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Australian backpacker hostel victims had no chance of escaping fire

By Ellen Blake, 30 June 2000

When police this week for the first time allowed reporters to briefly view the burned-out inside of the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Queensland, Australia, it was obvious that the 15 young fruit pickers who died in last Friday's fire had no way to escape the blaze.

Letters on Amnesty International and the Kosovo War

By , 30 June 2000

Below we post a selection of letters about the June 19 WSWS article “Amnesty International charges NATO with war crimes”

13-year-old British boy detained for two years for drug dealing

By Julie Hyland, 30 June 2000

The trial and subsequent detention of a 13-year-old British boy for drug dealing last week was a disturbing event, both in terms of the personal trauma involved and the new low the proceedings marked in juvenile crime policy.

US Congress approves $1.3 billion military package for Colombia

By Bill Vann, 30 June 2000

With Congressional approval of a $1.3 billion aid package to Colombia, the US government is preparing a major escalation of its military intervention into Latin America's longest-running civil war. While the massive aid package has been sold as part of the “war on drugs,” Washington's principal aims are geopolitical and economic.

Ten charged in Holland and UK for deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants

By Keith Lee, 30 June 2000

Ten people have now been charged in connection with the deaths of 58 Chinese migrants found suffocated in the back of a container lorry last week. Just 2 of the 60 stowaways attempting to enter Britain via the port of Dover survived.

What is Workers First?

By Laura Mitchell, 30 June 2000

Workers First, a faction of officials within the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), is being accorded considerable publicity by the mass media as “the tough new face of unionism”. The grouping won control of the Victorian state branch of the AMWU in union elections last month. Its leaders have won other key union posts since 1998 by claiming to be militants who are committed to the union rank-and-file.

Israeli Prime Minister Barak bows to religious fundamentalists' demands to save coalition

By Jean Shaoul, 30 June 2000

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak last week met almost all the demands of his right-wing religious coalition partner, the party of Sephardi Torah Guardians (Shas), to avoid the dissolution of parliament and early elections. Part of the price for the deal with Shas, reached June 22, was the resignation of three ministers from Barak's closest secular ally, the Meretz party.

Teachers at London school resign en masse following school inspection

By Tania Kent, 30 June 2000

The entire staff of a London junior school, including the head teacher and deputy, resigned last week in an unprecedented protest over a report by the government's school inspection body.

Growing hostility to Argentine government's austerity program

By Margaret Rees, 29 June 2000

Backed personally by US President Clinton, Argentina's President Fernando De la Rua is seeking to impose IMF-ordered spending cuts despite a general strike on June 9. About 60 percent of the Argentine work force—that is 7.2 million workers—participated in the 24-hour stoppage to oppose De la Rua' s decree of cuts totalling $938 million, announced on May 29.

Narrow victory for Mugabe in Zimbabwean elections sets stage for further upheavals

By Chris Talbot and Chris Marsden, 29 June 2000

The majority vote for the ruling Zimbabwean National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) government in last weekend's parliamentary elections represents a setback for Britain and the United States. The openly expressed desire of the Western powers was that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would sweep to victory and pave the way for the ouster of ZANU-PF President Robert Mugabe.

Tamil doctor describes suffering in Jaffna

By Dianne Sturgess, 29 June 2000

The following interview was given by a Tamil doctor from Jaffna who currently serves in the Colombo National Hospital of Sri Lanka. Due to the Sri Lankan government's emergency regulations and political censorship, we cannot disclose the doctor's identity.

Las Inundaciones de Chile Desenmascaran Falta de Planificación e Infraestructura

By , 29 June 2000

WSWS : Español

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 29 June 2000

French air traffic controllers take strike action

Obscenity charge dropped against Michigan artist

By David Walsh, 29 June 2000

At a pretrial hearing Wednesday morning Pontiac, Michigan officials dropped a misdemeanor charge of displaying “obscene materials” against artist Jef Bourgeau. The charge stemmed from an exhibit organized by Bourgeau in March at a downtown Pontiac gallery. The artist had arranged a collage of more than one hundred photographs of art works depicting the naked human body, in conjunction with a symposium, “Fear No Art,” on the theme of art and censorship.

An assessment of Peter Novick's The Holocaust in American Life

By Nancy Russell, 29 June 2000

The Holocaust in American Life by Peter Novick, published by Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999. The author is a nationally prominent professor of history at the University of Chicago. His 1988 book, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession, was awarded the prize for best US history book of the year by the American Historical Association.

Ruling upholds Miranda rights: deep divisions on the US Supreme Court

By John Andrews, 28 June 2000

The United States Supreme Court on June 26 released its decision in the closely watched case Dickerson v. United States, rebuffing by a 7-2 vote an orchestrated right-wing challenge to the landmark 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda decision established the requirement that police inform those being held as criminal suspects of their right to remain silent and their right to legal counsel prior to any interrogation.

Putin's visit to Germany and the redefinition of international relations

By Patrick Richter, 28 June 2000

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Berlin June 14 to 16, accompanied by a delegation more than 100-strong, consisting of cabinet members, members of parliament and business leaders. It was the third leg of his tour of Europe, following trips to Rome and Madrid. His next stop after the Berlin meeting was Moldova.

"The Digital Revolution and the Future of Cinema"

By , 28 June 2000

The World Socialist Web Site, as part of its ongoing efforts to develop discussion on a broad range of political, historical and artistic questions, is presenting here a recent speech on the future of cinema by talented young Iranian director Samira Mahkmalbaf. The internationally acclaimed 20-year-old filmmaker, who directed The Apple (1998) and shared this year's Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize for Blackboard , a film dealing with the plight of Iranian Kurds, delivered the speech on May 9 to a special forum at Cannes.

Sri Lankan artists speak out against the war

By a correspondent, 28 June 2000

In the aftermath of a series of major defeats inflicted on the Sri Lankan military in Jaffna by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the Peoples Alliance government has put the entire country on a war footing and is increasingly reliant on Sinhala chauvinist and extreme right-wing formations for political support.

One million working poor cut off Medicaid benefits in US

By Patrick Martin, 28 June 2000

Nearly one million low-income working parents have lost Medicaid coverage in the four years since the Clinton administration and the Republican-controlled Congress implemented their welfare “reform” program in 1996, according to a study published last week.

A comment and clarification on the Napster controversy

By , 28 June 2000

Dear editors,

Scottish convictions based on fingerprint evidence called into question

By Steve James, 28 June 2000

A question mark has been thrown over thousands of convictions following an admission by the police that the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) Fingerprint Bureau is “not fully effective and efficient”.

Beijing's WTO concessions signal a new stage in China's capitalist restructuring

By James Conachy, 28 June 2000

A little-publicised aspect of China's recently-agreed entry into the World Trade Organisation is the sweeping impact it will have on the economic, political and social life of the most populous country on earth. Chinese analysts predict that transnational banks and corporations will, through mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures, dominate the domestic economy within a decade.

Green Party elected officials stress their mainstream political credentials

By Jerry White, 27 June 2000

At a press conference called during the Green Party national convention last weekend, a number of Green officeholders boasted that their work in local government had earned them the respect of Democrats and Republicans, and, in some cases, endorsements for reelection.

Why London's Millennium Dome has been a disaster

By Paul Mitchell, 27 June 2000

London's “Millennium Dome,” first proposed by John Major's Conservative government, was supposed to unite the nation on the eve of the new century.

US Green Party candidate Ralph Nader courts Buchanan supporters

By Jerry White, 27 June 2000

The US Green Party held its national convention in Denver, Colorado last weekend and nominated Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate in the 2000 elections. Nader, who ran as the Greens' candidate for president in 1996, won the backing of 295 of the 315 voting delegates attending the convention.

Labour Party presents a "fiscally responsible" budget in New Zealand

By John Braddock, 27 June 2000

New Zealand's Labour Party-led coalition government, elected last November, introduced its first budget into parliament on June 15, with Finance Minister Michael Cullen proclaiming it as a “new start” for the “new millennium”.

Actors' unions strike in the US approaches two-month mark

By Cory Johnson and Kim Saito, 27 June 2000

The walkout by 135,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) against US advertisers is reaching its two month mark, in the wake of the recent failed attempt to reopen contract talks.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 June 2000

Mexican police attack workers

London by-election records Labour's second largest fall in votes

By Julie Hyland, 27 June 2000

Last week's by-election in Tottenham, north London, confirmed the growing antipathy of many workers to the Blair government. Although Labour managed to hold its seat in this deprived and ethnically mixed working class inner-city neighbourhood in Thursday's poll, it was on a severely reduced vote of 8,785. Turnout was just 25 percent, down by nearly a third from the 1997 general election.

Sri Lankan unions call off plantation pay campaign

By Dianne Sturgess, 27 June 2000

The plantation trade unions in Sri Lanka have called off a campaign of two-hour stoppages and go-slows by 450,000 tea and rubber plantation workers who were demanding a wage increase. The unions reached a compromise with the Employers Federation of Ceylon on June 20 in a situation where the campaign was threatening to develop into an all-out struggle of workers.

European Union proceeds with plans for independent military entity

By Ulrich Rippert, 26 June 2000

The meeting of European Union (EU) heads of government began last week with an interim report on the status of work on a Charter of Fundamental Human Rights. Tough negotiations followed over the introduction of a European withholding tax, which received much attention in the media.

Reply to a reader's questions on socialist program

By , 26 June 2000

Reply to a reader by Will Marshall.

Consumption tax conflicts wrack Australian government

By Mike Head, 26 June 2000

As the July 1 deadline for the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax looms in Australia, both the highly regressive nature of the new tax system and the fragility of the government responsible for it are becoming clearer. The new tax package contains the greatest transfer of revenue from ordinary people to the wealthy in Australian history. The 10 percent consumption tax will raise at least $6 billion a year, while taxes on the highest incomes, business profits and capital gains will be slashed.

Carve-up of diamond and mineral rights exposed, as Britain continues recolonisation of Sierra Leone

By Chris Talbot, 26 June 2000

After his visit to the capital Freetown earlier this month, Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told parliament that the government's main objective in Sierra Leone was to take the diamond-producing area out of the hands of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Proposing that international sanctions should be applied to RUF diamonds, he said, “the people of Sierra Leone remain among the world's poorest while the wealth of its diamonds goes to rebels”.

Posing some of the right questions

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 June 2000

Director Einar Schleef's five and a half hour marathon at the Deutschen Theater is provocative in the most positive sense. It provokes and stimulates thought and reflection on some of the most crucial social experiences of the last century.

Sri Lankan SEP member victimised by Elastomeric management

By Dianne Sturgess, 26 June 2000

B.A. Sarath Kumara, a long-standing member of the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka, has been suspended and threatened with dismissal by Elastomeric Engineers Company Ltd (EECL).

German Green party calls for professional army

By Ulrich Rippert, 24 June 2000

Earlier this month Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green party finally reached an agreement on continuing their coalition government in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and passed a new coalition agreement. This was preceded by weeks of bitter in-fighting, during which the state's minister president, Wolfgang Clement (SPD), repeatedly humiliated the Greens, making it clear he preferred a coalition government with the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

After the execution of Gary Graham: the world looks at America and America looks at itself

By David Walsh, 24 June 2000

The June 22 execution of Gary Graham, sanctioned by Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate-to-be George W. Bush, has cast a penetrating light on American society and helped lay bare its contradictions. Although hardly the first state murder carried out in the US, there was something particularly shocking and horrifying about the event. This quality was clearly felt around the world.

Eighteen young fruit pickers killed in Australian hostel fire

By Richard Phillips, 24 June 2000

Eighteen young people, employed as casual fruit and vegetable pickers, are believed to have died when a backpackers hostel caught fire early Friday morning in Childers, a small farming town 315 kilometres north of the Queensland capital of Brisbane.

Disaffection and slump dominate Japanese election

By John Roberts, 24 June 2000

Japan goes to the polls tomorrow to elect a new House of Representatives and potentially a new government. Called early after the death of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, the election has been dominated by public disaffection and mounting divisions within the political elite over the ongoing stagnation of the economy.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 June 2000

Security guards shoot striking Cambodian garment worker

State Department drops the term "rogue state"—cynicism and crisis in US foreign policy

By Patrick Martin, 24 June 2000

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said June 19 that the State Department will no longer use the term “rogue state” to designate the handful of countries which have been targeted for exceptionally harsh diplomatic and trade sanctions by the US government. Countries like North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Cuba and Sudan will now be referred to as “states of concern,” a spokesman for Albright explained later.

Water, flash floods and new possibilities for life on Mars

By Peter Symonds, 24 June 2000

Mars has long held a special fascination for scientists, science fiction writers and laypersons alike. For more than a century there has been speculation concerning the existence of life on the planet. In the late 1870s, the American businessman Percival Lowell interpreted observations of canali or channels on Mars by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiapparelli as a proof of an advanced civilisation.

On eve of Green Party convention, Ralph Nader appeals to Teamsters union leaders

By Jerry White, 24 June 2000

World Socialist Web Site reporter Jerry White is covering the Green Party national convention, being held this weekend in Denver, Colorado. White will file a series of reports beginning Tuesday, June 27 on the proceedings of the convention, the program of the Greens, and the policies of their presidential candidate, Ralph Nader.

The social significance of Toronto's June 15 homeless "riot"

By , 24 June 2000

We are living in volatile times. On June 15, that volatility boiled over outside the Ontario Legislature when police brutally broke up a demonstration of more than a thousand people against homelessness. The scenes were frightening: mounted police charging and trampling down protesters, other police dressed in riot-gear pepper-spraying the crowd and then ganging up in threes and fours to beat individual protesters with billy clubs. Twenty-nine demonstrators were arrested.


By David Walsh, 23 June 2000

At the center of The Virgin Suicides are five sisters growing up in a comfortable Detroit suburb in the 1970s, all of whom take their own lives within the space of a year. The film is narrated collectively by a group of neighborhood boys, now older, who idolized and idealized the five girls.

Report details the railroading of defendants to the death chamber in Texas

By Joseph Tanniru, 23 June 2000

A report released earlier this month documents gross injustices and legal abuses in death penalty cases in the state of Texas. The report, published by the Chicago Tribune, examines the state with by far the most executions of any in the US. Over the past five years under Governor George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president in the November elections, Texas has executed 135 individuals. The most recent execution was that of Gary Graham, who was killed yesterday despite clear evidence pointing to his innocence and the fact that he never received a fair trial.

Montenegro: Elections herald further instability in the Balkans

By Tony Hyland, 23 June 2000

The results of the recent local elections in Montenegro underscore the continuing political instability within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The June 11 poll produced mixed political results for both the separatist and pro-FRY coalitions.

In cold blood: the state murder of Gary Graham

By Kate Randall, 23 June 2000

American death row inmate Gary Graham was executed Thursday night in Huntsville, Texas. Graham, 36, also known as Shaka Sankofa, maintained his innocence to the end. He was killed by lethal injection in an action epitomizing the brutality of the US judicial system.

Indian government in damage control over call for Tamil state in Sri Lanka

By a correspondent, 23 June 2000

A statement by Muthuvel Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on June 3 sent tremors through the Indian political establishment, forcing Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to launch an urgent damage control exercise. Karunanidhi leads the DMK, the major Tamil Nadu partner of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government in New Delhi.

A "very good year" for Australia's richest 200 individuals

By Jason Nichols, 23 June 2000

The wealth of the richest 200 individuals in Australia has climbed $4.25 billion over the past 12 months, or 7.4 percent, according to the annual Rich 200 edition of the Business Review Weekly (BRW). Their combined wealth is now estimated to be a staggering $61.35 billion, an average of $307 million each. The various reports and figures published in the magazine show that the rich are enjoying unprecedented levels of wealth. “It was a very good year,” the BRW concluded.

British Home Secretary campaigns to overturn Geneva Convention on asylum

By Keith Lee, 23 June 2000

Britain's Home Secretary Jack Straw is currently campaigning amongst international leaders to overturn the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, which guarantees the right to asylum. His proposals are said to have won support from social democratic heads of government gathered earlier this week at a European Union (EU) summit in Portugal. During the meeting, Straw cynically seized upon the terrible deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants—found suffocated in the back of an airtight lorry at Dover port—to reiterate his demand for change.

What has happened to the voice of the working class?

By Mike Head, 22 June 2000

It is now nearly five weeks since a desperate and failed businessman, George Speight, led a motley crew of thugs and military personnel to seize the Fijian parliament and take hostage Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and most of his cabinet.

On Putin's "Greater Russian" aspirations and NATO

By , 22 June 2000

The following is an exchange with a reader in Germany concerning the article “The political and historical issues in Russia's assault on Chechnya” [] . The article also appeared in Gleichheit , a magazine published by the Socialist Equality Party of Germany.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 22 June 2000

British postal workers threaten strike action

Widespread protests against impending execution of Gary Graham in Texas

By Joseph Tanniru, 22 June 2000

Texas inmate Gary Graham, also known as Shaka Sankofa, is scheduled to be executed this Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. Graham has been imprisoned on death row for 19 years.

US death penalty study exposes a system rife with errors

By Kate Randall, 22 June 2000

A recent study on the death penalty in the United States exposes a system fraught with error and inequities. The US has come under increasing international criticism for continuing the barbaric practice of capital punishment, putting to death 54 people so far this year and 98 in 1999. This new study indicates the high probability that innocent people are being sent to their deaths.

Extraordinary solo cello performance of Bach's Suites in Australia

By Adrian Falk, 22 June 2000

Pieter Wispelwey, the 37-year-old Dutch cellist, performed all six Suites for solo cello by J.S. Bach at the new City Recital Hall in Sydney on June 10. While the Bach Suites are not technically difficult by modern standards of cello playing, the performance of all six in one concert constitutes a major undertaking, not only of stamina, but deeply informed musical intelligence.

Sri Lankan government and unions form "civil defence committees" to police war effort

By Dianne Sturgess, 21 June 2000

Facing a military disaster in the north of the island, the Sri Lankan government is setting up an extensive network of “civil defence committees” in workplaces, villages and neighbourhoods with the co-operation of the trade unions. Under conditions of growing popular opposition to the government's attacks on living standards and democratic rights and the continuing war against Tamil separatists, the task assigned to these committees is to help the government place the entire country on a “war footing.”

58 Chinese migrants found dead in lorry at Dover, Britain

By Julie Hyland, 21 June 2000

The tragic deaths of 58 Chinese people, found in the back of a lorry early on Monday, highlight the desperate situation facing asylum-seekers and refugees.

Franco-German summit agrees to close military and political cooperation

By Peter Schwarz, 21 June 2000

The German and French governments have agreed to close cooperation regarding reform of the European Union and defence matters. This was the outcome of the 75th Franco-German summit meeting held June 9 in Mainz.

Young Dr. Freud : a television film

By , 21 June 2000

Young Dr. Freud ( Der Junge Freud) was originally produced for Austrian television in 1976. It recently ran at the Film Forum in New York City, which specializes in screening older films. The script was written by Georg Stefan Troller; Axel Corti directed. Karlheinz Hackl plays Sigmund Freud. The distributor is Kino International.

CIA says Africa's AIDS epidemic is a "national security" issue

By Barry Mason, 21 June 2000

A recent speech by US President Bill Clinton indicates that the major powers are increasingly approaching the AIDS crisis in Africa, Asia and the former Soviet Union as a security issue, rather than a public health problem to be tackled by curative and preventative measures.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 June 2000

48-hour strike against economic policies in Ecuador

The implications of the US economy's reliance on a huge capital inflow

By Nick Beams, 20 June 2000

Nick Beams

Washington bows to Fujimori's vote fraud

By Bill Vann, 20 June 2000

The Clinton administration's precipitous back pedaling on its initial rejection of the rigged election in Peru is an expression of an inherently contradictory policy toward both that Andean country and Latin America as a whole.

Free speech—Singapore-style

By Carol Divjak, 20 June 2000

By August 2000 Singapore is to have a speakers' corner! Is this a chance for Singaporeans to experience free speech? It hardly seems likely, given that the city-state has been ruled for the last 40 years by a single party using police state methods to quash political opposition.

Split in Front National deepens crisis of extreme right in France

By Francis Dubois, 20 June 2000

At the beginning of 1999, the French right-wing extremist organisation Front National split after months of public controversy between its two most important leaders, Chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen and Secretary-General Bruno Mégret. For over a year the two tendencies—Le Pen's wing of the Front National (FN) and the Mégret arm, Mouvement National Républicain (MNR)—have led a separate existence, their relations regulated by the courts. Le Pen was able to keep the party name. The two groups trade insults and try to isolate one another.

Britain: 10,000 job losses announced in one week

By Steve James, 20 June 2000

Thousands of workers face the sack after a series of long-established companies announced they would rationalise, or completely abandon their British-based operations.

A child murder in Japan points to a growing social alienation

By Angela Pagano, 19 June 2000

When a 35-year-old mother of two, Mitsuko Yamada, murdered the two-year-old daughter of her neighbour at the end of last year, the case shocked Japan and provoked a wide public discussion about how such a crime could take place. The answers that have begun to emerge point to the deepening social tensions and a growing sense of alienation, isolation and frustration.

Amnesty International charges NATO with war crimes

By Julie Hyland, 19 June 2000

The human rights organisation Amnesty International (AI) has accused the NATO alliance of committing war crimes during its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia last year. Its report, “ Collateral Damage” or Unlawful Killings? Violations of the Laws of War by NATO During Operation Allied Force, concludes that NATO violated international laws governing warfare during the campaign, resulting in the deaths of Yugoslav civilians. The NATO action, led by the United States, involved the use of long-range cruise missiles, cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions.

Break-in at Philadelphia office of supporters of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Tom Bishop, 19 June 2000

The leadership of the movement in support of death row inmate and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has been subjected to yet another attack on their right to organize in his defense, with a June 8 break-in at supporters' offices in Philadelphia. The attacks come at a critical time as Abu-Jamal awaits word from Federal Appeals Court Judge William Yohn on when the hearing will be held on his appeal for a new trial.

Lack of alternative leads New South Wales teachers to accept union deal

By Erika Zimmer, 19 June 2000

New South Wales public school and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) teachers voted earlier this month to accept an award agreement between the union and the state Labor government, ending almost eight months of bitter industrial disputation.

Detroit blackout reveals crumbling infrastructure in US cities

By Jerry White, 17 June 2000

Electrical service in Detroit was restored Thursday after the worst blackout in the city's history knocked out power to hundreds of municipal and county-owned facilities, including schools, hospitals and public housing units, as well as street lights and traffic signals. The blackout had a limited effect on businesses and residential homes, which, for the most part, receive electricity from the private utility company, Detroit Edison.

Financial problems close the Martha Graham dance center in New York City

By Andrea Peters, 17 June 2000

The board of directors for the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance in New York City announced on May 25 that both the school and the company that bear the artist's name would cease operations immediately due to financial difficulties. Facing a $500,000 deficit, the board has stated that the dance center would need $325,000 at once in order to resume functioning. Beginning her work in the 1920s, Graham (1895-1991) was one of the founding figures of modern dance in the United States.

Large-scale arrests of Tamils following bomb blast

By Dianne Sturgess, 17 June 2000

After the June 7 bomb attack in Sri Lanka that killed Industrial Development Minister Gunaratna and 22 others, the police launched a racist witch-hunt campaign against Tamils living in and around Colombo. Search operations have been conducted in the areas where Tamils live and scores of Tamil youth have been detained at various police stations in the city and suburbs.

Sri Lankan authorities seize on minister's assassination to promote war against Tamils

By Dianne Sturgess, 17 June 2000

The Peoples Alliance (PA) government in Sri Lanka is seeking to exploit the June 7 terrorist killing of C.V. Gunaratne, a senior cabinet minister, to whip up an atmosphere of war fever and build popular support for its onslaught against the Tamil population in the north and east of the country.

Evidence mounts linking Tory policies to e-coli deaths in Ontario

By Keith Jones, 17 June 2000

Under intense public pressure, Ontario's Tory government has agreed that a judicial inquiry into the e-coli deaths of at least seven residents of the rural community of Walkerton can investigate what role, if any, “government policies, procedures and practices” played in the tragedy. The inquiry, which is headed by Justice Dennis O'Connor, is also empowered to consider any other matters relevant to the safety of drinking water across the province.

Côte d'Ivoire coup leader seeks to consolidate power

By John Farmer, 17 June 2000

General Robert Guei, who seized power in a military coup in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) on December 24 1999, is now preparing to assume the presidency. Commentators initially thought that the coup, which removed the corrupt regime of President Henri Konan Bedie, was intended to bring Alassane Ouattara's Rally of the Republicans party (RDR) to power.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 17 June 2000

Sri Lankan factory workers demand union recognition

The bitter legacy of Syria's Hafez al-Assad

By Jean Shaoul and Chris Marsden, 16 June 2000

The political career of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, whose death June 10 ended a 30-year reign, illustrates the organic incapacity of the Arab bourgeoisie to realise the aspirations of the Arab masses for freedom from foreign domination, democracy and social justice.

Jacob Lawrence dead at 82: a major American painter

By Fred Mazelis, 16 June 2000

Jacob Lawrence, who died on June 9 at the age of 82, was a significant American painter. His work was rooted in US history, particularly in the struggle against slavery and racial oppression. Shaped by the great changes of the first half of the twentieth century, his painting has lost none of its power at the opening of the twenty-first.

World Bank Report catalogues a social catastrophe in Africa

By Ann Talbot, 16 June 2000

Almost half the population of Africa lives on less than 65 cents a day, according to a new report from the World Bank. The report, Can Africa claim the 21st Century?, sets out in stark detail how Africa has become poorer than at any time since many of its countries achieved independence in the 1960s.

Indian foreign minister's balancing act in Colombo

By Dianne Sturgess, 16 June 2000

Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh arrived in Sri Lanka on June 11 for talks with the government and other political leaders about the ongoing war in the north and east of the country. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has made significant military advances against the Sri Lankan military over the last two months.

UN report examines high levels of child poverty in the richest countries

By Joseph Tanniru, 16 June 2000

A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) details the persistent effect of massive social inequality on the world's children. The report—the first in a series of “Report Cards” issued by UNICEF—examines child poverty in the world's richest nations.

Reforma y revolución en la época del imperialismo

By , 16 June 2000

WSWS : Español

Inequality worsens in New Zealand ... but Labour rushes to appease big business

By John Braddock, 16 June 2000

New Zealand, cited internationally since the early 1980s as an example of the “success” of the market reform and privatisation program, now has one of the highest levels of income inequality among OECD countries, according to an official study released this month.

New York police, Mayor Giuliani attack Bruce Springsteen for criticizing Diallo shooting

By David Walsh, 15 June 2000

The campaign mounted against rock and roll performer Bruce Springsteen for raising the killing of New York resident Amadou Diallo in a new song is a crude attack on freedom of speech and artistic expression. Police organizations in New York, Police Chief Howard Safir, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and sections of the media have all weighed in, denouncing Springsteen for daring to sing about Diallo's death in a storm of police gunfire in February 1999.

Hundreds of casualties in "senseless war" on Jaffna peninsula

By Dianne Sturgess, 15 June 2000

A letter sent by Josep Rayeppu, the Catholic bishop of Mannar (an area in northern Sri Lanka), to foreign missions in Colombo has accused the military of causing 500 civilian casualties in fighting with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Chavakachcheri area of the northern Jaffna peninsula. It appealed to the diplomats to “prevail upon the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to rectify the situation.”

Pan Am 103: Iranian defector alleges Tehran linked to Lockerbie bombing

By Steve James, 15 June 2000

On June 4, the CBS programme "60 Minutes" aired claims that Iranian intelligence services organised the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 15 June 2000

British railway workers consider strike action

New issue of World Socialist Web Site quarterly magazine now available

By , 15 June 2000

WSWS : Mehring Books

What the British Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Kosovo reported

By Julie Hyland, 14 June 2000

The following article summarises some of the main findings contained in the report on NATO's war against Yugoslavia issued last week by the British parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee. ( See accompanying article: “British parliamentary committee admits NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was illegal”).

British parliamentary committee admits NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was illegal

By Julie Hyland, 14 June 2000

Last week the British parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee (FSC), a body with representatives from the major parties in Parliament, issued a 315-paragraph report on the lessons of NATO's war against Yugoslavia. The report makes the admission that the NATO bombardment was illegal under international law. It nevertheless argues that the war was justified on “humanitarian” grounds. (See accompanying article: “What the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Kosovo reported”).

12 million young adults in the US lack health insurance

By Paul Scherrer, 14 June 2000

Twelve million young adults in the United States lack health insurance according to a study released by the Commonwealth Fund. Young adults, ages 19 to 29, are more than twice as likely than either children or older adults to be uninsured.

Pontiac, Michigan to proceed with obscenity case against artist

By David Walsh, 14 June 2000

City officials in Pontiac, Michigan are pressing ahead with obscenity charges against Detroit-area artist Jef Bourgeau. A pretrial hearing is scheduled in district court on June 28.

Renewed fighting in northern Sri Lanka undermines push for a negotiated deal

By Dianne Sturgess, 14 June 2000

Fighting has again flared on the Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka between the beleaguered army troops and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) scuttling any immediate possibility of negotiations. Sri Lankan forces have attempted to go on the offensive for the first time since the loss of the key Elephant Pass base in April in a bid to push LTTE forces back from positions threatening Palaly air base and the seaport of Kankasanthurai (KKS).

An American tragedy born of poverty: the death of an unemployed mother in Detroit

By Jerry White and Mary Moore, 14 June 2000

In Detroit—a city where nearly half the residents live near or below the official poverty level, where street violence, house fires and drugs claim poor people's lives on a daily basis—the death of a unemployed single mother, tragically, is not an uncommon event. But the recent death of 43-year-old Gloria Teresa Terrell stood out, both because of the horrifying way the woman was killed and because of what it reveals about social conditions in America.

Federal magistrate imposes severe restrictions on supporters of US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Joseph Tanniru, 14 June 2000

A federal magistrate has imposed severe restrictions on several prominent organizers of the campaign to defend US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal because they allegedly refused to obey a policeman's order during a civil disobedience protest last July in Philadelphia. The eight individuals—including Clark Kissinger of Refuse and Resist; Frances Goldin, Mumia's literary agent; and Mark Taylor, Chair of Academics for Mumia—were placed on one-year probation, during which time their contact with Mumia and their activity in the campaign will be legally restricted.