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The close-knit Texas town of West, population 2800, was shaken to the core, literally and symbolically, on April 17 when the West Fertilizer Co facility exploded with the force of a small earthquake. The blast killed 14 people and injured more than 200. Today, West resembles a war zone. Up to 75 homes and buildings were destroyed, including the local high school and a 50-unit apartment complex that was reduced to a skeleton. A nursing home near the facility was also damaged ― 133 residents had to be evacuated during the explosions and fire that followed.
Construction unions have announced they will make a submission to the Victorian Coalition government that will call for unused government-owned sites in inner-city Melbourne to be used for public housing. Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union state secretary John Setka told the Age on April 22 that the proposal would cut the public housing waiting list and provide jobs for unemployed construction workers.
The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China John Bellamy Foster & Robert W McChesney Monthly Review Press, 2012 There is growing evidence that the global economic crisis will not end any time too soon. Most mainstream economists have proven time and again to be incompetent when it comes to predicting the course of events in an economic crisis, never mind predicting the crisis itself.
In the wake of Margaret Thatcher's departure, I remember her victims. Patrick Warby's daughter, Marie, was one of them. Marie, aged five, suffered from a bowel deformity and needed a special diet. Without it, the pain was excruciating. Her father was a Durham miner and had used all his savings. It was winter 1985, the Great Strike was almost a year old and the family was destitute.
The citizens of the Spanish state awoke on April 14 to shocking news ― acts of “pure Nazism” were spreading across the country. Not only that, but they were being organised in concert with “elements close to ETA” (the armed Basque independence group that has declared a permanent ceasefire). Who was responsible? A Spanish equivalent of the Greek neo-Nazi outfit Golden Dawn? Some surviving cell of the Falange (one-time shock troops of the Franco dictatorship and admirers of Hitler’s New Order in Europe)?
Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis & Volcanoes Bill McGuire Oxford University Press, 2012 303 pages, $35.95 (hb) It is easy to forget, says Professor Bill McGuire of University College London in Waking the Giant, that human civilisation has thrived only in the broadly benign climate of the past few thousand years following the end of the last post-glacial era.
An article by journalist Elizabeth Farrelly, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 11 titled “Protecting a cultural right to abuse”, starts by posing the question, “At what point does autonomy slide into apartheid?” It argues that a policy of self-determination for Aboriginal people will lead to violence in Aboriginal communities, based on the claim that violence was endemic to pre-contact Aboriginal culture.
The fertile plains of the Ord River Irrigation Area around Kununurra in Western Australia are being transformed by plantations of Indian sandalwood, Santalum album It is the largest commercial production of Indian sandalwood in the world. In more than 60% of the total farming area around Kununurra, about 3500 hectares, sandalwood has supplanted food crops such as melons, pumpkins, legumes, chick peas, bananas, and many other crops.
The wealthiest people, banks and corporations have long avoided paying tax by hiding their assets in tax havens, outside their own countries. Many of these tax havens are so secret that even the banks themselves do not know who owns the accounts. But now, a huge leak of secret documents has led a global network of journalists to expose the world’s richest tax evaders.
The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority released this statement on April 22. *** It is with considerable sadness that we announce the passing of Thomas Trevorrow at the age of 58 from a heart attack at his office at Camp Coorong, Meningie. Trevorrow was a strong and proud Ngarrindjeri man and a leading advocate for Aboriginal rights in Australia. He worked throughout his life to better the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and to support the advancement and recognition of the Ngarrindjeri people.

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