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A new climate is emerging in Australia, according to maps released by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC). AEGIC analysed data from more than 8000 Bureau of Meteorology stations around the country and discovered that traditional rainfall zones have shifted 100–400km since 2000. The only expansion of the winter rainfall zone has occurred in southeast Tasmania where winter rainfall has become more reliable.
80,000 people marched in Dublin on February 20 to call for a "government of change" ahead of the February 26 elections. Photo via An Phoblacht. In a sign of popular anger, the combined vote of the two parties that have long dominated the southern Irish state — Fine Gael (FG) and Fianna Fail (FF) — has fallen below 50% for the first time in Irish electoral history.
A “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, sponsored by the United States and Russia, came into force on February 27. Only some of the internal and foreign participants in Syria's multi-sided conflicts signed on. The air wars that the US and Russia are waging in Syria are both officially directed against ISIS. But in reality, Russia is keen to protect its ally, the dictator Bashar al-Assad, while the US and its regional allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, have given money, weapons and logistical and diplomatic support to his opponents since the civil war began in 2011.
Melbourne’s Liberal Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has been offered a campaign donation, rumoured to be about $200,000, by a councillor in return for them running as deputy lord mayor in the October election. Ken Ong, the council's chair of planning, said: "The offer is not $200,000 specifically. It might be less or it might be even more if the campaign demands." When questioned whether the donation is conditional on being Doyle's deputy, Ong said: "Well, if I'm not the deputy lord mayor, I don't need to contribute."
“These girls have stories that would make the biblical movies that we grew up on look tame,” Pamela Curr told a forum on women in Nauru in Sydney on February 29. The journey of women seeking asylum in Australia is filled with misery, fear, shame, sexual harassment, vulnerability and torture. It is a story of survival against all the odds meeting an Australian government with a detention system designed to be worse than what they are fleeing from.
Vince Emanuele, a former Iraq veteran-turned-anti-war activist and journalist, spoke to Green Left Weekly's Pip Hinman about how Bernie Sanders' socialist campaign for the Democrats' presidential nomination -- an Donald Trump's hate-filled Republican campaign -- is shaking up politics across the United States. Emanuele is a presenter at The Progressive Radio Network and is a correspondent for Latin American news outlet TeleSUR.
On March 2, two Gamilaraay men, Paul Spearim and Allen Talbot, and a Githabul man, Laurence Miles, locked on to concrete barrels at the entrance to Whitehaven's controversial Maules Creek coalmine, stopping work. The action followed protests earlier in the week, with one man stopping coal trains near Willow Tree and three others locked to bulldozers.
From a distance, Australia's tax system looks gender neutral. The tax return carefully avoids gendered words and the tax rules were purged several years ago of direct gender discrimination. There is no assumption that the male in a partnership is the primary breadwinner or that the female is the primary carer. There is no assumption that one partner must disclose to the other all their financial affairs to enable a tax return to be sent on behalf of both of them, unless they explicitly agree to it. Single men and women are not treated differently for income tax purposes.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has filed a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets, the company distributing a luxury gift bag to Oscar nominees that includes an all-expenses paid trip to Israel sponsored by the Israeli government. “Distinctive Assets has been falsely representing that its extravagant 'gift bags' [are] redistributed by the Academy, at its direction, or with its endorsement or approval,” an Academy spokesperson told the Hollywood trade publication Variety.
Tens of thousands of Nigerian fisherpeople and farmers were given the green light to sue energy giant Shell in a British court on March 2 for a series of destructive oil spills in the Niger Delta over the past decade. The action, brought by London-based law firm Leigh Day on behalf of Nigeria’s Ogale and Bille communities, alleges that decades of uncleaned oil spills have polluted fishing waters and contaminated farming land. As well as a compensation package, both groups want the Anglo-Dutch oil company to clean up the land devastated by the spills.
Racism and homophobia are on the rise. Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and sex and gender diverse identifying (SGDI) people face life-threatening persecution. About 2.7 billion people live in the 76 countries that criminalise homosexuality. The death penalty for homosexuality is applied in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. In China, several hospitals use electric shock therapy as “anti-gay treatments”.
Various actors called for a boycott of the 2016 Oscars ahead of the awards night held on February 28, due to the lack of Black nominees for the second year in a row. Many spoke out about Hollywood's racism, with no non-white nominees in major categories for the second year running, via the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite