Unions Launch One-Day General Strike in Brazil
Brazil’s anti-government protest movement took a new turn on July 11 as trade unions led for a one-day nationwide general strike and tens of thousands of workers took to the streets. According to The New York Times, highways and ports were blockaded while banks and schools and some factories were closed or occupied. The protest movement began in June following a hike in bus fares and quickly mushroomed into the country’s largest anti-government protests since the country’s military dictatorship ended in 1985. Public anger has been fueled by government spending of billions of dollars on new sports stadiums to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics while public services deteriorate.
“The important thing,” one protester told the Times, “is to keep this movement going and the pressure on, like wave after wave crashing on the shore, pounding away at the government until Brazil gets the changes it needs.”
Tar Sands Protesters Go to the Source
Hundreds of environmental activists from across Canada joined indigenous leaders on July 5 and 6 for the fourth annual “healing walk” around a tar sands oil production site in the western province of Alberta. Participants called for tar sands mining and processing to be ended due to the irreparable damage it causes to surrounding land and waterways and because its extraction involves a higher rate of carbon emissions than regular crude oil.
“The land is sick here. The people are sick from polluted air, water and food,” said Jesse Cardinal, co-organizer from the indigenous-led Keepers of the Athabasca.
The protest came as the Obama administration considers whether to allow the giant Keystone XL pipeline to be built from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, where it would bring 800,000 barrels per day of toxic oil slurry.
Egypt in Turmoil, Arms Deal Still on Track
The United States is sticking with plans to deliver four F-16 fighters jets to Egypt in August despite the Egyptian military’s July 3 overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsi. The planes, which are made by Lockheed Martin, are a part of the $1.3 billion per year in U.S. military aid to Egypt. Under U.S. law, Washington cannot export arms to countries whose governments come to power via a coup…except when it decides to go ahead and do so anyway.