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Australia's Centenary of Federation inspires little public enthusiasm

By Mike Head, 30 December 2000

January 1, 2001 is the centenary of the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia—then a federation of six British colonies. Considerable efforts have been made in recent months by federal and state governments, as well as the media, to publicise the event and turn it into a popular celebration of Australia's nationhood. Planning has been underway for several years, funded by the federal government with more than $100 million, in addition to a $1 billion Federation Fund, which has been used to underwrite various infrastructure projects.

US economy on the way to recession

By Nick Beams, 30 December 2000

Less than three months ago the International Monetary Fund gave the following assessment for the US and world economy.

US targets Venezuela: Bush plans aggressive policy in Latin America

By Patrick Martin, 30 December 2000

The incoming Republican Party administration in Washington plans to take a tougher and more aggressive line in Latin America, targeting nationalists regarded as opponents of American economic and political interests, including the leaders of Venezuela and Haiti as well as the traditional bogeyman of US imperialism, Cuban President Fidel Castro.

David Walsh chooses his favorite films of 2000

By , 30 December 2000

I thought this was a particularly poor year for American films, perhaps European as well. The strongest films continue to come from Asia. But film and art in general need a new aesthetic and social perspective. The current political crisis in the US marks a turning point, and much that has been taken for granted in a stagnant time will be shaken up. We are on the eve of a great change.

Chinese authorities commit workers' leader to psychiatric hospital to halt protests

By Terry Cook, 30 December 2000

In a transparent attempt to stamp out a protracted protest by workers at the Fuming County Silk Factory in China's eastern Jiangsu province, management and public security officials arrested one of the leaders, Cao Maobing, on December 15 and committed him to a psychiatric hospital.

Britain's Labour government kowtows to fox hunting lobby

By Julie Hyland, 30 December 2000

Britain's pro-fox hunting lobby staged a show of strength on December 26, the traditional Boxing Day holiday. Press reports claimed that some 300,000 people around the country showed up for fox hunts on the main day of the sport's annual calendar. Most were onlookers, gathered to watch the red-coated horse riders—fortified by hip flasks of port—and their pack of hounds chase any unsuspecting fox to shouts of “Tally Ho!”.

Judge bends law to toss out convictions of Los Angeles police

By Don Knowland, 30 December 2000

A Los Angeles trial judge has overturned the criminal convictions of three Los Angeles anti-gang officers. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office must now decide whether to appeal the ruling, retry the officers or drop the prosecution.

South Korean police storm bank workers' occupation

By Luciano Fernandez, 30 December 2000

South Korean union leaders called off a week-long strike by employees of the Kookmin and Housing & Commercial banks on December 28, the day after 8,000 riot police stormed a training centre being occupied by the workers in Ilsan, just north of Seoul.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 December 2000

Korean communications union ends strike

US economy on the way to recession

By Nick Beams, 30 December 2000

Less than three months ago the International Monetary Fund gave the following assessment for the US and world economy.

George W. Bush: president-elect or president-select?

By Barry Grey, 29 December 2000

Since Al Gore's December 13 concession speech, Texas Governor George W. Bush has been given the title president-elect. This is the term traditionally accorded to the individual who is elected by the voters.

Two stowaways fall to their deaths from British planes

By Julie Hyland, 29 December 2000

Two men died over the Christmas holidays after apparently falling from two different aeroplanes above Gatwick airport, near London. The two men are believed to be immigrants attempting to stowaway on planes by clinging to the undercarriage.

Open appeals to chauvinism divide the Parti Québécois

By Guy Charron, 29 December 2000

The Parti Québécois, the indépendantiste party which forms Quebec's provincial government, is going through a crisis that reveals its profound contradictions and portends a turn of the Quebec separatist movement to unabashed chauvinism.

A reader comments on The House of Mirth

By , 29 December 2000

To arts editor David Walsh,

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations stalled

By Chris Marsden, 29 December 2000

On Wednesday December 27, the planned summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss US proposals to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict was called off.

Australian government refuses to search for missing refugees

By Jake Skeers, 29 December 2000

More than two weeks after Australia's Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock announced that two boats carrying up to 163 refugees to Australia from Indonesia may have sunk, it is still not clear how many, if any, asylum seekers perished.

One critic's picks for top jazz and blues albums of 2000

By Michael G. Nastos, 29 December 2000

Michael G. Nastos hosts “Evening Jazz & Blues” weeknights on WEMU-FM, 89.1, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, as he has for 22 of his 30 years in radio. He has written for the Alchemist , the All Music Guide , the Ann Arbor News , Arts Midwest , the Blues Review , Cadence , Coda , Detroit Jazz , Downbeat , Jazz Journal International , Jazz Times , the Metro Times , and Swing Journal magazines and the SEMJA (Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association) Update . He is past Jazz Chair of the Michigan Council of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and edited Robert Sweet's Music Universe—Music Mind: A History of the Creative Music Studio .

Britain: Labour Home Secretary supports reinstatement of racist policeman

By Mike Ingram, 29 December 2000

A London police constable sacked for calling a 14-year-old suspect a "black bastard" was reinstated December 21 by a Home Office disciplinary appeals tribunal.

Retrial underway in the case of the "Hsichih Trio"

By Angela Pagano, 28 December 2000

The retrial of three men facing execution over a 1991 murder case has been underway in Taiwan since November 16. Su Chien-ho, Liu Bin-lang and Chuang Lin-hsun, known in Taiwan as the “Hsichih Trio,” were found guilty of murder, robbery and rape in February 1992 and sentenced to death.

Terence Davies' The House of Mirth: a comment and a press conference with the director

By David Walsh, 28 December 2000

We re-post below a review of The House of Mirth , directed by Terence Davies, based on the novel by American author Edith Wharton, which has just opened in the US. The comment by David Walsh, originally posted October 9, 2000, was part of a series of articles discussing the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival.

The political crisis in the US: its implications for Europe and the world

By Peter Schwarz, 28 December 2000

Below we publish the English translation of the editorial of the January 2001 edition of Gleichheit, the journal of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party of Germany).

Turner Prize award to Wolfgang Tillmans hailed as shift in focus

By Paul Mitchell, 28 December 2000

This year's £20,000 Turner Prize for Art was awarded for the first time to a photographer—the 34-year old, German-born artist Wolfgang Tillmans.

Electrical utilities hold California hostage

By Gerardo Nebbia, 28 December 2000

On December 22 the California State Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced it would raise electricity rates on January 4, in response to ultimatums from Edison, the giant electric utility that dominates Southern California.

Christmas night fire kills 311 in central China

By James Conachy, 28 December 2000

A Christmas night inferno in a four-storey building has claimed at least 311 lives in Luoyang, the capital of the central Chinese province of Henan. More than 50 other victims are being treated in hospital for burns and smoke inhalation.

US mayors report increasing hunger and homelessness in American cities

By Kate Randall, 27 December 2000

A report issued this month by the United States Conference of Mayors concludes that requests for emergency food assistance and emergency shelter increased dramatically in American cities in the year 2000.

World Bank and donor countries set the agenda for Sri Lankan government

By K. Ratnayake, 27 December 2000

A two-day meeting of the Sri Lankan donor countries organised by the World Bank in Paris on December 18-19 has insisted that the Peoples Alliance (PA) government take steps to end the country's war, speed up the restructuring of the public sector, and cut back welfare and tertiary education if the country is to receive a new line of credit.

The Bohemian Grove club: America's ruling elite at work and play

By Richard Tyler, 27 December 2000

The World Socialist Web Site has noted the political and personal bonds linking members of the US Supreme Court with the incoming Republican administration (see: “Family ties, political bias linked US Supreme Court justices to Bush camp” ). It is also worth noting that several of the justices, or their spouses, share another common bond with the Bush camp—participation in the activities of the highly secretive Bohemian Grove club.

The US media: a critical component of the conspiracy against democratic rights—Part 5

By David Walsh, 27 December 2000

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the ideological and political role of the American media. Part one appeared on December 5, part two on December 7, part three on December 16 and part four on December 19.

Pinochet's legal victories may see him escape trial

By Mauricio Saavedra, 27 December 2000

Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet has won a series of legal victories over the past week that may bring an end to the most prominent of the 190 criminal lawsuits filed against him since 1998.

Middle East negotiations in Washington amidst continuing violence

By Chris Marsden, 23 December 2000

Expectations are high that some form of agreement will emerge from four days of talks between Israel and Palestine in Washington.

Rwanda on the offensive in Congo War

By Chris Talbot, 23 December 2000

Rwandan troops and rebel forces of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) have routed government troops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The RCD has taken over the towns of Peta and Pweto in the DRC province of Katanga. Thousands of refugees have been forced to flee over the border into Zambia, along with 3,000 deserting DRC troops. Among those fleeing were 200 Zimbabwean troops, putting more pressure on Harare to pull out their 11,000 troops that are supporting the DRC government in the war. It is not yet clear whether this latest Rwandan offensive marks a change in a war, which has effectively become a stalemate.

Letter on the Turkish prison crackdown

By , 23 December 2000

To the WSWS,

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 December 2000

Union leaders close down postal strike in India

Britain: Children targeted by police investigating ten-year-old's death

By Tania Kent, 23 December 2000

A 15 year old boy from Camberwell, South London was arrested on December 21 in connection with the death of 10 year old Damilola Taylor on November 27. The boy was arrested during a pre-dawn raid at 6am at his home and released later that day. He is the thirteenth child to be arrested and detained by police over Damilola's death.

Wall Street Journal targets Jesse Jackson: opening salvo in an attack on public dissent

By Jerry White, 23 December 2000

Within the establishment press the Wall Street Journal serves as a mouthpiece for the most right-wing elements of the Republican Party and American ruling circles in general. Thus the appearance of an editorial in the Journal's December 14 issue denouncing Jesse Jackson in scathing terms is indicative of the political trajectory of forces that will exert a major influence on the incoming administration of George W. Bush.

Australian welfare agencies unable to meet Christmas need for assistance

By our reporters, 23 December 2000

In the lead-up to Christmas, many Australian charities have reported that the demand for their services has never been greater. By Christmas Day, tens of thousands of needy individuals and families are likely to have been turned away without help, some unable to obtain shelter, let alone food, gifts and the other trimmings traditionally associated with the festive season.

New York City police seek new restrictions on public protests

By Fred Mazelis, 22 December 2000

The New York City Police Department has proposed changes in the rules governing parades, rallies and protests. They amount to an attempt by the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to further restrict the right of assembly and free speech.

Australian power workers reject union attempt to impose job cuts

By Chris Sinnema, 22 December 2000

Power workers at Yallourn Energy in Victoria's La Trobe Valley have defied their union leadership and voted down a new three-year workplace agreement in a secret ballot conducted over three days. The result was announced on December 20.

Sri Lankan government and LTTE inch closer to negotiations

By K. Ratnayake, 22 December 2000

Under pressure from the major powers, the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are inching toward talks aimed at ending the civil war that has engulfed the island for 17 years and resulted in more than 60,000 deaths.

Recent letters to the WSWS

By , 22 December 2000

Dear Editor,

Turks mount protests in London

By Julie Hyland, 22 December 2000

Demonstrators protesting the brutal killing of dozens of political prisoners by Turkey's security forces earlier this week occupied the London Eye—the English capital's big wheel attraction—on Wednesday afternoon.

Turkish state suppresses prison revolts

By Justus Leicht, 22 December 2000

Brandishing rifles and waving the Turkish flag, thousands of right-wing policemen have demonstrated over the past days for the release of their colleagues in the prison service who have been convicted of torture. Their slogans included: “We want blood!” and “Left-wing organisations should get out of the way. We are ready to use our weapons!” A deputy of the fascist MHP (Grey Wolves - part of the ruling coalition) publicly called for “prisoners to be allowed to rot:” On Tuesday they got what they wanted.

Family ties, political bias linked US Supreme Court justices to Bush camp

By Patrick Martin, 22 December 2000

It is a well-known fact that the five Supreme Court justices who threw the presidential election to George W. Bush in their ruling December 12 were appointed by Republican presidents—three by Ronald Reagan, one by Bush's father, and one by Richard Nixon (William Rehnquist, later elevated to chief justice by Reagan).

Australian government to abolish welfare entitlements

By Terry Cook, 21 December 2000

In one of its final acts for the year, the Australian government handed down a “directional statement” on December 14 that abolishes the social welfare payments system as it has existed since World War II. No longer will welfare benefits be entitlements; instead most recipients will be forced to undertake paid or unpaid work or some other form of “participation” in the economy.

Letters on the WSWS coverage of Sri Lanka

By , 21 December 2000

Dear friends at the WSWS,

Detroit police gun down another mentally ill man

By Debra Watson, 21 December 2000

A mentally ill Detroit resident, 22-year-old Sharrone Mathews, was shot dead by police early on the morning of December 13. Nearly a dozen officers fired 80 rounds of ammunition at the young man who had retreated into his home after being questioned by police about a car theft. Mathews died in the doorway of his home, suffering from multiple bullet wounds.

Hayes-Tilden dispute of 1876 foreshadowed eruption of class conflict

By Shannon Jones, 21 December 2000

One hundred twenty-four years ago another disputed presidential election took place under conditions of sharp social polarization in the United States. The presidential contest of 1876 between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes resulted in a rightward political realignment within the ruling class in the face of rising class tensions.

Britain's Conservatives spout racist law and order rhetoric

By Julie Hyland, 21 December 2000

Britain's Conservative Party leader William Hague has set out his stall for the General Election—expected early next year—with an open appeal to racial prejudice and demands for more aggressive law and order measures.

US Congress, Clinton shelve aid to low-paid and immigrant workers

By Patrick Martin, 21 December 2000

The first victims of the stolen US presidential election are the most oppressed sections of the American working class. Acting only three days after the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore conceded, the Republican congressional leadership and the Clinton administration reached a final agreement on the budget for the current fiscal year which eliminates a planned increase in the minimum wage and a measure easing restrictions on immigrant workers.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 21 December 2000

Protesting nurses paralyse Warsaw

Interviews from David North's lecture in Sydney, Australia

By , 20 December 2000

We are publishing here a series of interviews with workers, students and youth who attended a lecture delivered by David North, chairman of the World Socialist Web Site editorial board and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of the US. The lecture, entitled “Lessons from history: the 2000 elections and the new ‘irrepressible conflict'” was given at a public meeting of the SEP of Australia held on December 3 in Sydney.

Not so distant, but still distant

By David Walsh, 20 December 2000

You Can Count on Me is a first feature film by screenwriter and playwright Kenneth Lonergan. At the 2000 Sundance Film Festival it was co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize and won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

New evidence of brutality inside Australia's refugee camps

By Jake Skeers, 20 December 2000

Reports are continuing to emerge of the brutal treatment of refugees, including children, inside Australia's immigration detention centres, despite denials and cover-ups directed by Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock.

European Court of Justice allows complaint against death sentence by Kurdish Workers Party leader Ocalan

By Justus Leicht, 20 December 2000

On December 15 the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg accepted a complaint filed by the lawyers of Abdullah Ocalan. Last year a Turkish court passed a death sentence on the leader of the nationalist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

As Bush comes to Washington, US economy heads towards recession

By Jerry White, 20 December 2000

There are increasing signs that the US economy is heading towards a recession as major corporations—from the auto industry, to banking, to technology, to consumer goods—have announced far weaker than expected sales and earnings and a new round of mass layoffs and plant closings.

Spain imposes new anti-immigrant legislation

By Vicky Short, 20 December 2000

The right wing Popular Party government is implementing new anti-immigration legislation that will trample on the basic democratic rights of foreign workers.

Letters on the post-election crisis in the US

By , 19 December 2000

The following is a selection of letters on the WSWS coverage of the post-election crisis in the US.

Fiji's military government wins more explicit backing from Australia and New Zealand

By Tim Joy, 19 December 2000

The Australian and New Zealand governments have strengthened their support for the military-installed interim government in Fiji by making it plain that they are not calling for the reinstatement of deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

The American media: a critical component of the conspiracy against democratic rights—Part 4

By David Walsh, 19 December 2000

The world of television news analysis in the US is composed of individuals with pro-establishment and essentially right-wing views and connections, or liberals and “moderates” who continuously accommodate themselves to the right. Here are some of the figures who commented on the recent post-election crisis and attempted to shape public perceptions of the extraordinary events.

Electoral College votes for Bush, sealing an anti-democratic election

By Patrick Martin, 19 December 2000

Completing the anti-democratic travesty of the 2000 US presidential election, the 538 members of the Electoral College met December 18 in 50 states and the District of Columbia, handing the presidency to the candidate who lost the November 7 popular vote.

Norway's extreme right Progress Party wracked by internal feuding

By Steve James, 19 December 2000

In a venomous and highly public dispute, Norway's extreme right wing Progress Party (PP) has expelled 16 of its leading members from the Oslo area. Those kicked out are supporters of the party's national chairman and Storting (parliament) deputy Dag Danielsen. The expulsions represent an escalation of disputes that have festered for several years and revolve around the extent to which PP leader Carl I. Hagen is able to dictate policy.

Pakistani regime allows jailed prime minister Sharif to go into exile

By Vilani Peiris, 19 December 2000

In a suddenly announced move on December 10, Pakistan's military regime released the ousted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from jail and sent him into exile in Saudi Arabia. As part of the deal, Sharif has agreed to keep out of politics while in exile and to forfeit more than $10 million in land, bank accounts and industrial property. While Sharif has been formally pardoned, he remains disqualified from holding public office for 21 years.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 19 December 2000

Argentine trade unions to protest against austerity measures

Report details history of Switzerland's anti-Gypsy policies

By Peter Reydt, 18 December 2000

A recent report shows that Gypsies were systematically refused entry into Switzerland during the Second World War, even though the authorities knew they faced extermination in Nazi Germany. The report Roma, Sinti and Yenish-Swiss Gypsy policies at the time of National Socialism was produced by the Independent Commission of Experts: Switzerland—World War Two. It is the last instalment of an investigation into refugee policies published last year by the commission, which comprises an international body of historians headed by the Swiss historian Jean-Francois Bergier.

Australia: New evidence that gambling industry profits from the poorest suburbs

By Janine Harrison, 18 December 2000

Recent statistics from the Australian state of New South Wales underline the extent to which the gambling industry preys upon the poorest and most oppressed layers of the working class. Quarterly statistics from the NSW Department of Gaming and Racing indicate that in the heavily working class Sydney suburb of Canterbury-Bankstown, where residents have an average weekly income of $263, weekly spending on poker machines is equivalent to $181 per person.

Bush prepares a government of reaction and militarism

By Patrick Martin, 18 December 2000

The political contours of the incoming administration of President-elect George W. Bush are already becoming visible: it will be a government committed to a far-reaching program of social reaction at home, combined with the aggressive assertion of unilateral American power overseas.

Art and working class life, an attempt

By Joanne Laurier, 18 December 2000

Billy Elliot is the latest in a series of comic or quasi-comic social realist films about working class life in the north of England. Written by Lee Hall, the film is the directorial feature film debut of Stephen Daldry, a former artistic director of the prestigious Royal Court Theatre in London.

Detroit house fire claims three more lives

By Larry Roberts, 18 December 2000

Three Detroit residents, including two children ages 10 and 13, died in a house fire December 13 in the second deadly blaze to hit the city in the space of two weeks. As in the earlier tragedy, which claimed the lives of six children—ages 2-7—on December 1, rescue efforts by firefighters were hampered by malfunctioning fire hydrants.

Drug resistant pathogen kills patients in Sri Lanka's leading public hospital

By a correspondent, 18 December 2000

Three patients are dead and others have been affected after a multi-drug resistant bacteria struck the Cardio Thoracic Unit (CTU) at the National Hospital, Sri Lanka's leading public hospital. By December 16, the hospital had turned away more than a hundred patients who were on the waiting list for heart surgery.

Europe's right-wing media gloats, while liberals fear discrediting of US democracy following Supreme Court verdict

By Chris Marsden, 16 December 2000

There is a growing recognition within Europe's media that what they often glibly, and indeed smugly, dismissed as America's “election farce” has serious political import. The Republican political coup has been hailed by the rightwing as a triumph. More liberal commentators, in contrast, have sounded ominous warnings of the political implications of such a naked attack on democratic rights.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 16 December 2000

Indian court demands action against postal strike

Australian government unveils new interventionist military doctrine

By Mike Head, 16 December 2000

The Australian government released a Defence White Paper on December 6, substantially increasing military spending and enunciating a new strategic doctrine that lays the basis for further regional interventions, following the precedent set by sending nearly 5,000 troops to East Timor last year.

Evidence mounts of Estrada's involvement in illegal gambling racket

By Peter Symonds, 16 December 2000

Just over a week into the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in the Philippines Senate there appears to be considerable evidence that he was at the centre of a racket to take millions of pesos a month in protection money from the operators of the country's illegal numbers game “jueteng”.

FBI agents march on White House to oppose clemency for political prisoner Leonard Peltier

By Jerry White, 16 December 2000

In an unprecedented public protest Friday, hundreds of FBI agents marched to the White House to oppose presidential clemency for political prisoner Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist who has been imprisoned for nearly a quarter of a century. Last month President Bill Clinton said he would review Peltier's case before leaving office. Peltier, 56, has been serving two consecutive life terms at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas since his frame-up for the June 1975 killing of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

The US media: a critical component of the conspiracy against democratic rights—Part 3

By David Walsh, 16 December 2000

The mass media have played an immense role over the past five weeks in determining the outcome of the crisis that followed upon the unresolved presidential election of November 7. It is unquestionably the case that had leading media personalities evinced an interest in matters of democratic rights and principles, had they raised any serious challenge to the arguments of right-wing politicians and commentators, had they pointed warningly to the biases of reactionary judges, the population would have been in a far better position to confront the attempt by George W. Bush and the Republican Party to usurp power.

Romania after the election

By Brigitte Fehlau, 16 December 2000

Eleven years after the fall of the Stalinist Ceausescu regime, the stench of fascism today hangs threateningly over Romania.

Letters on the US election crisis

By , 15 December 2000

Your web site is the only, and I repeat, only place in the country (and the world) where serious public discussion, analysis, and coverage of the election debacle, is taking place. The newspapers and television networks do all they can to conceal from everyone the real and genuine crises that are exploding every day. Their reporting runs from “awful” to probably “criminal.” We need a Labor Party ... keep up the great work!

Letters on "Lessons from history: the 2000 elections and the new 'irrepressible conflict'"

By , 15 December 2000

The following letters were received regarding David North's lecture, “Lessons from history: the 2000 elections and the new ‘irrepressible conflict'”

Côte d'Ivoire: President Gbagbo stokes up ethnic conflict

By Chris Talbot, 15 December 2000

Laurent Gbagbo, who became President of Côte d'Ivoire in October with French support after the ousting of military dictator General Guei, went ahead with controversial parliamentary elections on December 10.

Staff protest axing of key programs at Australian government broadcaster

By Richard Phillips, 15 December 2000

Angry Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) staff walked off the job last week for 24 hours after management sacked Paul Barry, presenter of the Media Watch television show, and announced that Quantum, Australian television's only locally produced science program, would be axed along with the network's 15-member Science Unit. The decision to strike, the first national action by 4,200 employees of the government-owned broadcaster since 1996, was taken at well-attended mass meetings in Sydney, Melbourne and other major cities, as well as regional centres.

President Clinton pledges clampdown on terrorism in Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 15 December 2000

Bill Clinton made his third and final visit as US President to Ireland earlier this week. The two-day tour had all the makings of a farewell celebration. Accompanied by his wife, daughter and mother-in-law, he addressed packed and enthusiastic audiences north and south of the border, many of whom see him as the major architect of the Northern Ireland “peace process”.

Australian unions campaign for "reasonable" working hours

By Terry Cook, 15 December 2000

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the country's peak union body, is carrying out a campaign for “reasonable working hours”. It is highly unlikely that any but a handful of union members and officials even know of the existence of this crusade. No mass meetings have been called, and no strikes or industrial action have taken place.

Gore concession speech: Democrats capitulate to right-wing attack on voting rights

By Patrick Martin, 15 December 2000

The concession speech delivered by Vice President Al Gore Wednesday night was an unvarnished capitulation to the right-wing forces responsible for stealing the 2000 presidential election and installing George W. Bush in the White House.

Funding crisis forces hospital emergency closures in Western Australia

By Joe Lopez, 14 December 2000

Media reports have exposed the regular closure of accident/emergency departments at Perth's major public hospitals, cancellations of elective surgery, nursing shortages and funding problems, revealing a major crisis developing in Western Australia's health system.

Report by B'Tselem human rights group highlights Israeli brutality against Palestinians

By Brian Smith, 14 December 2000

The Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem issued a 51-page report December 6 entitled Illusions of Restraint: Human rights violations in the occupied territories September 29 - December 2, 2000.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 14 December 2000

Council staff in London, England strike against job losses

Britain demands greater political control over Africa: the case of Malawi

By David Rowan, 14 December 2000

Clare Short, Britain's Minister for International Development, introduced a white paper this week entitled Eliminating World Poverty: making globalisation work for the poor. Backed personally by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the paper is supposed to be a response to anti-globalisation protests at Seattle, Washington, Prague and at last weekend's European Union summit in Nice. It declares that, “If the poorest people and countries can be included in the global economy on more beneficial terms, it could lead to a rapid reduction in global poverty”.

Britain: Vauxhall car workers protest mass layoffs

By Mike Ingram, 14 December 2000

Workers at GM's Vauxhall car plant in Luton reacted angrily to the announcement of 2,000 job losses as part of a global restructuring, ending car production at the 95-year-old plant.

Supreme Court overrides US voters: a ruling that will live in infamy

By the Editorial Board, 14 December 2000

The ruling issued Tuesday by the US Supreme Court marks a turning point in US history. It constitutes a fundamental and irrevocable break with democracy and the traditional forms of bourgeois legality.

Cabinet reshuffle amplifies factional tensions within Japanese ruling party

By James Conachy, 14 December 2000

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori unveiled a new cabinet on December 5, just two weeks after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) survived a no-confidence motion on the floor of parliament and a potential split. While the reshuffle was required ahead of a major restructure of the Japanese government bureaucracy in January, the dominant faction of the LDP has strengthened its position and marginalised its opponents in the party.

The case of Leonard Peltier: notorious frame-up of Native American activist returns to public spotlight

By Cory Johnson, 14 December 2000

Earlier this fall, in a downtown Toronto office, a Native American woman recanted her 1976 testimony that served as the basis for extraditing American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier from Canada to the United States.

Sharp conflicts at the French Socialist Party congress

By Marianne Arens and Françoise Thull, 13 December 2000

Sharp factional fights marked the recent congress of the French Socialist Party. At the gathering, held on November 25-26 in Grenoble, the majority grouping around Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was opposed by two minority tendencies that criticised the government's business-friendly social policies.

The reform of France's unemployment benefits scheme

By Marianne Arens and Françoise Thull, 13 December 2000

The recent agreement sanctioned by the French government concerning the reform of the Unedic system of unemployment insurance, administered jointly by the employers and the unions, heralds a deterioration in the conditions of the jobless not seen since the late 1950s. Moreover, it constitutes an attack on workers in general. On October 19, the Medef employers' association and the three trade unions CFDT, CFTC and CGC endorsed the agreement. The CGT and FO trade unions refused to sign. The accord will operate from January 1 next year to the end of 2003.

Lessons from history: the 2000 elections and the new "irrepressible conflict"—questions and discussion

By David North, 13 December 2000

We are publishing here the discussion from the question and answer period that followed a lecture by David North, chairman of the World Socialist Web Site editorial board and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of the US. The lecture, entitled “Lessons from history: the 2000 elections and the new ‘irrepressible conflict'” was given at a public meeting of the SEP of Australia held December 3 in Sydney.

Australian Labor Party votes for Bill to boost wealthy private schools

By Erika Zimmer, 13 December 2000

Just before the federal parliament shut down for the year in the early hours of December 8, the Australian Labor Party voted with the Howard government to pass an education funding Bill that showers the most exclusive private schools with millions of dollars in additional funding.

Jacksonville voters describe Election Day fraud and intimidation

By Jerry White, 13 December 2000

Information continues to come to light about the systematic disenfranchisement of working class voters in Florida, particularly in minority and immigrant neighborhoods. The National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP) has received hundreds of complaints, including reports of legal voters being turned away from the polls, black voters being harassed by state Highway Patrol officers outside of voting stations, and other acts of intimidation and fraud.

European Union summit in Nice increases weight of larger countries

By Peter Schwarz, 13 December 2000

The conference of European Union heads of government in Nice ended early Monday morning with an "agreement", one and a half days later than planned. The agreement is primarily an expression of the fact, according to all involved, that under no circumstances could the summit be allowed to fail. But none of the disputed questions were really solved.

GM to phase out Oldsmobile brand and cut 16,000 jobs in the US and Europe

By our correspondent, 13 December 2000

General Motors announced Tuesday that it is phasing out its Oldsmobile division—the oldest car brand in America—and restructuring the car company to eliminate more than 16,000 jobs in North America and Europe next year. Following recent layoff and possible plant closing announcements by rivals Ford and DaimlerChrysler, GM's move is the latest indication of a significant downturn in the auto industry and the US economy as a whole.

Chilean court overturns Pinochet arrest order

By Bill Vann, 13 December 2000

Ten days after a Chilean judge ordered the arrest of Augusto Pinochet in connection with death squad murders carried out in the aftermath of the CIA-backed military coup 27 years ago, an appeals court panel overturned the order. The judicial reverse came under conditions of mounting military pressure to halt the prosecution of the former dictator.

Israel: Prime Minister Barak resigns in bid to neutralise his opponents

By Jean Shaoul, 12 December 2000

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced his resignation December 9. He said he had made the sudden decision in order to seek a fresh electoral mandate to negotiate an agreement with the Palestinians amid the worst Palestinian-Israeli violence in years. It is a desperate act of brinkmanship from Barak, a soldier turned politician, who finds himself backed into a corner.