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Sri Lankan parties back imperialist war against Afghanistan

By K. Ratnayake, 31 January 2002

One noteworthy casualty of the US war against Afghanistan has been the “anti-imperialist” rhetoric of the major parties in Sri Lanka. All of them have supported the US military action, the first direct imperialist intervention on the Indian subcontinent since the British granted independence in the late 1940s. Moreover, by backing the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism,” they have in effect signed up to ongoing US aggression to further its global interests.

Letters on Enron and the death of J. Clifford Baxter

By , 31 January 2002

To the WSWS:

Letters on Afghan refugees in Australia

By , 31 January 2002

29 January 2002

Deportation proceedings against family of Michigan Muslim leader

By Lawrence Porter, 31 January 2002

In the latest attack by the US government on Muslim cleric Rabih Haddad, his wife and children have now received letters stating deportation proceedings have been initiated against them.

State of the Union speech: Bush declares war on the world

By the Editorial Board, 31 January 2002

The State of the Union speech given by George W. Bush Tuesday night was among the most menacing and belligerent in American history. The US president outlined a program of limitless and perpetual warfare, on every continent, and against any regime that stands in the way of the rapacious American ruling class.

US Fed decision not a vote of confidence

By Nick Beams, 31 January 2002

After eleven successive cuts, the US Federal Reserve has held interest rates steady following the meeting of its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) this week. But this is not an expression of confidence that the US economy is about to move out of recession.

Release Daniel Pearl!

By WSWS editorial board, 31 January 2002

The World Socialist Web Site urgently calls upon those who are holding Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, to release him unharmed.

Israeli army reservists refuse to serve in occupied territories

By Jerry White, 31 January 2002

More than 70 Israeli army reservists, including at least two dozen officers, have publicly stated they will no longer serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because of the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

A life is more than the sum total of its details

By David Walsh, 30 January 2002

Ali , directed by Michael Mann, screenplay by Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth and Mann, based on a story by Gregory Allen Howard

Is the US preparing for action against Iran?

By Peter Symonds, 30 January 2002

Three weeks ago, out of the blue, US president George Bush made a provocative statement warning Iran against meddling in Afghanistan. “If they in any way, shape or form try to destabilise the [Afghan] government, the coalition will deal with them, in diplomatic ways, initially,” he said.

Sharon government scapegoats foreign workers in Israel

By Harvey Thompson, 30 January 2002

The start of 2002 saw a dramatic escalation in the victimisation, legal targeting and expulsion of migrant workers by the Israeli government.

Main witness in German neo-Nazi party trial exposed as secret service agent

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 January 2002

Publication of the fact that one of the principal witnesses in the trial to ban the neo-fascist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) was, for many years, an informant of the German secret service has caused considerable difficulties for Interior Minister Otto Schily. At a press conference in Berlin last week, Schily (a member of the Social Democratic Party, SPD) categorically rejected demands by the opposition Christian Democrats that he resign. He did, however, admit to “serious errors” on the part of several prominent staff members in his ministry.

Japan heads into deflationary spiral

By Joe Lopez, 30 January 2002

With Japan moving into its third recession in 10 years there are growing fears that the world’s second largest economy is being dragged into a deflationary spiral of falling prices and profits.

Kosovo still without a functioning government

By Tony Robson, 30 January 2002

More than two months since elections were held in Kosovo for the newly created Assembly, the Yugoslav province remains without a government or president.

Long prison sentences in Norwegian neo-Nazi murder trial

By Helmut Arens, 29 January 2002

On January 17, the murderers of the 15-year-old dark-skinned Norwegian, Benjamin Hermansen—son of a Norwegian mother and a father from Ghana—were sentenced to 16, 15 and 3 years imprisonment.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 January 2002

Municipal strike in Nicaragua

Canada: Teachers take action against B.C. government

By Lee Parsons, 29 January 2002

The Liberal government of British Columbia last week launched a legislative assault against workers in the province, imposing a contract on 45,000 teachers and tearing up agreements affecting over 100,000 public sector workers. Teachers responded immediately by announcing a one day strike on Monday in protest against the government action.

Britain’s postal workers ballot for national strike

By Keith Lee, 29 January 2002

Postal workers are balloting for a national strike for the first time since 1996. The ballot over a pay demand comes at a time of growing anger amongst postal workers at the prospect of large chunks of the business being privatised and the resulting job losses that flow from that.

The Enron collapse and the crisis of the profit system

By Nick Beams, 29 January 2002

The collapse of the energy trader Enron on December 2—the largest bankruptcy in US corporate history—has resulted in a series of increasingly critical comments both in the American and international press.

Australia: Teenagers threaten suicide as refugee hunger strike escalates

By Linda Tenenbaum, 29 January 2002

A hunger strike by hundreds of imprisoned asylum seekers against the Australian government escalated today with nine Afghan and Iraqi teenage refugees threatening to commit suicide unless authorities release them by Wednesday evening.

291 dead in Lima: the social roots of Peru’s tragic fire

By Cesár Uco, 28 January 2002

A terrible fire late last month in Lima left a toll of 291 dead and hundreds of wounded. The victims were drawn almost entirely from the millions of marginalized poor who go daily into the streets of Peruvian cities to earn a few cents or buy cheap goods.

International aid pledges fall far short of Afghanistan’s basic needs

By James Conachy, 28 January 2002

The International Conference on Reconstruction Aid for Afghanistan, held in Tokyo from January 21 to 22, ended with just $US4.5 billion in grants and loans being pledged toward rebuilding the war-ravaged and famine-stricken country. Some $1.8 billion will be paid this year, with the remaining $2.7 billion trickling in by 2006.

The strange and convenient death of J. Clifford Baxter—Enron executive found shot to death

By Patrick Martin, 28 January 2002

Without anything that can be called a serious investigation, local authorities in a wealthy Houston suburb have whitewashed the death of former Enron vice chairman J. Clifford Baxter, calling it a suicide. Baxter, 43, was found shot to death in his Mercedes Benz in the early hours of Friday morning, January 25, near his home in Sugar Land.

Saudi government demolishes historic Ottoman castle

By Simon Wheelan, 28 January 2002

A diplomatic dispute has emerged between Saudi Arabia and Turkey regarding the Saudi authorities’ destruction of an 18th century Ottoman castle that overlooked the holy city of Mecca. The two nations normally enjoy less vexed relations as military allies of the US.

Britain: New "fat cats" row over £1 million corporate payoffs

By Neil Hodge, 26 January 2002

Golden handshakes of more than £1 million ($1.4m) were paid to a record 14 senior executives in the UK last year. More than twice the number in any previous year, the payoffs have triggered a new row over the sums that executive “fat cats” are being awarded, sometimes despite poor company performance.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 January 2002

Demonstrations across Indonesia

Workers strike sausage plant in Dearborn, Michigan

By our reporter, 26 January 2002

Fifty-five members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 876 went on strike against Dearborn Sausage on January 15, four days after the expiration of their contract. The strike began only days following the announcement of Ford Motor Company’s restructuring plan, which will result in 22,000 layoffs in North America alone. Dearborn Sausage is located just a few miles from Vulcan Forge, one of the plants slated for closure by the automaker.

Retailing giant Kmart files for bankruptcy

By Nancy Russell, 26 January 2002

Kmart Corporation, the US’s No. 3 discount retailer and an American icon for 40 years, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on Tuesday, January 22.[1]

Afghan refugees stage desperate hunger strike in Australia

By Linda Tenenbaum, 26 January 2002

Several hundred asylum seekers, most of them Afghani refugees who have been locked up for months, even years, by the Australian government in a remote prison camp, are into the eleventh day of a hunger strike that threatens to end in tragedy. The strike erupted last week at the notorious Woomera Detention Centre, located 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the nearest city in the middle of the South Australian desert. It follows two months of increasingly desperate protests by many of the centre’s 860 inmates.

Landscapes which get in the way

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 January 2002

After nearly a decade devoted to documentary films and opera productions, German director Werner Herzog has written and directed a new feature film, which is now playing in German cinemas. Invincible (Unbesiegbar) opened last summer at the Cannes festival to generally poor reviews and the producers and director have evidently waited for what they think is the right moment to release the film to a German public.

Blair government says British terror suspects in Guantanamo should be tried in UK

By Julie Hyland, 26 January 2002

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that it would be “preferable” for British al-Qaeda suspects currently being held at the US naval base in Cuba to stand trial in the UK. Three Britons are thought to be amongst the 158 detainees taken blindfolded and shackled to “Camp X-ray” at Guantanamo Bay, where they face trial by military tribunal and a possible death sentence.

Britain: Government unveils measures to dismantle public health care

By Elaine Gorton, 25 January 2002

Last week, Health Secretary Alan Milburn unveiled government plans to “redefine” the National Health Service (NHS). The proposals mark a radical step in the dismantling and privatisation of state-funded health care provision.

The Bush administration and John Walker Lindh: who are the real "conspirators"?

By David Walsh, 25 January 2002

The Bush administration is proceeding with its brutal legal vendetta against John Walker Lindh, the young American who joined the Taliban in Afghanistan last year and surrendered to Northern Alliance forces in November. Walker (who generally goes by his mother’s name) arrived in the US late Wednesday after being taken off the USS Bataan warship—where he has been imprisoned—by helicopter and transferred to another military plane at the airport in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. He was restrained during the flight to the US. Walker made an initial appearance Thursday in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. US Magistrate Judge W. Curtis Sewell set a preliminary hearing for February 6.

Letters to the WSWS on the US war in Afghanistan

By , 25 January 2002

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

Beautiful and fascinating—but not urgent?

By Sandy English, 25 January 2002

Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northwest China, Gansu and Ningxia, 4th-7th Century at the Asia Society, New York City, November 17—January 6, 2002

Nigeria: Unions call off general strike against fuel price increases

By Trevor Johnson and Barbara Slaughter, 25 January 2002

On January 18, the Nigerian Labour Council (NLC) and its 29 affiliated unions called off the general strike that had paralysed the country for two days.

Australia-Indonesia Institute denies funding to academic conference

By Richard Phillips, 25 January 2002

The government-funded Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) admitted last week that it has refused to provide financial support for an academic conference to be held in Western Australia early next month because the organisers invited leftwing documentary filmmaker and journalist John Pilger as a keynote speaker.

Was the US government alerted to September 11 attack?

By Patrick Martin, 24 January 2002

This series has reviewed evidence that US intelligence agencies had ample advance information about the September 11 attacks, from specific details of the methods and the likely targets to the identities of a number of the hijackers, including the alleged principal organizer, Mohammed Atta.

Terror suspects held in brutal conditions in British jail

By Harvey Thompson, 24 January 2002

Detainees held in Britain in the aftermath of the September 11 bombings are being kept in “barbaric” conditions, according to medical experts.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 24 January 2002

French medical staff begin week of strike action

Recent letters to the WSWS

By , 24 January 2002

On the review of In the Bedroom

Bosnian film: no finger-pointing?

By Joanne Laurier, 24 January 2002

Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic has written and directed No Man’s Land, a film about the Bosnian war of 1993-94. Tanovic, who was a photographer on the front lines in 1993 and ran the Bosnian army’s film archive, has drawn from his experiences to develop certain realistic situations and characterizations. The film was awarded the prize for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival. It has been described as a model anti-war film, which refuses to point fingers at either side in the Balkan conflict. Unhappily, this is far from the truth.

Members named to commission to manage Philadelphia schools takeover

By Tom Bishop, 24 January 2002

Pennsylvania Republican Governor Richard Schweiker and Philadelphia Democratic Mayor John Street have announced the members of the School Reform Commission (SRC) that will manage the state takeover of the Philadelphia public schools. The takeover was initiated December 21 when Schweiker declared the seventh largest public school system in the United States to be academically and financially “distressed.”

Police raid exposes a secret Sri Lankan army assassination squad

By W.A. Sunil, 24 January 2002

A police raid on an army “safe house” in Colombo on January 2 has provided a revealing glimpse into the dirty operations of the Sri Lankan military. The luxury home situated in the Millennium City housing complex on the outskirts of the capital was the base for a secret army hit squad ostensibly to carry out attacks behind the lines on the leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Volcano causes widespread devastation in Congo

By John Farmer, 23 January 2002

The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo has driven at least half a million people from their homes. Residents of Goma city and surrounding villages in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been severely hit by the January 17 eruption of Africa’s most active volcano.

Britain: Government presses for £1 billion arms deal with India

By Richard Tyler, 23 January 2002

There is nothing like the prospect of another war to boost the profits of the arms manufacturers. With mounting tensions between India and Pakistan along their disputed border in Kashmir, the Guardian newspaper revealed that senior British politicians were pushing hard to secure a £1 billion ($1.4bn) arms contract with India, largely for the supply of Hawk jets.

US anthrax attackers aimed to assassinate Democratic leaders

By Jerry White, 23 January 2002

In the more than three months since anthrax-infected letters were mailed to US Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, evidence has emerged about the source and motives of the attack which has vast political implications.

Letters on the Enron scandal

By , 23 January 2002

Dear Editor,

Australian union chief jeered as Qantas workers throw out pay deal

By Terry Cook, 23 January 2002

Airline unions were sent scurrying back to the negotiating table last week after aircraft maintenance workers at Qantas in Melbourne and Sydney ignored a union recommendation and overwhelmingly rejected a new enterprise agreement. The unions’ Single Bargaining Unit had signed off on the deal on January 10.

US flouts world opinion and Geneva Convention in treatment of Afghan war prisoners

By Shannon Jones and Patrick Martin, 23 January 2002

The brutal treatment by the United States of Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners in its custody, who are being held in open-air cages at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba, is provoking growing worldwide condemnation as a violation of international law.

New school shootings in US: social issues once again come to the fore

By Kate Randall, 22 January 2002

Until two school shooting incidents last week, a relatively extended period of time had gone by—at least by American standards—without any reported deaths from violence perpetrated by students on school grounds. The last shooting to make national headlines occurred March 30, when a 17-year-old expelled student fatally shot a tenth grader in the parking lot of Lew Wallace High School in Gary, Indiana.

Was the US government alerted to the September 11 attack?

By Patrick Martin, 22 January 2002

An essential aspect of the official version of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—which maintains that these attacks came as a complete surprise to the US government and its intelligence apparatus—is the claim that the CIA and other intelligence agencies relied too heavily on electronic surveillance rather than on-the-spot agents infiltrated into the terrorist organizations.

Alberta spearheads assault on public health care

By Lee Parsons, 22 January 2002

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein is to outline this week major changes to the province’s public health insurance scheme—changes aimed at off-loading a greater portion of health-care costs onto individuals, reducing demand for publicly-funded health care services, and providing big business with increased opportunities to profit from the provision of health care.

A letter from a reader in British Columbia

By , 22 January 2002

Dear Editors at WSWS:

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 January 2002

Construction workers demand better working conditions in Panama

Israel steps up assault on Palestinian Authority

By Chris Talbot, 22 January 2002

Military reprisals by the Israeli government over the last few days mark a clear escalation of its war against the Palestinian Authority (PA). Tanks and armoured vehicles encircled Yasser Arafat’s West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, moving to within 30 metres of his office. Israeli troops backed by tanks and bulldozers entered the Voice of Palestine radio station, where they used explosives to blow it up.

Yugoslavia: Union leaders order bank workers to end occupations

By Paul Mitchell, 21 January 2002

Union leaders last week ordered workers to end their weeklong occupation of several Yugoslav banks. The Institute of War and Peace Reporting has described the occupation as “the biggest social protest in the country’s history”.

Muslim woman strip-searched at Chicago’s OHare airport

By Lawrence Porter, 21 January 2002

In another example of the growing attacks—ranging from blatant discrimination and state-sanctioned bigotry, to outright physical brutality—faced by people of Arab descent in America, the Chicago, Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an American Muslim student who was singled out and strip-searched at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport because of her ethnic background.

Britain: Report highlights BSE danger from infected sheep

By Barry Mason, 21 January 2002

The risk to humans developing variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) could be far greater if the brain-wasting disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has entered the sheep population. This was the conclusion of a study published in the British science magazine Nature on January 10.

The US extends "war on terrorism" into the Philippines

By Peter Symonds, 21 January 2002

Under the guise of conducting a joint training exercise with the Philippines Armed Forces, more than 650 US troops, including 160 elite special forces soldiers, have begun landing on the southern island of Basilan where the separatist Abu Sayyaf guerrilla group is based. The deployment marks a significant extension of the Bush administration’s so-called global war against terrorism and an aggressive reassertion of US interests in its former colony and more broadly in South East Asia.

Letters and replies on anthrax attacks in the US

By , 21 January 2002

Several readers have sent in comments and questions about an article by Patrick Martin, “US anthrax attacks linked to army biological weapons plant,” posted December 28, 2001. Below we publish the letters with replies by the author.

Passive realism

By David Walsh, 19 January 2002

In the Bedroom, directed by Todd Field, written by Field and Robert Festinger, based on a story by Andre Dubus

An exchange on nationalism in Serbia

By , 19 January 2002

Dear Editor,

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 19 January 2002

Hong Kong maids protest pay cuts

US pushes Colombia to brink of all-out war

By Bill Vann, 19 January 2002

Colombia, for the moment, has avoided the all-out eruption of its four-decade-old civil war following a last-ditch mediation effort launched by the United Nations, a group of governments including France, Mexico and Cuba and the Catholic Church. Bowing to the call for renewed negotiations, Colombian President Carlos Andres Pastrana announced the postponement of an ultimatum he had delivered to the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla movement to abandon a 25,000-square-mile “demilitarized zone” in the south of the country.

British Columbia to ravage public and social services

By Keith Jones, 19 January 2002

British Columbia’s Liberal government announced details Thursday of its plan to shrink the provincial civil service by almost one-third or the equivalent of 11,700 full-time jobs over the next three years. The government job cuts are the steepest ever made in Canada, surpassing in per capita terms those implemented during the 1990s by the Ontario Conservative government of Mike Harris and the Alberta Conservative government of Ralph Klein.

Italian foreign minister resigns

By Patrick Richter, 19 January 2002

On New Year’s Eve, while other European capitals were celebrating the introduction of the new single currency, the euro, in Italy there was only an accentuated silence. No ceremonies were held in Rome, and in contrast to his European Union (EU) colleagues, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi did not consider it necessary to do anything at all to honour the new currency.

New Sri Lankan government targets political opponents at workplaces

By Saman Gunadasa, 18 January 2002

Since taking office following last month’s general election, the United National Party (UNP) government in Sri Lanka has unleashed an intimidation campaign against public sector workers at many workplaces. Newly-appointed UNP managements are working with thugs from the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS—National Workers Union), the UNP’s trade union wing, to attack and victimise workers.

Recent correspondence to the WSWS

By , 18 January 2002

On Enron

British government defends conditions at Guantanamo

By Julie Hyland, 18 January 2002

The British government has publicly defended the conditions under which Afghan prisoners are being held at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, despite growing international criticism. Among those being held are believed to be at least six Britons, two Frenchmen and an Australian.

Was the US government alerted to September 11 attack?

By Patrick Martin, 18 January 2002

The least likely and least credible explanation of the events of September 11, 2001 is that the vast US national security apparatus was entirely unaware of the activities of the hijackers until the airliners slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Enron and the Bush administration: kindred spirits in fraud and criminality

By David Walsh, 18 January 2002

The collapse of energy trading giant Enron, with all its legal and economic ramifications, has obviously embroiled the Bush administration in a major scandal. A column in the Los Angeles Times last week referred to the affair as “Teapot Dome, the Sequel” (the Teapot Dome affair essentially brought an end to the Harding administration in the 1920s). It is pointless at the moment to speculate whether or not Enron will prove the present government’s undoing. The more critical issue is grasping the extent to which Enron as a criminal and parasitic enterprise expresses the social essence of the Bush administration and the American ruling elite as a whole.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 17 January 2002

JobCentre staff strike over safety

Britain: Cash-for-beds scandal in National Health Service

By Elaine Gorton, 17 January 2002

Just a few months ago the Labour government was congratulating itself for finding a panacea that would supposedly salvage Britain’s ailing National Heath Service—a Public Private Partnership.

Thousands more US layoffs in wake of Ford job-slashing

By Kate Randall, 17 January 2002

Last week’s announcement by Ford Motor Company that it would eliminate 35,000 jobs, including 22,000 in North America, was the sharpest expression of a job-cutting trend that has continued unabated in the US in the new year. Two million jobs were shed by US corporations in 2001, and the first two weeks of 2002 have seen further layoffs carried out in all segments of the economy—from retail to manufacturing to finance.

Detained Muslim cleric secretly moved to Chicago

By Lawrence Porter, 17 January 2002

In a case that threatens to set a precedent for further attacks on democratic rights in the US, Rabih Haddad, co-founder of Global Relief Foundation (GRF) and a prominent Muslim cleric, has been arrested and secretly removed from Michigan. Neither his lawyers nor his family were contacted about the transfer.

Australia and New Zealand starve Solomon Islands of funds

By Peter Byrne and Mike Head, 17 January 2002

In what can only be described as a neo-colonial intervention, the foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand visited the economically ruined Solomon Islands for 24 hours last week and delivered an ultimatum to its recently-elected government: unless it restores order and implements the economic policies dictated by the two regional powers, the new government will receive no foreign aid.

PDS leader Gysi takes over posts in Berlin cabinet

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 January 2002

Following drawn-out negotiations between the SPD (German Social Democratic Party) and PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism—formerly SED, the governing Stalinist party of East Germany—the division of ministerial posts for the new Berlin senate has been decided upon. For the first time since German reunification the PDS has been accepted as a coalition partner in the German capital and PDS leader Gregor Gysi is to take over the important posts of economics senator and deputy mayor in the new Berlin cabinet.

Was the US government alerted to September 11 attack?

By Patrick Martin, 16 January 2002

The least likely and least credible explanation of the events of September 11, 2001 is that the vast US national security apparatus was entirely unaware of the activities of the hijackers until the airliners slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The unquiet death of Patrice Lumumba

By Bill Vann, 16 January 2002

January 17 marks the forty-first anniversary of the brutal assassination of Patrice Lumumba. The murder of the leader of the Congolese independence struggle and one of the most impassioned critics of the colonial oppression of Africa continues to haunt governments in both Europe and America.

Britain temporarily "suspends" deportation of Zimbabwean refugees

By Barry Mason and Barbara Slaughter, 16 January 2002

For weeks the British government has been refusing asylum to political refugees from Zimbabwe, forcing them to return to a country where they face persecution, torture and possibly death.

VRE outbreak at major West Australian hospital

By Celeste Ferguson, 16 January 2002

Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia’s oldest teaching hospital, was forced to close one of its intensive care units last October in the wake of Australia’s worst outbreak of the antibiotic-resistant “superbug” known as VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci).

Pakistan’s Musharraf walks a fine line between war and internal revolt

By Peter Symonds, 15 January 2002

A key speech delivered on Saturday by Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf has underscored the precarious character of his regime amid the ongoing tense military standoff with India. New Delhi has massed troops along the border in the country’s largest-ever military mobilisation and threatened unspecified reprisals for the December 13 attack on the Indian parliament unless Islamabad stamps out “cross-border terrorism”.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 15 January 2002

Argentine strikes and protests

Second package of anti-terror laws rushed through German parliament

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 15 January 2002

With unparalleled haste and without any great discussion, numerous changes to German law were rushed through both chambers of the German parliament just before Christmas. On December 14, the second package of laws for the “struggle against terrorism” passed by an overwhelming majority of votes from all parties in parliament—SPD (German Social-Democratic Party), the Green Party and the CDU/CSU opposition (Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union).

Letters on the war in Afghanistan

By , 15 January 2002

Dear Sir or Madam,

Britain: Winter cold kills over 22,000 elderly

By Keith Lee, 15 January 2002

Some 22,700 elderly people died last winter in Britain from illnesses directly related to cold weather, according to the charity Help the Aged.

Spain: Opposition to universities reform law

By Vicky Short, 15 January 2002

The Peoples Party government has entered on a collision course with the Spanish education community over its new law to reform the university system. Mass protests organised by students, professors and university employees have won the sympathy and support of a large majority of the population: a recent poll showed two out of three Spaniards in favour of the government withdrawing the law.

Afghan POWs at Guantanamo base: bound and gagged, drugged, caged like animals

By Patrick Martin, 14 January 2002

Hooded and shackled throughout a 27-hour flight from Afghanistan to the Caribbean, the first Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners arrived January 11 at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they will be detained indefinitely in conditions which are clearly subhuman and illegal.

US Supreme Court ruling limits disabled workers’ rights

By Kate Randall and John Andrews, 14 January 2002

In a ruling denounced by advocates of the disabled, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously last Tuesday that an auto worker who could not do assembly line work because of carpal tunnel syndrome was not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Court held 9-0 that a worker physically unable to do a specific manual job assignment is not “disabled” if the task “is not an important part of most people’s daily lives.”

Economic hardship afflicts Japanese working class

By James Conachy, 14 January 2002

Unemployment in Japan is at its highest level for more than 50 years. In a country with a harsh welfare system, a pervasive stigma against those who seek state assistance, and a media and political establishment which generally ignores the plight of the poor, millions of people are being left to suffer extreme deprivation.

Sectarian tensions lead to riots and school closures in Northern Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 14 January 2002

Sectarian tensions caused serious rioting and led to the closure of several schools in north Belfast last week.

Workers lose jobs, health care and savings at Enron

By Steve Paulsen, 14 January 2002

Thousands of current and former Enron employees have lost their jobs, health care and life savings since the bankruptcy of the gas and trading giant last month, while records show that many of Enron’s top executives made in the tens and some in the hundreds of millions of dollars during the past year, while concealing the true financial state of the company.

Clever, well-read. And what else?

By David Walsh, 12 January 2002

The Royal Tenenbaums , directed by Wes Anderson, co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson

Serious security flaws in Microsoft web browser

By Mike Ingram, 12 January 2002

If you are using an operating systems from Microsoft, the answer to the question, “how safe is your computer?” would have to be “not very!”

Ford to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide, 22,000 in North America

By Lawrence Porter, 12 January 2002

On Friday morning, January 11, top executives of Ford Motor Company announced a dramatic restructuring plan that calls for the destruction of 35,000 jobs worldwide and 22,000 jobs in North America. These decisions will mean the near-certain impoverishment of thousands of families and the devastation of numerous towns across North America.

Letters on "Oil company adviser named US representative to Afghanistan"

By , 12 January 2002

A number of readers have commented on the article by Patrick Martin, posted January 3, 2002, which detailed the connections between Zalmay Khalilzad, the new US special envoy to Kabul, and the California-based oil company Unocal. Below we post a selection of these letters and some replies by the author.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 12 January 2002

Indonesian cement workers strike against sale plan

Canada may declare G-8 summit site a militarized zone

By Guy Charron, 12 January 2002

Canada’s Liberal government is considering using new powers it has seized in the name of the war on terrorism to impede and suppress protests against next July’s G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta.

Letters from US workers

By , 11 January 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters sent by workers in the US.