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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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
More than 40 Palestinian civil society organisations released a statement on June 12 calling for international support for the Freedom Flotilla 2, which aims to break the siege of Gaza. The first freedom flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza was violently attacked in May, 2010. Israeli commandoes killed nine Turkish volunteers aboard the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla’s lead ship. Israeli troops boarded the ship at night and used live ammunition against unarmed activists. The attack occurred in international waters in violation of international law.
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.
Three months after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Japan, new radiation "hot spots" may require the evacuation of more areas further from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has now admitted for the first time that full nuclear meltdowns occurred at three of the plant’s reactors, and more than doubled its estimate for the amount of radiation that leaked from the plant in the first week of the disaster in March. See also:
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

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