1141

The following article is excerpted from a speech Rachel Evans gave at a vigil in Sydney to commemorate the first anniversary of the Orlando massacre in the US.

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I look into the crowd and see our diverse community. I see that we are creative, expressive people. I see that we are loved and that we love. I see our LGBTIQA community and I see our straight allies. I see that we are not white, that we are non-gender binary. I see our sadness, feel our loss.

Under President Barack Obama, the US acknowledged killing between 2867 and 3138 people in strikes in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

In the waning days of his presidency, Obama took some steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, including providing the total estimated death toll. However, a new report by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies says that the US is still lagging in providing a full accounting of its drone program.

The federal government and its offshore detention contractors will pay more than $70 million in compensation to 1905 refugees and asylum seekers for illegally detaining them in dangerous and damaging conditions on Manus Island.

In what may be Australia's largest ever human rights-related settlement, on June 14 the government settled out of court before the class action, brought on behalf of the refugees and asylum seekers detained on the island, began.

The recent British general election delivered very different results in Scotland than those of England and Wales.

While the question of Scottish independence was still a major issue for voters, tactical errors by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and a muted Jeremy Corbyn-effect in Scottish Labour’s favour led to some unforeseen outcomes.

Three important recent events are intensifying the pressure on the federal government and opposition over their bipartisan cruel treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, particularly those held in offshore detention.

The first event was the tabling of a damning UN report, the second was the world premiere of a new documentary, Chauka Please Tell Us the Time, (filmed inside the Manus Island prison) and the third was news of an out-of-court settlement by the federal government over the wrongful imprisonment of detainees on Manus Island.

Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has taken over two exploration permits from BP and plans to begin drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight by late next year.

Statoil and BP have signed a swap agreement covering four offshore petroleum titles. Under the deal Statoil transferred its 30% equity in two of its permits to BP and exited the licences. In return, BP has given its 70% equity in two other permits to Statoil and relinquished those licences.

The shine has rubbed off Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s apology to those men charged with historic gay sex offences, delivered in May.

Palaszczuk was hoping to score points by introducing a Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement bill, which is now before a parliamentary committee, but it looks like she has struck out.

The year 1917 offered an extraordinary course in political literacy for the people of Russia.

In the February anti-Tsarist revolution, which “dispensed breakneck with a half millennium of autocratic rule”, and then in the October socialist revolution, eager workers and peasants stumbled over and then mastered a new way to speak of economic and political democracy, writes China Mieville in October, his narrative of the Russian Revolution.

The dramatic surge in support for Labour in the June 8 British election was a shot in the arm for progressive people around the world. Jeremy Corbyn — who had been roundly derided as “unelectable” — achieved the biggest swing of any Labour leader in Britain in more than 70 years.

In a statement to the Senate on June 13, the federal government confirmed it will sell uranium to Ukraine despite significant safety and security concerns raised by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).

In February a JSCOT investigation found that existing safeguards were “not sufficient” and there was a risk Australian nuclear material would disappear in Ukraine.

As the celebrations marking 25 years of the Mabo decision died down, the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 quietly passed in the Senate on June 14, with the only opposition coming from the Greens.

Jose Maria Lemus, president of the Tibu Community Board in Colombia’s North of Santander state, has been killed, the Peoples’ Congress reported June 14.

His murder adds to the growing list of recently assassinated social, Indigenous and human rights activists in the South American country.

"This is a fundamental precept of paramilitarism: clear the land to ensure smooth functioning for big business deals and, in this sense, this is no different to what has happened in the past few years in this country, which is the consolidation of what I would call a militarised neoliberal model, militarised in both a state and para-state sense."

An interview with Renan Vega Cantor, a professor at Colombia’s National Pedagogical University.

In the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the 120 apartments of the Grenfell Tower in London, with at least 17 fatalities, a heartbroken Grenfell Tower Action Group to the repeated, detailed warnings it provided to authorities that the building was a disaster waiting to happen.

Recent weeks have brought to the fore two main issues concerning US President Donald Trump.

The first was his doubling down on one central theme of his election campaign — economic nationalism. This was found in his charge that most of the rest of the world is somehow “exploiting” the United States — and he will fight back.

The second is his drive to establish himself as an authoritarian president, the “strongman” who can take on the dysfunction in the two capitalist parties that dominate US politics.

Since opposition protests began in Venezuela in early April, much of the media coverage has focused on clashes in Caracas. However, the opposition’s campaign to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro has not been limited to the country’s capital.

Marco Teruggi reports on a recent visit to the small, but strategic town of Socopo, in the largely rural state Barinas, which has been the site of a campaign of terror and an all-out struggle for power.

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