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US states use welfare "reform" to finance tax breaks for the wealthy

By Kate Randall, 29 April 2000

With the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA) in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law a process of welfare "reform" which has been responsible for removing thousands of people from "welfare as we know it." While 14.2 million people received welfare cash assistance in early 1994, by mid-1999 that number had fallen to 6.9 million.

Obesity: a curable epidemic

By Leanne Josling, 29 April 2000

Obesity has become a global pandemic affecting the lives and health of millions of people, according to the World Health Organisation. It is an accelerating social problem in industrialised countries and is also growing in the former colonial world.

Mounting social contradictions in Chile

By Perla Astudillo, 29 April 2000

After the military takeover led by General Augusto Pinochet in 1973, free market economists labelled Chile as “the miracle economy”. The same thinktanks then praised Chile for continuing the so-called miracle following the establishment of civilian rule in 1990. To this day, the International Monetary Fund and global financiers often refer to Chile as a model for the rest of the world.

WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams replies to a reader's question on the labour theory of value

By , 29 April 2000

Dear Mr. Beams:

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 April 2000

Indonesian teachers continue strike action

Interview with a South African Volkswagen worker: "Working conditions are worse now than they were under the apartheid regime"

By Dietmar Henning and Andreas Kuckartz, 29 April 2000

Binisile Mzeku visited Germany at the end of March as part of a world-wide tour. Mzeku is one of 1,300 workers who have been fired by the Volkswagen works in Uitenhage, South Africa. Workers had gone on strike to protest the expulsion from the trade union of 13 factory representatives elected last year. The World Socialist Web Site has reported on the dispute. At solidarity meetings and press conferences in Cologne and Dortmund reporters from the WSWS had the opportunity to speak with the South African factory representative.

Germany's post-Stalinists in turmoil: PDS leaders Gysi and Bisky step down

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 April 2000

Ten years after its founding, and only months after substantial election gains in several eastern German states, the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism—successor to the ruling Stalinist party of East Germany) is in the grips of a severe crisis.

Half of US bankruptcies caused by medical problems, new study finds

By Patrick Martin, 28 April 2000

A newly released study has found that medical bills and other financial effects of illness or injury contributed to nearly half of the more than one million personal bankruptcy filings in the United States last year. Single women and families headed by women, as well as the elderly, were most likely to be driven into bankruptcy by medical problems.

Michigan school shooting: a tragic consequence of US welfare "reform"

By Elisa Brehm, 28 April 2000

The tragic events of February 29, the day of the deadly shooting of one child by another at an elementary school outside Flint, Michigan, will be remembered forever by Tamarla Owens. She is the mother of the six-year-old boy who killed Kayla Rolland, also six years of age.

British media and Tories defend murderer of 16-year-old boy

By Julie Hyland, 28 April 2000

Britain's Conservative (Tory) Party has adopted an openly racist, trigger-happy sociopath and convicted murderer as the figurehead for a law-and-order campaign.

Germany: a political profile of new CDU chairperson Angela Merkel

By Ludwig Niethammer, 28 April 2000

Angela Merkel was recently elected as the new chairperson of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), gaining 96 percent of the vote at the party congress. The same CDU functionaries who frenetically applauded Merkel for several minutes would not have considered such a scenario possible six months ago.

A stifled leadership challenge in Malaysia points to continuing rifts in UMNO

By John Roberts, 28 April 2000

Elections for the top party positions in Malaysia's ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) are due to take place on May 11. As in previous years, the results are a foregone conclusion. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his deputy Abdullah Badawi will win the posts of party president and deputy president, in all likelihood completely unopposed.

"Some films can change the fate of their characters"

By Richard Phillips, 28 April 2000

Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of Iran's most well-known and influential film directors. Born in 1957 in a poor working class district in Tehran, Makhmalbaf left school and began working at the age of 15 in order to support his family. In 1974, at the age of 17, he joined one of the many radical organisations that sprang up to fight the Shah's regime. He was jailed and sentenced to death after the organisation attacked a police station. Makhmalbaf escaped the death penalty and was released in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution after serving five years jail. He began writing plays, essays, short stories and then film scripts declaring that he planned to devote his life to art as a force for social change.

Confrontation brewing between Beijing and Taiwan's president-elect

By James Conachy, 27 April 2000

Even before the installation of newly elected Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian next month, tensions between Taiwan and China are set to sharpen. Having opposed Chen's election, the Chinese bureaucracy has insisted that the new administration recognise Beijing's “One China” policy, which regards Taiwan as part of China. Chen, who is from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has repeatedly said he is prepared to discuss reunification but will not accept the “One China” policy as a precondition for negotiations.

The Silence and The Door, two films by Mohsen Makhmalbaf

By Richard Phillips, 27 April 2000

A highlight of the Singapore International Film Festival was the large selection—15 in total—of recent Iranian features and documentaries. This included: The Wind Will Carry Us by Abbas Kiarostami (see link to previous review below), Willow and Wind by Mohammad Ali Talebi, from a script by Kiarostami, The Cart by Golam Reza Ramezani, Birth of a Butterfly by Motjaba Raie and Sweet Agony by Ali-Reza Davudnezhad.

British film director Ken Loach calls for support for Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta

By our correspondent, 27 April 2000

Many of those attending a special screening of Ken Loach's film Land and Freedom in Sheffield, England on April 19 signed a World Socialist Web Site petition supporting Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta.

Spain: Aznar government seeks opposition agreement to austerity program

By Vicky Short, 27 April 2000

The Popular Party (PP) won an overall majority in the March 12 general election in Spain, the first time a right-wing party has done so since the end of Franco's dictatorship. Since then, Prime Minister José María Aznar has been seeking the backing of the opposition Socialist Party (PSOE), the Stalinist-dominated United Left (Izquierda Unida—IU), the regional-nationalist parties and the trade unions on a program to slash public spending, curb wages and control strike activity.

Finnish unions derail workers' offensive

By Steve James, 27 April 2000

The conclusion of the Finnish paper workers' strike—their first industrial action since the 1956 general strike—marks the end of several weeks in which various sections of the highly unionised working class have been on strike for higher pay and shorter hours.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 27 April 2000

Czech miners end sit-down strike

Canada: Mass protests against Alberta health care privatization plan

By Keith Jones, 27 April 2000

An Alberta Tory government plan to permit the establishment of private hospitals is encountering fierce popular opposition. Last week thousands of Albertans joined rallies and demonstrations in Edmonton and Calgary to demand the government scrap Bill 11, legislation that in the name of defending Medicare—Canada's universal, free public health care system—promotes for-profit health care. More protests are planned for next week when the Alberta Legislature ends its Easter break.

Amnesty International reports widespread human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia

By Jean Shaoul, 26 April 2000

Amnesty International has called on the United Nations to break the “wall of silence” surrounding human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. “It is high time the UN put aside political and economic considerations, and publicly scrutinised Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record,” an Amnesty spokeswoman said.

Political tensions mount as Pinochet hearing opens in Chile

By Mauricio Saavedra, 26 April 2000

Santiago Appeals Court is today due to begin deciding whether to strip Chile's former dictator, Augusto Pinochet of his parliamentary immunity. The hearing, expected to take some weeks, comes after months of twists and turns within the Chilean political, military and judicial establishment. These machinations centre on how to dampen down widespread opposition to the ongoing protection of the military.

Los Angeles janitors end strike

By John Andrews, 26 April 2000

On Monday, April 24, Los Angeles janitors ended their three-week strike and approved a contract that provides moderate wage increases, plus a $500 signing bonus. The wage increases range from $1.50 to $1.90 over the next three years, far short of the union's original demands for a $3.00 raise in the same period.

Homelessness in a Rocky Mountain Colorado city—a growing problem

By Dag Mossige, 26 April 2000

The following article was submitted by a WSWS reader.

US Supreme Court hears arguments on state-imposed abortion limits

By Kate Randall, 26 April 2000

For the first time since 1992, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in an abortion-related case. The case involves a Nebraska law which outlaws a procedure that abortion opponents have labeled "partial-birth abortion." Such bans have been adopted in 31 states, and have been blocked or declared unconstitutional in 18 of the 21 states where they have been challenged. The high court is expected to issue a decision in the Nebraska case by late June.

Prosecutions over Australian mine disaster fail to address underlying safety issues

By Terry Cook, 26 April 2000

Two years after a judicial inquiry into the deaths of four miners at the Gretley coal mine, the government in the Australian state of New South Wales has begun prosecuting the mine operator Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company, its parent company Oakbridge Pty Ltd and several of its managerial staff.

Suicides reveal impact of government attacks on Britain's education system

By Tania Kent, 26 April 2000

Pamela Relf was the longest serving teacher at Middlefield Primary in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire. She had nearly four decades experience as a teacher. On January 4, the first day of the new term, she failed to turn up for work. She drove instead to a nature reserve near her home, parked her car and walked into the River Ouse. The freezing water made her heart stop. Her body was found seven weeks later. In a note Ms. Relf had left behind, addressed to the coroner, she wrote: “I am finding the stress of my job too much. The pace of work and the long days are more than I can do.”

Kids on Pills: BBC documentary examines increase in prescription drug use amongst children

By Liz Smith, 25 April 2000

Kids on Pills investigated the alarming rise in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) amongst children. The BBC's flagship documentary programme Panorama, broadcast April 10, showed how this was accompanied by an increased use of psychotropic drugs to control the behaviour of children diagnosed with ADHD in Britain and the US.

Honoré Daumier, Intimate Contemporary

By Tim Tower, 25 April 2000

A retrospective of 245 lithographs, sketches, sculptures and oil paintings by the nineteenth century Parisian Honoré Daumier is now on view at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Previously exhibited in Ottawa and Paris, this historic exhibition will close on May 14. The first of its kind ever seen in America and arguably the finest ever assembled, it is a show not to be missed.

Working poor on the increase in New York City

By Fred Mazelis, 25 April 2000

A new report by the non-profit Community Service Society of New York reveals an increase in poverty among families with children during the record boom years of the late 1990s.

Military debacle at Elephant Pass set to trigger political crisis in Sri Lanka

By a correspondent, 25 April 2000

The fall of two strategic army camps at Elephant Pass and Iyakkachchi in northern Sri Lanka to the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas last Saturday is a military debacle, which is certain to intensify the political crisis facing the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 25 April 2000

Bolivia lifts state of siege

New York services union and building owners reach tentative pact

By Alan Whyte, 25 April 2000

On Wednesday, April 19, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32B-32J, representing 26,000 workers, reached a tentative agreement with the real estate industry, more than one day before the old contract expired at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Argentine police in violent attack on trade union demonstrators

By Will Marshall, 25 April 2000

Violent scenes erupted outside the Argentine Congress last week as police assaulted workers and trade unionists protesting against the De la Rua government's labour reform bill. Five police were caught on film clubbing a protester senseless as he lay on the sidewalk with blood pouring from his head. One police officer was filmed taking a knife from a protester and then slashing his back with the knife. Police also used tear gas and fired rubber bullets against the crowd of 500, which grew as news of the police brutality spread.

Rescue of Elian Gonzalez intensifies political crisis in US

By Patrick Martin, 25 April 2000

The apoplectic reaction of congressional Republicans and sections of the US media to the return of Elian Gonzalez to his Cuban father has great political significance. It demonstrates that the deep divisions within the American ruling elite, which erupted in 1998-99 in the attempted impeachment coup against Clinton, have, if anything, become even more intense and bitter.

Film festival director talks to WSWS about censorship in Singapore

By Richard Phillips, 24 April 2000

Singapore, which is one of Asia's most modern cities, has a promising arts scene with several theatres, film production facilities, and a number of contemporary galleries and art museums. The island republic has one of the highest computer-to-household ratios (45 to 100) in the world and Internet use is extensive—the highest in Asia. According to some predictions, every household, school and library will have high-speed broadband access to the Internet by the end of this year.

US scientists say fossilized heart indicates dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded

By Walter Gilberti, 24 April 2000

In a remarkable discovery, paleontologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered and examined the fossilized heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur. Their findings suggest that dinosaurs were probably endothermic (warm-blooded), as opposed to modern reptiles which are exothermic (cold-blooded).

Film directors and critics at Singapore film festival oppose Hindu extremist attempt to stop Deepa Mehta film

By , 24 April 2000

Last January Hindu fundamentalist thugs, with the tacit support of the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP), the main party in India's National Democratic Alliance government, attacked and destroyed Deepa Mehta's film set in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Mehta, who was about to begin shooting her latest film, Water, the last of her Indian trilogy, was accused of insulting Hinduism by the fundamentalists. The BJP state government in Uttar Pradesh claimed Mehta was responsible for the disorder and banned production of the film in that state. Mehta has vowed to make the film and plans to resume filming at another location in India later in the year.

US scientists say fossilized heart indicates dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded

By Walter Gilberti, 24 April 2000

In a remarkable discovery, paleontologists at North Carolina State University (NC State) and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered and examined the fossilized heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur. Their findings suggest that dinosaurs were probably endothermic (warm-blooded), as opposed to modern reptiles which are exothermic (cold-blooded).

Ohio college students defend decision to hear US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Denise Enders and Helen Halyard, 24 April 2000

Facing threats and pressure from the Philadelphia District Attorney's office and police organizations, students and faculty at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio have defended their decision to hear a taped address from Mumia Abu-Jamal at commencement ceremonies on April 29. Earlier this year, the senior class voted at the small liberal arts college to have Abu-Jamal give the keynote address.

Bracks government keeps thousands of teachers on short-term contracts

By Margaret Rees, 24 April 2000

Early in March, Victoria's Education Minister Mary Delahunty announced that the Bracks Labor government, elected late last year, would virtually eliminate contract teaching in the state's government schools. Permanent employment would become the standard, she declared. But in a revealing speech in parliament on April 5, Delahunty disclosed what the government means by permanent employment.

New Jersey Senate passes "parental responsibility" legislation

By Joseph Tanniru, 24 April 2000

New legislation in New Jersey will make parents criminally responsible for the actions of their children. Part of a growing trend throughout the United States and internationally, a series of bills passing through the state Senate will allow for the prosecution of adults for “neglectful” parenting.

US scientists say fossilized heart indicates dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded

By Walter Gilberti, 24 April 2000

In a remarkable discovery, paleontologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered and examined the fossilized heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur. Their findings suggest that dinosaurs were probably endothermic (warm-blooded), as opposed to modern reptiles which are exothermic (cold-blooded).

Britain's Conservative Party leader Hague plays the "race card"

By Julie Hyland, 22 April 2000

Britain's Conservative Party leader William Hague used his speech to the right-wing Social Market Foundation think tank this week to hammer home his party's racist and authoritarian credentials.

US supermarket chain slashes 11,000 jobs

By our correspondent, 22 April 2000

The supermarket chain Winn-Dixie announced plans Thursday to slash 11,000 jobs and close 114 stores and other facilities. The job cuts and closings will eliminate 8 percent of the company's 132,000 employees. Winn-Dixie is one of the largest supermarket chains operating in the southern US, with 1,189 stores in 14 states and the Bahamas.

The IMF tightens the screws on Indonesia

By Peter Symonds, 22 April 2000

Another International Monetary Fund (IMF) team arrives in Jakarta early next week to again put the Indonesian government and the economy under the spotlight. Having delayed the payment of $400 million in loans that were due in April, IMF officials will examine the extent to which ministers and officials have implemented the detailed economic prescriptions set out in a letter of intent signed in January.

Poor in US more likely to face tax audits

By Shannon Jones, 22 April 2000

New statistical evidence demonstrates that the net result of the so-called reform of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been a further shift in the tax burden from the wealthy to the working class and sections of the middle class.

Michigan boy tried as adult enters assault plea

By Larry Roberts, 22 April 2000

Nathaniel Abraham, the Michigan boy who was tried as an adult in 1999 for first-degree murder, had his most recent day in court April 18. Nathaniel, whom Oakland County authorities chose to prosecute for a crime allegedly committed when he was eleven years old, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery after admitting he participated in a skirmish on a basketball court. The hearing was held before Oakland County Probate Judge Eugene Moore, who also presided over Nathaniel's first-degree murder trial.

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

By , 22 April 2000

Thousands of teachers march in Jakarta

Spanish court investigates Guatemalan military dictators

By Peter Norden, 22 April 2000

Following the recent Pinochet affair, legal action is currently being taken in Spain against other former South American military dictators. Since the end of March, the national Court of Justice (Audiencia Nacional), under the presidency of Judge Guillermo Ruiz Polanco, has been investigating eight senior generals and politicians from Guatemala. The action goes back to a request by Rigoberta Menchu, the Guatemalan native Indian activist and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Resignation of Italian Prime Minister D'Alema threatens to topple government

By Chris Marsden, 21 April 2000

Following resignation of Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema on Wednesday, April 19, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi has initiated talks to see if a new centre-left government can be formed, or if a general election must be rapidly organised.

Still pleased with himself

By David Walsh, 21 April 2000

By the time this comment appears, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar will probably have finished two additional films, explained them with references to a dozen other works and associated himself with several more filmmakers of the past. This is what Almodóvar does. He makes clever films and provides clever explanations, which somehow always manage to put him in the best possible light and advance his career. He is a national treasure. While there are no doubt Francoist dinosaurs who look upon him with distaste, those more astute in the establishment recognize a gold mine when they see one. Almodóvar has single-handedly put contemporary Spanish cinema on the map!

Teachers vote to strike but union prepares for a deal

By Erika Zimmer, 21 April 2000

New South Wales state school teachers voted overwhelmingly last Friday to reject the Carr Labor government's latest award offer, but the government is not backing away from any of its sweeping demands and the teachers' union is working to deliver its key requirements.

An interview with Viet Linh, director of Collective Flat

By Richard Phillips, 21 April 2000

Like many Vietnamese directors Viet Linh started her film training at the Giai Phong Film Studio. She worked as an editor and then, after graduating from a cinematography course at the studio, began writing documentary film scripts. She later travelled to Russia for more advanced cinema studies.

Tennessee executes first prisoner in four decades

By Kate Randall, 21 April 2000

At 1:37 a.m. Wednesday morning, April 19, Robert Glen Coe was pronounced dead after receiving a lethal injection at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in west Nashville, Tennessee. He became the first prisoner executed in that state since 1960. Tennessee had been the only Southern state not to have carried out an execution since the death penalty was reinstituted by the United States Supreme Court in 1976. There are currently 100 people on the state's death row.

US Supreme Court upholds limits on death penalty appeals

By Kate Randall, 21 April 2000

In important rulings related to the death penalty on April 18, the US Supreme Court voted to uphold the basic tenets of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), which restricts the ability of death row prisoners to gain federal review of their cases. At the same time, the court also voted to grant new sentencing hearings to two Virginia death row inmates, Michael Wayne Williams and Terry Williams (unrelated).

19 soldiers killed in controversial military plane

By Larry Roberts, 21 April 2000

On Saturday evening, April 8, an experimental US military plane, the V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey, crashed during a military exercise near Tucson, Arizona killing all 19 Marines aboard.

Two films from Vietnam: The Wild Field and Collective Flat

By Richard Phillips, 20 April 2000

This is the first in a series of articles on the 13th Singapore International Film Festival held from March 31 to April 15. World Socialist Web Site reporters attended this year's festival, which is, after Tokyo and Hong Kong, regarded as one of the more significant festivals in Asia.

Students and artists protest attack on Indian-born filmmaker Deepa Mehta

By , 20 April 2000

A sustained campaign by religious extremists and other right-wing forces in India recently forced filmmaker Deepa Mehta to suspend temporarily filming of her latest work, Water. Mehta intends to resume filming under more favorable conditions later in the year.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 20 April 2000

Czech miners continue occupation

Bloody Sunday Inquiry hears evidence suggesting deliberate "shoot-to-kill" policy by British Army

By Julie Hyland, 20 April 2000

Before the inquiry into "Bloody Sunday" adjourned last week, it heard evidence suggesting that the British Army had followed a deliberate “shoot-to-kill” policy. The Saville inquiry, now adjourned until May 8, concerns the events of January 30, 1972 in Derry (Londonderry), when British soldiers from the 1st Parachute Regiment opened fire on a civil rights march called to protest anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. Thirteen demonstrators were killed on the spot, and 17 were wounded, one of whom died later in hospital.

US judicial panel backs ultra-rightists in Elian Gonzalez case

By Patrick Martin, 20 April 2000

Wednesday's decision by a three-judge federal Appeals Court panel barring Elian Gonzalez from leaving the United States until after a May 8 hearing is the predictable outcome of the Clinton administration's cringing before the right-wing Cuban exiles. Despite its legalistic cover, the ruling is a political act by right-wing judges seeking to bolster the position of those who are virtually holding the boy hostage in Miami's Little Havana.

Wee Waa: a test case for mass DNA sampling

By Mike Head, 20 April 2000

A small town in rural Australia last week became the venue for the country's first DNA testing of an entire male population. Police took mouth swabs from and interrogated about 600 men in Wee Waa, a cotton centre in north-west New South Wales, some 500 kilometres from Sydney.

Union officials stump for Democrats while blocking support for Los Angeles janitors strike

By John Andrews and Jerry White, 20 April 2000

The three-week strike by 8,500 Los Angeles janitors is being used as a photo backdrop for leading Democratic politicians, including Vice President Al Gore, while behind the scenes union officials are offering concessions to end the walkout that fall far short of the workers' demands.

Fujimori forced to cede on second round vote in Peru

By Bill Vann, 20 April 2000

The decision by the Peruvian government to hold a second round of presidential elections following revelations of massive fraud in the first phase of voting earlier this month represents a severe blow to the 10-year-old dictatorial regime of President Alberto Fujimori.

Aid withheld as famine grips Horn of Africa

By Barbara Slaughter, 19 April 2000

Up to 16 million people face famine in the Horn of Africa, which includes Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. After three years of drought, Ethiopia is the worst affected, with the World Health Organisation estimating that 8 million people face starvation.

Hypocrisy and double standards during Russian President Putin's London visit

By Chris Marsden, 19 April 2000

Russian President Vladimir Putin chose London for his first foreign visit since winning last month's elections. He was accorded, literally, the red-carpet treatment by the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, culminating in an audience with the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Extensive police crackdown against opposition rally in Malaysia

By Peter Symonds, 19 April 2000

The Malaysian government and police went to extraordinary lengths last weekend to prevent opposition groups from staging a protest march and rally in the capital Kuala Lumpur to mark “Black 14,” the anniversary of the conviction of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim on concocted charges of corruption.

British Columbia court entertains spurious fraud case against NDP government

By Keith Jones, 19 April 2000

A British Columbia Supreme Court Justice began to hear witnesses last week in a case that alleges that three New Democratic Party (NDP) members of the provincial legislature committed electoral fraud in the 1996 provincial election. This case, however, does not concern ballot-stuffing or transgressions of electoral financing laws. The alleged fraud is that the BC NDP government failed to make good on pledges that the province's budget would be balanced in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 fiscal years!

New Zealand's new industrial law enshrines unions as enforcers of "productivity" and "efficiency"

By John Braddock, 19 April 2000

New Zealand's Labour-Alliance coalition government, voted into office at the general election held last November, tabled its reform of the country's industrial laws in parliament last month. During the election campaign, the new legislation had been criticised by employer lobby groups, which accused the Labour and Alliance parties of wanting to return workplaces to a period of “union domination”.

A sharp contrast in US policy: clubs and pepper spray for IMF protesters, cringing before Cuban anticommunists

By Jerry White, 19 April 2000

It is worth contrasting the violent repression meted out by US authorities against anti-IMF protesters in Washington, DC this weekend with the conciliatory treatment of the right-wing Cuban exiles in Miami who have defied government orders to turn over six-year-old Elian Gonzalez to his father.

Report details CIA role in overthrow of Iranian government in 1953

By David Walsh, 19 April 2000

The New York Times published an extensive article April 16 outlining the US Central Intelligence Agency's role in the 1953 overthrow of the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. While it has long been known that the American and British governments were behind the coup that removed Mossadegh—a leading proponent of nationalizing the oil industry—and restored Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Times article provides the nuts and bolts of the affair.

Irish government edges towards legal action against Britain's Sellafield nuclear plant

By Steve James, 19 April 2000

The Irish government is reluctantly edging towards taking legal moves against the British Sellafield nuclear site.

A deeply pessimistic film

By Mile Klindo, 18 April 2000

Cabaret Balkan (also known as The Powder Keg) by the veteran Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic, which appeared in cinemas in Europe, the US and Australia in 1999, has been widely advertised as a black comedy. Paskaljevic's film, made in 1998, and based on an award winning play, Bure Baruta, by Dejan Dukovski is not, however, particularly funny, but is rather a deeply pessimistic work.

US psychological warfare experts worked at CNN and NPR during Kosovo War

By Tom Bishop, 18 April 2000

Cable News Network (CNN) and National Public Radio (NPR) have acknowledged that eight members of the US Army 4th Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Group served as interns in their news divisions and other areas during the Kosovo war. PSYOPS is a highly specialized unit of the military whose personnel are trained in the production and dissemination of US government propaganda, including on television and radio programs.

German Christian Democrats elect new leader

By Peter Schwarz, 18 April 2000

The congress of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) held on April 10 and 11 can more aptly be described in the language of group psychology than in the language of politics.

Internet free speech under attack in San Francisco libel suit

By Mike Ingram, 18 April 2000

A libel trial taking place in San Francisco could have major implications for freedom of speech on the Internet, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Measles epidemic continues in Sri Lanka due to poor health and social conditions

By Ajitha Gunaratna, 18 April 2000

A measles outbreak that started in Sri Lanka last September is continuing and spreading, reaching epidemic proportions in the most impoverished areas. Officially, about 6,000 cases have been reported, resulting in several deaths, but doctors and health officials insist that the real casualty rates are far greater.

Gas attack on Portuguese disco kills seven

By Richard Tyler, 18 April 2000

A gas attack on a Portuguese discotheque has left seven dead and some 60 injured. The assault occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning, April 16, when two canisters containing a toxic gas were thrown into the crowed “Luanda” discotheque in Lisbon. The club was popular with Angolan and other African immigrants. The dead included six people of African origin and a Spanish biology student from Madrid.

London mayoral elections: Livingstone offers no alternative to Labour Party's pro-business politics

By Chris Marsden, 18 April 2000

After Prime Minister Tony Blair successfully blocked Labour MP Ken Livingstone as the party's official candidate for London mayor, Livingstone decided to stand as an independent. He has now been expelled from the Labour Party.

Study finds that US doctors must deceive insurers to provide quality health care

By Helen Halyard, 18 April 2000

In a new survey published in the April 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA), 39 percent of doctors questioned admitted to stretching the truth and even lying to administer treatment needed by patients.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 18 April 2000

Resistance continues to Bolivia's state of siege

French anti-racist group sets dangerous precedent in court action against Yahoo!

By Mike Ingram, 17 April 2000

A Paris-based anti-racism group is taking legal action against the Internet portal Yahoo! over the auction of Nazi memorabilia on its web site. Yahoo! runs public auctions in which users can post items for sale on which others users then bid.

An ongoing political stalemate in Sri Lanka over a negotiated settlement to the war

By Wije Dias, 17 April 2000

For the past two years at least, leading representatives of Sri Lankan big business and finance have insisted that the number one priority facing the country, on which there must be consensus between the main political parties, is to find a negotiated settlement to the 16-year war waged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for a separate state in the North and East of the country.

A look at 500 years of figure drawing

By Maria Esposito and John Christian, 17 April 2000

A collection of 242 rarely seen figure drawings—from the Renaissance through to the 1940s—was on show earlier in the year at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. Some of the 136 artists represented include Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea Boscoli, Raphael of Urbino, Hans Holbein, Peter Paul Rubens, Henry Fuseli, Jean-Auguste Ingres as well as Jean-Francoise Millet, Edouard Claude Manet, Pablo Picasso, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Jean Dubuffet and Lucian Freud.

Wall Street's crisis and the shattering of illusions

By the Editorial Board, 17 April 2000

US financial markets are opening Monday morning amid considerable nervousness. No doubt there have been frantic weekend efforts going on behind the scenes to restabilize the market before stock trading resumes today. It is impossible to predict whether the market will rally once again or continue to plunge. But whatever the short-term movements, there is a widespread sense that the speculative mania of the last decade has run its course and that last week's crash signals a fundamental change in the economic climate.

Report from Costa Rica on mass protests against privatization of state-owned utilities

By Kim Alphandary, 15 April 2000

The Central American country of Costa Rica has recently been shaken by a series of mass strikes and protests by workers, students and peasants. The movement is protesting President Miguel Angel Rodriguez's plan to privatize state-owned telecommunications and electricity utilities. Last week, in order to diffuse this opposition, Rodriguez declared he was withdrawing the draft privatization law and establishing a commission to study other options. The unions and other opposition groups have agreed to postpone further protests for five months and to come up with a plan of their own.

Amnesty International reports widespread human rights abuses in Europe

By Julie Hyland, 15 April 2000

In March, Amnesty International (AI) released its "Concerns in Europe" bulletin. This documents AI's most pressing concerns about human rights abuses occurring in Europe between July and December 1999.

Stephen Frears contributes something

By David Walsh, 15 April 2000

It's difficult to put one's finger on the career of Stephen Frears, the British director of High Fidelity. Born in 1941, the filmmaker worked at the Royal Court Theatre in London, a hotbed of experimentation and political radicalism at the time, before going into film work in 1966. He worked as assistant director to Karel Reisz on Morgan! and subsequently assisted Reisz on other films, Albert Finney on Charlie Bubbles (1967) and Lindsay Anderson on If... (1968). In other words, Frears was involved with relatively interesting artistic and intellectual circles.

A letter on "The Case of Martin Heidegger"

By , 15 April 2000

The following letter was received in response to the series "The Case of Martin Heidegger, Philosopher and Nazi," which appeared on the WSWS April 3-5.

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

By , 15 April 2000

Indonesian teachers strike over wages

Japan's union offensive fails for the third year in a row

By Terry Cook, 15 April 2000

This year's shunto —spring wage offensive—in Japan again highlights the inability of the trade unions to defend the past gains of the working class, let alone extend them. The “offensive” lasted barely one month before it was called off. The unions accepted a paltry 2 percent wage increase, the third record low in as many years.

Lack of political perspective endangers movement against IMF and World Bank

By the Editorial Board, 15 April 2000

Over the past six months a significant movement of protest has emerged directed against the inequalities and injustices produced by global capitalism. In late November and early December thousands demonstrated against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. A week of protests is now underway in Washington against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, culminating in a rally Sunday and planned disruption of the two institutions' operations on Monday.

Robert Lee Tarver put to death in Alabama's electric chair

By Kate Randall, 15 April 2000

Robert Lee Tarver Jr, 52, was put to death shortly after midnight on Friday morning, April 14 in Atmore, Alabama in the state's electric chair. Tarver had been convicted of the 1984 murder of convenience store owner Hugh Kite in rural Alabama. Tarver maintained his innocence until the end.

An insider's look at the IMF

By Joe Lopez, 15 April 2000

In the lead up to this weekend's quarterly meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, a revealing article, written by a former leading official of the World Bank, has been published criticising the IMF's policies during the financial crisis in Asia and its record in Russia.

Two weeks of protests in Tunisia

By Brian Smith, 14 April 2000

Recent disturbances in Tunisia have been described by the French newspaper Le Monde as "the first warning shots aimed at President Ben Ali".

Anticommunism, chauvinism and beating the drums for war: the US trade union bureaucracy shows its colors

By David Walsh, 14 April 2000

At two rallies on Wednesday, held as part of the week of anti-IMF and World Bank demonstrations in Washington, DC, the American trade union bureaucracy revealed its reactionary essence. The two assemblies, one organized by the Teamsters union and the other by the AFL-CIO leadership of John Sweeney, were organized to protest against a bill presently before Congress that would normalize trade relations between the US and China. The AFL-CIO as a whole, and the Teamsters and United Auto Workers in particular, are vehemently opposed to the passage of the bill. The two latter unions have refused thus far to endorse Al Gore, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate for president, partly to extract more protectionist concessions.

Hypocrisy across the board

By Linda Tenenbaum, 14 April 2000

A superficial observer of the ruckus over mandatory sentencing laws in and around the Australian parliament last week might have concluded that it had something to do with righting injustices against Aboriginal youth in the Northern Territory.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 14 April 2000

French airport workers strike over introduction of 35-hour week

The hue and cry in Germany over Hans Haacke's artwork Der Bevölkerung (The People)

By , 14 April 2000

On April 5 German Bundestag deputies voted by 260 to 258 in favour of the installation of a work of art, Der Bevölkerung ( The People), by German-American artist Hans Haacke in the German parliament building. The vote was the culmination of months of heated debate in the media over Haacke's project. Recent debates in the German parliament over issues involving spending cuts affecting tens of millions of people have often taken place in an almost deserted chamber. However, for the debate over Haacke's artwork, more deputies attended and voted than was the case for the parliamentary discussion and vote on the intervention of the German army in Kosovo. What is so special about this debate and Hans Haacke's proposed work of art?