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The Conservative party government’s plan to slash unemployment benefits for disabled people making new claims could leave some unable to afford the essentials of life, opponents warned on February 2.

Under government plans, from April new claimants assessed as fit for work will have their benefits cut by £29.05 to £73.10 a week, the same rate as the jobseeker’s allowance. The government claims the changes will help halve the “disability employment gap” and save the Treasury an estimated £1 billion by 2020-21.

An anti-Trump protest placard.

Momentum for general strike call against Trump grows

“Activists are calling for people to stop working and buying things for a day to bring down Donald Trump,” The Independent reported on February 2. A nation-wide general strike has been called for February 17 to protest the Trump administration.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on January 30 that Latin America needed to respond with a strong, united front against the anti-immigration measures of US President Donald Trump, TeleSUR English said.

Marta Harnecker is a Chilean-born socialist activist and intellectual. A former advisor to Venezuela’s late revolutionary president Hugo Chavez, she has written dozens of books on popular struggles and socialist theory.

Farmers, fisherfolk and students across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have been protesting since January 16 to protect the region’s tradition of Jallikattu (bull taming).

Usually conducted in January during Pongal (harvest) festival, it creates economic gains for farmers across the state of 70.5 million people.

Jallikattu is a 2000-year-old cultural practice in Tamil Nadu, where youth seek to hold on to the hump of a bull as a display of courage. There is evidence of this sport in the ancient literature and in sculptures across the temples in Tamil Nadu.

Uprooted Tamil families from Keappaa-pulavu in the predominantly Tamil north-east province of Mullaiththeevu have accused the Sri Lankan military of genocide for depriving them of their land.

Following a series of protests by Tamils, who face systematic discrimination and oppression, Sri Lankan President Maithiripala Sirisena was supposed to release 234 acres of lands to Tamil families last month as a temporary measure.

A trade union leader who has been in the forefront of industrial action for more than a month against Sri Lanka’s main telecommunications provider has gone missing after court orders banning protests led by his union.

The wife of M Sujeewa Mangala, the vice-president of the All Ceylon Telecommunication Employees’ Union, has lodged a complaint at a police station in the Colombo suburbs that her husband did not come home on December 29 as expected.

According to an Essential poll released on January 31, 40% of those surveyed believe the system needs to be “fundamentally changed”. Just 6% say it works well.

Rising unemployment, low wages, climate change, corruption, attacks on single parents, welfare recipients, refugees, asylum seekers and Indigenous people are just some of the concerns motivating people to join various protests and rallies.

The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report, Principles and Practice — Australian Defence Industry and Exports, in Parliament in December 2015. The report made 19 recommendations about how the Australian government should increase its support of Australian arms exports, which largely reflected the wishes of arms companies.

Condemning Donald Trump’s cruel bigotry is easy — well, OK, maybe not for the Australian government, but for actual human beings with functioning consciences.

Then again, our country is so screwed up, our government’s response to the rise of the most extreme racist authoritarian president in US history is to ask him if he’s still ok to take desperate asylum seekers we won’t help, coz we are sick of the expense of torturing them in isolated hellholes.

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