International News

The parliamentary majority President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition won in the second round of legislative elections held on June 18 was reported as a triumph against the weakened forces of both the left and the traditional right.

But questions have emerged over the real strength of the government as it prepares an assault on the rights of workers and their unions.

Ireland is poised to ban onshore hydraulic fracturing (fracking) after its Senate passed a bill on June 28 outlawing the destructive oil and gas extraction method.

Anti-fracking campaigning group Love Leitrim celebrated the development as a “victory for people power”.

Few would have predicted, until recent times, that the biggest act at the Glastonbury music festival would be a 68-year-old socialist reciting a 200-year-old poem.

Yet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s June 24 speech at Glastonbury attracted what was likely the largest crowd in the festival’s history, NME said.

The media crackdown in Turkey by the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown in the aftermath of a failed coup in July last year.

Jailed reporters find themselves caught in a quagmire as they face legal limbo and deal with made-up charges, inhumane treatment and solitary confinement. 

A new campaign, #Notinmyname, is sweeping India and some major international cities, with protests breaking out against a recent streak of Muslim killings near the capital, New Delhi.

The movement has been fuelled by crimes such as those against three brothers who went to New Delhi to shop for the Islamic festival of Eid. A small argument over a seat on a train turned to religious slurs as the boys were taunted for being beef-eaters, one of the brothers, Shabir, 23, told The Indian Express from a hospital bed.

The right-wing opposition has put its foot down on the accelerator, it is moving all of its pieces at once, and aims to shatter the balance of forces through a coup. It has made it clear: the opposition has June and July to achieve its objective.

It has declared that, backed by article 350 of the constitution, it does not recognise the government. Nor does it recognise the call for a National Constituent Assembly and it is organising to impede the elections for the assembly going ahead on July 30.

Bolivian President Evo Morales offered to “free” Organization of American States, OAS, Secretary General Luis Almagro from the “North American empire” on June 24

“I offer to free brother Luis Almagro from submission to the North American empire,” Morales said in a tweet. “All for the dignity and sovereignty of our peoples.”

The message came only hours after Almargo declared that he would resign “for freedom in Venezuela.”

After winning 30 extra seats in the general elections three weeks ago and leading in polls, the socialist leader of Britain's Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has received a rapturous welcome at Europe's largest greenfield music festival in the southwest of England.

The Labour party's Jeremy Corbyn took to the main Pyramid stage on the second day of the event to address the largely young crowds. Tens of thousands of people turned up to see the 68 year old, making him one of Glastonbury's most anticipated headliners this year along with Radiohead and the Foo Fighters.

Zimbabwe is facing elections next year, with the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Popular Front (ZANU-PF) government likely to be returned despite its huge unpopularity.

The 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first and only president, plans to seek re-election for another five years. But there is a bitter scramble within his party to find his successor. The scramble is purely for power — policy is irrelevant to the struggle.

At the closing of the World Peoples' Conference on June 21 in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, social movements called for a “world without walls,” while Bolivian President Evo Morales urged social movements to adopt the progressive proposals of the gathering's final declaration, which dubbed the migration crisis as just one symptom of neoliberal globalisation. 

Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital in Syria, is on the verge of falling. The rapid advance of the left-wing Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since they entered the city on June 6 contrasts with the slower advance of forces of the Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdistan governments in Mosul, the ISIS capital in Iraq, which the pro-government forces entered in February.

However, the June 18 downing of a Syrian fighter jet by a US war plane, after the former attacked SDF positions near Raqqa, is just one indication that eliminating ISIS will not end the violent multi-sided war in Syria that spawned it.

The idea that every eurozone country should adopt an export-led growth model should not only be rejected because it is based on exploitation, but also because it is economically impossible.

It is important to note that while the vitriolic right-wing government opposition is concentrated among the white and economically elite elements of the population, the barrios, shanty towns and rural areas that are home to the poor, Indigenous communities and the Afro-Venezuelans have not erupted into protest for the most part because they support the government. In order to understand the roots of the elite opposition's hate and racism toward Black and Indigenous government supporters, one has to understand the history of the presidency that preceded Maduro's – that of Hugo Chavez.

Theresa May is now Britain’s prime minister in name only. Leading a government that may collapse within days, propped up (she hopes) by the homophobes of the Democratic Unionist Party, it is clear her time is nearly up.

So while May is in office but not in power, who has stepped into the vacuum of leadership she has left? Jeremy Corbyn.

In his new book A Redder Shade of Green, Canadian ecosocialist activist and Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus says ecosocialism must be based on a careful and deliberate synthesis of Marxist social science and Earth system science — a 21st century rebirth of scientific socialism.

Cuba’s Council of Ministers approved “Life Task” (Tarea Vida) on April 25, a plan for confronting climate change.

It is the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavour to contain the impact of climate change. The Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project for many years. Policymakers have relied on facts, data, and ongoing research.

You can read more of Mark Steel's articles in The Independent.

It is too early yet to write about the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on June 14 without being overcome by a mixture of sorrow and anger. This not just could, but should have been avoided.

The residents, including through the Grenfell Action Group, have been raising concerns about the safety of the block and the refurbishment for several years. In October, the London Fire Brigade wrote to Kensington and Chelsea Council expressing concerns about the insulation used at Grenfell. They were all ignored.

The Cuban government issued a statement on June 16 in response to US President Donald Trump’s announced change of policy toward the socialist-run island, reasserting the country’s sovereignty. 

In a speech that day in Miami, Trump said he will cancel former President Barack Obama’s "completely one-sided deal with Cuba."

Cuba defended its sovereign right to grant protection and asylum to US dissidents, civil rights fighters and persecuted persons, rebuffing the demand of US President Donald Trump that the Caribbean nation return so-called US "criminals" to the country as a precondition for the resumption of neighbourly relations between the long-time foes.

“In tune with the national legislation and international law, and Latin America's tradition, Cuba has granted political asylum or refuge to civil rights fighters from the United States,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez stated at a Havana press conference on June 19.

The Cuban Council of State has called for the holding of general elections to decide delegates to both municipal and provincial assemblies, and to choose deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power.

According to the Cuban newspaper Granma, the first round of elections for municipal representatives will be held on October 22, and the second round runoff for candidates who have not obtained at least 50% of the vote will be held on October 29.

The first round France’s National Assembly elections have been marked by record abstention of 51.29% of the electorate.

The abstentionism primarily impacted on the far-right and left parties. Meanwhile, recently elected President Emmanuel Macron’s The Republic on the March (LREM) and its allies look to secure a strong parliamentary majority in the second round of elections on June 18.

Hundreds of angry residents stormed council offices on June 16 as they demanded support, housing and answers over the Grenfell Tower disaster amid accusations of “mass murder.” They gathered outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea civic centre and entered the building to stage a sit-down protest. Council leaders refused to meet them.

Residents held placards demanding “Justice for Grenfell” and chanted “come downstairs” as they presented a list of immediate demands to the council.

The recent British general election delivered very different results in Scotland than those of England and Wales.

While the question of Scottish independence was still a major issue for voters, tactical errors by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and a muted Jeremy Corbyn-effect in Scottish Labour’s favour led to some unforeseen outcomes.

Under President Barack Obama, the US acknowledged killing between 2867 and 3138 people in strikes in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

In the waning days of his presidency, Obama took some steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, including providing the total estimated death toll. However, a new report by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies says that the US is still lagging in providing a full accounting of its drone program.

The US Senate voted on June 13 to approve a widely criticised $500 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, narrowly beating back a bipartisan effort to block the deal.

The final tally was 53-47 in favour of the sale, which is just part of a massive $100 billion arms package.

Just days after US President Donald Trump publicly scolded Qatar for being a "high level" exporter of regional terrorism in the Middle East, the Qatari government announced on June 14 it had signed a deal to buy $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets from US weapons makers.

Nothing alarms Spain’s establishment more than the prospect of the unity of the Spanish state being threatened by the desire for self-determination of the peoples that live within its borders.

Since opposition protests began in Venezuela in early April, much of the media coverage has focused on clashes in Caracas. However, the opposition’s campaign to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro has not been limited to the country’s capital.

Marco Teruggi reports on a recent visit to the small, but strategic town of Socopo, in the largely rural state Barinas, which has been the site of a campaign of terror and an all-out struggle for power.

Recent weeks have brought to the fore two main issues concerning US President Donald Trump.

The first was his doubling down on one central theme of his election campaign — economic nationalism. This was found in his charge that most of the rest of the world is somehow “exploiting” the United States — and he will fight back.

The second is his drive to establish himself as an authoritarian president, the “strongman” who can take on the dysfunction in the two capitalist parties that dominate US politics.

In the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the 120 apartments of the Grenfell Tower in London, with at least 17 fatalities, a heartbroken Grenfell Tower Action Group pointed to the repeated, detailed warnings it provided to authorities that the building was a disaster waiting to happen.

"This is a fundamental precept of paramilitarism: clear the land to ensure smooth functioning for big business deals and, in this sense, this is no different to what has happened in the past few years in this country, which is the consolidation of what I would call a militarised neoliberal model, militarised in both a state and para-state sense."

An interview with Renan Vega Cantor, a professor at Colombia’s National Pedagogical University.

Jose Maria Lemus, president of the Tibu Community Board in Colombia’s North of Santander state, has been killed, the Peoples’ Congress reported June 14.

His murder adds to the growing list of recently assassinated social, Indigenous and human rights activists in the South American country.

In the aftermath of Britain’s June 8 elections, in which Labour defied expectations to make major gains while the Conservative government of Theresa May lost its majority, the surge of support for Labour’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn and his anti-austerity platform has grown.

The plan had seemed so well organised.

Its first stage was executed on October 1 last year when the ruling elite of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) got the party’s Federal Political Committee (FPC) to force the resignation of general secretary Pedro Sanchez.

Brazil's trade union confederations have called for a new general strike to shut down the country’s largest cities on June 30 in protest at neoliberal labour and retirement pension reforms, as well as to demand the resignation of unelected president Michel Temer who is currently embroiled in several corruption controversies.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle is nothing more and nothing less than the latest instalment of a long-running story of the capture of the African National Congress (ANC) and the post-1994 democratic state it has politically run. 

It is but a consequence of a political, economic and social crisis that has been forged and fed by the ANC – and its Alliance partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) – as a whole, in conjunction with capital. 

Withdrawing from the United Nations Paris Climate Accord is one of more than 100 electoral campaign promises that Donald Trump made. By delivering on that promise, the US joined Nicaragua and Syria, the only countries that did not sign the agreement.

Nicaragua’s decision to not sign was not due to any indifference or denialism of climate change. Rather, the Central American nation’s reason was the contrary. It was based on its view that the agreement was not enough to address the climate crisis. Syria is in the middle of civil war and under US and European sanctions.

Sarah Ayoub was baking bread. She was putting a loaf into a clay oven when she heard the explosions.

That was on June 5, 1967, the day Israel declared war against Egypt.

As Israel’s tanks drew closer, Sarah grew increasingly worried about Munther, her husband. He had gone out to work, transporting goods along with a merchant.

After an hour passed, he made it back to their home in Beach refugee camp, part of Gaza City.

At the recent G7 summit, held May 26-27 in Taormina, Italy, US President Donald Trump said the US was going to leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, a move that may have a devastating effect for the whole planet.

In response to Trump’s declarations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel labelled Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May as unreliable partners, saying “we must fight for our own future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans”.

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