The protesters in Chicago on May 20, marching against NATO, remind us that the US government is not representative of the US people. It's encouraging to see so many willing to take action and stand up against this unjust, disastrous war.

Recently, US President Barack Obama travelled to Kabul to meet Afghanistan's so-called president, Hamid Karzai. Both leaders used this meeting to pretend that they are ending this war when they are really trying to prolong it.

Rich Land, Wasteland
Sharyn Munro
Exisle Publishing & Pan Macmillan
453 pages, pb, $29.99

When a coalmine starts up near a township, a village or a farm it is to be expected that lives will change.

Indeed change is often promised and welcomed ― more Jobs, more money flowing into the community, better roads and services. In short, progress is promised.

Megrahi: You are My Jury ― The Lockerbie Evidence
John Ashton
Birlinn 2012
£14.99, 497 pages

Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of blowing up Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town Lockerbie in December 1988 and is usually described in the mainstream media as “the Lockerbie bomber”.

Readers familiar with Paul Foot’s series of penetrating articles on Lockerbie in Private Eye will already be familiar with the potentially problematic nature of Megrahi’s trial and conviction. But this book brings the story up to date.

Legendary masters of hip-hop Public Enemy made their seventh visit to Australia to play to 800 fans at St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel on May 17, after consecutive shows in Brisbane and Sydney.

Original members Chuck D and Flavor Flav belted out their most popular hits including “Don’t Believe the Hype”, “Welcome to the Terrordome” and “Fight the Power” from their 25 year-long recording career .

Union activist Chris White has worked for several unions and for 17 years was assistant secretary, and then secretary, of the United Trades and Labor Council of South Australia. The article below is based on a speech he gave at a fringe event during the recent Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress.

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Unionists need to organise for the right to strike, for the effective strike and for workers’ control.

A May 3 briefing to South Australia’s parliament by Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) has drawn attention to important research on the alarming health effects of coal burning on the Port Augusta community, reaffirming the case for a speedy transition to solar thermal power for the region.

Across NSW, dozens of local groups have organised to campaign against coal seam gas (CSG) mining. After years of using official channels of protest, they have been frustrated by the lack of response from the government and feel that they have no choice but to change tactics.

In the Pilliga state forest south of Narrabri, 92 wells have been drilled to explore for CSG. In June last year, 10,000 litres of untreated saline CSG water were leaked into the environment.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has accused the federal government of unfairly targeting waterfront workers as part of a so-called crackdown on organised crime.

Home Affairs minister Jason Clare said on May 25 that federal police would be given new powers to put waterfront workers out of a job if they have a criminal record or are suspected of involvement in organised crime.

Refugee lawyer David Manne and a pro bono legal team will take the federal government and ASIO to the High Court to challenge the indefinite detention of refugees found to be “security threats”.

The case will argue that refugees should be told the full reasons for ASIO's decision, so they are able to appeal adverse findings.

Manne said the situation now is “like being sentenced to life imprisonment without even having been charged, tried and convicted. It's a secret trial”.

The Great Barrier Reef off Queensland's northern coast came within a few metres of disaster on May 19 when a broken-down bulk sugar carrier drifted just over Shark Reef, north-east of Cooktown.

The 26,000-tonne ID Integrity was blown off course after its engines broke down. Crew dumped ballast to allow the vessel to pass over the reef, until tugs could reach the ship.


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