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After being delayed by three months, the official campaign for Tunisia's constituent assembly began on October 1, paving the way for the October 23 elections. More than 80 different parties, many formed or legalised since the overthrow of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, and about 1500 different lists vyed for a place in the 218-member assembly.
A confusing feeling passed through me after hearing about the exchange of 1027 Palestinian detainees for the only Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by the Palestinian resistance fighters. I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad. Gazing at the faces of the prisoners’ families in the solidarity tent in Gaza City on October 18, I see a look that I have never seen before: eyes glittering with hope. Thinking about those women whose relatives are most likely to be released and seeing their big smiles makes me happy.
The sense of joy was palpable in the streets of Gaza on October 18 as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel returned home. It was a remarkable day in the life of the territory’s 1.6 million Palestinians. During the past five years Israel has levied a heavy price on Gaza's civilian population for the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian resistance fighters. It has been extracted with Israel’s warplanes, tanks, bulldozers and relentless siege.
An estimated 2.4 million Kenyans are facing food insecurity this year. One cause is poor rains, which have affected all of north-east Africa and are probably at least partially the result of climate change. Another is the rising cost of imported food. Rising food costs are also partly caused by climate change, but also by speculation. For the finance industry, food is just another commodity to be bought, sold or hoarded to generate the most profits.
On October 16, Kenyan forces entered southern Somalia. The invasion is aimed against the Islamist militia al Shabaab. It is in response to a recent rise in cross-border kidnappings of Westerners, with four abducted in the past month. Kenya is not the only regional country with soldiers in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991. An African Union force of 9000 Ugandan and Burundian troops has been in the country since January 2009, when it replaced an Ethiopian force. AU troops have launched their own offensive against al Shabaab.
The barriers to renewable energy are many. It’s not just a matter of the draconian new Victorian laws against wind farms — the legacy of government support for fossil fuels also hangs heavily over the renewables sector.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on the morning of October 23. * * * Socialist Alliance condemns violent police attacks on Melbourne and Sydney occupations Socialist Alliance condemns the violent police dispersal of peaceful protesters at Occupy Melbourne (October 21) and Occupy Sydney (dawn, October 23) and pledges its full support for the re-establishment of these occupations against the tyranny of the world's richest 1%.
October 15 was the first time since February 2003, with the huge demonstrations in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, that a call for an international action on a specific date has met with such a response. See also: Brutal police attack on Occupy Oakland All Green Left's extensive Occupy coverage

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