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Taiwan to increase economic links with China

By James Conachy, 31 August 2001

In an historic move, the Taiwan Economic Development Advisory Conference (EDAC) recommended last weekend that the island’s government remove restrictions on trade and investment with China. Taiwan’s president, Chen Shui-bian, has already indicated that his administration will fully implement the conference’s proposals.

Why the Tampa refugees should be free to live in Australia

By by Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 31 August 2001

The Socialist Equality Party emphatically condemns the Howard government’s refusal to allow 460 refugees on board the Norwegian freighter Tampa landing rights on Christmas Island and free entry to Australia.

US threatens Egypt with sanctions over imprisonment of human rights activist

By Robert Stevens, 31 August 2001

The imprisonment of Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a prominent Egyptian human rights campaigner who was sentenced to seven year’s imprisonment in July 2002, has sparked a crisis in relations between Egypt and the United States.

Sri Lankan political infighting continues as date is set for peace talks

By Nanda Wickremesinghe, 31 August 2001

The conflict between the Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the United National Front (UNF) government has intensified, with the cabinet moving to amend the constitution to curb the president’s powers and to allow MPs to ignore their party affiliation when voting. Last month Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a 10-day ultimatum to Kumaratunga, demanding that she agree to these changes and threatening to dissolve parliament to pave the way for new elections.

"Ending welfare as we know it" spells poverty for millions of America’s working poor

By Elisa Brehm, 31 August 2001

The subject of poverty is not part of the public debate in the United States. Poor people are generally not depicted on popular television programs or movies—unless as criminals. But the dearth of discussion exposing the plight of the poor cannot conceal the reality that growing numbers of working families cannot make ends meet.

Sangatte camp exposes brutal French and British asylum policy

By Steve James, 31 August 2001

The efforts of a small number of refugees and migrants to find shelter and security are being met in Britain with a display of naked xenophobia.

Jesse Helms to retire from US Senate: a career based on racism, bigotry and contempt for democratic rights

By Patrick Martin, 31 August 2001

The announcement by North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms that he will retire rather than run for reelection in 2002 has produced the outpouring of clichés, designed to conceal rather than illuminate, that is generally churned out by the American media in lieu of political analysis. Not a single commentator on the television networks, cable outlets or major daily newspapers would address the central issue: what does it say about modern American politics that a proponent of racism and repression at home, and defender of fascist and military dictatorships abroad, should play such a major role?

German parliament votes to send troops to Macedonia

By Peter Schwarz, 31 August 2001

In a special session Wednesday, the Bundestag voted to send German troops to participate in the NATO operation “Essential Harvest” in Macedonia.

Colombian government steps up civil war preparations

By Jeremy Johnson, 31 August 2001

Newly inaugurated Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez has followed up his August 12 assumption of emergency powers [See “Colombia’s new president declares state of emergency”] with further measures aimed at crushing militarily the country’s guerrilla insurgencies and stepping up repression against human rights and trade union activists.

Letters from our readers

By , 31 August 2001

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

Europe seeks greater role in Middle East

By Jean Shaoul, 30 August 2001

The assassination of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abu Ali Mansour and the subsequent invasion of Palestinian controlled areas show the continued push by Israel for war. It took place within days of the announcement by Germany that it would host talks between Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Shimon Peres, Israel’s Foreign Minister, confirming a pattern whereby Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responds to every peace initiative by stepping up the provocations against the Palestinians.

Bush’s nominee to head Joint Chiefs promotes militarization of space

By Joseph Kay, 30 August 2001

President George W. Bush announced August 24 that he was nominating Air Force General Richard B. Myers to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military position in the United States. The administration’s selection of the former head of the US Space Command underscored its determination to build a national missile defense system and extend American military capabilities into space.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 30 August 2001

Scottish medical secretaries strike over pay

The curse of the self-involved Manhattanite

By Joanne Laurier, 30 August 2001

Woody Allen’s The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, a film noir crime caper set in 1940s Manhattan, is a film of few merits, despite the striking cinematography of Zhao Fei and remarkable period reconstruction of production designer Santo Loquato.

Australian SAS troops seize Norwegian freighter to prevent refugees from landing

By Richard Phillips and Peter Symonds, 30 August 2001

An extraordinary standoff is underway in the seas off Christmas Island, an Australian outpost in the Indian Ocean. Yesterday a squad of Australian Special Air Services (SAS) troops in full military gear and armed with automatic weapons seized control of the Norwegian freighter, the Tampa, in order to prevent about 460 refugees, plucked from a leaking boat just four days ago, from landing on Australian territory.

How the social democrats came to the aid of Pinochet

By , 30 August 2001

Augusto Pinochet: 503 Days Trapped in London (Augusto Pinochet: 503 Días Atrapado en Londres) By Mónica Pérez and Felipe Gerdtzen Editorial Los Andes, Santiago de Chile ISBN 956-7849-14-5

A highly-orchestrated election in East Timor

By Frank Gaglioti and Mike Head, 30 August 2001

Even before a single vote was cast in today’s United Nations-organised election of a constituent assembly in East Timor, the local and international media had declared the result to be a foregone conclusion. Fretilin, the former independence front that has worked closely with the UN administration since Indonesia’s withdrawal from the territory two years ago, was “expected to sweep to power” according to media reports.

Megawati apologises but Indonesian army repression continues in Aceh

By Peter Symonds, 29 August 2001

One of the clearest indications of the direction of the new Indonesian administration of President Megawati Sukarnoputri is the ongoing military repression underway in the north Sumatran province of Aceh. An estimated 30,000 heavily armed soldiers and police, including elite special forces units, are continuing an offensive against the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

Wall Street Saquea Fondos de Pensión Argentinos

By César Uco, 29 August 2001

WSWS : Español

Economic and political disintegration on display at Pacific Islands Forum

By Frank Gaglioti, 29 August 2001

This year’s annual meeting of the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum, held in the tiny island nation of Nauru from August 16 to 20, was more notable for the absence of four Prime Ministers than for the outcome of five days of discussion. Not only did Australian Prime Minister John Howard, the leader of the region’s major power, openly snub the forum, but also the heads of three of the largest island states—Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands—did not attend.

Britain: Labour places biggest ever government order for closed circuit cameras

By Simon Wheelan, 29 August 2001

Britain’s Labour government has just announced funding plans for the purchase of thousands more closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. The CCTV cameras will be installed up and down the country at 250 crime “hotspots”—commercial shopping areas, transport and hospital sites.

AIDS campaigners sue South African government

By Barry Mason, 29 August 2001

On August 21, the South African Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) sued the government in an attempt to force it to make available anti-HIV drugs that TAC estimates could save 35,000 new born babies a year from becoming infected by their HIV infected mothers. The organization has given the government until 12 September to respond to its legal challenge.

Robert Kerrey and the bloody legacy of the Vietnam War

By , 29 August 2001

Should a war criminal be allowed to remain the head of a major American university? That is what is involved in the case of the recently selected president of the New School University in New York City, Robert Kerrey. After concealing the truth for 32 years, Kerrey acknowledged earlier this year that he committed atrocities during the Vietnam War.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 29 August 2001

The following is a selection of recent letters to the WSWS .

Bush torpedea tratado de armas biológicas

By Patrick Martin, 29 August 2001

WSWS : Español

The social consequences of Ukrainian independence

By Andy Niklaus, 29 August 2001

August 24 witnessed extensive celebrations, with banners and festive speeches, celebrating the Ukrainian national identity. The celebrations, however, could not disguise the social catastrophe that has unfolded in the ten years since Ukrainian independence.

Minutes point to mounting problems for the US Fed

By Nick Beams, 28 August 2001

The minutes of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC)—the body that determines US interest rates—do not normally make for particularly interesting reading. Generally the decisions are reached through consensus, managed by chairman Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 August 2001

VW strike in Mexico continues

The thoroughly conformist world of Amelie

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 August 2001

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain [The extraordinary fate of Amelie Poulain] is the most recent film by French film director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose previous works include Delicatessen (1991), The City of Lost Children (1995) and the fourth “Alien” remake Alien: Resurrection (1997). Following its rejection for programme inclusion by the director of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Amelie (as his new film is being called in English) has enjoyed a meteoric success in French cinemas with a viewing public of nearly eight million since its release in May. It has just opened in Germany to largely gushing reviews that invariably note that both French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and President Jacques Chirac have made a point of seeing and enthusing about the film.

Robert Kerrey and the bloody legacy of the Vietnam War

By , 28 August 2001

Should a war criminal be allowed to remain the head of a major American university? That is what is involved in the case of the recently selected president of the New School University in New York City, Robert Kerrey, who after concealing the truth for 32 years acknowledged he committed atrocities during the Vietnam War.

Australian government turns away 400 refugees stranded at sea

By Mike Head, 28 August 2001

More than 400 asylum seekers from poor and war-ravaged countries are today marooned in the Indian Ocean, living in over-crowded, unsanitary conditions aboard a Norwegian container cargo ship. The Tampa remains anchored several nautical miles off Christmas Island, an Australian outpost, after the Howard government took an unprecedented, life-threatening decision yesterday to refuse to allow the refugees to land.

US unemployment claims hit nine-year high

By Kate Randall, 28 August 2001

US corporations continued to cut thousands of jobs last week amid further signs that the American economy is not rebounding from its yearlong slowdown, despite seven interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve Board.

With murder of Palestinian leader, Israel escalates provocations and violence

By Jerry White, 28 August 2001

Abu Ali Mustafa, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was assassinated Monday morning by Israeli military forces in the West Bank town of Ramallah. One of the top five officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mustafa is the highest-ranking Palestinian to be murdered under the Israeli policy of killing Arab leaders.

Britain: Report critical of treatment of child refugees

By Liz Smith, 27 August 2001

Separated Children in the UK, a report from the British Refugee Council and Save the Children charities, investigates the plight of unaccompanied children who arrive in Britain seeking asylum.

Bitter lessons from years of job destruction

By Terry Cook, 27 August 2001

The World Socialist Web Site last week spoke to striking workers on the picket line at the Maintrain plant in the Sydney suburb of Auburn, where a private company has the contract to repair and maintain the New South Wales metropolitan and intra-state passenger train fleet.

Mass layoffs underway in Japan

By James Conachy, 27 August 2001

With the domestic and global economy slowing down, major Japanese high-tech transnationals are announcing drastic falls in profitability and massive job cuts. Over the weekend, Toshiba, Japan’s largest producer of computer chips, announced it would cut 20,000 jobs from its global workforce of 190,000, while Hitachi, the largest manufacturer of electrical machinery, revealed plans to carry out a major restructuring.

Former Australian prime minister hired to close down Maintrain strike

By Terry Cook, 27 August 2001

Faced with the prospect of serious disruption to train services in New South Wales, state Transport Minister Carl Scully has hired former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke to mediate in a seven-week strike by more than 200 workers at Maintrain, a privately-owned train maintenance centre in Sydney.

An exchange: How should socialists approach the issue of stem cell research?

By , 25 August 2001

Many readers have written in about the commentaries posted on the World Socialist Web Site on the issue of stem cell research and the Bush administration’s recent decision to bar funding for research which involves the creation of new lines of stem cells from human embryos. Several of these letters come from readers sympathetic to socialism who raise concerns about stem cell research and other methods of genetic engineering. Below we publish two of these letters with replies by Patrick Martin.

American Madness

By David Walsh, 25 August 2001

Apocalypse Now Redux is a remarkable film. Francis Ford Coppola’s indictment of American intervention in Vietnam appeared in its original form in 1979. More than twenty years later, with the entire work re-edited from raw footage over a six-month period in 2000 and some fifty minutes added (hence the Redux), the film, with all its significant flaws, has perhaps more of a power to disturb the spectator than at the time of its initial release.

Tensions deepen as NATO begins Macedonia mission

By Chris Marsden, 25 August 2001

NATO troops have begun arriving in the Macedonian capital Skopje in significant numbers, despite almost universal scepticism in the viability of their stated mission.

Fijian election dominated by racialist politics and instability

By Peter Byrne, 25 August 2001

When voting begins today in Fiji’s general election, the 451,000 voters of the Pacific island state will face an unprecedented array of 18 parties, some of which did not even exist several months ago. Of the 351 candidates standing for 71 parliamentary seats, about half represent new parties.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 August 2001

Hong Kong pilots step-up industrial action

IMF fears Japan’s economic outlook is worsening

By Joe Lopez, 25 August 2001

The International Monetary Fund has raised concerns that Japan could be facing a cycle of slowing economic activity, rising bankruptcies and a deteriorating banking system.

A revealing line-up of radical organisations in Sri Lanka’s political crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 24 August 2001

The current political crisis in Sri Lanka provides a particularly graphic example of the vital function played by various radical groups and organisations—often describing themselves to be “left,” or socialist, or even Trotskyist—in propping up bourgeois rule.

Bolivia’s Banzer cedes power to a "technocrat"

By Tomas Rodriguez, 24 August 2001

Bolivia’s president and former military dictator relinquished power earlier this month, ending a four-year reign marked by mounting social protest and increasingly desperate economic and social conditions for the vast majority of the country’s 8.5 million inhabitants.

Suit charges Florida election reform violates voting rights

By Jerry White, 24 August 2001

The US Department of Justice has delayed the implementation of an election reform law in Florida after a request by the American Civil Liberties Union and several voting and civil rights organizations, which charge the measure would further discriminate against minority voters who faced widespread disenfranchisement during the 2000 presidential election.

Eight million removed from US welfare rolls since 1993

By Debra Watson, 24 August 2001

The government’s 2000 report on the progress of welfare reform reports that eight million people have been removed from US welfare rolls since 1993. Using waivers from the federal government, some states began to develop programs to replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children in the early 1990s. In 1996 massive federal welfare reform, signed by then-president Bill Clinton, ended the 30-year-old safety net for families with children.

Eritrea: two students die in government clampdown

By David Rowan, 24 August 2001

Two students have died and up to 2,000 others are being detained in a detention camp following protests against the government. The camp in Wia, 30 kilometres from the Eritrean port of Massawa, is located in a desert region, and temperatures can reach as high as 49 degrees Centigrade (120 degrees Fahrenheit). It is reported that the students are being detained without adequate food, water and shelter.

Papunya Tula--the birthplace of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art

By Susan Allan, 24 August 2001

The groundbreaking Papunya Tula, Genesis and Genius exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales was the first major retrospective by artists from Papunya in Australia’s Western Desert. Consisting of 150 works by over 50 artists, the exhibition provided an overview of the origins and stylistic development of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art during the last three decades.

British pensioner dies after waiting nine hours on hospital trolley

By Tania Kent, 24 August 2001

A 74-year-old pensioner died at an east London casualty department after waiting nine hours for emergency treatment. Retired Ford autoworker Tom Jones had been rushed to Whipps Cross University Hospital with burns and sickness after he had collapsed on a heater at his sheltered accommodation in Ilford.

Kosovan refugee drowns trying to swim to Britain

By Steve James, 23 August 2001

An unnamed Kosovan male asylum seeker drowned in the English Channel on August 20, after jumping from a ferry in a desperate attempt to reach Britain. The crew of the SuperSeaCat One had earlier found two Kosovans near the ferry’s vehicle deck as the ship approached Dover after the two-hour crossing from Ostend, Belgium. According to a spokesman for shipping company Hoverspeed, “A crew member asked to see their tickets and passports, but they said they didn’t have any. We believe they ripped them up en route so that they could claim asylum on reaching Dover, and then they admitted they were Kosovan.”

Coal mine explosion in Ukraine kills at least 37

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 August 2001

At least 37 miners were killed and 20 injured August 19 in a pit explosion in the Ukraine. The disaster occurred when coal dust and methane gas combined in a lethal mixture and exploded.

Another landslide election loss for Australian conservative parties

By Mike Head, 23 August 2001

The Australian Labor Party will form a government in the Northern Territory for the first time in 27 years after the Country Liberal Party (CLP) administration suffered a swing against it of more than 9 percent in last Saturday’s Territory election.

Philippines hotel fire reveals neglect of safety standards

By John Roberts, 23 August 2001

More than 70 people are dead and 100 injured, over half of them seriously, after a devastating fire broke out in the Manor Hotel in the Philippine capital of Manila early on Saturday morning. The flames spread rapidly through the third and fourth floors of the budget hotel, which is located in the Quezon City area of suburban Manila.

Train bombing signals new UNITA offensive in Angola

By Chris Talbot, 23 August 2001

The latest reports put the number killed when a train was blown up in Angola last week at 252. UNITA, the notoriously brutal organisation led by Jonas Savimbi that has been fighting a civil war with the Angolan government since 1975, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 23 August 2001

Irish rail drivers to resume strike action

Letters to the WSWS

By , 22 August 2001

Below is a selection of recent letters to the WSWS .

Federal Reserve cuts rates but markets fall

By Nick Beams, 22 August 2001

After seven cuts since the start of the year it is becoming clear, even to those with the most optimistic outlook, that action by the Federal Reserve Board on interest rates is not going to boost the US economy.

US-European antagonisms sharpen over Macedonia

By Richard Tyler and Chris Marsden, 22 August 2001

NATO chiefs will decide today whether to press ahead with “Operation Essential Harvest” in Macedonia. Their decision follows the visit by NATO Supreme Commander US General Joseph Ralston to determine whether, despite sporadic violence and the bombing of a monastery, the cease-fire agreed last Monday will hold. The mission will eventually involve the deployment of a 3,500-strong NATO force tasked with overseeing a weapons handover by the Albanian insurgent National Liberation Army (NLA) that has been fighting Macedonian government forces since March.

A glimpse inside an Australian refugee detention centre

By Jake Skeers and Mike Head, 22 August 2001

Over the past decade, successive governments in Australia have sought to whip up public sentiment against the asylum seekers arriving on the country’s shores in order to justify the draconian policy of incarcerating all new arrivals indefinitely, until they are either deported or granted refugee status.

Germany: Schroeder government under pressure as recession bites

By Patrick Richter, 22 August 2001

Germany faces worsening economic prospects and permanently high unemployment. As a result, the Schroeder government is coming under ever-greater pressure to make further cuts in the welfare state in order to improve conditions for big business.

By , 22 August 2001

WSWS : Español

Mumia Abu-Jamal barred from Philadelphia hearing

By Tom Bishop, 21 August 2001

US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was prevented from appearing at an August 17 hearing held by the Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court to consider the reopening of his state appeal process. Although he had been previously ordered by the presiding judge to appear, a court administrator blocked Abu-Jamal’s release from prison in western Pennsylvania on the specious grounds that there was not enough room in Philadelphia’s jails to hold him during the proceedings.

Questions raised after five mentally-ill prisoners die in Australia

By Dragan Stankovich, 21 August 2001

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Four Corners current affairs program earlier this year provided a rare and disturbing glimpse into the conditions inside the country’s prisons. Titled No Safe Place, the story examined the death of five mentally-ill prisoners within just four months at Tasmania’s Risdon jail, which combines a maximum security penitentiary with a hospital for violent prisoners who suffer acute mental illnesses.

Diabetes: a major new health problem

By Leanne Josling, 21 August 2001

According to various studies and statistics, diabetes has become the fourth leading cause of death in most developed countries and will be one of the most challenging health problems worldwide in the 21st century.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 August 2001

Volkswagen workers strike in Mexico

US television network CBS pulls program to please corporate sponsor

By David Walsh, 21 August 2001

CBS, the US television network, decided not to broadcast a rerun of its drama series Family Law August 13 after consumer giant Procter & Gamble refused to advertise on the episode. The show, originally aired in the spring, involves the program’s leading character (played by Kathleen Quinlan as a family attorney) helping a woman fight manslaughter charges after her eight-year-old son accidentally shoots and kills his older brother with her handgun.

Report confirms US government misconduct in Wen Ho Lee spy case

By Patrick Martin, 21 August 2001

Federal authorities had the Taiwanese-American nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee jailed in solitary confinement for “a crime which was never established to have occurred,” according to excerpts of an internal Justice Department report which were released August 13 in Washington.

Wall Street loots Argentine workers’ pensions

By Cesar Uco, 20 August 2001

One of the most important but least known aspects of the current Argentine crisis is the looting of workers’ pension funds by the Buenos Aires government, local banks and Wall Street. Billions of dollars in savings by public employees and other workers are to be put up as collateral as part of the government’s “patriotic call” to rescue Argentina from defaulting on its $130 billion foreign debt.

Palestinians under military and economic siege

By Jean Shaoul, 20 August 2001

Israel has increased its military pressure on the Palestinians and is threatening to reoccupy the West Bank and Gaza.

Killing at Australian abortion clinic raises disturbing questions

By Margaret Rees and Mike Head, 20 August 2001

More than a month after a gunman shot and killed a security guard at a Melbourne abortion clinic, police have been reportedly unable to identify the murderer, who remains in prison awaiting a further court appearance on November 20.

Two flawed attempts to dramatise child poverty

By Mile Klindo, 20 August 2001

Ali Zaoua and Animals Crossing the Road, two of the seven movies included in the Sydney Film Festival’s New Directors category, attempt to examine the lives of poverty stricken youth. The first deals with street children in Morocco; the second, set in Rome, is about a teenage girl caught up in petty crime and her conflict with local police.

Unionist opposition threatens collapse of Northern Ireland Assembly

By Mike Ingram, 18 August 2001

The British government suspended the Northern Ireland Assembly last weekend, the second time it has done so since the formation of the Assembly in January of 2000.

Zimbabwe: Mugabe regime steps up repression as economy collapses

By Barbara Slaughter and Chris Talbot, 18 August 2001

Zimbabweans are responding to growing poverty and unemployment with strikes and demonstrations.

Ford to cut up to 5,000 white-collar jobs in North America

By Kate Randall, 18 August 2001

In another sign of the deepening economic slump in the US, Ford Motor Company announced on Friday plans to eliminate between 4,000 and 5,000 white-collar jobs in North America by the end of the year. The Ford layoffs, coupled with a series of other job-cutting announcements this week, bring the total number of jobs destroyed by US corporations in 2001 to over one million.

Islamic party in Malaysia targetted in latest government crackdown

By John Roberts, 18 August 2001

The Malaysian government has extended its crackdown on political opposition by arbitrarily arresting 10 more people under the country’s repressive Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial. The latest police roundup included at least six members of one of the main opposition parties—the Islamic-based Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), a coalition partner in the Alternative Front group.

UN criticises British media for scapegoating refugees

By Steve James, 18 August 2001

Twice this year, Britain’s political establishment and media have attracted criticism from the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights for their attitude towards asylum seekers.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 August 2001

Indonesia teachers strike over unpaid salary increase

US and Britain step up bombing of Iraq

By Kate Randall and Patrick Martin, 17 August 2001

US and British forces have conducted three air strikes against Iraq over the past week. On Tuesday US warplanes bombed a site near An Nasiriya in southern Iraq, about 170 miles southeast of Baghdad. The target was reportedly a radar site used to guide Iraqi missiles.

Koizumi’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine legitimises Japanese militarism

By Peter Symonds, 17 August 2001

Despite his attempts to play down the significance of the ceremony, Monday’s visit by Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni shrine for the country’s war-dead had an unambiguous meaning. It marked a further step in the public resurrection and legitimisation of the symbols of Japan’s militarist regimes, which prior to and during World War II invaded China and much of South East Asia and brutally suppressed any opposition at home and abroad.

British and Czech governments suspend racist anti-Roma airport checks

By Steve James and Richard Tyler, 17 August 2001

Racist pre-flight checks of passengers flying to Britain from Ruzyne Airport in the Czech Republic, aimed at preventing possible Roma asylum seekers entering the UK, were suspended earlier this month.

Last minute stay delays Texas execution

By Jerry White, 17 August 2001

Four hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals Wednesday afternoon issued a stay of execution for Napoleon Beazley, a young black man convicted of committing murder at the age of 17. The case has generated international attention because it highlights the barbaric practice—outlawed by the vast majority of the world’s nations but permitted in 23 US states—of executing juvenile offenders.

Too little

By David Walsh, 17 August 2001

Bride of the Wind is a fictionalized account of thirty years in the life of Alma Mahler (1879-1964), who was married to composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius (a founder of the Bauhaus) and writer Franz Werfel ( The Forty Days of Musa Dagh), and linked romantically with Expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka (and possibly composer Alexander Zemlinsky and painter Gustav Klimt). Alban Berg dedicated his groundbreaking opera Wozzeck to her. She is considered one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable “muses.”

A sharp increase in welfare cutoffs in Australia

By Mike Head, 17 August 2001

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) this week revealed that there has been a steep rise in the number of unemployed who have had their welfare benefits either completely or partially cut off. Almost 350,000 jobless people—more than half the total number receiving benefits—were penalised during the 2000-2001 financial year for breaches of the federal government’s draconian job search rules.

Collaboration and resistance in Vichy France

By Richard Phillips, 16 August 2001

The Sorrow and the Pity: Chronicle of a French City Under Occupation, Marcel Ophuls’ four-and-a-half-hour epic on Germany’s World War II occupation of France, was screened at the recent Sydney Film Festival. First shown 30 years ago in Paris, the film, which has now been re-released on DVD, is rightly regarded as one of cinema’s more significant documentaries and one of the few that uncovers the French ruling class’s collaboration with Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1944.

Indian court supports astrology as a university science subject

By Ram Kumar, 16 August 2001

A High Court decision in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in late April speaks volumes about the way in which the Indian education system and society as a whole is being subjected to the nationalist prejudices and backward superstitions of Hindu extremists under the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.

Britain: Government plans forcible removal of 60,000 asylum seekers

By Robert Stevens, 16 August 2001

The Labour government is planning to introduce new measures designed to forcibly remove up to 60,000 asylum seekers from the country over the next two years.

When the Bretton Woods system collapsed

By Nick Beams, 16 August 2001

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of one of the most significant turning points in the history of post-war capitalism. On August 15, 1971, without prior warning to the leaders of the other major capitalist powers, US president Nixon announced in a Sunday evening televised address to the nation that the US was removing the gold backing from the dollar. The commitment by the US to redeem international dollar holdings at the rate of $35 per ounce had formed the central foundation of the post-war international financial system set in place at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. Nixon’s unilateral announcement dealt it a fatal blow.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 16 August 2001

Belgium airline workers protest redundancies

Vanuatu—a picture of stark inequality in the South Pacific

By a correspondent, 16 August 2001

A recent visit to Vanuatu, a country of 83 small islands scattered across the south-west Pacific, some 2,000 kilometres east of northern Australia, provided a glimpse of the economic ruin and stark social divide emerging in the Pacific island states.

European Court confirms ban on Turkish Islamic Party

By Justus Leicht, 15 August 2001

The European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled July 31 that the ban on the Islamic Refah (Welfare) Party in Turkey did not constitute a violation of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which upholds the right to assemble and maintain political parties. The judgement was delivered only a short time after a ban was imposed by Turkish courts on the successor party to Refah, the Fazilet (Virtue) Party.

A one-dimensional exploration of narcissism and love

By Andrea Peters, 15 August 2001

Expressions Dance Company, one of Australia’s principal modern dance troupes, brought the newest work of company director Maggi Sietsma to Sydney at the end of July. While drawing a small crowd for this performance of Vanities Crossing, the company has gained international recognition since its debut in 1985 and maintains a worldwide touring schedule.

Coroner absolves company of blame for West Australian miners’ deaths

By Ben Nichols, 15 August 2001

A coronial inquiry into last year’s Bronzewing mining tragedy in the Goldfields region of Western Australia has concluded that Normandy Mining, the owner of the Bronzewing gold mine, was “not to blame.” Three service crew workers, Troy Woodard, Timothy Bell and Shane Bell, died on June 26 last year after 18,000 cubic metres of rock and sludge buried them 400 metres underground. A fill barricade on level 12 collapsed, flooding the lower levels. A postmortem confirmed that the three miners died of asphyxiation.

Hearing on new evidence in case of Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Helen Halyard and Bill Vann, 15 August 2001

For the first time since 1997, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will appear in a Philadelphia state court to demand the right to present evidence of his innocence in the December 9, 1981 shooting death of policeman Daniel Faulkner.

Britain: Report shows Labour and Conservatives dependant on handful of wealthy backers

By Simon Wheelan, 15 August 2001

Newly released data by the Electoral Commission identifies all financial donors who have given £5,000 or more to Britain’s political parties. The publication of these figures reveals the extent to which the official parties are increasingly beholden to a handful of super rich individuals.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 15 August 2001

The following is a selection of recent letters to the WSWS .

Growing international condemnation of police violence in Genoa

By Julie Hyland, 15 August 2001

Mounting evidence of police provocations and brutality against protesters during the G-8 summit held July 20-22 in Genoa has provoked growing international condemnation.

Workers Struggles: the Americas

By , 14 August 2001

Workers and unemployed protest in Argentina

Britain: Inquiries into foot and mouth epidemic to be held behind closed doors

By Paul Mitchell, 14 August 2001

British farmers’ leaders have accused the Labour government of conducting a media campaign to discredit them and deflect criticism from “its own bungled handling of the foot and mouth disease crisis”.

British Columbia suspends health care workers’ basic union rights

By Keith Jones, 14 August 2001

British Columbia’s Liberal government rushed through legislation last week that imposes new contracts on almost 40,000 health care workers and strips them of the legal right to mount any job action till 2004.