Issue 959

Australia

A protest was held outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney on March 19, to oppose the controversial state visit by the Myanmar president Thein Sein.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with Thein and announced a $20 million two-year aid program, as well as the posting...

The Victoria Refugee Action Collective held a forum on March 20 called “Persecuted in Sri Lanka, detained in Australia: the plight of Tamil refugees”.

Former journalist Trevor Grant said the Australian public has been taught to be fearful of refugees. The language used to speak about...

A protest against racism outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office on March 21 demanded an end to the Northern Territory intervention and its expansion into areas such as Bankstown in south-west Sydney.

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) organised the rally, which...

This letter was read out to 300 people who rallied in Campbelltown, NSW on March 17 to protest against coal seam gas (CSG) expansion in the area.

***

Good afternoon all. My name is Debbi Orr and I live in the Tara Estates — a gas field in Queensland.

Since CSG invaded our...

Several prominent people have signed a letter to the Australian government calling for Jock Palfreeman, a young Australian in prison in Bulgaria, to be brought back to Australia.

Supporters of the call to bring Palfreeman home include author and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, Julian...

There has long been support across Australia for sustainable job creation. With new environmental technologies being created at a rapid pace, green jobs have been created in installation and retail — but what about sustainable manufacturing?

There is now a push for sustainable jobs that...

As an Aboriginal woman, from the Kairi and Gubbi Gubbi nations of central Queensland, I identify with oppressed people around the world and I see our liberation as tied closely to that of other indigenous and subjugated peoples.

In September last year, I had the great pleasure of...

More than 200 people attended the "Todos Somos Chavez — We Are All Chavez" memorial meeting at the Addison Community Centre on March 16.

The event was one of several memorials held around Australia to honour the life and political struggles of Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez....

About 200 people attended a community forum on March 19 to discuss the future of policing at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. It was organised in response to community outrage over violent arrests at this year's parade.

The forum was called by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian...

World

Former chairperson of the US National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran.

The NIE report’s finding that Iran had no active...

Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) came close last year to winning national elections standing on a program of rejecting brutal anti-austerity measures and pushing polices in favour of working people. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras spoke to a large public...

The Real News looks at the gains made by Palestinian prisoners' hunger strikes against Israel. Transcript below.

LIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER, TRNN: On Sunday, March 17, Israeli authorities conceded to the ongoing Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike, releasing one of the four men who have...

Palestinian prisoner Ayman Sharawna, freed from Israeli prison in a deal that denies him the right to return to his West Bank home for a decade, was given a hero's welcome in the Gaza Strip on March 17.

The Morning Star said on March 19 that 36-year-old Sharawna ended his hunger...

Not a single politician in Cyrpus's parliament voted for a brutal austerity deal that would see the government receive bailout funds in return for direct taxes on ordinary people's savings when it was put to legislators on March 19.

After days of angry protests on the streets and furious...

US NGO Just Foreign Policy estimates that more than 1,450,000 Iraqis have died since the US-led invasion 10 years ago. In the 2004 US offensive on Fallujah, a stronghold of anti-occupation resistance, the large majority of buildings were destroyed or damaged.

US soldiers were also...

Venezuelan officials announced on Wednesday that they are breaking off talks with US diplomats, accusing the United States government of interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs ahead of next month’s elections.

“This line of communication is now suspended, postponed until the United...

Since Richard Nixon proclaimed the “War on Drugs” four decades ago, drug use around the world has skyrocketed.

From 1998 to 2008 alone, global opiate use rose 34.5%, cocaine 28% and marijuana 8.5%.

People in the US are the world’s largest users of cocaine, Colombian heroin,...

At the most highly contaminated US nuclear site, redundancy notices went out on March 18 to nearly 250 workers. More than 2500 others were notified they faced temporary layoffs of several weeks.

About 9000 people work at Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which produced...

It takes more than an individual to upset the international chessboard as dramatically as it has been in the past decade.

Forces unleashed by the logic of capitalism have drawn a new geopolitical map, in which the United States has lost its former place as the world's centre of gravity...

Washington has simultaneously called for cooperation from Venezuela and worked to undermine the oil-rich nation's interim government.

Shortly after the death of socialist president Hugo Chavez on March 5, the White House issued a statement expressing an “interest in developing a...

It is one of the most bitter ironies of this century so far that a war carried out as part of the so-called war on terror turned out to be one of history’s worst acts of terror.

US NGO Just Foreign Policy estimates that more than 1,450,000 Iraqis have died since the US-led invasion 10...

Analysis

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Sydney is involved in an industrial battle with the administration over pay, conditions and casualisation.

As part of this campaign, the union held a 24-hour strike on March 6. Staff and students held pickets outside all...

A landmark ruling in Sydney on February 15 gave the biotechnology industry an unprecedented right to make huge profits from genetic testing.

The case involved the breast cancer genes BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 and the right of US biotechnology company Myriad Genetics to have exclusive licence to...

Having tried absolutely everything they could think of to win the support of voters besides push good polices in favour of working people, there was really nothing for Labor's parliamentary caucus to do except launch yet another leadership spill on March 21.

It might have been a farce...

Over the past year, we have seen a huge rise in activity around women’s rights in Australia and other parts of the world.

Attention has turned to a range of horrific individual tragedies as well as broader issues, including sexual assault and violence against women, the disparity in...

There are at least two truisms in Aboriginal affairs. The first is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ll come back to that one. The second is that the road through Aboriginal affairs, while often paved with good intentions, is sometimes paved with bad ones.

I’m...

The abortive leadership spill in the Labor party on March 22 was yet another demonstration of its total political bankruptcy.

Kevin Rudd's leadership ambitions may now be in the dustbin of history but Prime Minister Julia Gillard has won a pyrrhic victory.

The public watched this...

Do oil spills make good economic sense? A witness called by Canadian firm Enbridge Inc— which wants approval to build a $6.5 billion pipeline linking Alberta’s tar sands with the Pacific coast — told a recent hearing in British Columbia that the answer is yes.

He said oil spills could...

When coal seam gas company Metgasco announced on March 13 it had suspended its operations in northern NSW after a long community campaign against it, it was just the latest in a series of setbacks for the CSG industry.

It followed the suspension of an AGL project in Campbelltown in...

Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills was replaced by Adam Giles in a sudden leadership coup on March 13, while Mills was in Japan on a trade mission. This shift has led to backdowns from the Country Liberal Party (CLP) on some regressive policies but could pave the way for more attacks...

Culture

A selection of the past fortnight's celebrity news...

John Farnham voted Australia’s best singer of all time - who didn't make the cut but should have? http://bit.ly/11e6w7d

Blood On The Dancefloor Discuss Jesus And Rape Alegations In New Song http://bit...

Efforts And Means
Astpai
Jump Start Records, 2012
www.astpai.org

Austrian hardcore punks Astpai jack up heavy slabs of guitar with speeding snares and leering lyrics. They serve up a rare and biting musical take on Austrian politics. Green...

The Price of Valour: The Triumph & Tragedy of a Gallipoli Hero, Hugo Throssell, VC
John Hamilton
Pan Macmillan, 2012
393 pages, $34.99 (pb)

Captain Hugo Throssell, one of nine Australian soldiers to win a Victoria Cross for supreme bravery...

The Managed Heart, Commercialization of Human Feeling
Arlie Russell Hochschild
University of California Press, 2012
339pp, $39.95

Forcing front line staff to engage at a “personal level” with customers has been an increasingly obnoxious part of...

Fighting Fund

The mining companies’ best friend in the federal Labor government, former resources minister Martin Ferguson, supported a Kevin Rudd comeback and fell on his sword after the Labor leadership spill-that-wasn't.

Ferguson said he was resigning from cabinet and retreating to the backbench on...