Australian journalist Austin Mackell, United States student Derek Ludovici and Egyptian translator Aliya Alwi are facing charges of inciting people to vandalise public property after being detained by the police in the Egyptian city of Mahalla El-Kubra on February 11.

A Nyoongar Tent Embassy was established on Perth’s Heirisson Island on February 12 after the state government proposed to extinguish Nyoongar native title. The protesters made an urgent call for support after Perth City Council made its second threat to close the embassy down on February 17.

Many of those taking a leading role in the Embassy are local Aboriginal activists recently returned from the 40-year commemoration of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.

Adelaide has a new social movement in town, yet with a familiar name: Occupy.

The Occupy movement has been criticised for its lack of focus and demands, yet in Adelaide there is a clear focus for direct action: Rupert Murdoch.

Hence the name: Occupy Murdoch.

Occupy Murdoch specifically focuses on corporate controlled media, especially News Corporation. Adelaide's daily tabloid The Advertiser is a Murdoch paper that publishes rubbish dressed up as “news” to distract people and supports specific political interests.

At the beginning of the year, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), the Sydney-based grassroots lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) campaign organisation, elected three new office-bearers.

CAAH initiated national days of action for marriage rights rallies in 2006, has played a key role in equal marriage and queer refugee rights campaigning, and has supported trans and intersex rights struggles and mobilisations.

The Hunter Community Environment Centre released the statement below on February 16.

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The Paddock to Port public forum held on February 15 in Newcastle was attended by over 150 people. They unanimously passed a resolution to reject the proposed fourth coal terminal for Newcastle.

Lisbon's vast Palace Square became People's Square on February 12. More than 300,000 workers, young people, unemployed and pensioners from across Portugal marched to voice their rejection of cutbacks inflicted by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's government.

It was the country's biggest demonstration in 30 years.

Photo slide shows of the mass march can be seen here and here

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on February 16.

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A Tamil asylum seeker has been taken to hospital after attempting suicide by hanging in the early of hours of this morning, at the Darwin Airport Lodge detention facility.

Around 12.30am, the man, who has been in detention for 27 months, was found by fellow asylum seekers hanging by a bed-sheet noose in a secluded part of the facility.

About 150 people attended a February 13 forum “Smuggled to Freedom” to hear SBS sports commentator Les Murray tell his family’s story of trying to escape political persecution in Hungary in 1956.

He recently returned to find “Julius”, the so-called people smuggler who helped them cross the border to Austria. He said Julius was an unrecognised hero who helped countless families, despite the risk of the death penalty.

“We demonise people who don’t deserve it,” Murray said. “My smuggler was no demon.”

UPDATE: A rally for Jock Palfreeman will take place in London from 11am on March 15, outside the Bulgarian embassy. For more details visit the Facebook event page Jock Palfreeman Solidarity Demo

In December 2009, then 23-year-old Australian Jock Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years for murder in Sofia, Bulgaria. Two years earlier he had been involved in a fight against a gang of about 15 men, one of who died of a stab wound.

Friends of the Earth Australia released the statement below on February 16.

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The draft planning guidelines for wind farms in NSW, which are now open for public comment, have been labelled by environment group Friends of the Earth as inconsistent, too restrictive and politically motivated.

“These guidelines talk about NSW planning to help Australia meet its 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target, but at the same time could pose severe restrictions on the options available to achieve that,” said Ben Courtice, renewable energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth.


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