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An exchange with a WSWS reader on ethnic conflict in Nigeria

By , 30 September 1999

A letter from a reader

Right-wing organizations push school vouchers in Michigan

By Debra Watson and Jerry White, 30 September 1999

The strike by Detroit teachers earlier this month exposed the ongoing attack on public education taking place throughout the US. Behind the guise of school "reform" and "choice" some of the most bitter enemies of public education are pressing ahead with their campaign to siphon funding from the public schools in order to subsidize parochial and private education, and further lower tax rates on big business.

A time "out of joint": Peter Zadek's Hamlet at the Berlin Schaubühne

By Stefan Steinberg, 30 September 1999

One of Germany's leading theatre directors, Peter Zadek, has brought together many members of the Hamlet cast from his famous 1977 Bochum production and restaged Shakespeare's play at the Berlin Schaubühne. Ulrich Wildgruber, Zadek's Hamlet 22 years ago, now plays Polonius; Eva Mattes once again performs the role of Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude. Knut Koch is Reynaldo and Herman Lause the ghost of Hamlet's father. In addition to his original cast, Zadek has cast Germany's actor of the year, Otto Sander, as Claudius. Finally Zadek has chosen one of Germany's outstanding actresses, Angela Winkler ( The Lost Honour of Katarina Blum, The Tin Drum, Danton), to play Hamlet.

French high school students protest poor conditions and teacher shortages

By Richard Tyler, 30 September 1999

Less than one month since the beginning of the new school year, thousands of lycée (high school) students took to streets of southern France on Tuesday in protest against the poor conditions in many schools. They also complained that teacher shortages meant classes were dropped or overcrowded.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 30 September 1999

Workers in Slovakia protest welfare spending cuts

United Auto Workers reaches deal with General Motors

By Jerry White, 30 September 1999

The United Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement with General Motors Tuesday for a new four-year contract covering 143,000 workers at its US factories. The contract is similar to the one reached with DaimlerChrysler September 16, and includes a 3 percent yearly wage increase, a cost-of-living raise and a $1,350 signing bonus. DaimlerChrysler workers approved their agreement by a 86 percent margin last Sunday.

Buchanan and the crisis of the US two-party system

By Martin McLaughlin, 30 September 1999

Two weeks ago ultra-right media commentator Patrick Buchanan indicated he was preparing to bolt the Republicans and seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party. The response in both the Republican Party and the media has demonstrated the nervousness within the American ruling class over any political challenge to the two-party system.

US-Japan conflicts over rising yen

By Nick Beams, 30 September 1999

A year after US president Clinton warned that the world was facing its worst financial crisis in 50 years, finance ministers of the G7 all but declared it to be over at their meeting in Washington last Saturday. While “we still face a number of challenges”, economic prospects for the major industrial nations had improved, the meeting claimed.

Family of murdered Irish civil rights lawyer in libel action against Ulster Unionist MP

By Mike Ingram, 29 September 1999

The family of murdered civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane has issued legal proceedings against leading Ulster Unionist MP Ken Magginnis. In April this year Maginnis criticised calls for an independent inquiry into the killing and Geraldine Finucane's refusal to co-operate with an inquiry by John Stevens, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan police, into the loyalist murder of her husband.

Stock exchange paid for Australian tax report

By Mike Head, 29 September 1999

He who pays the piper calls the tune. The old adage finds its latest expression in the Australian government's plan, released last week, to halve the rate of the Capital Gains Tax—handing a windfall potentially worth billions of dollars a year to wealthy speculators.

Chile's "Caravan of Death" creates problems for ruling elite

By Mauricio Saavedra, 29 September 1999

Former dictator General Augusto Pinochet's arrest at the behest of the Spanish magistrates has posed considerable problems for Chilean ruling circles. Since January 1998, 34 criminal lawsuits have been filed against the officers of the former dictatorship that seized power in 1973. The most prominent case, known as the "Caravan of Death," concerns a notorious Army squad that roamed the country in the wake of the coup.

A letter on police brutality in Los Angeles

By , 29 September 1999

To the editor:

European court rules against ban on homosexuals in British armed forces

By Julie Hyland, 29 September 1999

On Monday the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the United Kingdom's ban against homosexuals serving in its armed forces was unlawful. The announcement immediately provoked disquiet in the Blair government and elicited a stream of homophobic statements from senior military personnel and the Conservative Party. Britain is the only country in Europe to maintain such a ban.

Is this the real thing?

By David Walsh, 29 September 1999

To a certain extent much of what I believe to be the misplaced critical praise for this film, as well as its generally favorable reception by the public, is as understandable as it is somewhat accidental. In the wake of the Columbine shooting and other anti-social or irrational acts of violence, there is a widespread hunger for explanations, or even simply representations, of the American malaise. In the face of political parties and mass media and institutions that studiously ignore everything that gnaws away at the population, it is natural that large numbers of people should seek out some other sphere in which their disquiet might be reflected and perhaps addressed. Popular film is one such sphere. To the extent that there is official political debate in America, much of it currently takes place through films.

Colombian president asks for $1.5 billion in military aid

By Bill Vann, 29 September 1999

Colombian President Andres Pastrana's visit to Washington last week has set the stage for a major escalation of the US political and military intervention in the South American country.

BBC Radio retrospective on the Anglo-Boer war, 1899-1902

By Brian Smith, 29 September 1999

This October marks 100 years since the outbreak of the second South African War, better known as the Boer War. Over the next three years the centenary will be celebrated in South Africa with a variety of anniversaries and memorials. A number of books are planned for release and a spate of broadcasts will mark the occasion.

Ansett New Zealand pilots fight company lockout

By John Braddock, 29 September 1999

Airline pilots employed by Ansett New Zealand are engaged in a bitter battle against company plans to carry through job cuts and attacks on working conditions. The company has locked out 125 pilots since September 15 in a determined effort to break the pilots' resistance.

US victory in Ryder Cup meets with chauvinist outburst in Britain

By Chris Marsden, 29 September 1999

The US victory in golf's Ryder Cup challenge brought in its wake widespread criticism in the European press and a torrent of anti-American vitriol in the British media.

A dry bone in a stream

By , 28 September 1999

I felt that Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's The Wind Will Carry Us was the most complex and intellectually challenging film at the recent Toronto festival. To a certain extent, it was in a category by itself.

Pinochet extradition hearing told of torture and murder

By Chris Marsden, 28 September 1999

The long-delayed extradition hearing for former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet got under way at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London yesterday. The police separated rival demonstrations that assembled outside the court.

New York City's mayor threatens Brooklyn Museum

By Alan Whyte, 28 September 1999

In a serious attack on democratic rights, New York City's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has threatened to cut off funding to the Brooklyn Museum if it goes ahead with a planned art exhibit scheduled to open October 2. The exhibit, entitled Sensation, features the works of a number of controversial British artists.

Australian trade union leader resigns

By Terry Cook, 28 September 1999

Bill Kelty, the long-serving secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the country's peak union body, recently announced his resignation, effective next February.

North Carolina hurricane flooding—the manmade component of a natural disaster

By Kate Randall, 28 September 1999

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Floyd came ashore September 16 at Cape Fear, North Carolina, this Southeastern US state is confronting an ecological and human disaster without precedent. The entire coastal plain east of the capital city of Raleigh—an area comprising 18,000 square miles and home to 2.1 million people—remains in a state of emergency, devastated by the worst flooding in the area in recorded history.

Clinton administration blocks easing of sanctions against Iraq

By Barry Grey, 28 September 1999

After two weeks of intensive negotiations within the United Nations Security Council, the United States has blocked efforts by France, Russia and China to lift sanctions against Iraq. Washington has thereby ensured the continuation of a policy which must rank as one of the great crimes against humanity of the twentieth century.

Australia heading for a "quagmire" in East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 28 September 1999

Just over a week after the Australian-led International Force for East Timor (Interfet) began landing in the capital of Dili, the realisation is dawning in Canberra that the operation could become bogged down in a protracted and dirty guerrilla war.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 September 1999

Haitian health workers strike

Labour vote plummets in recent by-elections in Scotland and England

By Steve James, 28 September 1999

Two by-elections held last week confirmed that the Labour Party continues to lose support in its traditional heartlands.

Two workers killed in Ohio coal mine collapse

By Jerry White, 28 September 1999

Two coal miners were killed and three others injured last Friday in a roof collapse in an underground mine scheduled to close in southeastern Ohio. William Florence, 49, and Gerald Elbe, 57, were removing drainage pipes 700 feet below the surface when the ceiling collapsed and crushed them. The accident occurred at Consolidation Coal Company's Powhatan No. 4 mine, in Clarington, Ohio, just across the Ohio River from West Virginia.

US liberals join right-wing attack on clemency for Puerto Rican nationalists

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 September 1999

In the two weeks since President Bill Clinton granted clemency to 12 members of the Puerto Rican FALN (Armed Forces of National Liberation), releasing 11 of them from prison, his decision has been under mounting attack from Republican and Democratic politicians, police agencies at every level of government, and the media. The near-universal outcry in official Washington says a great deal about the political shifts in America over the past two decades.

Human Rights League lodges complaints over Belgian deportation methods

By Richard Tyler, 27 September 1999

The Human Rights League has lodged official complaints against two former Belgian Interior Ministers over the methods used by police during deportations. Sémira Adamu, a 20 -year-old Nigerian asylum-seeker, was killed as a result of a violent deportation carried out by the Belgian authorities in September 1998.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea—no peace for the masses

By Trevor Johnson, 27 September 1999

Two years after the end of Liberia's 1989-97 civil war, and with the Sierra Leone conflict supposedly over, life for the mass of people in the region is still beset by instability, violence and the threat of war.

Inquiry foreshadows major rationalisation of Australian performing arts

By Kaye Tucker and Richard Phillips, 27 September 1999

The Australian government has initiated talks with theatre, music, dance and opera company administrators on Securing the Future, a government discussion paper released last August into the economic health of Australia's leading performing arts companies.

Montreal police carry out mass arrests to quell student strikes

By a correspondent, 25 September 1999

Montreal riot police on Thursday arrested 270 high school youth, some as young as 12 years old, in a bid to break a wave of student strikes that has touched dozens of schools in Montreal and other Quebec cities over the past two weeks.

Taiwan earthquake: Human toll rises, political fall-out begins

By James Conachy, 25 September 1999

Four days after the Taiwan earthquake there is little hope that any of the 374 people still buried beneath collapsed apartment buildings and homes will be dug out alive. Even recovering bodies may be impossible. International rescue teams from 14 countries are working alongside thousands of Taiwanese soldiers and emergency workers searching for survivors with little success. Most of the buildings that came down were multi-storey and people are buried beneath tons of rubble. The number of confirmed dead has reached 2,138 with more than 8,100 injured.

Detroit bus drivers stage sick-out

By Jerry White, 25 September 1999

Detroit bus drivers staged a sick-out Friday to protest low pay and unsafe equipment. The workers were also protesting the fact that they have been working without a contract since early 1998. The job action led to the cancellation of 400 of 500 scheduled bus runs, crippling the transit system that serves 140,000 daily passengers.

Military kills five protesters as Indonesian parliament enacts sweeping security law

By Peter Symonds, 25 September 1999

Thousands of protesters clashed with police and heavily armed troops in cities across Indonesia on Thursday and Friday, as the outgoing House of Representatives (DPR) pushed through a new law giving extensive powers to the military when a state of emergency is declared nationally or in a province. In a bid to defuse the demonstrations against the Prevention of Trouble Bill, the government yesterday evening postponed the bill's implementation.

Canadian Auto Workers settles with Ford as US auto talks continue

By Jerry White, 25 September 1999

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union signed a tentative agreement Tuesday for a new three-year contract covering 13,000 workers at Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. The agreement, which workers will vote on this weekend, includes an annual 3 percent increase in base pay, cost-of-living increases in each year of the contract and a one-time signing bonus of $1,000 Canadian (US$678).

US corporations cutting jobs at fastest pace in a decade

By our correspondent, 25 September 1999

US corporations continue to cut jobs at the fastest pace in a decade, even as the official unemployment rate remains relatively low. According to the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, job cuts announced in August totaled 57,253, a five percent increase over July and a 54 percent increase over August 1998. August was the seventeenth consecutive month with more than 50,000 layoffs. Job cuts in the first eight months of 1999 are up 38 percent over the same period last year. The computer sector has experienced the largest loss, 12,397 jobs.

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

By , 25 September 1999

Thai workers demand unemployment benefits

Following prairie election victories, Canada's social democrats to lurch further right

By Keith Jones, 25 September 1999

The leadership of Canada's social democratic party is seizing on the party's modest success in two recent provincial elections to push the party still further right.

New charges of cover-up in murder of Irish lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 25 September 1999

A judicial review to decide whether Irish journalist Ed Moloney should hand over notes of an interview he conducted with a man accused of murder was adjourned for at least a month Thursday. Moloney was ordered to hand over his notes after writing an article for the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune in June. The article was based on interviews with murder suspect William Stobie, who had been arrested as a result of a new inquiry into the 1989 Loyalist murder of Irish civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Australian tax plan: A "golden honeypot" for the wealthy

By Mike Head, 25 September 1999

Only two months after finalising plans to give the wealthy income tax cuts of up to $60 a week each, the Australian government has unveiled a new tax blueprint that will hand over billions of dollars per year to the corporate elite. It is another milestone in the complete restructuring of the taxation system to shift the burden from the rich to the working people.

Some interesting films on US television, September 25-October 1

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 25 September 1999

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

Italy to create a professional army

By Carola Kleinert and Andy Niklaus, 24 September 1999

On September 3, during the first meeting of the cabinet following the summer break, the Italian government passed a new law which will, by the year 2005, abolish compulsory military service in favour of the creation of a professional army.

Australia: Pollsters, pundits shocked by state election result

By Linda Tenenbaum, 24 September 1999

A major voter backlash against “economic reforms”, which have vastly exacerbated social inequality, saw the Victorian Liberal-National coalition government's 25-seat majority wiped out in last Saturday's state election. The south-east Australian state's high-profile Premier, Jeff Kennett will spend the next month scrambling to form a government.

Sri Lankan forces to expand military base on the Jaffna peninsula

By Sarath Kumara, 24 September 1999

The Sri Lankan military is bulldozing all houses in an extensive area around the Palaly military complex in the embattled Jaffna peninsula, as part of a plan to greatly expand the base. Eyewitnesses have said that heaps of rubble litter the area. The entire population of this area have been displaced during the war against the Tamil separatist movement, the LTTE, and now have no prospect of returning to their homes.

The 1999 Toronto International Film Festival

By , 24 September 1999

Cinema, good and bad, has an ever larger audience. Many factors account for this, but one fact of life struck me after ten days at the Toronto film festival: even the least developed figures in films are more appealing, as a rule, than the individuals who dominate political and social life. This has international application, but seems particularly true for the United States. It is positively painful, after having immersed oneself in 45 films or so from various countries, to be confronted once again by the coarseness, stupidity and general vileness of American politicians and media personalities.

China backs Australian military intervention into East Timor

By James Conachy, 24 September 1999

In the midst of frenzied diplomatic efforts by the Australian government to deploy its military into East Timor, President Jiang Zemin landed at Melbourne airport on September 6 to begin the first visit by a Chinese head-of-state.

British union leader denounces unofficial walkout after calling for a "strike-free future"

By Chris Marsden, 24 September 1999

Hundreds of electricians walked out from government construction sites across the country for 24 hours on Tuesday, September 21. Their union's general secretary, Ken Jackson, immediately denounced them for "cashing in" on the year 2000 deadline for the completion of projects like the Millennium Dome. Other union officials lined up to condemn the strike as "cynical and calculated".

KLA given official police function in Kosovo

By Julie Hyland, 24 September 1999

The transformation of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) into a "protection corps" was completed on Monday, after a series of delays. The NATO-brokered deal makes a mockery of the claim that the US-led intervention into the province was aimed at preserving a "multi-ethnic" Kosovo.

Murder trial of Michigan child to begin October 18

By Jerry White, 24 September 1999

The trial of 13-year-old Nathaniel Abraham, one of the youngest children in the US ever prosecuted for first degree murder, is set to begin October 18. The youngster, arrested at the age of 11, is being tried under a 1997 Michigan law that sets no minimum age for the prosecution and sentencing of juveniles as adults. If convicted, Nathaniel could face life in prison without parole.

US concerns over political stability in Pakistan

By K. Ratnayake and P. Symonds, 24 September 1999

Concerns in Washington about the stability of the Pakistan government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resulted in an unusual statement by an unnamed US State Department official warning that the US would “strongly oppose” any attempt by “political and military actors” to take power unconstitutionally. The remarks, originally quoted by the Reuters news agency on Tuesday, have since been confirmed by other senior State Department officials.

One of Spain's finest tenors dies

By John Martinez, 23 September 1999

Alfredo Kraus, one of the great lyrical tenors and masters of zarzuela and opera, died on September 10 in Madrid, at the age of 71, after a long illness.

More Los Angeles Police Department violence and frame-ups exposed

By John Andrews, 23 September 1999

A Los Angeles Police Department officer facing five years in prison for stealing eight pounds of cocaine revealed last week that he and his partner handcuffed and then shot an unarmed young man three years ago, planted a gun on him, and lied in court to convict him of a felony. The victim, Javier Francisco Ovando, now 22 and confined to a wheelchair for life, received a draconian 23-year sentence from the trial judge, who increased the penalty because Ovando did not show “remorse” for his crime. Ovando has no other criminal history.

Sri Lankan airforce bombs Tamil civilians

By Vijitha Silva, 23 September 1999

The Sri Lankan Air Force killed 21 people and injured another 41 when it bombed the Tamil village of Puthukkudiyiruppu in the Mulaitivu district of the Northern Province on September 15. Many people were at a small village market when the bombs hit at around 10am. Most of the victims, including school children, women and aged, were Tamil refugees living in nearby huts. Fifty huts and small buildings were destroyed in the attack.

Nazism and the myth of the "master-race"

By Peter Reydt, 23 September 1999

Britain's Channel Four television recently broadcast the documentary “Hitler's search for the Holy Grail” as part of its Secret History series. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, was the chief driving force in developing the nationalist and racist myths advanced by the Nazis. The documentary showed how he was able to recruit broad layers of leading academics in pursuance of this aim.

Moralizing and opportunism at the rallies on East Timor

By , 23 September 1999

Dear World Socialist Web Site,

Roma and Ashkali driven out of Kosovo en masse

By Brigitte Fehlau, 23 September 1999

Since the end of the war in Kosovo and the deployment of the KFOR troops, murder and terror against minority populations has not stopped. Serbs were driven out of their houses, threatened with death and often killed. In addition, all other non-Albanian sections of the population, such as the Roma and Ashkali (a minority of Indian descent), have suffered substantial terror.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 23 September 1999

French workers strike at tyre manufacturer

Indian elections: Big business embraces the BJP

By Deepal Jayasekera, 22 September 1999

Fears that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) may not secure a strong parliamentary majority in the current general election have caused India's major stock exchanges to suffer significant declines in recent days.

Fort Worth, Texas gunman linked to fascist group

By Martin McLaughlin, 22 September 1999

The gunman who murdered seven people at a Fort Worth church September 15 had ties to extreme-right-wing groups in Texas, according to reports first published in the Houston Chronicle. Larry Ashbrook, 47, killed four teenagers and three adults before taking his own life.

Australian government refuses visas to Liberian youth soccer team

By Regina Lohr, 22 September 1999

Only weeks after denying visas to 51 delegates to the World Federation of the Deaf congress, the Howard government last month barred 12 members of a Liberian youth soccer team from visiting Australia. The Australian High Commission in Lagos claimed that the Millennium Stars were refused visas because there was no indication their visit was “genuine”.

New evidence of Britain's arms trade with Indonesia

By Tony Hyland, 22 September 1999

The Labour government's pretence of an “ethical” foreign policy looks increasingly threadbare as new evidence mounts over its arms sales to Indonesia.

AIDS crisis in Papua New Guinea

By Jamie Hiu, 22 September 1999

A report issued this year by the Papua New Guinea Health Department has revealed that the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the country has reached record levels.

New massacres in Burundi civil war

By John Farmer, 22 September 1999

The gruesome massacres that took place in Burundi on August 28 and 29 indicate a further upsurge in the country's civil war. Reports have emerged of the killings of 32 men, women and children, according to the military government, and of over 250 lives lost, according to the rebels. Government and rebels each hold the other responsible for the deaths. In what is termed a “dangerous turn of events” by Western security officials in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, the army has begun rearming and reorganising Tutsi militias—notorious for carrying out ethnic attacks—said to be in response to the August massacres.

State elections in Saxony: German Social Democratic Party in free fall

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 September 1999

For the third time in three weeks the SPD (Social Democratic Party) has suffered a drastic reversal in a German state election. Following the loss of the party's governing majority in Brandenburg and the Saarland at the beginning of September, its exclusion from the government of Thuringia and a massive defeat in local elections in the traditional SPD stronghold of North Rhine Westphalia, the party has now plummeted in state elections in Saxony (formerly part of East Germany). With just 10.7 percent, the party registered its worst result in post-war German history.

Major earthquake strikes central Taiwan

By James Conachy, 22 September 1999

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck central Taiwan early Tuesday morning. In the small towns surrounding the epicentre, homes and recently built residential apartments collapsed. Hundreds of people were killed in their beds and hundreds more are still trapped beneath rubble. Some 100,000 people are reportedly homeless. The official death toll has already risen to more than 1,700 and, with at least 3,000 people still buried, is expected to rise far higher.

The Kosovo war, German "national interests" and the rightward turn of the SPD

By Peter Schwarz, 21 September 1999

The following article was written as the editorial of the September/October issue of Gleichheit, the magazine published by the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party), German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Australian imperialism and East Timor: The Prime Minister's Address to the Nation

By Nick Beams, 21 September 1999

Delivering his “Address to the Nation” on national television on Sunday night, Australian Prime Minister John Howard opened a new chapter in the history of Australian imperialism.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 September 1999

El Salvador teachers protest

Aboriginal teenagers jailed, prison suicides treble

By Cheryl McDermid, 21 September 1999

17-year-old jailed for stealing biscuits

Workers poisoned for decades at Kentucky nuclear weapons plant

By Martin McLaughlin, 21 September 1999

The Clinton administration announced September 16 that the Department of Energy (DOE) would spend $22 million to compensate workers at a uranium processing facility in western Kentucky who were exposed to plutonium and other radioactive materials during more than four decades.

A New York story: different worlds for the children of the rich and the poor

By Fred Mazelis, 21 September 1999

Patricia Duff and her billionaire ex-husband Ronald Perelman have been carrying out a bitter child-support and custody battle over their four-year-old daughter for the last three years. Last week Ms. Duff told State Supreme Court Justice Franklin Weissberg how much she needs in child support from Revlon owner Perelman, whose net worth is an estimated $6 billion. She presented a detailed budget which amounted to $4,400 a day for the next 14 years.

Deflation accelerates further opening of Chinese economy

By James Conachy, 20 September 1999

A major factor in the negotiations being held last week on Chinese membership of the World Trade Organisation is the continuing deterioration of the country's economy. The August issue of the China Financial & Economic Times, published by the Ministry of Finance, was the first official organ to state that China is in recession. Referring to it as “slight”, the journal cites declines in energy consumption, falls in the volume of goods transported and the existence of 15 million urban unemployed—nearly triple the official figure of 5.7 million.

Russian police begin mass roundups in wake of terror bomb attacks

By Vladimir Volkov and Martin McLaughlin, 20 September 1999

Police carried out mass arrests in Moscow and Russian government officials threatened a renewed military assault on the breakaway region of Chechnya after two terrorist bombings in the space of four days killed more than 200 people in the Russian capital.

Bloody Sunday: New reports confirm British troops killed unarmed Irish civil rights protesters

By Mike Ingram, 20 September 1999

Almost three decades after British paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Derry, new forensic science evidence confirms that the demonstrators were unarmed.

New Zealand parliament gives unanimous backing for East Timor troops

By John Braddock, 20 September 1999

The New Zealand government has received the unanimous backing of all political parties for its decision to contribute troops to the Australian-led military intervention in East Timor. Parliament was specially reconvened last Friday to discuss the army deployment, the four-hour session concluding with a unanimous vote of support.

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

By , 18 September 1999

Indian bus workers protest

Some interesting films on US television, September 18-24

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 18 September 1999

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

UAW contract with DaimlerChrysler paves way for further downsizing in US auto industry

By Jerry White, 18 September 1999

The United Auto Workers union reached an agreement with DaimlerChrysler AG Thursday for a new four-year contract covering 71,000 UAW members at the company's US plants. The pact reportedly provides a $1,350 signing bonus and raises of 3 percent for each year of the contract, as well as improvements in retirement and other benefits.

Deaths from AIDS dwarf war casualties in Africa

By Barry Mason, 18 September 1999

Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, gave a sharp warning to the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Africa held in Lusaka, Zambia this week. She described the devastating effects of the AIDS pandemic as “the world's most terrible undeclared war”.

US hypocrisy on human rights

By , 18 September 1999

The Clinton administration justified its military onslaught against the people of Serbia with the claim that the massive bombing was motivated by concern over the violation of human rights in Kosovo. The State Department and the White House, backed by the American media, charged that the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was engaged in a Nazi-like campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Albanian majority in Kosovo.

Sri Lanka: delay in case of framed Tamil plantation youths

By our correspondent, 18 September 1999

The court case on frame-up charges against six Tamil-speaking plantation youths in Sri Lanka was put off for more than a month on September 7 due to the absence of the trial judge. A new case date has been fixed for October 9. These youths were arrested in June 1998 following a bomb attack on May 31 on the Shannon tea factory near Hatton, a hill country town. They have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Buchanan turns to the Reform Party: a new stage in the breakup of the US two-party system

By Martin McLaughlin, 18 September 1999

Extreme-right Republican presidential hopeful Patrick Buchanan announced September 12 that he is preparing to quit the Republican Party and seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party. He used the forum provided by the NBC program Meet the Press to outline his dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and blast its nomination process as “rigged.”

Indonesians protest against security bill and Timor atrocities

By Mike Head, 18 September 1999

In events little reported outside Indonesia, security forces this week fired shots and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators protesting in Jakarta and other major cities against a draft bill on state security and the military terror in East Timor.

US hypocrisy on human rights

By , 17 September 1999

The Clinton administration justified its military onslaught against the people of Serbia with the claim that the massive bombing was motivated by concern over the violation of human rights in Kosovo. The State Department and the White House, backed by the American media, charged that the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was engaged in a Nazi-like campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Albanian majority in Kosovo.

Eight dead in Texas church shooting—the latest eruption of social tensions in America

By Kate Randall, 17 September 1999

Just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening Larry Ashbrook walked into the Wedgwood Baptist Church in a middle-class neighborhood on the southwestern edge of Fort Worth, Texas and began shooting. He unloaded three magazines of bullets from a nine-millimeter semi-automatic handgun before turning the weapon on himself.

Patten Report on reform of Royal Ulster Constabulary provokes Unionist outcry

By Chris Marsden, 17 September 1999

Proposals for the reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) have met with outcry from Unionist politicians. The Executive Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) unanimously rejected key aspects of the findings drawn up by the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, under Christopher Patten, Britain's former Conservative governor of Hong Kong.

Australian state government privatises major hospital

By Margaret Rees, 17 September 1999

The Kennett government in Victoria is shortly to announce the winning bidder for the privatisation of the Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre. It is reputedly the first time anywhere in the world that a large tertiary teaching hospital is handed over to a for-profit consortium. The Austin is Melbourne's second largest hospital, with 750 beds and 4,000 staff, and accounts for 8 percent of acute hospital treatments in the state.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 17 September 1999

Toolmakers strike at Ford plant in Dagenham, England

East Timor and protest politics

By Linda Tenenbaum, 17 September 1999

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in Australia's major cities over the past week to express outrage at the Indonesian military-organised carnage in East Timor. Many are deeply suspicious of the Howard government's motives in pushing for an Australian-led UN “peacekeeping” force, mindful of Australia's record of intimate collaboration with the blood-soaked Indonesian regime for the past quarter century.

Correspondence on East Timor

By , 17 September 1999

I attended the GPO rally in support of the East Timor people and also democracy as a supreme political principle. I read your analysis and found myself disgusted enough to write to you.

Iranian court hands down four death sentences in connection with July student protests

By Kate Randall, 16 September 1999

On September 12 an Iranian court sentenced four people to death in connection with protests which erupted in Tehran and other cities in July. The names of those sentenced have not been released. Gholamhossien Rahbarpour, head of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, said that the country's supreme court had approved the death sentences in two of the cases.

US auto talks—deal reported near between UAW and DaimlerChrysler

By Jerry White, 16 September 1999

Bargainers for the United Auto Workers union and DaimlerChrysler are reportedly near an agreement on a new national contract covering nearly 75,000 workers at the German-American automaker's US plants. The agreement is expected to set the pattern for another 300,000 UAW members at US plants owned by Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Delphi Automotive Systems, the parts manufacturer recently spun off by GM.

Australia: The tragic deaths of two Melbourne CityLink construction workers

By Peter Byrne, 16 September 1999

According to the Kennett government, the new City Link tollway is a powerful symbol of “Victoria on the Move”. On August 15 the first stage of the $2 billion private road project was opened, to great official fanfare, followed only days later by the announcement of an early Victorian state election.

The German army lobbies for rearmament

By Peter Schwarz, 16 September 1999

On September 11, some 5,000 soldiers in uniform demonstrated in Berlin against cuts in the German defence budget. Initial plans to march through the streets of the capital were dropped in favour of holding an indoor meeting at the International Congress Centre. Irrespective of the venue, the event marked a turning point in the history of Germany, where, up until now, soldiers in uniform were pledged to strict political neutrality.

Plan for transport of Indian goods through Bangladesh provokes factional strife within country's elite

By K. Ratnayake, 16 September 1999

A Bangladeshi government plan to allow India to transport goods to and from its remote, northeastern states via Bangladesh has become another issue in the bitter factional struggle between the ruling Awami League and its bourgeois political opponents.

Wye 2 agreement paves way for restructuring of economic relations in Middle East

By Jean Shaoul, 16 September 1999

No sooner was the “land for peace” agreement (known as Wye 2) signed between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yassir Arafat, chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), than a flurry of diplomatic activity began.

Indonesia's accomplices spearhead East Timor "peacekeeping" force

By Barry Grey, 16 September 1999

Following passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution mandating the deployment of a multinational “peacekeeping” force in East Timor, American and Australian officials have stressed that the Australian-led troops will operate in cooperation with the Indonesian military.

Indian elections: widening chasm between official politics and the working masses

By Nanda Wickramasinghe, 15 September 1999

The first two rounds of India's general election have been completed and already there are indications of widespread voter indifference to both major political formations—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the opposition Congress (I).