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Philippine military and big business join hands to oust Estrada

By Peter Symonds, 31 January 2001

The ousting of Philippine President Joseph Estrada on January 20 has been widely presented in the media as the outcome of People Power II—a re-run of the protest movement headed by Cory Aquino that brought down the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Marxism and the AIDS dissidents:

By , 31 January 2001

Below Chris Talbot replies to a number of letters written supporting the theories of so-called AIDS “dissidents”. In brief, these claim that the link between HIV and AIDS has been invented by Western governments and the drugs companies to create a multibillion-dollar market for the drugs used in the treatment of AIDS; that several of these drugs cause AIDS; and that what has been classed as an AIDS epidemic in Africa in fact consists of people “dying in large numbers from the same diseases they have always died of”. As Chris Talbot illustrates in his reply, whatever the motives of individual dissidents, their claims invariably end up providing succour for the most reactionary political forces and, if accepted, would condemn millions worldwide to certain death.

Germany utilises BSE crisis to implement EU plans to restructure agriculture

By Jörg Victor and Dietmar Henning, 31 January 2001

With no let-up in the news of new BSE cases in Germany, the government is using the present indignation and disconcert in the population in order to implement a radical change in agricultural policy. The routine invocation of “consumer interests” is only the welcome cover for this project.

Detroit Chrysler workers react to company plans to slash 26,000 jobs

By Larry Roberts, 31 January 2001

Workers throughout DaimlerChrysler's US-based Chrysler Group are reacting to Monday's announcement that the company will wipe out 26,000 jobs and shut down six plants over the next three years. The layoffs will affect workers in the US as well as in Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

US-backed "Plan Colombia" to escalate bloody civil war

By Patrick Martin, 31 January 2001

Thousands of government troops are being assembled on the border of a rebel-held zone in southern Colombia on the eve of the scheduled launching of a US-backed military offensive. Some 600 soldiers were flown into the region January 23 on US-built C-130 transport planes, reinforcing the 2,500 soldiers already in place.

Northern Ireland: Eyewitness accounts of 1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre indict British army

By Robert Stevens, 31 January 2001

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry has begun to take statements from eyewitnesses involved in the events in Derry on January 30, 1972. On that day, British army paratroopers fired upon a peaceful civil rights demonstration in the Bogside area of the city, killing 13 people.

DaimlerChrysler to wipe out 26,000 jobs in its US division

By Jerry White, 30 January 2001

DaimlerChrysler management Monday announced a program of sweeping job cuts and plant closings at its US-based Chrysler Group that will result in the elimination of 26,000 salaried and hourly workers' jobs over the next three years. The restructuring plan, presented by Chrysler Group President and CEO Dieter Zetsche, includes the shutdown of six plants over the next two years in the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

Recession clouds gather over Davos summit

By Nick Beams, 30 January 2001

Last year the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) gathered in the wake of the protests in Seattle at the meeting of the World Trade Organization and the failure of the WTO to set in place a new round of trade negotiations. There were concerns voiced over what these events might portend, but the outlook was in general upbeat.

Pontiac, Michigan police raid homeless shelter

By Larry Roberts, 30 January 2001

On January 23, police in Pontiac, Michigan carried out a pre-dawn raid on a homeless shelter. Police arrested 32 people with outstanding misdemeanor warrants at the Grace Center of Hope shelter, formerly known as the Pontiac Rescue Mission. The shelter is located in the heart of the city's downtown area.

Further turmoil in Balkans at prospect of independence for Montenegro

By Tony Robson, 30 January 2001

Uncertainty regarding Serbia's future constitutional relationship with Montenegro is a significant hindrance to achieving stability in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 30 January 2001

Labor crisis shakes Colombia

Glasgow city's art collection in peril

By Steve James, 29 January 2001

Glasgow City Council officials have opened talks with the Scottish Parliament, in an attempt to overcome the funding crisis threatening one of the largest civic art collections in Europe. It is likely that a temporary deal will be reached, under which Glasgow will receive extra finance pending a struggle for control of the city's museums between the City Council and the devolved Scottish Executive.

Rising fuel costs in US punish consumers, boost profits for big oil companies

By Joseph Kay, 29 January 2001

Heating and electricity costs continue to escalate throughout the United States and Canada, the result of the deregulation of the energy market over the last decade. The big oil and natural gas conglomerates have brought in record profits from the high prices associated with reduced fuel supplies. The burden of these high prices is being shifted onto the backs of consumers and homeowners, especially those least able to pay the larger bills.

Report shows health gap between Britain's rich and poor still as marked as in Dickens' day

By Keith Lee, 29 January 2001

A paper published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) just before the Christmas holiday shows that the health gap between rich and poor is as wide today as it was in Charles Dickens' time. The authors of The Ghost of Christmas Past: health effects of poverty in London in 1896 and 1991argue their study shows that the passage of 100 years has had “almost no impact on the patterns of inequality in inner London and on the relationship between people's socio-economic position and their relative chance of dying”.

An exchange on Ralph Nader's silence during the US election crisis

By , 29 January 2001

The following exchange with a supporter of former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader concerns the WSWS's November 24, 2000 article, “The US election crisis: why is Ralph Nader silent?"

India's most powerful earthquake in 50 years claims at least 2,000 lives

By Peter Symonds, 27 January 2001

By official estimates, at least 2,000 people are dead after India's most powerful earthquake in 50 years hit the western state of Gujarat on Friday morning. The toll is expected to rise further as rescuers search for thousands of people trapped in the rubble of fallen buildings. More than 3,000 people have been injured and many others left homeless.

US central bank chief boosts Bush tax cut for the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 27 January 2001

US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan shifted his position Thursday and endorsed a massive tax cut for the wealthy, the centerpiece of the economic program of the new Bush administration. In testimony before the Senate Budget Committee Greenspan cited both the threat of economic slowdown and the danger of demands for new federal spending as arguments for reducing the budget surplus through tax cuts.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 27 January 2001

Malaysian plantation workers demand decent housing

Britain: Privatisation of hospital cleaning is costing lives

By Josie Jones, 27 January 2001

At the end of last year, a damning report linked the incidence of life-threatening diseases in several British hospitals with poor hygiene practices. Just two months earlier in August, St Thomas's Hospital in London was forced to close its operating theatres for heart surgery after two patients died from the "super-bug" MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

Child abuse in Britain: Young girl's death highlights cutbacks in social services

By Tania Kent, 27 January 2001

Earlier this month, the guardians responsible for the brutal death of eight-year-old Anna Climbie were jailed for life. Anna died from hypothermia and malnutrition in February last year, after suffering two years of terrible violence and neglect at the hands of her “carers”—her great aunt Marie Therese Kouao (44) and her boyfriend Carl Manning (28).

The legacy of Hans-Olaf Henkel: portrait of a German industrial leader

By Ludwig Niethammer, 27 January 2001

At the beginning of the year, when Hans-Olaf Henkel relinquished his position as head of the Association of German Industry (BDI) after three terms in office, few workers would have mourned his departure. Henkel had been at the top of the BDI since the beginning of 1995. He can certainly lay claim to have well served the interests of the German business world. In undertaking radical ventures to promote market economy principles, he was deeply involved in moving German federal politics to the right and driving down social conditions.

DaimlerChrysler to cut thousands of US auto jobs

By Larry Roberts, 26 January 2001

On Monday, January 22 the Wall Street Journal reported that DaimlerChrysler's US-Chrysler division plans to eliminate as many as 6,000 of its 30,000 white-collar jobs and 10,000 to 15,000 of its 95,000 production jobs over the next three years, as a central part of the company's restructuring plan.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson resigns from British government a second time

By Julie Hyland, 26 January 2001

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson was forced to resign unexpectedly from the Blair government on Wednesday, for the second time in just over two years.

"Economy-class syndrome" a major health threat

By Kaye Tucker, 26 January 2001

Last November Emma Christoffersen, aged 28, from Newport, South Wales, collapsed in the arrival hall of Heathrow airport after flying to England from Australia. She later died. A post mortem revealed the cause of death to be pulmonary embolism. “We were told she died from sitting in the cramped seat of a jumbo jet for such a long time,” her mother told the media. “I'd never heard of the condition ... I don't want other parents to go through what we have endured and that is why I want to give this warning about the danger of flying.”

DNA evidence exonerates two Texas inmates imprisoned since 1988

By Joseph Kay, 26 January 2001

Last week the Texas judiciary finally released Christopher Ochoa, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1988. Richard Danziger, who was convicted along with Ochoa for the same crime, is still interned in the Skyview psychiatric prison in Rusk, Texas. He is currently seeking his release, though he has been unable to care for himself since a severe beating from a fellow inmate in 1991 left him with brain damage.

Mounting evidence points to poisonous legacy of NATO's depleted uranium munitions

By Harvey Thompson, 26 January 2001

Last week, British and US government departments finally admitted that there were traces of highly radioactive particles in the depleted uranium (DU) shells fired during NATO military operations in Yugoslavia and Iraq. The DU-enhanced munitions used in Kosovo in 1999 and Bosnia in 1994-5, as well as during the Gulf War, also contained plutonium, a highly toxic substance that remains radioactive in the environment for over 24,000 years.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 26 January 2001

10 January 2001

Will George W. Bush launch a new US war of aggression against Iraq?

By Jerry White, 25 January 2001

By all indications the world will not have to wait long before the new Bush administration involves the United States in a bloody military adventure. The bellicose statements over the last several days, by representatives of the Bush administration, Pentagon officials and the news media, suggest that the first target of such aggression is likely to be Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 25 January 2001

Finnish port workers begin nation-wide strikes to support sacked colleagues

The death of Georgy Gongadze—Ukrainian state implicated in journalist's murder

By Andy Niklaus, 25 January 2001

On September 16 last year the 31-year-old journalist Georgy Gongadze, publisher of the Internet journal Ukrainska Prawda [], left his office to go home. His wife and two young children waited for him in vain. He never came home.

Messages of condolence for Ernst Schwarz

By , 25 January 2001

The German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit) received the following messages paying tribute to Ernst Schwarz, who died unexpectedly at the age of 43 on January 13.

Clinton refuses to pardon Leonard Peltier

By Joanne Laurier, 25 January 2001

One of Bill Clinton's last presidential acts was to deny executive clemency to Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist who has been imprisoned for 25 years. Clinton said last November that he would review Peltier's case before leaving office.

The Congo: Unanswered questions surround Kabila's assassination

By Chris Talbot, 25 January 2001

Thirty days of official mourning began in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the burial on Wednesday of the country's assassinated president, Laurent Kabila. The presidency was assumed almost immediately by his son Joseph, previously head of the armed forces, in what the ruling clique in Kinshasa has termed an “interim government”.

Funeral for Ernst Schwarz held in Dortmund, Germany

By Marianne Arens, 25 January 2001

The funeral of Ernst Schwarz took place on January 22 at the main cemetery in the German city of Dortmund. Schwarz was for many years a member of the German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit--PSG) and a longtime fighter for socialist perspectives at the Krupp Hoesch steelworks. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack on January 13 at the age of 43.

Continuities and discontinuities in art

By Paul Stuart, 24 January 2001

The recent Encounters exhibition at the National Gallery in London was a serious celebration of the new millennium. Two years ago, 24 renowned artists from around the world were asked to respond to works of past masters whose works hang in the National and have the results presented in a unique exhibition.

Bush bans funds for international family planning groups that support abortion

By Kate Randall, 24 January 2001

In one of his first actions as president, George W. Bush on Monday reinstated a ban first initiated under the Reagan administration which will deny US aid to international organizations that use their own money to provide abortions, counsel women on abortions or support pro-abortion lobbying of foreign governments. Clinton had lifted the ban—known among its opponents as the “global gag rule”—when he assumed office in 1993.

Bush commitment to US National Missile Defense causes international protests

By Julie Hyland, 24 January 2001

The inauguration of George W. Bush as US president comes amidst growing international disquiet at the new administration's commitment to the National Missile Defense (NMD) system.

An exchange with a Teamsters official on the end of the Detroit newspaper strike

By , 24 January 2001

On January 7 the World Socialist Web Site received a letter from an official of Teamsters Local 2040, one of the unions involved in the Detroit newspaper strike, criticizing our January 4 article “Unions settle with Detroit News and Free Press ; Lesson of another AFL-CIO debacle.” [] Below we reprint the letter and a reply by WSWS correspondent Shannon Jones.

"The election shows that we are not a true democracy and that our vote does not count"

By a WSWS reporting team, 24 January 2001

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team interviewed a number of participants in last Saturday's protests in Washington DC during the inauguration of George W. Bush. Despite the well-publicized mobilization of police aimed at reducing the size of the demonstration, thousands of protesters from throughout the US came to the capital in the largest numbers since the second inauguration of Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War in 1973. [See our January 22 article “Thousands protest Bush inauguration”]

Bougainville autonomy talks to resume

By Peter Byrne and Tim Joy, 23 January 2001

Talks on the future status of the resource-rich Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville will resume this week following a meeting earlier this month between Bougainville leaders and the relevant PNG minister.

US health plans drop coverage for nearly one million elderly and disabled members

By Elisa Brehm, 23 January 2001

On January 1, nearly 120 HMOs (health maintenance organizations) pulled out of Medicare—the federal health care program for senior citizens and the disabled—officially dropping close to 1 million people from coverage. Another 53 HMOs reduced their service areas. The most important health care service these private plans offered was low-cost coverage for prescription drugs, which has never been included in the regular Medicare program.

BSE/"mad cow disease" crisis spreads throughout Europe

By Richard Tyler, 23 January 2001

Cases of BSE have now been identified in 10 of the 15 European Union (EU) countries, as well as Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which are not members. Although incidences are still relatively few in number, the discovery of the disease across the continent has had a dramatic effect on beef consumption, which has fallen by 27 percent across the EU.

Zionism's legacy of ethnic cleansing

By Jean Shaoul, 23 January 2001

At the heart of the breakdown of the Middle East talks lies the refusal of the Zionist state to accept the right of return for the Palestinians who lost their homes and country after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The first of a two-part article on this subject—”Israel and the Palestinian right of return”—appeared yesterday. The following is the concluding part.

A letter from Ecuador

By , 23 January 2001

The following letter was sent to the WSWS from a correspondent in Ecuador.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 23 January 2001

Mexico City subway workers strike

Thousands protest Bush inauguration

By Paul Scherrer, 22 January 2001

More than 20,000 people chanting “hail to the thief” and carrying hand painted signs reading “only five votes counted” came to Washington DC on Saturday to protest the presidential inauguration of George W. Bush.

As long as you don't look too closely

By David Walsh, 22 January 2001

I'm not an admirer of playwright and film director David Mamet's work in general. His mannered staccato dialogue, which by now merely irritates, and his apparent contempt for those of his fellow beings not as clever as himself do not seem to me to have resulted in the production of very convincing or satisfying artistic work, although they may have added up to a wise career move.

Clinton investigations end, not with a bang, but a whimper

By Patrick Martin, 22 January 2001

The agreement between President Clinton and Independent Counsel Robert Ray, signed January 19, the last full day of Clinton's presidency, confirms the two principal political conclusions which socialists have drawn from the protracted political warfare within the American ruling elite: first, that the criminal investigations of the Clinton administration were based on spurious and bogus charges, manufactured by Clinton's right-wing opponents for political purposes; and second, that the Clinton White House consistently refused to fight these attacks on a principled political basis, because of the weakness and political cowardice of the Democratic Party and liberalism as a whole.

Bush inaugurated in atmosphere of foreboding

By the Editorial Board, 22 January 2001

George W. Bush was inaugurated as president of the United States Saturday in a ceremony conducted in a subdued atmosphere. Bush's brief and defensive speech, the media coverage, the surrounding protests—even the weather, a day-long cold drizzle—gave the quadrennial ritual a somber character, rather than the usual mood of celebration.

Zionism's legacy of ethnic cleansing

By Jean Shaoul, 22 January 2001

At the heart of the breakdown of the Middle East talks lies the refusal of the Zionist state to accept the right of return for the Palestinians who lost their homes and country after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The following is the first of a two-part article on this subject. The second and concluding part—“Israeli expansion creates more Palestinian refugees”—will appear tomorrow.

Australian Federal Court decision sets the stage for further spread of non-union contracts

By Terry Cook, 20 January 2001

Australian Federal Court judge Susan Kenny handed down a decision on January 10 upholding the right of the giant mining and steel corporation BHP to offer individual non-union contracts to workers at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Mounting layoffs in US point to onset of recession

By Larry Roberts, 20 January 2001

The wave of job cuts in the US, reminiscent of the deep recession of the 1980s, has continued in the new year with layoffs hitting a wide range of industries, including the auto, retail, technology and media sectors.

West Australian nurses issue challenge to government's health cuts

By Joe Lopez, 20 January 2001

In the midst of the campaign for a state election on February 10, registered nurses in Western Australia have challenged the right-wing Court government's protracted running down of the public health system.

Washington inaugural celebrations: corporate America welcomes Bush

By Jerry White and Paul Scherrer, 20 January 2001

Corporate America has shelled out nearly $40 million—the largest amount ever—to pay for the lavish festivities in Washington surrounding Saturday's inauguration of George W. Bush. The list of corporations and wealthy individuals which have given donations of $100,000 reads like a who's who of the industries whose huge financial interests will be directly affected by government decisions and regulations issued over the next few years.

Strike looms over safety on London Underground following privatisation

By Tony Robson, 20 January 2001

Workers on the London Underground (LU) are balloting for strike action over the threat posed to safety by the Labour government's partial privatisation of the network.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 20 January 2001

Chinese chemical workers protest job cuts

Tense standoff in the Philippines after Estrada impeachment trial comes to a halt

By Peter Symonds, 19 January 2001

The impeachment trial of Philippine President Joseph Estrada came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday night after the Senate, which is hearing the charges, voted 11-10 to block the opening of key bank records. According to the prosecutors, the documents would have proven that Estrada had amassed $US66 million in bribes and kickbacks under four aliases during his 18 months in office.

Ten years since the Gulf War—US and Britain insist sanctions continue against Iraq

By Julie Hyland, 19 January 2001

On January 16, 1991 at 23.30 GMT a US-led coalition of the major imperialist powers began a devastating aerial bombardment of Iraq and its people. Washington claimed at the time that its actions were justified by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and the need to uphold the “right to self-determination” of this oil-rich sheikdom.

New security measures turn Sri Lanka's plantation areas into a virtual war zone

By K. Ratnayake, 19 January 2001

Over the last two months the Peoples Alliance (PA) government in Sri Lanka has sharply escalated security measures in the central hills district of Nuwara Eliya where more than 200,000 Tamil-speaking tea plantation workers live. New army camps are being established along with registration and other security checks that are virtually identical to those in force in the war zones in the North and East.

On the death of Ernst Schwarz (1957-2001)

By , 19 January 2001

Completely unexpectedly, comrade Ernst Schwarz died of a heart attack last weekend. He leaves behind him a wife and child. For many years he was a member of the German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit—PSG) and in the mid-90s, standing on a socialist platform, he was elected onto the factory trade union committee in the steelworks where he worked—Krupp Hoesch AG.

South Australian police raid bookshop and seize Mapplethorpe's Pictures

By Richard Phillips, 19 January 2001

In a serious attack on democratic rights, two South Australian plain-clothes detectives raided an Adelaide bookshop on January 7 and seized a copy of Pictures, a book by the internationally renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Ashcroft nomination: a new stage in the attack on democratic rights in the United States

By Patrick Martin, 19 January 2001

The nomination of former Senator John Ashcroft to be Attorney General of the United States is neither an aberration nor an “excess” on the part of president-elect George W. Bush. In putting forward a leading Christian fundamentalist, rabidly opposed to abortion rights, civil rights and civil liberties, as head of the chief federal police agency, George Bush has confirmed the essentially anti-democratic character of his incoming administration.

Stop the war against Iraq!

By , 19 January 2001

Below we are posting the statement issued by the Workers League, the forerunner of the US Socialist Equality Party, on January 18, 1991, shortly after the United States and its allies began the bombing of Iraq. This article and others analyzing the Persian Gulf War can be found in Desert Slaughter: The Imperialist War against Iraq , a collection of statements by the Workers League, written between 1990 and 1991, and available from Mehring Books at

Blackouts hit California as energy crisis deepens

By Gerardo Nebbia, 18 January 2001

After weeks of threatened power outages, California was hit by rolling electricity blackouts Wednesday afternoon affecting 500,000 people in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose as well as other sections of Silicon Valley. Traffic lights, ATMs, classrooms and entire neighborhoods lost power for 60 to 90 minutes amid warnings electricity supplies would be dangerously low throughout the afternoon and into the evening. The rotating blackouts, the first ordered by California authorities since World War II, were expected to continue throughout the evening, affecting up to 2 million households.

Pinochet may be found fit for trial

By Mauricio Saavedra, 18 January 2001

According to leaked findings reported in the Chilean media, court-ordered medical tests carried out on former Chilean military dictator General Augusto Pinochet last week found that Pinochet is fit to stand trial on charges of murder and kidnap.

Much ado about Joschka Fischer—the debate over the German foreign minister's past

By Peter Schwarz, 18 January 2001

For days the press has been filled with articles about the past exploits of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer as a “street fighter”. Der Stern began the year with an interview headlined, “Yes, I was a militant,” accompanied by allegedly newly discovered pictures showing Fischer fighting with a policeman 28 years ago. News weekly Der Spiegel followed with the headline “Joschka's wild years,” a 14-page lead story, the same pictures and a further interview with Fischer.

Ten years of the World Wide Web

By Mike Ingram, 18 January 2001

As the new millennium gets underway, there are many anniversaries that could and probably should be marked. The 20th century was packed with tumultuous events that changed the world, including two World Wars and the Russian revolution. Alongside such great happenings, the commemoration of the invention of a system to aid the reading of electronic documents may seem a little out of place. But the creation in 1991 of what became known as the World Wide Web was a technical innovation that has profound social, economic and political implications.

The Congo: President Kabila assassinated

By Chris Talbot, 18 January 2001

President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was shot dead Tuesday afternoon, according to reports from Belgium, Britain and the United States. However, some confusion has been caused because at the time of writing the DRC government claims that although shot, Kabila is still alive, and has named his son as caretaker leader.

How New York politicians scuttled plans for low-cost housing

By Fred Mazelis, 18 January 2001

On January 8, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced proposals for about $600 million in new spending for low and moderate-income housing over the next four years. The plans call for $150 million annually in new public funds, along with a roughly equal amount from private sources.

Nothing to kick about

By David Walsh, 17 January 2001

In Almost Famous, writer-director Cameron Crowe seems, on balance, to be patting himself on the back and letting us know that he is rather pleased with the way his life turned out. I have no reason to wish Crowe ill, but I think enduring art is made of more substantial stuff.

Union ends STP strike with workers still owed millions of dollars

By Barry Jobson and Terry Cook, 17 January 2001

Workers at Steel Tank and Pipe (STP) in Newcastle accepted a recommendation by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) to call off strike action on January 6, even though they have no chance of recouping the $3.3 million owed to them in unpaid entitlements when the company went into receivership last November.

UN agency reports more than 800 million hungry worldwide

By Debra Watson, 17 January 2001

At the beginning of the new millenium the number of hungry people in the world stands at 830 million according to officials of the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations agency responsible for distributing food aid.

Germany: two more ministers resign from Schröder cabinet

By Ulrich Rippert, 17 January 2001

Just 24 hours after the resignations of the German Ministers for Health—Andrea Fischer (Green Party) and Agriculture, Karl-Heinz Funke (Social Democratic Party—SPD)—replacements were found and the German coalition government returned to business. The rapid change of personnel was designed to cover up deeper problems.

Northern Ireland Sentence Review Commission agrees to continue detaining Loyalist leader

By Julie Hyland, 17 January 2001

The British and Irish media welcomed last week's announcement by the Northern Ireland Sentence Review Commission that Loyalist terror leader Johnny Adair will remain in detention.

Massive police buildup in preparation for protests at Bush inauguration

By Paul Scherrer, 17 January 2001

A massive police presence will greet the demonstrators who plan to come to Washington this Saturday to protest during George W. Bush's presidential inauguration ceremonies. Coordinated by Republican Party officials and law enforcement agencies, the well-publicized police buildup provides a preview of the undemocratic measures the Bush administration will use to suppress public dissent.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 16 January 2001

Bolivian doctors strike for wage increase

Sri Lankan SEP renews its call for the release of the Hatton six

By the Socialist Equality Party, 16 January 2001

Six young Tamil men from Sri Lanka's plantation districts, who have been imprisoned for two and a half years are due to appear in court again on January 26 after a lapse of five months. They are accused of being members of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and having taken part in a series of bomb attacks. If found guilty, they face prison terms of up to 20 years.

The sad life and death of a Cuban poet

By David Walsh, 16 January 2001

Schnabel's film, in broad, clever, generally superficial strokes, attempts to present a life in poetic terms. We see Arenas as a child in rural Cuba, playing in the mud. There is something elemental in his relationship with the earth, trees, ocean, sex. His initial sympathy with the Cuban revolution of 1959 seems an organic product of his love of nature and freedom. He participates enthusiastically in its early days. He begins to write and receives some recognition.

Longshoremen involved in protest face felony charges in South Carolina

By Alan Whyte, 16 January 2001

The five dock workers who were arrested as a result of a confrontation with police and nonunion workers in South Carolina in January of last year will soon be facing trial, probably either in February or March. The workers, members of International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Locals 1422 and 1771 in Charleston, have been charged with rioting, a felony punishable by up to five years in jail.

Hundreds die in El Salvador earthquake

By Gerardo Nebbia, 16 January 2001

It only lasted 30 seconds, but it will take many days to determine the scope of the damage resulting from the earthquake that shook Central America off the coast of El Salvador on Saturday, January 13 at 11:34 a.m. Monday morning's figures indicate that nearly 500 are dead, 1,077 wounded and some 2,000 disappeared.

Mass layoffs hit US auto industry

By Larry Roberts, 16 January 2001

With analysts debating whether or not the American economy is already in a recession, the Big Three automakers in the US—General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler—have sharply scaled back production and announced plans for the elimination of tens of thousands of jobs and the possible closure of a half dozen or more North American factories.

London's Hackney Council to impose £58m cuts package

By Keith Lee, 16 January 2001

Hackney council's budget deficit could be as high as £76m next year, according to a leak from a recent meeting held by Labour and Conservative councillors. The December meeting gave the green light to a cuts package of £58m over three years, which would devastate essential services and lead to thousands of job cuts in this inner London borough.

Demonstrations support occupation of Czech state television station

By Ulrich Rippert, 15 January 2001

On the evening of January 3 more than 100,000 gathered in Prague's historic Vaclav Square to demonstrate for press freedom and the independence of state-run television. Demonstrations also took place in other cities.

The Wall Street Journal demands Clinton's indictment

By Patrick Martin, 15 January 2001

In an extraordinary editorial published January 5, the Wall Street Journal has demanded that Independent Counsel Robert Ray indict President Clinton on criminal charges as soon as he leaves the White House. The page-length diatribe in the leading US right-wing newspaper is headlined “Yes, Indict Clinton.”

Mounting evidence of Philippine president's involvement in shady dealings

By Keith Morgan, 15 January 2001

Over the last two weeks damning evidence has come to light in the impeachment trial of Philippine President Joseph Estrada linking him to a bank account under the fictitious name of “Jose Velarde” at the Equitable PCI Bank. According to the prosecuting team, money in the account came from payoffs from the illegal numbers racket “jueteng”.

US families forced off welfare face struggle for basic necessities

By Paul Scherrer, 15 January 2001

For many families who have left welfare in the US since 1996 income from work alone is not enough to prevent many hardships, according to a study conducted by the Children's Defense Fund.

Australian immigration minister peddles anti-refugee propaganda in the Middle East

By Margaret Rees, 15 January 2001

Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock is presently touring Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Jordan on a publicity campaign aimed at dissuading potential asylum-seekers from coming to Australia.

Bush preparing to axe vital medical research into stem cells

By Frank Gaglioti, 13 January 2001

Even before George W. Bush has taken office, his press secretary Ari Fleischer signalled on January 4 that the new US administration would probably axe public funding for groundbreaking medical research using stem cells. Clinton only gave the go-ahead last August for public financial support through the National Institute of Health (NIH) for the research. Previously only privately funded research had been allowed.

A passing comment from Clinton: the US election was stolen

By Kate Randall, 13 January 2001

Speaking on Tuesday in Chicago, Bill Clinton made a remarkable statement for an outgoing president. In an off-the-cuff comment during a speech to Democratic Party supporters he acknowledged that George W. Bush and the Republicans, with the assistance of the US Supreme Court, stole the presidential election.

A tragedy waiting to happen: alarm system non-existent in Australian backpacker hostel fire

By Richard Phillips, 13 January 2001

A Brisbane magistrate yesterday said that there was sufficient evidence to commit Robert Long to trial for arson and two counts of murder over the Palace Backpackers Hostel fire which took the lives of 15 young people last year in Queensland. Long, a 37-year-old itinerant fruit picker and former hostel resident, who has serious psychological problems, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Letters and replies on the US economy

By , 13 January 2001

The following are letters on the US economy and replies by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 13 January 2001

Indonesian strikers march on parliament

Conclusions about the media in general, the liberal press in particular

By David Walsh, 13 January 2001

This is the final part in a series of articles on the ideological and political role of the American media.

Israeli right wing demands no compromise with the Palestinians

By Chris Marsden, 12 January 2001

US-led negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have all but collapsed. Ehud Barak's One Nation coalition and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat have made clear they expect nothing of substance to materialise before Clinton leaves office and George W. Bush assumes the presidency. With Prime Minister Barak facing his own election challenge from Likud's Ariel Sharon on February 6, and presently 20 points behind in opinion polls, Israeli rightists have gone into overdrive in their efforts to end any possibility of a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. In some quarters, the talk now is of the need for greater repression and even the possibility of war in the Middle East.

A comment on Quills and the Marquis de Sade

By , 12 January 2001

The review of Quills was superb. I myself left the movie feeling that an opportunity had been completely squandered—to present a serious artistic work based on the historical de Sade. The cartoon character of Sade we find in the movie, as well as the other cartoon characters played off him, are in the final analysis trivial and uninteresting. If Mr. Wright had some historical understanding he would have realized that “a literal, biographical account of Sade's life” would have had far more depth than the adolescent tale he has concocted.

Australian airline ignores critical maintenance checks

By Terry Cook, 12 January 2001

The circumstances surrounding the grounding of six Boeing 767-200 wide-bodied aircraft on December 22 in Australia raise serious questions about the existing air safety system and the role of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the government's so-called aviation watchdog.

Britain: new email spy laws lead to sackings

By Mike Ingram, 12 January 2001

Last week 10 workers were sacked and 80 others suspended for distributing an email depicting the cartoon characters Bart and Lisa Simpson naked. This is the latest in a string of dismissals relating to the distribution of personal emails in company time.

Another result of deregulation: natural gas prices soar in the US

By Gerardo Nebbia, 12 January 2001

While the California electricity crisis has received the most national attention, utility rates are soaring across the nation as the effects of deregulation begin to be felt amid one of the coldest winters on record in many parts of the US. The cost of natural gas for homes—a preferred heating fuel in much of the country—is expected to rise by at least 70 percent across the nation according to the US Department of Energy.

Taiwan and China act to open direct contacts and ease tensions

By James Conachy, 12 January 2001

The governments of both Taiwan and China have made significant political overtures to one another in the past weeks that appear intended to dissipate tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

Pay-for-performance reintroduced into Australian schools

By Will Marshall, 11 January 2001

An agreement struck between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the Labor government in the state of Victoria reintroduces, after nearly 100 years, performance-based pay for teachers.