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Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

By , 27 February 1999

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to

Mass arrests at Australian mine

By our correspondent, 27 February 1999

Arrests are continuing on the picket line at the Gordonstone coal mine near Emerald, in central Queensland. Sixty more workers were detained on Tuesday bringing the total arrested to over 146 in two weeks.

Some interesting films on US television, February 27-March 5

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 27 February 1999

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.

The Wall Street Journal and Juanita Broaddrick

By Barry Grey, 27 February 1999

The latest round of scandal-mongering against the White House demonstrates that extreme right-wing elements, backed by the media, are determined to press ahead with their campaign of political destabilization.

Life is not the problem, but the conditions under which it is offered

By Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha, 27 February 1999

Pavuru Valalu (Walls Within), directed by Prasanna Vithanage, screenplay by Tony Ranasingha.

US government responsible for genocide and terror in Guatemala

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 February 1999

The United States government played a major role in supporting and assisting genocide and state terrorism in Guatemala, according to a UN-sponsored report, "Guatemala, Memory of Silence," which was issued Thursday. The nine volumes made public by the Historical Clarification Commission document the systematic torture and murder of 200,000 people, the vast majority of them Mayan Indians, during a 34-year civil war which ended in 1996.

State takeover of Detroit schools imminent

By Walter Gilberti and Lina Jones, 27 February 1999

A bill awaiting approval by the Michigan state legislature would empower Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer to take over the running of the city's public schools. This would involve the removal of current school superintendent, Dr. Eddie Green, as well as the elected 11-member school board, to be replaced by a chief executive and a 7-member commission appointed by the mayor. The commission would consist of individuals representing education, law and either business or the military. If passed, the initiative would allow for the election of a new school board in five years.

Funeral procession honours young Kurds slain at Israeli embassy

By Stefan Steinberg, 27 February 1999

Ten thousand Kurds from all over Germany marched through Berlin on Wednesday in memory of the three young Kurds who were shot down by security men at the Israeli Consulate in Berlin one week ago. In driving snow the procession, led by two cars bearing the bodies of the victims, wound its way through the streets of West Berlin. The demonstration was disciplined and peaceful. Turkish and German working people and youth also joined the march, which was escorted by nearly 4,000 police. Numerous police video teams filmed all of those taking part in the demonstration.

Britain: Macpherson report fingers witnesses in Stephen Lawrence murder

By Julie Hyland, 27 February 1999

Within hours of its publication, Lord Macpherson's report on the inquiry into the police investigation of the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, had to be withdrawn. The Home Office was forced to retrieve the appendix section of the report, after it was published with the names and addresses of those who had provided information to the police during the search for Stephen's killers.

Mike Tyson thrown in solitary confinement after being denied psychiatric medication

By Jerry White, 27 February 1999

Jail officials in Montgomery County, Maryland on Wednesday ordered Mike Tyson to remain in solitary confinement another three weeks because the former heavyweight boxing champion erupted in anger after being denied antidepressant medication for two days.

The political issues in the fight to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal

By , 26 February 1999

The following statement was issued February 25 by the Socialist Equality Party of the US.

New York transit worker comments on the impeachment crisis

By , 26 February 1999

The WSWS has received the following e-mail in response to correspondence posted on February 18 entitled "New York transit workers and the impeachment crisis."

Zimbabwe: Mugabe government abandons the rule of law

By Jean Shaoul, 26 February 1999

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president since independence from Britain in 1980, has abandoned the rule of law and resorted to outright dictatorship. His government faces mounting opposition from all layers of society due to rapidly deteriorating economic and social conditions, the failure to distribute land and the war in the Congo.

Racist killer sentenced to death in Texas murder

By Jerry White, 26 February 1999

The gruesome details surrounding the racist murder of James Byrd Jr. have evoked widespread anger and an understandable popular revulsion towards John William King, the young white man convicted earlier this week for the dragging death of the 49-year-old black man last June in Jasper, Texas. On Tuesday the jury, made up of 11 whites and one black, convicted King, 24, after deliberating little more than two hours. Two days later the same jury sentenced him to death.

Jeans maker Levi Strauss to cut 5,900 jobs in the US and Canada

By Shannon Jones, 26 February 1999

In a drastic move to cut costs and offset falling sales, Levi Strauss is closing 11 of 22 North American plants and eliminating some 5,900 jobs. The job cuts amount to 30 percent of the jeans maker's American and Canadian work force.

The failure of the Rambouillet conference

By Peter Schwarz, 26 February 1999

The Kosovo conference held at Rambouillet, near Paris, came to an end on Tuesday without any tangible results. Despite massive pressure on the part of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, neither of the two parties to the conflict agreed to the demands of the "Contact Group". These had proposed a wide-ranging autonomy for Kosovo within the framework of the Serbian state. This was to be secured through the stationing of a 28,000-strong "peace force" under the umbrella of NATO.

Yemen trial condemned as unfair

By Barbara Slaughter, 25 February 1999

Five Britons are standing trial in the Yemeni port of Aden, accused of being members of an "armed gang" for the "intention of committing murders in Yemen".

Poverty rate soaring among children

By Fred Mazelis, 25 February 1999

The Citizens' Committee for Children of New York (CCC), an advocacy organization which documents the effects of poverty and lobbies for increased social services for the poor, has just issued the fourth in its series of reports on the social conditions of the city's under-18 population. The reports, entitled Keeping Track, have been published every two years beginning in 1993.

Italian workers protest threats by government

By Rosa Ieropoli and Christopher Sverige, 25 February 1999

Workers in Italy have mounted a nine-day series of work stoppages in protest of the government's plan to attack any future strikes by workers in the occupations designated as "public services."

The role of the German government in the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan

By Ute Reissner, 25 February 1999

Four months ago, when the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens took office in Bonn, Joschka Fischer, the Green party foreign minister, stated that there was no such thing as "Green foreign policy," but only "German foreign policy".

Cuts threaten future of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art

By Richard Phillips, 25 February 1999

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia's leading venue for the exhibition of modern art, has dismissed 16 people, more than a third of its staff. The MCA's executive is undertaking a 20 percent cost-cutting exercise that eliminates key programs and places a question mark over the museum's future.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 25 February 1999

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to

As corruption scandals mount, US trade union leaders meet in Miami Beach

By Jerry White, 25 February 1999

The 54 members of the AFL-CIO Executive Council gathered at the Hotel Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida last week for their annual winter retreat. The executive council is made up of the US labor federation's top three officers--President John Sweeney, Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson--and the presidents of 51 affiliated unions.

The music of everyday events

By Ian Bruce, 25 February 1999

Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life by Laurence Bergreen. Broadway paperback edition, 1998, 564 pages, $16.00

Britain: Macpherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence provokes right-wing backlash

By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden, 25 February 1999

The report of the public inquiry into the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, published yesterday afternoon, had already provoked a bitter reaction from the British establishment and its media, after it was leaked to the Daily Telegraph on Sunday.

The police killing of Amadou Diallo

By , 24 February 1999

To the editor,

US economy: How long can 'impossible balancing act' continue?

By Nick Beams, 24 February 1999

As befits the central banker of the world's most powerful capitalist nation, US Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan tries to convey the impression that he has a firm grasp of what is taking place in the world economy. But every so often one gets a glimpse that behind the delphic utterances on the state of the American economy and the international markets, the financial chiefs of capitalism do not fully understand what is taking place, much less have policies to deal with the mounting crisis of the global economy.

New York: Long record of abuse at Nassau County jail

By Allan Whyte, 24 February 1999

Over 100 inmates have filed complaints against prison guards at the Nassau County jail in Garden City, Long Island over the past eight years, according to a report in the New York Times. The report is based on information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the newspaper after the death of Thomas Pizzuto, an inmate who was beaten to death by prison guards on January 13.

Human Rights Watch report on Turkey: a profile of a police state

By , 24 February 1999

The kind of "justice" PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan can expect to receive is indicated by the report on human rights abuses in Turkey issued by Human Rights Watch as part of its World Report 1999. It states, in part: "Despite vigorous debates among state officials and in civil society on the 'rule of law,' laws continued to be applied arbitrarily, especially to restrict freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. The military, through powers that it was granted in the 1982 constitution, continued to exert influence over politics in a manner largely incompatible with the standards of democratic states. National political parties with pro-Islam, pro-Kurdish, or leftist tendencies and their local branches were harassed or simply shut down. There were violent assaults against human rights advocates, and offices of human rights groups were occasionally closed. Freedom of expression was often curtailed by abusive and arbitrary police action and through legal prosecution; non-violent demonstrators, writers and journalists were arrested; and several publications were closed down during the year. Although high-level state officials condemned the use of torture and promised reforms, torture in detention continued to be widespread, and those accused of torture received lenient or no punishment in several high-profile cases. Poor conditions prevailed in prisons. Amidst the persistence of severe human rights violations, a growing number of state officials, judges, and parliamentarians began to raise questions about the system that permits such severe abuse and an environment of impunity for the abusers."

A letter from Brazil, in solidarity with the Chilean people

By , 24 February 1999

I would like to lend my solidarity to the Chilean people, which is a sister people of our own. In Brazil we too passed through a bloody military dictatorship and can understand the pain of the families of the tortured, the dead and the disappeared.

The manhunt for Ocalan: How Washington flouts international law and democratic rights

By Barry Grey, 24 February 1999

High-level US government officials have outlined Washington's role in the kidnapping of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan, making it clear that the US organized a global manhunt in violation of international law and basic democratic procedures.

Five workers killed in Pennsylvania chemical blast

By Paul Scherrer, 24 February 1999

Five workers were killed February 19 when a powerful explosion ripped through a small chemical factory in a suburb of the city of Allentown in eastern Pennsylvania. The explosion occurred around 8:30 p.m. Fourteen people were injured, including five firefighters who had come to the scene. Two of these remain in critical condition in nearby hospitals.

... and director Abraham Polonsky

By David Walsh, 24 February 1999

Abraham Polonsky was born in New York City in 1910. He attended the City College of New York and Columbia Law School. He practiced law, taught at CCNY, wrote radio scripts and several novels, and signed a contract with Paramount before leaving for the Second World War, during which he worked with the OSS. After the war his first screenwriting job was on Mitchell Leisen's Golden Earring; none of his material survived to the final script. His next job was on Robert Rossen's Body and Soul (1947), a boxing drama with John Garfield. He was encouraged by Garfield to direct the actor's next picture, Force of Evil (1948). In April 1951 he was subpoenaed to appear before HUAC, and after refusing to cooperate, was blacklisted by the industry. He could not use his own name in credits until Madigan, for which he wrote the script, in 1968. He directed two more films, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1970) and Romance of a Horsethief (1971).

Filmmaker and informer

By , 24 February 1999

This is the final installment of a three-part series on the honoring of director Elia Kazan by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and its implications.

Conversations with blacklisted screenwriter Walter Bernstein ...

By David Walsh, 24 February 1999

Walter Bernstein was born in Brooklyn in 1919. After graduation from Dartmouth, he wrote regularly for the New Yorker and during World War II, the G.I. weekly, Yank. After demobilization he returned to magazine writing, before going to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter, first with director Robert Rossen. He had collaborated on only one screenplay before he was blacklisted in 1950. He wrote extensively for television over the next decade, not being able to return to film writing until 1959. His scripts include The Magnificent Seven (uncredited, 1960), The Money Trap (1966), The Molly Maguires (1970), The Front (1976) and Semi-Tough (1977).

India: BJP-led coalition sacks Bihar state government

By a correspondent, 24 February 1999

India's ruling coalition, which is dominated by the Hindu chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has seized on mounting landlord violence to sack the government of Bihar, India's second most populous state. Claiming that law and order had broken down in the state, the Atal Vajpayee government dismissed Bihar's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government and placed the state under "presidential rule" February 13, less than 48 hours after a landlord militia had massacred 12 Bihari villagers.

Cuts threaten future of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art

By Richard Phillips, 24 February 1999

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia's leading venue for the exhibition of modern art, has dismissed 16 people, more than a third of its staff. The MCA's executive is undertaking a 20 percent cost-cutting exercise that eliminates key programs and places a question mark over the museum's future.

Indonesian opposition leader Megawati opposes East Timor independence

By Peter Symonds, 24 February 1999

Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri used a large rally in Jakarta, called to launch her party, the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) Struggle, as an opportunity to strongly oppose the granting of any form of independence to East Timor. About 120,000 supporters, decked out in the party's red colours, filled the capital's Senayan Main Stadium on February 15.

Massacres by landlord militia rock India's second most populous state

By Arun Kumar, 24 February 1999

Twelve villagers, four of them women and one a 12-year-old child, were massacred by a landlord-sponsored militia in the Jahanabad District of India's Bihar state on the evening of February 11.

Blair defends billionaire cabinet member

By Richard Tyler, 24 February 1999

Labour's close ties to big business are central to the ongoing row over genetically modified food. The storm that unfolded last week focussed on the role of Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science.

Filmmaker and informer

By , 23 February 1999

This is the second installment of a three-part series on the honoring of director Elia Kazan by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and its implications. The third part is accompanied by conversations with blacklisted screenwriter Walter Bernstein and director Abraham Polonsky.

Two more workers die from Ford Rouge explosion

By Martin McLaughlin, 23 February 1999

Two more workers have died from injuries sustained in the February 1 explosion at the Ford Rouge works in Dearborn, Michigan, bringing the death toll from the blast to six.

Ohio carries out first execution in 36 years

By Larry Roberts, 23 February 1999

On Friday, February 19 Wilford Berry Jr., a mentally retarded man, became the first person to be put to death in the State of Ohio in 36 years.

Immigrant workers tied up with rope

By Margaret Rees, 23 February 1999

Refugees and workers from Asia were tied up with rope and others handcuffed when Australian immigration officials aided by state police detained 44 farm labourers--33 men and 11 women--at two tomato farms in Victoria's Goulburn Valley last Thursday. At least 19 of the tomato pickers were tied up, and the whole group was kept waiting for hours in blazing heat without food or water while being interrogated.

British Home Secretary issues gagging order over Stephen Lawrence inquiry

By Chris Marsden, 23 February 1999

Home Secretary Jack Straw was forced to make a humiliating retreat when a judge relaxed a gagging order against the Sunday Telegraph. Straw had taken out an injunction preventing publication of leaked extracts from the public inquiry report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a 19-year-old black student who was killed by racists in 1993.

British Home Secretary proposes preventative detention

By Mike Ingram, 23 February 1999

Last week Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw proposed legislation allowing the courts to detain anyone considered to have a "dangerous personality disorder", whether or not they have committed a crime. This would represent a fundamental restructuring of the British legal system and a major attack on civil liberties.

Conflicts in G7 as world economy moves closer to slump

By Nick Beams, 23 February 1999

After months of discussion and warnings about the fragile state of the global financial system and calls for a new "architecture", the summit meeting of the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers held last weekend in Bonn was supposed to produce some concrete measures to at least alleviate, if not entirely prevent, a repetition of the crises that have erupted over the past year.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 23 February 1999

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to

UK Rover plant may still close as BMW tightens its belt

By Robert Stevens, 20 February 1999

The future of the Rover car plant in Birmingham, England is once again the subject of intense speculation. Its owners, BMW, are seeking to rationalise their global operations. In December BMW axed 2,500 jobs and introduced new super-flexible contracts at the plant in a bid to raise productivity and cut costs. The company stated that without such restructuring the factory, which employs 16,000, would close.

Freeport obtains Indonesian approval to expand world's largest gold mine

By Mike Head, 20 February 1999

After a year-long saga, the Habibie government in Indonesia has given the US mining company Freeport McMoRan approval to almost double production at the Grassberg copper, silver and copper operation in West Papua (Irian Jaya). With reserves valued at $40 billion, the Freeport project is the largest single gold deposit in the world and the third largest open-cut copper mine.

War resumes between Ethiopia and Eritrea

By Chris Talbot, 20 February 1999

After an eight-month unofficial cease-fire, the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa has returned with a vengeance. Shooting began in the beginning of February in the Badme triangle, a desolate area of borderland that is claimed by both sides. It rapidly escalated to other parts of the border further east, including a disputed zone 70 kilometres from the major Eritrean port of Assab.

How union-management collaboration has undermined workers' safety in the US auto industry

By Jerry White, 20 February 1999

The tragic fallout from the February 1 explosion at the Ford Rouge power plant in Dearborn, Michigan continues. Over the past several days Warren Blow and Ken Anderson, two of four workers who succumbed to injuries sustained in the blast, were buried.

US policy toward the Kurds--a mass of contradictions

By Martin McLaughlin, 20 February 1999

The US government played an important role in the kidnapping and arrest of Kurdish nationalist leader Abdullah Ocalan by the Turkish authorities. FBI agents reportedly tipped off the Turkish government about Ocalan's presence in Nairobi, Kenya. As Ocalan arrived in chains at his island prison near Istanbul, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart hailed his abduction as a triumph in the struggle against "international terrorism."

Some interesting films on US television, February 20-26

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 20 February 1999

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.

Australian communications union faces membership decline

By Noel Holt, 20 February 1999

The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, one of Australia's largest unions, is desperately attempting to stem the 35 percent fall in its membership that has occurred over the past eight years. The decline has escalated in recent years as the union has deepened its collaboration with Telstra--the semi-privatised national communications carrier--to eliminate 23,000 jobs and outsource increasing amounts of work to contractors.

Jobs cut, as economic insecurity of US workers rises

By David Walsh, 20 February 1999

A host of US companies announced layoffs this week, even as a study revealed that levels of economic insecurity among American workers are now three times as high as they were during the recession year of 1981.

Unionist domination of Northern Ireland Assembly confirmed

By Julie Hyland, 20 February 1999

Tuesday's vote by Republican and Unionist parties in favour of establishing a new Executive for the Northern Ireland Assembly came after more than a fortnight of intense political pressure directed at Sinn Fein.

Protests continue against Australian government's decision to bar Tamil socialist

By Linda Tenenbaum, 20 February 1999

Protests are continuing against the Australian government's decision to bar Tamil socialist Rajendiram Sutharsan from entering the country.

Filmmaker and informer

By David Walsh, 20 February 1999

Part 1:

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

By , 20 February 1999

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to

Kurdish protesters express outrage in Australia

By Mike Head, 19 February 1999

Scores of Kurdish people and supporters demonstrated at Greek consulates in Sydney and Melbourne on Wednesday, voicing their outrage at the Greek government's role in the abduction of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. Within hours of news being posted on the Internet of Ocalan's seizure by Turkish agents, plans were drawn up by Kurdish organisations for protests in both cities, where most of Australia's 12,000 Kurdish refugees live.

Origins of HIV virus identified

By Barry Mason, 19 February 1999

A recent article in the scientific magazine Nature explains that the main type of human immunodificiency virus, HIV-1, which causes AIDS, originates in a subspecies of chimpanzees from equatorial West Africa. The February 4 report details the work carried out by a group of researchers at the Department of Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham led by Feng Goa. Monkeys carry viral infections similar to HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

Free Internet providers boost UK access

By Mike Ingram, 19 February 1999

A proliferation of free Internet access availability over the past six months has had a significant impact on Internet usage in the United Kingdom.

Joy Gardner's mother issues writ for compensation

By Tania Kent, 19 February 1999

Myrna Simpson is the mother of Joy Gardner, a Jamaican mother of two who died after being bound and gagged in her north London home by deportation officers six years ago. On Monday she issued a writ against Home Secretary Jack Straw, and Paul Condon, the metropolitan police commissioner, seeking compensation from the Home Office for depriving Graeme Burke, Joy's 11-year-old son, of his mother and causing him psychological damage.

The reality behind Canada's "good news" budget

By a reporter, 19 February 1999

Canada's governing Liberal Party and much of the media are touting Tuesday's federal budget as a return to normalcy after years of sweeping budget cuts and tax hikes. After all, Finance Minister Paul Martin predicts Ottawa will record a budgetary surplus for the third successive year and has unveiled modest social spending initiatives and tax cuts for the second year running.

On the drugs crisis

By , 19 February 1999

To the Editor,

Book examines persecution of Pennsylvania miners

By Cory Johnson and James Dennis, 19 February 1999

Making Sense of the Molly Maguires, by Kevin Kenny, Oxford University Press, 1998, 336 pages

Indonesian president lashes out at Singapore as 'racist'

By Peter Symonds, 19 February 1999

Recent remarks by Indonesian President B.J. Habibie openly accusing the Singapore government of racism have sparked a regional furore and drawn sharp opposition from Malay politicians and newspapers in Singapore, Indonesian human rights groups, politicians and others.

International repression follows Ocalan's capture

By Chris Marsden, 19 February 1999

Wednesday's indiscriminate shooting by Israeli security guards of Kurds protesting the seizure of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK), claimed three lives and wounded sixteen others, including an 11-year-old boy.

A reader asks the WSWS to comment on the sacking of England football coach Glen Hoddle

By , 19 February 1999

Julie Hyland, for the WSWS

13-year-old child sentenced as an adult in Michigan

By Larry Roberts, 19 February 1999

On February 11, 13-year-old McKinley Moore from Highland Park, Michigan became the first child in the history of the state to be sentenced as an adult.

Immigrant killed by New York City police buried in Guinea

By Helen Halyard, 18 February 1999

Amadou Diallo, the Guinean immigrant gunned down by New York City police on February 5, was buried in his native village of Djountou on February 17. Hundreds of Guineans stood in the blazing heat to console Amadou's family as they returned from New York with the body.

Framed Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt wins appeal

By Martin McLaughlin, 18 February 1999

Political prisoner Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt won what appears to be a final and definitive legal decision in his 27-year battle against frame-up by the Los Angeles police and prosecutors, as a California Appeals Court panel unanimously upheld the decision of a lower court judge who ordered Pratt's release.

The seizure of Abdullah Ocalan: whatever happened to the right of asylum?

By the Editorial Board, 18 February 1999

Türkçe metin / Also in Turkish

Typographers settle with Detroit Newspapers

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 1999

Members of Detroit Typographical Union Local 18, the bargaining agent for some 95 graphic artists at the Detroit News and Free Press, have voted to ratify a 10-year contract agreement. The settlement is the first since six unions struck the newspapers in July 1995.

Blair government targets unemployed, disabled and lone parents

By Peter Reydt, 18 February 1999

On Wednesday, February 11 Social Security Minister Alistair Darling released the Labour government's Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill. "Harsh but justifiable", was how Darling described the bill which would introduce a new regime "far tougher than people thought". Its objective is to break the "dependency culture" that prevails in Britain, Darling insisted. "There is no automatic right to benefit," he warned.

New York transit workers and the impeachment crisis

By , 18 February 1999

To the Editor,

Trial opens in racist dragging death in Jasper, Texas

By James Brookfield, 18 February 1999

The trial of John King for the brutal killing of James Byrd Jr. opened on Tuesday in Jasper, Texas. King, 24, is the first of three expected to stand trial for the murder of Byrd, 49, killed in the early morning hours of June 7, 1998. King, along with Shawn Berry, 23, and Lawrence Brewer, 31, are alleged to have severely beaten Byrd, before chaining him to a pickup truck and dragging him to his dismemberment and death.

Judge delays imposing heavy fines against American Airlines pilots

By Jerry White, 18 February 1999

The federal judge who ruled last weekend that the Allied Pilots Association was in contempt of court and subject to millions of dollars in fines for the job action by American Airlines pilots decided Wednesday to delay penalizing the union until at least April 12.

US expands air war against Iraq

By Barry Grey, 18 February 1999

The United States, with the assistance of Britain, is expanding its air war against Iraq, hitting both military and civilian targets on a virtually daily basis. The air strikes are being carried out with minimal coverage in the American media, no debate in Congress and not even the pretense of a public discussion.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 18 February 1999

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to

More than 300 dead in Indonesian shipping disaster

By Keith Morgan, 17 February 1999

Just over a week after the cargo ship Artha Rimba (Health of the Forest) sank on February 6 in the South China Sea, hopes of finding any of the 305 missing passengers is remote. Only 20 people, including the captain, have been rescued, after floating at sea for up to four days. Most of the passengers were workers from West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) lured on board with the promise of jobs in Sumatra.

The life and death of King Hussein of Jordan

By , 17 February 1999


New fears of stockmarket slide

By Nick Beams, 17 February 1999

After the dramatic surge on Wall Street in the last weeks of 1998, fears are once again growing that the US share market could be headed for a sharp decline, which, if sustained, would have far-reaching consequences for the global economy.

Child and teenage poverty deepens in Australia

By Mike Head, 17 February 1999

If one believed recent reports in the media, child poverty has fallen dramatically in Australia since the early 1980s, thanks to "generous" social welfare measures introduced by the Hawke and Keating Labor governments between 1983 and 1996.

John Ehrlichman, key conspirator in the Nixon White House, dead at 73

By Martin McLaughlin, 17 February 1999

The death Sunday of John Ehrlichman provides an occasion for recalling the significance of the Watergate affair, a political scandal involving genuine abuses of power. There is an enormous difference between Watergate and the year-long Lewinsky affair, where "high crimes and misdemeanors" have been committed, not by the White House, but by the right-wing political operatives--judges, lawyers, congressmen, journalists--who organized the attack on the Clinton administration.

International scientists raise concerns over genetically modified food

By Keith Lee and Richard Tyler, 17 February 1999

The Labour government has been rocked by a dispute over the possible health dangers posed by genetically modified food. Last week 20 scientists from 13 countries issued a memorandum supporting their colleague Dr. Arpad Pusztai's research into the possible harmful effects of genetically modified (GM) food.

Clinton administration moves to impose punitive tariffs on Japanese, Brazilian steel imports

By Shannon Jones, 17 February 1999

In a sign of mounting global economic tensions, the Clinton administration has formally declared Japan and Brazil guilty of dumping under-priced steel on the American market and announced the imposition of prohibitive duties against those countries' steel exports.

An exchange on Vietnam's new land laws

By , 17 February 1999

Andrew Sinnema, World Socialist Web Site

Death toll mounts in blast at US auto plant

By Helen Halyard, 16 February 1999

On Sunday 44-year-old Ken Anderson of Wyandotte, Michigan became the fourth worker to die as a result of the February 1 powerhouse explosion at Ford Motor Company's Rouge complex outside Detroit.

Sri Lanka: Tensions over Free Trade Agreement with India

By K. Ratnayake and Wije Dias, 16 February 1999

The Free Trade Agreement that was signed by visiting Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi last December 28 is being hailed by a section of the Sri Lankan bourgeoisie as "a landmark agreement" and "a major breakthrough." Other sections of Sri Lanka's elite, however, are warning the agreement could intensify the island's political and economic crisis.

Britain and Spain exchange threats over Gibraltar

By Julie Hyland, 16 February 1999

Spain and Britain have agreed to hold talks in an effort to resolve a conflict over Gibraltar that has taken on war-like dimensions over the last week. Gibraltar is a 6.5 square kilometre rock lying at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has a population of less than 30,000 and functions almost solely as a tax haven for its residents and 53,000 registered companies. How is it that its fate should have so soured relations between two European allies?

Britain: South Wales declares two public health emergencies over meningitis

By Jean Shaoul, 16 February 1999

A public health emergency was declared in Pontypridd, South Wales last week following the deaths of three people from meningitis and the treatment of six schoolchildren and four adults in hospital. Medical teams have been carrying out a mass immunisation of pupils in three former mining villages in an attempt to contain one of Britain's worst outbreaks of the disease.

Judge imposes fines, calls American Airlines pilots extortionists

By Jerry White, 16 February 1999

In the wake of a contempt-of-court order and massive fine levied on Saturday by US District Judge Elton "Joe" Kendall, most of the American Airlines pilots involved in a nine-day sick-out have returned to work. Negotiations resumed between management and the Allied Pilots Association Monday, and representatives from the APA are due back in the Dallas courtroom Wednesday to hear what additional damages Kendall might impose on behalf of American Airlines.

Politicians and media defend child boxing tournament in Australia

By Keith Morgan, 16 February 1999

The Australian Amateur Boxing League held a tournament on the Gold Coast in Queensland late last year where children of both sexes as young as nine were put into the ring and egged on to batter each other about the head for the entertainment of the paying audience.

"The UAW allows management to play Russian roulette with the lives of workers"

By , 16 February 1999

To the Editor:

Clinton to send Marines to Kosovo

By Martin McLaughlin, 16 February 1999

The United States will contribute 4,000 soldiers, including 1,000 Marines, who will be the spearhead of a NATO intervention force in Kosovo, President Clinton announced during his nationwide Saturday radio address. It was Clinton's first major policy announcement since surviving his Senate impeachment trial.

The Clinton impeachment and the attack on democratic rights

By , 16 February 1999


A rising number of industrial deaths in New Zealand

By a correspondent, 16 February 1999

Eleven workers have been killed in industrial accidents in New Zealand in less than two months since the beginning of this year.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 16 February 1999

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