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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.

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.

Three open cut coalmines have been proposed over the Leard State Forest and adjoining farmland near Boggabri in NSW. Two mines currently operate in the forest, but their proposed expansion and a brand new mine would clear 50% of the forest.

The National Parks Association of NSW says the forest is “home to 26 threatened plant and animal species” and is “the single biggest remnant of native vegetation left on the heavily cleared Liverpool Plains”.

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.

Two new mines are being assessed within the Tarkine rainforest in north-west Tasmania. The Tarkine is well known for the public battles to save it from logging, and was given emergency National Heritage listing in 2009.

But that status lapsed in December 2010, and with the global price of minerals rising, mining companies began to explore the area. Ten mines have been proposed for the area — nine of them open cut. The first two mines planned will produce tin and iron ore.

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.

The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on August 17.

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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.

The “moral bankruptcy of the ruling classes” is a thought readers would have shared as the Labor, Liberal and National parties came together in an unholy alliance to return to the cruel and shameful practice of locking up asylum seekers indefinitely in detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island, PNG.

And again when the British government threatened to storm the embassy of Ecuador in London to arrest WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has now been granted asylum by Ecuador's progressive Rafael Correa government.

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.

The spectacle of the 2012 London Olympics should be subtitled “The Bashing of the Chinese Athlete”.

On August 8, Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times published a much-discussed piece called “Heavy burden on athletes takes joy away from China's Olympic success”.

All kinds of “concerns” were raised about the toll “the nation's draconian sports system” is taking on the country's athletes.

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