International News

GLW Issue 1083

After 77 days on hunger strike in protest against his arbitrary detention by Israeli forces, Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al-Qeeq is on the verge of death.

Al-Qeeq is currently in detention in a hospital in the northern city of Afula; his petition to be transferred to a clinic in Ramallah has been rejected by the Israeli government.

His lawyer says he refuses to stay in Israeli hospitals and will only accept medical treatment in the West Bank. He was arrested on November 21 last year on charges of being an activist with the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican candidate Donald Trump have won the New Hampshire primary, according to the the Associated Press and NBC news. Early exit polls had suggested that Sanders and Trump could secure victories with big margins.

According to the Washington Post, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton conceded defeat before voting finished, as Sanders claimed victory while urging people to continue voting.

Exit polls showed Sanders secured more than 85%of the vote among young people in the state compared to 14% for Clinton.

A six-year-old boy, Tharshan Kugathasan, was found dead near a navy base at Champoor on the east coast of Sri Lanka on January 26.

The boy's body was found in a disused well. The body had been weighed down with a large stone tied to his body by military-style shoelaces. He had earlier been seen with Sri Lankan navy personnel who used to offer him food and chocolates, according to local residents quoted by the Tamilnet website. Evidence indicates that he was raped and murdered by navy personnel.

Brandon Astor Jones, a 72-year-old African American prisoner on death row in Georgia, was executed by lethal injection on February 3.

The oldest death row inmate in Georgia, Jones had spent decades in jail. He was convicted over the killing of a convenience store manager in an robbery in 1979. Van Roosevelt Solomon, who took part in the robbery and was also convicted of murder, as executed in 1985.

Protests erupted throughout Pakistan after the shooting dead on the picket line of three striking workers at Karachi Airport on February 2. The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees were part of a nationwide strike against the privatisation of the state-owned airline.

One of those killed, Inayat Raza, was a veteran trade unionist and former leader of the left-wing National Students' Federation (NSF) in Karachi in the 1980s.

Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Iowa caucus on February 1. His opponent Hillary Clinton got 49.9% while Sanders got 49.6%. This was a remarkable achievement for a candidate who many commentators said was too radical and stood no chance against the well-entrenched and well-resourced Clinton.

Indirect internationally-brokered peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and a Saudi-backed coalition of some opposition groups were suspended on February 3 — just two days after they started.

Associated Press said that day that “neither the government nor the opposition even acknowledged that the negotiations had officially begun”.

Inside Syria, meanwhile, fighting intensified and the humanitarian situation deteriorated. Advances by government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, were the apparent cause for the talks’ collapse.


Protest against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Quito, Ecuador on February 4, 2016. Photo: Giran Özcan.

Supporters of the Kurdish struggle took to the streets of Ecuador's capital, Quito, on February 4 to protest against Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is in Ecuador on an official two-day visit. At the protest, one Erdoğan's bodyguards broke the nose of Ecuadorean member of parliament Diego Vintimilla.

The new Zika virus threat has caused alarm among pregnant women around the world, due to the threat of those infected giving birth to babies with microcephaly, or small brain, which can cause brain damage and mental incapacity.


Anti-TPP protesters in Auckland.

Amid angry protests in the streets, Pacific rim countries signed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on February 4 in New Zealand’s capital Auckland.


Anti-TPP protesters in Auckland.

A 24-hour general strike in Greece against the “odious plan to dismantle the country’s social security system” shut down transportation, schools, courts, pharmacies and non-emergency hospital services on February 4.

Up to 100,000 people attended, according to organisers, while police estimated 50,000 hit the Athens streets. The strike is the largest since the leftist Syriza party took power in January last year on a platform of opposing the type of austerity measures the strike targetted.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute said it had achieved 99% renewable energy generation last year. It also said that for 285 days last year the country managed to power its grid on 100% renewable sources.

The bulk of Costa Rica's power generation comes from hydropower thanks to a large river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. The rest is made up of a mix of geothermal energy, wind, biomass and solar power.

Over the next five years, France will install 1000 kilometres of solar roadway using Colas' Wattway solar pavement.

The collaboration between Colas, a transport infrastructure company, and France's National Institute for Solar Energy (INES) is sanctioned by France's Agency of Environment and Energy Management.

The new Wattway system does not replace the road itself, but is designed to be glued onto the top of existing pavement.

Despite having the entire Democratic establishment against him, the self-described democratic socialist candidate in the US Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders, continues to make waves, backed by huge enthusiasm from supporters inspired by his call for a “political revolution” against the corporate elite. Although Sanders fell short in the Democratic Iowa caucuses on February 1, he picked up 84% of the youth vote.

The 2016 summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) began on January 26 with the meeting of foreign ministers and chancellors of the Latin American nations at the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Mitad del Mundo, Quito, Ecuador.

CELAC, a regional body involving all nations in the Americas except for the United States and Canada, was officially created in Caracas in 2011 under the leadership of then-Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention — an international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations — has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

The following statement was released by Socialist Alliance (Australia) on February 3.

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Socialist Alliance (Australia) condemns the murder by the Pakistani military on January 30 of Dr Mannan Baloch, Secretary General of Baloch National Movement (BNM), and four other BNM members. According to eyewitnesses, the military attacked the house where they were staying with mortar fire, then troops entered and shot each of the occupants in the chest and head. The youngest victim was just 19 years old. All the victims were unarmed.

GLW Issue 1082


Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters after the Iowa caucus.

In a speech to supporters on the night of February 1, after the narrowest of losses to Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses,, self-described democratic socialist candidate in the Democratic primaries Bernie Sanders hailed his strong result as the "launch of a political revoluiton".

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced the establishment of a committee to oversee the creation of a revolutionary assembly on January 23.

The assembly will bring together the country's progressive social movements and socialist politicians to reinvigorate the Bolivarian revolution, Maduro said.

Maduro oversaw the first meeting of an interim committee, which will lead to the creation of the broader people's congress, being called the Congress of the Homeland. About 100 people were sworn-in to the committee.

The fact sheet below was produced by the ecosocialist Red-Green Alliance in response to the Danish parliament passing a savagely anti-refugee law.

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On January 26, a broad majority in the Danish parliament passed a bill that introduces a long series of restrictive measures aimed at making it less attractive to seek asylum in Denmark.

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for a “political revolution” while Hillary Clinton emphasised pragmatism and experience in the final town hall meeting before the February 1 Iowa caucuses, TeleSUR English said on January 26.

“We must reach out the hand of humanity to the victims of war and brutal repression,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said during a visit to the Gande Synthe refugee camp near Dunkirk in northern France.


Slogan on T-shirts reads, "We will not obey".

Sixty-eight grassroots groups in Haiti have issued an urgent call for solidarity with their struggle for free and fair elections, dignity and justice. The statement was written right before the postponement of the planned presidential “run-off” elections on January 24.

“This year has not started easy, and I am not optimistic,” the EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos told a press conference on January 25.

He was warning Europe that its worries about security had to be balanced with the Schengen agreement (which allows free movement) and the protection of asylum seekers. He said: “Last year, more than a million people reached Europe's shore looking for protection. More than 30,000 have already arrived by sea in 2016 so far, in only three weeks!”

It won’t come as a surprise to many readers that Chevron is not the most honest or law-abiding company in the world. In Australia, the International Transport Workers Federation has exposed over $35 billion in unpaid tax revenue for its offshore gas operations, while the Maritime Union of Australia has repeatedly protested the company’s exploitation of immigrant labour.

The article below is by Pablo Iglesias, secretary-general of the radical Spanish political force Podemos. It abridged from the January 24 El Pais and was translated from Spanish by Dick Nichols.

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The result of the December 20 election put an end to Spain's political shift-system. It opened up the historic possibility of our country having a government not exclusively dominated by the old party machines that have shared power over the last decades.

Since Spain's December 20 elections produced no clear majority, debate has raged over what sort of government should be formed.

The governing conservative People's Party (PP) won 123 seats in the 250-seat Congress and the right-populist Citizens won 40. On the left, the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) won 90 seats, while radical anti-austerity party Podemos and the three alliances in which it took part together with nationalist forces won 69.

Ireland: Protests hit 30 cities against water charge

Tens of people took in 30 different protests across the Ireland against water charges on January 23, An Phoblacht said that day. The protests coincided with the Ard Fheis (congress) of Fine Gael, which heads the Irish government, that took place in Dublin.


Greek pensioners rally in Athens on January 21.

Thousands of Greek white-collar professionals, including doctors, lawyers and engineers, took to the streets on January 21, protesting against major tax and pension reforms required by the country’s creditors.

The article below is January 27 editorial published by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association (IUF). The IUF is a global federation of trade unions, with 412 organisations in 126 countries, representing more than 12 million workers.

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