The Western media reported on March 3 that the rebel city of Homs had fallen to forces of the Assad regime after a bloody 26-day siege. There were reports of a humanitarian disaster in the city and widespread killings.
Chicago workers occupy plant, score win Workers facing layoffs at a Chicago window factory have declared victory after occupying their plant for 11 hours, OccupyWallSt.org said on February 24. The Occupy Wall Street website said: “Through direct community action, including the support of Occupy Chicago, the workers and their union prevented the California-based Serious Energy company from closing the plant for another 90 days. The workers hope this will give them time to keep the plant open, possibly by purchasing it themselves and creating a worker-owned co-op.”
Sydney's inner-west community is set to take over Newtown’s nooks and crannies for the fourth time with the roving laneway festival Reclaim the Lanes. On Saturday, March 17, the forgotten and underutilised urban spaces of the inner-west will be transformed by the one-day festival. Pockets of artistic experimentation, live music and community participation are expected to bring 500 locals, friends and families out and about to enjoy the colourful spectacle.
At last, the police have become efficient. They may have stumbled slightly with their investigation of News International, but they haven't made the same mistake with the people sitting around by St Paul's. Last year, presumably, if they'd been asked to evict Occupy London protests who camped at St Paul's Cathedral, they'd have written a report saying: "We have left no stone unturned in pursuing the occupiers, but after driving round the cathedral hundreds of times we have no evidence of any tents anywhere, or, indeed, of any cathedral."
Addameer is a Palestinian human rights organisation that works to support political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian jails. It offers free legal aid and works to end torture and other abuses of prisoners' rights. The group’s 10 lawyers visit more than 500 prisoners inside Israeli jails each year. They also represent prisoners held by the Palestinian Authority (PA), representing more than 400 Palestinian prisoners arrested by PA security forces in 2009-10.
Last year it was the indignado movement that filled Spain’s city squares with hundreds of thousands of protesters. On February 19, it was the union-led movement against the Popular Party (PP) government’s new labour law. On February 29, another mass protest flooded the squares: tens of thousands of students protesting against cuts to education in 25 cities and towns across Spain. They had paid no attention to the plea of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who on the eve of the protest asked Spaniards “to understand that things are not that easy”. Huge support
The NSW department of planning released a set of new guidelines for wind farm developments in December last year. The department is seeking submissions from the public commenting on the new guidelines until March 14. The new guidelines include the most stringent noise regulation in the world, with turbine noise not allowed to exceed 35 decibels. The limit is 50 decibels or more in much of Europe, and 40 decibels elsewhere in Australia.
With international condemnation of Australia’s approach to asylum seekers and the intervention in the Northern Territory, Prime Minister Julia Gillard may not be well known for her support for human rights. Still she agreed to the Greens’ request for recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Australian constitution.
The Mark McGowan-led Western Australian ALP opposition has promised it will support the Colin Barnett government’s controversial anti-association laws. The laws were debated in parliament on February 28. Barnett has said the law will “crack down on outlaw bikie gangs”. However, the words “bikie”, “motorcycle” or “gang” do not appear once in the bill.
The control measures in the anti-association legislation will limit our rights to freely associate with people by allowing the government to make a declaration on an organisation. This will allow the government to obtain “control orders” over individuals who are members, former members or people involved in the running of a declared organisation. See also: Liberals, Labor join to attack civil liberties in Western Australia This is what you need to know about this law:
Twice daily outside almost every Victorian public hospital there are nurses protesting and waving banners in a spirited display of defiance. They are not being incited by their union. They are walking off the job for four hours at a time, demanding a pay rise and defending the very essence of quality public health. A brief scouring of social media or talkback radio shows that Victorians love nurses, despite government propaganda to the contrary. See also: Vic nurses 'dislike' Baillieu government Facebook gag
Self described “advocate for women and girls” Melinda Tankard Reist recently launched a defamation claim against blogger Jennifer Wilson for saying Reist is a Baptist. Wilson’s article, on her blog No Place for Sheep, criticised Reist’s anti-abortion stance.
How would you feel if you woke up to the breakfast radio news announcing that Green Left Weekly had just published its last issue? The left in Spain had that experience on February 24, when we learned that this would be the last day the progressive daily Publico appeared on the country’s newsstands (the online version continues).
Co-operative housing I agree with nearly everything written by Douglas Jordan in the article Public housing is an issue for the whole community. Housing needs to be affordable, secure and accessible. Public housing is good and should be extended. The part I do not entirely agree with is "in essence social housing is the privatisation of public housing". There are two types of social housing. One is as described by Douglas, the other is co-operatives.
The South Australian government has produced an “anti-binge drinking” ad that targets young women. It features a young woman slumped in a dodgy club toilet while someone else points her finger accusingly. The tagline reads: “Drink too much, you’re asking for trouble.” Journalist Catherine Deveney described the ad on Twitter as amounting to government-funded “slut-shaming”.
Melbourne activists gathered at Federation Square in the city centre on February 28 to voice their support for the All India General Strike. As many as 100 million workers had walked off the job in India to protest against low wages and poor working conditions in what is most likely the largest ever strike in human history. As the crowd unfurled banners and flags, visiting US activist-musician George Mann and friends played unionist songs. The music got the protesters in the mood to hear addresses from members of the various labour organisations.