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Global military spending rose to US $1.74 trillion in 2011. The Australian government spends $25 billion a year — or $68 million per day — on defence spending. This is a travesty when 125,000 Australians are homeless every night and budget cuts are being made to higher education. Demonstrations were held on April 15 in cities around Australia and in over 100 centres world wide to mark a global day of action on military spending. This coincides with the publication by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute of world military expenditures for the past year.

The Real News interviews Venezuela Analysis founder Gregory Wilpert on Venezuela's April 14 elections, in which the candidate of the Bolivarian revolution Nicolas Maduro beat the right-wing opposition candidate Henrique Caprilles by more than 300,000 votes.

The room erupted into cheers when the election results were announced. For hours, the city of Merida's most ardent supporters of socialist presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro had gathered in the local offices of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). However, after a few moments, the closeness of the numbers sank in. At the time of writing, the National Electoral Council (CNE) had announced that with 99% of votes counted, the PSUV's Maduro won with 50.6%. His closest rival, Henrique Capriles, received 49.1%; giving Maduro a slim 1.5% victory.
Iain Banks is an acclaimed Scottish author, who has written successful straight fiction as well science fiction (as Iain M. Banks). His science fiction series “The Culture” deals with a post-scarcity, egalitarian and classless society. Tragically, the 59-year-old author recently announced that he has terminal cancer.

Perth protest by sole parents and supporters against the cuts to parenting payment in which 84000 sole parents have been forced onto Newstart at a rate more than $130 per week below the poverty line! Speakers included: Rachel Siewert, Mary O'Brien and Sam Wainwright and others.

In the week leading up to Venezuela’s April 14 presidential elections, whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks published a classified cable indicating that US-based aid organisations were working to overthrow the government and defend US corporate interests in the Andean country.
British groups have for three months been pressing Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to withdraw its festival invitation to Israel's National Theatre, Habima, in response to the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli cultural institutions, Mondweiss.net said on March 29.
Nicolas Maduro, the candidate for the Unitede Socialist Party of Venezuela, has won the Venezuelan presidential election with 50.66 percent of the vote against 49.07 percent for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Maduro gave a victory speech immediately after, while Capriles initially refused to recognize the results. The “first bulletin” results were announced by the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, at around 11:20 p.m. Venezuelan time, with 99.12 percent of the votes totaled, enough to give Maduro an irreversible victory.
Rallies were held around the country on April 13 to protest the federal government's cuts to single parent benefits which will force families deeper into poverty. In the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, 30 people gathered to hear from speakers which included single parents, Penrith city councillor Michelle Tormey and founder of ChilOut, Dianne Hiles, who campaigns to get refugee children and families out of detention. Photos: Tessa Barrett
The Victorian government has taken retribution against public housing tenants and their supporters who successfully fought off the privatisation of their open space at two of Melbourne’s public housing towers — Richmond estate and Atherton Gardens estate. Socialist Party Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly doorknocked and organised meetings of tenants and their supporters in a successful campaign. The doorknocking was critical to inform tenants of the state government’s plans.
Those who live in Australia are used to hearing about how lucky they are. The idea that Australians just don’t realise their luck has become popular in the lead up to the next federal election by some who feel that it would be crazy to vote out the federal Labor government.
At first, a bridging visa seems like a new life. A brief glimpse of freedom is felt by many asylum seekers who, after years in detention, see an opportunity to live freely in Australia. The temporary, selective visa gets asylum seekers six weeks’ accommodation and financial support of $219 a week — a figure that is 89% of the Newstart allowance. But after six weeks — a nanosecond in Australia's cumbersome and bureaucratic refugee processing system — asylum seekers are expected to go out on their own, find somewhere to live, and somehow survive on a few hundred dollars a week.