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Super Puma helicopters have been grounded after a crash off Sumburgh in Shetland left four people dead. This is not an isolated incident, and unions are calling for a fatal accident enquiry to be fast tracked, and for decisive action to be taken. There is a lot of rapid development of the oil fields of the North Sea off Shetland.

The brutal chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians outlines the horror being faced by that country. It seems most likely that the attack was the work of the Assad regime, and Western nations have pledged military action. The situation is terrifying and complex, with no clear answers.

The ‘peace process’ between Israel and Palestine has collapsed after Israel entered Palestinian territory in Qalandiya and shot three civilians dead, including a UN worker. This highlights the impossibility of trying to negotiate a just peace between two parties when there is such a massive imbalance in power. Palestinians feel Israel has no genuine interest in peace and is using the ‘process’ to legitimise its occupation.

The independent workers’ movement in Egypt was instrumental to the revolution that ousted Mubarak. After the Muslim Brotherhood was elcted in Egypt’s first democratic election, the suppression of union organising continued, and unions supported the Tamarod campaign calling on Morsi to resign. The unions called for another general election. Instead, there seems to have been a military coup in Egypt, and the old regime has reinstalled itself. Security forces suppressed a recent strike at Suez Steel, and promises ot raise the minimum wage and allow freedom of association have not been met. There are two interesting articles here and here.

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