It’s a blight on the landscape. Participants of this year’s 11th annual refugee rights convergence gasped as the bus pulled off the Great Eastern Highway in Western Australia at the sight of the Yongah Hill detention centre. The detention centre was built in June last year and was described by immigration media spokesperson Sandi Logan as “one of the most secure” centres in the entire refugee detention network.
In an attempt to stop students protesting against the federal Labor government's $2.3 billion cut to higher education, NSW police pushed protesters off the road as they marched from Sydney University to Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office in Broadway, central Sydney. Julia Gillard's government also plans to increase public funding to private schools by $2.4 billion to $85 billion over four years.
A selection of this week's celebrity news... Talib Kweli: Rapper says of Boston bombing, 'violence begets violence'. http://bit.ly/11fowMJ Lauryn Hill To Record New Music To Pay Tax Bill? http://bit.ly/15Ip82z Yoko Ono To Unveil Not-For-Profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus http://bit.ly/ZD71Hz Flavor Flav Court Hearing Postponed For Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction http://bit.ly/15zP5lh Rolf Harris Named As Man Arrested In British Sex Abuse Case http://bit.ly/ZvYl5M
Last year, multi-award-winning playwright Angela Betzien undertook a three week residency in the Queensland town of Mt Morgan where she researched and developed a play exploring the impact of mining. Tall Man, a 50-minute two-hander, received standing ovations when it toured for one night only in three mining towns in Central Queensland. “The play made us cringe and laugh,” said one Mt Morgan resident. “It challenged a room to acknowledge its story.” Green left Weekly's Brianna Pike talked to Betzien about the play.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting of four Aboriginal teenagers in Kings Cross, a rally will be held on April 26 to demand an end to police investigating cases of police violence. The rally will gather outside the Kings Cross police station to voice disapproval of the police involved in the shooting of the unarmed youths in April last year. Since January 1, 1980, over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have died in police custody.
50 people rallied on April 18 to save the gender studies department from being cut at the University of Queensland. UQ has been teaching gender studies for 41 years and it is the only university in Queensland that still does. The university has announced it will discontinue the gender studies major from this year and has plans to cut all gender studies courses by 2018. Students marched from the great court to the UQ senate meeting where they were barred from personally delivering a petition signed by hundreds of students.
On April 2, 1911 women all over Britain were holding all-night parties, staying out at concerts and late-night restaurants, skating at ice rinks until the morning and generally having a very good time. But this was also a huge act of civil disobedience because the April 2 was Census night and these women staying out all night were refusing to have their details recorded in protest at the government’s refusal to grant votes for women.
The federal government’s plan to cut $2.3 billion from university funding is wrong. The government should end public funding to private schools and make mining companies and banks pay instead. It makes no sense for Julia Gillard’s government to fund primary and secondary education by cutting $2.3 billion from the budget of university education. Described as a “razor-gang”, the cuts to universities will turn a student scholarship scheme into a loans scheme, disadvantaging thousands of students.
An emergency speak-out: "Hands off Venezuela" was called by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) at Sydney Town Hall on April 19. Almost 100 people attended the rally, plus a small counter-protest of about a dozen Venezuelan supporters of the right-wing opposition. The rally called for "an immediate end to the opposition-initiated violence [in Venezuela], and to demand that the US and Australian governments come out and recognise [Nicolas Maduro] as Venezuela's head of state."
The New York-based National Lawyers Guild released a statement on April 16 on the Venezuela elections it helped monitor. An NLG spokesperson said: "The U.S. would do well to incorporate some of the security checks and practices that are routine in Venezuela to improve both the level of participation and the credibility of our elections." The full statement is below. * * *
The dead. The injured. The anguish. All the result of bombs that were set to explode at the finish line just over four hours after the start of the Boston Marathon. There will be time to mourn. We will mourn the dead and injured. I also mourn the Boston Marathon, and how it's now been brutally disfigured. The Boston Marathon matters in a way other sporting events simply do not. It started in 1897, inspired by the first modern marathon, which took place at the inaugural 1896 Olympics. It attracts 500,000 spectators and over 20,000 participants from 96 countries.
Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails marked Prisoners' Day with protests on April 17, joined by supporters outside the wire. More than 3000 detainees refused breakfast as part of a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with Samer Essawi, whose on-off fast has lasted more than 250 days and stoked weeks of street protests. Essawi is receiving nutrients via an intravenous drip but refusing food and his lawyer says his low heart rate means that he could die at any time.
The truth about Anzac Day is that it is as much about denial as it is about remembrance. It is a denial that functions for both sides of the original conflict. The two countries that have invested much energy into sustaining the Gallipoli industry — Australia and Turkey — also have a genocidal past. Not coincidentally, both countries have used the device of “Gallipoli, Inc” to blot out shameful historical memories that they would rather not address. See also:
An armed squad stormed the main office of Uthayan, a Tamil language daily newspaper published in the city of Jaffna in Sri Lanka's north, At 4.45am on April 13. The attackers set fire to the printing presses and copies of the paper that were ready for distribution. The Tamilnet website said the squad was believed to be operated by Sri Lankan military intelligence. Jaffna, like other Tamil areas, is under military rule. The attack is the fourth this year against Uthayan, which is owned by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member of parliament E. Saravanapavan.
Chinese leaders are aware that visiting Western leaders will be under some pressure from their domestic constituencies to raise Tibet, human rights and other “sensitive” issues. So a mechanism has been considerately created to cater for this need. It consists of a meaningless piece of theatre otherwise known as the “obligatory-behind-closed-doors-human-rights-discussion”. According to the well-worn script, the elected foreign official heads to China on a trade mission, accompanied by a media circus and some high-level trough-snouting capitalists (like Andrew Forrest).
The average worker in Britain's south-west has lost ￡1522 a year ($2255) in earnings since the coalition came to power, new research from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) showed, Morning Star said on April 19. The figures, which do not take into account rises in consumption taxes or cuts to benefits, came to light at the start of the South West TUC annual conference.