White Ribbon’s failures go well beyond reproductive rights backflip

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi must have been furious when, in the space of less than 24 hours, White Ribbon Australia (WRA) back flipped on its decision to drop support for what he claimed was a “radical abortion policy”.

WRA initially redacted its 2017 statement supporting reproductive rights on October 18, with CEO Tracy McLeod telling Buzzfeed that day that the organisation was now “agnostic” on reproductive rights “until our stakeholders tell us it is important”.

McLeod denied the redaction had come about because of pressure from religious groups or Bernardi’s party.

Honduran Migrant March — a refugee crisis caused by US policy

Hundreds of women, men, children, youth and the elderly decided to leave Honduras on October 12 as a desperate response to survive, the Honduras Solidarity Network of North America writes.

The huge exodus that began in the city of San Pedro Sula reached more than 3000 people by the time the group crossed to Guatemala. The caravan, which is headed north to Mexico then aims to reach the United States, is the only alternative these people have to regain a bit of the dignity that has been taken from them.

They are not alone in their journey. Various waves of Hondurans, whose numbers grow hourly, are being contained by Honduran security forces on their border with El Salvador and Guatemala.

Large #WontbeErased march resists Trump’s anti-trans threats

Assembling in front of the White House on October 22, members of the LGBTI community and their allies gathered to deliver a clear message to President Donald Trump: transgender people “Won’t Be Erased”, writes Julia Conley.

The phrase became a rallying cry at demonstrations and on social media the day after reports surfaced of a Trump administration proposal to officially deny the existence of transgender people. The proposal would define gender as biological and determined only by genitalia and sex assigned at birth, not relating to how one identifies.

Led by groups including the National Center for Transgender Equality and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, protesters waved signs reading: “Trans rights are human rights” and “No body is illegal”.

New York sues Exxon over climate denial

After a three-year probe and amid mounting demands that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for driving the climate crisis, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed suit on October 24 against ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and gas company.

The suit accuses the oil giant of defrauding investors by downplaying the financial threat of regulations crafted to mitigate human-caused global warming.

“Big oil may finally face some consequences for its role in wrecking the climate,” declared 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben.

West shows it still backs Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a warm welcome in Riyadh on October 23 during his surprise visit to the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference.

The conference has yielded investment deals worth an estimated US$50 billion, despite calls for a boycott by activists and some countries over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Saudi Arabia is proving to be too tempting an investment opportunity for many businesses despite the large public outcry.

FII was due to feature 150 speakers from 140 firms but around 40 people withdrew from the conference in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder.

Khashoggi, a journalist from Saudi Arabia, went into self-imposed exile to the United States after the Saudi crown prince began cracking down on dissidents. The Washington Post columnist visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and hasn’t been seen since.

New facial recognition database a civil liberties nightmare

ABC’s Foreign Correspondent recently discussed China’s Social Credit system where, in the name of creating a safer society and enhancing national security, China has begun rolling out facial recognition technology. This technology is being linked up in an unprecedented way so that almost every minute of the day-to-day movements of all citizens can be monitored.

Facial recognition technology has enabled the Chinese government to create a system of social credit whereby those who behave well, eat well, avoid bad habits, exercise sufficiently and pay their bills on time are rewarded with cheap hotel deals, easy access to loans, access to employment prospects and the like.

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