It has taken only nine months for the third memorandum between the near-bankrupt Greek state and its creditors — the “Quartet” of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) — to lurch to the brink of crisis. That deal, which the Syriza-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras felt forced to swallow despite the Greek people rejecting an earlier version by over 60% in a referendum last July, will provide the country with €86 billion. About 90% of this will go to paying off debt.
Martina Anderson, a Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament, has said that Ireland faced huge implications from a partial disengagement or full scale withdrawal (a “Brexit”) by the British state from the European Union. Anderson said the implications of a Brexit for Ireland included the formal repeal or significant erosion of human rights protections, which would have hugely negative implications for Ireland in the six northern counties still claimed by Britain and in the south.
The divisions in the Republican Party over Donald Trump's candidacy in Republican primaries have been the subject of much commentary — and it remains to be seen how this will play out. We may not know until the Republican convention. But the divisions in the Democratic Party due to the Bernie Sanders' candidacy in Democrat primaries are coming more and more to the fore — including in the capitalist press.
Turkish forces destroying homes in the Kurdish city of Nusaybin. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has published a report on the war crimes, human rights violations and deaths in Kurdish towns and cities since July last year, with a special focus on Cizre, Kurdish Question said on April 22.
Suspected Islamist militants hacked to death a leading gay rights activist and a friend in an apartment in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on April 25, TeleSUR English reported that day. The killings came just two days after a university professor was murdered in similar fashion in an attack claimed by ISIS.
Venezuela's right-wing opposition coalition, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), has officially launched its signature collection campaign to force a recall referendum this year against socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Thousands of opposition supporters flocked to sign the petition in public squares across the country on April 27 after MUD spokespeople confirmed they had received the official go-ahead from Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE).
Fighters in the Shadow: A New History of the French Resistance By Robert Gildea Faber & Faber Press, London 593 pages, 2015 Upon his inauguration on May 16, 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and paid homage to 35 anti-fascist resistance fighters shot by the occupying Nazis in August 1944, just before Paris was liberated. He also read the last letter of Guy Moquet, a 17-year-old Communist, to his parents on the eve of his execution by the occupiers in 1941 along with 26 other Communist resisters.
On April 30, 1500 people rallied in Melbourne calling on the federal government to bring the all the asylum seekers in offshore detention to Australia. The rally was part of a national weekend of action. The rally was called after the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ruled that the Manus Island Detention Centre was illegal.
Socialist Alliance contingent at the Sydney May Day march. Photos by Zebedee Parkes
British politics is being dominated by the June 23 referendum on whether Britain leaves the European Union (EU) — the so-called Brexit. This is a question that has, over recent decades, threatened to fatally divide the British right. But left forces also hold contradictory perspectives on the question. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Green Party of England and Wales and Left Unity are calling for a “yes” vote to remain in the European Union, but are demanding an alternative to the neoliberal EU.
More than 2000 eggs of the Southern Corroboree frog have been released in the high alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park, by keepers from Taronga Zoo and Zoos Victoria in a bid to save the frog from extinction. The species has been all but wiped out by the deadly chytrid fungus, leaving only about 50 mature individuals in the wild. It will take six months for the eggs to metamorphose into frogs and then another four years for them to mature.
Nafez Abed at his Gaza rooftop workspace. Photo: Momen Faiz/Electronic Intifada. A small room on a rooftop in the occupied Gaza Strip’s crowded Beach refugee camp resembles a miniature archaeological museum. It is the workshop of Nafez Abed, 55, who studies archaeological artefacts in order to replicate them in exquisite detail.
Cycling on footpaths was made legal in WA last week and the government agreed to increase the number of dedicated bike paths after two cyclists were hit and killed by cars in Perth on the same day last month. Previously only children under 12 were allowed to ride on footpaths but the new rules apply to all cyclists. All other states now allow adults to ride on footpaths except Victoria and New South Wales, which restrict the right to children under 12 and accompanying adults.
Remember last year when federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, picking up where Joe Hockey left off, declared that we had a spending problem not a revenue problem? That seems like a long time ago now. They did try to increase revenues by floating an increase in the GST but soon after came the revelation that 600 of Australia's biggest companies paid no tax and hundreds more pay less that the 30% they could be paying. This is all the more galling when you consider that the rate has been cut from the 48% it had been in the early 1980s. And then came the Panama Papers!
Queensland's first large-scale solar farm run by a local government — saving the council $22 million in electricity costs over 30 years — is being built on the Sunshine Coast. The 15-megawatt solar farm will be built on 50 hectares behind Coolum, will be financed by the council after the federal government refused to fund it. It will provide green power by mid-2017 and will slash the council's costs of buying electricity for everything including streets lights, sports facilities, buildings, galleries, parks and libraries.
Stage 2 of the $17 billion road project WestConnex, the M5 tunnel from Beverley Hills to St Peters, was approved last week despite massive public opposition. More than 12,000 submissions — 99% opposed — sent to planning minister Rob Stokes were ignored and the approval was pushed through. The planning department was blockaded by protesters on the day of the announcement.