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Immigrants make up 40 percent of New York City's population

By Fred Mazelis, 31 July 2000

A survey of New York City households taken by the US Census Bureau in 1999 has revealed that 40 percent of the city's 7.4 million people are now foreign-born.

Britain: Labour fails in attempt to repeal anti-gay legislation

By Julie Hyland, 31 July 2000

The Blair government conceded defeat July 26 after its attempt to repeal the anti-homosexual “Section 28” legislation was voted down 270 to 228 in the House of Lords.

Spanish Socialist Party elects "New Way" representative as general secretary

By Vicky Short, 31 July 2000

At its 35th congress last weekend, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) elected José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as its new leader. A representative of the recently formed Nueva Vía (New Way) current, Zapatero became the fourth general secretary of the party in as many years, since the resignation of its longstanding leader and ex-prime minister Felipe Gonzalez in 1997.

Régis Wargnier's new film East-West: a flawed but compelling portrait of postwar USSR

By Stefan Steinberg, 31 July 2000

French director Régis Wargnier's new film East-West tackles a theme which has rarely been dealt with in film or in history books: the fate of thousands of Russians who, for various reasons, fled the Soviet Union in the period after the Russian Revolution and then after the Second World War accepted Stalin's offer of an amnesty and returned to the Soviet Union to help in the reconstruction of the “socialist Fatherland”.

Thousands rally in Philadelphia on eve of Republican convention

By Tom Bishop and Eula Holmes, 31 July 2000

Some ten thousand demonstrators marched and rallied July 30 in Philadelphia on the eve of the Republican National Convention, calling for measures to address poverty, injustice in the legal and prison system, environmental degradation, and discrimination based on race, gender or sexual preference. A common theme reflected in the banners carried by demonstrators and the remarks of some of the speakers was the essential identity of the Democratic and Republican parties, and the increasing domination of the political system by big business.

Pakistan military junta's first budget meets opposition at home and abroad

By Vilani Peiris, 31 July 2000

The Pakistani military government's first annual budget, presented last month, points to the volatile situation that General Pervez Musharraf's junta now faces.

South Africa: AIDS conference accepts limited agenda

By Chris Talbot, 29 July 2000

The grim conclusion to be drawn from the 13th International Conference on AIDS is that most of the world's 34 million people currently infected with HIV/AIDS will be left to their fate. This is despite the fact that the conference in Durban, South Africa July 9-14, drew the attention of the world's media and pledges of financial support by the World Bank, the United States government, Bill Gates and a number of drug corporations.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 July 2000

Sacked Sony workers in Indonesia demand reinstatement

US Congress pushes tax windfalls for the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 29 July 2000

In votes taken throughout the month of July, the Republican-controlled US Congress—with substantial support from Democrats—has approved four major tax measures which together would slash the tax bills of upper income families by more than $700 billion over the next 10 years, while providing little or nothing for the vast majority of working people.

Chile floods expose lack of planning and infrastructure

By Perla Astudillo, 29 July 2000

Severe floods throughout Chile over the last month have caused at least 17 deaths and forced an estimated 129,000 people into homelessness. Torrential rains affected the capital, Santiago, swamping more than 75 percent of metropolitan streets, including the city's main highway. The worst affected regions also included the central and southern regions, Chile's principal agricultural areas.

Western powers exploit growing tensions between Serbia and Montenegro

By Tony Hyland, 29 July 2000

The Western powers have been actively fomenting the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) over the past nine years by extending diplomatic, financial and military support to secessionist forces. The resulting conflicts have twice served as a pretext for imperialist military intervention into the Balkans, transforming the region into a series of ethnically divided states, dominated economically by Western financial institutions and companies.

Two young Czech filmmakers investigating real human experiences

By Mustafa Rashid, 29 July 2000

The Czech title of Jan Hrebejk's new film Cosy Dens, one of the two Czech films screened at the Sydney Film Festival, is simply “Pelisky” (pronounced Pelishki). There is no “cosy” in the title; the word itself already sounds cosy. In the case of this film, one's cosy den is one's home—a place where, by definition, one must feel belonging, where one must be accepted unconditionally.

Safety concerns raised in aftermath of Concorde crash

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 July 2000

Details are emerging concerning the crash of Air France Concorde Flight AF 4590 on Tuesday afternoon. As the plane left the ground at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris for its scheduled flight to New York, the pilot reported to the control tower that one of the plane's four jet engines was defective. Eyewitnesses reported that flames were already visible from one wing as the plane was completing its takeoff.

Ontario Tories attack public education

By Ian Bruce, 28 July 2000

The Ontario Conservative government of Mike Harris has stepped up its attack on public education with a series of bills and amendments passed in the spring legislative session. Under the new legislation, Education Minister Janet Ecker assumes direct control over virtually every aspect of the provincial education system, with almost unlimited power to discipline, fire or harass anyone who stands in the way of the Tories' big business agenda for education.

WSWS correspondence on the Congo

By , 28 July 2000

The World Socialist Web Site received the following letter in response to articles on the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). See:

Concorde—its history and tragedy

By David Walsh, 28 July 2000

Tuesday's crash of an Air France Concorde outside Paris seized the attention of people all over the world. Anyone who viewed the broadcast images of the tragedy could not but help feel horrified and saddened, first and foremost at the thought of the passengers' terrible fate, but also by the impact of such an event on the living—the stricken human beings, workmen and local residents standing near the smoking wreckage in Gonesse. It was a chastening and sobering sight.

Rhetoric but no action on global financial problems at G8 summit

By Nick Beams, 28 July 2000

Annual economic summit meetings of the major capitalist powers were initiated in 1975 in the immediate aftermath of the first oil price shock and in the midst of the global recession of 1974-75—to that point the most serious economic downturn since the 1930s depression.

Lawsuit against Britain over Belgrano sinking thrown

By Harvey Thompson, 28 July 2000

The action filed against the British government in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg by relatives of the 323 Argentineans killed on board the Belgrano cruiser in 1982 has been dismissed on a technicality.

Temporary injunction granted against Napster

By Mike Ingram, 28 July 2000

A federal judge in San Francisco granted a temporary injunction Wednesday against the Internet music company Napster. US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issued the order at the request of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Napster has been given until midnight on Friday, July 29 to shut down the computers that allow millions of users to share music on the Internet.

The Korean summit: no recipe for peace and prosperity

By James Conachy, 27 July 2000

The inter-Korea summit held in Pyongyang on June 14-15 marked a key shift in the Cold War relations that have dominated the divided peninsula for more than 50 years. Leaders of North and South Korea—countries still technically at war—met for the first time and signed a five-point accord aimed at the restoration of economic and political ties and the eventual reunification of Korea.

Sogo bankruptcy may signal new era in Japanese finances

By Joe Lopez, 27 July 2000

The decision by the Mori government to abandon its plans to bail out the debt-ridden retailer, Sogo Co Ltd, is being widely interpreted as a turning point in Japanese financial affairs, opening the way for similar liquidations of corporate bad debt.

Nigerian unions concluding separate agreements over minimum wage

By our correspondent, 27 July 2000

As nationwide unrest in Nigeria over the minimum wage persists into its second month, the unions are continuing their policy of fragmenting the struggle by attempting to make separate deals in each of the country's 36 states.

WSWS correspondence on the human genome project

By , 27 July 2000

The World Socialist Web Site received the following letter about the article “Human Genome Project: First scientific milestone of the twenty-first century” [] published July 11. A reply by Chris Talbot follows.

Germany's tax reform: the end of the "social market economy"

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 July 2000

The passage of the German tax reform bill, which surmounted its last parliamentary hurdle when the Bundesrat (the upper house of Germany's parliament) voted in favor on July 14, is a watershed in German politics.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 27 July 2000

French pilots and engineers strike over terms of 35-hour week

Mideast tensions mount following breakdown of Camp David talks

By Chris Marsden, 27 July 2000

After more than two weeks of intensive discussions at Camp David, Maryland, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat failed to reach an agreement.

New data reveals rising poverty under Britain's Labour government

By Simon Wheelan, 27 July 2000

New data from the Department of Social Security (DSS) reveals that the number of British people living in poverty has grown under the Labour government. The DSS reports that the number of households with an income less than half the national average rose from 16.9 percent to 17.7 percent between 1997 and 1999. This means that a further 500,000 people now live in poverty.

Talks break off after two days in US commercial actors strike

By Cory Johnson, 26 July 2000

Contract negotiations between the advertising agencies and unions representing 135,000 striking commercial actors broke off July 21 after the second day of talks. The negotiations represented the first time the two sides had met face-to-face since the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the now 12-week-old strike.

New Zealand's Maori nationalists and the coup in Fiji

By John Braddock, 26 July 2000

The coup in Fiji, launched by George Speight and his band of armed thugs under the guise of asserting the “rights” of the indigenous Fijians, is notable not only for the opposition it has evoked among ordinary people at home and abroad, but also for the friends it has attracted elsewhere in the Pacific. One of the significant avenues of support has come from a layer of Maori “radicals” in New Zealand.

Concorde crash outside Paris kills at least 113

By Richard Tyler, 26 July 2000

Minutes after takeoff on Tuesday afternoon, a Concorde jet crashed killing all on board. The Air France plane had left from Paris's Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport bound for New York and came down in the town of Gonesse, about 5 kilometres from the capital.

Youth's anguish

By David Walsh, 26 July 2000

The director is cited elsewhere in the notes: “Global corporate power seems at least as treacherous and total as anything going on in a well-oiled feudal empire of Shakespeare's day.” He responded to an interviewer's question about his decision to “translate royal power to corporate” in the following manner: “There's still a class system in the world and in America, people who have things and people who don't. And people who have things tend to make sure they keep having them and controlling them, aligned with corporate power, which is so overarching that you can't even attack it without becoming part of it...”

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 July 2000

Venezuelan petroleum workers strike

Philadelphia rally demands prosecution of cops for televised beating

By Tom Bishop, 26 July 2000

About 1,000 angry Philadelphia residents attended a rally July 23 to demand the prosecution of police officers involved in the beating of carjacking suspect Thomas Jones 10 days earlier. The beating, in which Jones was kicked or punched 59 times in 28 seconds, was videotaped by a local television news helicopter and broadcast around the world. Those attending also expressed outrage at the firing of 45 shots in a residential neighborhood in the initial attempt by police to apprehend Jones and the July 18 killing of a mentally ill homeless man, Robert Brown, by Amtrak police at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.

"Business and morals"—compensation agreement signed for World War II concentration camp labourers

By Carola Kleinert, 26 July 2000

On July 17 the compensation agreement for former concentration camp labourers was finally signed. Since 1998 the negotiations had been the subject of highly public disputes. The agreement was signed by Count Otto Lambsdorff and Stuart Eizenstat, chief negotiators for the German and American governments respectively, Manfred Gentz, the representative of German business at the talks, as well as representatives from Israel, Poland, the Ukraine, Chechnya and Belarus.

The Bush-Cheney ticket: the politics of plutocracy

By Barry Grey, 26 July 2000

The combination of Texas Governor George W. Bush and Richard Cheney as the Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates epitomizes the open domination of American politics by the representatives of wealth and power.

Indonesian president faces a confrontation at next month's MPR session

By Peter Symonds, 25 July 2000

Events of the last week in Jakarta confirm that the August 7-8 session of Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) is shaping up as a critical turning point for President Abdurrahman Wahid. Spokesmen for the major parties have publicly ruled out any move to impeach Wahid but behind the scenes the possibility is obviously being actively canvassed. The principal reason why the public debate is somewhat muted is the fear on all sides that the political wrangling will cause the rupiah and share prices to fall even further and compound the country's already precarious economic position.

UK-Dutch steel giant Corus cuts 4,000 jobs

By Peter Reydt, 25 July 2000

The UK-Dutch steel giant Corus announced on Friday that it will axe a further 1,300 jobs over the next year, many at its Welsh plants.

The tragedy of the "stolen generation"

By Gabriela Notaras, 25 July 2000

Stolen is an honest and compassionate work that traces the lives of five Aboriginal children removed from their families in the 1960s under official Australian government policy. Written by Jane Harrison, the play dramatises the fear, persecution and desolation felt by the children and their families, and demonstrates the ongoing physical and psychological impact of this policy on generations of Aboriginal people. Harrison and all the cast are of Aboriginal descent. Pauline Whyman, one of the actresses, is the last of 11 children who were stolen from her family of 15.

Scottish Nationalist Party leader Alex Salmond announces sudden resignation

By Steve James, 25 July 2000

After 10 years in the leadership of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond announced his resignation last week. Speaking at a press conference held in the Banff and Buchan constituency for which he is a Westminster MP, Salmond said that his decision, which was unexpected, was because he expected the party to do extremely well in the next Scottish elections due in 2003. Such success would require another lengthy period of political commitment, Salmond said, which for personal reasons he felt unable to make. He was therefore making way in time to enable a new leader the necessary space to find his or her feet. Salmond did however indicate that he intended to remain politically active in the SNP, perhaps seeking a European role.

A liberal brief for militarism and neo-colonialism

By Margaret Rees, 25 July 2000

Virtual War—Kosovo and Beyond, Michael Ignatieff, Metropolitan Books, New York, 2000, 246 pp., $23.00

US Special Counsel Danforth whitewashes Waco massacre

By Patrick Martin, 25 July 2000

We are republishing here an article that first appeared on July 25, 2000.

$116 billion merger of US telecommunications giants Bell Atlantic and GTE

By a correspondent, 24 July 2000

Telecommunications giants GTE and Bell Atlantic completed a $116 billion merger earlier this month creating one of the world's largest telecommunications companies after obtaining final approval from federal regulators.

Thousands of job cuts in the US

By our correspondent, 24 July 2000

Amid signs of a slowing economy, large and small corporations in the US have announced significant layoffs and other job cuts in the past two weeks.

Indian air crash highlights declining safety standards

By Sarath Kumara, 24 July 2000

An Indian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed into a government housing estate in Patna, capital of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, on July 17, killing 57 people, including six residents, and wounding dozens more. This tragic incident has once again highlighted the decay of Indian infrastructure, including safety controls. Over the past 15 years more than 1,000 people have lost their lives in major air disasters.

Heroin overdose deaths on the rise in the US

By David Walsh, 24 July 2000

We live at a moment of mostly terrible statistics. Some, such as the figures on AIDS in Africa or the decline in life expectancy in the former Soviet Union, reveal social catastrophe. Others puncture the pretensions of a society and reveal, in the face of official hypocrisy and lies, what is.

Poland in the run-up to presidential elections

By Brigitte Fehlau, 24 July 2000

Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in Poland on October 8. About a dozen hopefuls have announced their candidacy to date, including a number of right-wing nationalists and well-known figures.

As G8 summit meets: debt stranglehold tightens

By Nick Beams, 22 July 2000

Following the 1999 G8 summit of the seven major capitalist powers and Russia held in Cologne Germany, the air was filled with statements that the crippling debt cycle strangling the poorer countries of the world was about to be broken.

Mexico after the elections

By Gerardo Nebbia and Patrick Martin, 22 July 2000

The July 2 Mexican elections, the first in the country's history to transfer power from one party to another, have been hailed by both the Mexican and US media as a triumph of democracy.

Announcement of new government postponed in Fiji

By Tim Joy and Mike Head, 22 July 2000

More than a week after the release of the government hostages held in Fiji's parliamentary compound by George Speight and his thugs, the acute political crisis sparked by Speight's attempted coup has only deepened.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 22 July 2000

Textile workers blockade Chinese uniform factory

Spanish government speeds up liberalisation of utilities

By Vicky Short, 22 July 2000

Following the Popular Party victory at the general elections in March, Prime Minister José María Aznar is pushing ahead with the speedy liberalisation of the country's utilities.

Plans to increase government spending spark furore in Britain's media

By Julie Hyland, 22 July 2000

In his three-year Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) outlined Tuesday, Britain's Chancellor Gordon Brown set out the first major increase in public spending for more than two decades.

British-backed forces in Sierra Leone accused of attacks on civilians

By Barry Mason, 22 July 2000

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Sierra Leone government forces of the wanton killing of civilians. The Sierra Leone Army, together with pro-government militia, were organised under British leadership in May this year for the purpose of defeating the rebel forces of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

"Promised Land" garbage landslide kills at least 200 in the Philippines

By Angela Pagano, 21 July 2000

In early July two tropical typhoons ravaged parts of the Philippines causing severe flooding and deaths. These storms are annual events that bring with them catastrophes affecting the country's most impoverished layers. In the capital Manila, a huge municipal garbage dump, ironically named the “Promised Land” by locals, became a sodden, unstable mass and then collapsed and burst into flames on July 10.

Zar de la Campaña Contra las Drogas Vinculado a Atrocidades Durante la Guerra del Golfo Persa

By , 21 July 2000

WSWS : Español

Letters to the WSWS

By , 21 July 2000

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the WSWS .

Iranian President Khatami visits Goethe's Weimar

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 July 2000

Having spoken before assembled businessmen and concluded financial deals worth tens of millions of marks with German industry, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami concluded his state visit last week with a trip to the eastern German town of Weimar. The proclaimed purpose of his trip was to encourage “understanding between the peoples” and “cultural exchange between east and west”.

US Defence Secretary Cohen demands Australia boost its military

By Mike Head, 21 July 2000

In an unusually blunt intervention, US Defence Secretary William Cohen flew into Australia from China last weekend and publicly urged the Howard government to lift military spending to ensure that its forces were ready for future joint missions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Basque separatist ETA steps up violence

By Paul Bond, 21 July 2000

The last weeks have seen a significant escalation of violence by Basque separatists against the federal government of Prime Minister José María Aznar and the Spanish establishment. To demonstrate the organisation's ability to strike across the country, ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) attacks have not only been made in Madrid and Andalusia, but in the Basque region as well.

Art, museums and society

By David Walsh, 21 July 2000

Jan van der Marck has had a long and distinguished career in museum work. Born in The Netherlands, and in the US permanently since the early 1960s, van der Marck has held positions at numerous institutions, including the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Dartmouth Museum, the Center for Fine Arts in Miami and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. He helped found the latter museum in 1967 and served as its first director. He has also taught at the university level in the US, managed art projects and authored monographs. Van der Marck came to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) in 1986 as head of the twentieth century art department and subsequently was named chief curator of the museum. He was dismissed, absurdly, in 1995 for failing to fulfill the residency requirement for city employees.

Britain: Labour government presses ahead with performance-related pay for teachers

By Liz Smith, 21 July 2000

The Blair government has indicated that it will press ahead with the introduction of performance-related pay (PRP) for teachers, despite a High Court ruling that it has proceeded unlawfully over the issue.

Britain: Deaths from Human BSE reveal "statistically significant rising trend"

By Richard Tyler, 20 July 2000

Two more deaths in the last fortnight have brought to 69 the total number of fatalities in the UK from variant Cretzfeld Jakob Disease (vCJD). So far this year 14 people have died from this brain-wasting disorder related to BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) or Mad Cow disease, equalling the 1999 total. Another seven are known to be currently suffering from this incurable disease, also known as Human BSE.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East and Africa

By , 20 July 2000

Italian transport staff begin nation-wide strike action

Homeless man killed by Amtrak police in Philadelphia

By Tom Bishop, 20 July 2000

An unarmed 45-year-old homeless man was killed Wednesday morning, July 18, by an Amtrak police officer at Philadelphia's 30th Street train station. The shooting occurred two weeks prior to the arrival of thousands of delegates, politicians, lobbyists and media personnel attending the Republican National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia. Many will pass through 30th Street station, which is Philadelphia's stop on the rail line serving the Northeast Corridor between New York City and Washington DC.

French right-wing party splinters

By Francis Dubois, 20 July 2000

The French right-wing party Rassemblement Pour la France (RPF—Assembly for France) has ceased to exist as a unified organisation. Originally formed during the run-up to the European elections of 1999 from an alliance between the two anti-Europe politicians, Charles Pasqua and Philippe de Villiers, the party quickly gained influence in French politics.

Inquiry demanded into death of black youth in Mississippi

By Helen Halyard, 20 July 2000

The parents of Raynard Johnson, a 17-year-old black high school student who was found hanging from a pecan tree in his front yard on June 16 in rural Kokomo, Mississippi, are urging authorities to reopen the investigation into his death. Over a thousand people demonstrated July 8 in front of the Johnson family home to demand a thorough investigation be carried out into the death.

French workers occupy chemical plant

By Guy LeBlanc, 20 July 2000

One hundred fifty-two workers from the Callatex chemical factory in Givet, a city of 8,000 in the French Ardennes near the Belgium border, have been occupying the plant since July 5, when it was declared bankrupt by a judge. The judgment meant that workers would lose severance pay and special state compensation that they would have been entitled to had the plant simply closed down.

"Sinhala suicide bomber": the case study of a police-media frame-up

By Dianne Sturgess, 20 July 2000

The press coverage of a suicide bomb attack in Colombo on June 14 provides a graphic example of the way in which events are seized upon and distorted by the Sri Lankan media to justify the government's prosecution of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the racist treatment of Tamils. As this story reveals, literally anyone can become grist for the mill with catastrophic consequences.

Germany: Schroeder government pushes through tax reforms to benefit big business

By Ulrich Rippert, 19 July 2000

Last week, the upper house of the German parliament gave final approval to a series of tax reforms largely benefiting big business. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green party coalition government celebrated this as a victory over the Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) opposition, which lost the vote when some of their own members defected to the government camp.

Australian government pours funds into private schools at the direct expense of public schools

By Erika Zimmer, 19 July 2000

Despite a nation-wide increase of 8,300 pupils in the government school system this year, $27.5 million, or around 6 percent of the total, will be cut from federal government funding to public schools under the Howard government's Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment (EBA) scheme.

French anti-globalisation protest calls for trade war measures against US

By Francis Dubois, 19 July 2000

At the end of June, tens of thousands of people gathered in the little town of Millau, in Southern France, for a carnival-style event convened as a protest against “trade globalisation, industrial farming and the power of multinational world companies”.

They'll wait and see

By David Walsh, 19 July 2000

Jesus' Son, directed by Alison Maclean, written by Elizabeth Cuthrell, Oren Moverman and David Urrutia, based on the book by Denis Johnson

British parliament set to adopt law enforcing police access to encrypted email

By Mike Ingram, 19 July 2000

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIP) will be presented to the Commons for the final reading Wednesday after amendments made in the House of Lords.

The Canadian Alliance: the new face of political reaction

By Guy Leblanc and Keith Jones, 19 July 2000

The Canadian Alliance, the new right-wing party formed out of the Reform Party and dissident Tories, chose Stockwell Day as its leader July 8. With 64 percent of the 114,000 votes cast in a ballot of the Alliance membership, Day decisively defeated party founder Preston Manning and will succeed him as leader of Canada's Official Opposition, once he secures a seat in the House of Commons.

The killing of Frederick Finley: sudden death in an American city

By Kate Randall, 19 July 2000

There is something distinctly American about the killing of Frederick Finley. The 32-year-old black worker was choked to death by plainclothes security guards outside the Lord & Taylor department store at a mall in suburban Detroit on June 22. The altercation that ended in Finley's death began when five guards, three white and two black, grabbed his 11-year-old stepdaughter and accused her of shoplifting. The item in question was a $4 bracelet.

By , 18 July 2000

Former Diego Garcia islanders launch legal action against British government

By Julie Hyland, 18 July 2000

Islanders removed from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean in the 1960s by the British government launched a legal action in the London High Court on Monday. Between 1966 and the early 1970s, the Labour government of Harold Wilson evicted approximately 1,500 inhabitants of Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and Salomon, in a deal struck with the US military.

UN report on AIDS paints a picture of devastation-Part 2

By Paul Scherrer, 18 July 2000

The United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) report on AIDS paints a picture of devastation in Africa and warns of catastrophe in many other regions of the world, yet offers no solution to this raging epidemic.

Hypocrisy and nervousness dominate Australian union congress

By Peter Stavropoulos, 18 July 2000

Congress 2000 convened by the Australian Council of Trade Unions at the end of last month was marked by a glaring gulf between rhetoric and reality.

Mediated talks in US commercial actors strike collapse

By Cory Johnson, 18 July 2000

Talks sponsored by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service between unions representing 130,000 striking commercial actors and negotiators for the ad industry in the US collapsed at the end of the first day. Federal mediators were unable to find grounds for resuming serious negotiations aimed at ending the two-month old strike. Neither side gave ground on the major issue of compensation for actors who perform in ads for commercial television and cable.

Media censorship in Sri Lanka ruled invalid then reimposed

By Dianne Sturgess, 18 July 2000

At the end of last month the Sri Lankan Supreme Court effectively overturned the stringent media censorship imposed by the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. On the following day the Peoples Alliance (PA) government restored the censorship measures. Both the court decision and its reversal reveal sharp divisions in ruling circles over the government's emergency regulations promulgated on May 3 following the army's defeats at the hands of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Italy: work-related accidents and deaths on the rise

By Rosa Ieropoli, 18 July 2000

On-the-job accidents and deaths in Italy increased last year, according to a report recently released by the National Board of Insurance against Accidents in Industrial Work (Instituto Nazionale per l'Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro—INAIL). The report contained data on workplace accidents in Italy during the first 11 months of 1999. There were 967,000 reported accidents, a 2.2 percent increase over 1998, and 1,113 deaths.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 18 July 2000

Bolivian truckers protest

UN report on AIDS paints a picture of devastation—Part 1

By Paul Scherrer, 17 July 2000

The United Nations and World Health Organization report on AIDS paints a picture of devastation in Africa and warns of catastrophe in many other regions of the world, yet offers no solution to this raging epidemic.

Behind the Australian backpackers hostel fire: young tourists used as cheap labour

By Ellen Blake, 17 July 2000

Last month's fire at the Palace Backpackers Hostel fire in the Australian fruitpicking town of Childers, in which 15 young tourists lost their lives, drew a prominent response from federal and state politicians. The Howard government set aside a special session of the national parliament for MPs to express their sorrow and condolences to the victims' families.

The Gusinsky affair: where are the dangers to democracy in Russia coming from?

By Vladimir Volkov, 17 July 2000

The arrest on June 13 of Russia's biggest media tycoon, the “oligarch” Vladimir Gusinsky, caused a stir both in Russia and internationally. For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a member of the “caste of untouchables” was arrested. In the course of the stormy events of the past 10 years governors, ministers and even the chief state prosecutor have been imprisoned, but never one of the handful of super-rich Russian oligarchs.

Victimised SEP member in Sri Lanka reinstated

By a correspondent, 15 July 2000

B.A. Sarath Kumara, a longstanding member of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka, who was suspended by Elastomeric Engineers Company Ltd (EECL) last month, has been reinstated following a campaign against his victimisation.

German state government of Baden-Württemberg shows solidarity with Austrian right-wing coalition

By Ulrich Rippert, 15 July 2000

In a particularly friendly manner and with a massive media presence, Erwin Teufel, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) minister president of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, recently extended a welcome to Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel. As they shook hands, Teufel stressed that he had invited the Austrian head of government to set an example in opposition to the diplomatic boycott of Austria imposed by the European Union (EU).

Chinese government backs development of Linux operating system

By Mike Ingram, 15 July 2000

Similar reports have emerged several times this year. In January, Jon Hall, Linux International executive director, said that it was government policy in China to use the operating system across all ministries. Speaking at the Linux World Asia conference, Hall said Wu Jichuan, China's Minister of Information Industries, had told him this during a visit to Beijing in July 1999.

Britain: Labour's employment initiatives cut welfare rolls and depress wage rates

By Julie Hyland, 15 July 2000

Figures released this week show that unemployment in Britain has fallen to its lowest rate since 1975. The number of people out of work and claiming welfare benefits dropped in June to 1.098 million, or 5.6 percent.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 15 July 2000

Sony to sack striking Indonesian workers

Bavaria's "Blue Card": a new attack on rights to immigration and asylum in Germany

By Ute Reissner, 15 July 2000

The introduction earlier this month of a “Blue Card” in the conservative-governed German state of Bavaria is a dual attack on fundamental democratic rights. Firstly, it sanctions unprotected dependent relationships on the jobs market, and secondly it further annuls asylum rights in Germany.

New Zealand employer sets up "People First" company union

By John Braddock, 15 July 2000

The Warehouse Group, one of New Zealand's biggest employers, has begun moves to set up its own company union for its 5,000 workers who are, according to millionaire-owner and managing director Stephen Tindall, “used to the Warehouse way of doing things.”

Japan's debt crisis hangs over global economy

By Nick Beams, 14 July 2000

With a meeting of the leaders of the G7 major industrial economies to be convened in Okinawa later this month, international attention is focusing on the state of the Japanese economy and the implications of mounting government debts for the health of the world economy as a whole.

Mounting social tensions in Israel and Palestinian Authority loom over Camp David summit

By Jean Shoal and Chris Marsden, 14 July 2000

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestine Liberation Organisation Chairman Yassir Arafat were persuaded by the US to proceed with the summit now under way at Camp David despite their frequently stated misgivings. President Bill Clinton and his advisers have stressed the urgent need to reach a final accord ending the 52-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the face of mounting social and political tensions in the Palestinian Authority, Israel and throughout the Middle East.

Police beating in Philadelphia captured on videotape

By Tom Bishop, 14 July 2000

In yet another case of police brutality that has drawn national headlines, more than a dozen Philadelphia cops were shown beating a wounded suspect on live TV on Wednesday, July 12. The scene was reminiscent of the brutality meted during the reign of Philadelphia Police Chief and Mayor Frank Rizzo in the 1970s, or more recently the beating of black motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police.

Study shows New York workfare program is eliminating union jobs

By Alan Whyte, 14 July 2000

A welfare rights advocacy organization has issued a 39-page report demonstrating that New York City's Work Experience Program (WEP) has been using welfare workers to do the same work as city workers and other regular employees, and has replaced thousands of unionized workers. The organization, Community Voices Heard, composed of low-income people, interviewed 649 WEP workers at 131 work sites in Manhattan and the Bronx between June 1999 and February 2000.

By , 14 July 2000

Students, workers protest in Iran

By a reporter, 14 July 2000

Over the past week the German government has hosted Iranian President Mohamed Khatami in a state visit designed to underscore Berlin's support for the pro-Western, “reform” faction of the Islamic ruling caste. German Prime Minister Schroeder has taken extraordinary security measures in an attempt to intimidate the thousands of Iranian exiles who have gathered in Berlin to protest Khatami's visit, denouncing the ongoing repression in Iran and Khatami's defence of Islamic clerical rule.

More than 250 feared dead in Nigerian pipeline explosion

By Trevor Johnson, 14 July 2000

A damaged oil pipeline gushing fuel exploded in southern Nigeria early Monday morning, killing more than 250 people. Many of the dead were schoolchildren, whose uniforms could be discerned on some of their charred remains.