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Murdoch University's Acting Vice Chancellor, Andrew Taggart, joined a student #LetThemStay action on March 3 after controversial actions by university administration the previous week.
Refugee Action Coalition hosted a forum about what women endure on Nauru and Manus. Kyja from Sydney from the Refugee Action Coalition Thea a former save the children worker Pamella Curr from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of a National Productive Corporation on February 22, as part of a new socialist enterprise system aimed at coordinating efforts among existing state, communal and mixed firms. Speaking from the Ana Maria Campo Petrochemical Complex in Zulia state, the socialist leader said the new entity would be tasked with unifying the more than 1000 public enterprises in a “single vision of planning, management, productivity, and maximum efficiency”.
Since the Mu'l'livaaykkaal killings of 2009, the Tamil diaspora has mostly focused political efforts towards demanding justice for the inhuman crimes committed against Tamil civilians. While such efforts have elevated international awareness of the gross human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan military during the war, the approach has not yielded results on prosecuting the perpetrators of the international crimes.
Rallies were held around the world on February 23 outside of Apple stores to back the manufacturer in resisting FBI attempts to create an iPhone “backdoor” to allow authorities to access protected information. Demonstrations were organised in about 30 cities, including several US, spearheaded by the internet rights group Fight for the Future. “People are rallying at Apple stores because what the FBI is demanding here will make all of us less safe, not more safe,” said Fight for the Future’s Evan Greer.
A secene from the peoples' power' uprising that ousted the US-backed Marcos dictatorship 30 years ago. The EDSA Uprising of February 25, 1986, overthrew the Philippine's brutal US-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The uprising was named after the Manila thoroughfare where events unfolded. It is often known as “EDSA 1” to distinguish it from later uprisings that occurred in EDSA.
On February 27, hundreds of people rallied in Melbourne to let refugees stay and close the prison camps. The action was in response to a visit by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten with people chanting "let them stay" at both. The action was called by Refugee Action Collective and First Nations Liberation. Heavy handed police assaulted protesters attempting to approach the stage. The Premier Daniel Andrews has called on Turnbull to let the 267 refugees stay in Australia rather than be sent to Nauru.
Thousands of Argentine public sector workers took to the streets of Buenos Aires and convened at the presidential palace on February 24 as part of a national strike to protest the huge layoffs of state workers by the administration of new right-wing President Mauricio Macri.
Photo: Kavita Krishnan. The article below is abridged from an editorial in ML Update, published by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. ***
Albert Woodfox was finally released on February 19 — his 69th birthday — from the notorious Angola state prison in Louisiana. He was jailed for 45 years, 43 of which were spent in solitary confinement in a two-by-three metre cell. Solitary confinement is becoming widely recognised as a form of torture. Woodfox's ordeal was the longest time any prisoner in the US has been held in solitary.
Punks For West Papua Directed by Anthony Brennan 46 minutes www.punks4westpapua.com A friend's request to film a punk rock concert and a rushed drive across Sydney to do a last-minute interview with West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda — without even knowing who the twice Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist was — was the catalyst for filmmaker Anthony “Ash” Brennan to make his award-winning film Punks For West Papua.
Two women peacefully occupied a fully-laden coal train in Werris Creek on February 21 and a man occupied the line on February 27 to call for a moratorium on coal and gas production in Australia. They said they wanted to send a message to coal companies and the government.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, the Category 5 storm that slammed into Fiji on February 20, was the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the Southern Hemisphere and the second strongest ever in the world, with wind speeds approaching 300 kilometres an hour. At least 44 people were killed, and thousands left homeless, deprived of livelihood and at risk of water- and mosquito-borne diseases.
With scores of anti-fracking protesters outside, the Australian Labor Party Northern Territory conference voted on February 13 to approve a moratorium on any development of the fracking industry while critical scientific studies on its impacts are carried out.
Twenty graduating Qantas apprentices have become the first aircraft maintenance engineers in decades to complete their training without being offered secure positions by the airline. The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, the Australian Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union intervened in the Fair Work Commission on February 7 to stop Qantas terminating their employment.
Profits have soared for the operator of Australia's detention camps for asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea on Manus Island and on Nauru. Broadspectrum, which used to be called Transfield Services, announced it had trebled its net profit for the first half of the year to $25.1 million. Broadspectrum has been awarded a 12-month extension on its contract providing operational, welfare and security services to asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. It has told investors it is the "preferred tenderer" for a new five-year contract it hopes to sign this year.

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