health

El Salvador: New law guarantees social programs

El Salvador's Legislative Assembly approved the Social Development and Protection Law on April 3. The law was presented by President Mauricio Funes last year to ensure the groundbreaking social services initiated by his administration continued.

These programs are designed to address the needs of historically abandoned and excluded sectors. The law mandates a “legal framework for human development, protection and social inclusion that promotes, protects and guarantees the fulfillment of people’s rights”.

Letter from the US: Obama ― a political balance sheet

When Barack Obama was elected President in the 2008 election, it marked an historic first. An African-American was elected in the country noted for its oppression of Blacks since the time of slavery.

My next door neighbour, an African-American who knew my history as a supporter of the Black liberation upsurge of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, raised his fist in celebration when he saw me the next day.

Rally backs Queensland’s doctors over Newman gov't

About 1000 unionists rallied outside Queensland's Parliament House on April 1 to support doctors in their ongoing dispute with the state government.

The government has demanded that doctors sign individual contracts, which are due to come into effect on July 1, by the end of April or risk forgoing up to 30% of their pay.

The rally was called by the public sector workers' union, Together Union.

Government moves to sell Medibank Private

The first cab off the rank in the federal Coalition government's great privatisation push has now been confirmed: Medibank Private. Finance minister Mathias Cormann announced on March 26 that the government-owned health insurance company would be sold off through an initial public offering in the next financial year.

The announcement came just before a meeting of federal and state treasurers on March 28, which resulted in Commonwealth Treasurer Joe Hockey boasting of a "historic agreement" for the state governments to sell off billions of dollars of public assets.

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What is at stake in Venezuela: the gains of the revolution

When the later president Hugo Chavez was first elected president in 1998, it began a process of change that has sought to expand the democratic and social rights of the poor majority who had previously been excluded. This process is known as the Bolivarian revolution.

It has included a new constitution guaranteeing previously unheard of social rights, re-nationalising the oil industry and promoting participatory democracy.

Pacific activists: 'Say not to GMO'

New Caledonia, a French-administered archipelago in the south-west Pacific, passed a law on February 13 banning the importation of genetically modified seeds for cereals and fruits.

Vegetables, however, are exempt from the law. A proposal for mandatory labelling of GMO products is still to be approved by the Congress.

Spain: Huge 'Marches for Dignity' converge in Madrid to demand end to austerity

The six columns of the “Marches for Dignity”, protest marches against austerity, corruption and the repression of social and civil rights in the Spanish state, reached Madrid on March 22. Hundreds of thousands of people took over the streets of Madrid that day. It was the crowning moment for a movement that began in early March with marches leaving from cities across the Spanish state.

Britain: People's Assembly strengthens anti-austerity fight

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity was launched last year to help create a mass movement across Britain against the austerity measures imposed by the government in a bid to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis. It was supported by quite a few trade unions, the Coalition of Resistance, many campaign groups and several MPs.

Napthine must act to protect community's health first

The Socialist Alliance Victoria released this statement on March 2.

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The mine fire that has been burning since February 9 is an immediate and serious threat to the health of residents in Morwell and other towns near the Hazelwood mine.

Immediate health threats include: elevated levels of carbon monoxide, a toxic gas; fine particulate pollution in the PM2.5 and PM10 size range; ash fallout over the area, potentially containing many toxic compounds; carcinogenic compounds in ash and particulates.

US farmer warns of gas risk to Australia

John Fenton is a farmer from Wyoming in the United States who has 24 gas wells on his property. He recently toured Australia to speak about the environmental and health impacts the gas industry has had on his land and community.

He spoke at 11 meetings in gas hotspots throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, organised by the Greens and Lock the Gate Alliance. These meetings were well attended. In Narrabri, in northern New South Wales, 600 people came to hear him speak.

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