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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.
Green Left Weekly’s Sue Bolton has been part of the Occupy Melbourne protest since it began on October 15. Below she recounts the past week of the occupation in Melbourne’s City Square, which was broken up by a fierce police assault on October 21. * * * Day 5: Still going strong We are still going strong with about 45 to 50 tents in City Square. I estimate there are about 100 people camping each night with many others staying until late in the night.
Occupy Melbourne released the statement below on October 21 following a brutal police attack on protesters earlier that day. * * * Occupy Melbourne have called for a full inquiry into unlawful police behaviour amid scenes of police violence on the streets of Melbourne today. The call comes after riot police disrupted a peaceful demonstration in Melbourne’s CBD.
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street and the global revolt against corporate greed, a diverse range of new and experienced people have gathered at several public assemblies, each of more than 40 people, to discuss building the movement in Adelaide. Following an October 15 action where 200 people gathered in Victoria Square, the collective has held a major working bee to make banners, signs, placards to help build awareness of Occupy Adelaide.
Stop CSG Illawarra’s Jess Moore gave the speech below at the 3000-strong rally against coal seam gas mining that took place in Clifton, north of Wollongong, on October 16. * * * Like so many people who live in the north Illawarra, there is a creek that flows through my backyard. Most of those creeks come from aquifers: the Hawkesbury Sandstone Aquifer System that the coal seam gas companies want to drill through to get the gas. This campaign is about our future and our right to protect this area — to protect our drinking water, our food and our future.

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