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President Hugo Chavez announced on public television on the night of December 8 that he would return to Cuba to receive surgery for new malignant cells, and that vice-president Nicolas Maduro will be in charge during his absence. Chavez said Cuban doctors informed him that the area where he has previously been affected will need to be operated on again, as new malignant cells have appeared. He also said that “there are always risks in processes like this” and that “if anything happens to me that hinders me [from performing as president]”, Maduro was his preference to replace him.
The latest economic data for the European Union, released on December 6, confirms that the region has officially entered a “double-dip” recession. Over the year to September, Gross Domestic Product fell by 0.4% in the 27-state European Union (EU27) and by 0.6% in the 17-state eurozone. On the same day, the European Central Bank revised its September forecast of 0.5% growth in the eurozone in 2013 down to -0.3%.
Protesters have taken to Tunisia's streets to insist the transitional government of Hamad Jebali fulfill the demands of the January 14 revolution that overthrew dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The regional city of Siliana, located 130 kilometres south-west of the capital Tunis, was rocked by days of protests over the lack of investment and jobs in the region.
Sam Wainwright is a Socialist Alliance councillor in Fremantle. Below is a talk he gave on the topic of how to achieve social change in Australia. * * * It's pretty obvious for anyone that cares to look that capitalism is a socially destructive and ecologically unsustainable system. Based on the unequal distribution of wealth, it condemns billions to living in poverty worldwide.
A call by 62 top football players, many from English Premier League and first division teams in Europe, condemned Israel’s recent attack on Gaza and the decision by UEFA, the European football federation, to hold its 2013 Under 21 tournament in Israel. The call has received wide and favourable coverage. This takes the Palestinian campaign for the boycott of Israel, especially the sporting boycott, to new levels of international mainstream prominence and legitimacy.
Refugees coming to Germany right now are largely from known regions of crisis. They come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, many African countries and the Turkish-ruled part of Kurdistan. They also include many Roma who want to escape extreme poverty and racial discrimination in Kosovo and other East European countries.
In the recent elections, Latinos, Asians and Blacks voted against the extreme racist policies and rhetoric of the Republicans. A central plank in the Republican onslaught has been attacks on immigrants who lack documents. Romney said he would make life so miserable for them they would “self-deport”. In the aftermath of the elections, immigrant youth without papers have remobilised to fight for their own rights and for citizenship for all of up to 12 million undocumented migrants working in the US.
In the week Lord Leveson published almost a million words about his inquiry into the “culture, practice and ethics” of Britain's corporate press, two illuminating books about media and freedom were also published. Their contrast with the Punch and Judy show staged by Leveson is striking. For 36 years, Project Censored, based in California, has documented critically important stories unreported or suppressed by the media most US people watch or read.
Sydney's prestigious Hilton Hotel hosted the “PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Investment Conference” over December 3-5. The event summed up the nature of the resource industry in PNG. PNG Mine Watch said on December 1: “The Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney will be a room full of white men dicing and slicing PNG’s assets with little or no participation or informed consent from the people of Papua New Guinea.
Immigrant Chinese bus drivers in Singapore began a two day strike on November 26. This is the first major strike in the tightly controlled city state since 1986. The drivers were employed by SMRT, a state owned public transport company. The strikers were all mainland Chinese – part of a growing number of immigrant workers in Singapore that perform low paid and menial jobs. The drivers are being paid less than local drivers for the same work. The workers are unhappy with housing provided, due to overcrowding and poor facilities.

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