Issue 887

Australia

The leader of the National Party, Senator Barnaby Joyce, held and anti-carbon tax rally at Wollongong’s Crown St Mall on July 13. The self-professed climate change denier drew quite a crowd, but not the kind he was hoping for.

A small number of his supporters, perhaps 30, were present....

Pro-choice campaigners and activists will assemble outside a fertility control clinic in East Melbourne on July 23 for several reasons.

The clinic is under constant harassment from far-right Christian groups, including Right to Life and the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. These groups...

More public servants have voted against proposed enterprise agreements put forward by the management of various federal government agencies.

Places where staff have voted “no” include the departments of agriculture, fisheries and forestry; immigration and citizenship; defence; and...

Members of the Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union Australia (TCFUA), rallied outside boutique called Scanlan and Theodore against job cuts on July 15. The workers were employees of a company called Blossom Road, which made products for the high-end fashion label.

They were protesting...

Michael Coleman is keen to rejoin a Gaza Freedom Flotilla at any time (although his parents would say something different). The youth worker from Sydney has just returned from taking part of the international protest against Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza.

Coleman narrowly avoided a jail...

Two Australian Palestine solidarity activists, former NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale and Jews Against the Occupation activist Vivienne Porzsolt, were released from immigration detention by an Israeli court on July 13. The court ordered they not be deported.

The judge ruled that while they had...

World

How does political censorship work in liberal societies? When my film, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia, was banned in the United States in 1980, the broadcaster PBS cut all contact. Negotiations were ended abruptly; phone calls were not returned.

Something had happened....

A national assembly of the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP), uniting more than 1500 delegates from across Honduras, voted on June 26 to launch a new political party, the Broad Front of Popular Resistance (FARP).

The FNRP is the main coordinating body of popular struggle since...

In early July, Venezuela’s Social Investigation Group XXI (GIS) released new comparative data on electoral fairness in the country compiled by the Canada-based Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) which found Venezuela’s elections to be “exceptionally fair, and thereby highly democratic...

Substantial changes proposed for East Timor’s Petroleum Fund law will expose the nation’s finances to high risk and open the door to corruption.

Just a few years ago the fund was widely praised as a model of prudential and sustainable management, and a means of possibly escaping the “...

Violent attacks and rioting, orchestrated by terrorist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), have targeted communities of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland in recent weeks.

The largely working-class Catholic east Belfast suburb of Short Strand was attacked in riots organised by the UVF...

Pablo Solon completed his term as Ambassador for the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations on June 30.

As representative of a small and poor country, Solon has played a key role in perhaps the decisive political struggle of this century: the fight against climate change...

A week after Malaysian authorities failed to stop people taking to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur on July 9 to demand free and fair elections, six activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) remained detained without trial.

The detainees include federal member of...

In the predominantly Roman Catholic city of Manila, a small group of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) are preaching a message of inclusion and social justice that has angered the religious hierarchy.

Now, their practice of blessing same-sex marriages has resulted in leaders of the...

The scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch and his global media empire is giving the world a glimpse of what the face of power looks like today — and it’s ugly.

The revelations of networks of patronage and power, which link politicians and the police to corporate interests that believe...

Oh this is such fun. And every few hours it gets better, but always with an announcement there’s “still worse to come”, leaving us struggling to imagine what they might have done that’s worse.

Presumably by tomorrow it will turn out they planted a bug in Heather Mills’s false leg and...

When it comes to comparing the cases of two publishers of secret information — WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch — the hypocrisy from politicians and media is huge.

The key difference between the two is obvious — one seeks to challenge...

As rocks fly and tear gas wafts through the streets of Athens, Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou has warned of a coming crackdown on protesters and striking workers.

Meanwhile, a new bailout for the banks is being prepared in the halls of power in Europe.

Papandreou was...

Analysis

As the 28th Australian soldier was killed in Afghanistan, four Christian activists were arrested during a peaceful blockade of the secretive Swan Island military base in Victoria.

News of the death of Sergeant Todd Langley, 35, came on the second day of the week-long “Peace Convergence”...

Green capitalism is on a roll at the moment. On July 8, a group of New Zealand business leaders launched their “Pure Advantage” campaign with full-page ads in the daily papers headed: “Even if you don’t believe in climate change, there’s money to be made doing something about it.”

This...

Coal seam gas drilling has been a hot topic in Australia over the past couple of years, interest fuelled by the US documentary Gasland.

The land on top of the coal arc stretching from northern Queensland down to the southern Highlands of NSW is being slapped with exploration...

Critics have dubbed the Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill now before parliament the “WikiLeaks Amendment”.

It will strengthen the powers of Australia’s spy agency ASIO to target any individual or organisation that opposes the interests of the Australian government, even if...

A health scare developed at Villawood detention centre in June after an asylum seeker was diagnosed with leprosy.

Despite assurances from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, a whistleblower revealed the extent of asylum seekers’ poor health care.

International Health...

The federal Labor government released a discussion paper, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, on June 22. It suggests the continuation of much of the NT intervention after the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation expires next year.

Releasing the report, PM...

In a new twist to Tasmania’s forest industry crisis, two wealthy environmentalists, Graeme Woods and Jan Cameron, have bought the Triabunna woodchip mill from notorious woodchipping company Gunns Ltd.

Gunns had almost stitched up a deal with a pro-logging company called Fibre Plus (owned...

Action on climate change is one of the most important issues of all. But the Gillard government’s carbon price plan is not a serious response, grounded in the climate science.

The biggest problem is that it aims to take ten years to cut Australia’s emissions by just 5% (based on 2000...

Climate campaigners have been understandably happy about the funding bodies for renewable energy contained in the carbon price package. It seems that these measures are largely in place because of strong campaigning by the grassroots climate movement and the Greens MPs in negotiations.

...

You could be forgiven for thinking that when the Labor government says its new carbon price plan will cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 5%, it means Australia’s emissions will fall by 5%. But you would be wrong.

Treasury modelling for the carbon price says Australia’s domestic...

There’s been so much political spin around the Julia Gillard government’s carbon tax announcement. Of course, there’s the predictable hysterical hollering from Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and the climate change denier’s camp, but there is also tons of bullshit from the Labor government.

...

Letters

Carbon price not effective

It is unbecoming for the Greens and major environmental organisations to be supporting the Gillard government’s carbon price, which promises to be so palpably ineffective in reducing Australian emissions.

Even treasury modelling...

Culture

Face the Fire
Jimblah
Obese Records
Buy now on iTunes
www.myspace.com/jimblah01

If James Alberts, better known as Adelaide-based rapper Jimblah, hadn't discovered hip hop, he could well have ended up serving time in prison.

Instead...

Finding Santana
By Jill Jolliffe
Wakefield Press, 2010
177 pages, $24.95 (pb)

Jill Jolliffe's encounter with the Komodo Dragon, a carnivorous, aggressive, pre-historic lizard, was "hair-raising". But even more threatening were the murderous...

Oranges & Sunshine
Written by Rona Munro, directed by Jim Loach
Starring Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving & David Wenham
Showing now in selected cinemas

Oranges and Sunshine is a film adaptation of the book Empty Cradles,...

We kid you not

US right-winger: Gay bullying 'healthy peer pressure'

“Anti-gay bullying is not bullying at all; in fact, it is 'peer pressure and is healthy.' That’s according to Rich Swier, an activist with the Tea Party Nation.

“Swier was responding to a report from a Florida...