1166

Apocalyptic futures are common plot lines these days, but few as starling as this one. It has all of the big-ticket items like global warming and alien invasion, but with the added element of passionate and physical acting.

Three years after Kurdish-led forces liberated the northern Syrian city of Kobane from ISIS — after a months-long siege that captured the world’s imagination — the democratic, multi-ethnic and feminist revolution in Syria’s north is facing a new assault.

This time, it is coming directly from the virulently anti-Kurdish Turkish state, which had supported ISIS’s siege of Kobane.

Bupa Aged Care has agreed to a wage increase of 11.25% over three years after more than 1000 aged care nurses and carers in Victoria took part in protected industrial action affecting 26 nursing homes.

The new enterprise agreement also includes significant improvements to workplace entitlements and workload management.

I could not wait to purchase my ticket to Iraqi singer Nour Al-Zain’s scheduled concert in Sydney this weekend. I made a trip to ‘Iraqi’ Fairfield last week and finally purchased the ticket. I had saved up the ticket money over the past few weeks. 

With much anticipation to finally see my favourite Iraqi singer live on his first ever tour to Australia, I counted the days and hours — and even had plans to welcome him at the airport. 

Mass protests have been taking place across Iran since December 28, 2017, despite heavy security and state repression.

The protests are against widespread poverty, the skyrocketing cost of living, vast official corruption and brutal political repression.

About 90 workers at envelope manufacturer Australian Paper’s Preston plant stopped work on January 16 and formed a picket in front of the factory after nine months of negotiations failed to secure a new enterprise agreement.

Footage from Sydney's massive invasion day march.

About 50 representatives of Australian unions rallied outside the Consulate of Fiji in North Sydney on January 18 to protest the lock-out of 200 airport workers at Nadi International Airport in Fiji. The workers, including baggage handlers, check-in staff and caterers, had been locked out by the management of Air Terminal Services (ATS) since December 16.

Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist and daughter of African American victim of police murder Eric Garner, died on December 30 aged 27.

The proximate cause of death was a heart attack, extremely rare in one so young. The underlying cause was the trauma-induced stress (PTSD) she and her family suffered because of Eric’s murder in 2014, the exoneration of the killer cops, and the callous way the Garner family was treated by city authorities, including Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Australian billionaire Dick Smith has been on the stump again warning of the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.

“If we're not careful, if you end up with really wealthy people and lots of poor people, in the end the poor people will rebel,” he said late last year.

 “You look at what happened in Russia in 1917 where they ended up with the tsar and the tsar's friends who are all equivalent billionaires.

 “The pitchforks came out and we had revolution.”

In November 2016, as the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) met in Bogota’s Colon Theatre to sign an agreement – for the second time – to bring the country’s long-running armed conflict to an end, it was clear that peace-building in Colombia faced a myriad of challenges and obstacles.

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has approved a proposal to hold presidential elections before April 30. 

The move came a day after the European Union announced sanctions targeting seven Venezuelan senior state officials on January 22.

Brazilian professor and researcher Sabrina Fernandes discusses former president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s January 24 corruption trial and the country’s forthcoming October presidential election.

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva has lost his appeal against 2017 corruption conviction last year in a major blow to his chances of regaining office.

The judgment was reached on January 24 after two of the three appeal court judges in the case voted to uphold the decision of a lower court. While Lula can still take his appeal to a higher court, the court's decision could rule him out of October's presidential election. 

Even though the NSW government convinced Fair Work deputy commissioner, Jonathan Hamberger on January 25 that the Rail Tram and Bus Union’s (RBTU) overtime ban and proposed 24-hour strike should be suspended, Sydney’s hard-pressed commuters continue to support railway workers’ demand for an agreement that does not mean drivers have to work overtime to take home a fair wage.

Railway workers want a wage rise of 6% a year over the next four years to bring them in line with wages for drivers in other states.

When federal parliament reconvenes on February 5, the Coalition government’s first priority will be to pass two punitive bills which, if made into law, will make life even harder for those trying to get by on income support.

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