Kurdish activist: 'I'm on hunger strike for freedom'

Leyla Guven, a member of Turkey’s parliament for the left-wing, Kurdish-led People’s Democratic party (HDP), launched an indefinite hunger strike on November 7 from Amed Prison, where she was held jailed by Turkey’s regime. Her demand is for an end to the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Jailed by Turkey since 1999, Ocalan is the recognised leader of the Kurdish liberation movement. Since 2011, his lawyers have been unable to met with him.

Guven’s hunger strike, which entered its 81st day on February 6, has sparked protests by Kurdish communities and their supporters around the world — and many solidarity hunger strikes. Guven was released by the regime from detention on January 25, but her hunger strike has continued.

Adani ramps up propaganda war, intimidation of activists

Adani has once again missed its own deadline for starting construction at its Carmichael coalmine in the Galilee Basin, but the coalmining giant is ramping up its propaganda war and intimidation of activists.

Adani is continuing to run advertisements and opinion pieces in newspapers, along with paying for huge billboards in Brisbane, all talking up the supposed jobs that the proposed mine will create.

But while Adani has announced that heavy construction equipment will be moved to the area and that it is engaging contractors, it will not be able to start construction unless it gets approval for its environmental management plan relating to the black-throated finch and a groundwater management plan.

Adani is also facing a legal challenge in the Federal Court by the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council (W&J TO), which is due to be heard in May.

ParentsNext program discriminates against sole parents

ParentsNext is a new Department of Human Services (DHS) program that was rolled out nationally last July for about 75,000 sole parents who are receiving Parenting Payment.

The program is compulsory for all single parents whose youngest child has turned five, unless they are living in a regional town with no employment opportunities.

When the youngest child turns six, the parent — overwhelmingly mothers — will remain on Parenting Payment but will be required to begin a Job Plan, which includes looking for work, working part-time, studying or doing an approved activity. After the child turns eight, sole parents will be transferred to Newstart Allowance to search for employment.

Spanish state vs Catalonia: putting a political trial on trial

On February 12, the trial of 12 Catalan politicians and social movement leaders involved in the October 1, 2017 independence referendum is set to begin in the Spanish Supreme Court.

The leaders face sanctions as harsh as 25 year’s jail for their alleged offences — rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds.

It is the first of three trials. Other defendants, including former police chief, José Lluís Trapero, will face the National High Court. Those members of the Catalan parliament who allowed discussion and voting on the referendum enabling law will face the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC in its Catalan initials).

Nine of the defendants have been in preventive detention for between 12 and 15 months, with all their appeals for release on bail rejected.

The case will be decided by seven magistrates, led by Supreme Court chief justice Manuel Marchena.

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