Cuba is a world leader in healthcare. Photo: socialmedicine.org. Cuba became the first country in the world to be recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) for officially eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis on June 30. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation” said Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.
Activists have welcomed the announcement on July 6 that the NSW Coalition government has decided to buy back a coal seam gas (CSG) petroleum exploration licence from AGL that covers Sydney’s water catchment. “It is a big win,” said Jess Moore, spokesperson for Stop CSG Illawarra. The anti-CSG group, with significant community involvement, has been campaigning for four years to protect the water catchment.
Protest by Awami Workers Party-Sindh against exacerbation of heatwave by corruption and electricity privatisation. Hyderabad, Sindh, June 28. Photo: Awami Workers Party-Sindh/ Facebook. The death toll in Pakistan's devastating heat wave shot past 1000 on June 25. This makes it the worst heat wave to hit the country's southern city of Karachi in at least 35 years.
The debt imposed on Greece and its people by creditors directly infringes the human rights of Greeks and is “illegal, illegitimate and odious”, a preliminary report issued by the Audit Committee on Public Debt declared on June 17. The finding came as talks between Greece and its creditors finished without a deal on June 18. The International Monetary Fund is threatening the near-bankrupt country with default unless it pays the US$1.7 billion it owes by the June 30 deadline.
WikiLeaks released the secret draft of the healthcare annex to the transparency chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on June 10. If the TPP is adopted, the annex would adversely affect national pharmaceutical schemes, such as Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and New Zealand's Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC). The TPP is a free trade deal being negotiated by countries on the Pacific rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.
Violent right-wing protests erupted in Ecuador on June 8, sparked by plans for a new inheritance tax law that would target the richest 2% of the population. In response, President Rafael Correa agreed to temporarily halt two planned laws to carry out a nationwide debate on inequality and wealth redistribution – challenging the opposition to prove his government's laws would hurt the poor. On June 18, Correa took to social media to start the debate, asking: “How can we call a country a 'democracy' if less than 2% of families own 90 percent of big businesses?”
The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) has laid five criminal charges against multinational mining company Linc Energy for causing irreversible environmental damage around the site of its experimental underground coal gasification (UCG) plant at Chinchilla, on the western Darling Downs. The charges allege that Linc wilfully and unlawfully caused serious contamination with carbon monoxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide, carcinogenic BTEX and other gases.
WikiLeaks released 17 secret documents from the Trade In Service Agreement (TISA) negotiations on June 3. The documents have confirmed the fears of campaigners around the world that TISA is designed to benefit corporations at the expense of workers and the general public.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim nations — including Australia — is a treaty covering regulations and investments. It is being negotiated in secret from the peoples of the affected nations, but not from the corporations that are set to benefit from the deal — as chapters leaked by WikiLeaks reveal. For the US side alone, about 600 corporate representatives are neck deep in the negotiations.
It was clear early on that something special was happening in the May 24 local government and regional elections across the Spanish state. In Spanish elections, the voter participation rate gets announced at 1pm and 6pm — while voting is still taking place. Well before the polling stations closed, the news was that participation was up about 5% in Catalonia and about 8% in the working-class districts of Barcelona.