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Injustice: A film by Ken Fero

By Paul Bond, 31 May 2001

Below we conclude our coverage of the 12th Human Rights Watch Film Festival held in London recently. For an overview of the festival and other reviews see: An overview of the 12th Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London (

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 31 May 2001

Airline staff in France hold 48-hour strike against staff redundancies

Artistic integrity at the "big end of town"

By Kaye Tucker, 31 May 2001

Up for Grabs is a new satire by veteran Australian playwright David Williamson. Having completed its season at the Sydney Opera House the production will now be performed at Parramatta, Wollongong, Canberra, Melbourne and Newcastle during the next months.

Reports highlight psychological suffering of detained refugees in Australia

By Jake Skeers, 31 May 2001

A recent issue of the British medical journal, The Lancet, underscores the growing tendency of governments in industrialised countries to lock asylum seekers in detention centres and the consequent psychological and physical health effects faced by the detainees.

Britain: Kent County Council creates its own private police force

By Vicky Short, 31 May 2001

Conservative-controlled Kent County Council is contributing more than £1 million ($ 1.4m) towards the creation of its own private police force. Added to £1.6m ($2.27m) already earmarked by the local police authority for the purpose of increasing policing in rural areas, it will pay for 62 additional full-time police officers and supporting services, plus a new force of 12 village “crime wardens”.

Iran: political crisis overshadows presidential campaign

By Justus Leicht, 31 May 2001

The campaign for the election of the Iranian president has begun with the vote set to take place on June 8. On May 4, just two days before the expiry of the date for applications and following months of hesitation, the current president and cleric Mohamed Khatami, who has a reputation as a “liberal reformer”, declared he was prepared to run for a second term. His victory is regarded as certain. But it is also certain that his victory will do little to achieve stabilisation of Iran and the region—in fact quite the opposite is the case.

Israeli government launches inquiry into worst-ever civil disaster

By Harvey Thompson, 30 May 2001

Ariel Sharon's Likud-led coalition has been forced to convene a Commission of Inquiry into building safety, following last week's collapse of the Versailles wedding hall during a party in which 23 people were killed and over 300 injured.

Hundreds of jobs axed after takeover of Australian cut-price airline

By Terry Cook, 30 May 2001

Only 10 months after it was launched in July 2000, Impulse, an Australian discount airline, has become a casualty in the cut-throat war being waged by domestic air carriers. Impulse is the third domestic carrier—after the ill-fated Compass Airlines 1990-91 and Southern Cross 1992-93—to go to the wall in the last 10 years after attempting to challenge the duopoly of Qantas and Ansett.

New report details corruption of New York's municipal workers union

By Alan Whyte, 30 May 2001

A new report resulting from an audit of New York City's largest municipal union reveals even greater corruption than had been previously reported. The KPMG Peat Marwick firm was hired to audit the activities of District Council (DC) 37 and its 56 member locals from 1995 to 1998.

Letters and a reply on Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love

By , 30 May 2001

Below we are posting three letters sent to the WSWS concerning “An exchange on Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love”, as well as a reply to a reader by WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh.

France: Wave of mass redundancies throws Jospin government into crisis

By Marianne Arens and Françoise Thull, 30 May 2001

France's Socialist Party Prime Minister Lionel Jospin stands on increasingly wobbly legs. Social tensions in France have risen sharply and workers' protests against mass redundancies, privatisation and worsening conditions have taken place since the beginning of the year, in some cases being aimed directly against Jospin.

Two decades after the burning down of the Jaffna library in Sri Lanka

By Vilani Peris, 30 May 2001

When the Taliban regime in Afghanistan announced and then carried out the destruction of the massive stone Buddha statues at Bamiyan, the action justifiably provoked outrage around the world. In Sri Lanka, however, the reaction in ruling circles and among the Buddhist hierarchy was mixed with a good deal of rank hypocrisy.

Austria's right-wing Freedom Party riven by disputes

By Markus Salzmann, 30 May 2001

One year since its entry into the Austrian government, the ultra-right Freedom Party is in the midst of a sharp internal crisis.

Britain's general election: The Socialist Alliance and Socialist Labour Party—No alternative to Blair's New Labour

By by Socialist Equality Party of Britain, 29 May 2001

Growing disillusionment with the Blair government in the working class has led to a number of parties standing in the June 7 general election in what has been billed as the “largest left-wing electoral challenge” to Labour since the Second World War. More than 300 candidates are standing, drawn primarily from the Socialist Labour Party (SLP), the Socialist Alliance (SA) and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 May 2001

Violent protests in the Dominican Republic

Pennsylvania governor withholds funds to train death penalty defense lawyers

By Alden Long, 29 May 2001

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge has refused to release the funds appropriated a year ago by the Pennsylvania legislature for training defense attorneys in death penalty cases.

Britain: Oldham riots sparked by deliberate cultivation of racism

By Chris Marsden, 29 May 2001

Last weekend saw two nights of rioting and fighting between Asian youths and police in Oldham, near Manchester. On Saturday, around 500 young Asians, as well as hundreds of white youth, fought pitched battles with large numbers of riot police wearing body armour. The police described the rioting as "sheer carnage". It left 15 police officers and 10 civilians injured. Trouble flared after Asians had fought with white youth outside a fast food outlet. A group of racist white youths gathered together in response, and then attacked a number of shops, also throwing a brick through the window of a house where a pregnant Asian woman lived in the Glodwick area where many Asian immigrants have settled. The woman, Farida Azan, aged 23, was showered with glass and left in a state of shock.

Japan: Mounting economic contradictions confront Koizumi

By Joe Lopez and Nick Beams, 29 May 2001

The first monthly economic data to greet the government of newly-installed Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi have again underscored the depth of the crisis facing the world's second largest economy.

Indian state elections reveal hostility to the ruling BJP

By Nanda Wickramasinghe, 29 May 2001

In elections held on May 10 in four Indian states and one union territory, the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) and its partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) lost badly. The defeat is already raising tensions in the ruling coalition, which has held power at the national level for three years.

Five political films

By Paul Mitchell, 29 May 2001

Below we continue our coverage of the 12th Human Rights Watch Film Festival held in London recently, with a review of five films. For an overview of the festival and other reviews see: An overview of the 12th Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London [May 28 2001].

Australian unions give go-ahead for closure of major biscuit plant in Melbourne

By Chris Sinnema, 28 May 2001

Trade union leaders in the Australian state of Victoria have given the green light for the closure of a major plant operated by biscuit manufacturer Arnotts in Melbourne and the axing of its workforce of over 600. Under an agreement reached with the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMWU) and the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC), the company will complete the layoffs by September next year.

Trade Off and Pester Power: Radicalism's dead end critique of globalisation

By Paul Bond, 28 May 2001

Trade Off, by Shaya Mercer, is the latest film to focus on the protests against the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle in 1999. Filming on a shoestring budget, Mercer visited as many places as it was possible to get to with one camera crew as events unfurled on the streets of Seattle.

More victims of US immigration policy: 14 Mexicans die in Arizona Desert

By Gerardo Nebbia and Jerry White, 28 May 2001

Fourteen Mexican immigrants, ages 16 to 35, died May 23 and 24 of dehydration and exposure in the Arizona Desert after crossing into the United States. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) took another 12 young men into custody for treatment and questioning before deporting them back to Mexico. Two others are missing and presumed dead.

Abandoned search for Tasmanian fishermen reveals impact of cost-cutting

By Ben Nichols, 28 May 2001

Joined by many working people across the Australian island state of Tasmania, the families and friends of three fishermen who drowned last month off Tasmania's north coast have condemned state and federal authorities for the inadequate search for the trio. The initial search for Ron Hill, Kimm Giles and Robert Kirkpatrick was abandoned only two days after they were reported missing on April 13.

The effects of the AIDS epidemic on Southern Africa's children

By Barry Mason, 28 May 2001

A British television documentary and a report by the charity Christian Aid entitled No Excuses—Facing up to sub-Saharan Africa's AIDS orphans crisis bring out the terrible impact of this pandemic on the children of Southern Africa.

Florida ballot review shows voters preferred Gore

By Fred Mazelis, 28 May 2001

The first of two major reviews of uncounted ballots in the 2000 presidential election in Florida announced its final conclusions earlier this month. A total of 171,908 ballots—60,647 undervotes (ballots that registered no presidential vote in machine tabulation) and 111,261 overvotes (those disqualified because they were marked for more than one presidential candidate)—were examined in a review organized by a consortium made up of USA Today, the Miami Herald and the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain.

An overview of the 12th Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London

By Paul Mitchell, 28 May 2001

The civil liberties organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) held its twelfth annual Film Festival in London recently, screening 22 dramas and documentaries. Several, such as Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls have been reviewed on the World Socialist Web Site previously.

Economic slowdown in euro zone

By Nick Beams, 26 May 2001

As recently as March, European Central Bank president Wim Duisenberg was insisting that the economic outlook in the euro zone was “robust” and there was no sign that the slowdown in the US economy was having “significant and lasting spillover effects”.

Australian government refuses to release its own youth report

By Margaret Rees, 26 May 2001

The Australian government has failed to release the Prime Minister John Howard's own Youth Pathways Action Plan Taskforce report, even though it has had the document in hand for months. The report remains hidden because a small section sheds some light on the desperate plight of many young people receiving the Common Youth Allowance, a welfare payment that covers students and young unemployed.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 May 2001

Sri Lankan railway workers demand reinstatement

Ancient city dated as oldest in Americas

By Sandy English, 26 May 2001

A team of American and Peruvian anthropologists has announced that the city of Caral, 120 miles north of the Peruvian capital of Lima, is the oldest city in the Americas. A radiocarbon analysis has determined that the city was built around 2,600 BC and flourished for 500 years after that. This would make Caral contemporaneous with the building of the Pyramids in Egypt. The new dating makes Caral at least 1,000 years older than any similar settlement in the Americas.

Britain: London judge expresses sympathy for vigilante-style killing

By Paul Bond, 26 May 2001

In a move calculated to strengthen the "law and order" campaign of Britain's main political parties, a London man who bludgeoned to death a 15-year old alleged car thief had the charge against him reduced from murder to manslaughter last week. Sentencing Richard Matthews to six years' imprisonment, Judge Hubert Dunn described the case with obvious sympathy as "the perfect example of what happens when there are not enough police on the street".

Californians hit by sharp rise in electricity rates

By Gerardo Nebbia, 26 May 2001

On May 15 the California State Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved a sharp increase in retail electricity prices, which will result in most consumers paying between 12 and 47 percent higher rates. Beginning in June, residents and businesses in the state will pay $5.7 billion more for electricity in what amounts to a further bailout of the utility giants who pushed for the deregulation of the state's energy market.

Why the government's rush to execute Timothy McVeigh?

By Kate Randall, 26 May 2001

The US government has been forced to delay the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh following the revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation withheld more than 3,100 pages of documents from his defense team. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced on May 11 that McVeigh's lethal injection, originally set for May 16 in Terre Haute, Indiana, had been rescheduled for June 11.

Somali refugees drowned after being forced off boat at gunpoint

By Barry Mason and Chris Talbot, 26 May 2001

Reports from Somalia have confirmed that over 80 would-be migrants were drowned in the Gulf of Aden after being forced to jump off a boat at sea. On May 18 the wooden boat began floundering and the captain ordered his crew to force people to jump in the sea at the threat of gunpoint. This was done in an attempt to “lighten the load” and prevent the ship capsizing.

Britain's general election: Unions desperate to ensure industrial peace for polling day

By Richard Tyler, 25 May 2001

In 1999, Prime Minister Tony Blair told the Labour Party conference, “The class war is over”. As Britain prepares to vote in a general election on June 7, and with all the polls indicating a solid majority for a second-term Labour government, action by striking post office workers is disrupting the despatch of millions of letters, including postal ballots.

US Senate approves record tax cut for the wealthy

By Shannon Jones and Patrick Martin, 25 May 2001

By a 62-38 margin, with 12 Democrats joining all 50 Republicans, the US Senate voted May 23 to adopt the largest tax cut for the wealthy in American history. The plan includes the phasing out, over the next 10 years, of all taxation of inherited wealth, eliminating the federal estate tax that was first enacted nearly a century ago.

Louisiana resolution brands Charles Darwin a racist

By Walter Gilberti, 25 May 2001

In a bizarre melding of political correctness and Christian fundamentalism, a resolution branding Charles Darwin a racist and claiming that his theory of evolution through natural selection was responsible for the racist ideologies of the nineteenth century, as well as the Nazi Holocaust, will be presented before the Louisiana State Legislature.

Pennsylvanian mayor indicted for murder of black woman during civil rights era

By Paul Scherrer, 25 May 2001

The mayor of the small industrial town of York, Pennsylvania was arrested May 18 for the murder of a young black woman during riots which erupted in the city's minority neighborhoods in the summer of 1969. Mayor Charlie Robertson—who was a police officer at the time—has been charged with inciting white gang members to carry out violence against blacks, and providing the ammunition used for the murder of Lillie Belle Allen, a 27-year-old mother of two.

Rural revolts in China reveal widespread disaffection over tax burdens

By John Chan, 25 May 2001

Reports from the Washington Post and New York Times during the past month provide new details on widespread rural unrest in China. Peasant farmers and local communities in China's densely populated and under-developed central provinces are organising protests, petitions, legal cases and other acts of defiance against high tax burdens imposed by local authorities. Police repression has failed to stem the tide of discontent, raising fears in Beijing of full-scale peasant rebellions.

Scotland: Asylum seekers hounded and beaten

By Steve James, 25 May 2001

In the last months, a series of brutal attacks have left many refugees from the Middle East and the Balkans desperate to leave Glasgow.

Indonesian military chiefs defy president's plans for a state of emergency

By Peter Symonds, 25 May 2001

The last week of backroom intrigue and political manoeuvring in Jakarta—involving the president, vice-president and the military chiefs—has underscored the highly volatile political situation in Indonesia in the lead up to next week's parliamentary session. The DPR or lower house is due to meet on May 30 and is likely to overwhelmingly censure President Abdurrahman Wahid for a third time, paving the way for the convening of a special session of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) to consider his impeachment and removal from office.

Defection costs Republicans control of the US Senate

By Barry Grey, 25 May 2001

Senator James Jeffords of Vermont announced Thursday he was quitting the Republican Party and aligning himself with the Democrats in the upper chamber of the US Congress. While Jeffords declared himself an independent, the effect of his defection from the Republicans was to hand control of the Senate, previously split 50-50, to the Democrats.

The SEP's attitude to the Socialist Alliance in Australia

By Linda Tenenbaum, 24 May 2001

Socialist Equality Party (Australia)

University of Cincinnati sociologists describe conditions that triggered recent riots

By a reporting team, 24 May 2001

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team interviewed several sociology and history professors at the University of Cincinnati about social conditions that contributed to riots in the city last month.

Government report reveals growing social inequality in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 24 May 2001

At the end of April, the German government presented its first “poverty and wealth report”. Until now, governments have always refused to talk about poverty in "wealthy Germany," which they claimed had very good social security provisions. The report shows that Germany—taken as a whole—is a "rich country". But Germany's wealth is very unequally distributed. A small layer of the rich is confronted by a very large number of the poor.

Sri Lankan government cracks down on student protest over university privatisation

By Nandana Nanneththi, 24 May 2001

The Sri Lankan government last week unleashed a police crackdown on thousands of university students protesting against its plans to restructure the country's tertiary education system to encourage the operation of private, profit-making institutions.

The Cincinnati riots and the class divide in America

By Jerry White, 24 May 2001

Over the next several weeks the World Socialist Web Site will post a series of articles examining the economic, social and political roots of the riots that erupted in Cincinnati, Ohio in April. Below we are publishing an introduction to the series and the first part.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 24 May 2001

Strikes bring Greece to standstill

South Africa: Report cites faulty fan in mine explosion

By our correspondent, 24 May 2001

A preliminary accident report showed that a critically important extractor fan had been faulty for nine consecutive days before the May 8 explosion at Gold Fields' Beatrix gold mine in Free State, South Africa, which killed 12 miners. Gold Fields spokesman, Willie Jacobsz, claimed that electricians could find no reason why the fan had been constantly tripping, but failed to explain why mining was not suspended until the cause was found and the fan repaired.

Sharon calls ceasefire but says Israeli settlements will continue

By Chris Marsden, 23 May 2001

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called a ceasefire yesterday, but for propaganda purposes only. He explicitly rejected calls for a freeze on building Zionist settlements in the Occupied Territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sharon said that while no new settlements would be built, existing ones would be allowed to “grow”.

Britain's general election: Labour pressures media to censor election coverage

By Julie Hyland, 23 May 2001

Labour has covertly sought to put pressure on the media to censor coverage of the general election campaign, after scenes of government ministers being harangued by members of the public were broadcast.

Australian government budget: a last-ditch attempt to avoid election defeat

By Nick Beams, 23 May 2001

Facing the prospect of a landslide defeat in the Australian federal elections, due to be held within the next six months, the Howard government has made a desperate attempt to cling to office by offering a series of concessions to those considered to be among its key base supporters.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 23 May 2001

Dear Editors,

Theodore Olson: a record of political reaction and provocation

By Barry Grey, 23 May 2001

Theodore Olson, President Bush's nominee for solicitor general, made his mark in Republican circles as a 40-year-old Justice Department official in Ronald Reagan's first term. As an assistant attorney general, he supplied Reagan with the legal rationale for firing 13,000 PATCO air traffic controllers who went on strike in August of 1981. Reagan's smashing of PATCO was the signal for a wave of government-backed union-busting that continued for more than a decade.

Papua New Guinea government obtains shaky weapons disposal pact in Bougainville

By Will Marshall, 23 May 2001

Under pressure from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government and Australia, the former colonial ruler, some of the factional leaders on the mineral-rich PNG island of Bougainville signed an agreement on weapons disposal earlier this month.

Democrats retreat on nomination of anti-Clinton conspirator Theodore Olson

By Barry Grey, 23 May 2001

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have accepted a deal brokered by the Bush White House to end the deadlock over the confirmation of Bush's nominee for solicitor general, Theodore Olson.

German trade union officials attack striking Lufthansa pilots

By Jörg Victor and Ulrich Rippert, 22 May 2001

Lufthansa pilots continued their ongoing industrial action against the German airline with a 24-hour strike May 17. A Lufthansa spokesman confirmed that more than 600 of the airline's 1,100 scheduled flights had been cancelled by early afternoon.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 May 2001

Protests escalate in Argentina

Britain's general election: Labour and Conservatives vie over which has toughest asylum policy

By Richard Tyler, 22 May 2001

On Sunday, the United Nations issued an unprecedented appeal for Britain's Labour and Conservative parties to drop their crude politicking on the issue of asylum seekers. Hope Hanlan, the UK representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, called it “very dangerous electioneering tactics on all sides.”

Under international pressure, Haitian president Aristide embraces his right-wing opponents

By Jacques Richard, 22 May 2001

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, host of the Summit of the Americas which brought together 34 heads of state of the continent last month in Quebec City, used the occasion to increase international pressure on Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Australian government forced to call royal commission into major insurance collapse

By Mike Head, 22 May 2001

After two months of refusing to take any action on the collapse of insurance group HIH, the Howard government has been forced by public anger to call a royal commission into the crash and how the government's own regulatory agencies permitted it to happen.

Koizumi's agenda for Japan: economic austerity and rightwing nationalism

By James Conachy, 22 May 2001

Since becoming Japan's prime minister on April 26, Junichiro Koizumi has made clear that his new administration intends to pursue the program of far reaching free market restructuring that won him the backing of significant sections of big business and the media during his challenge for the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Untempered childhood memories

By Jason Murphy and Ismet Redzovic, 21 May 2001

15 Amore, Australian director Maurice Murphy's latest film, is set during World War Two. Based on Murphy's own childhood memories, the film is about the life and times of an Australian rural household that billeted two Italian prisoners and two German refugees during the war. Almost 18,500 Italian prisoners of war were held in Australia, with about 15,000 involved in agriculture and other compulsory rural labour schemes.

India-Bangladesh border still tense after worst clash in 30 years

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 21 May 2001

The India-Bangladesh border remains tense following a major clash between the armed forces of the two countries in mid-April that claimed the lives of 19 soldiers. While the immediate cause is an outstanding dispute over territory, the incidents have fueled nationalist sentiments in both countries—particularly in Bangladesh, where the government and opposition have exploited the issue in the lead up to elections due in July.

Britain's general election: Big business backs New Labour

By Mike Ingram, 21 May 2001

The Labour Party has published a letter signed by 58 business leaders backing the government's policies. It states: “As the General election campaign begins we believe that British businessmen and women should consider the implications for their businesses and employees that a change in government would bring.”

An exchange on Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love

By , 21 May 2001

The following is a letter on the WSWS review of the film In the Mood for Love , followed by a reply by Arts Editor David Walsh.

Philippine president fails to obtain a clear mandate in national elections

By Keith Morgan and Peter Symonds, 19 May 2001

Vote counting in the May 14 national elections in the Philippines will probably not be finalised for more than a week. But it is already clear that President Gloria Arroyo has failed to register the ringing electoral victory she needed to legitimise her ouster of former president Joseph Estrada earlier in the year. At stake in the poll are 13 out of 24 Senate seats, all 208 seats in the House of Representatives and over 17,000 posts at the regional and municipal level, including governors and mayors.

International condemnation of Israeli settlements dominates events in Middle East

By Chris Marsden, 19 May 2001

Israeli aggression against the Palestinians has intensified during the past week.

Flemish Interior Minister exposed as fascist SS supporter

By Steve James, 19 May 2001

Flemish Interior Minister Johan Sauwens has been exposed as a long standing sympathiser of the SS—the elite Nazi forces used to guard concentration camps in World War II.

Intuition and consciousness in filmmaking

By David Walsh, 19 May 2001

This is the second in a series of articles on the third annual independent film festival held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from April 19 to April 29.

Italy: Berlusconi to name "post-fascist" Fini as deputy prime minister

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 May 2001

Final results in the Italian election make clear that House of Freedoms , the coalition of right-wing parties headed by Silvio Berlusconi, has comfortable majorities in both houses of the Italian parliament. Casa delle Liberta has won 386 seats of the 630 seats in Italy's lower house (Chamber of Deputies) and 177 seats out of 315 in the Senate.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 19 May 2001

Workers demonstrate in Indonesian capital

Britain's general election: Labour Manifesto sets out privatisation of health and education

By Julie Hyland, 19 May 2001

Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the Labour Party manifesto in Birmingham on Wednesday. Labour hopes that Ambitions for Britain will help win a second term in office, to fulfil what Blair has described as his 10-year mission to transform Britain.

The case of Robert Kerrey: how the US media covered up Vietnam War atrocity story

By Patrick Martin, 18 May 2001

For a single week in late April, the American media devoted considerable attention to the involvement of former US Senator Robert Kerrey, now the president of New School University in New York City, in a Vietnam War massacre 32 years ago.

British Columbia elections: social democrats pave reaction's road to power

By Keith Jones, 18 May 2001

Power in British Columbia, Canada's third most populous province, is passing into the hands of a new government pledged to impose “dramatic” tax cuts, gut work and environmental standards, abolish workers' right to strike and promote the de-unionization of the construction industry.

Australian doctors call for urgent review of government health funding

By Kaye Tucker, 18 May 2001

The Howard government in Australia is coming under increasing fire from the medical profession for undermining the government health service, Medicare. Introduced in its current form in 1984, Medicare was touted by the Hawke Labor government as the means of securing free public healthcare for all. In fact, the scheme was based on handing government rebates to private doctors, medical centres, pathology labs and public hospitals to provide limited free health services to the public.

Un intercambio acerca de la planificación socialista

By , 18 May 2001

WSWS : Español

A reply on globalisation and the significance of the Russian Revolution

By , 18 May 2001

The following is a reply by Nick Beams to a reader on the issues of globalisation and their relationship to the Russian Revolution of 1917. The original email included a draft article entitled “History has not ended, or retreated”.

History has not ended, or retreated

By , 18 May 2001

Back to the reply by Nick Beams

Indonesian president running out of options as third parliamentary censure approaches

By Peter Symonds, 18 May 2001

The events of the past fortnight in Jakarta appear to make a final showdown between President Abdurrahman Wahid and parliament all but inevitable. He has already been formally censured twice by the DPR or lower house and faces a third censure when the body reconvenes on May 30, paving the way for a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) to consider his impeachment and removal from office.

Britain: Deputy Prime Minister Prescott punches protester

By Julie Hyland, 18 May 2001

With the main parties having published their manifestos for the general election on June 7, political campaigning strayed briefly outside the confines of the media-managed circus to which it is largely confined. Labour's "meet the people" exercise on Wednesday turned into an unmitigated disaster, with angry scenes puncturing what has been an otherwise surreal campaign of soundbites and staged “photo-opportunities”.

Robert Kerrey defends Vietnam War in meeting with New School students

By Jerry White, 17 May 2001

At a meeting this past Monday, some 200 graduate students confronted New School University President and former US Senator Robert Kerrey concerning his role in the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in 1969. The meeting followed a May 10 vote by the student union at the university's Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science demanding Kerrey's resignation as president of the New York City institution and calling for a congressional investigation into the atrocity in the village of Thanh Phong, where 21 women, children and elderly men were murdered.

Canadian Alliance splits

By Keith Jones, 17 May 2001

The Canadian Alliance, the right-wing party that is the Official Opposition in Canada's Parliament, has split.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 17 May 2001

UK retailer Marks & Spencer faces staff protests

British Conservatives' proposed tax cut backfires

By Julie Hyland, 17 May 2001

One week into the British general election campaign, and the media can barely contain their frustration with William Hague's Conservative Party.

Britain's general election: The disenfranchisement of the working class and the need for a new socialist party

By by Socialist Equality Party of Britain, 17 May 2001

The campaign for the June 7 general election has revealed the deep sense of alienation from the parliamentary process felt by broad layers of the working class. Media commentary focuses on the probable size of Labour's victory and the scale of the Conservative (Tory) defeat, yet the contrast between the optimism generated by Labour's victory in 1997 and the indifference towards this year's poll could not be more stark.

A failure to confront reality

By Mile Klindo, 17 May 2001

Stephen Johnson's Yolngu Boy, which centres on a few weeks in the life of three 14-year-old boys, was shot with a cast of non-professional Aboriginal actors and the cooperation of the Yirrkala community in Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. Yolngu is the collective name of the 16 clans that live in North East Arnhem Land, which, according to Johnson, is one of the oldest living cultures in the world. First contact between Yolngu natives and white people did not occur until 1935.

Australian companies shed thousands of jobs as economy deteriorates

By Terry Cook, 17 May 2001

Last week Federal Treasurer Peter Costello seized on sections of the Reserve Bank of Australia's Quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy as proof that the country's economy was on the mend. The Reserve Bank statement, which was released on May 7, claimed that the government “was likely” to be spared a second consecutive quarter of negative economic growth, which would have technically signified a recession, and declared there were “encouraging signs” of economic recovery following three recent interest rate cuts.

The Bush cabinet: a government of the financial oligarchy

By Shannon Jones, 16 May 2001

No US administration in nearly a century has been dominated to such an extent by personnel drawn directly from the executive suites of American big business as that of George W. Bush. Not only is the White House pursuing an agenda dictated by corporate America, the men and women who occupy top posts in the new administration have intimate ties to giant firms that stand to profit to the tune of billions of dollars from its policies, and they personally can expect their fortunes to grow by millions and tens of millions of dollars.

Basque nationalists win regional elections

By Vicky Short, 16 May 2001

The political wing of the Basque terrorist organisation ETA saw their vote halved in last Sunday's elections held in the region. Against all media predictions, the mainstream Basque parties obtained their biggest ever vote. However, the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV, Basque Nationalist Party) in coalition with Eusko Alcartasuna (EA, Basque Solidarity) failed to secure an overall majority, taking 33 of the 75 seats in the Basque regional parliament.

The Carlyle Group: ex-government officials cash in

By Shannon Jones, 16 May 2001

The incestuous ties between the Bush administration and the corporate world are highlighted by its relationship with the Carlyle Group, a leading private equity firm.

Filmmaking needs a new perspective

By David Walsh, 16 May 2001

This is the first in a series of articles on the third annual independent film festival held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from April 19 to April 29.

Draft report on Hatfield train crash in Britain leaked to press

By Paul Stuart, 16 May 2001

A draft report by the government body, Railway Safety, into last October's Hatfield train derailment has been leaked to the Financial Times. The Leeds-bound GNER service was derailed by a broken rail while travelling at high-speed near Hatfield train station, seventeen miles north of London. The train ploughed into an electricity pylon and four passengers were killed.

US Fed cuts rates, citing decline in investment

By Nick Beams, 16 May 2001

The Federal Reserve Board has again cut interest rates by 0.5 percent amid signs that the only thing preventing the US economy from sliding into recession is the maintenance of consumer spending.

India embraces Bush and national missile defence project

By Peter Symonds, 16 May 2001

The Bush administration's campaign to win international support for its plan for a national missile defence (NMD) program has produced at least one highly significant shift in strategic relations.

Divisive union campaign raises vital questions for Australian workers

By Terry Cook, 15 May 2001

Three months ago the Electrical Trade Union in Victoria applied to the State Industrial Relations Commission to have clauses inserted into 600 new enterprise work agreements to compel non-union workers to pay an annual $500 service fee to the union. In accordance with the ruling, employers are now responsible for making the fees part of their employment contracts with non-union workers.

Fresh revelations on secret British terror organisation in Northern Ireland

By Robert Stevens, 15 May 2001

During the past three weeks, the Guardian newspaper has run several articles on the Force Research Unit (FRU), an undercover security operation financed and run by the British state in Northern Ireland for more than two decades.

Military officer reveals Australian responsibility for Timor massacre

By Mike Head, 15 May 2001

A serving Australian military intelligence officer has revealed that the Howard government suppressed intelligence reports that could have averted the massacre of at least 60 people at a police station in the East Timorese town of Maliana in early September 1999.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 15 May 2001

To the editor: