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Amnesty International has called on Israel to immediately release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been held since December without charge under Israel's infamous policy of “administrative detention”.

The call came after Adnan, near death, ended a 66-day hunger strike when Israel signed a deal on February 22 agreeing to release the 33-year-old father of two by April 17.

Len Cooper, the secretary of the Victorian Telecommunications Division of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, wrote to Victorian unions last August inviting them to take part in a discussion “aimed at leading to the formation of a campaign on the right to strike”.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) endorsed the campaign as a sub-committee of the hall on February 10. It committed to back a motion on the right to strike at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) national congress, which takes place in Sydney in May.

If the uprisings of last year have proved anything, it is that progressive change is not out of reach, even in the most unlikely of circumstances. In the face of overwhelming odds, the Arab Spring has brought changes in the region that were unthinkable 18 months ago.

However, it is still common for people advocating radical change to be sneered at, regarded as naive fools or dangerous loonies.

But when you take an honest look at the state of the world today, it is those who think things should not change are the ones that start to look foolish or crazy.

German President Christian Wulff resigned on February 17 after prosecutors applied to have his presidential immunity stripped in a corruption scandal.

Wulff has been accused of having received kickbacks from businessmen, including a home loan of 500,000 euros (paid via an anonymous bank cheque) in 2008.

When German tabloid Bild threatened to publish the allegations, Wulff left voice messages on the editor's phone threatening "war".

After Victorian nurses walked off the job from six Victorian hospitals, Ted Baillieu's state government was still refusing to undertake effective negotiations with the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF).

The dispute has dragged on for eight months and has been in its current conciliation process under Fair Work Australia (FWA) for 105 days.

On February 24, the FWA ordered the ANF to stop all industrial action as sought by the government. But the ANF has said it will go ahead with its actions as decided on by members at a mass meeting on February 25.

“Something is badly amiss when Queensland bushies embrace Green Left Weekly, and the opposite ends of the political fringe, the Greens and Bob Katter’s Australian Party, find a common cause,” began a February 22 editorial in Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian, the only national daily newspaper in this country.

Public housing in Victoria (and elsewhere around Australia) is in a state of crisis. For at least the last two decades, successive state governments have failed to meet the challenge of providing public housing to all who need it.

Instead, they have relied on the free market to provide “affordable housing” as a means of avoiding their responsibilities. The result has been a disaster, with nearly 40,000 people on waiting lists.

Last year, students of Political Economy at the University of Sydney stood up to threats to merge their department into either a politics or straight economics department.

They protested because they believed in the value of learning alternative economics, refused to accept cuts in staff or subjects and believed students have the right to have a say in the institution at which they choose to study.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said marriage equality was "inevitable" when she met with three same-sex couples on February 21 during a dinner organised by GetUp! The admission came despite her own opposition to equal marriage.

A snap rally was held outside NSW parliament house on February 22 to protest a bill proposed by Premier Barry O’Farrell to lift the 26-year moratorium on uranium exploration in NSW. The Nature Conservation Council and Beyond Nuclear Initiative organised the rally.

The moratorium on nuclear exploration in NSW began as a bipartisan agreement between Liberal and Labor parties after an investigation found that the effects of mining would be too dangerous.

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