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As with other environmental issues, Australia’s water crisis has reached such an extent that mainstream media and politicians are being forced to abandon their traditional policy of denial. However, true to form, politicians are proposing solutions that are a mixture of the half-hearted, the irrelevant and the destructive. In common with the debates on global warming and Third World poverty, there is an underlying assumption that the water crisis can be overcome by the very thing that created it — the market economy.
Hobart Resistance organiser Mel Barnes took part in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade to Venezuela in December, to see the revolutionary process for herself. The brigade was timed to coincide with the presidential election in which President Hugo Chavez won another landslide victory as people voted to deepen the Bolivarian revolution.
The scale of the death, misery and horror unleashed on Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion is almost beyond comprehension. In October, British medical journal The Lancet published a study conducted by Iraqi physicians in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University that put the death toll among Iraqis as a result of the war at 655,000. Hundreds of people are being killed, wounded or abducted each day. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Iraq is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world, with 1.6 million Iraqis internally displaced and almost 2 million refugees having fled the country altogether.
Nepalese PM Girija Prasad Koirala has vowed to amend the country’s constitution to meet the key demands of Madheshi protesters from the country’s southern plains, BBC News reported on February 8. He pledged to introduce a federal system of governance and more representation of the southern plains in the parliament.
Since his January 15 inauguration, President Rafael Correa has set about implementing his plan for changing Ecuadorian society, centred on a “citizens’ revolution” to refound the country and begin the construction of a “socialism of the 21st century” by investing economic wealth in social spending on health, education, housing and the environment.
The January 27 demonstration in Washington DC was the largest anti-war protest in the US since September 2005.
A man released without charge after a week in detention as one of the latest batch of police “terror suspects” has branded Britain as “a police state for Muslims”. Abu Bakr, one of nine men arrested in high-profile raids in Birmingham on January 31, made the comment on the BBC Newsnight program following his release on February 7. One other man was released along with Bakr; another seven are still being held in police custody.
Prime Minister John Howard created a stir in late November when, in Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, he publicly defended the Australian role in the Vietnam War. Howard said, “I supported our involvement at the time and I don’t intend to recant that … I supported the reasons for Australia’s involvement and nothing has altered my view that, at the time, on the assessments that were made then, I took that view and I took that view properly.”
Critics of Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, “finally feel vindicated (again)”, Venezuelanalysis.com editor Gregory Wilpert wrote in a February 6 comment piece. “The Venezuelan dictatorship that they have been predicting for the past eight years has, according to them, finally come to pass — for the sixth or so time.”

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