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If you have consulted Karl Marx for an answer to the recent global economic crisis, you are not alone. Google has confirmed the popularity of Marx’s writings is booming as people around the world try to make sense of increasingly harsh economic conditions. The phenomenon was reported in an article posted at Time.com by Rana Foroohar, who said: “I consulted Google to see if the term ‘Marxism’ was trending upward. It was and has been ever since the end of December.”
About 50 angry policyholders — victims of the huge floods that inundated large parts of Brisbane in January — protested outside the South Bank offices of insurance company CGU on February 18. The noisy protest presented a list of demands to the company, the February 19 Courier Mail said.
The national and state elections results for the Rail Tram and Bus union (RTBU) have been partially counted. In New South Wales, the incumbent right-wing Labor leadership team, called Unity, was challenged by Members Voice, a broad united front of those who advocate increased funding and staffing, and a clear strategy to reverse privatisation. This was the first challenge to the incumbents since the 1980s.
Popular uprisings in the Arab world have challenged a political landscape dominated by undemocratic regimes and fronted by dictators, a panel of academics and journalists said at a Sydney University forum on February 15. Speakers discussed the regional and international ramifications of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as part of the forum on people's power and change in the Arab world.
Tasmanian Greens leader and state corrections minister Nick McKim has come under fire from unions after he stood down 56 guards at Risdon prison without pay on February 21. McKim brought in police officers as scabs to replace the guards. The prison has been in partial lock-down due to the lack of staff. McKim said he stood down the guards because they were preparing to take industrial action.
Landlord and tow truck operator Frank Cassar owns rental properties and rooming houses around Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Elsternwick. He has ignored dozens of fines and orders imposed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Magistrate’s Court since 1999 for his flagrant violation of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Consumer Affairs Victoria, the government body with the power to prosecute, has vowed to take him on. But so far, there has been no action.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team have announced they will appeal after British magistrate Howard Riddle ruled on February 24 that Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexual assault. Assange denies the allegations. Assange’s British Attorney Mark Stephens told Democracy Now later that day that the defence team remains “very optimistic about our opportunities on appeal”.
NSW nurses have voted to accept the state government’s wages, conditions and ratios package. Anecdotal reports indicate that 90% of the branches voted in favour of the package, but the head office of the NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) has not released official figures.
In Australia, a society created on the basis of racial division and superiority, the ugly face of prejudice and discrimination is, unsurprisingly, still very evident today. Regardless of the often mentioned idea of a “multicultural” Australia, there seems to be a strong campaign to stigmatise, reject and isolate Muslims from mainstream values and norms. Through recent comments and initiatives taken by several Liberal and Labor party politicians, the overt nature of anti-Islamic discrimination in Australia is as obvious as it is disgraceful.
WikiLeaks has announced it will pursue legal action against disgruntled former employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose recently released book, Inside WikiLeaks, slams Julian Assange's leadership and character in a series of allegations. Some of the allegations appear serious. Others are hopelessly trivial.

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