United States

Largest protests ever by US low-wage workers over minimum wage

Workers in more than US 200 cities across the US went on strike and joined marches on April 15 “during what organisers claimed was the largest protest by low-wage workers in US history”, the Guardian said the next day.

WikiLeaks reveals Sony's hidden ties to Washington

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks published a slew of documents on April 16 casting light on secretive efforts by entertainment and electronics giant Sony to lobby the US government on hot button issues such as cracking down on online piracy.

One collection of emails indicates staff from Sony's US subsidiary, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), sought to maneuver around a US$5,000 limit on corporate contributions to political campaigns to contribute to Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's re-election war chest.

Latin America backs Venezuela at summit in new defeat for US


President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela began his visit to Panama City for the Summit of the Americas with a visit to the impoverished neighbourhood of El Chorrillo to lay a wreath at the monument to those killed by the US bombing of the community during the 1989 US invasion of Panama.

The seventh Summit of the Americas, held in Panama City on April 10 and 11, was widely hailed as a victory for left-leaning and progressive forces in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba.

Iraq: New report shows US war left 1 million dead

A recently published report has revealed that the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq was responsible for the deaths of about 1 million Iraqis, or 5% of the population. The report also tallies hundreds of thousands of casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the US-led war.

WikiLeaks exposes TPP corporate power grab

United States politics is witnessing a new sorry spectacle — and one with real consequences for Australia, as well as other nations on the Pacific rim.

US President Barack Obama is trying to drum up support from his party to implement the agenda of the huge corporations that sought to block his election and re-election via the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” deal involving 12 Pacific rim nations.

The text of the proposed agreement and the negotiations have been kept secret, but key chapters have leaked and been published by WikiLeaks.

Protests against racist police killings sweep US

Protesters demanding widespread reform of the police took the streets on April 14, as killings of unarmed black men have become all-too frequent in US headlines.

Activists from various civil rights groups rallied in different cities throughout the country. Signs carried by the protesters in New York read: “Stop Police brutality and mass murder.” Protesters spread the message on social media websites using hashtags, including the popular #BlackLivesMatter.

New South Carolina police killing fuels #BlackLivesMatter movement

A new police murder of an unarmed Black man in the United States has received global attention. It comes as the #BlackLivesMatter movement has swept the country since the police murder of an unarmed Black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri last August.

On April 4, officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina, shot 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he was fleeing.

The police initially tried to whitewash the incident, with the all-too-familiar assertion that Slager was assaulted by Scott and feared for his life. So the killing was justified. Q.E.D.

Australians demand US end attacks on Venezuela

A group of Australian academics, unionists, politicians, and others have urged the US to “stop interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs”. More than 70 prominent Australian progressives issued an open letter to US President Barack Obama condemning US sanctions against Venezuela on April 9.

The letter, initiated by the Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign in Melbourne, is printed below. The letter was handed to US consulates in Sydney and Melbourne on April 10.

* * *

No more coups! No more interventions! Repeal the Executive Order!

Dear Mr President,

US backs Saudi war on Yemen

The United States is providing crucial support to regional ally Saudi Arabia ― a big buyer of US arms ― as it launches a new war in the Middle East by attacking neighbouring Yemen.

A Saudi-led coalition of Western-aligned, mainly Sunni Islamist, Arab government's launched air, naval and ground military offensive against Yemen on March 25.

Saudi Arabian forces are being supported by military planes from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt, which is also supplying naval forces.

California: Dire water crisis amid climate change-driven drought

Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, made a dire warning in March: there is only one year's worth of water left in the state's reservoir storage and river basins.

Famiglietti said even nature's oldest water backup supply —groundwater — could be gone soon after the reservoirs dry up.

About 38.8 million people live in California, which produces much of the United States' food. California's drought is throwing the ecology of the region into crisis, and ordinary people are scrambling for ways to help.

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