1074

With elections due on November 8, a loud call for change in Myanmar (formerly Burma) can be heard in the streets. All commentators predict victory for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) over the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Several factors, however, indicate it will not be a landslide. Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, known throughout the country simply as “the lady”, came to political prominence in 1988 when she returned to Myanmar to support her ailing mother and became embroiled in the students' struggle against the military regime.
The new federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has affirmed that the Turnbull-led government will not budge from policies that afford maximum profits to the outdated and dangerous fossil fuel corporations.
Foreign journalists are not welcome in Nauru. This is because of the erosion of rule of law and national sovereignty that has occurred as a result of the tiny and impoverished nation's government hiring out the island as a location for one of Australia's concentration camps for refugees. The point of locating the camps on remote Pacific Islands is so that the deliberate ill-treatment of refugees — which is what “deterrence” means — can happen out of sight and beyond the meagre protection of Australian law.

George Bender, a 68-year-old cotton farmer from Chinchilla, Queensland, took his own life on October 14. His family lays the blame squarely with the coal seam gas (CSG) industry he had fought against for a decade. Described by his family as “a straight talker” who “told the truth, not the sugar coated bullshit”, George was a fifth generation farmer in the Western Downs. He stood for the right for a farmer to say “no” to the gas industry.

Khodayar Amini, an Afghan Hazara asylum seeker who feared immigration authorities were planning to put him back in detention, has died after set himself alight on October 18. Amini had been released from Yongah Hill detention centre in Western Australia on a bridging visa after more than two years in detention. Shortly before killing himself, Amini spoke via video phone to Sarah Ross and Michelle Bui from the Refugee Rights Action Network (WA), telling them that he would rather kill himself rather than go back to detention.
Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for December in Paris, federal resources minister Josh Frydenberg has sought to invoke “a strong moral case” to justify his government's green lighting of the Carmichael mega-coalmine in the Galilee Basin. However, his argument is as spurious as the economic justifications made by Adani and federal and Queensland governments in support of the project.
Hundreds gathered outside the Immigration Department office in Melbourne on October 19, chanting, “Bring back Abyan” and “Close Nauru, close Manus”. Rallies were also held that day outside Immigration Department offices in Sydney and Darwin. In Brisbane, protesters targeted immigration minister Peter Dutton's office on October 21. Protests were also held in Canberra, Sydney and Perth on October 23 and Melbourne on October 24.
Most people think that democracy and elections are pretty much the same thing. The truth is that any meaningful push for genuine democracy would require a lot more than just electoral reform. The change of prime minister from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull shows that a change of leader means very little in terms of actual policy change. And this is not because the policies they push are popular. We need a change of government: not just a change from the Liberals to Labor, but a change from corporate power to people power.
New revelations shed light on the cruelty being inflicted on refugees in Australia's offshore detention centres. They come just days after the Department of Immigration and Border Protection sent a pregnant Somali refugee woman back to Nauru where she had been raped. Abyan, as she is known, was transferred to Villawood detention centre on October 11 from Nauru where she was going to speak with doctors about her desire for a termination.
Former police prosecutor Peter Murrihy is the new councillor for the Kildare ward after winning the recent by-election in the Greater Geelong Council. Murrihy defeated 10 other candidates to win the safe Liberal ward with 27.41% of the primary vote. Although Murrihy said he was politically unaffiliated, he received preferences from Liberal Party member Trent Sullivan. Much was made in the local media of the fact that Murrihy put forward no political promises or commitments during his campaign.
Melbourne Come to a screening of No Free Steps to Heaven. An Israeli journalist who visited Kurdish freedom fighters in Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan filmed this documentary. Presented by the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly. Entry $10/$5. Friday October 30 at 7pm, meal from 6.30pm. Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, city. Phone 9639 8622. Sydney
Workers have told Green Left Weekly that Hutchison Ports is seemingly in the process of calling for voluntary redundancies at its Port Botany and Brisbane terminals. This is the latest development in a long-running dispute that erupted following the sudden sacking of 97 workers at Hutchison's two ports on August 6. Since then, members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), along with other unions and supporters, have maintained community assemblies at the two ports.
Canadians elected a new national government on October 19, with new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party winning 184 seats out of 338. The hated Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper came in second place with 99 seats. The historically left-wing New Democratic Party won 44 seats.
Domestic violence — or intimate partner violence — represents an increasingly visible crisis in Australia today. Yet policy makers and opinion shapers continue to deny that the system, which profits from sexism and misogyny, is responsible for perpetrating it. Instead, they blame individuals. This year, two women have been killed every week — double the rate compared to 2014. One in four women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. For women aged between 15 and 44 years' old, domestic violence is the leading cause of death, illness and disability.
Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he will not allow a coalition of left parties to form a government, despite the fact that they won an outright majority in October 4 parliamentary elections - on grounds it would "violate" existing commitments to the European Union.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the odd eyebrow when he insisted in an October 20 speech that Adolf Hitler had no plans to exterminate Jews until convinced to do so by a Palestinian — the then-Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini. The German government immediately responded by pointing out that “all Germans” know their nation was responsible, which must have made for an odd phone call: “Is that Mr Netanyahu? Yes, hi, Germany here. Ah, we just wanted to … um ... this is a bit awkward but ... you know that whole Holocaust thing? Yeah? That was us.

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