United States

Saudi Arabia – the West's favourite dictatorship

In Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month, a range of human rights groups co-sponsored a side event during the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) addressing “the extensive use of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment in the Saudi criminal justice system”.

An Australian in Ferguson: 'They are not broken'

I had no intention of going to Ferguson, the flashpoint of the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality. It was the United States’ dirty problem, not Australia’s.

Then I read a piece about Black Lives Matter activists taking the mic from Bernie Sanders while he campaigned for Democratic presidential candidacy. Parts of the crowd booed.

Arrest of clock-making kid a sign of anti-Muslim times

There are sprawling industries and self-proclaimed career “terrorism experts” in the US that profit greatly by deliberately exaggerating the threat of terrorism and keeping Americans in a state of abject fear of “radical Islam”.

All sorts of polemicists build their public platforms by demonising Muslims and scoffing at concerns over “Islamophobia”. The most toxic ones insist that such a thing does not even exist, even as the mere presence of mosques is opposed across the country and are physically attacked.

Letter from the US: Black Lives Matter is demand, not a plea

#BlackLivesMatter activists Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford stormed the stage as Sanders began speaking and demanded an opportunity to address racial injustice. Seattle, August 8.

There is a lull in the large mass mobilisations associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, but the campaign targetting racism and police brutality remains central to politics in the US.

Dave Zirin: How Hurricane Katrina provoked new rise of the political athlete

LeBron James.

If there was ever a moment that signalled how little Black lives mattered to people in power in the US, it was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf of Mexico — especially devastating the city of New Orleans — 10 years ago.

This fact was called out in real time by New Orleans residents, racial-justice activists around the country, and Kanye West's off-script and utterly true comments that “George Bush doesn't care about Black people”.

No charges for cop who shot 'skateboard-wielding' Black youths

The white police officer who shot two unarmed Black youths in May in Thurston County, Washington state, will not face criminal charges, the Thurston County Prosecutor announced on September 2, because the youths’ skateboards were said to be “threatening” the officer.

Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said that rather than charging the cop, whose bullets left one of the young men paralysed from the waist down, assault charges would be filed against the two men, Bryson Chaplin, 21, and Andre Thompson, 24.

Palestinians thank US Black activists for backing Israel boycott

The statement below was released by Palestinian BDS National Committee on August 25.

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Global warming worsened California's drought – and it stands to get worse

Human-caused global warming has worsened California's extreme four-year drought by as much as 25%, says a new study that is just the latest to link the abnormally dry conditions with human-caused climate change.

The study by Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, published on August 20 in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that within a few decades, continually rising temperatures and resulting moisture losses will push California into even more persistent aridity.

Mark Dapin's Vietnam War novel — cynical, emotionally wounded males run amok

R&R: A Novel
By Mark Dapin
Viking, 2015, 287 pp, $32.99

Mark Dapin is a rising star of Australian writing, having first made his mark as a journalist with a string of newspapers. He is a knock-about sort of working-class bloke, who brushed up against the British socialist movement before migrating, a bit of a boxer as well as a writer.

Interviewing the light welterweight world champion Kostya Tszyu for the Sydney Morning Herald, Dapin famously persuaded Tszyu to let him spar with him in the ring. Tszyu didn’t muck about, breaking three of Dapin’s ribs.

Sporting world rocked by police killing of young footballer

On the weekend that marked the one year anniversary of the police killing of Michael Brown, another disturbingly similar case made the social media rounds: another unarmed young Black man was shot dead, on August 7, another police officer on administrative leave holding the smoking gun, another rush to convict the dead.

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