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Sydney University is attempting to downgrade the status of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS). A university spokesperson said they were “currently considering the possible transition of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies from a centre into a department”. The spokesperson claimed the move followed an external review of the viability of the centre, raised because of a decline in student numbers.
Palestinian performance poet Rafeef Ziadah on stage with Phil Monsour, with whom she is touring Australia's in late March and April. We Teach Life CD & Australian tour Rafeef Ziadah & Phil Monsour http://www.rafeefziadah.net Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian campaigner and spoken word performer of such immense power that she demands to be heard.
Thousands of people are turning out around Australia for Palm Sunday marches to welcome refugees. Here are photos and reports from the rallies around the country including Wollongong, Melbourne, Darwin, Adelaide, Sydney and Armidale. Perth Photos by Marziya Mohammedali
Hundreds rallied and marched in Sydney and Melbourne on March 12 to protest the federal government's "review" of the Safe Schools program. They were there to show support for the program, which aims to promote acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and addresses issues of bullying and vilification of young people who may be confused about or questioning their sexuality or gender identity. About 500 schools around Australia have signed up to the Safe Schools Coalition, which is convened by the Foundation for Young Australians.
"This is a law to protect the rich. We will need to break these laws to protect our democratic rights," Aboriginal activist and lead NSW Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance team in the federal elections Ken Canning, said on March 15.
My name is Ken Canning. My traditional name is Burraga Gutya. My people are the Kunja clan of the Bidjara Nation of what is now called south-western Queensland. I was raised mainly on the coast of Queensland and in Brisbane and, although I have lived in Sydney since the late 1970s, I am still a very proud Murri. I have been fortunate that since living in Sydney the local Koori community has always taken me in and I feel very much at home here. Many First Nations peoples now living in Sydney are from all over this country and from many different nations.
An important conference for activists will be held in Sydney on May 13 to 15. “Socialism for the 21st Century” will focus on deepening the discussion about the theory and practice of the socialist movement today. Conference organiser Susan Price told Green Left Weekly that the conference would discuss the challenges of building movements for radical social change while taking the struggle into capitalist institutions, such as parliaments and councils.
In the face of the brutal and immoral reaction of the European Union to the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing into Europe from wars and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa, Barcelona council has taken the initiative to set up a network of Mediterranean city councils prepared to welcome and house asylum seekers. Barcelona is already part of a broader network of European cities welcoming refugees.
More than a hundred people attended a public meeting in Coburg on March 10 to oppose the construction of residential towers, including a 19-storey tower, on the Pentridge prison site. Save Coburg organised the meeting. A number of resolutions were passed at the meeting, including one to set up a community campaign group. This is a vital step as state government and local council have proved themselves incapable of defending the rights of the community on this issue and have allowed developers' greed to rule.
Unicef representative in Yemen Meritxell Relano said on March 17 that the death toll from a Saudi air raid two days earlier had reached 119. The Morning Star said on March 18 that the Saudi strike on Mastaba in the north-western Hajja province also wounded 47 people. The dead include 22 children.
Ahead of United States President Barack Obama's historic visit to Cuba on March 20 — making him the first sitting US head of state to visit the island in 88 years — Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez called for an end to the 55-year-long US blockade.
LGBTIQ activist Sally Goldner was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll on March 7. The Honour Roll acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding achievements of Victorian women. Goldner is the first trans woman to be inducted into the Honour Roll. She said: “It’s really affirming for myself and for trans and bi woman that this recognition has happened. To be in the company of such a diverse range of women is very empowering.”
Although many readers are watching voting results in the United States with baited breath, it is worth taking a look at Germany's partial state elections on March 13. They are far from pleasant, but important all the same — and not just for Germany. Only three of Germany's 16 states voted, with national elections not due until 2017. But if the present trends continue, watch out.
Amnesty International Western Sydney University students hosted a forum at the Parramatta campus on March 15. Speakers included James Arvanitakis, Debra Keenahan, Luce De Buitleir Andrews and Sev Ozdowski. Keenahan spoke about how refugees had become “dehumanised” since former PM John Howard said: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”.
The release of the Defence White Paper in February reveals the Malcolm Turnbull government sees engaging in a regional “arms race” and securing its borders as far higher priorities than guaranteeing our healthcare system, quality public education, housing and welfare entitlements. While this thinking is nothing new and continues the trend of successive governments — both Coalition and Labor — the Turnbull government added an extra twist, in quarantining the defence budget so that it is protected from cuts if revenue decreases.
Freedom of speech in Turkey is deteriorating at a rate of knots. This week, a British academic was deported from the country with no trial and three academics were arrested, all accused of disseminating terrorist material. Earlier this month, Zaman — a widely-read newspaper critical of the regime — was seized and placed under control of a board of trustees by an Istanbul court.

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