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Protests across Bahrain that began on February 14 have rocked the US-backed Khalifa royal family, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people against the regime's repressive rule. As part of the struggle for democracy, protesters have also opposed policies by the regime, which is dominated by the Sunni Muslim minority, that discriminate against the Shia Muslim majority. Since March 15, the pro-democracy movement has faced brutal repression from the Bahrain government and occupying troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. See also:
In Spain’s local elections on May 22, a tsunami of popular rage against the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spread across this country of five million jobless. The punishment came amid widespread suffering caused by the economic crisis, worsened by the austerity imposed by Zapatero's government to pay for the billions of euros spent bailing out big banks. PSOE bastions since the fall of the Franco dictatorship were swept away.
On May 26, the one year anniversary of the arrest of US soldier Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking classified US government documents released by WikiLeaks, the Bradley Manning Support Network released an appeal for support in the campaign for his freedom. It is abridged below from www.bradleybanning.org -- where you can find out how to help the campaign. * * * One year ago, the US government quietly arrested a humble young US intelligence analyst in Iraq and imprisoned him in a military camp in Kuwait. Across the world, people stepped forward to help defend him.
May 22 elections in the German city-state of Bremen marked yet another disastrous result for the parties of Germany’s ruling coalition, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the big-business Free Democrats (FDP). Unsurprisingly, for the traditional working-class stronghold, the centre-left Social-Democratic Party (SPD) won 38.1% ― retaining government of the state in coalition with the Greens. For the first time in history, the Greens leapfrogged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU to take second place, winning 23% of the vote – an increase of 6%.  
The statement below was released on May 18 by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The FBI documents can be viewed at www.stopFBI.net . * * * FBI agents, who raided the Minneapolis home of anti-war and international solidarity activists Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy in September 2010, took with them thousands of pages of documents and books, along with computers, cell phones and a passport. By mistake, they also left something behind; the operation plans for the raid, “interview questions” for anti-war and international solidarity activists and duplicate evidence collection forms.
The annual Sydney Writers' Festival brings together a diverse range of acclaimed writers from around Australia and the world. This year's theme “Words. To Live By” engaged readers and writers in a week long festival of ideas ranging from discussions about the future of media to the ongoing revolutions in the Arab World. Some of the highlights of this year's May 16-22 festival include: Songs of Blood and Sword
Child beauty pageants, such as the ones featured on the reality TV show Toddlers and Tiaras, are big business in the United States. The industry is so big that it is expanding overseas. One of the biggest pageant companies, United Royalty plans to stage pageants in all states in Australia. Parents who wish to enter their children in the pageants have to pay $295 just to enter the pageant, plus thousands of dollars on expensive dresses, hairstyles and cosmetics
Releasing the Mid Year Financial Report in February, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings said savings required over the next three years would be the equivalent of 2300 jobs. She said she couldn’t rule out forced redundancies in the public service or cuts to frontline services. On May 26, Giddings released a statement to parliament that said: “We have now lost a total of around $1.5 billion in expected GST revenue and state taxes.”
The richest person in Australia this year, according to the 2011 BRW Rich List, is mining magnate Gina Rhinehart. Her wealth, estimated at $10.3 billion, is more than twice the amount put shopping centre tycoon Frank Lowy in the top spot in last year’s BRW Rich List. Rhinehart’s wealth rose $5.55 billion from 2010.
Media reports suggested that US President Barack Obama's May 19 Washington DC speech on the Middle East and North Africa contained a new proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. A look at the content shows this is false. The May 20 New York Times declared: “President Obama, seeking to capture a moment of epochal change in the Arab world, began a new effort [in his speech] to break the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, setting out a new starting point for negotiations on the region's most intractable problem.”

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