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US downturn deepens trend to world recession

By Nick Beams, 31 July 2001

National accounts data from the US, published last week, reveal that far from experiencing a “V-shaped” recovery, the slide in the US economy is getting steeper. Preliminary figures showed that the economy grew by an annual rate of only 0.7 percent in the second quarter, down from the rate of 1.3 percent for the first three months. Had it not been for increased spending by local authorities, the economy would have contracted.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 31 July 2001

National strike in Uruguay

Britain: Labour government attacks right to fight unfair dismissal and discrimination

By Paul Mitchell, 31 July 2001

Britain’s Labour government intends to charge workers a “modest” fee for taking up their right to an employment tribunal, which hears claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination at work. The reason for introducing the charge—put at £100 in some press reports—according to Employment Relations Minister Alan Johnson, who is also the former general secretary of the postal workers union, is that too many workers make “spurious claims.”

Britain: Inquiry reveals role of NHS cuts in deaths of child heart patients in Bristol

By Julie Hyland, 31 July 2001

The findings of the Public Inquiry into the care of children receiving complex cardiac surgical services at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) between 1988 and 1995 makes devastating reading.

Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka opposes moves to authoritarian rule

By , 31 July 2001

The following speech on the upcoming referendum in Sri Lanka was delivered in Sinhala on the state-run Rupavahini TV channel last night by Kamalasiri Ratnayake, a member of the Political Committee of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board. The SEP has been allocated two other 15-minute time slots including one in Tamil.

Oklahoma denies clemency to death row inmate from Mexico

By Kate Randall, 30 July 2001

Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating has denied clemency to death row inmate Gerardo Valdez, a Mexican citizen who was not advised of his right to contact his embassy at the time of his arrest. The right of arrested foreign nationals to contact diplomats from their native country is spelled out in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which the United States has ratified.

Lucent Technologies to cut 15,000 to 20,000 more jobs

By Paul Scherrer, 30 July 2001

Lucent Technologies, the US’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, plans to lay off 15,000 to 20,000 workers by the end of this year, in addition to the 24,500 it had announced earlier this year. In addition to these layoffs, the company will also eliminate another 10,500 jobs through the sale of its fiber unit and two manufacturing plants.

Recriminations follow the collapse of the India-Pakistan summit

By Sarath Kumara, 30 July 2001

In the aftermath of the India-Pakistan summit held in Agra on July 14-16, there have been recriminations in both Islamabad and New Delhi over the meeting’s failure to produce even what is usual for such events—a vaguely worded joint communiqué setting out the points of general agreement.

Leadership tensions mount as Australian Treasurer outlines new agenda

By Mike Head, 30 July 2001

With the Australian government facing possible defeat in elections due later this year, Treasurer Peter Costello is positioning himself to replace Prime Minister John Howard as Liberal Party leader as soon as possible after the poll, regardless of the outcome.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 July 2001

Indonesian workers demand severance pay

Bush administration torpedoes germ warfare treaty

By Patrick Martin, 28 July 2001

In the latest round of the US government vs. the world, the Bush administration announced Thursday that it was rejecting a treaty against biological weapons which has required seven years of international negotiations. The chief US representative at the Geneva talks on germ warfare, Donald A. Mahley, said the 210-page draft agreement contained “serious, substantive” flaws.

Slumping US economy spurs new round of international job-cutting

By Jerry White, 28 July 2001

Corporations in the US, Europe and Asia announced a wave of mass layoffs this week affecting tens of thousands of workers in telecommunications, computers, chemicals and other industries. The layoffs coincided with the release of several second quarter reports showing staggering corporate losses and a US government report showing that the American economy slowed to a meager 0.7 percent growth rate in the spring, the weakest performance in eight years.

Israeli attacks on Palestinians aimed at provoking all out war

By Jean Shaoul, 28 July 2001

The past two weeks have seen a series of Israeli provocations against the Palestinians aimed at inciting retaliatory attacks. The Sharon government hopes any such “suicide” missions would generate sympathy for Israel and provide the excuse for a full-scale military offensive and re-occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

African Union initiative offers little prospect of end to Burundi civil war

By John Farmer and Chris Talbot, 28 July 2001

The peace agreement signed at Arusha, Tanzania, last Monday appears to offer no solution to the civil war that has continued in this small country since 1993 and has resulted in over 200,000 deaths.

Koizumi’s support to be tested in Japanese upper house elections

By James Conachy, 28 July 2001

Tomorrow’s elections for Japan’s upper house of parliament, the House of Councillors, will be the first significant test of the popularity of newly installed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. A great deal is riding on the outcome for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), big business and of course Koizumi himself. In coming to power, Koizumi broke from the traditional mold of Japan’s conservative party and promoted himself as a reformer and a maverick. He needs a decisive win to consolidate what remains a tenuous hold on the LDP leadership.

An exchange on "US union leaders seek closer ties to Bush"

By , 27 July 2001

The following is an exchange between a reader and WSWS reporter Shannon Jones on his July 2 article “US union leaders seek closer ties to Bush”.

Worst flood in eastern Indian state for 50 years

By Deepal Jayasekara, 27 July 2001

At least 90 people are dead and an estimated 8 million have been displaced in the heaviest flooding for 50 years in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Twenty-four of the state’s 30 districts have been affected. The same areas had yet to recover from a devastating cyclone less than two years ago that claimed over 10,000 lives.

Germany: Increasing instability of the Gerhard Schröder government

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 July 2001

The German government has reacted tensely to recent economic forecasts indicating a downturn in German economic growth. With more than a year to go before the next general election, nerves are strained in the cabinet and chancellor’s office. The first signs of an economic recession are revealing the extent of the weakness and instability of the Schröder government (SPD—Social Democratic Party).

Bush, the Pope and stem cell research

By Patrick Martin, 27 July 2001

Things were easier for the Pope in the Middle Ages. In the early years of the irreconcilable conflict between science and religious obscurantism, the head of the Roman Catholic Church could place Galileo under house arrest or have Giordano Bruno burned at the stake. But the days of the Inquisition and the rack are long gone.

Britain: Pay survey highlights growth of inequality

By Mike Ingram, 27 July 2001

A new global salary survey compiled by Management Today magazine shows the enormous disparity between the pay of the world’s top executives and that of workers in manufacturing. It highlights the gap between the pay of Britain’s senior company executives, who rank second only to American CEOs, compared with the average pay for the UK’s manufacturing workers, who are bottom of the seven countries surveyed.

Australian union officials charged over "run through" stunt

By Terry Cook, 27 July 2001

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) Victorian branch secretary Craig Johnston, the union’s state president John Speight and four other unionists appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 10, charged with aggravated burglary, riot and affray, and criminal damage.

Australian government minister blames the poor for poverty

By Richard Phillips and Mike Head, 26 July 2001

Australia’s Minister for Workplace Relations Tony Abbott raised some eyebrows in media circles earlier this month when he offered the opinion that poverty can never be abolished because it is rooted in “individual behaviour”. Abbott, a protégé of Prime Minister John Howard, attributed poverty to several Christian sins—gambling, drinking and drug taking.

TB threat grows in Britain

By Barry Mason, 26 July 2001

Medical experts are warning about the developing threat of tuberculosis (TB) in Britain, and especially in London.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 26 July 2001

Rail workers in Germany demonstrate against job losses

Britain: Labour government steps up moves to privatise the postal services

By Keith Lee, 26 July 2001

Britain’s Labour government is proceeding with the break up and privatisation of national postal services.

Californians express growing opposition to energy companies

By Kim Saito, 26 July 2001

After a year of rolling blackouts, the draining of funds from the state treasury and record utility bills, the vast majority of Californians believe the energy crisis has been manufactured by the power generators to boost profits, according to a recent Los Angeles Times poll.

Political issues arising from the Genoa summit

By Nick Beams, 26 July 2001

Unable to offer any perspective, much less a program, to meet the needs and aspirations of the mass of the people they claim to represent, the leaders of world capitalism, ensconced in a walled enclave, have delivered their reply to demands for social justice in the form of police baton charges, tear gassing, police raids, and murder.

Australia: Aboriginal leader pushes anti-welfare agenda

By Mike Head, 25 July 2001

A definite political agenda has emerged in the wake of last month’s publication by the Melbourne Age and its sister newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald of rape allegations against Geoff Clark, the chairman of the Australian government’s official indigenous organisation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Mahathir detains Malaysian student leaders

By John Roberts, 25 July 2001

Malaysian police have increased to 12 the number of people arrested under the country’s draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) since a crackdown on political oppositionists and government critics began on April 10. The ISA enables the government to detain anyone deemed to be a threat to national security indefinitely without trial, subject only to a review every two years.

The G-8 summit in Genoa: illusion and reality

By Peter Schwarz, 25 July 2001

If one were to ask a filmmaker to make a movie depicting the gulf between the world’s political elite and the broad masses of people, it would be hard to come up with a more appropriate script than that offered by the G8 summit held last weekend in Genoa.

Bush administration renews US drive to militarize space

By Joseph Kay, 25 July 2001

As part of a major expansion of American militarism, the Bush administration announced last week that it plans to revive a series of programs that will deploy weapons in space. Combined with the recently escalated plans for a national missile defense, this constitutes an attempt by the American government to ensure its complete military dominance over the globe.

Argentine workers strike against austerity measures

By Bill Vann, 25 July 2001

International financial investors appeared satisfied, at least for the moment, with a new round of economic austerity measures that provoked crippling strikes by the Argentine workers last week. The Buenos Aires stock market continued a moderate rebound amid indications that the Peronist opposition as well as the petty-bourgeois left FREPASO coalition are prepared to support the “zero deficit” program advanced by President Fernando De la Rua and his economy minister, Domingo Cavallo.

Growing opposition to "high-stakes" testing in US schools

By Kate Randall, 25 July 2001

Teachers unions and state education officials are voicing opposition to the standardized testing component of the Bush administration-sponsored education legislation working its way through Congress. Union and education administrators are coming under pressure from growing numbers of teachers and parents who see the emphasis on testing adversely affecting the quality of education and making it increasingly difficult to recruit, train and retain public school teachers.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 24 July 2001

National strike in Argentina

Letters to the WSWS

By , 24 July 2001

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the WSWS.

Ex-King Simeon II named new prime minister of Bulgaria

By Brigitte Fehlau and Peter Schwarz, 24 July 2001

Four weeks after parliamentary elections, Bulgarian President Petar Stojanov officially called upon the former king of Bulgaria, Simeon II, to form a new government. The future head of government commented on his appointment, “With strong feelings, but with my typical sense of duty, I accept the proposal. May God be with us and show us the right path.”

Britain: Bradford report shows dead end of racially-based politics

By Julie Hyland, 24 July 2001

Earlier this month, Bradford Council published the findings of a review into race relations in the West Yorkshire city. Entitled “Community Pride not Prejudice,” the report produced by Sir Herman Ouseley, a former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, was welcomed by the government and the media for providing an explanation for the most recent rioting in Bradford, although the Council had originally commissioned the study after rioting in the city in 1995. Just days before the report by the 11-strong Race Review panel was released on July 12, Bradford became the latest city in northern England to be hit by serious rioting and clashes between Asian and white youth and the police.

Indonesian military emerges as powerbroker in Megawati’s installation as president

By Peter Symonds, 24 July 2001

A great deal of effort is being expended in Indonesia, with the support of the international media and major powers, to give an aura of democratic respectability to yesterday’s replacement of President Abdurrahman Wahid by Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri. But it is difficult to hide the fact that the real powerbrokers, in what has been a bitter factional dispute in the ruling elite between two so-called democrats, have been the instruments of the former Suharto dictatorship—the military and Suharto’s Golkar party—along with the “Axis” alliance of right-wing Islamic parties.

Police crackdown on opposition protest in Sri Lanka leaves two dead

By K. Ratnayake, 24 July 2001

Two people are dead and several dozen are injured, some critically, following a massive police crackdown against opposition marches in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on July 19. The protests were called by United National Party (UNP) and other opposition parties against President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s proroguing of parliament on July 10 in order to block a no-confidence motion against her minority government.

Britain: Police shoot two dead in four days

By Paul Bond, 23 July 2001

Police are mounting a show of force in Brixton, London, after a demonstration on Friday ended in a riot. Up to 120 protested peacefully outside Brixton police station following the police shooting of a local man who was holding a novelty cigarette lighter shaped like a gun. Later in the evening youths fought with police and several local shops were looted and several cars set on fire.

Divisions widen at Genoa in the face of global economic downturn

By Nick Beams, 23 July 2001

When the first summit of the major capitalist powers was convened in 1975 at Rambouillet, just outside Paris, its stated aim was to co-ordinate economic policies in the face of what was, to that point, the most serious economic crisis in the post-war period.

China-Russia treaty: a reaction against aggressive unilateralism in Washington

By Peter Symonds, 23 July 2001

Superficially, the broad friendship pact between Russia and China, signed last week in Moscow should be a positive sign of diminishing international tensions. After all, the two regimes have regarded each other as a military threat ever since their political rift in the early 1960s. They fought a border war in 1969 and, in 1980, in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and enmity, allowed their previous treaty signed in 1950 to lapse.

US House sanctions anti-gay discrimination by religious groups

By Patrick Martin, 23 July 2001

The US House of Representatives voted July 19 to approve the Bush administration’s “faith-based” initiative, which funnels billions in federal funds to church-based charities, while giving such groups the legal right to engage in discrimination on the basis of religion, sexual orientation or marital status.

G8 summit: Brutal policing in Genoa leaves one dead and hundreds injured

By Chris Marsden, 23 July 2001

Saturday’s raid on the headquarters of the Genoa Social Forum, the umbrella group of 700 organisations leading the demonstrations against the G8 summit was the culmination of a policing operation of unprecedented brutality that has left one protestor dead and many more seriously injured.

Council of Europe finds "general climate" fostering racism in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 21 July 2001

On 3 July, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its second report on Germany. The Commission expresses its deep concern about the extent of racist and xenophobic attacks in Germany, as well as the social climate that encourages such attacks.

Britain: Leadership contest threatens to split Conservative Party

By Julie Hyland, 21 July 2001

A spectacular reversal of fortunes in the ballot of Conservative MPs for party leader has seen former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke emerge from behind to win first place on the shortlist that will now be subject to a vote of all local party members. With the backing of 59 of his Westminster colleagues, Clarke’s vote increased by 20 over the previous ballot.

Ontario presses ahead with privatization of electricity utility

By a correspondent, 21 July 2001

Ontario’s provincial Tory government has announced that the province’s electricity market will be open to competition by May 2002. In pressing forward with the privatization of the province’s electrical generation and distribution networks—in April 1999 the Crown-owned utility Ontario Hydro was broken up into five companies and partially privatized—the Tories have both ideological and practical motivations.

Letters to the World Socialist Web Site

By , 21 July 2001

On the hijacking of the 2000 US election

High-profile official accuses New Zealand government of victimisation

By John Braddock, 21 July 2001

For the past three weeks, the media’s appetite for scandals involving sex, money and political intrigue has been played out in the Employment Court in New Zealand. The affair was inflated into a daily soap opera on newspaper front-pages, in letters columns, opinion pieces and television news bulletins.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 July 2001

Hong Kong pilots continue action

Jobs destruction continues in US

By David Walsh, 21 July 2001

US firms in a variety of sectors announced job cuts and downsizing in recent days, as the slowdown works its way through the economy. In addition to the layoffs, numerous corporations announced bleak corporate earnings or warned of slower revenue growth in coming months.

An interview with Julie Hiatt Steele, victim of Kenneth Starr’s witch-hunt

By , 20 July 2001

It has been two years since the only criminal trial in the Monica Lewinsky affair came to an end, as a federal jury sitting in Alexandria, Virginia failed to reach a verdict on charges of making false statements and obstruction of justice filed against Julie Hiatt Steele. The verdict was a stunning blow to Kenneth Starr, who announced shortly afterwards that he was stepping down as head of the Office of Independent Counsel (OIC).

Acting is not the problem

By David Walsh, 20 July 2001

There are numerous indications that the current woeful state of filmmaking is not an inevitable state of affairs, that it is, in essence, an historical and intellectual problem. One of those is the level of technological innovation applied at every stage in the physical production of a film. Specialists in the field now possess the ability to create a convincing version of virtually any image the human mind can dream up, as well as to combine and manipulate such images. We are undoubtedly on the threshold of extraordinary artistic breakthroughs made possible in part by technology.

LSSP acts as chief apologist for Sri Lankan president’s autocratic moves

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 20 July 2001

In the current political crisis in Sri Lanka, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), which in the 1940s and 1950s fought for the perspective of Trotskyism, has stepped forward as one of the main champions of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, her suspension of parliament and her other anti-democratic measures. In doing so, the LSSP leaders have justified their stance in openly chauvinist terms, insisting that such actions were necessary because of the war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Tensions heighten over Japan’s endorsement of nationalist textbook

By James Conachy, 20 July 2001

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi formally notified the governments of South Korea and China on July 9 that it had rejected their demands for revisions to a school history textbook that glorifies and sanitises Japan’s colonial invasions in the first half of the 20th century.

Ontario premier stonewalls inquiry into Walkerton deaths

By Keith Jones and Lee Parsons, 20 July 2001

Ontario Premier Mike Harris faced a judicial interrogation June 29 into the role his government’s program of budget-cutting, privatization and deregulation played in the e-coli contamination of the water supply in the rural town of Walkerton, a tragedy that claimed seven lives and sent over 2,000 residents to the hospital.

Massive police operation at G8 summit in Genoa

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 July 2001

Those protesting at the G8 conference in Genoa confront a massive police and army presence.

Letters in response to the WSWS review of A.I. Artificial Intelligence

By , 19 July 2001

To the WSWS,

A "modest proposal" from tobacco giant Philip Morris

By Joanne Laurier, 19 July 2001

In a move that cries out for a response from a master satirist on the order of Jonathan Swift, Philip Morris, the New York-based tobacco giant, recently handed the government of the Czech Republic a study arguing that the Czech state had benefited from “health-care cost savings due to early mortality” resulting from smoking. According to the company-commissioned study, premature deaths from cigarettes saved the Czech government between 943 million koruna and 1.19 billion koruna (between $23.8 million and $30.1 million).

Britain: Labour government plans further cut in disability benefits

By Tony Robson, 19 July 2001

The Labour government has outlined proposals to curb welfare provisions for the disabled. Incapacity Benefit, currently paid to those unable to work due to disability, will now be time-limited. All those claiming the benefit for three years will have to undergo a health check to establish if they are fit for work.

New York Times documents military role in theft of 2000 election

By Barry Grey, 19 July 2001

In an extensive report published July 15, the New York Times shed new light on the methods employed by the Bush campaign to hijack the 2000 presidential election. The report, entitled “How Bush Took Florida: Mining the Overseas Absentee Vote,” was the product of a six-month investigation by the Times into Florida officials’ handling of ballots mailed from outside the US. These overseas votes became a focal point in the struggle between Bush and Democratic candidate Al Gore over the disputed Florida election.

Greenspan points to further economic weakness

By Nick Beams, 19 July 2001

The economic slowdown in the United States, which has resulted in a sharp reduction in world economic growth over the past six months, seems certain to continue, according to testimony delivered by US Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan to the US Congress.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 19 July 2001

UK rail guards continue strike action

TB poses growing international health threat

By Barry Mason, 19 July 2001

Tuberculosis, or TB, poses a growing threat to world health. According to an article in the New Scientist magazine, it is estimated that a third of the world’s population carry the disease, but nine out of ten do not show symptoms. It infects one person every four seconds. Eight million people a year develop the disease, of which three million die. According to the charity TB Alert, by 2050 there will be five million deaths a year from the disease. Many of its victims are young.

Recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site

By , 18 July 2001

Thanks for the intelligent analysis of the Balkan “problem.” [“Behind the Milosevic trial: the US, Europe and the Balkan catastrophe,” 4 July 2001]

Australian business decidedly cool on Labor’s "Knowledge Nation" plan

By Terry Cook, 18 July 2001

In the lead-up to national elections later this year, opposition leader Kim Beazley announced with great fanfare on July 2 the outline of the Labor Party’s Knowledge Nation policy to bolster Australia’s competitive position in technical innovation and high-tech industries. He stressed the policy’s importance as the centrepiece of Labor’s campaign, stating: “This is my political future. I’m staking myself on it.”

German Foreign Minister Fischer wants carte blanche for overseas military operations

By Verena Nees, 18 July 2001

On June 19, a significant case opened in Germany’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS—the successor organization to East Germany’s Stalinist state party) had earlier filed a complaint against the federal government. A few weeks after the start of the Kosovo war, the government had agreed a new strategic concept of the NATO military alliance without first seeking the consent of the Bundestag (parliament), as laid out in the constitution. The aggressive reaction of the government representatives invited to the first hearing—Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Green Party) and Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping (Social Democratic Party, SDP)—shows that the “red-green” coalition has become the champion of German militarism.

World Bank admits 85 percent of world’s population has no retirement income

By Jean Shaoul, 18 July 2001

Less than 15 percent of the world’s population over 65 years of age now receive any income in retirement, according to New Ideas about Old Age Security, a book published recently by the World Bank.

UN imposes tight control over East Timor elections

By Frank Gaglioti and Mike Head, 18 July 2001

Approved political parties began campaigning this week in East Timor for the election of a constituent assembly on August 30. UN and Timorese officials along with the international media have hailed the ballot as a further step towards democracy and independence, and a vindication of the Australian-led UN military intervention in 1999 that seized control of the half island from Indonesia and pro-Indonesian militia.

New German edition of Leon Trotsky’s Problems of Everyday Life

By Wolfgang Zimmermann, 18 July 2001

The following is the forward to a new German edition of Leon Trotsky’s Problems of Everyday Life , just published by Arbeiterpresse Verlag, the publishing house of the Socialist Equality Party of Germany.

Another question on socialist planning

By Nick Beams, 17 July 2001

Dear Editor,

Alienation from the major parties revealed in Australian by-election

By Peter Symonds, 17 July 2001

A by-election for the seat of Aston in the Australian state of Victoria last Saturday has once again highlighted the extent of alienation and hostility towards the major parties. With a federal election due before the end of the year, both Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley were quick to put the best possible spin on what were poor results. All the hype, however, could not cover up the fact that the first preference votes for the Liberal and Labor parties fell significantly compared to the last election in 1998.

Audience defy police threats to see "Injustice" film

By Keith Lee, 17 July 2001

Defying a threat of legal action by solicitors acting for the Police Federation, an audience of around 150 barricaded themselves inside a room at Conway Hall in London to watch a screening of the documentary Injustice. The film highlights the high number of deaths in police custody and identifies eight police officers it alleges as being guilty of murder. No police officer has been convicted of any crime in connection with the deaths.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 17 July 2001

“Black Week” in Argentina

Bush pushes rapid development of US missile defense

By Joseph Kay, 17 July 2001

Over the past several weeks the Bush administration has stepped up its drive for the construction of a missile defense system before the end of Bush’s term in 2004. As part of a general reorientation of American military and foreign policy in a more aggressive and unilateralist direction, the government is promoting a policy of scuttling existing arms control agreements.

US study reveals poor voters more likely to have ballots discarded

By Fred Mazelis, 17 July 2001

An official study of the votes in 40 US Congressional districts in the 2000 election has found that an estimated 1.9 percent of the ballots cast in the presidential contest were not counted. The statistics reveal that the great majority of the disenfranchised voters came from working class and minority areas of the country.

BAE Systems to lay off 1,000 workers at Glasgow shipyards

By Steve James, 17 July 2001

Military contractor BAE Systems (BAES) last week announced its intention to lay off 1,000 workers at its two Glasgow shipyards, Scotstoun and Govan.

Letters in response to "An exchange on the use of shock therapy in psychiatry"

By , 16 July 2001

Dear Sir,

British judge loosens restrictions against Internet service providers in Jamie Bulger case

By Mike Ingram, 16 July 2001

In a significant decision a High Court judge in London ruled June 10 that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could not be held responsible, in the event that the identities of the killers of toddler Jamie Bulger are revealed on the Internet.

Rural MP’s defection exposes rifts in Australia’s governing coalition

By Mike Head, 16 July 2001

Despite a series of policy backflips in recent months to appease disgruntled rural and regional voters, the Howard government has failed to prevent a potentially destabilising breakaway from its rural-based coalition partner, the National Party.

Starting over

By David Walsh, 16 July 2001

A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a science fiction work, directed and written by Steven Spielberg from an idea developed by the late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. The short story that inspired the film, Brian Aldiss’s “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long,” originally appeared in 1969, only a year after the release of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. More than a decade later Kubrick purchased the rights to Aldiss’s story and over the next 20 years made sporadic attempts to turn it into a film.

US Supreme Court completes term with rulings attacking democratic rights

By John Andrews, 16 July 2001

The 2000-2001 term of the United States Supreme Court, which ended two weeks ago, will be remembered above all for its infamous, unsigned 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore, halting the Florida vote count and allowing George W. Bush and the Republican right wing to steal the presidential election. In subsequent decisions the high court deepened its attack on democratic rights, siding repeatedly with the government and big business against the rights of individuals.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 14 July 2001

Thousands join Chinese miners’ protest over unpaid wages

Growing evidence of Israel’s plans to invade the West Bank and Gaza

By Chris Marsden, 14 July 2001

Israel’s military top brass has planned a military invasion of the West Bank and Gaza. Its aim would be to crush the Palestinian Authority (PA) and bring down its leader Yasser Arafat, drive him into exile and kill or detain the PA armed forces.

Britain: Conservative MPs vote in final ballot for party leadership candidates

By Julie Hyland, 14 July 2001

The contest for leadership of Britain’s Conservative Party is heating up, with just three names on the shortlist for next Tuesday’s ballot of Tory MPs. The top two candidates will then go forward to a postal vote of the party membership.

Riots hit Northern Ireland

By Richard Tyler, 14 July 2001

Loyalist marches in Northern Ireland have sparked some of the worst rioting in recent years. Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) units used water canon and plastic bullets, after being attacked with petrol bombs and other missiles. According to press reports, over 100 (RUC) officers were injured in clashes with loyalists and republicans.

Chilean court ends Pinochet’s trial

By Mauricio Saavedra, 14 July 2001

With the Chilean government of President Ricardo Lagos pressing for a halt to the prosecution of former military dictator Augusto Pinochet, the Santiago Appeals Court all but ended his trial this week by suspending the case indefinitely on the pretext of Pinochet’s ill health.

Recession and global financial turbulence return

By Nick Beams, 14 July 2001

The announcement by the Singapore government this week that the island’s high-tech-based economy had officially entered a recession—defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth—has served to underline the global impact of the slowdown in the United States and the growing fears of a global recession.

Sri Lankan President suspends parliament to avoid no-confidence vote

By K. Ratnayake, 14 July 2001

In a desperate attempt to ward off a no-confidence motion in her minority government, the Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga late on Tuesday night used her executive powers to suspend parliament for 60 days and announce a referendum on August 21 to “consult” the people over a new constitution.

Indonesia’s political crisis deepens as Wahid orders the arrest of police chief

By Peter Symonds, 13 July 2001

The protracted political crisis surrounding Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid is rapidly coming to a head following his sudden decision yesterday to order the arrest of the national police chief, General Bimantoro. Last night the ranks of the police were sharply split with three police tanks and three truckloads of police parked outside Bimantoro’s home as a mark of defiance. The general was reportedly in Singapore for a medical check-up.

Reports highlight inequality and insecurity in America

By Patrick Martin, 13 July 2001

Two recent and little-noted reports on economic polarization paint a picture of American society at odds with the conventional portrayal of a broad middle class enjoying affluent, or at least comfortable, conditions of life.

German troops to join NATO force in Macedonia

By Lena Sokoll, 13 July 2001

On July 8, German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping (SPD—Social Democratic Party) told the press that up to 500 German soldiers would participate in a planned NATO intervention in Macedonia. The German troops would be part of a unit including French and Spanish soldiers.

US job losses highest since ’91 recession

By Kate Randall, 13 July 2001

US businesses cut 271,000 jobs in the second quarter of this year, including 114,000 in June, amounting to the biggest decline in employment since the 1991 recession. According to the US Labor Department, the jobless rate rose to 4.5 percent in June from 4.4 percent in May. Jobs have been lost in nation’s labor market in every month this year except May.

Only elements of a critique

By Joanne Laurier, 13 July 2001

In The Anniversary Party, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, two well-known film actors, have co-written and co-directed a work that satirizes certain aspects of the Hollywood lifestyle. Filmed on a low budget in a 19-day shoot, the movie is a sincere but ultimately inadequate look at the film industry’s narcissism and moral confusion.

South Africa: ANC government evicts poor squatters

By Chris Talbot, 13 July 2001

Bailiffs have begun to evict hundreds of homeless poor people attempting to take over an area of barren land at Bredell, near Johannesburg, South Africa. Riot police with armoured cars backed the bailiffs, but the squatters are apparently prepared to move peacefully.

Esso Australia convicted of safety breaches in fatal gas explosion

By Will Marshall, 12 July 2001

After a bitterly fought legal battle, a Supreme Court jury in the Australian state of Victoria has found Esso Australia , a subsidiary of Exxon, guilty of breaching safety laws over the September 1998 explosions at the company’s Longford natural gas plant. The blasts killed two workers, Peter Wilson and John Lowerty, and injured another eight, as well as cutting gas supplies to more than a million homes and businesses for two weeks.

Britain: Second vote by Conservative MPs to choose new party leader

By Julie Hyland, 12 July 2001

Conservative MPs are to hold a second ballot today to choose two candidates for party leader to be put to an all-member vote, after Tuesday’s poll ended too close to call.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 12 July 2001

The following is a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

Washington forced to shelve Iraq sanctions plan

By Bill Vann, 12 July 2001

Iraq resumed the shipment of oil through a pipeline to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast July 10, ending a month-long interruption that Baghdad imposed in protest over a US-British proposal to extend punitive sanctions against the Arab country.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 12 July 2001

Italian workers hold strikes over pay and conditions