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Live coverage of the struggle for independence in Catalonia from Dick Nichols, European correspondent of Green Left Weekly and Links--International Journal of Socialist Renewal, based in Barcelona.

Three things stand out about the October 14 truck bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

First is the huge number of casualties. The detonation of a large truck packed with explosives created an apocalyptic scene of carnage. It levelled nearby buildings, killing at least 327 people and injuring more than 400 others.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) finally liberated Raqqa, in northern Syria, from ISIS occupation on October 17, after a battle of 135 days. In 2014, ISIS declared Raqqa its capital, which makes its defeat a decisive event.

The SDF is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious armed force made up of dozens of militias that is committed to the political project of “democratic confederalism”, the participatory democratic project associated with the Kurdish-led Rojava Revolution.

Free West Papua Campaign has responded to Australia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Committee by calling on the Australian government to cease supporting Indonesia’s brutal occupation of West Papua.

In a Facebook statement, FWPC said: “It has to break with the tradition of successive Australian governments that have simply turned a blind eye to the human rights atrocities that have occurred on our doorstep for decades, and instead take a principled stance.”

Palestinians and media groups have condemned Israel’s raid on of 11 Palestinian telecom and production companies in the occupied West Bank on October 18, which have since been shut down.

The next day, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on authorities to stop their harassment of Palestinian media, as well as for Israeli forces to release the two journalists arrested in the raids in the West Bank.

A new report by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), The Living Forests, has highlighted Australia as the only developed country in the top 10 deforestation hotspots.

WWF predicted up to 6 million hectares would be cleared in Eastern Australia by 2030, ranking it with the Amazon, Vietnam, Borneo and the Congo.

The Victorian Government’s announcement on October 18 that it will ban single-use plastic shopping bags is a welcome step towards reducing plastic pollution.

Victoria will join South Australia, ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania, which already have similar bans in place. Queensland and WA will follow in 2018, leaving NSW as the only state to allow the bags.

A single-use plastic bag is used for just 12 minutes on average, but can take up to 1000 years to break down.

Traditional Owners from the Gulf Country in the Northern Territory showed their opposition to fracking  for shale gas outside Origin Energy’s AGM on October 18. The protest was organised by SEED — the Indigenous Youth Climate Network.

Traditional Owner Nancy Hoosan said: “I’m not just talking for myself and my people, I’m talking for everyone. No matter what colour you are or what language you speak, we drink the same water.

“Australian government, listen to us. We don’t want fracking in our country.”

A new report, entitled Don’t send me that pic, has reaffirmed what most women and girls already knew: sexual abuse and harassment are incessant, it starts young and it is on the rise.

Commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch, the survey collected responses from 600 girls and young women aged 15–19 across Australia.

Protests are continuing in Manus Island detention centre as refugees resist the Australian government's plans to move them to the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre. Two refugees have died since August and numerous others have been attacked by locals in East Lorengau.

More than 200 staff and students rallied outside the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) after staff took protected strike action on October 19.

Vince Caughley, UTS Branch President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) told Green Left Weekly: “The major aim of our industrial action was to send a message to UTS management to respond to our claims. The NTEU has been bargaining for six months and as yet no senior management figures have come to negotiate with us.

Martin Rorke gave this speech at a speakout for marriage equality at Sydney University on October 11.

* * *

I am a member of staff here at the University of Sydney and I support same sex marriage. I am also a member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and I'm proud that my union is fully behind the Yes campaign. 

The October 17 edition of The Age has a front page story about bullying and sexual harassment in the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

The article said: "Women working for the CFA have been sexually assaulted and harassed amid a culture of fear, bullying and impunity, according to a leaked internal report whose existence has been a tightly held secret until now."

The iconic Bondi Pavilion on the foreshore of Bondi Beach has been saved from privatisation, and discussions have commenced about plans for its future as a cultural centre and creative hub.

The big swing against the Liberal Party in recent council elections resulted in former Liberal mayor of Waverley Council Sally Betts, who was pushing hard for the commercialisation of the pavilion, being replaced as mayor.

Chevron has become the second big oil company to abandon plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight off the South Australian coast, a year after BP cancelled its plans to drill.

Oil companies say the Bight has similar potential to the Gulf of Mexico, site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, which was the largest marine oil spill in history and killed 11 people.

The walls of the National Gallery of Victoria ran red on October 14 as activist group the Artists’ Committee, an informal association of artists and arts workers opposed to the detention of asylum seekers, continued its project to pressure the National Gallery of Victoria to immediately end its contract with Wilson Security.

Wilson Security provides security services to both the gallery and Australia’s offshore detention facilities on Manus Island and Nauru and is known to have committed human rights abuses against asylum seekers and refugees.

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