Economy

Thailand’s King Pumipon Adulyadej died on October 13 aged 88, after more than 70 years on the throne. Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn has been in exile since he was charged with lese majeste (insulting the monarch) over a 2006 book criticising the king’s support for a military coup. Below he assesses the monarch’s role as a block to democracy and social justice.

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King Pumipon was a weak and characterless monarch who spent his useless and privileged life in a bubble, surrounded by fawning, grovelling toadies who claimed that he was a “god”.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed by a Bolivian soldier in the village of La Higuera, Bolivia, on October 9, 1967. The soldier was acting on orders that came directly from Bolivia’s then-president Rene Barrientos. Guevara was summarily executed for fear that a trial would become a public spectacle and garner sympathy for Guevara and his revolutionary socialist cause. History has proven that what Barrientos, and Latin America’s elites, wanted was impossible. Guevara’s ideas live on and he continues to serve as an inspiration for leftists and revolutionaries throughout the world.

Tertiary students are doing it tough. Yet the Coalition would have you believe we have it easy. High — and getting higher — course fees, job insecurity and accommodation costs are all adding to students’ anxieties.

Australia's Big Four banks — the Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and Westpac — are the most concentrated and profitable set of banks in the world. These mega-banks are cutting their workforces, while paying their executives huge salaries and bonuses. They should be placed in public hands.

Pauline Pantsdown was the highlight act of the Green Left Weekly Sydney Comedy Night at the Leichhardt Town Hall on October 8.

More than 300 people packed into the hall to see her perform her famous songs Backdoor Man and I Don’t Like it to huge applause.

Other comedians who delighted the crowd included: Kirsty Mac, Suren Jayemanne, Carlo Sands and Peter Green. The night, with the theme of “Halal Certified Comedy: Please Explain?” was MCed by Helchild.

The NSW government has announced plans to privatise hospitals in Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn, Shellharbour and Bowral. It is a symptom of a disease: our public services are threatened by politicians who want to privatise them so companies can run them for profit.

Activists from all over Australia converged at Pine Gap, the US spy base, 50 years since it was first established for a series of protests. Robyn Marshall reports.

The images and accounts of Haiti’s devastation following Hurricane Matthew’s passage on October 4 are gut-wrenching. The death toll is in the hundreds and continues to rise. Entire villages in the country's southwest were obliterated. The response of a Haitian government, left besieged and without resources by decades of foreign plunder, is anaemic. The victims’ anguished appeals for help are heart-rending. The United Nations now says 1.4 million people are in need of assistance, urgent and immediate for half of them.

The Queensland government once again demonstrated its commitment to progressing Adani’s mega coal mine project in the Galilee basin on October 9.

State development minister Anthony Lynham announced that the government had invoked special powers to ensure the controversial Carmichael coal and rail project starts next year.

The combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure. Lynham says the decision will mean less red tape for the proposed $21.7 billion Adani venture.

Apparently, the universe does have a sense of humour.

After blaming his poor showing in the first presidential debate on problems with his microphone, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy is swirling around the toilet bowl due to comments that a different microphone did pick up.

Trump went into the second debate on October 9 with Hillary Clinton needing the impossible — for millions of people to forget the revulsion they felt when they learned about his casual misogyny unearthed in a 2005 recording.

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