PM Julia Gillard was supposed to launch Labor's new policy to tackle climate change on July 23. But in essence she merely restated the same old Labor climate policy: delay, delay and delay again. Gillard's speech was pages long, but her climate agenda can be summarised in just four words — more talk, less action. The core promise was that her government would create a "citizens assembly" to discuss options to deal with global warming. Perhaps the government will propose the ice caps and glaciers hold off from melting until Gillard's august assembly has concluded its deliberations.
Francisco Chavez Abarca, who was recently extradited to Cuba, has admitted being contracted by Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to carry out destabilising acts in Venezuela in the lead-up to the September National Assembly elections. Posada Carriles is a former CIA agent wanted for his role in a 1976 attack on a Cuban plane that left 73 passengers dead. He lives in Miami. The US government, going against international law, has refused Venezuelan and Cuban requests to extradite him.
The people of Honduras are continuing their struggle for democracy more than one year after the June 28 military coup that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya. The dictatorship tried to legitimise itself with fraudulent elections that brought President Profiro Lobo Sosa to power. The United States government, which was complicit in the coup, recognised the results despite almost no other government doing so. The US has since fully restored military assistance.
Since the March 20 state elections and the installation of a power-sharing government between the Labor Party and the Greens, there have been quite a few notable developments in Tasmanian politics. Tasmania could be the first state to legalise voluntary euthanasia. The attorney-general and deputy premier Lara Giddings told states parliament on June 22 she would work with Greens leader Nick McKim to prepare a private members’ bill about voluntary euthanasia.
Five hundred people rallied outside the Perth Supreme Court Gardens on July 11 to demand that the coronial investigation into Mr Ward's tragic death be reopened. Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder, was literally cooked to death in the back of a prisoner van while being driven from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face court for a traffic offence in January 2008. The coroner found that temperatures inside the van reached 47° Celsius and that metal surfaces in the van would have reached 56°C.
Wilder Marcano is a director of the network of communes in Caracas. The communes are part of the push, supported by President Hugo Chavez, to deepen popular power and create a new, revolutionary state. Venezuelanalysis.com said on February 8 there are 184 communes “in construction” across the country.
Defence minister Senator John Faulkner has joined the list of cabinet members who, since Julia Gillard became prime minister, have said they will resign from the front bench after the upcoming elections. He dismissed suggestions that this was because he had doubts about the unpopular war in Afghanistan, which he has the task of promoting.
On July 17, unionists and residents from Forrest, a small town in the Victorian Otways region, converged on the shire office at Colac to protest against an Optus communications tower being placed in the middle of their town. The community picket line was established on the site for the new tower two weeks earlier. The community sought support from the construction unions, which it has received from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union and the Electrical Trade Union.
Citizens rallied in two Afghan cities on July 10 and 11, chanting slogans against the occupying powers and the unpopular regime of President Hamid Karzai for failing to protect civilians. On July 10, hundreds took to the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif to demand that all occupation forces leave. The protest was organised after an artillery barrage from occupying NATO forces killed six civilians in Paktia province on July 8 and US troops killed two civilians in a pre-dawn raid in the city on July 7. Protesters chanted slogans against occupation forces and Karzai.
Anti-war activists took to the streets on July 15 outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office to collect support for a giant “troops out” petition that will be presented to the new pro-war PM Julia Gillard. With a federal election looming, and at least 61% of Australians opposed to Australia having troops in Afghanistan, Stop the War Coalition is organising to increase the pressure for a withdrawal.