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CSIRO researchers have uncovered a unique ability in bats that allows them to carry but remain unaffected by lethal diseases. Unlike humans, bats keep their immune systems switched on all the time. Scientists believe this could hold the key to protecting people from deadly diseases.
Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance councillor on Fremantle Council, successfully moved the following motion at council’s February 24 meeting: 1. Supports the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees — March 20, 1pm St George's Cathedral; 2. Calls on the Malcolm Turnbull government to let the 267 refugees that it wants to deport stay; 3. Commits Fremantle to stop doing business with companies who are contracted to run the detention centres, such as Broadspectrum and Wilson Security; and 4. Calls for an end to the offshore mandatory detention regime and boat "turnbacks".
At a talk given at the Newcastle Resistance Centre in the mid-1980s, visiting US activist Peter Camejo mentioned that a socialist, Bernie Sanders, had just been re-elected Mayor of the largest city in the state of Vermont. Camejo described his meeting with Sanders in the Burlington City Hall. Banners were stacked in the corner and posters in solidarity with the Third World and women's, black and labour struggles decorated the walls. “It was just like being in an activist centre like this,” he quipped.
"The Malcolm Turnbull government's proposal to privatise the Medicare payment system is a slippery slope to selling off the whole of Medicare," Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the upcoming federal elections, said on February 24. "The Socialist Alliance strongly opposes any privatisation of our public health system, as well as any further pathology cuts, co-payments or attacks on our public hospitals."
The Senate will shine a much-needed spotlight on BP’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight after it voted for an inquiry into the matter. The inquiry will report back by May 12. The Senate’s Environment and Communications References Committee will look into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of BP’s planned exploratory oil drilling project and any future oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight.
I feel privileged to have been able to spend several hours on the community picket outside Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane where people were rallying in solidarity with Asha. Asha is the refugee baby who was being treated for burns after an accident in Australia's notorious offshore refugee detention camp, in the increasingly dictatorial Pacific island state of Nauru.
More than 1000 people rallied on the steps of Western Australia’s Parliament House on February 23 to protest against the Western Australian government’s anti-protest laws.

Following the stand taken by doctors, teachers and church leaders to prevent the transfer of 267 asylum seekers from the Australian mainland to Nauru and Manus Island detention centres, an open letter was launched at a Law Institute of Victoria forum on February 24.

I am not sure if I fully understand recent political developments, but the message I am getting from the Malcolm Turnbull government is that we have to send babies to hellish prison camps or else the gay lobby will persecute Christian students. And we need a big increase in military spending or house prices will tragically collapse, or tragically rise, depending on which tragedy you wish to choose. Say what you will about the Turnbull government, it offers no shortages of tragedies.
Secret documents found in the Australian National Archives provide a glimpse of how one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century was executed and covered up. They also help us understand how and for whom the world is run. The documents refer to East Timor, now known as Timor-Leste, and were written by diplomats in the Australian embassy in Jakarta. The date was November 1976, less than a year after the Indonesian dictator General Suharto seized the then-Portuguese colony on the island of Timor.
James Cook University (JCU) management is proposing to make nearly 40 academic staff redundant in Cairns and Townsville as it starts a third year of job cuts at one of the largest employers in northern Queensland. Under the proposals, JCU's Division of Tropical Environments and Societies would lose 10% of its teaching and research staff and Tropical Health and Medicine would lose eight workers. Management's rush to reduce staff numbers, which could see academics sacked in the middle of teaching the semester, shows that this is an inept “balance the budget” exercise.