Economy

United States President Barack Obama renewed an executive order, first issued a year ago, on March 3 that declares Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”, TeleSUR English said the next day. The order allows the US government to impose sanctions on Venezuela. In protest, Venezuela has withdrawn its charge d'affaires, Maximilian Arvelaez, from the United States, TeleSUR English said on March 9.
A cost-benefit analysis released by the Secretariat of Pacific Communities (SPC) and the European Union on potential deep sea mining (DSM) projects in three Pacific countries found that the projects can be viable. But other research suggests there remain serious concerns about the new, untested DSM industry.
All media outlets in the Spanish state were dominated by the images of two men on March 1: one was leaving jail near the northern city of Logrono to the cheers of inmates he was leaving behind; the other was trying to convince the Spanish parliament in Madrid to vote him in as prime minister.
Turkish military bombardment of Sur, Diyarbakır. The Turkish government has a post-war plan to offer Kurds high-end housing in exchange for civil obedience. Sur is a district in Turkey's southeast, part of the Kurdish capital Diyarbakır, that has been exposed to a round-the-clock curfew since December 2.
Aboriginal activist and writer Ken Canning will head the Socialist Alliance NSW Senate ticket — For a People's Movement — in the coming federal election. “I've joined this election campaign to build a people's movement to free all our communities from the tyranny of the old big parties which have been bought out by the rich and the multinational corporations.
Anti-Trump protesters successfully shut down a Donald Trump rally in Chicago on March 11. Crowds started gathering early to protest Trump's appearance, as part of his campaign to win the Republican presidential primaries. "Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago and after meeting with law enforcement has determined that for the safety of all of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight's rally will be postponed to another date," the Trump campaign said in a statement.
In a Democratic presidential primary debate in Miami on March 10, against his rival Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders opposed US invasions, coups and interventions against Latin American nations. The socialist Senator also strongly opposed the ongoing US embargo against Cuba while praising the island for its social gains in health and education.
The Turnbull Coalition government must call a full royal commission into CommInsure, the Commonwealth Bank and the general financial malpractices of the insurance and banking industry immediately. This Coalition government wasted more than $50 million in taxpayers' funds on the royal commission into the union movement, but adamantly refuses to hold a proper inquiry into its big business mates in the major banks.
A controversy broke out at Sydney's Mardi Gras on March 6 when organisers threatened to ban the No Pride In Detention refugee rights float if they criticised Opposition leader Bill Shorten's refugee policies. And fair enough. The Mardi Gras was begun by people demanding basic human rights and an end to dehumanisation and unjust repression, so there's obviously no connection with the current bipartisan treatment of refugees.

An extraordinary, radical experiment in welfare policy will begin on March 15 in the small town of Ceduna and several remote Aboriginal communities in south-western South Australia. The cashless debit card — or “Healthy Welfare Card” as it was dubbed by its leading advocate, billionaire miner Andrew Forrest — will be trialled for 12 months.

The Sudan Democracy First Group is an umbrella group of leading Sudanese independent and democratic civil society sectors. It aims to promote the voices and interests of marginalised groups, as well as peace and human rights. Below is its International Women's Day statement released on March 8. * * *
Bernie Sanders' campaign has just received a massive boost. The socialist Vermont senator secured a surprise victory in Michigan on March 8, sending a clear message out to Hillary Clinton's campaign, which nonetheless managed to win big in Mississippi after attracting nine out of every 10 Black voters, according to exit polls. Polls indicated that Clinton would win big in Michigan, giving her a lead of 20- 22 points. However, Sanders secured victory by 50% of the vote compared to Hillary's 48%.
TeleSUR English: Peace, unity and prosperity was the message on March 5, which marked the third anniversary of the death of Venezuela's late socialist president Hugo Chavez.
More than 2000 people took to the streets in Peru's capital, Lima, on February 29 to protest against the government's plan to privatise public water services. The protest was organised by small neighbourhoods and the public water workers’ union Sedapal. Millions of people across Peru lack basic water and sewer systems, putting them in a highly vulnerable sector suffering endemic health issues.
A 100-day Plan for urban agriculture started on February 28 in eight Venezuelan cities in a bid to provide about 1300 people with vegetables and fruits. Urban agriculture minister Lorena Freitez said one of the plan's objectives consists of teaching people how to cultivate and stir their interest for agriculture. In the long term, the products should be able to supply about 20% of the total food consumption of the residents living in the eight participating cities: Barcelona, Barquisimeto, Caracas, Los Teques, Maracaibo, Maracay, Mérida y Valencia.
From a distance, Australia's tax system looks gender neutral. The tax return carefully avoids gendered words and the tax rules were purged several years ago of direct gender discrimination. There is no assumption that the male in a partnership is the primary breadwinner or that the female is the primary carer. There is no assumption that one partner must disclose to the other all their financial affairs to enable a tax return to be sent on behalf of both of them, unless they explicitly agree to it. Single men and women are not treated differently for income tax purposes.

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