Issue 987

Australia

Controversial private member’s bill “Zoe’s law”, which aims to give legal rights to foetuses, was again set aside in the NSW Legislative Assembly on October 31. Only a few MPs turned up to the third second-reading debate; four spoke against and three spoke for it.

Those against were:...

"We are here today,” Professor Stuart Rees told a media conference at Queens Square on October 30, “to express our outrage that a so-called independent law centre from Israel could attempt to stamp out freedom of speech in Australia.”

"We call on the mainstream media to take an objective...

McDonald’s Australia has ceased legal action against eight community protesters — dubbed the “Tecoma 8” — who were being sued for damages over delays to construction of a McDonald’s restaurant in Tecoma, in the Dandenong Ranges on the outskirts of Melbourne.

For two years a strong local...

Emergency service workers rallied on October 29 to oppose attempts by the Victorian government to introduce sweeping changes to the Transport Accident Act, which would take away emergency workers’ common law right to seek injury compensation for psychological injury, including post-traumatic...

Tasmanian Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell said he was grateful for the thoughts behind his Australia Day award nomination but that he “would be a hypocrite to accept it”.

Mansell has been outspoken about the offensiveness of Australia’s national day celebrating the invasion and...

World

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute individuals alleged to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

From the ICC’s inception, the US objected to the possibility that US nationals could be subject to its jurisdiction.

The...

Venezuela's finance minister, Nelson Merentes, presented a draft 2014 budget to the National Assembly on October 22 that devotes more revenue to social services, while predicting continued economic growth and lower inflation.

About 62% of the 551 billion bolivars budget (about $92...

The UN General Assembly has voted for the 22nd consecutive year to reject the US embargo, with 188 nations opposed the embargo and three abstentions.

Only the US and Israel voted in favour of the continuation of the embargo, which has been in place since 1960. The UN resolution is non-...

Canada's colonial past is its present, too, however much Prime Minister Stephen Harper seeks to obfuscate the reality of the history of this land.

Recent events have served as a prime example of how denial of past colonialism helps to perpetuate ongoing colonial relationships. The flash...

The growing resistance to fracking — the “hydraulic fracturing” of deep level shale rocks to extract natural gas — promises to reignite the climate movement after the failure of United Nations climate talks in 2009.

A feature of the recent march and blockades at Cuadrilla Resources’...

From Richmond, California to Ecuador and Romania, communities affected by oil giant Chevron’s operations are rising up to demand justice.

Chevron’s response in each case has been consistently irresponsible: Deny any wrongdoing, cover up the extent of corporate malpractice and...

Who was that odd-looking group on bicycles, those white-legged very English-looking people pedalling through the hectic Barcelona traffic? Why were they wearing t-shirts in the colours of the second Spanish Republic (1931-1939), with the words “¡No Pasarán!” embroidered on their sleeves?

...

A police raid on a Roma settlement outside the rural town of Farsala in central Greece on October 16 made worldwide headlines.

The raid was nothing unusual but, as Associated Press said on October 22, “one of dozens of raids they have carried out on Roma camps in the past few weeks in a...

Anyone in Spain with the slightest understanding of human rights’ law knew that the Grand Chamber (full bench) of the European Court of Human Rights was bound to reject the appeal of the Spanish government over the case of convicted Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) prisoner Ines del Rio.

...

Candidates from the left-wing Freedom and Refoundation (LIBRE) party, their families and campaign leaders have suffered more killings and armed attacks since May last year than all other political parties in Honduras combined, an October 21 report by Canadian-based Rights Action has found....

Several thousands of people marched and rallied in the United States’ capital on October 26 in protest against the mass surveillance of almost all Americans and hundreds of millions of citizens of other countries.

The huge Big Brother program, conducted by the US National Security Agency...

A recent report details genocide against the indigenous people of West Papua carried out by the Indonesian government, which has occupied the territory since the 1960s.

The report, “A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua”, was written by Dr Jim Elmslie and Dr Camellia Webb...

Analysis

Police on horseback and riot officers violently broke up a student protest in Melbourne on October 30. The demonstration was held to oppose federal government threats to higher education, and was part of a national week of student action, called by the National Union of Students.

Just...

Selected people in Australia recently received the following invitation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: “Dear TPP Stakeholders, As part of the Australian Government’s ongoing public consultation process on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations, the TPP...

Many residents have been involved in the campaign to stop the East West tunnel in Melbourne, an $8-15 billion tollway project of Denis Napthine’s Coalition government.

One resident, Keith Fitzgerald, has lived in Collingwood for 70 years.

Fitzgerald told Green Left Weekly...

More people die from air pollution in Australia than the road toll, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale told a public meeting in Melbourne’s inner-west municipality of Maribyrnong on October 23.

Di Natale instigated the recent Senate inquiry into the effects of air pollution on human health...

The stack of new laws rushed through the Queensland parliament in recent weeks have put the Liberal National Party government on a collision course with the judiciary, the legal fraternity, trade unions and civil liberties activists not seen since the days of Joh Bjelke Petersen.

These...

The ANZ announced a full-year cash profit of $6.5 billion on October 29.

Two days later, the NAB posted a profit that was not quite so big. It had only managed $5.94 billion in the year to September.

Banks make their profits in a number of ways. One is a sort of bankers’ version...

Despite a Victorian state moratorium since last year barring the use of “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) to extract gas, communities across the state continue to protest against gas drilling and exploration.

Sixty locals protested at a test drilling site in Yarragon in Gippsland, east...

Comedian, Hollywood star and former host of MTV and Big Brother's Big Mouth Russell Brand took on veteran BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman in a Newsnight interview subsequently viewed millions of times on YouTube.

The journalist, veteran of many bruising encounters with...

Just what questions can you be asked when you apply for a job? According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on October 12, global energy company Chevron asks some intrusive reproductive health questions of women applicants in its recruitment process.

Questions include...

This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance on October 28

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The passing of the ACT assembly's bill to allow same-sex marriages on October 22 is a significant win and a step towards full, federal marriage equality.

The win is a result of long, hard-fought,...

Secondary Students for Refugee Rights (SSFRR) is a group that was founded by Caitlin Woodland and Lucy Dodd, both students at Princes Hill Secondary College, to advocate for refugees’ rights.

It formed during the federal election campaign in response to refugees being demonised by...

The Country Liberal government of the Northern Territory announced on October 26 it was extending a reservation over Darwin’s rural area to “protect rural and rural-residential areas of the Greater Darwin region from oil and gas development”.

“Whilst the Country Liberal government is...

Letters

Reclaim The Night has a proud international history as an annual protest of women and their supporters demanding an end to violence against women, and to the sexism and misogyny that underpin it. As shown by a 2012 globally focused study by US political scientists Mala Htun and S. Laurel Weldon...

Culture

Your 14-year-old daughter is dumped on your freezing front lawn in a state of chemically induced incoherence with her shoes off and frost stuck in her hair. She tells you she was raped. You hear her 13-year-old best friend was also raped that same night.

Your daughter is then bullied as...

Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield
Jeremy Scahill
Serpent’s Tail, 2013
642 pages

With his first drone strike in Pakistan just a few days after settling into the White House in 2009, the freshly minted Democratic President, Barak Obama, not...

IED EP
Pataphysics
Out November 8
www.pataphysics.com

Multi-lingual multi-instrumentalist Pat Marks fronts the multi-faceted Melbourne band Pataphysics. As the critically-acclaimed "guerilla hip-hop" outfit prepare to launch...

The Big Truck That Went By, How the World Came to Save Haiti and left Behind a Disaster
By Jonathan M. Katz
Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
282 pp., $24.95

On January 12, 2010, Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, was devastated by a huge...

I was introduced to Gazan hip-hop act Revolution Makers when I saw them perform a rare live hip-hop performance in Gaza City during PalFest in May.

Since then the duo, brothers Mohammed and Osama Elsusi, have put out a number of new songs. Their newest song, “What’s going on”, features...

Recently, Mamamia editor Mia Freedman wrote a blog post railing against Kim Kardashian. While by no means do I hold Kardashian up as a demonstration of feminism, I think that Freedman has this wrong, very wrong.

From the title “Are you a mother or a porn star?”, which degrades the...