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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said US-imposed sanctions are making foreign debt renegotiation more difficult and that the government would look to work with other countries to alleviate their needs.

About 100 unionists rallied outside the Fair Work Commission’s Sydney office on February 28 in support of workers at the Port Kembla Coal Terminal (PKCT), who were locked out again on February 15.

The corporate owners of PKCT are locking out its unionised workforce every time a ship arrives and replacing them with temporary workers.

Any one of the 1000 people who attended a rally at Belmont on February 19 could have told their own horror story of bus privatisation.

Speaking on behalf of many, several community members exposed the lie that privatised bus services make it easier for people to get around.

New mother Kimberley Anderson described how she and her three-month-old baby, on the way to a medical appointment, waited in the rain for a bus that never showed.

For another parent, Bec Cassidy, the new timetable and service cuts meant she had to change her daughter’s primary school.

Growing up in northern Queensland in a family of unionists, I learnt the bare facts of the region’s radical history as part of the local folklore — Townsville had elected Communists to the local council, and Bowen twice sent a Communist, Fred Paterson, to state parliament.

Communist and feminist Zelda D’Aprano became the symbol of the fight for equal pay when, in October 1969, she chained herself to the Commonwealth Offices in Melbourne, after becoming frustrated at the lack of pay equity for women.

D’Aprano was employed by the meatworkers union, which was involved in a test case on the gender pay gap in the meat industry before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. At the time, women’s participation in the workforce was 38% and they were paid 75% of men’s wages for doing the same work.

More than halfway through this endless seven-round season, the 2018 AFL Women’s season has been catastrophe after catastrophe for the AFL.

Five months after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, 25% of the US colony’s people are still without electricity. No state in the US has ever experienced such a long blackout.

Energy Security Board chairperson Kerry Schott told the 150 people attending a public forum on the National Energy Guarantee in Sydney on February 26 and the 500 or so linked through the live webinar: “We’re here to listen”.

But apparently not to the activists from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN), who gate-crashed the event, calling for the proposed policy to be rejected because of its weak carbon reduction target and impact on renewable energy.

An environment plan for petroleum exploration company Asset Energy to start seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle has been accepted by the federal regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

More than 500 people gathered at the Coonamble Bowls Club on February 10 to declare they do not want a gas pipeline across NSW’s western slopes and would fight to protect the Great Artesian Basin.

The meeting expressed deep-seated concern about the potential threat of coal seam gas (CSG) mining to the Great Artesian Basin.

APA has been contracted to build a gas pipeline through the NSW slopes and plains for gas giant Santos, which wants to sink 850 CSG wells in a 95,000-hectare project area in the Pilliga State Forest.

As President Donald Trump continued smearing millions of immigrants as violent gang members to justify racist deportations, it happened again.

A young white man entered a school on February 14, not far from where I graduated, and unloaded a legally purchased weapon of war. He killed 17 innocent people in three minutes.

The Mardi Gras festival provides the space to give the queer community a powerful voice. During the festival we can also hear diverse voices within the broader queer community.

Queer Muslims were one of these diverse groups that made their voices heard with a special event on 16 February. Sydney Queer Muslims, a non-profit independent organisation for mostly religious queer Muslims, presented a symposium at Sydney University Business School.

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, United States, on February 14 that left 17 killed and 14 injured was the 18th school shooting in the US this year.

What has made this shooting different was not only its violence but the unprecedented response to it, largely led by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students.

As women and their allies around the world prepare to strike, rally and march on International Women’s Day, abortion rights are once again on the agenda in many countries.

In January, the federal government launched its new Defence Export Strategy, which aims to turn Australia into one of the world’s top 10 arms exporters. The strategy will raise government assistance for arms exports, making Australia more like Britain and other major arms-exporting states.

From November 2016 until September 2017 I was as a guest of New South Wales Health. For much of that time I was in a desperate situation. I entered Campbelltown Hospital in septic shock and would certainly have died had it not been for the fabulous efforts of the doctors and nurses who treated me.

The hospital system is an excellent place for saving lives. Unfortunately, it is not geared for long-term inmates. The longer you have to stay, the more is likely to go wrong.

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