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The Wilderness Society released this statement on January 15. *** The Broome community is outraged at the Minister’s decision announced today to give WA Aboriginal Heritage Act Section 18 clearance to allow Woodside to drill in the dunes west of Manari Road as part of their investigation work for an LNG processing site.
The January 1 deadline for the so-called fiscal cliff has come and gone without resolving anything. In a last minute agreement, taxes were raised a little bit on the wealthiest, with rates going back to what they were under the Clinton administration in the 1990s. But nothing was done to close the “loopholes” through which the rich evade taxes, and indeed, some new loopholes were created.
Venezuela's US-funded opposition and the international corporate media has used President Hugo Chavez's serious health issues to run a campaign against the Venezuelan government. In particular, the opposition has claimed that the failure of Chavez, who is recovering from surgery in Cuba, to be sworn-in by the National Assembly by the originally scheduled date of January 10 means he is no longer president. Chavez was re-elected president for a six year term in October with more than 55% of the vote.
For nine long years Gail Hickey and her family have indefatigably campaigned for justice over the death of their son, TJ Hickey, an Aboriginal man who was 17 years old. He died as a consequence of a pursuit by Redfern police that ended with his death the following day. For nine long years Gail, the family and their supporters have been telling and re-telling the history. His bike was rammed by a police car, he was thrown in the air with great force, and landed on a spiked fence line with great force.

The Ninth National Conference of the Socialist Alliance will be held in Geelong (Victoria), from January 18-20, 2013. It is open to all Socialist Alliance members and invited guests.

The latest United Nations figures put the death toll from the conflict in Syria a third higher than previous estimates by the UN and anti-government activists. “We can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a January 2 statement. “The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking.” The UN has compiled a list of 59,648 named individuals reported killed between March 15, 2011, and November 30, 2012.
Protesters targeted the offices of federal minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin on January 11. They were angry about federal Labor’s cut to sole-parent incomes and refusal to raise the Newstart Allowance. Sole parent Rose Ljubicic initiated the protest. She organised another protest on December 24 last year, sparked by receiving a government letter telling sole parents to cut up their pension cards on December 31. Macklin told journalists on January 1 that she could live on the Newstart Allowance.
A blockade by activists opposed to the production of coal seam gas (CSG) at Glenugie, near Grafton in northern NSW, has shown determined opposition to drilling in the area since the blockade started eight weeks ago. CSG Free Northern Rivers, a community group based in the Clarence Valley, has campaigned to keep the Northern Rivers region free of coal seam gas through protests and non-violent direct action. The blockade began on November 20. Fifty activists blocked the gates to a farming property that was due to host drilling operations by gas company Metgasco.
A Tamil refugee living in Australia on a bridging visa died in a Fremantle hospital on January 5 from suicide. He had a wife and young daughter still in Sri Lanka, and was waiting for an outcome on his refugee status. It was his second suicide attempt. Refugee advocates in Perth said he had been tortured in Sri Lanka and his mental health deteriorated while in detention on Christmas Island and in the remote north Queensland Scherger base — where he first attempted suicide.
In Port Pirie, an industrial centre 220 kilometres north of Adelaide in South Australia, more than half of two-year-olds suffer from lead poisoning at a level consistent with later behavioural problems and loss of learning ability. The problem is more than twice as bad as anywhere else in Australia, including such lead-polluted cities as Mt Isa and Broken Hill.

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