881

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
The response of the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to the economic crisis, which has been to implement billions of pounds worth of public spending cuts, is intensifying the effects of the crisis on the British people. Austerity measures are worsening mass unemployment. Chief British and European economist at forecasting company IHS Global Insight Howard Archer has predicted unemployment will reach 2.67 million people by the end of 2011.
Springtime: The New Student Rebellions Edited by Claire Solomon and Tania Palmieri Verso 2011 283 pages, paperback, £9.99 In years to come, when people look back at 2010-11 and try to identify the moment the fightback against the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition really got under way, many will select the huge March 26 TUC-sponsored demonstration in London. Magnificent and inspiring as March 26 was, however, November 10, 2010 has perhaps a greater claim to be recorded as the moment the fightback began in earnest.
Protesters in Bahrain.

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.

The newly-elected Barry O’Farrell Coalition government in NSW has introduced a bill that gives it unprecedented power over pay and conditions for the state's 400,000 public servants —gutting the NSW Industrial Relations Commission’s (IRC) role.
Gaza flotilla needs our support In a few weeks time, a flotilla will be going to Gaza carrying medical supplies, food and building materials to assist the Palestinian people who have suffered grievously from the Zionist policies of the Israeli government. Green Left Weekly, since its inception, has done a splendid job supporting the Palestinians and exposing and condemning the evil that has been inflicted on them since the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
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
The statement below was released on May 28 by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. For more information on the AVSN, visit www.venezuelasolidarity.org . * * * On May 24, the United States’ State Department unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). The State Department accused PDVSA of undermining the US sanctions against Iran by sending two cargo ships delivering US$50 million worth of reformate ― a gasoline blending component used to improve the quality of gasoline.
An estimated 3500 building workers walked off the job and rallied in Brisbane’s CBD on May 24 to protest sham contracts being imposed by unscrupulous contractors in the construction industry. Building workers from the Gold Coast joined the protest after coming up to Brisbane in a convoy of cars and trucks. Construction unions have shut down the Gold Coast University Hospital site over the issue of "sham contracts, where employers avoid paying entitlements by forcing workers who are legally employees into contracts," the May 25 Courier-Mail said.
From the very young age of seven or eight, Lyndall Barnett exhibited signs of concern about animals, the environment, social justice and women’s role in society. Lyndall also had a rebellious streak from an early age, the sort of rebellious streak that is needed to stand up against social injustice and help change the world. When Lyndall was a teenager, she took action on all these issues. This led Lyndall and a group of high school friends to join Resistance, the socialist youth organisation in the early 1990s, and then the Democratic Socialist Party.
Sydney Stop the War coalition released the statement below on May 26. * * * The death of Sergeant Brett Wood in Afghanistan on May 24 should trigger a radical rethink of this failed war, said Stop the War Coalition today. Instead, PM Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott continue to peddle the myth that the West's military intervention into Afghanistan still has merit.
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.”