The United States media remain enthralled by Congress’s partisan battles over the national debt ceiling, while the assault on public sector workers across the US intensifies. On June 14, Wisconsin’s state supreme court overturned an earlier legal challenge to the state’s anti-union “budget-repair” bill. The bill will ban collective bargaining for most of the state’s public sector workers. The bill sparked sustained mass protests in Wisconsin in February and March, including the occupation of the Capitol building in Madison.
WikiLeaks released the statement below on June 16 to mark six months since its editor-in-chief Julian Assange was placed under house arrest in Britain. * * * Today, June 16 2011, Julian Assange will have spent six months under house arrest. He has not been charged with a crime in any country. The conditions of his detention are excessive and dehumanising. A Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny submitted a European Arrest Warrant for questioning in relation to a preliminary investigation regarding allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden.
An emergency phone tree on June 6 mobilised the extra support needed to stop workers coming on-site to begin demolishing part of Melbourne’s only Aboriginal school, Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC). The workers from the demolition company, ADCO ,decided, as long as there were people staffing the picket line, not to cross it. The Building Industry Group of unions, including the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, the Electrical Trades Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Plumbers Union are considering banning work on the site.
Swiss women and a major Swiss union held a national day of action on June 14 for wage equality for women and for a minimum wage of US$4000 a month for all workers. The minimum wage that the union and women are seeking would be the equivalent of $48,000 a year. The minimum wage is now $3000 a month, which was won in the 1980s. Switzerland has one of the highest costs of living in the world.
Marcel Khalife, born in 1950 in Amchit, Lebanon, has injected new life into the music produced by the oud (the Arabic lute) ― helping revive an important part of Arabic culture. Khalife studied the oud at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music and graduated in 1971. From 1972 to 1975, Khalife taught at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music, public universities and local private music institutions. During that period, he toured the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States giving solo performances on the oud.
“Power never gives up without a fight.” These words of United States civil rights leader Martin Luther King were quoted by US President Barack Obama in his May 19 policy speech on the Middle East. The quote is certainly a true description of the response of the region's regimes to the Arab democratic upsurge. But Obama failed to mention that the biggest power in the Middle East is the US.
Rapper Ozi Batla has long been known for speaking out on social issues. His band The Herd are well known for tracks such as “77%” ― which features the line “77% of Aussies are racist”, in response to an opinion poll result on the treatment of refugees during the Howard years. The Herd's “Burn Down the Parliament” caused controversy when it was coincidentally released the same week as the 2003 Canberra bush fires.
They’re a part of the human race Searching for a safe place To rise from their despair To be part of the world that seems fair Without wars Famines Or destruction That stops all means of production So they begin to flee Unwilling to live amongst the debris Where they lost friends Without any warnings Where they lost family Indefinitely… When they arrive Freedom is limited in order to survive Due to a lack of understanding With the government demanding Brief medical attention A lack of food and mental exhaustion A place we like to call mandatory detention
Soccer is the great global game: the closest thing we have to a connective cultural tissue that binds our species across national and cultural borders. But only in a world so upside down could “the Beautiful Game” be run by an organisation as corrupt as FIFA and by a man as rotten to the core as FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Only Blatter, whose reputation for degeneracy approaches legend, would hire a war criminal such as former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger to head “a committee of wise persons” aimed at “rooting out corruption” in his organisation.
The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15. New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in 2009 in its purge of a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 emerged this week in a Channel 4 documentary screened in Britain on June 14. For more than two decades, until its defeat in 2009, the LTTE fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka's north-east.