The US has announced it will continue giving millions of dollars in military funding to the Honduran government, despite the high-profile targeted assassinations and other human rights abuses documented this year in the Central American nation.

The decision was taken by the US Department of State on September 30. It was justified to Congress on the grounds that Honduras “has taken effective steps to meet the criteria specified in the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation legislation.”

On October 18, students delivered an open letter to Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean signed by 401 RMIT academics and staff calling on the university to dump its fossil fuel investments.

Up to 500 people joined a protest on October 19 near NSW Parliament against the Coalition government’s plans to weaken land clearing laws.

The Coalition came to power promising famers more rights to undertake mass land clearing. Opposition has been wide-ranging.

University of Sydney professor Rick Shine has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for his work in teaching Australia’s native animals to give cane toads a wide berth.

A little-known but controversial World Bank tribunal has bucked tradition and ruled against corporate power on October 14.

The tribunal rejected Canadian-Australian gold mining giant OceanaGold’s claim that El Salvador interfered with its profits when the government pulled the plug on a proposed gold mine.

The seven-year, multi-million dollar, largely secretive court battle had pitted mining-affected Salvadoran communities — supported by international human rights groups — against the deep pockets of OceanaGold.

Protesters from Fossil Free Melbourne University staged a mock oil spill outside the university’s administration building on October 10.

They were protesting against the university's investment in 21 of Australia’s most polluting fossil fuel companies.

Dressed in HazMat suits, they pretended to clean up an “oil spill” of black plastic, with blackened toy animals and oil barrels placed around the scene.  

Sixty million people are on the run worldwide, most from countries in the global South. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says one third of the refugees originate from Africa.

Wars, human rights violations, political instability, discrimination, poverty and the consequences of climate change and natural disasters are often named as causes for flight. But there is also ecocide — the destruction of livelihoods through the ruthless exploitation of raw materials and the subsidy politics of industrialised countries in the West.

There is a very sinister, hellish thing behind the tepid concern that rears its head when a country like Haiti suffers a tragedy.

As 800 people died and 90% of parts of southern Haiti were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, leaving whole towns flattened, and people homeless and without basic infrastructure, the trending hashtag was #PrayForFlorida.

The Queensland government once again demonstrated its commitment to progressing Adani’s mega coal mine project in the Galilee basin on October 9.

State development minister Anthony Lynham announced that the government had invoked special powers to ensure the controversial Carmichael coal and rail project starts next year.

The combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure. Lynham says the decision will mean less red tape for the proposed $21.7 billion Adani venture.

My heart breaks over Category 4 Hurricane Matthew’s slamming of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City where I live, our entire neighbourhood was destroyed — every single house was uninhabitable.


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