Sunday news round-up: June 29th – July 5th

Top Story: Greeks vote on make-or-break referendum: Greek voters are heading to the voting booths to decide the future of their country, and possibly the future of the Eurozone in general. After years of Troika-imposed austerity measures which have decimated the Greek economy and driven thousands to despair, voters are again getting a chance to reject the imposition, after voting SYRIZA into power earlier this year. The referendum before them asks whether to accept the recently negotiated bailout proposals by the IMF and it’s cohorts, which promise more bailout funds if the left-wing government in return for even more austerity, such as raising the retirement age. Troika and German officials have behaved disgracefully during the tense negotiations, with some suggesting that a regime change is necessary before they can be concluded, showing their deep contempt for democracy. Solidarity protests with the Greek people calling for a “no” vote have been occurring in places such as London and Dublin.

Turkish police violently suppress Istanbul Pride parade: While LGBT people in London and San Francisco were celebrating their identities at pride parades, people in the Turkish city of Istanbul have not been so fortunate. Reports on the ground suggest that Turkish police have used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse celebrating crowds, chasing people on the streets and arresting others. It has been suggested that officers responded badly to the pride parade due to it taking place during the holy month of Ramadan, although this is mere speculation until confirmed. Like many Middle Eastern nations, Istanbul faces powerful opposition to LGBT rights, although it is generally considered more tolerant than some of its neighbours.

Obama signs controversial “fast track” authority bill: U.S. President Obama has signed into law Congress’ fast track authority bill, which grants him the power to finalize negotiations over TTP with minimal oversight, only having to submit the final deal to Congress rather than ask approval for each decision made. TTP is a controversial trade bill which seeks to undermine American democracy by promising more powers to corporate bodies, and includes measures which make it difficult to boycott Apartheid Israel products. A similar deal to Obama’s liking, TTIP, seeks to establish a secret court system whereby corporations could sue democratically elected governments if they enact environmental laws which affect profits. Democrat supporters and left-wing supporters of Barack Obama have been notably absent in their criticism of the President, as usual.

Gaza Freedom Flotilla seized by Israeli Navy: Apartheid Israel has conducted an act of piracy in international waters, seizing Freedom Flotilla III ships headed for the Gazan coast in order to supply the beseiged prison with humanitarian aid. Although no activists were killed, unlike the last time, reports suggest that Israeli Navy personnel tazered at least one of the activists after illegally storming the flotilla, which was 100 miles off the coast when it was seized. Apartheid Israel maintains a severe economic blockade on the Gaza Strip, severely harming residents’ ability to preserve food or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Flotilla activists are currently being interrogated before being deported out of Israel, and no aid will reach Gaza as a result.

Pirate Party soars to first place in unprecedented polls: Iceland’s Pirate Party has become the first pirate party in the world to secure first place in election polls, beating the Independence Party and the Social Democratic party, both of whom are the only ones to win elections. The Pirate Party, like its international counterparts, is not a joke or spoof party, and has a platform which seeks to implement copyright reform, an open internet, government transparency, and secure more civil liberties. Icelandic voters will vote in April 2017, and so there is time for these polls to change, but the Pirate Party has already beaten two records: By being the first to come first place in a nationwide political poll, and by being the first Pirate Party to secure representation in a nation’s parliament.

 

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