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With few exceptions, most international media coverage of the recent protests in Venezuela gives little sense of the response from the popular social movements who support the government of President Nicolas Maduro but operate independently from it. As researchers who have carried out long-term fieldwork in the urban barrios (poor neighbourhoods) of Caracas, we felt compelled to translate and publish the statement of one of these barrio groups.
The governments of the United States, Europe and Canada are working furiously to help consolidate the conservative and rightist government that has come into office in Ukraine after the overthrow of the authoritarian regime of Victor Yanukovych 10 days ago. The overthrow of the regime came about through a confluence of mass protests against its authoritarian rule and retrograde social and economic policies, and a very active intervention by right-wing and fascist political forces.
Indiscriminate violence against ordinary people, whether they be involved in politics or not, is always appalling and serves no progressive or democratic purpose. The recent killing of children is even worse. We have no idea who has been committing these latest deadly atrocities in Bangkok or in Trat and it would be foolish to make wild guesses. It could be those who favour a dictatorship and wish to create conditions favourable for a military coup against elected President Yingluck Shinawatra.
Party of the European Left: building unity to build hope When the 200-plus delegates finally voted on the two main documents presented to the fourth congress of the Party of the European Left (EL), held on December 13-15 in Madrid, there was a faint murmur of surprise at the degree of support received, in an eyewitness account of fourth congress of the group that unites left parties across the continent. Noam Chomsky's weak spot on political power
Cusco, a city of 400,000 in south-eastern Peru, was totally paralysed on February 25. It was the first day of a 48-hour general strike initiated by trade unions and other civic groups. The strike was supported by bus, taxi and truck drivers, as well as peasant and indigenous groups in provinces throughout the Cusco region. All vehicular traffic ceased in the downtown area and citizens walked freely through the streets ― an unusual sight in a South American city.
A by eight international trade unions and non-government organisations details the brutal government repression Cambodian garment workers were subjected to. It said the workers' demand to raise the minimum wage were reasonable.
Almost a year has passed since the death of Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013. Arguably this has been the most difficult one for the Bolivarian Revolution. Many people, both on the left and the right expressed doubt that there could be Chavismo without Chávez. Perhaps a year is still too short of a period to assess the situation after Chávez’s passing. Yet, the dynamic developments over the past twelve months call for some preliminary remarks.
Venezuelan car workers have slammed multinational car manufacturers for cutting back production in the country. The country's largest trade union federation has called for the industry to be nationalised. Accusing multinational car companies of being “imperialist”, the National Workers' Union (UNT) has called on the government to place car factories under worker control. The UNT said: “It's clear that building socialism relies on the working class, indeed the workers' control of the factories.”
After failing to violently crush mass protests in Kiev’s Independence Square, which have been raging since November 21, the regime of Viktor Yanukovich collapsed on February 22. The protests began in opposition to Yanukovich’s decision to back out of a Free Trade Agreement and Association Agreement with the European Union. But in the face of police brutality, the protests evolved into a general expression of anti-regime discontent. The movement was initially known as Euromaidan (“Eurosquare”) but later just Maidan, reflecting this evolution.
Police have not responded to a petition Taser victim Sheila Oakley handed to them a week ago. In response, a community assembly was held outside Logan police station on February 22. Oakley was in hospital and could not attend the rally. Paul Butterworth, an Aboriginal elder who had called the assembly, told the crowd: “We will keep coming back until something’s done about this.” He also said harassment of the local community continued, including children in Oakley’s family. Oakley’s brother expressed his thanks for the support they were receiving.
The Tarkine wilderness in north-west Tasmania is under threat from iron ore mining. The took Perth-based exploration firm Venture Minerals and the Tasmanian state government to the federal court last month to challenge a proposed iron ore mine at Riley Creek in the Tarkine.
Terry Barnes, a former adviser to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is credited with coming up with the bright idea of introducing a $6 payment when people visit their GP. After Barnes left the prime minister’s employ, he wrote a submission to the government’s Commission of Audit on behalf of the Australian Centre for Health Research, a right-wing think-tank set up by a private health insurer, proposing the extra charge for GP visits. He claimed that it would save $750 million over four years.
An anonymous post to the Facebook group “Parenting Payments for Parents — not Newstart” (PPPNN) on February 26 read: “It’s been a very long, long, tiring road with no help from police regarding the violence ... I am now settled in a new private rental of $355 a week but I just can’t get back on track … I can’t put food on the table or nappies on my children’s bottoms this week.
As approaches its 1000th issue, more than 20 years after it first hit the streets, we will be looking back at some of the campaigns it has covered and its role as an alternative source of news. This week we look at women's liberation. ***
About 140 people attended Manningham City Council’s forum on February 20 to hear speakers discuss the case for a railway line to Doncaster, Victoria. Doncaster Rail has been promised since the late 1890s and Manningham City, comprising 10 suburbs and only 12 kilometres from the CBD, is the only Melbourne municipality without a railway line even though it is a rapidly growing area. At the 2011 Census, Manningham had a population of 111,300.
Throughout March, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be reviewing the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, among other countries, at it meeting in Geneva. At last year’s session, the UNHRC passed a resolution calling on the Sri Lankan government to “conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law”.

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