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It was a Palestinian legislator who made the most telling comment to the Israeli parliament last week as it passed the boycott law, which outlaws calls to boycott Israel or its settlements in the occupied territories. Ahmed Tibi asked: “What is a peace activist or Palestinian allowed to do to oppose the occupation? Is there anything you agree to?”
The Grammy awards have long been the kind of thing that one simply has to deal with if you're going to approach music under capitalism. It comes wrapped in all the elitism, commerce and segregation that necessarily has to accompany the music industry, but it's still something of a great salt lake for any artist — even those who are the most socially conscious — if they want to navigate the most treacherous waters of their craft. Like any money-making venture, it can be just as susceptible to public pressure as it is to the forces of the market.
The Cage By Gordon Weiss Picador, 2011 The Cage tells the horrifying story of the final months of the war in Sri Lanka, which ended with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009. Gordon Weiss, the former United Nations spokesperson in Sri Lanka, says the war ended in a "bloodbath", including the "wholesale bombardment by government forces of unarmed civilians".

About 1000 people took part in the Enough Campaign's protest against European Union/International Monetary Fund austerity program in Dublin on July 16.

Speaking in response to new figures released by the Department of Finance, Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the total European Union/International Monetary Fund (EU/IMF) profit on loans to Ireland will exceed €13 billion.

In Scoop, Evelyn Waugh’s brilliant satire on the press, there is the moment when Lord Copper, owner of the Daily Beast, meets his new special war correspondent, William Boot, in truth an authority on wild flowers and birdsong. A confused Boot is brought to his lordship’s presence by Mr Salter, The Beast’s foreign editor. “Is Mr. Boot all set for his trip?” “Up to a point, Lord Copper.” Copper briefed Boot as follows: “A few sharp victories, some conspicuous acts of personal bravery on the Patriot side and a colourful entry into the capital.
More than 5000 Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) members and delegates packed meetings at Festival Hall in Melbourne and Trades Hall in Geelong to vote on the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for the building industry. Under the agreement, wages will rise by 20% over four years with increases in superannuation contributions and other allowances. One significant feature of the agreement is that shop stewards will be recognised and be given the time and facilities they need to represent union members.
Footprints for Peace, an international grassroots group that organises walks, bike rides and runs around the world, invites families and people of all ages, background and cultures to come and support traditional owners in their opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia by taking part in the “Walk away from uranium mining” that begins in Wiluna on August 19 and finishes in Perth on October 28.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives threw down the gauntlet to President Barack Obama on July 19 by voting to cut federal spending by US$6 trillion and demand a constitutional balanced budget amendment in exchange for agreeing to raise the federal debt ceiling. The US must raise the debt ceiling by August 2 or default on its debts for the first time, potentially leaving the government unable to pay its employees and plunging the world into a second credit crunch. The bill is unlikely to pass into law.
Over the July 9-10 weekend, the New South Wales Labor conference failed to produce a motion in support of equal marriage rights. The conference instead voted to send the decision to the ALP national conference that is to be held in December. This motion passed despite the fact that all other ALP state conferences have passed motions in support of reforming the law to grant equal marriage rights. It also came two weeks after New York legalised same-sex marriage on June 24.
The Victorian secretary of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Dean Mighell, told the July 20 Age that his union could not support the Gillard government’s carbon price plan. Mighell said the scheme gives compensation payouts to the fossil fuel giants, but gives no guarantee for workers employed in coal-fired power stations in Victoria’s Latrobe valley.
The Environment Centre Northern Territory released a new document on July 20 that detailed several disastrous events over the recent wet season at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu national park. The document revealed ongoing seepage from the tailings storage facility at the mine. It also said the mine was unable to effectively deal with the millions of litres of contaminated water generated.