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Germany is usually presented in the mainstream media as having successfully weathered Europe’s vast economic crisis. German Chancellor Angel Merkel from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has gained enormous influence on the European political and financial scene. By contrast, in protests across Greece, Spain and other countries hit hardest by the crisis, references about Germany as the “Fourth Reich” are increasingly being voiced.
If the mainstream Western media is to be believed, the world witnessed a shining example of true democracy in action in the United States on November 6. In the Washington Post, Dan Balz described the US presidential race as a “contest of competing visions”. Apparently, democracy is epitomised by a race between two representatives of the 1% fighting to impose “competing” agendas that ― with differences of nuance ― bear more similarities to each other than to public opinion.
About 300 students from the Paraguayan National University and the private Catholic University marched to the national police headquarters in Asuncion on October 25 to protest the new Law of Higher Education (LES). The law passed through the lower house of the Paraguayan Congress three weeks earlier, and is currently before the Upper House. During the protest, Romilio Gonzalez and Johana Orihuela, members of the Popular University Movement, spoke to Green Left Weekly. “This is one of a number of actions we are carrying out,” Orihuela said.
Did you think there is a housing bubble in Australia? Not so, according to the chairperson of Aussie Home Loans, John Symond, who said last month: “I am confident, notwithstanding a lot of hype from offshore analysts about a housing bubble, of Australia’s fundamentals.” Symond wants us to trust him, not those offshore analysts, because it's not as if the owner of a home loans company has any interest in the maintenance of an overpriced property market.
In last month’s Victorian local council elections, the Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton was elected to Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s north. Green Left Weekly’s Susan Price asked Bolton about the significance of the result for the Socialist Alliance and her goals as a socialist councillor. * * *
The NSW Coaltion government has given James Packer's monster casino approval to take prime inner city space in Sydney, but children from an inner city public school are set to be kicked out for several years as the space is sold off to property developers.
A group of progressive union activists organised in the Progressive PSA group won control of the NSW Public Service Association (PSA) in union elections that closed on October 30. They won all positions on the 45-member central council and the top position of general secretary. Lindsay Hawkins is a disability support worker in Wollongong and is one of the newly elected members of the central council. He spoke to Green Left Weekly about why the group decided to run and what changes they are planning to make.
I have been reminded lately of that line from that famous song: “How many polls must an anti-capitalist win, before we call him a democrat?”
“As if the mud, misery, loss of life and homelessness in Hurricane Sandy’s wake weren’t bad enough, the worst may yet be to come for disaster-ravaged Haiti,” Caribbean360.org said on October 31. The article said: “Massive crop damage throughout the southern third of the country, as well as the likelihood of a spike in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases, could mean that the impoverished country will experience the deadliest effects of the storm’s havoc in the days and weeks ahead.
This month is the start of the wet season on the tiny island of Nauru, where more than 370 refugees are being detained in Australian army tents that leak and do nothing to keep mosquitoes out.   In these appalling conditions, more than 300 men are refusing food and some are refusing water in a bid to have the department of immigration hear their claims for asylum.   That’s right — people that came to Australia exercising their legal and moral right to seek protection are on a hunger strike because the Australian government has decided to make an example of them.  
The Infrastructure NSW chair, former Liberal premier Nick Greiner, delivered a vision for the state for the next 20 years on October 3. For the 4.5 million people living in Sydney, the State Infrastructure Strategy, titled First Things First, will mean more roads, more congestion and more transport frustration for years to come.
One of the sneering jokes passed around business circles after mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto announced they would not pay a cent this quarter under the Gillard government’s pathetic mining tax was that the government would have collected a fat cheque had it levied a super profits tax on the big banks instead.