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A by-election in the Single Member Constituency of Bukit Batok, which has about 25,000 eligible voters, is needed following the resignation of the People's Action Party (PAP) MP David Ong on March 14. The PAP has ruled Singapore since 1959, when it was still a British colony. Its rule has relied on a combination of independent Singapore’s affluence in comparison with its neighbours and political repression. Ong won 72% of the vote in the September’s general elections, defeating the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Sadasivam Veriyah (26.4%) and independent Samir Salim Neji (0.6%).
PostCapitalism: A Guide To Our Future By Paul Mason Allen Lane, 2015, 340 pp., $49.99 (hb) Paul Mason is a well-known British economics journalist, who made a name for himself with commentary on the BBC and more lately on Channel 4. PostCapitalism has created a big splash in Britain, where it has been widely reviewed and debated.
“Nations cannot realise the full promise of independence until they fully protect the rights of their people,” Barrack Obama, president of the United States, said on tour to Kenya and Ethiopia last year. This is ironic, because on that trip he failed to criticise human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government, which he hailed as “democratically elected”. Ethiopians are very familiar with the government’s attempts to oppress any opposition. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) government took power in 1991. All opponents are persecuted as terrorist collaborators.
Where To Invade Next Written & directed by Michael Moore Michael Moore has made another poignant, funny and politically sharp movie. In spite of the title, it has little to do with US foreign policy. In Where to Invade Next, the documentary filmmaker behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine goes after social problems that continue to plague the US, like homelessness and lack of health care — and shows that the US could learn a lot from the rest of the world.
Teachers protest outside the front of the Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Chicago teachers staged a one-day strike on April 1 in a bid to get lawmakers to adequately fund education and other programs in the United States' third-largest school district.
On March 23 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF) with $1 billion in funding over ten years. The Prime Minister's media release explicitly mentioned that it could be used to fund projects such as a “large scale solar facility with storage in Port Augusta”.
On March 18, a day that was supposed to be the National Day of Action Against Bullying, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced devastating attacks on a crucial anti-bullying program. The Safe Schools Coalition is an alliance of 535 primary and secondary schools across the country, which aims to ensure the safety of LGBTI students. The program began in 2014 under the Abbott government. It has already engaged more than 13,000 education professionals.
Ian Angus is a Canadian ecosocialist activist and author. The editor of Climateandcapitalism.com, Angus is also the co-author of Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis with former Green Left Weekly editor Simon Butler (Haymarket, 2011).
A series of suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 killed 35 people, including 3 suicide bombers. Less than a week later, on March 27, a similar attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killed more than twice as many people — at least 75. The response from media and politicians amply illustrated the truism that Western lives matter more to them than those of people in Third World countries. The amount of reporting and expressions of condolences was, as is the norm, in inverse proportion to the numbers killed.
In all the media hype about Malcolm Turnbull's recalling of parliament in April and talk of a double dissolution election, it is easy to lose sight of the “trigger” — the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill (ABCC bill). I recently heard an ABC Radio National commentator talking about the use of the ABCC bill as the trigger. She said words to the effect that most people would be in favour of cleaning up construction unions as only 11% of workers are in unions now. So it was considered to be a winner for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The government of Argentina is seeking to take pan-American TV station off the air, in a move the broadcaster said on March 28 amounts to censorship. Latin American social movements have already condemned the move by the South American nation's new right-wing President Mauricio Macri.
Opponents of Shenhua-Watermark's mega coalmine in the Liverpool Plains in north-western NSW have been given a boost by the Chinese government-owned company's annual report released on March 24, which hinted it may not proceed.
Asylum seekers on Nauru have been protesting their long-term detention every day since March 20. Good Friday marked 1000 days in detention with no refugee determination for some asylum seekers.
Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on March 29. * * * Meetings in the Manus Island detention centre compounds on March 29 have revealed a series of moves by Australian and PNG Immigration to resolve the detention and resettlement issue before the Supreme Court challenge to the Manus Island detention centre, scheduled for the end of April.
That the Australian government can find $6 million to fund a film aimed at convincing asylum seekers to not come to Australia and yet cut more than $50 million from Screen Australia speaks volumes about its priorities.
Fifty years ago, a group of dedicated left-wing activists wrested control of the NSW Builders Labourers' Federation (BLF) from the corrupt gangster types who had used it to feather their own nests. The militants, who included Jack Mundey, Joe Owens and Bob Pringle, rebuilt the union into a radically democratic, socially progressive and environmentally-aware organisation the likes of which Australia and the world had never seen.

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