International News

WELL, THAT was pretty much what we all thought having to spend 90 minutes with Donald Trump would be like.

After 18 months of hype and anticipation, an expected record number of viewers watched the first presidential debate to find out what most of them already knew: Donald Trump is an egomaniac who expresses his love for the American people by how many buildings he owns in their cities.

Tens of thousands marched through Dublin on September 24calling for abortion rights, Morning Star reported the next day. Marchers carried banners calling on the Irish government to “repeal the 8th,” the amendment to the Irish constitution which gives foetuses a “right to life” deemed equal with that of pregnant women, rendering almost all abortions illegal.

In a rare move, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called out Saudi Arabia on September 22 for airstrikes in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians, including children.

The US-backed Saudi coalition, which has been bombing Yemen since last year, struck a house in a residential area in western Yemen on September 21, killing 26 people, according to medics and residents.

The Green Party of England and Wales has welcomed the news that Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as leader of the Labour Party.and called for him to form a grssroots-led progressive alliance with other left forces. 

In a new leadership election for the leader of the Britsh labour Party sparked by a right-wing, corporate media back assault on incumbent Jeremy Corbyn, the socialist leader was re-elected with an even larger majoroty of almost 62% of the vote. Corbyn stunned the political world when he won Labour's leadership in September last year with a "from nowhere win" on the back of anti-austerity politics.

Papua New Guinea marked its independence from Australia — achieved in 1975 — on September 16. But West Papua, a province on the same island, continues its struggle for self-determination in one of the world’s least publicised and longest-running independence struggles.

West Papuans won their independence from Dutch colonialism in 1963, but the country was invaded by Indonesia and officially annexed in 1969 after a controversial referendum in which just over 1000 people voted.

Israeli white phosphorus attack on Gaza, 2009.

Saudi Arabia is using white phosphorus, a flesh-melting chemical, in its conflict with Yemen, according to social media reports. The US acknowledges that it has supplied the kingdom with the chemical.

Charlotte, North Carolina, September 22.

Protests and tear gas have filled the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina nightly since the murder on September 20 of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African American, at the hands of police in yet one more case of racial profiling.

The world was again entering an era of “dark capitalist and imperialist barbarism” which acts against human dignity, the integrity of Mother Earth and the sovereignty of countries, Bolivian President Evo Morales told the United Nations General Assembly on September 21.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, called for a “new world order” that, rather than building walls, built a global citizenry where all people live together as a common family.

At its 10th National Guerrilla Conference from September 17 to 23, 51 delegates representing various Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) factions across Colombia unanimously reaffirmed their support for the nation’s historic peace deal.

The deal negotiated between FARC representatives and the Colombian government is aimed at ending the more than 50 years of violence that has wracked the South American nation.

Ecuador ramped up its fight against tax dodging on September 21 as the South American country proposed a plan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York aimed at tackling offshore tax havens with stiffer regulation.

The push comes in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks that exposed just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of global tax evasion and its impact on the global South.

A year in politics changes everything.

When Jeremy Corbyn won the British Labour Party leadership election in September 2015 with about 60% of the vote, the puzzle was how on Earth could a socialist have taken power.

The left, weaker than ever, had never wielded significant power in the Labour Party. This year, the surprise will be if he does not win the leadership elections this month by a significant margin similar to last year’s landslide.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Dublin on September 17 in a national demonstration against water charges, Morning Star said on September 19.

Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on September 20 to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-Atlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labour conditions and allow big business to challenge governments.

It came just days after tens of thousands rallied against such deals on September 17 in other European cities, mainly in Germany.

Mobilisations are facing growing levels of police repression. Paris, September 15.

More than 170,000 workers and students joined more than 110 protests across France on September 15 against new labour laws that dramatically deregulate France’s labour code.


Protests triggered by public transport fare increases in 2013.

Less than two years after Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Dilma Rousseff was re-elected as Brazil’s president, she was removed from office by the Brazilian senate.

The Brazilian right, which controls the senate, carried out a constitutional coup. In the process, they revealed their contempt for democracy.

A video showing Turkish soldiers and state-sponsored Kurdish village guards torturing and abusing Saime Avşin (Avaşin Gabar), a female Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrilla fighter, has surfaced on social media, Kurdish Question said on September 20.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting in London on September 15 that the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination needed to be recognised, Firat News Agency said the next day. The meeting was organised by the British Kurdish People’s Assembly.

A large minority in Turkey, at about 20% of the population, the Kurdish people have long faced systemic discrimination by the Turkish state. This has included massacres and violent repression of their culture, with even the Kurdish language banned until recently.

Such oppression led to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) launching an armed struggle for national liberation in 1984. In recent years, the PKK — whose leader Abdullah Öcalan remains in solitary confinement in a Turkish jail — has declared its commitment to a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Intervention from the White House and a court order have temporarily halted construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline 20 miles (32km) on either side of Oahe Lake, part of the Missouri River in North and South Dakota.

The temporary restraining order halts construction along this 40-mile stretch. But pipeline construction continues apace elsewhere.


Photos of forcibly disappeared supporters of the Patriotic Union. Photo: EFE.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged the state’s responsibility in the killing of thousands of members of a leftist political party three decades ago, TeleSUR English said on September 15. Santos pledged to prevent such assassinations again.

Protesters demand justice for murdered Indigenous environmentalist leader, Berta Caceres.

Honduras marked 195 years since winning its independence from Spain on September 15, but the small Central American country remains deprived of true independence. It is stuck under ongoing domination of wealthy local oligarchs, foreign corporations, and US imperialism.


Fracking in the Vaca Muerta shale reserves.

Mapuche Indigenous communities in the Argentine Patagonian province of Neuquen have denounced fracking in the Vaca Muerta shale reserves, which they claim are contaminating their land and groundwater, killing their livestock.

Ecuadorean indigenous groups’ years-long court battle to force oil giant Chevron to pay US$9.5 billion in damages for the environmental disaster known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” began a new phase on September 12 — this time in Canada.

Plaintiffs from Ecuador have been trying for years to collect damages it won in its 2011 lawsuit against Chevron in a court in Ecuador, where the multinational oil giant no longer has assets that can be seized.

“Thousands of Native Americans at Standing Rock in North Dakota are protesting a pipeline project that puts their water supply at risk, threatens to plow up their sacred sites, and would worsen climate change,” Chuck Collins wrote at Common Dreams on September 14.

One year after spilling enough cyanide solution to fill at least 40% of an Olympic-size swimming pool at the controversial Veladero mine in Argentina, Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold owned up on September 15 to another cyanide leak at the same gold mining operation in the country’s mountainous and river-rich San Juan province.

Barrick announced it had suspended work at the mine to address the leak, caused on September 8 by a damaged pipe carrying dilute cyanide solution used in gold processing.

East Timor has taken Australia to the United Nations Conciliation Commission at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

At issue is a permanent maritime boundary and the exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea — with East Timor accusing Australia of stealing badly needed resources that, by international law, belong to Asia’s poorest nation.

Suspected leftists held by the military during the mass killings that followed the Western-backed 1965 Indonesian military coup.

East Timor’s decision to take Australia to the Hague over Australia’s refusal to obey international law — and grant East Timor its legitimate share of oil and gas resources — comes just weeks after a tribunal at the Hague found Australia was complicit in the murders in Indonesia in 1965.

By some estimates, more than 1 million people came out across Catalonia on September 11 for Catalonia’s national day (the Diada) to show their support for Catalan sovereignty and — for most present — for Catalan independence from the Spanish state.

Despite the rain, hundreds of people turned out in Seongju County on September 4 for a candlelight vigil for the 54th night in a row. Their message is clear: no to the United States’ planned deployment of the THAAD missile defence system, not in Seongju or anywhere in South Korea.

Seongju, a small town of mainly melon farmers, today finds itself at the forefront of a struggle against a new proposed US military deployment in the region. It is a deployment some warn could rekindle the Cold War.


Tamils protest on August 3 against Sri Lankan navy land grabs in Mullivaikkal.

Tamils who had been protesting outside a military cantonment in a suburb of Kilinochchi began a hunger strike on September 7.


Palestinian workers queue to cross the Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to become the first Israeli prime minister to visit Australia next year, the Australian government will likely seek to deepen economic ties with the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East”.

It is also likely, if not certain, that Israel’s ongoing strangling of Palestine — economic as well as political and military — will not be mentioned.


Solidarity from Syria with striking RMT train guards.

Britain’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) has been organising Britain’s rail workers to fight for their rights with a series of industrial actions. No strangers to international solidarity, the RMT also recently passed a motion supporting the 55 sacked Carlton & United Breweries workers in Melbourne.

US soldier Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, ended her hunger strike on September 13 after the Army said she will receive treatment for her gender dysphoria, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

As one presidential candidate faces charges for spray-painting construction equipment at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest on September 6, many are calling for President Barack Obama and White House Democrat presidential candidate Hilary Clinton to oppose the controversial project.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein would be charged for taking part in an action in which 150 to 200 people protested at a DAPL worksite in North Dakota.

A coalition of about 60 Black Lives Matter groups from around the United States issued “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice” on August 1.

The document is long and detailed. It is the most important Black independent political action program since the National Black Independent Political Party and Black Power conventions of the early 1970s. It also is a reflection of the leading role of Black young people in the still-nascent radicalisation of US youth in general.


Caracas, September 7.

Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas and other major cities across the country on September 7, calling for peace in their country and rejecting right-wing opposition plans to destabilise the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The march was called by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and joined by civil society groups and grassroots movements.

On being sworn into power on January 15, 2007, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said: “Latin America is not living through an era of change, it is living through a genuine change of eras.”

His enthusiasm was shared by many, and with good reason: after years of intense social struggles against right-wing neoliberal governments, new left forces were winning elections across the region.


Protest against austerity. Lisbon, 2013.

A month ago, on August 8, it became official — the high school governors agreed that the headmaster had acted correctly in not caning the two miscreant schoolboys.

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