1132

US President Donald Trump promised to cut through the disarray in the two parties of capitalism in the US by forcing on them a new strongman – himself – who knows how to get things done and make deals.

But the Republican health insurance debacle, with Trump’s replacement to Obamacare being withdrawn due to lack of support in Congress, not only cut him down to size, but represented the triumph of that very disarray over the new president. The strongman proved to be not so strong and the dealmaker could not close the deal.

Refugee activists have maintained watch at Villawood Detention Centre to stop the deportation of Saeed (not his real name), a 60-year-old Iraqi man, since March 22.

Through the hot days and cooler nights activists have been at each of Villawood’s three entrances, checked every leaving vehicle to see if Saeed is being deported and issued regular calls to action and updates on Facebook livestream in support of Saeed.

When you think of Western capitalism and imperialism, what usually comes to mind are aggressive superpowers such as the US, Britain, France or Germany. Northern European nations such as Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, on the other hand, are seen as good-natured and insular, often used as examples of the way governments around the world should treat their citizens.

In her first address to the National Press Club as ACTU secretary on March 29, Sally McManus repeated her earlier statement that it was right to break unjust laws.

She said Australia’s workplace laws were broken and that “wage theft” had become the new business model for too many employers. McManus also set out the ACTU’s case for a $45 a week increase in the minimum wage.

Environmentalists are outraged that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has called for a review of the protection status of Victoria’s faunal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, so new logging zones in Victoria’s central highlands can be opened.

Joyce wrote to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on March 26, criticising the decision to reduce the logging quota offered to Gippsland’s Heyfield mill operators Australian Sustainable Hardwood (ASH) from 155,000 cubic metres a year to 80,000 cubic metres in 2017–18 and 60,000 cubic metres in the next two years.

Mexico’s Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) has announced it will begin selling organic coffee from Chiapas to help migrants persecuted by US President Donald Trump.

Working alongside allied international distributors, the EZLN will use coffee sale funds to provide financial assistance to US deportees in Mexico. They will also use funds to support pro-immigrant resistance groups around the world protesting anti-immigrant governments.

After months of fierce opposition from Native Americans and environmentalists, the controversial Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is finally carrying oil under Lake Oahe in North and South Dakota, as preparations are made to bring the project into full service.

Owned by Energy Transfer Partners, the 1886 kilometre-long pipeline threatens water supplies and sacred sites on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and violates multiple treaties signed with First Nations tribes.

The #StopAdani Roadshow attracted thousands of supporters across the country, who oppose the federal and Queensland government’s support for Adani’s $22 billion Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

About 1200 people in Brisbane on March 28 and 1000 in Sydney the next day heard from Indian environment campaigner Dr Vaishali Patil, Californian Clean Energy Fund director Danny Kennedy, SEED co-director Millie Telford and 350.org CEO Blair Palese.

Self-described “extreme folk” Scottish band Mouse Eat Mouse are one of the more obscure acts around, which makes it all the more satisfying to hear any new works.

Last year’s Toxic Tails is an album of beauty, anger and passion, traits often missing in today’s sanitised music industry.

I decided, therefore, to get in touch with CD Shade, the bald-headed, smooth-singing wordsmith who is the backbone of the act.

After hours of debate, the Organization of American States (OAS) extraordinary session on March 28 came to a close with member-states failing to reach a consensus over Venezuela’s suspension.

Despite OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro’s insistent attempts to push for Venezuela’s expulsion, the 35 member-states expressed mixed opinions regarding the application of the regional body’s Democratic Charter against the South American country. Needing a two-thirds majority to invoke the charter, the session ended without a vote. 

Snam Rete Gas, a leading Italian company in the transporting and dispatching of natural gases, announced in 2004 a planned pipeline extending from Massafra (Puglia) to Minerbio (Emilia-Romagna).

Named “The Adriatic Line” (in Italian: “Rete Adriatica”), it aims to export natural gases (methane, in this case) to Northern Europe.

Hundreds of Brazilian artists demonstrated on March 27 outside the Municipal Theatre in Sao Paulo on World Theatre Day to protest against the freezing of funds allocated for culture.

The cultural protest is one of the biggest of its kind in the country in decades, as artists, students, workers and other social movements rail against the austerity agenda under the neoliberal government of unelected President Michel Temer.