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Letters to the WSWS

By , 31 March 2000

Below is a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site .

Australian bank merger signals a new round of job cuts and branch closures

By Janine Harrison and Terry Cook, 31 March 2000

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced a $A9.4 billion takeover bid for Colonial Mutual earlier this month. If it proceeds, the merger will be the biggest in the country's corporate history and is likely to trigger a new round of bank restructuring as Australian banks scramble to expand in order to survive on the world market.

An interview with Radu Mihaileanu, the director of Train of Life: "We have to learn to articulate these deep emotions"

By Stefan Steinberg, 31 March 2000

Train of Life (1998) has received international acclaim. The film by Radu Mihaileanu concerns the efforts by the inhabitants of a small Jewish village in Central Europe to escape the Nazis by organising a fake deportation train to get across the Soviet border. Mihaileanu treats terrifying events with humour and sensitivity. The film, far superior to Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful , has recently opened in Germany.

NATO admits to use of radioactive munitions in Yugoslavia

By Julie Hyland, 31 March 2000

NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson has finally provided limited details of the Alliance's use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition during its war against Serbia last year. Robertson disclosed the information in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last month—four months after it was first requested.

New York's Mayor Giuliani and the Brooklyn Museum reach a settlement

By Alan Whyte, 31 March 2000

New York City's Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and the Brooklyn Museum of Art reached an out-of-court settlement Monday ending the city's attempt to cut off all of its funding to the institution. The museum, for its part, withdrew its lawsuit charging the city with violating its freedom of expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

British Labour government to enforce police access to email encryption

By Mike Ingram, 31 March 2000

A bill going through the British parliament will give the security services and police extraordinary powers of surveillance over private emails.

Class justice in New York: Why the DA failed to aggressively prosecute the cops who killed Diallo

By Bill Vann, 31 March 2000

The outrage sparked by the acquittal last month of four New York City police officers in the Amadou Diallo case continues to simmer, fed by new acts of brutality and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's outright defense of police killings.

McVeigh interview sheds light on the social roots of the Oklahoma City bombing

By David Walsh, 30 March 2000

On March 12, CBS television's “60 Minutes” broadcast an interview with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. It was only the second media interview conducted with McVeigh since the 1997 trial at which he was convicted and sentenced to death. He is currently incarcerated at a federal maximum-security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Piano variations from the American songbook

By Philip Sprake, 30 March 2000

In contemporary jazz it is sometimes difficult, at least for novices, to recognise the difference between a technically proficient musician and a truly great one. The Melody At Night, With You, a collection of rich piano solos released on CD late last year by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, is an unambiguous demonstration of great jazz musicianship and further proof that he is one of the more significant jazz pianists to emerge since the 1960s.

Putin's election as president signals authoritarian turn in Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 30 March 2000

Vladimir Putin won the Russian presidential elections on March 26. With 52.6 percent of the votes cast, he was far in front of his opponents and so avoided a run-off. In second place came Gennady Zyuganov , chairman of the Communist Party of Russia (CPRF), with 29.3 percent, and third was Grigori Yavlinski, chairman of the liberal-democratic "Yabloko" party, with 5.8 percent. At 68.8 percent, turnout exceeded the 50 percent necessary for a valid presidential election.

Phillips Petroleum plant explosion: the latest in a series of deadly accidents at Houston facility

By Jerry White, 30 March 2000

A massive explosion and fire killed one worker and injured 71 others at Phillips Petroleum Co.'s Houston Chemical Complex Monday afternoon, March 27, in Pasadena, Texas. This was the third fatal blast in the last 11 years at the chemical complex. At least 26 workers have lost their lives in these explosions.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 30 March 2000

Finnish chemical workers end week-long strike

Ulster Unionist leader Trimble narrowly defeats leadership challenge

By Mike Ingram and Chris Marsden, 30 March 2000

The annual meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council on March 25 delivered a serious blow to Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader David Trimble.

An Australian tragedy: mother charged over son's death at poker machine venue

By Liz Mantell and Peter Byrne, 29 March 2000

A baby boy, 19-month-old Brian Yu, recently died tragically outside a poker machine venue in the outer Melbourne suburb of Ferntree Gully. The child's mother, 39-year-old Jie Hua Yu, has been charged with manslaughter. She allegedly left her son unattended inside the family car in the Ferntree Gully Hotel car park.

Nick Beams replies to a reader's question about the law of the falling rate of profit

By , 29 March 2000

The following is a question by a reader in Germany concerning the law of the falling rate of profit and a response by WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams.

Sri Lanka: Inquests fail to charge jailers responsible for the killing of two Tamil detainees

By Vilani Peiris, 29 March 2000

Sri Lankan inquests into the deaths of two Tamil detainees, who were killed during a clash with prison guards in January, have failed to issue a finding of homicide or identify those responsible. Although the police were requested to investigate both cases further, inquiries have dragged out for weeks and no one has been charged or arrested.

Hostage siege in Baltimore--another American nightmare

By Patrick Martin, 29 March 2000

The bloody events of the past several weeks in a working class neighborhood on the east side of Baltimore raise important social issues. After an initial murderous rampage in which Joseph Palczynski kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and killed four people, the 31-year-old former mental patient took his girlfriend's mother and two other people hostage and held off Baltimore police for 97 hours, until police stormed the row house and killed him in a barrage of machinegun fire.

Germany's CDU veers to the right as state elections approach

By Dietmar Henning, 29 March 2000

While it seems certain that Angela Merkel, at present the secretary-general of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), will be elected party chairperson at the upcoming CDU party conference in Essen, a power struggle is taking place behind the scenes to define the party's future political orientation.

Abuse in the California prison system

By , 29 March 2000

The following commentary was submitted to the WSWS by David McGowan. McGowan is the author of the recently published book Derailing Democracy.

Cyanide spill endangers villagers in Papua New Guinea

By Mike Head, 28 March 2000

For the second time in less than two months, an Australian gold mining company has been responsible for a cyanide spill that has endangered lives and the environment in another country. The lethal chemical washed into a river system last week when a freight helicopter chartered by Dome Resources dropped a one-tonne box of sodium cyanide pellets about 80 kilometres north of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) capital of Port Moresby.

This year's Academy Awards ceremony: Hollywood in full view

By David Walsh, 28 March 2000

There are Academy Awards ceremonies at which controversy or even the presence in the competition of a film that arouses particularly strong feelings (positive or negative) provokes some genuine interest and excitement. The decision by the Academy to honor filmmaker and informer Elia Kazan last year was such a ceremony. The possibility of Titanic sweeping the awards the year before aroused a peculiar kind of dread. One wanted to know if the worst was indeed going to come to pass.

An exchange with Frank Brenner and other letters on "Mental illness and the American dream"

By , 28 March 2000

Below we are posting an exchange of letters between a reader and Frank Brenner about his comment ”Mental Illness and the American dream,” as well as other correspondence about the article.

Toll of killings by Ugandan cult exceeds 400

By Chris Talbot, 28 March 2000

Latest estimates of the number who died in the church fire at Kanungu, southwest Uganda total over 400. Indications are that the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God church members used explosives to set fire to the building on March 17, in what appears to have been a mass suicide.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 March 2000

Protests in Costa Rica against privatization of utilities

Australia: Alarming death rate among recently released female prisoners

By Chris Sinnema, 28 March 2000

The recent deaths of seven female prisoners in the Australian state of Victoria within three months of their release from jail highlights the harsh and uncompromising conditions that exist both within and outside the prison system. Furthermore, evidence compiled by a prisoner advocacy group estimates that the number of women who die soon after leaving jail may well be increasing.

US Airways and union reach agreement

By Paul Scherrer, 27 March 2000

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and US Airways reached a tentative agreement early Saturday morning, averting a threatened strike and shutdown of the airline.

US pressure on OPEC meeting to increase oil production

By Joe Lopez, 27 March 2000

Despite the recent slight fall in crude oil prices from the March 8 high of $34 per barrel, today's meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna takes place amid increased pressure from the United States for a rise in production and a cut in prices.

Students, teachers and residents protest against suspension of high school principal

By Erika Zimmer, 27 March 2000

Students, parents and residents in Dubbo, a New South Wales regional centre, have held strikes and rallies to oppose the demotion and suspension of Dubbo High School principal Jim Carey. Earlier this month the Education Department suspended Carey, just before he was due to appeal against charges laid against him by the Carr state government's Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU).

Deepa Mehta takes legal action in Indian court to defend film

By Richard Phillips, 27 March 2000

Indian director Deepa Mehta has taken legal action in the Delhi High Court in defence of Water, her latest film production, against ongoing agitation and threats by religious extremists. The legal action is in response to allegations that the internationally acclaimed director plagiarised her film script from Those Days (Shei Samay), a well-known Indian novel about child widows by Sunil Gangopadhyay.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 25 March 2000

Dear Members of the Editorial Board,

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 March 2000

Indonesian mini-van drivers strike

Mental illness and the American Dream: Part 2

By , 25 March 2000

This is the conclusion of a two-part series. The first part appeared on March 24.

El Escándalo Policíaco de Los Ángeles y sus Raíces Sociales

By , 25 March 2000

WSWS : Español

El Escándalo Policíaco de Los Ángeles y sus Raíces Sociales

By , 25 March 2000

WSWS : Español

Britain: libel verdict vs. exposé of Bosnia War propaganda bankrupts independent journal

By the Editorial Board, 25 March 2000

On March 15 a London High Court jury found that the story “The Picture that Fooled the World” published by the independent magazine LM had libelled Independent Television News (ITN) and two of its journalists. The maximum damages suggested by Justice Morland were awarded against the magazine's editors, Michael Hume and Helene Guldberg, and its publishers, Informing (LM) Ltd.

El Escándalo de la Policía de Los Ángeles y sus Raíces Sociales

By , 25 March 2000

WSWS : Español

Conference organizers direct Mumia Abu-Jamal defense campaign to Democratic Party

By Helen Halyard and Jerry White, 25 March 2000

An Emergency National Conference to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal was held in New York City on February 19 to discuss the campaign for a new trial and freedom for the US political prisoner. In the course of the meeting a number of speeches from the platform brought into sharp relief critical issues concerning the defense of Abu-Jamal and, more broadly, the struggle against capital punishment and the growing assault on democratic rights.

El Escándalo Policíaco de Los Angeles y sus Raíces Sociales

By , 25 March 2000

WSWS : Español

The West courts Russia's Putin

By Patrick Richter, 25 March 2000

On the eve of the Russian presidential elections, leading representatives of NATO and Western governments have followed one another to Moscow. Since early February, a series of Western politicians have travelled to Russia for discussions, including German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, German Defence Secretary Rudolf Scharping and, finally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Their avowed aim was to improve relations between Russia and NATO, which have been disturbed since the Kosovo war.

Privatisation of Australian electricity supplies leads to shortages and blackouts

By Will Marshall, 25 March 2000

Widespread electricity rationing in the state of Victoria last month—which cut supply to thousands of households and businesses in the middle of a heat wave—was not an unavoidable or unforeseeable development. It was symptomatic of what has prevailed in the power industry nationally since it was either corporatised or privatised, allowing market forces to dominate.

Indian budget contains huge increase in military spending

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 March 2000

The Indian budget handed down on February 29 by Finance Minister Yaswant Sinha boosted military spending by a massive 28 percent—the largest ever increase—setting the stage for further tensions with rival Pakistan and an accelerated arms buildup on the Indian subcontinent between the two nuclear-armed countries.

Executions carried out in Virginia, Missouri and Oklahoma

By Kate Randall, 24 March 2000

The most recent US executions took place in the states of Virginia, Missouri and Oklahoma, bringing the number of death row inmates put to death this year to 27. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 625 people have been executed in the United States.

Strike deadline approaches at US Airways

By Paul Scherrer, 24 March 2000

Thousands of flight attendants are taking part in informational pickets and candlelight vigils at airports along the US East Coast as the expiration of a 30-day cooling-off period in the contract dispute between the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and US Airways approaches at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 25. A federal mediator has conducted talks between the company and union since last Friday, March 17.

Sri Lankan police order female "LTTE suspect" to strip publicly at gunpoint

By W. A. Sunil, 24 March 2000

A particularly outrageous incident in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo last Saturday gives a glimpse of the humiliation, harassment and persecution routinely directed by the security forces against anyone thought to be a member of the country's Tamil minority.

Former Black Panther leader will fight extradition on murder charge

By Fred Mazelis, 24 March 2000

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the former H. Rap Brown, said he will fight extradition to Georgia, where he faces a murder charge in the death of a sheriff's deputy in Atlanta on March 16. The former leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panther Party was picked up in Lowndes County, Alabama on March 21, after five days on the run from the authorities, whom he accuses of mounting a government conspiracy against him.

Libel suit brought by apologist for Nazi role in Holocaust concludes in London

By Richard Tyler & Peter Reydt, 24 March 2000

The 10-week trial of a libel suit brought by British author David Irving against American historian Deborah Lipstadt concluded Wednesday March 15, as closing arguments were delivered before a packed London courtroom.

1900: Art at the Crossroads at the Royal Academy, London

By Paul Bond, 24 March 2000

At the turn of the last century, Paris was host to a giant exhibition designed to display all that was best about the modern world. One of the Exposition Universelle's main attractions was a stunning display of electric light—the first that many ordinary Parisians had seen. In this respect it owed much to major displays of the nineteenth century, like London's Great Exhibition, which had demonstrated an assurance in new production techniques and the opening of the world to colonial expansion. These were triumphal displays of the power and might of the imperialist countries—capitalism at its height, developing new products, exploiting hitherto untapped resources and forcing open new markets.

Mental illness and the American dream: Part 1

By , 24 March 2000

This is the first of a two-part series.

UN censors human rights findings

By Linda Tenenbaum, 24 March 2000

After sustained lobbying by the Australian government, the United Nations has modified, allegedly under the express direction of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a damning report on human rights abuses in Australia.

New York denies asthma treatment to homeless children

By Fred Mazelis, 23 March 2000

A class action lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in New York on March 16 charging that New York City and State authorities systematically deny adequate medical treatment for homeless children in the city's shelter system.

Clinton visit to the Indian subcontinent sets a new strategic orientation

By Peter Symonds, 23 March 2000

Bill Clinton's current trip to the Indian subcontinent, the first by a United States president since Jimmy Carter toured in 1978, marks a further shift in Washington's orientation in the region away from its previous Cold War alliance with Pakistan and towards a new, as yet tentative, strategic and economic relationship with India.

Suppressed report raises question of US role in Rwandan civil war

By Linda Slattery, 23 March 2000

The Toronto National Post has revealed new facts concerning the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, indicating possible US involvement in precipitating the civil war.

The "Human Body Worlds" exhibit in Cologne

By Dietmar Henning, 23 March 2000

The “Human Body Worlds” exhibit has been on display since February 12 at Cologne's Heumarkt market square, where it is scheduled to run until July 31. The exhibit was first presented in Japan, attracting more than two and half million visitors. Only after this success with the public—and the associated commercial success—was the exhibit then put on display in Germany. Two years ago, 800,000 people came to see “Human Body Worlds” in Mannheim. Later the exhibit was visited by 550,000 people in Vienna, and 600,000 in Basle, Switzerland. In terms of numbers of visitors, it is reportedly the largest exposition ever held in Austria.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 23 March 2000

French teachers and taxmen protest against government

Australian government's crisis deepens as markets demand full privatisation of Telstra

By Terry Cook, 23 March 2000

In the midst of a growing rift in its own ranks, the Australian government is coming under increasing pressure from big business and financial investors to override all opposition and press ahead with the full privatisation of Telstra, the country's major telecommunications carrier.

German capitalism in transition: globalization and the erosion of "Germany Incorporated"

By Peter Schwarz, 23 March 2000

The World Socialist Web Site is publishing here the editorial of the new issue of Gleichheit, the bi-monthly magazine of the Socialist Equality Party of Germany. Gleichheit contains the most important articles published by the WSWS.

US interest rate rise to fuel economic policy conflicts

By Nick Beams, 22 March 2000

The latest interest rate rise of 0.25 percentage points announced by the Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday is certain to fuel growing disagreements in US financial circles about the direction of economic policy. On one side are those who are concerned that the economy is heading for a financial crisis if present trends continue, while on the other side are those who fear the Fed's policies could trigger such an outcome.

Britain's Sunday Times records spectacular increase in wealth

By Julie Hyland, 22 March 2000

Britain's Rich List, compiled annually by the Sunday Times newspaper, has recorded an increase since last year of almost £31 billion in the collective wealth of the top 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain. The newspaper reports that the rise is the highest surge since it began compiling the list 12 years ago. The top 1,000's collective wealth has increased by 27 percent to almost £146 billion.

France's education workers strike against Socialist Party government policies

By , 22 March 2000

This article was submitted by World Socialist Web Sitereader Tony Short

Reader comments on Nick Beams' "Marxist internationalism vs. the perspective of radical protest"

By , 22 March 2000

AW 16 March 2000

Taiwan election result produces political volatility at home and abroad

By James Conachy, 22 March 2000

The end of the 50-year rule by the Kuomintang (KMT) over the Republic of China on Taiwan in last Saturday's presidential election has triggered a far-reaching upheaval in Taiwanese politics and introduced new uncertainties into the already tense state of Taiwan-China relations.

The flight of the Karmapa Lama from Tibet

By Peter Symonds, 22 March 2000

For two months, ever since his arrival in India on January 5, the 14-year-old Tibetan monk Ugyen Trinley Dorje has been in and out of the international media. His brief public appearances and even briefer utterances have been the occasion for rather fawning reports which for the most part are marked by an uncritical acceptance of statements and comments emanating from the self-styled Tibetan government-in-exile headed by the Dalai Lama. Trinley Dorje's flight from Tibet has been turned into a “Boys Own” adventure story and the arcane religious rites surrounding his selection as the 17th Karmapa Lama have been the subject of close interest and reportage.

The "Sanitation" controversy at New York's Whitney Museum: freedom of expression under attack

By David Walsh, 22 March 2000

A controversy has arisen over Hans Haacke's installation piece, “Sanitation,” part of the biennial exhibit at New York City's Whitney Museum of American Art (which opens March 23). The row surrounding this piece has been quite deliberately provoked for the purpose of suppressing artistic expression and political criticism.

The killing of Patrick Dorismond: New York police violence escalates in wake of Diallo verdict

By Bill Vann, 22 March 2000

Less than one month after the acquittal of four New York City police officers in the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, new acts of murderous violence by the city's police force have made it clear that the fusillade that felled the West African immigrant in the Bronx was no aberration.

Massive rise in university tuition fees proposed for England and Wales

By Simon Wheelan, 21 March 2000

Secretary of State for Education David Blunkett has agreed that students might be asked to pay ever-higher tuition fees, opening the way for the privatisation of higher education. Speaking to an audience of representatives from the country's top universities, Blunkett explained that after the next general election there would be a debate on the issue of university funding alongside a new “Dearing” review. It was Lord Dearing's report on the future of higher education, published just after the election of the Labour government in 1997, which heralded the introduction of tuition fees.

Simplifying matters

By David Walsh, 21 March 2000

In Erin Brockovich, a legal researcher and single mother, her employer and the citizens of a small California town are pitted against a large, privately-owned utility company. The company has contaminated the town's water supply, causing widespread illness and suffering. The film is based on an actual event.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 March 2000

Colombian workers protest

Papua New Guinea ministers sacked as Australia applies pressure for economic restructuring

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 March 2000

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Mekere Morauta on March 9 suddenly sacked three cabinet ministers and demoted a fourth on the eve of an Australian ministerial delegation, heightening the political tensions in PNG.

G.E.M. de Ste Croix: A lifelong empathy with the oppressed

By Ann Talbot, 21 March 2000

Few historians can claim two masterpieces to their name. This is the case with Geoffrey de Ste Croix, the author of The Origins of the Peloponnesian War and The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World, who died in Oxford on February 5 at the age of 89.

Boeing engineers ratify contract

By Cory Johnson, 21 March 2000

Boeing engineers and technical workers voted by a 70 percent margin to approve a March 17 tentative agreement ending the 40-day strike by nearly 20,000 members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

US government honors one Latin American torturer and frees another

By Patrick Martin, 21 March 2000

Two incidents this month demonstrate the sinister reality behind the official pretense that the US government stands for democracy and human rights in its foreign policy. In one case the government plans to bestow one of its highest honors on a CIA agent fired for covering up torture and murder in Guatemala. In the other case, the State Department has ordered the release of a notorious Peruvian torturer after he was initially detained by the FBI at the Houston international airport.

Teamsters suspend negotiating committee member for opposing concessions to Northwest Airlines

By Cory Johnson, 21 March 2000

The president of Teamsters Local 2000, representing 11,000 flight attendants involved in contract talks with Northwest Airlines, suspended Andy Damis, a member of the union's negotiating team, for revealing the local's contract proposals to union members.

British Nuclear Fuels accused of deliberately falsifying safety checks

By Steve James, 21 March 2000

New revelations show a continuing cover-up of falsified British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) safety records. Press reports have queried BNFL's claim that the fabrication of safety checks on its controversial plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel pellets was the work of a relatively isolated and unsupervised group of workers at its Sellafield plant.

Political issues unresolved in the wake of the Mexico student strike

By , 20 March 2000

Five weeks after the Mexican federal police broke up the 10-month-long strike at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) hundreds are still in jail. The UNAM authorities pretend that things are getting back to normal. At the same time, the student General Strike Committee (CGH) continues to agitate in defense of education rights and for the release of the UNAM prisoners.

Australia's BHP restructures in a bid to appease the markets

By Peter Stavropoulos, 20 March 2000

Paul Anderson, CEO of Australian mining giant BHP, announced late last month plans for a further restructuring of the company in an attempt to halt the sharp slide in BHP shares. Once the largest company in Australia, BHP has been overtaken by firms such as Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. as investors shift from industrial stocks into the technology, telecommunications and media sector.

48-year-old Ohio mother charged for photographing her daughter

By our correspondent, 20 March 2000

Cynthia Stewart, a 48-year-old bus driver, will go on trial in Lorain County, Ohio in May charged with illegally photographing her eight-year-old daughter and “pandering” sexually oriented material. This is only the most recent in a series of cases in which parents, generally mothers (and even grandmothers), have faced state prosecution in the US for taking pictures of their nude offspring.

A vital and challenging exhibition

By John Braddock, 20 March 2000

A significant exhibition of twentieth century Mexican art, focusing on the work of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo is currently showing at the City Art Gallery in Wellington, as part of the New Zealand Arts Festival 2000. This exhibition— Viva la Vida—Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism —which has already drawn considerable public interest, brings to a new audience important work by the movement of artists associated with the Mexican revolution and the social struggles of the 1920s to the 1940s.

World Water Commission recommends privatisation of water supplies

By Paul Mitchell, 20 March 2000

Over 1 billion people drink unsafe water, 2.3 billion have no sanitation and seven million die world-wide from water-related diseases each year. These terrible figures are presented by the World Water Commission for the 21st Century in its report to the Second World Water Forum (WWF) in the Netherlands on March 17-23. The event is part of World Water Week.

The Deutsche Bank/Dresdner Bank merger: a struggle for worldwide market domination

By Patrick Richter, 18 March 2000

The merger announced on March 7 of Deutsche Bank AG and Dresdner Bank AG, Germany's largest and third-largest banks, respectively, to form the biggest financial institution in the world is the German response to increasingly tough competition for domination of the world financial markets. It signals the beginning of profound changes in Germany's economy.

Pinochet's return fuels political conflicts in Chile

By Mauricio Saavedra, 18 March 2000

Augusto Pinochet's recent arrival in Chile after 16 months confinement in Britain has heightened suppressed antagonisms within the country. Victims of the former dictatorship, emboldened by Pinochet's detention, have demanded his prosecution, along with other military officers. On the other side, boosted by Pinochet's release, the former dictatorship's supporters have become more militant.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 March 2000

Picket attacked by police in Philippines

The filmmakers can't help themselves

By Jason Nichols and David Walsh, 18 March 2000

Holy Smoke takes up themes addressed in director Jane Campion's four previous feature films: principally, the relationship between the sexes and the problems faced by women who are considered—by themselves and/or Campion—to be at odds with or standing apart from society. Her sister, Anna, co-wrote the screenplay.

IMF row reveals US-German tensions

By Joe Lopez, 18 March 2000

In what has been a fortnight of increasing tensions between the US and Germany over the choice of the next head of the International Monetary Fund, the Clinton administration has somewhat reluctantly accepted the European Union's second nomination for the post, Horst Koehler.

Retorno de Pinochet desata conflictos políticos en Chile

By , 18 March 2000

WSWS : Español

US government report reveals growing numbers of children in adult prisons

By Larry Roberts, 18 March 2000

On February 27 the US Justice Department released a report, Profile of State Prisoners Under 18, 1985-97, revealing that the number of children sentenced to adult prisons more than doubled between 1985 and 1997 from 3,400 to 7,200. The study, prepared by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, further establishes the erosion of the legal rights of juveniles.

Israel/Palestine talks resume

By Jean Shaoul, 18 March 2000

In the last week Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak restarted talks with Yassir Arafat, chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as it became clear that his priority—an agreement with Syria—would take longer than expected. The two leaders met in Ramallah, on the West Bank, and later in Sharm el Sheik, under the chairmanship of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, to prepare for a new round of talks in Washington on March 18 on the “permanent status” agreement.

The report of former forced-labor prisoner Nicholas Livkovsky

By Carola Kleinert and Brigitte Fehlau, 17 March 2000

Nicholas Livkovsky took part in the February 19 conference in Slubice, Poland on the history of the Gestapo prison camp "Oderblick", which was located in Schwetig, near Frankfurt/Oder, Germany and Slubice (see accompanying article). Livkovsky was imprisoned there from July to November 1942, and his story speaks for that of tens of thousands who suffered the same fate. He has never received compensation for what he suffered, and in all likelihood never will, because what was done to him does not fulfil the legal criteria entitling him to compensation. Nicholas Livkovsky, now 76 years old, lives in the Polish town Rzepin, not far from the German border. The following is his report on what he experienced:

An exchange on the privatisation of public utilities

By , 17 March 2000

Dear Editors,

An inside look at the US presidential campaign: Gore's town meeting in Detroit

By Jerry White, 17 March 2000

On March 8 this reporter covered Vice President Al Gore's appearance in Detroit in order to provide WSWS readers with an inside look at a typical presidential campaign event.

British doctors fear mother has passed human BSE disease to baby

By Keith Lee, 17 March 2000

Doctors in Britain are concerned that a 24-year-old mother has passed on the fatal human form of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or “mad cow disease”) to her baby, now four months old.

Right-wing victory in Spanish general election

By Vicky Short, 17 March 2000

The right-wing Popular Party (PP) won an outright majority in the March 12 Spanish general election. The size of the victory went far beyond pre-election predictions or expectations, including those of PP Prime Minister José María Aznar.

The history of the former Gestapo concentration camp "Oderblick" in Schwetig/Swiecko

By Carola Kleinert and Brigritte Fehlau, 17 March 2000

On February 19 a conference on the history of the former concentration camp “Oderblick” took place in the Polish town of Slubice, which lies on the border with Germany. The conference was organised by the Project for German-Polish History of the Polonicum College, a joint institution of the universities of Slubice and the neighbouring German town of Frankfurt/Oder.

A letter on the Los Angeles Police Department scandal

By , 17 March 2000

A reader in LA 16 March 2000

Sharif lawyer killed as Pakistani junta cracks down on opposition

By Vilani Peiris, 17 March 2000

Events over the last week surrounding the trial of Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif have revealed the growing nervousness in ruling circles over emerging opposition to the country's military junta headed by General Pervez Musharraf.

Tribune and Times-Mirror combine: US media monopolies grow larger

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2000

The merger of the corporations which control the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, two of the biggest and most influential newspapers in the United States, is another step towards the complete monopolization of the American media. Tribune Co. will acquire Times-Mirror Corp. in a stock and cash transaction worth more than $6.5 billion.

Victoria de la derecha en las elecciones generales españolas

By , 17 March 2000

WSWS : Español

Deep divisions in ruling circles as Taiwan goes to the polls

By James Conachy, 17 March 2000

Uncertainty has dominated in the weeks leading up to tomorrow's presidential election in Taiwan, with none of the three leading candidates commanding a clear majority. Each has been trying in the last week to win over the third of voters who were still undecided nine days ago.

A "writer" in name only

By David Walsh, 16 March 2000

In Wonder Boys, a college professor and novelist in Pittsburgh faces a series of crises in the course of a winter weekend. His wife has left him, and his lover (married to a superior) is pregnant. His second novel, on which he's worked for years, remains unfinished, and his New York editor is arriving to check on its progress. A talented, but unstable student, armed with a handgun, latches onto him ... and so forth. There are too many crises to mention, perhaps too many for any entirely healthy work. Things come to a head, and the writer has to make some difficult decisions.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 16 March 2000

Supplier strike stops production at Volkswagen plant in Spain

British documentary substantiates US-KLA collusion in provoking war with Serbia

By Chris Marsden, 16 March 2000

On Sunday, March 12, Britain's BBC2 television channel ran a documentary by Alan Little entitled "Moral Combat: NATO At War". The program contained damning evidence of how the Clinton administration set out to create a pretext for declaring war against the Milosevic regime in Serbia by sponsoring the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), then pressed this decision on its European allies. The revelations in the documentary were reinforced by an accompanying article in the Sunday Times.