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A selection of the past fortnight's celebrity news...

John Farnham voted Australia’s best singer of all time - who didn't make the cut but should have? http://bit.ly/11e6w7d

Blood On The Dancefloor Discuss Jesus And Rape Alegations In New Song http://bit.ly/14IaDvA

Marilyn Manson The New Face Of Saint Laurent http://bit.ly/16qMcAT

Justin Bieber's Pet Monkey Seized By German Customs http://bit.ly/XRqjFe

Boston Police Posing As 'Punks' Online To Get Information And Shut Down House Shows http://bit.ly/16pC0Zt

Efforts And Means
Astpai
Jump Start Records, 2012
www.astpai.org

Austrian hardcore punks Astpai jack up heavy slabs of guitar with speeding snares and leering lyrics. They serve up a rare and biting musical take on Austrian politics. Green Left’s Mat Ward spoke to frontman Manfred Herzog, also known as Zock.

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The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Sydney is involved in an industrial battle with the administration over pay, conditions and casualisation.

As part of this campaign, the union held a 24-hour strike on March 6. Staff and students held pickets outside all campus entrances, and the university was largely shut down for the day.

The multiple picket lines converged on the main entrance to the university for a midday rally, which attracted hundreds of staff and supporters. There were many speakers including unionists, student representatives and the Greens.

A protest was held outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney on March 19, to oppose the controversial state visit by the Myanmar president Thein Sein.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with Thein and announced a $20 million two-year aid program, as well as the posting of a resident military attache and a trade commissioner in Yangon.

Protesters representing the Rohingya, Karen and Kachin communities demanded the Australian government address the gross human rights abuses before business and military deals are made.

Photos by Peter Boyle.

Former chairperson of the US National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran.

The NIE report’s finding that Iran had no active nuclear weapons program gave lie to years of US-Israeli anti-Iran rhetoric, and has been credited with preventing a pre-emptive war against Iran.

Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) came close last year to winning national elections standing on a program of rejecting brutal anti-austerity measures and pushing polices in favour of working people. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras spoke to a large public meeting in London on March 15 on the need for radical, democratic changes across Europe. His speech is reprinted from Left.gr.

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The Real News looks at the gains made by Palestinian prisoners' hunger strikes against Israel. Transcript below.

LIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER, TRNN: On Sunday, March 17, Israeli authorities conceded to the ongoing Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike, releasing one of the four men who have gone more than a hundred days without food.

Palestinian prisoner Ayman Sharawna, freed from Israeli prison in a deal that denies him the right to return to his West Bank home for a decade, was given a hero's welcome in the Gaza Strip on March 17.

The Morning Star said on March 19 that 36-year-old Sharawna ended his hunger strike in an Israeli jail and agreed to a plea bargain that will confine him to Gaza ― rather than his Hebron home ― for the next 10 years.

The Price of Valour: The Triumph & Tragedy of a Gallipoli Hero, Hugo Throssell, VC
John Hamilton
Pan Macmillan, 2012
393 pages, $34.99 (pb)

Captain Hugo Throssell, one of nine Australian soldiers to win a Victoria Cross for supreme bravery at Gallipoli in 1915, stunned his home-town audience of patriotic Australians in 1919 with his statement that “the war has made me a socialist”.

Not a single politician in Cyrpus's parliament voted for a brutal austerity deal that would see the government receive bailout funds in return for direct taxes on ordinary people's savings when it was put to legislators on March 19.

After days of angry protests on the streets and furious negotiations behind closed doors between the "troika" of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary and Cyprus's government, a new deal for a 10 billion euro bailout was finally secured on March 24.

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