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"The struggle of the common man for self-dignity is very profound"

By Richard Phillips, 1 March 2000

Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage recently visited Sydney, Australia for a special showing of his latest film, Pura Handa Kaluwara (Death on a Full Moon Day) . The film, which was reviewed on the World Socialist Web Site on February 29, explores one man's attempt to deal with the impact on his family of the Sri Lankan government's 16-year war against the Tamils in the north.

African floods: Western governments' indifference to plight of Mozambique

By Barry Mason and Barbara Slaughter, 1 March 2000

Southeast Africa is presently experiencing the heaviest rainstorms in 50 years. Three weeks of downpours, beginning February 9, have devastated entire areas of the continent. Floods that have also swept through the neighbouring countries of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe have particularly hit Mozambique. Some places have seen a whole year's rain fall in just three days.

An interview with the director of Zoe, Maren-Kea Freese

By Bernd Reinhardt, 1 March 2000

Maren-Kea Freese (b. 1960) studied film science, journalism and German studies at the Free University in Berlin. She has worked as assistant director with George Tabori and Rosa von Praunheim, as well as for the local theatre in the town of Aachen. She also worked for the editorial board of “Literature and Art” for the television channel ZDF. In 1990 she began studying at the Academy of Film and Television in Berlin. Her first short films date back to 1983. Zoe is her first full-length film.

Galileo's Daughter: An important contribution to the history of science

By Walter Gilberti, 1 March 2000

Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, Walker & Co., ISBN 0802713432, 448 pp., $27.00

Mumia Abu-Jamal supporters arrested in Washington anti-death penalty protest

By Kate Randall, 1 March 2000

About 500 people demonstrated outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC Monday, protesting the death penalty and demanding a new trial for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Jamal has been incarcerated on Pennsylvania's death row for 18 years after being framed up for the December 9, 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The protest was organized by the Free Abu-Jamal Coalition.

New study confirms growing social polarisation in Britain

By Julie Hyland, 1 March 2000

A Divided Britain?—a new study released on Monday—confirms the growing social polarisation within British cities. The report is the most in-depth study conducted into the financial circumstances of Britain's population. Conducted by Experian, which calls itself a “global information solutions company”, it is the result of five years' research into the finances of people living in all 413 local authorities across Britain.

Six-year-old Michigan girl shot and killed in classroom

By David Walsh, 1 March 2000

A six-year-old girl was shot and killed, apparently by a fellow first grade student, a six-year-old boy, in a classroom at Buell Elementary School in Mt. Morris Township, outside of Flint, Michigan. Flint is a center of General Motors' auto production empire, located sixty miles north of Detroit. The fatal shooting occurred Tuesday morning.

The successful depiction of a zeitgeist

By Bernd Reinhardt, 1 March 2000

Twenty-six-year-old Karola has come to Berlin from a small town. She assumes the name Zoe, lives from hand to mouth, sleeps at various friends' places and wants just one thing, to avoid a life like her parents'. She carries her entire possessions in a handful of plastic bags and comes and goes as she pleases. No one can to tell her how to live her life, no one tells her what music she should listen to—music which she occasionally plays when she helps out as DJ at a dive of a club. If it turns out she's the only one who likes the music, then she doesn't mind dancing alone. When asked why she likes playing records, she says its fun to “get people off their backsides”. No one, however, wants to listen to her music.

Unilever to shed 10 percent of workforce in global restructuring

By Robert Stevens, 1 March 2000

Last week, Unilever announced plans to shed 25,000 jobs over the next five years. The Anglo-Dutch company is the world's biggest consumer goods concern; its global restructuring plan is one of the largest ever in Europe and will result in 10 percent of its workforce being made redundant. Although the company has not yet specified where the job cuts will take place, the majority of the losses are expected in Europe and the Americas.

Bangladesh government introduces harsh new security laws

By Y.A. Dharmasena, 29 February 2000

Bangladesh President Shahabuddin Ahmed signed into law a Public Safety (Special Provisions) Bill on February 14 giving sweeping powers to the police. Under the pretext of dealing with criminals and terrorists, Prime Minister Sheik Hasina's government will use the new law to witchhunt the political opponents of the ruling Awami League regime and to suppress social unrest by workers and the poor.