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Extremism Bill is threat to all of us

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Barely a year after the passing of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, the Tories are introducing a new “Counter Extremism Bill”.

It is landmark legislation and we will need a united opposition from the left, anti-racists, trade unions, student unions and the Muslim community to stop it.

With the planned introduction of the bill this autumn, state Islamophobia in Britain is being racked up to a new level.

Corbyn expresses desire for change

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This has been the summer of Corbynmania. Thousands of people have attended Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s election rallies in towns and cities across Britain.

These meetings have been some of the biggest we’ve seen since the anti-war movement in 2003, with venues overflowing into outdoor rallies from London to Liverpool to Norwich.

Corbyn, with his principled stance on war and oppression and vow to end austerity, has become an unexpected figurehead for discontent.

EU targets migrants at sea

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The European Union’s (EU) response to the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War is more detention camps, fast track repatriation and jail for migrants and refugees.

Alongside this EU ministers have sanctioned a naval task force with the missions to destroy boats at sea and halt migrant ships as they set off on their journey.

The EU has drawn up a plan to open “structured border zones and facilities”, that is quarantine centres, in the so-called frontline states of Malta, Italy and Greece.

Kurdish breakthrough in Turkish elections

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The general election in Turkey on 7 June was a huge setback for the ruling Islamist AKP party, and a breakthrough for the left-leaning Kurdish HDP.

The AKP’s problems started two years ago when a movement occupied Gezi Park and remained in control of Istanbul’s central square for two weeks.

As demonstrations in solidarity spread throughout the country, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan unleashed brutal police violence which ended with eight dead and hundreds seriously injured. Even AKP supporters were shocked.

Hong Kong vote bill fails

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Hong Kong MPs have thrown out a bill proposed by China that would tighten its control over how the country’s leader, known as the chief executive, is elected. Only eight of the 70 MPs voted for the change.

The original move to alter the already undemocratic elections, decided by a 1,200-member committee loyal to the government in Beijing, to one where candidates had to be selected from a Chinese approved list, triggered one of the biggest mass movements in the former British colony’s history.

Students sell sex to pay for education

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A study released earlier this year made the headline-grabbing claim that 5 percent of students are sex workers.

The Student Sex Work Project, based at Swansea University, was set up to explore the specific experiences of student sex workers and review support networks and advice centres inside Higher Education.

The study has reignited debates around sex work, choice and sexuality. Sex work is defined as “the exchange of sexual services, performances and products for material compensation”.

Syria: regime in retreat

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It has been a disastrous few months for the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria following a string of military defeats at the hands of rebels.

Assad’s forces have been driven out of the northern province of Idlib, while his troops are said to be planning to abandon the key eastern city of Deir el-Zour to the Islamic State (ISIS). His grip on Aleppo, once the economic powerhouse, is also slipping.

War on ISIS backfires

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The Coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has failed to dent the Islamist movement.

Despite thousands of bombing missions by Western warplanes, the Iraqi army and its Syrian counterpart continue to retreat in the face of a few hundred determined fighters.

The Coalition and its allies promised earlier this year that they were about to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city that fell to ISIS during its lightning offensive last summer. Instead it is the newly rearmed Iraqi army that is once again in retreat.

Rohingya refugees set adrift to die

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People from a fishing village in Aceh organised a dramatic rescue to save hundreds of migrants who were in peril off Indonesia after they were shunned by navies in the region.

The refugees, who are from a Muslim minority, are fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Thai navy threatened to open fire on their vessel if it attempted to land. Malaysia and Indonesia gave them a similar welcome.

Aceh, which was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, is desperately poor. But despite this, its people rushed to rescue the refugees.

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