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Christian Schmidt, Germany's Agricultural Minister, announced on October 20 that “chick shredding” will be banned from 2017, making Germany the first country in the world to stop the practice. Every year, millions of tiny male chicks are ground up alive shortly after hatching because as males they don't lay eggs. Now there is hope that this brutal practice could come to an end. Previously egg producers had to wait until the chick hatched to tell if it was male or female. But new technology will enable the sex of each fertilised egg to be determined before the chick inside develops.
Tracks By Channa Wickremesekera Samayawardhana Printers 156 pages, paperback Class, family, lust, the need to fit in and hero worship are the recurrent tropes in Sri Lankan-born Melbourne-based author Channa Wickremesekera's latest novel Tracks. He explores the sexual confusion of a young middle-class boy of Sri Lankan descent (Sheehan) who develops a huge crush on one of the more rebellious “Anglo” boys (Robbie) in his school.
Melbourne-based author and community radio presenter Iain McIntyre has been documenting and celebrating Australian radical history since the 1990s. A series of zines he created entitled How To Make Trouble And Influence People were compiled into an expanded edition by Breakdown Press in 2009 with a second edition released in conjunction with US publisher PM Press in 2013.
The author of the Harry Potter series of novels, JK Rowling, has disappointed many of her fans by signing a letter opposing a boycott of Israel. The letter, which was also signed by other British cultural figures, such as TV presenter Melvyn Bragg, popular historian Tom Holland and author Hilary Mantel, proclaims its support for what it called “an independent UK network” called Culture for Coexistence.
The Australia Western Sahara Association has launched an appeal for funds, in conjunction with APHEDA — Union Aid Abroad, to assist relief work in the Western Sahara refugee camps where week-long torrential rains have devastated homes, hospitals and schools and destroyed food stores.
Once again, the United States and Israel voted against a motion to end economic sanctions at the United Nations General Assembly on October 27. Similar motions have been adopted by overwhelming majorities at the UN for the past 23 years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a report that concludes that the economic sanctions, which have caused about US$833.8 billion in damages to the Caribbean island, should be lifted. Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez addressed the UN, calling the blockade a “flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights of all Cubans”.
A Cuban girl is being deprived of urgently needed cancer treatment due to the United States' blockade, doctors said on October 28, TeleSUR English reported that day.
Members of an Australia Palestine Advocacy Network study tour in front of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank in January last year. Photo from APAN.org.au.
More than 10 million people have learned to read and write through a Cuban program aimed at mature age students, the Cuban government announced on October 26, TeleSUR English reported that day. The program, Yo Si Puedo (Yes I Can), aims to provide free education to adults who lacked opportunities to learn to read and write as children, with a focus on the poor.
Bedouins living in Israel's southern Negev region protest against government plans to confiscate their land.

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