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Dr Marcelo Jose Alfonzo Rosas, who passed away on February 22 aged 66, was a committed revolutionary and supporter of Venezuela’s late socialist president Hugo Chavez. He had been an active socialist since his student days at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), where he studied medicine and biology.

About 2500 workers have been on strike since February 9 at the Escondida mine in Chile’s north.

Owned by two Anglo-Australian mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Escondida is the largest producer of “red gold” in the world. The mine extracts about 900,000 tonnes a year. This represents 20% of copper production in Chile, the country with the largest copper reserves in the world.

A funeral procession snaked its way through downtown Toronto on February 21, Now Toronto said the next day. The mourners were paying their respects to the hundreds who have died from drug overdoses in Canada this year as part of a National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis.

A new study from the Australian National University suggests that a 100% renewable energy electricity grid for Australia is not only possible, it would be a significantly cheaper option than the current coal and gas-powered network.

The study, by energy experts Andrew Blakers, Bin Lu and Matthew Stocks, proposed a mix of solar PV and wind energy, backed up by pumped hydro as the cheapest option for Australia.

The Australia Institute (TAI) said the federal government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) lacks resources and lags behind other comparable government organisations in terms of process and disclosure and in operational funding.

The government has said it would “look seriously” at using the fund to provide $1 billion to build a railway to carry coal from the controversial Adani Carmichael coalmine in Queensland to port for export and for a “clean coal” baseload power plant.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has launched a video campaign demanding the federal government change workplace laws to restrict union entry into workplaces. The animated video depicts union representatives disrupting work on resource projects.

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott has also written to key senators and members of parliament, highlighting the “absurd costs, delays, productivity impacts and safety issues associated with the thousands of site entry requests resource employers now receive each year”.

International Women’s Day (IWD) in Australia has lost its radical edge. In recent years, it has become more about holding cosy breakfasts and receptions where female bureaucrats and businesswomen can rub shoulders with political leaders and congratulate themselves on their “success”.

These events can make us forget that IWD has a radical socialist history of women determinedly marching for their rights. And once it even helped spark a revolution.

The recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision to cut penalty rates for weekends and public holidays will deliver a windfall to big retail and hospitality bosses, while slashing the wages of about 700,000 low-paid workers.

Figures released by the ACTU put the average worker in accommodation and food services on only $524 a week and those in retail on just $687. Contrast this with the average pay of $1163 for all Australian workers and you can see just how draconian FWC’s decision is.

A new scandal has erupted over the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway project.

The Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) announced it is considering two sites in inner-west Leichhardt for a “dive site” to be used for tunnelling between Haberfield and Rozelle, as part of the 33 kilometre motorway’s third stage. Residents opposed to the environmentally and socially destructive tollway are campaigning to reject both sites.

The misnamed Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision on February 23 to cut penalty rates will hit hundreds of thousands of casual and part-time workers. But women will fare worse because the gender pay gap continues.

The employer’s argument, that penalty rates prevent them from hiring and remaining open on Sundays, is disproved by the facts. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that despite the mining boom slow down, the retail and hospitality sectors are booming.

Lex Wotton said he can finally relax after the Queensland government dropped its appeal against a Federal Court ruling that found police had been racist in their response to riots on Palm Island in 2004.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced the government was withdrawing the appeal on February 28, “having received legal advice about the State’s prospects of success”.

A Southern Brown Bandicoot that was found injured in the Roe 8 construction site in early February has been rehabilitated and released in Bibra Lake by local wildlife organisation Native ARC.

The young male bandicoot was hospitalised for four weeks after he was found by a Roe 8 contractor with wounds to his back and rump, eye injuries and suffering dehydration.