ELECTIONS held to the Italian parliament on March 4, had followed the recent electoral trends of the European continent. One, these elections, by Italian standards, witnessed large scale voter abstention. Two, election results show that the ‘establishment parties’ lost badly, while those challenging these parties have won by significantly increasing their vote share. And finally, the voters did not give any party complete majority, thus throwing up a hung assembly.
THE rampant gun culture and shooting of innocents has claimed the lives of 17 young school students and their teacher in Parkland, Florida, US on February 14. This is one of the deadliest high school massacres in the history of the US. Since 2012, there have been more than 1,600 mass shootings, killing more than 1,800 people and wounding more than 6,400. In fact, four of the five deadliest gun rampages were in the past year and a half, after Donald Trump assumed presidency.
WHILE the heads of States of various countries and economic honchos are meeting at Davos in the World Economic Forum, discussing the ways and means to further their exploitation of resources and markets, people in various parts of the globe are coming out in protests. Determined and militant protests are seen in countries like Sudan and Turkey, initiated by the communists. The dictatorial and authoritarian governments, led by religious fundamentalist forces in these two countries are trying to quell these protests unleashing brutal repression.
IRAN is witnessing unprecedented protest demonstrations for the past one week. Hundreds of thousands of people are on the streets demanding a better life. This is the first time in eight years, since the protests against alleged electoral fraud in 2009, that Iran is once again witnessing such protests and unrest. According to official statistics released by the government, more than 20 people have died and hundreds were injured in the protests. Thousands more were detained by the security forces.
IN the run-off for Chilean presidential elections held on December 17, right-wing, businessman Sebastian Pinera (representing the coalition ‘Let's Go Chile’) won securing 54 per cent of the votes. He has defeated centre-left ruling coalition (New Majority) candidate Alejandro Guillier. The run-off was called as the election could not be decided in the first round with no candidate able to secure the mandatory 50 per cent of the polled votes. With Pinera’s victory, Chile joins the list of South American countries with conservative leaders, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.
THE WFTU Asia Pacific regional conference of women workers was held in Hanoi, Vietnam on December 6-8, 2017 as a prelude to the World Working Women’s Congress scheduled to be held in Panama from March 8-10, 2018. The conference was hosted by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL). 14 women trade unionists from seven countries – Bangladesh, India, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka, representing 10 affiliated unions, participated in the conference. From India, A R Sindhu from CITU and K Mallika from AITUC attended the conference.
IT had been a hectic couple of years for the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman or MBS as he is now popularly known, since he became the de facto ruler of the kingdom. He started by imposing a war on Yemen two years ago that has devastated the country, the poorest in the Arab world. Then he decided to do regime change in neighbouring Qatar. He has failed in achieving his goals in both Qatar and Yemen.
THE six-year devastating Syrian war is reaching a conclusive stage. The eighth-round of UN-mediated talks between the government of Syria and the opposition that began in Geneva on November 28, signify a decisive phase in the nearly six years of Syrian War. These talks are to continue till December 15 and widely expected to bring the curtains down on the war that had led to the killing of over 3,30,000 citizens and the displacement of millions of people.
BETWEEN November 30 and December 3, 2017, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) organised an international meeting under the title “CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting”. Nearly 600 delegates from over 200 political parties across the spectrum from – ruling parties to opposition Communist parties – representing more than 120 countries participated in this event.
The programme began with plenary sessions at the beginning and end. In between, five thematic discussions were held: