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The article below is by Pablo Iglesias, secretary-general of the radical Spanish political force Podemos. It abridged from the January 24 El Pais and was translated from Spanish by Dick Nichols. *** The result of the December 20 election put an end to Spain's political shift-system. It opened up the historic possibility of our country having a government not exclusively dominated by the old party machines that have shared power over the last decades.
A former member of Bahrain's parliament, Jassim Hussain, who resigned in protest at the repression of the 2011 reform movement, spoke about the current situation in Bahrain and the broader Gulf region on January 24. Hussain said the falling price of oil has caused economic problems for the Gulf States. They have also spent a lot of money on the wars in Yemen and Syria. As a result, there have been cuts to government subsidies for meat, fuel and electricity, as well as cuts to unemployment and retirement benefits.

In a move designed to restrict examination and comment, the NSW government released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the New M5 in late November. The EIS was on public exhibition until January 29 — virtually the whole summer holiday period. The New M5 is the second major tunnel section of WestConnex and will run between the existing M5 East at Kingsgrove and the new interchange at St Peters.

One of the most worst cases of environmental pollution in US history is taking place in Flint, Michigan — a suburb of Detroit that is majority African American. The citizens of this small city of 100,000 have been deliberately poisoned through their drinking water for more than a year. The worst exposure has been to lead, a known neurotoxin that, once in the body, cannot be removed. Lead harms everyone exposed to it, but it hits children especially hard. It causes permanent damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
Turkey is rapidly descending into civil war as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan deepens its offensive against the Kurdish population, left-wing opposition parties, journalists and academics. The Turkish government says it is fighting the armed forces of the left-wing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with which the government terminated peace talks last year. But the brunt of the state's violence has been directed against civilians.

North-western Tasmania is home to one of the world's last remnants of primeval temperate rainforest, part of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana. Thousand-year-old trees tower above ancient ferns, their roots growing in peat accumulated over millennia. This is why the region has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Eucalyptus forests in the rest of Australia need fire to regenerate. But these plants evolved before the cycle of conflagration and renewal began. If they burn they die.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has been arrested while protesting against logging in Tasmania's Lapoinya Forest. He is the third person to be charged under the Tasmanian government's pro-forestry legislation, the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014. Brown was arrested in an area of state forest marked for logging at Lapoinya in north-western Tasmania on January 25. The area is designated forestry land and has been selectively logged in the past. Last year Forestry Tasmania announced a plan to clearfell 49 hectares of the forest.
Rally against the TPP in Kuala Lumpar, January 23.

After eight years of secret negotiations, governments will sign the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in New Zealand on February 4. The TPP encompasses Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Boys at Xavier College, an expensive Catholic boys school, abused students from government schools on a Facebook VCE forum late last year, according to the Herald Sun. The Xavier students' put downs included “retards” and “povo fucks”. Girls were told to “let the men handle business” and “Could all woman please refrain from expressing there (sic) opinions thank you.” Obviously, the $25,000-a-year school isn't very good at teaching literacy skills.
PKMM rally, 1946. Radicals: Resistance & Protest in Colonial Malaya By Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied Northern Illinois University Press (NUI), 2015 228 pages On a night in 2010, a crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the demolition of a 300 metre wall of the century-old Purdu prison in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.
Spotlight Directed by Thomas McCarthy Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery & Stanley Tucci In cinemas now In 2002, the Boston Globe newspaper's Spotlight investigative journalism team dropped a bombshell when they reported that at least 87 paedophile Roman Catholic priests had been actively shielded for decades by the archdiocese.