849

Thousands of people took to the streets on August 14 in support of legalising same-sex marriage and against the discriminatory policies of both major parties.

In Sydney, Peter Boyle said about 3000 people rallied at Town Hall before marching to Taylor Square. Comedian and host of ABC’s Gruen Transfer Wil Anderson chaired the event.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the focal point of a political shift to the left that has affected most of the Latin American continent for just over a decade. For several years this has been met with denunciations of the nation and its president, Hugo Chavez, from TV personalities like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson to establishment figures like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whom liken the nation to a military dictatorship.

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Friends of Palestine (WA — FOPWA) must be doing something right: Friends of Israel (WA) was launched on August 8.

The group’s website is a mix of nationalism and barely concealed racism. “Israel is in the front lines of the global battle between those who love life and those who glorify death”, it says.
The launch took place at the Victory Life Centre, a fundamentalist Christian church, in Osborne Park, Perth.

Immigration officials accept about 99% of claims for refugee status by people who have arrived by boats in Australia. But this hasn’t stopped mainstream politicians from punishing those seeking asylum in this way.

In April, the government announced it would temporarily freeze visa applications from newly arrived Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers. In June, about 70% of Afghan (mostly Hazara) claims were rejected, according to the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC). Such rejection figures have never been seen before.

In his influential 1985 book Abandon Affluence, radical Australian sociologist Ted Trainer made the argument that the capitalist economies of the rich world, and the wasteful consumer culture they spawned, were unsustainable and the ecological limits of capitalist growth were fast approaching.

An August 10 summit between recently inaugurated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has lowered tensions in a region that some believe was on the brink of armed confrontation.

The situation reached boiling point after Colombia’s July 22 claims in the US-dominated Organisation of American States that Venezuela was “harbouring terrorists”.

The Liberal Party has pulled controversial Google advertisements after criticism and complaints from candidates standing against them. When Google users searched for the names of many candidates running in lower-house seats — including Socialist Alliance candidate for Cunningham, Jess Moore, who raised the issue in the national media — the first link to appear was a sponsored link to a Liberal Party website.

“In the end, capitalism is the only viable system we have for organising our economy”, said Lucy Turnbull, business person, former mayor of Sydney and partner of former Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull at the iQ2 debate in Sydney on August 10 on the topic “Only capitalism can save the planet”. Turnbull was the only politician to make the Business Review Weekly's 2010 Rich 200 list this year.

Well, she would think that, wouldn't she?

More than 1000 people packed into Sydney Town Hall on August 12 for the Sydney launch of the Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Stationary Energy Plan. The plan outlines how Australia could meet all its energy needs from renewables within 10 years.

The successful event followed the well-attended Melbourne launch, which attracted about 700 people in July.

The plan is the product of a collaboration between the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute and the non-profit climate advocacy group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE).

On July 29, our Labour Relief Committee team found Pir Sabaq, Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province, with a population of more than 34,000, completely destroyed by the flood.

A tent city of more than 1000 tents has been established but most of the people are still forced to live in partially destroyed homes. This could lead to a major building collapsing at any time, with further loss of lives.

In addition to losing their homes, most people have found their household items have been swept away. They have lost their cattle and goats as well. People are without anything to eat, drink or wear.

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