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Oliver Stone's new documentary about Latin America's leftward political shift and its growing independence from Washington is being lambasted by the media. This shouldn't come as a surprise as Stone calls out the mainstream media in his new film South of the Border for its mostly one-sided, distorted coverage of the region's political leaders — most significantly Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez .
25 intrepid activists left on July 2 for Alice Springs as part of a Justice Ride to show solidarity with Aboriginal people fighting against the NT intervention. They will take part in the Defending Indigenous Rights: Land Law Culture convergence in Alice Springs from July 6 to 9.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is seeking to differentiate herself from ousted Kevin Rudd to show her promotion to PM is more than an attempt to re-badge a political party in crisis. In this context, it is worth looking at her record in government. This is a look at the changes to and proposals for higher education launched by Gillard as education minister in Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System, the government’s proposed 10-year agenda for reforming the nation’s higher education system.
The detention of about 150 asylum seekers in a disused mining camp at Leonora, near Kalgoorlie in remote Western Australia, is a return to the dark days of previous Coalition prime minister John Howard. Under Howard, asylum seekers were detained at a disused defence department shooting range at Woomera in South Australia. Both cases involve refugees being detained at remote prison camps and only allowed out accompanied by detention centre staff.
The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) recently released a report highly critical of the police investigation into the case of Palm Island Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee, who died in police custody in November 2004. The CMC gave police commissioner Bob Atkinson 14 days to take disciplinary action against six officers involved. Atkinson was due to make his decision by July 2, but an injunction filed on behalf of the officers extended the deadline until July 6
The number of “High Net Worth Individuals” (HNWIs) in Australia — those with more than US$1 million in investable assets, excluding the family home — soared to 173,600 last year. This, according to the latest World Wealth Report, was an increase of 34.4% on the year before. The June 30 Sunshine Coast Daily said: “What's more impressive is Australia's ranking in the global population of HNWIs. Out of 71 countries, Australia has the 10th biggest population of HNWIs in the world, in front of Brazil and just behind that millionaire's paradise of Switzerland.”
Just after becoming prime minister, Julia Gillard told media on June 24 she could understand “the anxiety and indeed fears that Australians have when they see [refugee] boats”. She did not cite evidence for this claim. She said that, as PM, she would explain to the Australian people “what we are doing to manage our borders and what we are doing to manage asylum seeker flows”.
The ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig has exposed the obscene behaviour of the world’s fourth-largest corporation, British Petroleum (BP). Evidence has come from many sources revealing BP was aware of safety concerns, but did nothing about them.
A Short Border Handbook By Gazmend Kapllani Portobello Books 2009 159 pages Review by Alex Miller This book, which the author describes as “part autobiography, part fiction”, is hard to assess. Each chapter is divided into two parts. The first part tells the story of a man (presumably Kapllani himself) who crosses into Greece from Albania when the border between those two countries opened in 1991. The second part consists of “philosophical” ruminations on issues raised by the story of the first part.
South Australian independent Bob Such announced on June 28 he would introduce a private member's bill into the state parliament that would, in effect, ban the wearing of the burqa or the niqab in banks and government buildings. Such claimed his bill would not be discriminatory and would target any face covering where security might be a concern. However, all his public statements have specifically raised the burqa and its possible use in criminal activity. Multicultural affairs minister Grace Portolesi said SA police have said they have no such concerns about the burqa.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is enjoying a honeymoon in the polls since taking Kevin Rudd’s place. A July 2 Reuters Trend poll confirmed a series of polls since Gillard became PM on June 24, giving Labor the lead over the right-wing Coalition. The June 26 Sydney Morning Herald said a Herald/Nielson poll found Greens support since Gillard took over had fallen from 15% to 8%. But another crucial poll indicated the true nature of Gillard’s rise to power. As soon as she was installed as prime minister, the share price of the large mining corporations rose.
When Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca and US assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela met at the start of June, it appeared that relations between the US and Bolivia were on the verge of being normalised following an 18-month diplomatic chill. But hope for improved relations appeared to be dashed two weeks later when Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the US government-funded US Agency for International Development (USAID) of financing groups opposed to his government.
Eighty people gathered at the State School Teachers Union offices in Perth for the Socialist Ideas Conference over the weekend of June 26-27. Speakers included Jeyakumar Devaraj, Socialist Party of Malaysia MP, and Richard Downs, spokesperson for the Alyawarr People's Walk-off in the Northern Territory.
We come from the land that gives us life. We remember the time when the virgin earth brought forth fruits in great abundance — a natural paradise — before greed ripped our land and lives apart Now mining scars the face of the planet, leaves deep craters where once wild rivers ran Our freedom curtailed, many search for paradise lost, chasing butterflies of illusion in a cloud of confusion. Heed the warning of our cousins the Cree: Only when the last tree has died, the last river poisoned and the last fish been caught, will you realise that you cannot eat money
US-Palestinian professor Saree Makdisi and Canadian-Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu spoke on June 30 as part of a national tour to promote the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. At the public meeting, Makdisi compared laws in apartheid South Africa with those in Israel and said “There are exact equivalent laws in Israel of all the African apartheid laws.” He said the discrimination “begins with kids entering day care and continues for the rest of their lives”.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) began industrial action on June 30 to pressure management to reach agreement with the union on a range of claims. They want reinstatement of job security protections for contract research staff; improved conditions for casual and fixed-term staff; Indigenous employment targets and an increase in paid parental leave from 26 to 36 weeks.

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