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Locked gates prevented workers escaping death

By Y.A. Dharmasena, 30 November 2000

At least 48 workers were killed and more than 150 injured, some critically, when fire broke out in the Chowdhury Knitwear and Garment factory at Shibpur, near the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, on the night of November 25. The blaze was the worst factory fire in Bangladesh history. Survivors, neighbours and fire fighters said workers were prevented from escaping death because the only exit gate was locked.

Letters on the US election crisis

By , 30 November 2000

Below is a selection of recent letters on the US election crisis.

How Europe views the American electoral crisis

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 November 2000

Three weeks after the American election, with the conflict still raging over who will be the next US president, concern is growing in Europe that a continuing power vacuum in Washington could destabilise the entire world situation.

Recording giants could join Bertelsmann's embrace of Napster

By Mike Ingram, 30 November 2000

After an initial period of shock at Bertelsmann's decision to break ranks with the rest of the recording industry and enter into an alliance with Napster, there are indications that the major players are ready to do business.

How the conservative CDU/CSU alliance in Germany stirs up hatred against foreigners

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 30 November 2000

On November 9, Edmund Stoiber, Angela Merkel and Friedrich Merz—leading representatives of the German CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and the CSU (Christian Social Union)—appeared together on a platform at a demonstration in Berlin held under the slogan “For humanity and tolerance”. The scene was reminiscent of the Mafia godfather who goes to confession on Sunday before returning to his normal criminal activities on Monday.

Two letters on Thomas Jefferson

By , 30 November 2000

We received the following two letters from a reader in Manteca, California.

Florida citizens denounce Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters

By Jerry White, 30 November 2000

Dozens of angry citizens testified Wednesday at a public hearing before the Florida state legislature about Election Day intimidation on the part of polling officials, as well as confusing ballots and malfunctioning machines. The common theme was that they, and thousands of other voters—particularly in neighborhoods with large populations of minorities, poor people and senior citizens—had been disenfranchised.

ASEAN makes tentative moves toward an East Asian economic bloc

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2000

At an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Singapore last weekend, regional leaders along with their counterparts from three north-east Asian countries—Japan, China and South Korea—took tentative steps toward the formation of an East Asian trade bloc.

Bush campaign organized Republican riot to halt Miami-Dade recount

By Kate Randall, 29 November 2000

A detailed account by the pro-Republican Wall Street Journal confirms that last week's mini-riot outside the offices of the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board was organized and financed by the Bush-Cheney campaign and top leaders in the Republican Congress.

Shouting but not saying much—Requiem for a Dream

By David Walsh, 29 November 2000

Requiem for a Dream , directed by Darren Aronofsky, screenplay by Hubert Selby, Jr. and Darren Aronofsky, adapted from the novel by Hubert Selby, Jr.

Colombo residents demand halt to toxic pollution

By G. Senaratne, 29 November 2000

Residents of Ekala, an industrial suburb of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, last month launched a protest campaign against hazardous environment pollution caused by chemical waste from a Union Carbide plant. Because of the campaign, the government's area Medical Health Officer commenced a court case against the company on November 13, but the case has been adjourned until July 22 next year, leaving residents anxious and furious.

Gore cites breach of democratic rights in defending his appeal of Florida vote

By Patrick Martin, 29 November 2000

In Vice President Al Gore's nationally televised speech Tuesday night, as well as a subsequent press conference on Wednesday, the Democratic presidential candidate cited fundamental issues of democratic rights as his basis for contesting the result of the Florida vote as certified by Republican state officials.

Rightwing violence in Sweden

By Philipp Sonde, 29 November 2000

The actions of neo-Nazis in Sweden have for some time been taking more violent forms. In 1999 alone there were three murders and a bomb attack:

Ceasefire declared between Serbia and Albanian separatists

By Chris Marsden, 29 November 2000

A tense standoff on the border between Serbia and Kosovo ended with the declaration of an indefinite mutual ceasefire yesterday. Earlier, the government of Vojislav Kostunica had agreed to hold off a threatened counterattack against ethnic Albanian separatist forces, while demanding that NATO intervene to end hostile penetration into the Presevo Valley.

Canada's Liberals retain power by exploiting popular opposition to right

By Keith Jones, 29 November 2000

The results of Canada's November 27 federal election portend a sharp intensification of class conflict. While big business is pressing for a radical shift to the right, the bulk of Canadians, and above all the working class, oppose the dismantling of what remains of public and social services, the removal of all regulatory constraints on big business, and the curtailing of abortion and other democratic rights.

US trade deficit a sign of growing problems

By Nick Beams, 29 November 2000

The increase in the trade deficit to a record $34.3 billion in September has increased concerns that the United States economy could be heading into financial troubles, which would bring about a sharp decline in growth and even a recession. At its present rate the trade deficit is on course to reach $365 billion this year—that is a gap of $1 billion a day—representing an increase of $100 million over the record 1999 level.

General strike in Argentina

By Gerardo Nebbia, 28 November 2000

A 36-hour general strike called by three union federations in Argentina virtually shut down the nation of 37 million inhabitants last week. The mass walkout was a protest against austerity measures by the De la Rua administration that would cut Social Security benefits and freeze federal and provincial budgets for five years. President De la Rua and Labor Minister Patricia Bullrich denounced the strike.

DaimlerChrysler to cut thousands of jobs in North America

By Larry Roberts and Jerry White, 28 November 2000

Auto analysts say DaimlerChrysler must eliminate between 20,000 and 40,000 jobs at its North American Chrysler division and permanently close at least one of its 13 plants in the US and Canada because of huge financial losses. Over the last several weeks the very future of the Chrysler unit has been called into question after third-quarter losses of more than half a billion dollars, projections of even higher losses in the fourth quarter and into 2001 and a precipitous fall in the company's share value.

Floods deluge Australia's most populous state

By Richard Phillips, 28 November 2000

Over 30 percent of New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, or 240,000 square kilometres across 40 shires, was declared a natural disaster area last week following record floods in the north-west, Hunter, northern tableland and Murray River districts.

The issue is joined in the US: the right to vote or government by usurpation

By Barry Grey, 28 November 2000

With the outcome of the 2000 US election now in the hands of the courts, both the Florida judiciary and the US Supreme Court, the fundamental issues underlying the conflict within the American ruling elite are becoming more sharply defined. The very fact that the political struggle over the outcome of the November 7 vote has been thrown into the courts testifies to the depth and ferocity of the divisions within the political establishment.

Un intercambio sobre la globalizacion

By , 28 November 2000

WSWS : Español

NSW flooding highlights growing river management crisis

By Richard Phillips, 28 November 2000

Last week's flooding in New South Wales highlights years of government inaction over an increasing environmental crisis in the Murray Darling Basin river system—Australia's largest and most vital agricultural production area.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 November 2000

Taxi drivers strike in Rio de Janeiro

Correspondence about Pan Am 103/Lockerbie

By , 28 November 2000


Children's Society, top prisons inspector call for an end to jailing children in Britain

By Julie Hyland, 28 November 2000

Britain's Chief Inspector of Prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham, and the Children's Society have joined forces to call for an immediate end to sending children to jail. Their appeal was made as a report issued by the society said that prisons are acting as a warehouse for the country's most damaged and troubled children.

A new burst of diplomatic activity to push peace talks in Sri Lanka

By Wije Dias, 28 November 2000

Britain's junior foreign minister Peter Hain visited Colombo last week as part of a renewed flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at engineering talks between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to end the country's long-running war.

The rotting structures of the Australian Labor Party

By Linda Tenenbaum, 27 November 2000

Bitter factional brawling over parliamentary careers, influence, prestige and privilege has long been one of the main characteristics of life in the Australian Labor Party (ALP). So has “branch stacking”, the practice of fraudulently boosting the number of supporters of one candidate over another by falsifying party membership lists and rigging internal pre-selection ballots.

An exchange over the Singapore Airlines crash in Taiwan

By , 27 November 2000


Canadian Alliance's Stockwell Day and the charge of anti-Semitism

By Guy Leblanc and Keith Jones, 27 November 2000

Charges that Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day is an anti-Semite, or at least in the past promoted hostility to Jews, continue to circulate. During the Alliance leadership race Day tried to lay such allegations to rest, declaring a claim that he had said Jews were “children of the devil” was “1000 percent false.” Yet questions about Day's beliefs persist, and this for three reasons.

Bush campaign spokesman Governor Marc Racicot tied to extreme-right forces

By Jerry White, 27 November 2000

The fact that Montana Governor Marc Racicot has emerged as a leading spokesman for the campaign of George W. Bush says a great deal about the social and political physiognomy of the Republican Party.

Political warfare erupts in Britain over plans for European Army

By Chris Marsden, 27 November 2000

The decision by the Blair Labour government to commit 12,500 British troops, 18 ships and 72 combat aircraft to a new 60,000-strong European Union Rapid Reaction Force by 2003 has become the focus for a sustained attack of unprecedented ferocity by right-wing Conservative forces.

Journalist Christopher Hitchens: from "left" charlatan to mouthpiece for the Republican right

By David Walsh, 27 November 2000

Christopher Hitchens has been a contributor to The Nation, a left-liberal weekly magazine in the US, since 1982. He has also been Washington editor of Harper's and book critic for New York Newsday, and contributes regularly to Granta, The London Review of Books, Vogue, New Left Review, Dissent and the Times Literary Supplement. Hitchens, born in England in 1949 and a graduate of Oxford University, is also the author of a number of volumes of social and political commentary. His most recent book, No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family, is an attack on Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Democrats, liberals retreat in the face of Republican provocations

By Patrick Martin, 25 November 2000

In the ongoing conflict over the presidential election, the Republicans and the extreme right speak the language of war and bloodshed. The Democrats whine about the need for uniting the country and avoiding a divisive struggle. In a street fight between determined fascists and timid liberals, the outcome can be foreseen—not because the ultra-right enjoys genuine popular support—far from it—but because their liberal opponents have largely abandoned the field.

Two boys convicted of Jamie Bulger killing apply for anonymity ruling

By Julie Hyland, 25 November 2000

A judge is expected to rule within weeks on whether the two boys jailed for the killing of toddler James Bulger in 1993 should be granted a life-long injunction banning the media from disclosing any information about them upon their release. Major newsgroups in Britain are contesting the action, which has been brought by legal representatives acting on behalf of the two, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, who were 10 years old when they killed two-year-old James. Despite their youth, the boys were committed to stand trial as adults. Convicted of murder, the two were sentenced to a tariff of eight years detention, first raised to 10 years by the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Taylor, and then to 15 years by the then Conservative Home Secretary, Michael Howard.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 November 2000

South Korean strikes and rallies continue

Anatomy of a right-wing riot—the Republican mob attack in Miami-Dade

By Kate Randall, 25 November 2000

More details have come to light concerning the events on Wednesday at the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board that led to the board's decision to halt manual recounting of ballots in the presidential election. The board's sudden announcement that it was abandoning the recount meant that hundreds of votes, mostly for Democratic candidate Al Gore, would not be included in the official state-wide tally.

Putin's visit to India highlights significant strategic shifts

By Sarath Kumar, 25 November 2000

The visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to India in early October has underscored just how fluid and unstable economic, political and strategic relationships on the Indian subcontinent have become following the end of the Cold War.

The debate over a "defining German culture": the Christian Democrats march to the right

By Peter Schwarz, 25 November 2000

Four weeks ago, leading German Christian Democrat Friedrich Merz raised the demand in an interview for a “defining German culture,” which foreigners coming into the country had to fit in with. Since the Rheinischen Post published its interview with Merz, who is chairman of the Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU) faction in the German parliament, the theme has dominated public discussion in Germany.

Further moves to undermine Australian public broadcaster

By Janine Harrison, 24 November 2000

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the country's major public broadcaster, has been hit with funding cuts to its news and current affairs division that further threaten its independence. The cuts mark an escalation of attempts by successive governments to silence the ABC as a source of news and analysis.

An exchange on globalisation

By , 24 November 2000

Dear WSWS Editorial Board:

Alcohol deaths reflect desperate conditions in Kenya

By David Rowan, 24 November 2000

At least 137 people have died in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi after drinking an alcoholic brew laced with methanol. A further 500 people are in hospitals across the capital, with some in a serious condition, and there are reports that 20 people have gone blind.

The US election crisis: why is Ralph Nader silent?

By Jerry White, 24 November 2000

Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader has maintained a deafening silence on the political crisis surrounding the results of the US elections.

French court rules that Yahoo must block access to auction site

By Mike Ingram, 24 November 2000

A landmark ruling on Monday November 20 could have serious consequences for Internet freedom and privacy internationally.

The Bloc Québécois-a trap for workers

By François Legras, 24 November 2000

Although the Bloc Québécois (BQ) claims to be an ad hoc coalition, not a true political party, it is now contesting its third federal election. The federal alter ego of the Parti Québécois (PQ), the pro- indépendentiste party that forms Quebec's provincial government, the BQ is expected to capture the majority of Quebec's 75 House of Commons seats, but fall considerably short of winning a majority of Quebec's popular vote.

The Republican right prepares for violence

By the Editorial Board, 24 November 2000

The frenzied response of the Bush campaign and its allies in the media to Tuesday's ruling by the Florida Supreme Court has highlighted a political fact of immense significance: the Republican Party has become the organ of extreme right-wing forces that are prepared to use extra-parliamentary and violent methods to achieve their aims.

Austrian spying affair reveals close connections between Haider's Freedom Party and police

By Markus Salzmann, 24 November 2000

Jörg Haider's Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) had access to secret police data for many years. It used this in order to defame its political opponents and support its own xenophobic campaigns. It obtained access to the data via members of a sympathetic trade union, who were paid for their services. Alongside FPÖ strongman Haider, who also heads the Austrian state of Carinthia, other high-ranking party members are also suspected of having procured data illegally.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 23 November 2000

Council workers in Scotland strike over pay

Violent protests in Indian capital over factory closures

By Terry Cook, 23 November 2000

Thousands of industrial workers, workshop owners and their supporters took to the streets of the Indian capital of New Delhi this week to protest against moves to close down thousands of small factories in accordance with a Supreme Court anti-pollution order.

Right to vote upheld in Florida Supreme Court decision on recounts

By Patrick Martin, 23 November 2000

The Florida Supreme Court's decision Tuesday to compel state officials to accept and certify the hand recounts of the presidential vote in several south Florida counties was solidly rooted in both law and democratic tradition.

New York Mayor Giuliani announces crackdown on "quality of life" crimes

By Fred Mazelis, 23 November 2000

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani held a news conference on November 14 to announce a new crackdown on “quality of life” crimes.

South Africa: Eleven die in factory fire

By Barbara Slaughter, 23 November 2000

Eleven workers were burnt to death last Friday night in a factory fire in South Africa. The blaze was at the ESS chemicals factory in Lenasia, a suburb of Johannesburg. The whole of the nightshift—ten women workers and one male supervisor—were trapped inside the building with no means of escape. Officials on the scene said some of the bodies had become stuck in melted plastic from large tanks holding chemicals. One woman appeared to have suffocated and others probably died under piles of brick and debris left by the explosion of gas bottles inside the factory.

Israel steps up military and economic warfare against Palestinians

By Jean Shaoul, 23 November 2000

Israel has again stepped up its military offensive against the Palestinians, after almost two months of confrontation.

Three Los Angeles police found guilty of framing suspects

By Don Knowland, 22 November 2000

On November 15 a Los Angeles jury returned guilty verdicts against three of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Rampart Division officers charged with framing suspects and fabricating evidence.

Australia and New Zealand bully island states into accepting regional intervention

By Will Marshall, 22 November 2000

The two regional powers in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, bullied the small Pacific island states into accepting a new role for the Pacific Islands Forum when member countries met from October 27 to 30 in Kiribati. Under significant pressure, the 14 other Forum members agreed to endorse the Biketawa Declaration, which establishes a mechanism for diplomatic, economic and military intervention at the behest of the major powers in response to political crises.

German Christian Democrats attack the Central Jewish Council

By Peter Schwarz, 22 November 2000

The campaign launched by the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) for a “German defining culture” has made clear that in relation to many conservative politicians in Germany, anti-Semitic prejudices lurk just below the surface. From the ranks of the CDU has come vehement criticism of Paul Spiegel, the chairman of the Jewish Central Council. Spiegel, at the Berlin demonstration of November 9, dared to criticise the CDU cultural campaign, which is tainted with anti-foreigner racism.

Norway: Labour Party moves to strengthen global drive of country's energy sector

By Steve James, 22 November 2000

Norway's ruling Labour Party has reaffirmed the country's orientation to the European Union (EU) and agreed to the partial privatisation of the state-owned oil company Statoil. The 300 delegates took the decision at the party conference held November 9-12.

Peruvian dictator resigns: the fall of Fujimori

By Bill Vann, 22 November 2000

Caught in an ever-tightening noose of political crises and scandals, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori resigned suddenly and by long distance, sending a letter November 20 to the Peruvian Congress from a hotel in Tokyo.

New Northern Ireland Police Bill set to become law in weeks

By Julie Hyland, 22 November 2000

Last week, the Northern Ireland Police Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords, Britain's parliamentary upper chamber. But although the Bill is due to become law in weeks, political divisions over its contents remain.

Challenge to Japan's prime minister reveals deep rifts in ruling circles over economic policy

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2000

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori may have survived Monday's no-confidence vote in the Diet or parliament but none of the issues that sparked the move against his government have been resolved. At the last minute, Koichi Kato, a faction leader in Mori's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), announced that he would not vote with the opposition on the no-confidence motion but would abstain instead. The motion was defeated 237 to 190 in the 480-seat lower house.

Canadian elections: the real issues in the health care debate

By Jacques Richard, 21 November 2000

Time and again, ordinary Canadians have expressed great concern about the rapidly deteriorating state of the country's public health system, with its long waiting lists, overcrowded emergency wards and closed hospitals. But the controversy over health care that has come to dominate the campaign for the November 27 federal elections has nothing to do with addressing these concerns. Rather it represents an attempt by the ruling class to work out, behind the backs of the Canadian people, a plan to further subordinate health care, and social policy in general, to its drive for profits.

Thousands of New York City teachers rally to demand contract

By Steve Light, 21 November 2000

Demanding a new contract, 10,000 New York City public school teachers rallied after school at City Hall on November 16. While the president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Randi Weingarten, is making a salary increase the key issue, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani's call for longer working hours for teachers indicates that the negotiations will center on a settlement for increased productivity.

Bosnian elections a setback for the West

By Chris Marsden, 21 November 2000

Elections in Bosnia have demonstrated the continuing dominance of nationalist and ethnic-based parties. Final results in the November 11 general election—originally expected November 17—have still not been announced. But there is every indication that they represent a significant setback for the Western powers, whose success in engineering the replacement of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia by Vojislav Kostunica had encouraged them to believe they could secure a more compliant leadership in Bosnia.

Study shows opposition to US workers' right to organize has "no parallel in the western industrial world"

By Joanne Laurier, 21 November 2000

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a US-based organization that monitors rights abuses in some 70 countries, recently issued a 217-page report on the extraordinary obstacles American workers face in trying to exercise the right to organize. The study, entitled Unfair Advantage: Workers' Freedom of Association in the United States Under International Human Rights Standards, states that in the US “workers' rights violations are widespread and growing.”

Hand recounts in the US elections: fact and fiction

By David Walsh, 21 November 2000

Supporters and aides of Texas Governor George W. Bush have launched vehement attacks over the past week against the manual recounting of votes cast in the November 7 presidential election in several Florida counties.

Argentine debt crisis threatens global turbulence

By Nick Beams, 21 November 2000

In the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, the government of Argentina won praise from the International Monetary Fund for its embrace of privatisation, government spending cuts and free market “reforms” of its financial system.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 November 2000

Argentina on road to general strike

A beleaguered Pakistan military regime faces mounting criticism

By Vilani Peiris, 21 November 2000

Last month marked one year since General Pervez Musharraf ousted the elected Pakistani government, arrested prime minister Nawaz Sharif and installed his own military regime. Accusing the previous government of corruption and ruining the economy, Musharraf promised to bring economic progress and political stability, eradicate poverty, build investor confidence and restore democracy as quickly as possible.

More letters on the US elections

By , 21 November 2000

To the WSWS:

Florida presidential recount: Bush campaign makes appeal to military and extreme right

By Patrick Martin, 20 November 2000

Less than 24 hours after a Florida Supreme Court decision temporarily halted plans by the Republican-controlled state government to declare George W. Bush the winner of the presidential election, the Bush campaign returned to the attack in a press conference Saturday afternoon. Spokesmen for the Texas governor combined a denunciation of the manual recount in three south Florida counties with the allegation that the Gore campaign and the Florida Democratic Party were seeking to exclude absentee ballots cast by military personnel from the statewide tally.

A letter on the situation in Palm Beach, Florida

By , 20 November 2000

Dear Editor:

"There are thousands of talented athletes in Sri Lanka but they have no opportunity to develop"

By Paninie Wijesiriwardhena, 20 November 2000

Twenty-four-year old Susanthika Jayasinghe, one of Sri Lanka's leading female athletes, recently spoke to the World Socialist Web Site . Jayasinghe, who won a bronze medal in women's 200-metres sprint event at the Olympics Games in Sydney, is the country's first Olympic medallist for 52 years. The last Sri Lankan to win an Olympic medal was Duncan White, who won a silver medal in the 400-metres hurdles in 1948.

Israel's liberal press demands military suppression of the Palestinians.

By Jean Shaoul, 20 November 2000

Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper has published a series of articles criticising the country's “policy of restraint” and demanding an intensification of the repression of the Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). The call, from a paper with a similar orientation and standing within Israel to the New York Times in the US and the Guardian in Britain, shows the liberals' increasing bellicosity and headlong rush to the right in defence of the ruling Zionist elite.

Fijian High Court ruling declares military government illegal

By Mike Head, 20 November 2000

A Fijian High Court judge ruled on November 15 that the military-appointed Interim Government of Laisenia Qarase is illegal, heightening the volatile political situation in the Pacific island state.

Daewoo collapse to have global consequences

By Joe Lopez, 18 November 2000

The collapse of Daewoo Motor, South Korea's largest ever corporate failure, was the catalyst for a rally in the capital Seoul last week, involving 20,000 workers, protesting the impending mass layoffs.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 November 2000

Workers clash with police in Seoul

Sri Lankan president puts negotiations with the LTTE back on the agenda

By Wije Dias, 18 November 2000

In her speech opening the Sri Lankan parliament on November 9, President Chandrika Kumaratunga gave a cautious but clear signal that her government is moving toward negotiations with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) over an end to the country's 17-year civil war. “We have by no means closed the door to the LTTE, we are ready to have discussions with that organisation,” she said.

Sinn Fein seeks judicial review against Ulster Unionist leader's exclusion order

By Julie Hyland, 18 November 2000

Northern Ireland's health minister, Bairbre de Brun, has begun legal proceedings against Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble's decision to exclude Sinn Feins ministers from cross-border bodies.

Ft. Lauderdale residents voice their opinions about the US election crisis

By David Walsh, 18 November 2000

South Florida is like other parts of the US, except sunnier. It's composed of different worlds. The wealthy exist in their separate universe. You can glimpse it through fences and hedges. It's green and cool, decorated with fountains and dotted with palm trees and tropical plants. For everybody else, this could be anywhere in America. There are the same fast-food restaurants, gas stations, used car lots, supermarkets, liquor stores. And as is too often the case, the same ugliness, the same waste.

The Canadian Alliance election platform: a manifesto for unbridled reaction

By Guy Leblanc, 18 November 2000

Make no mistake, the Canadian Alliance election platform is the most right-wing ever presented by a party with a legitimate chance of forming Canada's national government.

Letters on the US elections

By , 18 November 2000

Below we post a selection of recent letters on our coverage of the US elections.

Court slows Bush grab for power: America at the knife-edge

By Patrick Martin, 18 November 2000

The extraordinary events of November 17, 2000 are among the most dramatic in recent American political history. A Florida county judge issued a ruling at 10 a.m., which cleared the way to the Bush campaign to hijack the presidential election. Six hours later the Florida Supreme Court intervened to overturn this action and bar Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Republican and co-chairman of the Florida Bush campaign, from certifying the results of the November 7 vote.

How Bush's man at Fox News worked to shape the outcome of the US election

By Kate Randall, 17 November 2000

In the early morning hours of November 8, Fox News Channel declared that the pivotal state of Florida had gone for George W. Bush. At 2:16 a.m. Fox announced that the Texas governor had won the state, thus securing the 271 electoral votes needed to win the presidential election. The other television networks followed suit in a matter of minutes. The call was subsequently withdrawn, and to date the Florida outcome remains undecided.

France announces measures to prevent spread of BSE/Mad Cow Disease

By Chris Marsden, 17 November 2000

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has announced a moratorium on the use of animal products in livestock feed and a ban on T-bone steaks, in an attempt to allay public concern over the rise in cases of BSE, or Mad Cow Disease.

Correspondence on South Africa and Libya

By , 17 November 2000

Dear Editor,

Germany: Party of Democratic Socialism proclaims its love for the Fatherland

By Hendrik Paul, 17 November 2000

Following its party convention in the eastern German city of Cottbus, the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) has resolutely declared its loyalty to the German nation. In a manner more characteristic of the right wing, the party's leading representatives have officially voiced their allegiance to the German Fatherland.

Australian government clashes with leading charity over welfare reform

By Terry Cook, 17 November 2000

An ongoing confrontation between the Howard government and St Vincent de Paul, one of the country's largest charities, escalated this week. In reply to trenchant criticisms from the Society over the government's welfare policies, Employment Services Minister Tony Abbott sent a scathing letter back, accusing St Vincent's of lacking insight “about the structural and cultural factors behind poverty in Australia.”

The US election crisis and its impact on world politics

By , 17 November 2000

In light of the political importance of events now unfolding in the United States, a change is being made in the topic of the public meeting to be held in Sydney on December 3. David North, the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States will deliver a public report on the US election crisis and its impact on world politics.

US election crisis reveals deep feelings about fairness and democratic rights

By David Walsh, 17 November 2000

The Florida Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Thursday evening to the hand recount of votes cast in the November 7 presidential election in Palm Beach and Broward counties. The vote recount had already begun in Broward. Palm Beach County canvassing board members, who had been awaiting the high court ruling, began their manual recount at 6 p.m. Thursday. The count, which will take some six days in Palm Beach, had been suspended following a legal opinion issued by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

George W. Bush's three principles: lies, fraud and theft

By Barry Grey, 16 November 2000

With his nationally televised speech Wednesday night, Republican Governor George W. Bush became the first candidate in US history to attempt, openly and before the American people, to gain the presidency through the suppression of votes.

Philippines Congress rushes through impeachment of President Estrada

By Peter Symonds, 16 November 2000

Under pressure from big business to rapidly end the country's political impasse, the Philippines House of Representatives on Monday impeached President Joseph Estrada on four charges of corruption, bribery, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution. The impeachment—the first in the country's history—was rushed through the House without debate, or a vote, in eight minutes flat.

Austria's Kaprun railway disaster reveals lack of safety measures

By Richard Tyler, 16 November 2000

The terrible fire on the Kaprun funicular railway has exposed a criminal lack of safety procedures. The death toll now stands at 158. It is believed that 155 died in the tunnel. Poisonous fumes that poured out at the mountain top station engulfed three more.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 16 November 2000

Thousands march against poverty and unemployment in Bulgaria

President Mubarak's party sustains significant losses in Egyptian elections

By Brian Smith, 16 November 2000

President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party has held its majority in parliament, but the Islamic opposition made significant gains in the Egyptian elections that concluded earlier this week. The National Democratic Party (NDP) won 388 of the legislature's 444 elected seats, legal opposition parties took 17 seats and candidates backed by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood gained 17 seats.

Britain's fuel tax protests come to a sorry end

By Julie Hyland, 16 November 2000

Anti-fuel tax campaigners in Britain ended their four-day convoy on Tuesday, with small protests in Edinburgh and London.

Palm Beach becomes battleground in US election crisis

By David Walsh, 16 November 2000

Palm Beach County in Florida has been at the center of political controversy since November 7. Whether initially the victims of poor ballot design or outright fraud, thousands of residents in West Palm Beach, along with tens of thousands throughout Florida, have been denied their basic right to cast a vote for the candidate of their choice. Tens of thousands of votes were declared ineligible in the presidential balloting and thousands of residents have registered their protests with officials.

Canadian elections: why the Alliance campaign is in disarray

By Keith Jones, 16 November 2000

The establishment media spent much of the first 10 months of this year promoting the formation of the right-wing Canadian Alliance and arguing that it is the sole credible alternative to Jean Chretien's Liberal government. Canada's corporate bosses, for their part, have provided the Alliance with the means to match Liberal election spending dollar for dollar. Whereas the Alliance's predecessor, the Reform Party, spent just $4.5 million on its entire 1997 federal election campaign, the Alliance raised $1.7 million with a single dinner last month. Enthused the president of the Business Council on National Issues, Canada's most powerful business lobby group, “Canadians now have an opportunity to have a real choice.”

Election turbulence adds to US economic worries

By Nick Beams, 16 November 2000

Continued uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election has added to the volatility of US stock markets amid fears that the financial processes that have sustained the boom are coming to an end.

Papua New Guinea prime minister staves off leadership challenge

By Will Marshall, 15 November 2000

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has been rebuffed in his efforts to push through the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Bill, the purpose of which was to meet the demands of global investors and financial markets for stable political rule.

US election may be on hold, but Texas execution machine grinds on

By Kate Randall, 15 November 2000

Things may be on hold in the US as far as the presidential election is concerned, but executions are going full steam ahead. It is looking like a particularly good week for Texas Governor George W. Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, who will preside over three executions in the Lone Star state if things proceed as scheduled.

Profile of a right-wing conspirator: the case of Theodore Olson

By , 15 November 2000

Theodore Olson, the lead attorney in the Bush campaign's effort to obtain a federal court order barring a hand count of Florida votes, is typical of the extreme right-wing operatives who have come to dominate the Republican Party. The World Socialist Web Site is reprinting here, in edited form, a political profile of Olson first published February 13, 1999.