The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) recognised Venezuela on June 16 as one of 18 countries that had achieved exceptional progress toward reducing the prevalence of malnutrition. Measuring progress from 1990-1992 until 2010-2012, the FAO determined that 20 countries had cut the proportion of hungry people by half, satisfying the first of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) originally set for 2015.
About 100 people attended a public meeting jointly organised by Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative in Sydney on June 25. The meeting discussed how a united left would be in a stronger position to campaign against a conservative Coalition government. Speakers from both organisations, Pip Hinman and Dianne Fields, raised ideas about how a possible united socialist party could organise.
The protests and demonstrations over the announced closing of the whole Greek Public Television and Radio Network (ERT) by the Greek government on June 11, are not only about the proposed firing of 2650 workers, nor are they simply a protest about the severe blow to quality broadcasting and entertainment.
Democratic Left pulled its ministers out of Greece's ruling coalition cabinet on June 21 after talks to resume state television broadcasts collapsed. MPs from the party, which makes up the third part of the ruling coalition, were angered by the abrupt shutdown of broadcaster ERT on June 11 and met to decide whether to continue backing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Brazil is in revolt. What started as a protest about a R$0.20 rise (about $0.10) in bus fares has turned into a mass nationwide movement against corruption, the rising cost of living, starved public services and money squandered on sporting mega-events. Events are moving fast with protests growing and spreading to new cities each day, and it is far from clear when or how it will end.
A selection of this week's politically-relevant entertainment news... Rapper LL Cool J explains his song 'Accidental Racist' with country music singer Brad Paisley. http://youtu.be/GG676KRXH9A + Full Song Lyrics http://tinyurl.com/c6hwtnw 2013 Cannes Film Festival Fake Gunman Sentenced to 18 Months in Jail for Firing Blanks http://eonli.ne/10QNl5U Domestic abuser and singer Chris Brown Accused of Assaulting Woman in Nightclub. http://eonli.ne/1cgkNT9
About 400 people filled the Fitzroy Town Hall for the launch of the “trains not toll roads” campaign on June 13. The Yarra City Council organised the launch to advocate for a rail line from the CBD to Doncaster Hill, as well as to oppose the state government’s proposed East-West road link.
The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on June 21. *** Asylum seekers are angry and upset at the death of an Afghan asylum seeker in the Villawood detention centre on June 20. According to witnesses inside the detention centre, Serco guards left the man, named Ali, on the ground for almost an hour before calling an ambulance. He was taken from the centre around 7.30pm and died later that night.
When I asked Margarita Windisch, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Wills, to explain why she became an activist, the answer was simple. She said, “Life is very political, like it or not. So it’s better to get into the fray and fight for what we want and what the planet needs than to leave it up to a small rich minority who will put their bank accounts before humanity. That’s what I decided to do anyway and have never looked back.”
Prominent human rights advocate, Julian Burnside, QC, was scathing in his assessment of both the major parties and mainstream media’s approach to asylum seekers in a public address at the invitation of the Townsville branch of Amnesty International on Jun 14. Burnside told the audience that “both parties are trading in human misery in order to win or retain power” and mainstream media have to stop spreading the message that asylum seekers are illegal.
Sireen Khudiri is a 24-year-old Palestinian teacher, human rights activist and political prisoner. She studied computer science at the Open University in Tubas, on the West Bank. Khudiri is an advocate of the rights of children in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to have a decent education and has been active in non-violent campaigns against the abuses imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities. Khudiri also writes to publicise the struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights.
Many protests took place last week. There were protests against government inaction on the climate emergency, against the mass sackings by a bank making record profits and a sad vigil for a 26-year-old Hazara man who died in an Australian immigration detention centre. More protests were also planned for refugee rights, Aboriginal rights and in solidarity with the new people's power movement in Turkey united around the defence of Gezi Park. This is not unusual in Sydney these days. There is a lot to protest about today but most of these campaigns are quite small.
About 40 people gathered in Raintree Park, Darwin, to mark World Refugee Day on June 20. Larrikiah woman June Mills opened the gathering with a rendition of Arafura Pearl, and an explanation of the Aboriginal practice of welcoming strangers to their land. Other speaker included Greens councillor Robin Knox, Tamil-Australian lawyer Kajaliny Ranjithkuma and Reverend Basil Schild. A minute’s silence was held for the 62-year-old refugee from Afghanistan who was found dead at Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre on June 15.
Following the implementation of measures to tackle shortages in some basic food and household items, both private Venezuelan media and the government report that the level of shortages is now decreasing. Shortages hit their highest level in five years in April, provoking a flurry of international media criticism of the government and affecting the popularity of president Nicolas Maduro in the lead-up to the 14 April election.
This is a speech by Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney, at a picket outside an ANZ bank in Sydney on June 21. *** We called this demonstration following news of more job cuts by the ANZ bank despite its recent rise in profits. In April this year, ANZ announced a record half-year profit of $3.18 billion. This is 10% up on last year. ANZ is reaping massive profits at the expense of its workers. And to add insult to injury, ANZ boss Mike Smith has become the highest paid corporate CEO in Australia — his pay packet was $10.1 million last year.
Stop Income Management in Playford released this open letter on June 17. *** We the undersigned call for the suspension of the federal government’s compulsory income management, expanded to Playford and four other sites as part of programs that began in July last year. We believe compulsory income management is humiliating, unfair, and unlikely to improve quality of life for recipients or their children. We note the lack of solid evidence that this policy achieves its goals, and fear this approach will be counterproductive.