847

In the midst of a Federal Election and with the major party leaders equivocating on climate change and a price on carbon, the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan will be launched at a free public forum in Sydney Town Hall on Thursday 12 August at 6.00 pm.

Hosted by the journalist and broadcaster, Quentin Dempster, the speakers will include:

· Malcolm Turnbull, MP for Wentworth
· Bob Carr, former NSW State Premier
· Scott Ludlam, Greens Senator for WA
· Matthew Wright, Executive Director, Beyond Zero Emissions
· Allan Jones, Sustainability Expert, City of Sydney

On July 27, Cockburn Shire council workers took industrial action in protest to the managements offer of a pay-rise in this years new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers for the shire, which is in southern Perth, have refused the offer, which falls sort of what they consider fair.

The workers belong to two unions, the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Local Government Racing and Cemeteries Employees Union (LGRCEU), which are organising their pay campaign.

“It is not just posturing towards Iran, the US has massively increased its presence in Latin America”, Nelson Davila, Venezuelan ambassador to Australia told a July 14 forum. The gathering was part of the “Underground Talk” series at the New International Bookshop at Melbourne Trades Hall.

On July 29, the leaders of the 12 countries belonging to the Union of the Southern Nations (Unasur) held an emergency meeting in Quito, Ecuador, to discuss the crisis between Venezuela and Colombia.

“If the people keep identifying democracy as a system that is worst [sic] than the Taliban government, the people will support the anti-coalition forces and the security condition will degenerate”, an unnamed member of the Paktya provincial council is quoted in one of 75,000 classified US reports about the military occupation of Afghanistan published by the Wikileaks website on July 26.

Before publication, the files were shared with journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel for authentication and analysis.

On August 7, Alvaro Uribe will complete his reign as president of Colombia — eight years of spectacular government criminality and corruption, even by Colombian standards. A brief review of just his second term illustrates this.

The Washington Post reported on November 18, 2006 that the Uribe administration was in crisis. Investigations revealed that members of Congress collaborated with right-wing death squads to fix elections and assassinate opponents. That was the tip of the iceberg.

On July 12, six months to the day after January's earthquake, the Haitian government held a ceremony behind the crumbled National Palace.

Before assembled dignitaries from embassies, NGOs, and Haiti’s elite, President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive draped medals of honor on prominent figures ranging from CNN celebrity journalist Anderson Cooper and Hollywood actor Sean Penn to retired Colonel Himmler Rebu and retired General Herard Abraham, officers who have enforced dictatorships and participated in coups over the past 30 years.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard seems determined to avoid the facts on asylum seeker issues. In her address to the Lowy Institute on July 6, she claimed an updated United Nations report “confirmed the improved human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka and that displaced people continue to return to their homes”.

In fact, the report repeatedly referred to “acts of violence and human rights abuses ... abductions, disappearances, assaults, extortion, forced recruitment and extra-judicial killings continue to be committed with impunity by multiple actors”.

The judge entrusted by Colombia’s Constitutional Court to investigate the legality of an agreement to hand over seven military bases to the US military has deemed the pact unconstitutional because it was not approved by Congress.

The report was handed down by Judge Jorge Ivan Palacio on July 23, a day after Colombia unleashed its slanderous attacks that Venezuela was “harbouring narco-terrorists”.

Palacio’s report on the agreement will be reviewed by the nine-judge panel of the Constitutional Court, which has to deliver a ruling by August 17.

Internationally recognised legal standards are being flagrantly ignored in the treatment of political prisoners from the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement. The prisoners have been detained by the Abhisit Vejjajiva military government since the bloody crackdown against unarmed demonstrators in May.

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