927

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil over June 20-22. Known as Rio +20, it takes place 20 years after the first UN Earth summit in Rio in 1992 that was supposed to establish guidelines for sustainable development. Since then, the problems noted have drastically worsened. Environmental groups have slammed Rio +20 for failing to propose serious, drastic action needed to deal with a multitude of environmental crises the Earth is facing.
Palestinians have achieved three consecutive victories in the past few months. In October last year, there was the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in an exchange deal involving the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Then there was a series of individual hunger strikes, which lasted unparalleled periods of time. These began with Khader Adnan, who went on hunger strike to protest against the Israeli policy of administrative detention (holding people in jail without charge, let alone a trial).
The governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador strongly condemned on June 21 a parliamentary coup by the Paraguayan Congress against President Fernando Lugo. BBC news said on June 22 that, after both houses of Congress voted to impeach Lugo, the president was forced to step down. The vice-president, Federico Franco, was sworn in as president on June 22, as supporters of Lugo massed on the streets, The Guardian said that day.
Despite much speculation in the international media regarding the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a mass gathering of supporters accompanied him on June 11 as he registered his candidature for the October 7 presidential elections. Chavez used the opportunity to address the issue of recent tests he had undergone after his cancer treatment. “Everything came out absolutely fine, I feel very well” said Chavez, Venezuela Analysis reported the next day.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19 to apply for asylum, after losing his final appeal in British courts against extradition to Sweden. The extradition to Sweden is nominally over allegations of sexual assault, for which Swedish authorities wish to question Assange ― who has not been charged. But WikiLeaks supporters point to evidence released by the whistleblowing site this year that the United States government has prepared a secret sealed indictment against him.
Official results were yet to be announced on June 24, but it appears Muhammad Morsi, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate, has won the second round of Egypt's presidential elections, held over June 16 and 17. The election took place amid huge protests in Tahrir Square and around the country against moves by the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to dissolve Egypt's elected parliament.
United States President Barack Obama announced on June 15 that deportations of undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children would be put on hold for two years. During this time, they could apply for work permits. About 800,000 young people could be affected. To be eligible, these youths must be 30 years old or younger, and have come into the country before they were 16. They must be in school, be high school graduates or military veterans and have no criminal records.
Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) regime is facing rising dissent after a new round of youth protests began on June 16 against austerity measures, spreading throughout the week to cities and towns across Sudan. Protesters and security forces have clashed daily as the government of President Omer Al Bashir struggles to prevent a widespread uprising.
To the great relief of the big financial institutions and European powers, the right-wing New Democracy party narrowly came first with more than 29% of the vote in Greece's June 17 elections. However, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) won nearly 27% on a platform of clearly rejecting the savage austerity policies forced on Greece's people in a bid to make them pay for the financial crisis caused by big banks.
The federal government announced on June 14 that it would create the “world's largest network of marine reserves” in Australia. It will form 33 new marine reserves, adding to the current 27.
Locals from the WA town of Gingin, and visitors from Perth including members of the groups No Fracking WAy and Doctors for the Environment, left a June 22 community forum on unconventional gas fracking scratching their heads in bewilderment. The forum, facilitated by National Party MPs, included speakers from the Department of Mines and Petroleum, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Nationals member Philip Gardiner, a representative from Empire Oil & Gas and Peter Stone from the CSIRO.
Green Left Weekly’s Jay Fletcher spoke to Wendy Bacon, a Walkley award-winning journalist and professor at UTS’s Australian Centre for Investigative Journalism, about the crisis in Australia’s mainstream media * * * The big structural changes announced at Fairfax — 1900 jobs cuts, moving the flagship papers to tabloid, merging the Sydney and Melbourne news rooms — seem to spell the continuing trend toward more corporatism and less journalism. What are the main consequences of Fairfax’s downsizing?