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Trade war over beef between Britain and France

By Chris Marsden, 30 October 1999

Economic tensions between Britain and France have grown throughout this month to the point of provoking an all-out trade war.

New York City forces homeless to work or face eviction from shelters

By Andrea Peters, 30 October 1999

New York City's Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced plans earlier this week to implement a work requirement policy for those seeking refuge in the city's homeless shelters. Beginning in 45 to 60 days, the homeless will be required to work for their nightly beds. Refusal to participate in the city's workfare program will result in eviction from the shelter. For parents, failure to work can result in the removal of their children and placement in foster care. Individuals who do participate in the work program, if fired from their assigned positions, will also be thrown onto the street.

The new Indonesian cabinet: a precarious government of "national unity"

By Peter Symonds, 30 October 1999

The Indonesian cabinet, announced on Tuesday and formally sworn in yesterday, has been generally hailed in the international media as a “break from the past,” ushering in a new period of democracy led by newly-installed President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Britain's rail union calls off national conductors strike

By Paul Stuart, 30 October 1999

The Rail Maritime Transport Workers Union (RMT) called off a national one-day strike due Friday. In a national ballot of 6,000 conductors, 86 percent had voted in favour of strike action against the decision by the 25 Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to remove the safety role of conductors during train failures.

Some interesting films on US television, October 30-November 5

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 30 October 1999

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

Ghana's Ashanti Goldfields going for a song

By Trevor Johnson, 30 October 1999

The Ghana-based company, Ashanti Goldfields, is being sought by a rush of potential buyers looking to purchase gold mines at rock-bottom prices. Ashanti owns some of the most productive gold mines in Africa—altogether worth over $2 billion at current prices. Besides the giant Obuasi mine in Ghana, existing and potential operations dot the continent—in Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ashanti's Geita deposit in Tanzania has been described as "Africa's new El Dorado".

Blacklisted US film director Abraham Polonsky dead at 88

By David Walsh, 30 October 1999

Abraham Polonsky, the American screenwriter and director whose film career was destroyed by the anticommunist witch-hunts of the early 1950s, died at his home Tuesday in Beverly Hills. Polonsky would have been 89 on December 10.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 October 1999

Chinese workers perish in fire

Pakistan's military regime to implement IMF dictates

By Keith Jones, 30 October 1999

Pakistan's new military government has signaled its readiness to implement economic policy changes demanded by the IMF and foreign investors—changes previous governments failed to implement for fear of igniting popular unrest or because of opposition from sections of Pakistani's landowning and business elite.

On-the-spot report from Michigan courtroom: Scenes from the murder trial of a 13-year-old

By Kate Randall, 29 October 1999

Thirteen-year-old Nathaniel Abraham was led into a Pontiac, Michigan courtroom on Monday, October 18, as jury selection began in his murder trial. His slight, barely five-foot figure was shackled in layers of chains and handcuffs—a set of heavy chains wrapped around his waist, another set of chains connected to handcuffs on his wrists, and chains with handcuffs connecting his feet. The dismantling of the shackles took several, long minutes, requiring the child to turn toward a chair and lean forward while the sheriff unlocked his leg irons.

US expert outlines social and environmental disaster in Russia

By Patrick Richter, 29 October 1999

An American expert on Russian social and environmental trends, Murray Feshbach, appeared before the press on October 22 with an alarming statement on the situation in Russia. Feshbach, a professor at Washington's Georgetown University, is the author of Environmental and Health Atlas of Russia (1995) and Ecological Disaster:Cleaning up the Hidden Legacy of the Soviet Regime (1995).

US schedules five executions this week

By Kate Randall, 29 October 1999

Five executions were planned this week in the United States, which would bring the total of state killings to 86 this year, more than any year since 1954. The US has executed 581 people since the reinstitution of the death penalty in 1976.

Fiji's new Labour-led coalition ditches its promises for better living standards

By Tim Joy, 29 October 1999

Fiji's Peoples Coalition government, elected in May on a platform of economic growth and social progress, has failed to implement its promises to improve living standards but wasted no time in introducing measures to encourage foreign investment. Its program attracted wide support after two years of economic contraction and rising prices, particularly for food. The Fijian Labour Party won 37 of the 71 seats in the lower house and its partners, including the Fijian Association Party (FAP), the Party of National Unity (PANU) and the Christian Democratic Alliance, hold another 14 seats.

Shooting death of Armenian prime minister heightens crisis in the Caucasus

By Chris Marsden, 29 October 1999

The killing of Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan and other leading politicians in Wednesday's attack by nationalist terrorists has plunged the country into crisis. Armenia's Defence Ministry immediately demanded the sacking of top law enforcement officials. Its statement read, “Those who allowed this crime to happen are responsible before the Armenian nation.... The situation which has been created is fraught with uncertainty, the internal and external security of the state is in danger.''

British appeal court quashes conviction after hearing of police torture

By Julie Hyland, 29 October 1999

The Court of Appeal quashed a man's conviction for manslaughter and robbery on Tuesday, after hearing that police had tortured him into confessing the crime.

Irish nurses strike suspended pending membership ballot

By Mike Ingram, 29 October 1999

The first ever all-out strike by nurses in the Irish Republic was suspended after nine days on Wednesday following new recommendations by the Labour Court. The cross government, union and employer organisation made new proposals to address the central demand of the nurses for greater skill recognition within the health sector to bring them in line with other industries.

US presidential race: Buchanan quits Republicans to run third-party campaign

By Martin McLaughlin, 28 October 1999

Right-wing media commentator Patrick J. Buchanan, a three-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, announced October 25 that he was leaving the Republican Party and seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, founded by Texas billionaire Ross Perot.

Australian media inquiry: the millionaire talkback radio hosts from "Struggle Street"

By Jason Nichols, 28 October 1999

Further details have emerged of lucrative contracts and perks worth millions of dollars paid by banks and corporations to two well-known talkback radio commentators, John Laws and Alan Jones, and to the Sydney radio station 2UE, in return for favourable comment. Evidence given to an inquiry by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) into the "cash-for-comment" scandal revealed that Laws and Jones not only received large cash payments but free food, air flights and hotel accommodation.

Three American films: Sadness, and less

By David Walsh, 28 October 1999

The Limey, directed by Steven Soderbergh, written by Lem Dobbs Three Kings, directed by David O. Russell, written by Russell from a story by John Ridley Bringing Out the Dead, directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Paul Schrader, based on a book by Joe Connelly

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 28 October 1999

Polish miners protest against pit closures

Britain's hereditary peers vote to abolish their constitutional role

By Julie Hyland, 28 October 1999

Britain's hereditary peers voted in favour of ending their 700-year-old right to sit and vote in the House of Lords on Tuesday evening. The third reading of the Blair government's House of Lords Bill was passed by 221 votes to 81 and will now become law.

Sri Lankan postal authorities victimise Socialist Equality Party member

By W.A. Sunil, 28 October 1999

The Postal Department in Sri Lanka has stepped up its campaign of intimidation against Socialist Equality Party member H. Dharmasena by removing him from his supervisory position at the postal centre in Anuradhapura. Earlier this month the SEP member was informed that he was to be returned to lower duties.

WSWS readers discuss health care, jobs

By , 27 October 1999

Dear Sir,

Right-wing journalist warns of Britain's collapse into chaos

By Julie Hyland, 27 October 1999

Peter Hitchens is a journalist for the Daily Express and a talk radio presenter. Outside of a brief flirtation with radical politics during his student days, he has spent his political life on the Conservative Party's extreme right.

Opposition to KLA grows in Kosovo

By Chris Marsden, 27 October 1999

The regime imposed by the Kosovo Liberation Army under the auspices of NATO is meeting growing opposition, even amongst the Albanian majority of Kosovo.

Sri Lankan president calls snap poll

By a correspondent, 27 October 1999

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has called snap presidential elections, 14 months early, as her Peoples Alliance (PA) government faces a deepening economic and political crisis arising from its failure to bring an end to the 16-year war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Labor forms new minority state government in Australia

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 October 1999

One month after the Victorian state elections, in which neither Labor nor Liberal won an outright majority, the Labor Party (ALP) has formed a minority government under recently-installed leader Steve Bracks. Jeff Kennett, Liberal premier for the past seven years, who, until just weeks ago, was widely tipped to cruise to an easy victory, has resigned as leader of the Liberal Party.

Federal judge grants stay of execution for US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By our reporter, 27 October 1999

US District Judge William Yohn Jr. granted a stay of execution for Mumia Abu-Jamal Tuesday, 13 days after Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Ridge set December 2 as the date the political prisoner would be put to death by lethal injection. Abu-Jamal's lawyers had expected the federal judge to grant the stay in order to review a habeas corpus petition they filed on October 15, the day after Ridge signed the death warrant.

On George Bush's pardon of anti-Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch

By , 26 October 1999

Following the publication of an article by Gerardo Nebbia and Martin McLaughlin, "Puerto Rican nationalists to be released after two decades in prison" [9 September 1999], the World Socialist Web Site received a letter from a reader (LM) explaining that former President George Bush had pardoned anti-Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, which we published on October 2. Following an inquiry by another reader, LM has provided us with more information on this topic. We reprint his two letters below.

A New Zealand clothing company goes "global" and shuts all local factories

By John Braddock, 26 October 1999

Workers in the New Zealand clothing industry were dealt a further blow last week with the decision by leading lingerie manufacturer Bendon to close its three plants and relocate overseas. A total of 400 jobs will be lost, 122 by the end of November when the Te Aroha plant is shut, and a further 278 by the end of March with the closure of the Te Rapa and East Tamaki factories.

Two Hands —Exaggerated praise for an Australian comedy

By Jason Nichols, 26 October 1999

Two Hands is a black comedy written and directed by Gregor Jordon about a naïve young man who falls foul of some dangerous but rather buffoonish gangsters. The story involves the adventures of Jimmy (Heath Ledger), a 19-year-old ex-street kid who runs into trouble with Pando (Bryan Brown), a ruthless local crime boss in Kings Cross, Sydney's red-light district.

Declassified documents confirm US role in 1973 death of Charles Horman

By Bill Vann, 26 October 1999

More than a quarter century after the execution in Chile of Charles Horman, an American freelance journalist, Washington has released a document admitting that US intelligence agents played a role in his death.

New Indonesian president pledges to encourage foreign investment and private enterprise

By Peter Symonds, 26 October 1999

Only days after his appointment as Indonesian president, Abdurrahman Wahid has sketched out the main lines of his term of office: the promotion of foreign investment and free market reforms; a nationalist appeal for a “stronger Indonesia,” and closer ties with Japan, China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). He was speaking in Bali on Sunday at a three-day conference of foreign businessmen, diplomats and academics organised by economic consultants Van Zorge Heffernan & Associates.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 October 1999

Union leaders terrorized in Guatemala

British agriculture faces worst crisis since 1930s

By Liz Smith, 25 October 1999

The past months have been dominated by reports of a growing crisis in British agriculture and mounting protests by farmers. Agriculture is facing its worst crisis since the 1930s, according to government ministers and farmers' leaders.

Sri Lankan police step up harassment of estate workers after bomb explosion

By Ruwan Peris and Vijitha Silva, 25 October 1999

Following a bomb explosion on a railway track in the estate area of central Sri Lanka, the security forces have intensified their intimidation of Tamil-speaking plantation workers. The blast occurred in the evening of October 2 near Nanu-oya railway station, about 300 kilometres from the capital of Colombo.

Global warming and capitalism

By Joseph Tanniru, 25 October 1999

The WSWS received the following review from a reader of The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan (Perseus Books, Reading, Massachusetts. First paperback edition, 1998).

Concessions at Dayton Delphi plant reveal content of new contracts with US auto companies

By John Austin, 25 October 1999

The new four-year agreements signed by the United Auto Workers for 370,000 US workers at General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and Delphi Automotive Systems have been praised in the financial press. In an article entitled, “The auto talks: who really won,” Businessweek magazine noted that although wage increases were the largest for auto workers in two decades, “nobody blinked an eye, not even Big Three shareholders or inflation-wary Wall Street economists.” The magazine noted that the auto companies had achieved “freedom to restructure their workforces and boost efficiency,” and that any job-security measures the auto companies agreed to in the national contract “can be bent—or even ignored—in plant level negotiations.”

The films of François Truffaut

By , 25 October 1999

As part of its autumn-winter schedule the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts is presenting all 21 of French filmmaker François Truffaut's feature films, two of his shorts and a documentary about his life and career. The DFT program, part of a national tour of the Truffaut works, is entirely welcome and gives viewers the opportunity to evaluate the work of a significant postwar film director.

The Australian Ballet in New York City

By Andrea Peters, 23 October 1999

The Australian Ballet, founded in 1962, is by international standards a relatively youthful company. Since 1965 the group has been performing around the world, and on its current tour of the United States has received considerable critical acclaim. Beginning with a series of performances at New York City's City Center, the company is presenting the works of four young Australian choreographers, reflecting a commitment to promoting the endeavors of a fresh generation of artists.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 October 1999

Hong Kong aircraft workers oppose wage cut

New report shows sharp growth of inequality in Britain

By Mike Ingram, 23 October 1999

Figures released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) show that wealth distribution in Britain became more unequal during the 1980s.

"We're all corrupt," says Republican contender in the US election sweepstakes

By Martin McLaughlin, 23 October 1999

Last week Elizabeth Dole announced she was ending her bid for the Republican presidential race because she could not compete financially with Texas Governor George W. Bush or publishing heir Steve Forbes. The withdrawal of this long-time fixture within the Republican Party, whose right-wing politics are virtually indistinguishable from those of the other presidential aspirants, is significant only for what it says about the transparent process by which big money purchases candidates, manipulates elections and propels its hirelings into office.

Some interesting films on US television, October 23-29

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 23 October 1999

Video Pick of the Week - Find It in Your Video Store:

Russia poised for all-out attack on Chechen capital

By Chris Marsden, 23 October 1999

Signs are mounting of an imminent Russian invasion of the Chechen capital of Grozny, in the aftermath of Thursday night's bombing of the central open air market that killed an estimated 137 people and wounded another 260 to 400.

IMF-World Bank conflict over assessment of Asian crisis

By Nick Beams, 23 October 1999

Divisions between leading figures in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund over the response of global financial institutions to the Asian financial crisis were clearly on display at the World Economic Forum's East Asia Economic Summit held in Singapore this week.

Switzerland sends Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon back to France

By Richard Tyler, 23 October 1999

Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, arrested in Switzerland Thursday night, was sent back to France on Friday to begin serving a ten-year prison term for crimes against humanity. Papon, a senior member of the French wartime Vichy administration, aided the Nazis in the deportation of over 1,500 Jews to the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where most perished.

University of Papua New Guinea shuts early after student protests over fee rises

By Laura Mitchell, 23 October 1999

The University Council has closed the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) three weeks before the end of the academic year in response to student boycotts that have spread to university campuses across the country. More than 2,500 UPNG students had been on strike since October 1 protesting against a planned 25 percent increase in tuition fees.

Megawati inserted as Indonesian vice-president to head off social unrest

By Peter Symonds, 22 October 1999

Another day of sharp political twists and turns in Jakarta on Thursday resulted in Megawati Sukarnoputri being selected by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) as vice-president to serve alongside the newly-elected president Abdurrahman Wahid.

Australian government threatens to deport remaining Kosovar refugees

By Regina Lohr and Mike Head, 22 October 1999

Just five months after reluctantly accepting 4,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees from the US-NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the Australian government on Monday declared its intention to imprison and deport the remaining war victims who do not leave the country by November 30.

Britain's Labour government clamps down on protests during visit by Chinese premier

By Julie Hyland, 22 October 1999

The first visit by a Chinese head of state to Britain witnessed vigorous attempts to stifle protests by the Blair Labour government. Demonstrations by human rights activists, right-wing anti-communists and pro-Tibet campaigners were planned throughout the four-day visit to London by Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Dasa and Aerospatiale Matra SA merge: Europe strengthens its armaments industry

By Patrick Richter, 22 October 1999

Along with the chairmen of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) and France's Aerospatiale Matra SA, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin celebrated the formation of the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space company (EADS) in Strasbourg October 14.

Côte d'Ivoire's economy dependent on child labour

By our correspondent, 22 October 1999

Despite government claims that 30 percent of the budget is spent on education, many children in the former French West African colony Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) are actually working.

London Underground signalman: "Train operating companies view safety provisions as a drain on profits"

By , 22 October 1999

In the aftermath of the Paddington rail tragedy, the World Socialist Web Site spoke to John Casey, a signal worker on the London Underground, about the adverse impact privatisation has had on safety on the national railways and his concerns about Labour's privatisation of the capital's subway system.

US judge rules secret evidence unconstitutional, orders release of Palestinian immigrant

By Kate Randall, 22 October 1999

US Federal District Judge William H. Walls ordered the immediate release of Hany Kiareldeen, a 31-year-old Palestinian immigrant who has been held for 18 months in a New Jersey county jail while Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials sought to deport him. The judge ruled that the use of secret evidence of alleged terrorist connections to detain Kiareldeen violated the due process provisions of the US Constitution.

Telstra share values boosted by job destruction

By Noel Holt, 21 October 1999

The next stage of the Howard government's plan to privatise Telstra, Australia's main communications carrier, was launched this week with the sale of another 16.6 percent of the company to investors. Once the latest share float is completed, 49.9 percent of Telstra will be in private hands.

A travesty of democracy: Indonesian parliament anoints Abdurrahman Wahid as president

By Peter Symonds, 21 October 1999

After more than a week of political machinations and backroom dealings between parliamentary factions, Abdurrahman Wahid, head of the Islamic National Awakening Party (PKB) was anointed Indonesian president yesterday by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

North London man wins compensation from police for false murder conviction

By Harvey Thompson, 21 October 1999

Winston Silcott, the man falsely accused of murdering police officer Keith Blakelock during the 1985 riots on the Broadwater Farm estate in north London, has been awarded £50,000 damages by the Metropolitan Police.

Scottish teachers ballot for strike action

By Steve James, 21 October 1999

The majority of Scotland's 60,000 teachers are to be balloted regarding strike action. This follows the Council of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) and the Labour government's refusal to offer more than a 3 percent annual pay increase. Members of four of the five teaching unions, by far the largest of which is the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS), will consider a series of one-day strikes and other actions. A large majority in favour is expected.

US Senate rejection of test ban treaty heralds new eruption of American militarism

By the Editorial Board, 21 October 1999

Two critical aspects of American politics converged to produce last week's Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The first is the virtual state of war that exists between the Republican Congress and the Clinton administration. Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli was close to the mark when he called the treaty defeat “a second vote on impeachment.”

Irish hospitals hit by first national nurses' strike

By Mike Ingram, 21 October 1999

The Irish Republic was hit on Tuesday by the biggest strike in its history, as 27,500 nurses began indefinite strike action over pay and working conditions.

Mayakovsky's The Bedbug at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin: a missed opportunity

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 October 1999

For the first time in over thirty years the Maxim Gorki Theatre in the east of Berlin, which prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall specialised in presenting Russian and eastern European theatre, has revived Soviet poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky's 1928 satire, The Bedbug. Mayakovsky described this work, together with his The Bathhouse, as tirades against petit bourgeois conventionality and backwardness. Both plays were originally written and performed towards the end of the 1920s. In 1930 Mayakovsky put a bullet through his heart and killed himself.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 21 October 1999

French medical workers protest attacks on health care

Indonesia votes to hand over East Timor to UN control

By Peter Symonds, 21 October 1999

Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) voted in the early hours of Wednesday to endorse the results of the UN-organised referendum on East Timor and to rescind the body's 1978 decree declaring the former Portuguese colony to be the country's 27th province.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 October 1999

Colombian public employees strike

Irish civil rights activist targeted for smear campaign

By Chris Marsden, 20 October 1999

Last month saw the publication of two major articles directed against civil rights activist Vincent McKenna, head of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau, in the US-based Irish Voice and the British Independent on Sunday. An investigation by the World Socialist Web Site points to their origin in a smear campaign against McKenna instigated by supporters of Sinn Fein. Strong evidence has also emerged indicating collusion in this campaign by the Southern Irish police force, the Garda.

Hundreds of thousands hit by Bangladesh floods

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 20 October 1999

Serious flooding, although not as severe as in 1998, has swept through Bangladesh over the last three and a half months affecting hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country.

Conflict over oil in Sudan

By Chris Talbot, 20 October 1999

Peace talks are now taking place in Nairobi, Kenya over the future of Sudan. The Sudanese government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) have been fighting a civil war for the past 16 years. The SPLA is demanding self-determination for the south of the country.

Second rail collision follows London, Paddington disaster

By Mike Ingram, 20 October 1999

A second crash has heightened concerns over rail safety in the aftermath of Britain's worst rail disaster in decades at London's Paddington Station. One passenger was slightly injured Monday night in an accident near Lewes Station in Kent. Connex Trains' 17.53 London Victoria commuter service heading to Hastings hit the empty Connex 18.42 Seaford to Brighton train.

Teacher discusses lessons of the Detroit strike

By , 20 October 1999

A teacher who took part in the recent strike by 7,000 teachers against the Detroit school board discussed with the WSWS some of the issues in this struggle.

Nissan announces 21,000 jobs to go in Japan's first major downsizing

By Peter Symonds, 20 October 1999

Nissan, the world's fourth largest automaker, announced a far-reaching restructuring plan on Monday that will mean the destruction of 21,000 jobs by April 2003, as well as the closure of three assembly plants and two engine factories. Overall the measures will result in a 14 percent cut of Nissan's employees and 30 percent of its domestic capacity in Japan.

One-quarter of New York City's population lives below the poverty threshold

By Fred Mazelis, 19 October 1999

A report released early this month by the Community Service Society of New York shows that nearly one-quarter of the city's population is living on income below the federal government's poverty threshold. The percentage of the poor in New York has nearly doubled in the past 30 years, and is also more than twice the rate for the US as a whole.

The AFL-CIO's endorsement of Al Gore: what it represents and what it doesn't

By Jerry White, 19 October 1999

Last week's AFL-CIO national convention was dominated by the union federation's endorsement of Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination. Whether Gore or his sole opponent, former Senator Bill Bradley, becomes the Democratic candidate is of far greater importance to the union leaders than to the masses of working people in whose name they claim to speak.

Speakers at US conference condemn sanctions against Iraq

By Shannon Jones, 19 October 1999

Some 275 delegates attended a national conference the weekend of October 15-17 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor opposing the economic sanctions and ongoing American bombing of Iraq. Speakers and panelists at the conference included civil libertarians and experts from the academic community possessing in-depth knowledge of the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people, which by some estimates have resulted in 1.4 million deaths.

Relatives of London man shot dead by police speak out

By Keith Lee, 19 October 1999

Harry Stanley, a 46-year-old father, was shot dead by armed police in east London on the evening of September 22. He was returning home from the local pub, carrying a coffee table leg in a plastic bag, when officers from Scotland Yard's specialist SO19 firearms team shot him twice. Harry's death has caused outrage in the local community.

Tensions mounts in Chile after Britain rejects call for Pinochet's immediate release

By Vicky Short, 19 October 1999

The Chilean government responded to the October 8 decision by Bow Street Magistrates Court Judge Ronald Bartle to allow former dictator Augusto Pinochet to be extradited to Spain by once more appealing to the British government to intervene. On October 14, it sent a letter to Home Secretary Jack Straw requesting that the extradition process be halted and Pinochet freed on health grounds. This follows an earlier letter from Chilean President Eduardo Frei to Prime Minister Blair on October 7, the contents of which have not been disclosed.

British newspaper says NATO deliberately bombed Chinese embassy in Belgrade

By Chris Marsden, 19 October 1999

A report in the Observer newspaper October 17 provides damning evidence that NATO deliberately bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7, during its campaign against Serbia.

New Zealand elections characterised by widespread political disenchantment

By John Braddock, 19 October 1999

Campaigning has begun in New Zealand for national elections to be held on November 27. National Party leader and Prime Minister Jenny Shipley announced the poll two weeks ago after months of prevarication in the face of a deteriorating economy and lack of support for her minority government.

Correspondence on Marx's analysis of interest rates

By , 19 October 1999

The following is a reply drafted by Nick Beams, a member of the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, to an inquiry regarding Marxist economics and the role of rising interest rates in the onset of economic recession.

Wall Street's bleak week: a warning of things to come?

By Martin McLaughlin, 18 October 1999

The past week's plunge on the New York Stock Exchange has raised widespread fears on Wall Street that the protracted stock market bubble may be about to burst. The week saw three daily drops in the 200-point range, culminating in Friday's 267-point plunge in the Dow Jones average, the biggest in over a year.

Appeals filed to block December 2 execution of US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Helen Halyard, 18 October 1999

Lawyers representing US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal filed two appeals in Federal District Court in Philadelphia on Friday, October 15 before Judge William Yohn. Abu-Jamal has been on Pennsylvania's death row for the past 18 years after being framed up for the shooting death of Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signed a death warrant for Abu-Jamal on October 13, setting December 2 as the date of execution.

Argentina's presidential candidates vow to slash spending

By Will Marshall, 18 October 1999

An ongoing economic crisis overshadows the upcoming October 24 presidential elections in Argentina. The country is in its deepest recession in 10 years, with the economy contracting by 3 percent during 1999. Complicating this, Argentina has seen its access to credit worsen since Brazil's currency devaluation in January destabilised and discouraged investment throughout the region.

Some issues raised by the Brooklyn Museum exhibit

By , 18 October 1999

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection Royal Academy of Arts, London, 18 September-28 December 1997 Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 30 September 1998-21 February 1999 Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, 2 October 1999-9 January 2000

Pakistani military establishes martial law regime

By K. Ratnayake, 16 October 1999

Pakistani military coup leader, General Pervaiz Musharraf, effectively established a martial law regime early Friday morning. He proclaimed a state of emergency, suspended the constitution, terminated the parliament and appointed himself the country's Chief Executive. The declaration was backdated to October 12, the day on which the armed forces seized power in a coup.

Zedillo government spurns victims of Mexico storm and mud slides

By Gerardo Nebbia, 16 October 1999

The devastation caused by the recent storms in Mexico reveals the state of social neglect in that country. Many hundreds have died, tens of thousands have been left homeless and hungry, and public health emergencies have been declared in many areas due to the danger of cholera and infectious diseases. Homes and fields have been turned into pools of mud by the worst downpour in 40 years. On October 15 another storm was developing in the Gulf of Mexico and was expected to continue the destruction. At least 253,000 have been left homeless in 9 out of the 31 Mexican states.

Habibie's speech to the Indonesian parliament sparks protests and criticism

By Peter Symonds, 16 October 1999

Indonesian President B.J. Habibie's speech to the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Thursday night may well be his swansong. Outside the parliament building, thousands of student demonstrators, demanding Habibie drop his bid for reelection, clashed with security forces. Inside the MPR, Habibie had to contend with interruptions and interjections from members as he delivered a formal accountability speech defending his 16-month term of office.

Papua New Guinea government rules out independence for Bougainville

By Peter Byrne and Peter Symonds, 16 October 1999

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government headed by Prime Minister Mekere Morauta last week offered a limited autonomy package to the Bougainville province putting further pressure on the separatist Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) to accept PNG sovereignty. Announcing the offer, Bougainville Affairs Minister and former prime minister Michael Somare said the critical areas of foreign affairs, defence and police would stay within the control of the central government. Somare has set a deadline of December 25 for Bougainville's politicians to draft a new provincial constitution within the framework of the national constitution.

World trade talks seek dismantling of public health, education and services

By Jean Shaoul, 16 October 1999

Buried in the mountain of agenda papers of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks, due to start at the end of November in Seattle, are proposals that will accelerate the creeping privatisation of healthcare, education and other vital public services. Hospitals, outpatient facilities, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living arrangements and care services provided in the home, are all targeted.

NBC's The West Wing -an illusory view of the Clinton White House

By Kate Randall, 16 October 1999

The new television program The West Wing is a distasteful affair. Debuting on Wednesday evenings this fall on the NBC network, the show treats the doings of the fictional US presidency of Josiah Bartlet, an obviously Clintonesque figure.

Some interesting films on US television, October 16-22

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 16 October 1999

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

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

By , 16 October 1999

PDAM workers in Jakarta victimised

Public anger grows over police shooting of innocent London man

By Keith Lee, 15 October 1999

On Wednesday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. Harry Stanley, 46, was having a drink in his local pub, The Alexander in Hackney, East London. He had just been released from hospital after undergoing an operation for cancer. At 7:45 p.m. Harry left the pub on the way home to watch a football match. His house was only 600 yards away.

US Supreme Court rejects appeal of mentally impaired death row inmate

By Kate Randall, 15 October 1999

On Tuesday the United States Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Exzavious Lee Gibson, an inmate on the state of Georgia's death row. Gibson, who has an IQ of between 76 and 82, was forced on September 12, 1996 to attend a state post-conviction (habeas corpus) hearing into his conviction and sentencing without legal representation, as he was too poor to afford one.

Mandelson appointed Northern Ireland Secretary in an effort to rescue "peace process"

By Mike Ingram, 15 October 1999

In the fourth cabinet reshuffle within a year, Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has attempted to extricate his government from a deepening political crisis in Northern Ireland. Peter Mandelson replaced Mo Mowlam as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, just 10 months after he had resigned from the Department of Trade and Industry amidst a financial scandal.

Sinhala Heroes Forum intensifies racist campaign against Tamil workers in Sri Lanka

By Sri Haran, 15 October 1999

The Sinhala Heroes Forum or Sinhala Veera Vidahana (SVV), an organisation based on Sinhalese chauvinism, has stepped up its campaign against Tamils, particularly plantation workers, in the tea estate areas in central Sri Lanka. The SVV has accelerated its program of building branches in these areas, where more than half a million Tamil-speaking workers live, and accelerated its provocative activities.

What big business expects of India's new government

By Deepal Jayasekera, 15 October 1999

During the recent election campaign, both the contenders for power—the victorious National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Congress (I)—pledged to initiate a "second wave of economic reforms". These pledges came in response to complaints from both domestic and foreign big business that the adoption of "investor" friendly policies has slowed since the mid-1990s. A second wave of reforms is necessary, they argue, if India is to complete the process, initiated under the 1991 "new economic policy", of dismantling India's nationally protected economy and making export-led growth the pivot of economic development.

Splits widen in the World Trade Organisation

By Nick Beams, 15 October 1999

With just over a month to go before the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation scheduled to be held in Seattle on November 30, a series of conflicts have opened up in the 134-member organisation on the agenda for a new round of trade liberalisation.

Former party chairman attacks German SPD Chancellor Schröder: The Lafontaine debate

By Peter Schwarz and Ulrich Rippert, 15 October 1999

Since September 3, the German newspapers Welt and Welt am Sonntag have printed daily excerpts from the new book by Oskar Lafontaine entitled My heart beats on the left. The book was launched at the recent Frankfurt book fair.

Subcontracting in South African mines undercuts workers' wages and conditions

By our correspondent, 14 October 1999

More than one in ten miners in South Africa are now on short-term contracts, a new study has found, and are routinely required to work longer hours, under more dangerous conditions than ordinary miners.

December 2 death warrant signed for US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Martin McLaughlin, 14 October 1999

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signed a death warrant Wednesday for Mumia Abu-Jamal, ordering the political prisoner to be put to death on December 2 at the state prison in Rockview. Ridge took the action only nine days after the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Abu-Jamal, who has become well-known internationally as an opponent of police brutality, racism and the death penalty.