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The Tony Abbott government has announced another Royal Commission into corruption in building industry unions. But Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver said the terms of reference for this Royal Commission “are narrowly directed at unions and will not adequately deal with corruption or unlawful behaviour by businesses or employers”.
From Sortu, left-wing party of supporters of Basque sovereignty, we would like to congratulate Green Left Weekly on publishing 1000 issues to date; a long journey, during which it has provided a truthful coverage of world events. We would like to express our thanks for the attention your publication has paid to news from Euskal Herria (the Basque Country), especially events of recent years, which have created a new political situation in our country and are bringing us closer to a just and lasting peace.
Several hundred residents and supporters rallied in Ashfield Park, in Sydney’s inner west, on February 9 to protest against the WestConnex road development. Rally organisers said: "WestConnex intends to widen Parramatta Road in order to create an entrance to the planned westbound tunnel under Parramatta Road. We stand to lose a 10-20 metre stretch of Ashfield Park. "Ashfield Park may be used as a depot for trucks and heavy machinery for up to seven years. Now is the time to protest."
The Basque political prisoner Arkaitz Bellon was found dead in his jail cell on February 5, more than 1000 kilometres from his home. The body of the prisoner from Elorrio, who was 36, was found in his bed. Jail authorities say “his death points to natural causes”, but they will carry out a more detailed investigation. Bellon's lawyers and family have petitioned for a doctor they trust to be present at the autopsy. Bellon spent 13 years in prison for acts of sabotage and had the date for his release was set for next May.

Seminal grindcore band Nausea released a genre-defining album in 1989's World Downfall. A quarter of a century on, they have put out its critically-acclaimed follow-up, Condemned To The System, helped by the production skills of new bassist Alejandro Corredor. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to Corredor about the tracks on the Los Angeles-based band's new album and his past in the Latin American hardcore scene.

Sit-ins to support Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been held every week since 1995 in the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Gaza office. Recently, they have been followed by rallies outside the office for Ibrahim Bitar, a sick detainee in Israel’s Nafha prison. Ibrahim’s brother Mamdouh said: “We’ve garnered internal support for my brother, and created this popular campaign. It started within our family. It’s a symbol of all the sick detainees.”
The letter below was published at Egypt Solidarity Campaign, where you can go to add your name. * * * TO: President Adly Mansour; Prime Minister Hazem el Beblawi. We the undersigned, condemn the Egyptian government’s arrest, detention and torture of activists exercising their right to legally and peacefully protest.
In the general elections held on February 2, 44.7 million people were eligible to vote. On the day, 20.4 million cast their vote. Kasian Tejapira, a lecturer at Thammasat University, has estimated that there were about 12 million people who could not vote due to the right-wing thugs blocking polling stations and using violence to disrupt the election. This indicates there were about 32 million in total who wanted to vote. This compares to 35 million people who voted in 2011.
There are some cynics who argue that Tony Abbott is a lying scumbag who wouldn't know the truth if it was tattooed on Rupert Murdoch's arse. Or, to put it another way, if it was right in front of his face. But this is demonstratively false, because Abbott told us in his February 1 YouTube video “Delivering on Our Promises” that “not a single illegal boat has arrived since mid-December”.
A new opinion poll shows left-wing opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party ahead of the ruling conservative New Democracy by 1.5%, Ekathimerini.com said on February 12. The survey showed SYRIZA leading with 30% support. A poll published in January put SYRIZA at 31.5% and New Democracy at 28%.
As a 65-year-old Afghan Hazara man fights to avoid deportation, refugee rights advocates grow increasingly alarmed by reported “round ups” of hundreds of asylum seekers who are being threatened with imminent deportation. Immigration minister Scott Morrison confirmed last month that the government was re-detaining people who had been denied refugee status and have apparently exhausted their appeals. Refugees reported from detention centres across Australia that those who have been “screened out” were being told to pack up and prepare to be removed.
"February 14 is celebrated as a day of of love by many people, but for us it is a day of grief" said one of the Aboriginal speakers at the start of the rally and march to mark the 10th anniversary of the killing of Aboriginal youth TJ Hickey in a police pursuit in Redfern. The protest began at the spot in where TJ was impaled on a fence after being thrown off his bicycle. The Hickey family, including mother Gail, where out in force. "Its been 10 long years but I am not giving up the fight," she said. Photos below by Peter Boyle