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The Queensland government has charged five former executives of Linc Energy with breaching environmental law over the operation of its underground coal gasification (UCG) site in Chinchilla from 2007 to 2013. They face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

Close to 100 students and youth were arrested on Parliament Hill on October 24 for their participation in what organisers described as “the largest act of youth-led climate civil disobedience in Canadian history.”

Protesters targeted the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will rule to accept or reject this year.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement declaring his intentions to “separate” from the United States in both military and economic relations should be welcomed, but it’s easier said than done. Hence the president’s constant “backtracking” on his statements.

Given the president’s inconsistency, the question is posed: What does it mean to be an anti-imperialist government today? And is lining up with China (and to a lesser-extent Russia) an anti-imperialist positioning?

Marking a grim milestone, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that 2016 is the deadliest year ever for migrants trying to reach Europe.

The Republican candidate in the November 8 presidential race is lining up his excuses for why he’s going to lose: the media is against him, Democrats are faking ballots from undocumented immigrants and dead people and on and on.

Ink In Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer
Sylvia Martin
University of Western Australia Publishing, 2016
328 pages

In 1939, a young Australian woman grabbed the international headlines when she threw red paint onto the doorsteps of 10 Downing Street, whilst distributing leaflets hidden in copies of the Ladies Home Journal.

The action by Aileen Palmer was to protest the blood that then-British prime minister Neville Chamberlain had on his hands for selling out Spain and Czechoslovakia to European fascism.

Economist and author of Capital in the 21st Century Thomas Piketty gave a lecture entitled “Is Increasing Inequality Inevitable?” to a full house at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on October 23.

Piketty presented detailed research on growing income inequality compiled by a number of scholars and sourced directly from national taxation and income statistics from primarily advanced capitalist countries, as well as some statistics from a number of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

Canadian author, journalist and activist Naomi Klein has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize for, as the Sydney Peace Prize Jury put it, “exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to promote a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality, and for reminding us of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice.”

The tribulations of major European banks, starting with “venerable institutions” like the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the world’s oldest bank) and Deutsche Bank (Germany’s largest), have raised the spectre of a repeat of the crash of 2008 — a “Lehman Brothers times five” in the words of one market analyst.

Deutsche Bank has been found to be seriously under-capitalised, both according to the standards set under the Basel III international bank regulation standards and according to its own targets. The same goes for British giant Barclays.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of an assault to recapture Mosul, the most important Iraqi city held by ISIS, on October 16.

The assault is spearheaded by the Iraqi army and the peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. It also includes the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), an umbrella group of militia groups loyal to the Iraqi government and based in Iraq’s Shi’a Arab communities, and some other Iraqi militias.

Long-term US activist Angela Davis addressed an overflowing lecture theatre at Melbourne University on October 24.

In a wide-ranging lecture and discussion, Davis looked at the criminalisation and incarceration of communities most affected by poverty and racial discrimination.

Davis drew upon her own experiences in the 1970s, when she spent 18 months on trial after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List”.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) has dropped its legal challenge to the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) enterprise agreement in Victoria's Supreme Court. This enables the agreement to be put to CFA employees for a vote.

However, this is unlikely to be the end of the dispute. VFBV is likely to try other means of blocking the agreement.

Members of the National Union of Workers (NUW) at Caltex’s site in Lytton, Queensland voted to start indefinite industrial action on October 25.

NUW members decided to take indefinite action following attempts by the company to effectively cut workers’ wages by 15%. They had been pursuing a modest annual increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, to protect their current conditions.

The Rank and File Team has re-won the leadership of the NSW Public Service Association.

Stewart Little, an advocate for the Police Association and part-time disability support worker defeated Anne Gardiner who had been elected general secretary in 2012 on the Progressive PSA ticket.

Gardiner abandoned the Progressives caucus shortly after her election and during her tenure focused on internal union reforms and favoured small target and multimedia campaigns around jobs and defending public services.

A new report has found that methane leakage and fugitive emissions from unconventional gas fields are likely to be much higher than industry estimates, largely because it is neither accounting for nor reporting on them.

The Federal Court has overturned the federal government’s decision to allow a $180 million deep sea port on Melville Island near Darwin without an environmental assessment.

Approval of the Port Melville oil and gas marine supply base on the banks of the near pristine Apsley Strait was reversed on October 21 after legal action by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) on behalf of Environment Centre NT (ECNT).

The decision means the operation of the base at Port Melville now has no Commonwealth approval and all operations must cease.  

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