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Louima trial: New York cop pleads guilty to immigrant's torture

By Bill Vann, 31 May 1999

Justin A. Volpe entered a guilty plea Tuesday May 26 to all the charges against him in connection with the stationhouse torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in August 1997.

Pakistan: new attacks on democratic rights by Sharif's regime

By K. Ratnayake, 31 May 1999

The Nawaz Sharif government of Pakistan is continuing its attacks on the democratic rights of the masses.

Belgium's Flemish fascists, the Vlaams Blok, seek gains in Euro elections

By Richard Tyler, 31 May 1999

“On June 13 we will shake Belgium to its foundations.” This was the promise that the leader of the Flemish fascists made to a rally of Vlaams Blok supporters. Franck Verhecke told the rally that, “We will ensure that in the new century our people are finally the ‘boss in our own land'”. This is the election slogan that adorned buttons and t-shirts at the meeting, and which greets the visitor to their website.

"Bottom's Dream," or, remembrance of things to come

By David Walsh, 31 May 1999

Shakespeare apparently wrote the play in the mid-1590s, when he was thirty or so, during the last decade of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It has been suggested, though not proven, that the piece was written for an aristocratic wedding and further conjectured that the queen attended the first performance. At any rate, according to its first printed edition in 1600, the play had already been “sundry times publicly acted” by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the theater company Shakespeare helped establish in the summer of 1594, when London theaters reopened after a two-year hiatus due to fear of the plague.

Intellectual integrity and claims of Serb genocide

By , 29 May 1999

To the editor,

Sharemarket "madness" boosts Australia's wealthy

By Mike Head, 29 May 1999

“Up, up and away.” That was last year's celebratory headline on the Business Review Weekly's Rich 200 List of Australia's wealthiest individuals and families. And why not? Their combined wealth had leapt 17.5 percent in 12 months.

How profit equalizes across capitalist industries

By Nick Beams, 29 May 1999

A note to our readers: The question and reply below follow an earlier exchange on the source of capitalist profit. See “How is value determined,” 11 May 1999 [http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/may1999/sr-m11.shtml]

Some interesting films on US television, May 29-June 4

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 29 May 1999

Video pick of the week--find it in your video store

Snapshots of a brutal society—one week in America

By Kate Randall and John Andrews, 29 May 1999

Fairfield, Connecticut—Ecuadoran family run down on railroad tracks

European elections could topple British Conservative Party leader

By Chris Marsden, 29 May 1999

The upcoming European elections could cost William Hague his position as Conservative Party leader. Whatever the outcome, it will deepen the longstanding divisions inside the party regarding its policy towards the European Union (EU) in general, and Britain's adoption of the euro currency in particular.

Human rights group charges NATO bombing is war crime

By Chris Marsden, 29 May 1999

The human rights group, the Movement for the Advancement of International Criminal Law, has sent a submission to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, requesting the indictment of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Defence Secretary George Robertson for war crimes.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 May 1999

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

Teamsters carhaulers face strike deadline

By Jerry White, 29 May 1999

The contract covering 12,200 Teamsters carhaulers expires midnight Monday and a strike could be launched that would quickly disrupt the US auto industry. A walkout would include drivers, mechanics, yard and office workers employed by the trucking companies that ship vehicles from auto factories, rail yards and ports to car dealerships.

New KLA leader was responsible for ethnic cleansing

By Peter Stavropoulos, 29 May 1999

Former Croatian Army Brigadier-General Agim Ceku has been appointed by the “Kosovo Provisional Government” as the new chief-of-staff for the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Ceku, who retired from his Croatian Army post in February, will replace KLA commander Suleiman Selini, whose faction has fallen out of favor with the US State Department for refusing to participate in the Rambouillet conference.

A dangerous confrontation between India and Pakistan

By Keith Jones and Peter Symonds, 28 May 1999

A major escalation of the conflict between Pakistan and India is looming following the use of fighter aircraft by the Indian Air Force over the last two days to strafe groups of anti-Indian insurgents entrenched in the inhospitable mountain region of Kargil-Batalik-Drass in the disputed areas of Kashmir.

Milosevic indictment provides pretext for invasion

By the editorial board, 28 May 1999

The indictment of Slobodan Milosevic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a political measure taken in behalf of the NATO powers that are waging war on the Yugoslav people. Its purpose is, first, to legitimize the present bombing campaign and provide a justification for its escalation, and, second, lay the propaganda and legal foundation for an invasion of Kosovo in the south and Belgrade in the north, the arrest and imprisonment of the Milosevic leadership, and the installation of a puppet regime subservient to the US and its European allies.

World crisis shakes Sri Lankan economy

By K. Ratnayake, 28 May 1999

A detailed account given in the Annual Report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for the year 1998, published May 1, has confirmed that world recessionary tendencies have made inroads into the island nation, sharpening its economic crisis.

British government pledges 18,000 troops for Kosovo

By Julie Hyland, 28 May 1999

The Blair government has said it will send up to 12,000 more troops to strengthen NATO ground forces in Macedonia. The announcement followed NATO's decision on Tuesday to expand the size of the forces preparing to enter Kosovo from 28,000 to 60,000.

NATO's motives and its spokesman

By , 28 May 1999

To the editor:

Indonesia's ruling party faces collapse of support

By Peter Symonds, 28 May 1999

Even before the votes are cast and counted in the Indonesia's national elections, the ruling Golkar party is under considerable pressure with signs of bitter divisions as it faces the prospect of major losses at the polls on June 7.

Kissinger exposes lies behind US-NATO war

By Barry Grey, 28 May 1999

In the course of a newly published article criticizing the Clinton administration's war policy in Yugoslavia, Henry Kissinger is obliged to expose some of the basic claims underlying the pro-war propaganda of the US and NATO. Appearing first on the May 24 Internet edition of Newsweek magazine, the article, entitled “New World Disorder,” carries the following blunt summary:

Human rights in Austria: The brutal death of asylum-seeker Markus Omafuma

By Max Rodenberg, 28 May 1999

The savage treatment and brutal death of a Nigerian asylum-seeker in Austria casts a harsh light on the character of the predominantly social-democratic governments in Europe. The same regimes which justify their bombing of Yugoslavia on the grounds of human rights are trampling on human rights in their own countries.

No answers from finance capital's "wise men"

By Nick Beams, 28 May 1999

The testimony of US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and outgoing US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to the House of Representatives Banking Committee last week was a further demonstration of the fact that those in charge of the world financial system have no real understanding of the crisis which swept through global markets last year, let alone how to prevent its next eruption.

Artistic and intellectual confusion in Lars von Trier's The Idiots

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 May 1999

The Idiots is the latest film made by Danish director Lars von Trier in line with the rules of the Dogma 95 group. The Dogma group was founded in 1995 by a handful of young Danish directors; its goals were discussed in a WSWS article of 28 November 1998 [http://www.wsws.org/arts/1998/nov1998/vin-n28.shtml]. The group has established rules aimed at avoiding “artificial” effects. Its members restrict themselves to hand-held cameras, use no artificial lighting or tacked-on music, shoot no scenes out of sequence, etc. Von Trier refers to this as a sort of chastity belt.

Sydney Drug Summit recommends legalisation

By Mike Head and Linda Tenenbaum, 27 May 1999

“The view I reached is that life is an inherently disappointing experience for most human beings.” So said Bob Carr, Labor Premier of New South Wales in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald at the end of the recent week-long Drug Summit in Sydney.

Starr drops threat to retry McDougal, Steele

By Jerry White, 27 May 1999

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr announced Tuesday that he would not seek to retry Susan McDougal and Julie Hiatt Steele, two women whom Starr failed to convict earlier this spring for allegedly obstructing his investigation of President Bill Clinton. The special prosecutor's decision comes as political pressure is building on him to shut down the five-year, $40 million legal investigation that failed to remove Clinton from office.

China spy scare: The return of the "yellow peril"

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 May 1999

The spy scare in official Washington, touched off by the release of a congressional report on alleged espionage by China against US nuclear weapons facilities, is both reactionary and dangerous. There is an ominous resonance with the McCarthyite witch-hunt of the 1950s in the sweeping and completely unsubstantiated claims that “our vital national secrets” have been stolen, and the racist scapegoating of Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans as suspects.

Documentary on Douglas MacArthur raises issues of contemporary importance

By Shannon Jones, 27 May 1999

The American Experience: MacArthur , May 17 & 18 on PBS. Margaret Drain, executive producer; Mark Samels, senior producer

Warnings of civil war in East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 27 May 1999

Tensions on East Timor continue to mount ahead of a UN-sponsored vote on the future of the island planned for August 8.

Automation, the working class and the extraction of surplus value

By , 27 May 1999

The following message responds to an earlier exchange between a reader and Nick Beams, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Australia and a member of the WSWSEditorial Board.

European elections highlight growth of regionalism

By Steve James, 27 May 1999

Next month's European elections highlight a further dramatic growth of regionally based parties and movements like the Northern League in Italy, the Scottish National Party and others. Given that many right-wing political opponents of European integration rail against the dangers of a new "super-state" trampling over national sovereignty, it is significant that these new nationalist and separatist formations have embraced European integration.

Ontario election notebook

By Keith Jones, 27 May 1999

A spate of favorable opinion polls have emboldened the Tories to impart a more reactionary tone to their reelection campaign and flesh out their socially regressive platform.

NATO's public face: Jamie Shea

By David Walsh, 27 May 1999

The following caption appeared in April under a photograph in the Washington Post: “NATO spokesman Jamie Shea expressed regret over civilian losses from the bomb attack that hit a convoy in southeastern Kosovo.”

Workers Struggles: Europe

By , 27 May 1999

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

The British government and the Kosovar refugees

By Tony Hyland, 27 May 1999

The Blair government says that its participation in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia is driven by “humanitarian concern” for the plight of the Albanian Kosovars. This claim should be examined critically in light of its treatment of asylum-seekers in general and the Kosovar refugees in particular.

Conflict over World Trade Organisation leadership

By a correspondent, 27 May 1999

An intense battle between former New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi for the position of director general of the World Trade Organisation has virtually paralysed the organisation in the lead-up to November's contentious Millenium Round of global trade negotiations in Seattle.

NATO's motives: propaganda and reality

By , 26 May 1999

The World Socialist Web Site has recently received a considerable number of letters on the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Below are reprinted a sample of them. The replies of David North, the editorial board chairman of the WSWS , are included.

Government intensifies arrests as union calls off strikes

By Terry Cook, 26 May 1999

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), South Korea's second largest peak union body, called an abrupt end to its "May offensive" last week after the government of Kim Dae Jung made an offer to conduct direct discussions with union leaders.

Britain: Why Labour backbenchers oppose changes in disability benefits

By Julie Hyland, 26 May 1999

Prime Minister Tony Blair faced his largest rebellion by Labour backbench MP's last week, when 65 of them voted against plans to restrict disability benefits. The votes of these Labour backbenchers—combined with those of the opposition parties and some Labour abstentions—reduced the government's majority from 176 to 40, its smallest since taking office. A similar revolt is now being threatened against sections of the government's Asylum and Immigration Bill.

US-NATO bombing targets entire Yugoslav population

By Martin McLaughlin, 26 May 1999

With the deliberate destruction of the electrical power and water system, the US-NATO air war against Yugoslavia has entered a qualitatively new stage. Gone is any pretense that the United States and its European allies are at war only with the government of President Slobodan Milosevic, and not with the people of Serbia.

A letter from Indonesia on the upcoming elections

By , 26 May 1999

To the editor:

University students in Mexico and Chile protest attacks on education

By Gerardo Nebbia, 26 May 1999

Students have been on strike for a month at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the country's largest university where 267,000 students take instruction. The strike was provoked when the administration imposed a $63 fee per semester on students. Until now, except for a symbolic fee of about 2 US cents, UNAM students were not required to pay tuition.

Exposure of Suharto's billions puts Indonesian regime on the defensive

By Peter Symonds, 26 May 1999

An extensive report on the Suharto family's huge wealth in the May 24 issue of the US-based Time magazine has thrown Indonesian President Habibie and the ruling Golkar Party onto the defensive in the midst of the campaign for the country's national elections on June 7.

Kenyan Mau Mau seek compensation from British government

By Jean Shaoul, 26 May 1999

Veterans of the Mau Mau rebellion are demanding billions of Kenyan shillings in compensation from the British government for war crimes committed against them. The Mau Mau was a secret association that fought against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s for land and political freedom.

Why is Turkey supporting the war against Serbia?

By Justus Leicht, 26 May 1999

Turkey has made its military air facilities available to NATO for the alliance's attacks against Yugoslavia, as well as supplying F-16 fighter jets as escorts for the squads of bombers. In recent days Turkish planes have directly taken part in the bombing, and Turkey has provided several hundred men for NATO ground missions.

"Disposable students" removed from schools in Australia

By Erika Zimmer, 25 May 1999

Despite serious objections from parents' groups and civil liberties organisations, the Carr Labor Party government in New South Wales is presiding over the suspension of tens of thousands of school students a year under harsh discipline procedures.

The government crisis in Russia—a comment

By Ute Reissner, 25 May 1999

In the space of a week the chronic crisis of the Russian government once again came full circle. On Wednesday May 12, President Yeltsin sacked his Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov and in his place named former Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin as head of government.

South Africa: the fraud of "black empowerment"

By Barbara Slaughter, 25 May 1999

With less than two weeks before elections take place in South Africa, a share option scandal has broken out involving the country's biggest black-owned company, New African Investments Ltd (Nail), which has interests in financial services and the media.

Likud routed at polls—vote signals deepening of Israeli crisis

By Bill Vann, 25 May 1999

Israel's May 17 election produced an unprecedented landslide for the leading candidate for prime minister, Ehud Barak, and an historic defeat for the right-wing Likud bloc that has dominated the country's politics for more than two decades. Yet the results offer no solution to the intractable contradictions rending Israeli society. The bitter conflicts between Israel's Zionist state and the Palestinians, between secular and ultra-orthodox Jews, immigrants and native-born and, above all, Israel's working class and its ruling financial elite, can only deepen with the formation of a new government.

Britain's Home Secretary to curtail right to jury trial

By Paul Bond, 25 May 1999

British Home Secretary Jack Straw signalled his intention last week of ending the right to a jury trial for thousands of defendants. In a speech to the Police Federation, Straw proposed ending this right for people accused of so-called “middle-ranking” offences, such as theft, possession of drugs, assault and actual bodily harm. Of some 280,000 defendants who could presently opt for a jury, less than 20,000 exercise their right.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 25 May 1999

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

Los Angeles police kill homeless woman

By John Andrews, 25 May 1999

Last Friday the Los Angeles Police Department committed an atrocity beyond the pale of even its usual brutal standards. At 4:30 in the afternoon Officer Edward Larrigan shot and killed a still unidentified homeless black woman weighing less than 70 pounds.

What is behind the dismissal of Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov?

By Vladimir Volkov and Patrick Richter, 25 May 1999

President Yeltsin's dismissal of Yevgeny Primakov on May 12, and the announcement of his replacement with Sergei Stepashin, marks a sharp escalation of the political crisis inside Russia. This decision represents a radical measure by the president, who is conducting a desperate struggle for his own political survival. The failure of the Duma (parliament) to impeach Yeltsin and its ratification of Stepashin's appointment have revealed the close connections the Communist Party (CPRF) of Gennady Zuganov enjoys with a political system based on privileges.

Why is NATO at war with Yugoslavia? World power, oil and gold

By Editorial Board World Socialist Web Site, 24 May 1999

Since March 24, 1999, the military forces of NATO, led by the United States, have been subjecting Yugoslavia to a devastating bombardment. Flying more than 15,000 sorties, NATO has pummeled Yugoslav cities and villages, hitting factories, hospitals, schools, bridges, fuel depots and government buildings. Thousands have been killed and wounded, including passengers on commuter trains and buses, and workers at television broadcast and relay facilities. Civilian neighborhoods in both Serbia and Kosovo have been hit.

Australian manufacturing union presides over massive job losses

By Terry Cook, 24 May 1999

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the leadership of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union (now the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) played the key role in enforcing the prices and incomes Accord struck between the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the then Labor governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

Police and senior government officials implicated in arson attack

By Richard Tyler, 24 May 1999

Events on the small Mediterranean island of Corsica have created the most serious political crisis yet for the Jospin government in France.

New York City schools crisis continues

By Fred Mazelis, 24 May 1999

Last week the New York City Board of Education approved a $6.9 billion school construction plan which will do almost nothing to meet the urgent needs of over one million students.

Why is NATO at war with Yugoslavia? World power, oil and gold

By Editorial Board World Socialist Web Site, 24 May 1999

Since March 24, 1999, the military forces of NATO, led by the United States, have been subjecting Yugoslavia to a devastating bombardment. Flying more than 15,000 sorties, NATO has pummeled Yugoslav cities and villages, hitting factories, hospitals, schools, bridges, fuel depots and government buildings. Thousands have been killed and wounded, including passengers on commuter trains and buses, and workers at television broadcast and relay facilities. Civilian neighborhoods in both Serbia and Kosovo have been hit.

Empty moralizing and tougher juvenile laws follow latest school shooting

By Jerry White, 24 May 1999

This time the school was in suburban Atlanta; the assailant, a 15-year-old sophomore reportedly distraught over breaking up with his girlfriend. Thursday morning he calmly walked into Heritage High School and shot six of his classmates before putting a pistol in his mouth. A school official convinced the youth to put the gun down, and as he did, the boy cried, “Oh, my God. I'm so scared, I'm so scared.”

"Citizenship classes" to become compulsory in English schools

By Liz Smith, 22 May 1999

“Citizenship” is to become a compulsory subject taught in all English schools from 2002. It will be introduced as a distinct subject in secondary schools, and will be integrated within existing lessons on personal, social and health education in primary schools.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 22 May 1999

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

Another attack in British press on prominent NATO critic

By Julie Hyland, 22 May 1999

One of the most significant events revealing the hidden agenda of NATO's war against Serbia was the leaked publication of the Rambouillet Accord. It was the Yugoslav government's rejection of this accord—drawn up by the Contact Group comprised of the US, Britain, France, Germany and Russia—that provided NATO with the official pretext to begin its aerial bombardment of the country.

Some interesting films on US television, May 22-28

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 22 May 1999

Video pick of the week--find it in your video store

Young mother convicted of criminally negligent homicide in her baby's death

By Allen Whyte, 22 May 1999

A 12-person jury in the Bronx, New York state supreme court found a young mother on welfare guilty of criminally negligent homicide Wednesday in the death of her infant son. The defendant, Tabitha Walrond, 21, could receive as much as four years in prison when she faces sentencing on June 30. The jury acquitted her on the more serious charge of second-degree manslaughter, for which she could have received a maximum penalty of 15 years.

Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok announces resignation of government

By Peter Reydt, 22 May 1999

On Wednesday, Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok announced the resignation of his government. This had been a coalition comprised of the Labour Party (PvdA), Liberal Party (VVD) and Democrats 66 (D66). Kok informed Queen Beatrix that all efforts to solve the crisis of his cabinet had failed. The coalition had only ruled for one year—one of the shortest-lived Dutch governments since the Second World War.

Media magnates call for scrapping of ownership restrictions

By Mike Head, 22 May 1999

While much is being said in the Western media about the tightly-controlled character of the news outlets in Yugoslavia, moves are afoot to tighten the stranglehold that two multi-billionaires—Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer—already have over the news and information industry in Australia.

Signs of disarray in opposition alliance in Indonesian elections

By Peter Symonds, 22 May 1999

Only a few days after its formation on Monday, the alliance forged between three of the major opposition parties standing in the Indonesian elections on June 7 is showing signs of disarray.

Turkey sentences Kurdish leader to death

By Peter Stavropoulos, 22 May 1999

A Turkish state security court in the main southeast Kurdish city of Diyarbakir has sentenced to death Semdin Sakik, a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader, on charges of murder and Kurdish separatism. Sakik has been held responsible for the deaths of 283 soldiers and civilians during 191 attacks carried out by the PKK. His brother Arif was also sentenced to death, which in Turkey is carried out by hanging and requires the approval of parliament.

War in the Balkans—a bonanza for weapons industry

By Martin McLaughlin, 22 May 1999

Congress approved a $15.1 billion supplementary spending bill for the war in the Balkans and other Pentagon operations Thursday, providing the down payment on what is now expected to be the biggest bonanza for the US weapons industry since the boom years of the Reagan administration.

"Fantasy is the mother of the arts and the source of their wonders"

By Maria Esposito, 21 May 1999

An exceptional collection of prints and paintings by Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes opened last month at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The internationally-acclaimed exhibition, "Goya: Another Look", which runs until July 11, has been assembled by the Palais des Beaux-Arts in France from private and public collections. Included in the exhibition are Los Caprichos, a collection of 80 prints produced in the late 1700s, and an extensive assortment of other etchings and lithographs by Goya.

NATO resumes bombing of Belgrade

By Martin McLaughlin, 21 May 1999

NATO warplanes resumed the bombardment of Belgrade, striking the capital city of Yugoslavia repeatedly the night of May 19-20. Bombs and missiles destroyed part of a major hospital complex and hit the embassies or residences of seven foreign ambassadors. It was the first large-scale strike on the city since the destruction of the Chinese embassy May 7.

A few recent films from the US, and one from Canada

By David Walsh, 21 May 1999

I was disappointed by David Cronenberg's eXistenZ, a film about the creator (Jennifer Jason Leigh) of a virtual reality game that plugs directly into the player's nervous system. Cronenberg, the Canadian director, has long been fascinated by the interaction between technology and the human body. Machines, implements, appliances have penetrated the flesh, and even become part of it, in a number of his films (for example, Videodrome [1983], Dead Ringers [1988], Crash [1996]). Humanity is violated by technology, a process often overseen by Machiavellian corporate types, but humanity—corrupted, passive and swooning before its attacker—appears all too willing to be violated.

Unions call off Thai power workers' campaign

By Steve Dean, 21 May 1999

A protracted campaign of work stoppages and demonstrations by workers in the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) ended abruptly last week when union leaders agreed to a three-month stay on further industrial action and to join government and EGAT representatives on a "tripartite review panel".

Italian fishermen injured by unexploded bombs dumped by NATO in the Adriatic Sea

By a reporter, 21 May 1999

Two Italian fishermen have been injured after unexploded NATO bombs, dumped into the Adriatic Sea, exploded in their fishing nets. At least 30 unexploded NATO bombs have now been caught up in fishing nets on the Venetian coast close to Aviano, which is NATO's main air base for the launching of attacks into Yugoslavia.

The Indonesian elections and the struggle for democracy

By the Editorial Board, 21 May 1999

Also in Indonesian

Sri Lankan SEP picket in defence of political prisoners from plantation area

By our correspondent, 21 May 1999

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP—Sri Lanka) held a powerful picketing campaign May 16 in the hill town of Hatton, situated in the heartland of the tea plantations in Sri Lanka, to demand the release of political prisoners from the plantation area. The SEP's Plantation and Industrial Workers Union also played a role in organising the picket.

Wave of charter bus accidents sheds light on lack of safety regulation

By Jerry White and Mary Moore, 21 May 1999

The bus accident that killed 22 mostly elderly passengers near New Orleans May 9 was the latest in a series of fatal highway crashes involving tour and charter buses in the United States. The Mother's Day tragedy, the deadliest bus accident in a decade, has shed light on the risks facing passengers and drivers alike in the poorly regulated industry, particularly as bus traffic increases due to the proliferation of gambling casinos in the US.

The Civil War, impeachment then and now and Lincoln's legacy—Part 3

By David Walsh, 21 May 1999

This is the third part of an interview conducted by WSWS editorial board member David Walsh with James M. McPherson. Walsh spoke to McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era, in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution ; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality . Explanatory notes to assist the reader follow the article.

Beijing accelerates market reforms as economic growth and investment slows

By James Conachy, 20 May 1999

The economic policy adopted by China's National People's Congress in March, and developed further during World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership negotiations over the past months, is designed to accelerate the expansion of the capitalist market and private property, and further open the economy to transnational investment.

A revealing report on the super rich

By Nick Beams, 20 May 1999

The growth of financial parasitism at the heart of the world capitalist economy is illustrated in a report published this week on the fortunes of the world's 6 million financial millionaires.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 20 May 1999

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

Observer newspaper targets playwright Harold Pinter for his criticism of NATO

By Julie Hyland, 20 May 1999

Over the past three months, Britain's “liberal” media has proved to be NATO's most vociferous champion. Most notably, the Guardian and the Observer never tire of promoting the aerial bombardment of Serbia and the Labour government's demand for ground troops. Following Prime Minister Blair's lead, they justify their support on the grounds of “humanitarian principles”.

Michigan students charged with attempted murder in alleged school massacre plot

By Jerry White, 20 May 1999

Four students—ages 12 through 14—are being held in jail after being charged with conspiracy to commit murder at their middle school in Port Huron, Michigan, about 60 miles northeast of Detroit. The students were arrested May 12 and 13 after a 14-year-old classmate told police she overheard some of them talking about planning a school massacre similar to the one at Colorado's Columbine High School last month.

Election —Conformity, fantasy and "destiny" in middle America

By Kate Randall, 20 May 1999

Carver High School. All seems fine at this middle class school in middle America, until we peer beneath the surface. Election, directed by Alexander Payne, is a somewhat unsettling look—at times subtle, at others not so—at the lives, fantasies and failures of the students, faculty and their families of this Omaha, Nebraska school. Like his 1996 film Citizen Ruth, a satire on the rarely discussed subject of abortion, Payne attempts in Election to challenge the notion that all is well in America in the 1990s.

The Civil War, impeachment then and now and Lincoln's legacy—Part 2

By David Walsh, 20 May 1999

This is the second part of an interview conducted by WSWS editorial board member David Walsh with James M. McPherson. Walsh spoke to McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era, in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution ; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality .

Yugoslavia estimates $100 billion in damages from NATO bombing

By Peter Stavropoulos, 20 May 1999

The Yugoslav government has released preliminary data on the damage caused to the country during the first 27 days of NATO's air bombing campaign. The government figures, which do not include deaths or casualties suffered by Yugoslav military personnel, give a glimpse into the widespread devastation that has been inflicted upon one of Europe's poorest countries.

The Civil War, impeachment then and now, and Lincoln's legacy—Part 1

By David Walsh, 19 May 1999

WSWS editorial board member David Walsh recently spoke to James McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality.

UNICEF report cites declining levels of education and literacy world-wide

By Vilani Peiris, 19 May 1999

According to a recent report released by UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), nearly one billion of the world's population is entering the twenty-first century without even the basic literacy skill of signing their names. Relatively few can operate a computer or comprehend a simple application form. The report reveals that people without literacy skills usually live in extreme poverty and unhygienic conditions, compared to those who are literate.

Gambling: a government bonanza in Australia

By Stephen Griffiths, 19 May 1999

State governments in Australia have become increasingly dependent on gambling to generate taxation revenues. According to recent statistics, between 1973 and 1998 their proceeds from gambling grew 20-fold, from approximately $200 million to $3.8 billion per year.

New military coup in Guinea-Bissau leaves one hundred dead

By Trevor Johnson, 19 May 1999

Fighting has erupted once again in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau. In a military coup on May 6-7, military leader Ansumane Mane sent forces to attack the presidential guards of President Joao Bernardo Vieira and remove him from office. Within weeks of vowing never again to resort to arms to settle the dispute between them, they have brought one of the world's poorest countries to the brink of disaster once more.

Petition filed before US Supreme Court for Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Helen Halyard, 19 May 1999

On May 12, Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal defense team, led by attorney Leonard Weinglass, announced they had filed a Writ of Certiorari before the US Supreme Court challenging the legality of court procedures in his original 1982 trial. Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther party member and well-known radio journalist, was framed up and sentenced to death for the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer. Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Ridge is expected to sign a warrant for his execution in the coming months.

Fiji's military strongman voted out in landslide to the Labour Party

By Peter Symonds, 19 May 1999

Twelve years after seizing power in a military coup, Fiji's Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has been swept from office in a landslide vote for the Fijian Labour Party (FLP) in elections over the last week. Counting is yet to be finalised, but Labour has won 37 of the 71 parliamentary seats. Rabuka's Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) has only seven seats—down from the 31 seats it gained at the last elections.

What's behind Blair's calls for ground war in the Balkans?

By Chris Marsden, 19 May 1999

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's ongoing Balkan tour has been an occasion for increasingly strident demands for NATO and the US to consider launching a ground war against Serbia. He has shamelessly appealed to the bellicose sentiments expressed by sections of official Washington, in both the Democratic and Republican parties, in order to place maximum pressure on the Clinton administration, which is fearful of political reaction amongst the American people to the casualties such a war would inevitably entail.

Correspondence on the South Korean strikes

By , 18 May 1999

To the Editor,

A comment on the war by British playwright Harold Pinter

By , 18 May 1999

When the nail bomb went off in Old Compton Street, Mr Blair described it as a barbaric act. When cluster bombs go off in Serbian market places, cutting children to pieces, we are told that such an act is being taken on behalf of "civilisation against barbarism". Mr Blair is clearly having a wonderful time. But if Britain remains America's poodle, she is now a vicious and demented poodle.

Australian students use Internet to defend threatened media course

By James Conachy, 18 May 1999

Students at the Charles Sturt University in the regional Australian city of Bathurst occupied the campus Media Centre on Friday, and boycotted classes yesterday, in opposition to plans to terminate the Media Production course next year.

Historian James M. McPherson and the cause of intellectual integrity

By David Walsh, 18 May 1999

Starting tomorrow we will be presenting on the WSWS a lengthy interview with James M. McPherson, probably the leading contemporary historian of the American Civil War era. We hope that readers will find that the subjects of the discussion—the political turmoil of the period leading up to the Civil War, the violence of the war, Lincoln's legacy, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson—are of interest and that they shed some light on contemporary events.

Ontario's June 3 election: a verdict on the Tories' Common Sense Revolution?

By Keith Jones, 18 May 1999

The press and politicians claim Ontario's June 3 election will render the people's verdict on the Tory government's Common Sense Revolution. Certainly many working people, waged and unwaged, will go to the polls to vent their opposition to the Tories' sweeping cuts in social and public services, victimization of welfare recipients, and anti-union legislation. But the blunt truth is that Ontario's entire political establishment, including both parliamentary opposition parties and the leadership of the trade unions, now accept and support the fundamental changes in social policy and class relations the Harris Tory government has effected since coming to power in June 1995.

Further doubt cast on US claims of genocide in Kosovo

By Martin McLaughlin, 18 May 1999

There are growing questions about the claims by US and NATO officials, accepted uncritically in the media for more than a month, that Yugoslav forces have carried out genocide against the Albanian population of Kosovo.

Australian government in disarray after rejection of consumption tax package

By Mike Head, 18 May 1999

Just days after the introduction of its annual Budget, the Howard government in Australia is in turmoil following the collapse of months of intensive efforts to secure the parliamentary passage of its central political plank—the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax. A Cabinet meeting being held in the rural Queensland town of Longreach today has become an emergency gathering to consider the stunning blow that has been dealt to the government's plans.