 25 the Melbourne Magistrates Court dropped terrorism charges against 18-year-old Harun Causevic, who had spent 120 days in maximum security solitary confinement for the alleged “Anzac Day terror plot”. In April more than 200 police were deployed to arrest five Melbourne teenagers. The mainstream media unquestionably repeated police allegations about the plot, allowing politicians to talk and act as if its existence were an established reality.
On the weekend that marked the one year anniversary of the police killing of Michael Brown, another disturbingly similar case made the social media rounds: another unarmed young Black man was shot dead, on August 7, another police officer on administrative leave holding the smoking gun, another rush to convict the dead.
The China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is a major deal, but there is little public understanding of its content. Much of the coverage of ChAFTA in the corporate media has focused on its benefits for business and its impact on Australia. But ChAFTA has far reaching consequences for working people in both countries. The Chinese and Australian governments signed off on ChAFTA on June 17. But before it can come into effect, both the Australian and Chinese governments need to pass enabling legislation.
John Percy, veteran socialist, died on August 19 in Sydney, aged 69. He was a co-founder of the revolutionary youth organisation Resistance and the Socialist Workers Party, later the Democratic Socialist Party. John, together with his brother Jim, began his political career as a student activist at Sydney University in the mid-1960s in the growing movement against the Vietnam War.
Pressure from activists for super funds to divest from Transfield Services, the biggest contractor in the Australian immigration detention industry, is increasingly bearing fruit. HESTA, the industry superannuation fund for health and community services workers — at $32 billion one of Australia’s largest super funds — sold its 3.5% stake, worth $23 million, in Transfield Services on August 18. On August 25 NGS Super, the industry superannuation fund for private school teachers, announced it would sell its $5.5 million stake in Transfield “on moral grounds”.