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Irish election officials said on November 26 that Sinn Fein candidate Pearse Doherty had won a long-awaited by-election in Donegal with an overwhelming 40% of the vote. The election was blocked for months before it was forced on Prime Minister Brian Cowen by the Irish courts. Cowen faces a struggle to win votes on raising taxes and cutting spending when the 2011 budget is unveiled in parliament on December 7.
The 2011 UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, is not expected to agree to sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But the UN and rich nations will push for the conference to endorse a carbon trading scheme to protect forests, known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Below is an “open letter to the indigenous peoples of the world” from Bolivian President Evo Morales. Released in September, the letter calls for the protection of the world’s forests, and also for opposition to REDD and other carbon trading schemes. ***
The public finances of Ireland will, for the next three years at least, be subject to “regular reviews” by external monitors working on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the British and Swedish governments. On November 21, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen and minister for finance Brian Lenihan, after a week of shocking lies and deceit, said they would accept the IMF/EU bailout. It later emerged that the G7, made up of the seven most powerful countries in the world, had met to give its approval to the deal.
The debate around the Murray Darling Basin crisis has brought to public attention the need to rethink agriculture in Australia. Today, sustainable food production is relegated to niche status — squeezed out by methods of farming that are seen to be more efficient. However, the efficiency of the dominant mode of agriculture relies heavily on chemical inputs for fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. This agriculture degrades soils, pollutes waterways and contributes heavily to climate change.
Mulrunji Doomadgee died in police custody on Palm Island in November 2004. Despite reviewing findings highly critical of police by coroner Brian Hine at the third Coronial Inquest in May, on November 23 the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission (CMC) found there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the officers involved.
About 150 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University have been stood down after taking part in lawful and protected industrial action. The union put a ban on the transmission of student results after more than two years of negotiations failed to make progress on improving job security, pay and other conditions for staff. A key sticking point in the negotiations is management’s unregulated use of fixed-term contracts and casual employment.
On October 23, the Age reported that increased alcohol prices are driving many young people to switch to the party drug ecstasy, according to drug researchers, nightclub owners and young people themselves. “It is cheaper and convenient to use pills”, said Professor Jake Najman, director of the University of Queensland’s Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre. “A lot of young people are making that choice to switch between alcohol and ecstasy. Pills can be cheaper, there is no question.”
The Independent Education Union (IEU) has launched a campaign for pay equity for early childhood teachers. In the months leading up to the NSW elections in March 2011, the campaign will include rallies, postcards and an email bombardment of the Labor and Liberal parties. Early childhood teachers working in community-based preschools and childcare centres earn up to 20% less than teachers working in state government preschools and independent and Catholic primary schools. A full-time early childhood teacher can earn $14,000 a year less than other teachers.
A rising tide of homophobic aggression in Uganda has divided religious leaders. At the root of the problem, Western missionaries have been spreading anti-gay sentiment and dividing the community. Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since British colonisation in the late 19th century. However, many Ugandans trace the current crisis to March 5, 2009, when right-wing evangelical missionaries from the US held a three-day conference at the Triangle Hotel in Kampala.
Despite pledges at the recent Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, there has been a constant battle across the global South for access to vital antiretroviral HIV/AIDS treatments and antibiotics for malaria and tuberculosis (TB). One of the greatest challenges in accessing high-quality and affordable medicines is the collusion between rich governments and pharmaceutical giants.
The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement By Derek Wall Pluto Press, 190 pages, paperback www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745330365& Review by Mat Ward As the threat of climate catastrophe looms ever larger, Derek Wall has written what he calls "an explicit call to non-violent arms".
Dancing With Dynamite wide cover graphic.

It should come as no surprise that Latin America, a region converted into a laboratory for ongoing experiments in social change, has increasingly become the topic of discussion and debate among the broader left.