What a week! Oh such boundless joy that transports us to the very heavens! It began with BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell gasping statements such as: “I am informed the royal cervix has currently widened to 9cm, and the Queen is said to be ‘thrilled’ at this level of dilation.” “The world waits” were the words the BBC put up, and indeed the whole world was thinking of nothing else. Somali fishermen abandoned their nets, saying: “Today I cannot concentrate on mackerel to feed my village, as we pray that Nicholas Witchell soon brings us news of the royal head emerging.”
August 9, 1971 is a date firmly etched in the minds of many people in six counties in Ireland's north occupied by Britain. It was the date of the start of the occupying British Army's Operation Demetrius — more commonly known as the start of internment. Internment was the military response to a popular uprising against a politically bankrupt Stormont regime. As part of Operation Demetrius, thousands of British soldiers descended on nationalist areas, smashed into homes and dragged hundreds of men away to be incarcerated in prison camps without charge or trial.
Outsourced truck drivers contracted to perform work for the Australian multinational company Boral have been on an indefinite strike since June 25 in Dangjin in South Korea’s South Chungcheong province. Boral specialises in the supply of building materials. Its headquarters are in Sydney and it employs more than 15,000 people in Australia, the United States and across Asia.
For the second time in six months, Tunisia's government has been thrown into chaos after the killing of a left-wing leader. Mohamed Brahmi, a leader of Tunisia's Popular Front, was assassinated on July 25. Brahmi was attacked by two men on motorbike outside his home in Ariana, a suburb of Tunis, and was shot 11 times. He was taken to Mahmoud Matri Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His widow M'barka told radio station Mosaique FM: “He died as a martyr to his opinion and position”, Tunisia Live said. She added that “he was killed by a terrorist gang”.
"Thirty Years But Still No Justice!" was the theme of an Aboriginal deaths in custody forum held in Redfern on July 27. Speakers addressed issues of deaths in custody, victims of police brutality and other social justice concerns. The forum was also the Sydney launch of the National Deaths in Custody Coalition (NDCC), established in February this year to organise for a national day of action on Saturday, September 28 to mark 30 years since the death at police hands of WA Aboriginal youth John Pat in 1983. The meeting was sponsored by the Indigenous Social Justice Association.
A forum at the University of Wollongong on August 1 called "Trouble in the Edufactory: The Sydney Uni Strike and the Struggle for the University" heard from Sydney university PhD student and casual academic staff member Mark Gawne. Gawne, a graduate of the University of Wollongong, described this year's series of strikes at Sydney as the product of years of dissatisfaction among staff and students over increasing cutbacks.
Dave Kerin from the Victorian Earthworker Cooperative toured the Hunter region on July 30 and 31 to talk about the Eureka Future Cooperative. The cooperative plans to make solar hot water units in the LaTrobe Valley of Victoria, with the support of trade unions, the Uniting Church, Victoria Trades Hall, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and community fundraising. The project is particularly relevant to the Hunter, whose coal industry is in the midst of an overproduction crisis, fuelled by lower than expected demand for steaming coal from China and the rise of renewables worldwide.
After promising not to “lurch to the right” on refugees if he returned as prime minister, Kevin Rudd dramatically did just that with his plan to send refugees to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement. He says no refugee who arrives by boat will ever be settled in Australia. This is a draconian plan beyond the dreams of hardline racists like Pauline Hanson and John Howard. Yet despite this, leaders of the ALP left, such as Doug Cameron and Melissa Parke, have defended the policy.
This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance on August 2. *** “Both Liberal and Labor governments have squandered the fruits of the mining boom,” said Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney, in response to the Rudd government's August 2 economic statement. “And the only real solution lies in reversing the tax cuts given to the rich by the Howard and Gillard-Rudd governments and by nationalising the mines, banks and energy companies and put them under the democratic control of the community.
Stop CSG Illawarra released this statement on August 2. *** The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane, released the initial report from her review into coal seam gas (CSG) on July 31. The findings — particularly the contaminants involved and risks to water resources — confirm risks that community members have been talking about for years. However, the recommendations from the review are framed by the terms of reference, and focus on how to develop the industry, not if or under what conditions development is safe.