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In a July 7, press conference in Dili, Luta Hamutuk a prominent civil society activist group in Timor Leste condemned the new Australian policy on refugees as "racist". The group also criticised Timor Leste Jose Ramos Horta for giving the proposal by Australian PM Julia Gillard for an offshore processing centre in Dili for asylum seekers coming to Australia.

Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for the upcoming federal election, Sharon Firebrace, has dismissed Labor’s proposal, to send asylum seekers to an off-shore processing centre in Dili, as “another chapter in our country’s racist shame".

Ms Firebrace, who founded the Aboriginal Genocide Centre, plans to make both Northern Territory Intervention measures and refugee rights a key part of her election platform.

Last updated July 7: What a difference a month and a change of leadership makes. In late May this year Julia Gillard said that Liberal-National opposition leader Tony Abbott's call for a return to the "Pacific solution" on refugees was just a "slogan not a solution" but now she's PM (with the blessing of mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata), it has once again become a "solution".

Iceland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir married her long-time partner on June 27 as a new law legalising same-sex marriages came into force, Telegraph.co.uk said on June 28.

On June 12, Iceland's parliament passed legislation allowing gay marriage. Telegraph.co.uk said gay couples could previously enter into civil partnerships with the same rights as married couples, but this had not been considered a formal marriage.

Italy reeled under the impact of a general strike on June 25 as trade unionists and their allies took to the streets to defend the welfare state against the Berlusconi government’s plans to slash public spending by about $36 billion.

Transport workers led the action. Bus, tube and rail services were paralysed for four hours throughout the country.

Airline employees, car workers and public-sector staff joined major demonstrations in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Naples.

The June 26-27 Toronto summit of the exclusive Group of 20 club, to which the world’s richest countries invited the heads of state of the major emerging countries, raised great expectations — but it ended as empty as previous meetings

As in London in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009, the Toronto G20 discussions focused on a way out of the economic crisis. But a capitalist way out — favouring creditors and great powers.

For the past two years, global financial regulation has been an elusive sea serpent, unsurprisingly resulting in no concrete measures.

In 2006, the Victorian government committed to introducing a “landmark” Climate Change Bill. At this time, there was growing momentum around the world for legislation that would cut greenhouse gas emissions. This momentum was largely in response to the glacial pace of the international climate change negotiations.

On June 29, the US-based National Labor Committee released a report documenting the illegal and harsh sweatshop conditions at the Jabil Circuit factory in Guangzhou, China. At the factory, more than 6000 workers — many of them illegal temporary workers — produce hi-tech products for US companies HP, IBM, Intel, Cisco and Jabil.

The report, which can be read at www.NLCnet.org, found the workers at the Jabil factory work 84 hours a week.

Leichhardt Friends of Hebron can be very proud of the Festival of Friendship for Hebron it held over June 25-26.

The event raised more than $5000 for a kindergarten in the impoverished village of Um al Khair in the South Hebron hills. It also won a significant political victory over the ban the previous Leichhardt Council administration placed on a Palestinian photo exhibition two years earlier.

The Punjab government has been given three months to decide the fate of 68,000 hectares of agricultural land. The land is owned by the government and has been cultivated by tenants for more than 100 years.

The tenants have demanded land ownership rights. Despite government promises, the land has not been allotted to them.

The three months’ notice was given at the end of a huge peasants rally on June 29 at Okara. The rally was organised by the Punjab Tenants Association (AMP) on the eve of the anniversary of 10 years of the tenants’ struggle for land ownership rights.

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