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The article below was abridged from Correo Del Orinoco International. See also Venezuela: Chavez set for win as campaign pushes socialist transformation * * * Internationally-acclaimed author, activist, and intellectual Tariq Ali highlighted the importance of Venezuela´s Bolivarian Revolution and socialist President Hugo Chavez at a conference at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela in Caracas over July 27-28.
Within a week of the government-appointed Houston panel’s recommendation that Australia return to the “Pacific solution” for asylum seekers, the toxic atmosphere of John Howard's “children overboard” era resurged powerfully in Australian politics. On the same day the Houston report recommended indefinite refugee detention on Nauru and Manus Island for all asylum seekers arriving by boat, 67 asylum seekers taken aboard the Singapore-bound MV Parsifal were the subject of a tense stand-off at sea.
A Russian judge sentenced three members of Pussy Riot to two years each in prison on hooliganism charges on August 17. The judge said the three band members, who have already been detained for five months, committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers. The women smiled sadly at the testimony of prosecution witnesses accusing them of sacrilege and “devilish dances” in church. They remained calm after the judge announced the sentence and someone in the courtroom shouted: “Shame!”
In the lead up to its first budget next month, Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) government has intensified its slash-and-burn approach to public and community services. In its first 100 days in office, it axed 7000 public service jobs. Premier Campbell Newman says a further 13,000 job cuts are to come. Newman has wielded his axe indiscriminately. School cleaners, teachers’ aides, child safety, paramedics, firefighters, local courts, QBuild tradesmen and apprentices are all in the firing line.
“In this time of crisis, when they are expropriating the people, we want to expropriate the expropriators, namely, the landowners, banks and big retailers.” With these words Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, leader of the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT), United Left (IU) member of parliament in the Andalusian regional parliament and mayor of the rural town of Marinaleda, justified the August 7 seizure of food by SAT members from two stores of the Mercadona and Carrefour supermarket chains — the Coles and Woolworths of Spain.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on August 17. *** The Howard-era racist “Fortress Australia” is being rebuilt with the passing of laws to persecute asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat. The adoption of offshore processing means that Labor and the Coalition have united to, in effect, withdraw from the implementation of the UN refugee convention.
In Australia, Treasurer Wayne Swan made headlines by saying he was a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen ― despite implementing neoliberal economic policies of the sort Springsteen rails against. Mining billionaire and wannabe Liberal politician Clive Palmer jumped up to respond that his favourite band was Redgum ― despite the famously left-wing folk band, active in the 1970s and '80s, representing politics that are the exact opposite politics to Palmer's.
Congratulations to Tony Abbott on becoming prime minister. We all know how just badly he wanted this job, and he didn't even have to sell his arse. Or worse, support nominal action on climate change. His rise to the nation's top office was marked on August 15, when his government passed his asylum seeker policies, with the opposition — Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie — voting against.
Papua New Guinea's new cabinet was named on August 10 by re-elected Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. It marked the end of the election period that ended the country's long-running political crisis. The election period began in June and was extended in some areas due to violence, delays, fraud and voting problems.
After an armed attack killed 16 Egyptian guards on the border with Israel in the Sinai Peninsula, President Mohammed Morsi sacked defence minister and head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) Mohammed Tantawi, and his second in command, Sami Anan. The move is part of an ongoing battle that has taken place between the Muslim Brotherhood — main political force that emerged after the overthrow of former dictator Hosni Mubarak — and SCAF, which took governmental power after Mubarak stepped down.
Department cuts cost baby's life A baby who was bashed to death near Wollongong had been reported to the Department of Family and Community Services twice in the weeks leading up to his death. Community services staff walked off the job on August 9, in protest at the Barry O'Farrell government's cuts to their budget, which they say led to a “preventable death”.
The highland agricultural community of Santa Rosa de Cajacuy, in Peru’s central Ancash department, has been severely affected by a toxic spill from the BHP Billiton and Xstrata-operated Antamina mine. Antamina is one of the world’s largest sources of copper and zinc. It relies on a 300 kilometre high-pressure pipeline to pump resources from the mountains to coastal port facilities.
Walking into the Summer Hill Childcare Centre, it's clear that the children and workers alike are busy and happy. I went to meet the centre's director, Roberta de Souza, to find out more about child care in the inner west of Sydney. Sitting among the children, who range from three to five years old, de Souza was critical of government policy, which she said undervalues childcare workers. “It supports nurses, fire fighters, ambulance drivers. But we are also providing an important service – to future adults.”
The Greek right-wing New Democracy(ND) party won the June 17 elections by a narrow margin, getting 29.7% of the vote. Left-wing Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) came second with 26.9% on a clear platform of opposing the savage austerity measures imposed on Greece. ND’s dubious victory was largely achieved through blackmail and mud-slinging against SYRIZA ― as well as promises to negotiate the harsh memorandum measures if it was elected.
Coal seam gas (CSG) advocates are running a fear campaign against a backdrop of soaring electricity prices in New South Wales. They claim that unless CSG development in NSW goes ahead, household gas bills will triple. This is a frightening idea, given the stress already caused by electricity price hikes. Over the past four years the average power bill in NSW has gone up by 69% on top of inflation. Users face a further 18% price hike this year.

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