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The painter Jacob Lawrence

By Clare Hurley, 31 May 2002

Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence , an exhibition at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, May 27-August 19, 2001; Whitney Museum of American Art, November 8, 2001-February 3, 2002; The Detroit Institute of Arts, February 23-May 19, 2002; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 16-September 8, 2002; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, October 6, 2002-January 5, 2003

US Supreme Court reinstates death sentence against Tennessee man

By Kate Randall, 31 May 2002

In a decision that will further restrict the right of death row inmates to appeal their sentences, the US Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling and reinstated the death sentence of a Tennessee man who argued that his mentally ill lawyer did nothing to save him from the death penalty. In an 8-1 vote on May 28, the Supreme Court overturned a federal appeals court ruling that had granted the man’s writ of habeas corpus and set aside his death sentence.

Britain: right-wing union leaders maintain control by any means necessary

By Julie Hyland, 31 May 2002

Allies of Prime Minister Tony Blair are engaged in constitutional shenanigans to maintain right-wing control over two of Britain’s largest unions.

Letters on the September 11 cover-up

By , 31 May 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

A socialist strategy to oppose war on the Indian subcontinent

By WSWS Editorial Board, 31 May 2002

The World Socialist Web Site unequivocally condemns the drive to war by India and Pakistan. The two nuclear-armed countries stand on the brink of military hostilities, with calamitous consequences for the masses of the sub-continent, the region and throughout the world.

Australian prisoners in Guantanamo Bay send letters exposing their illegal detention

By Richard Phillips, 31 May 2002

Letters received last week by the families of two Australian citizens currently jailed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, further expose the inhumane and illegal nature of their arrest and detention. Written by 26-year-old David Hicks and 43-year-old Mamdouh Habib, the letters provide further evidence that US military authorities have contravened basic legal conventions and human rights since the two men were captured last year.

Bush administration lifts restriction on domestic spying by FBI

By Jerry Isaacs, 31 May 2002

US Attorney General John Ashcroft Thursday granted the Federal Bureau of Investigation sweeping powers to carry out domestic spying against political organizations, religious groups and private citizens in the United States. The new guidelines, issued in the name of the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism,” will allow FBI agents to monitor political gatherings, Internet sites, electronic chat rooms and bulletin boards, libraries and churches without providing any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Kenya hit by floods

By David Rowan, 31 May 2002

Widespread flooding throughout Kenya has displaced up to 60,000 people. The official number of those killed, mainly from landslides, has so far been estimated at 50.

Some questions and answers on life under socialism

By Nick Beams, 30 May 2002

Dear Mr Beams,

Pasolini and other questions

By David Walsh, 30 May 2002

This is the third and final part of a series on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 2).

Rights of British mesothelioma victims restored

By Anthony Coombs, 30 May 2002

The following article was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by Anthony Coombs, of John Pickering & Partners, who acted for Doreen Fox and Edwin Matthews, two of the three appellants in the historic House of Lords legal decision of May 16, 2002, which restores the rights of most asbestos cancer victims to be compensated through the court system.

Australia bullies "independent" East Timor over oil and gas

By Mike Head, 30 May 2002

Even as East Timor was declared to be the world’s newest independent nation on May 20, a bitter conflict was underway behind the scenes over Australia’s insistence on retaining the lion’s share of the tiny territory’s only substantial natural resource—the huge oil and natural gas deposits beneath the Timor Sea between the two countries.

Eastern European workers to pay the cost of membership in European Union

By Markus Salzmann, 30 May 2002

By 2003 the European Union (EU) will be in a position to incorporate new member states. At present, entry negotiations are under way with twelve states: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus. Turkey, moreover, was officially granted the status of candidate member at the Helsinki summit in 1999.

European Union grants temporary stay to exiled Palestinian militants

By Peter Reydt, 30 May 2002

On Wednesday May 22, after two weeks of internal squabbling within the European Union, 12 of the 13 Palestinian militants expelled by Israel and temporarily allowed into Cyprus, under a deal that ended the siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, were flown to six European Union countries. Portugal and Belgium have taken one each, Greece and Ireland two each and Italy and Spain three each. The remaining exile has stayed behind in Cyprus until a EU member country accepts him.

Texas executes man for crime committed at 17

By Kate Randall, 30 May 2002

Napoleon Beazley died by lethal injection just after 6 pm on Tuesday evening in Huntsville, Texas for a crime committed when he was 17 years old. The young black man, who was 25 at the time of his execution, had no final words as he was strapped to the gurney before the poisonous chemicals were pumped into his body. He was pronounced dead nine minutes later.

US duty on Canadian lumber comes into force

By François Legras, 29 May 2002

As of May 23, most Canadian companies exporting softwood lumber to the US have to pay a new 27 percent duty imposed by Washington.

On Marx and Lassalle, Engels and Carlyle: an exchange of letters

By , 29 May 2002

WSWS Editorial Board

Rightist death squads hail Colombia’s new president

By Bill Vann, 29 May 2002

Colombia’s main right-wing paramilitary organization hailed the election May 26 of Alvaro Uribe Vélez, a son of the rural aristocracy who has vowed to double the size of the country’s armed forces in order to prosecute an all-out counterinsurgency campaign backed by Washington.

Train crash in Mozambique kills 200

By Barry Mason, 29 May 2002

Around 200 people were killed and many hundreds injured on May 25, when a train crashed on the line between the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, and Ressano Garcia on the South African border.

September 11 cover-up crumbles: Who was covering for Moussaoui, and why?

By Patrick Martin, 29 May 2002

The revelations over the past two weeks about advance warnings of the September 11 terrorist attacks have focused particularly on the role of Zaccarias Moussaoui, the Islamic fundamentalist arrested last August in Minneapolis. Moussaoui is the only person facing criminal charges for allegedly playing a role in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed more than 3,000 people.

Private operator of US public schools facing financial crisis

By Peter Daniels, 29 May 2002

Edison Schools, the for-profit company that was handed control of 20 schools in the city of Philadelphia only a month ago, is reported to be facing a severe cash crisis that imperils its plans for expansion and may even jeopardize its current operations.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 May 2002

Municipal workers rally in Paraguay

Widening rebellion by New Zealand teachers against government-union pay deal

By John Braddock, 28 May 2002

Simmering discontent among New Zealand secondary school teachers over employment contract negotiations has boiled over into open rebellion against both the Labour-Alliance government and the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA). On May 16, union and government negotiators announced a deal to settle the 14-month dispute over pay and working conditions. At the same time, the PPTA executive issued a directive to teachers to cancel all bans and industrial action.

More questions about whom Australian troops are killing in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 28 May 2002

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Revealing testimony by Rugova on the breakup of Yugoslavia

By Paul Mitchell, 28 May 2002

The sitting Kosovan president, Ibrahim Rugova, appeared as a prosecution witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, where former premier Slobodan Milosevic is indicted for crimes against humanity.

Bush in Berlin: illusion and reality

By Ulrich Rippert, 28 May 2002

It was a “really significant” speech, in some passages even an “historic speech”. This was the reaction of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to the speech given by United States president George W. Bush to the German parliament last week. Similar comments have been made repeatedly by leading politicians and the German media since Bush gave his speech last Thursday.

Dwindling job prospects and rising education costs face US college graduates

By Andrea Cappannari, 28 May 2002

Hiring of recent graduates from American colleges and universities has fallen by 36.4 percent compared to last year, according to a study released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). This national trend stands in stark contrast to the situation experienced by some college graduates and widely reported by the media in the latter half of the 1990s. During the economic boom and the dizzying dot.com expansion, a segment of students, particularly in the technology and consulting industries, were able to command high entry-level salaries and signing bonuses as they juggled job offers from companies eager to attract talent from the country’s campuses.

Britain’s favoured candidate wins Sierra Leone elections

By Trevor Johnson, 28 May 2002

The incumbent president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), won the May 14 elections in Sierra Leone with 70.6 percent of the vote. Kabbah was well ahead of his nearest rival, Ernest Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC), who got 22.35 percent of the vote and so avoided the need for a run-off. Employed for many years as a United Nations official, Kabbah has the support of Britain, the former colonial power, and the United States.

The Bush administration embraces Malaysian autocrat

By John Roberts, 28 May 2002

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to Washington on May 13-14, signalling an improvement in relations, clearly demonstrated the changed US priorities in South East Asia under the Bush administration, particularly since September 11.

British Columbia Liberals introduce omnibus anti-worker legislation

By David Adelaide, 27 May 2002

Fresh from announcing massive layoffs and “restructuring” in the health-care sector, British Columbia’s Liberal government has introduced three bills attacking the conditions of employment of all workers. Bills 42, 48, and 49 amend, respectively, the Labour Relations Code, the Employment Standards Act and the Workers Compensation Act in ways that attack historic gains of the workers’ movement, such as the 8-hour workday and the right to bargain collectively. It is expected that the three bills, introduced May 13th, will become law by the end of the spring session of the legislature.

New evidence that US government suppressed September 11 warnings

By Patrick Martin, 27 May 2002

A detailed letter from a top FBI official in Minneapolis, sent last Wednesday (May 22) to FBI headquarters and to the US Senate, has provided major new evidence that high-level government officials deliberately turned a blind eye to advance warnings of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The letter, portions of which have been leaked to the media, has set off a new round of public criticism of the Bush administration in both the media and official Washington.

Britain: Teenager commits suicide in prison

By Keith Lee, 27 May 2002

On March 24, 15-year-old Joseph Scholes hung himself after spending only nine days in the Stoke Heath Young Offender Institution. The events surrounding his tragic death highlight the brutal nature of the Labour government’s “get tough” policy on young offenders and its attitude to the social problems facing young people in general.

Four films

By Joanne Laurier, 27 May 2002

This is the second in a series of articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 2)

Prisoners of war held in horrific conditions in Afghan jails

By Ben Nichols, 27 May 2002

Months after their capture, thousands of Afghan and Pakistani prisoners of war are still being held in appalling conditions in Afghan jails. Most are in overcrowded cells, are badly underfed and lack access to elementary hygiene facilities and health care. Diseases such as tuberculosis, dysentery, cholera, pneumonia and hepatitis are widespread. An unknown number of prisoners have died.

Asylum incident fuels anti-China rhetoric in Japan

By James Conachy, 27 May 2002

After more than two weeks of diplomatic controversy between Japan and China, five North Koreans who were dragged from the Japanese consulate in Shenyang on May 8 were permitted by Beijing to fly to the Philippines and on to South Korea on May 23. However, the result of what is being termed the “Shenyang incident” is an intensified political campaign by right-wing, nationalist forces in Japan for a confrontational anti-China policy.

Australian government forced to delay "anti-terrorism" laws

By Mike Head, 25 May 2002

The Howard government has suffered a significant setback with its far-reaching “counter-terrorism” legislation. After a Senate report criticised the measures, government backbenchers last week refused to accept even a revised version of the laws. The resulting standoff forced the government to withdraw the bills from the Senate, postponing them until at least June 17, when the Senate is next due to sit.

Colombian vote sets stage for US military escalation

By Bill Vann, 25 May 2002

Presidential elections to be held in Colombia on Sunday will set the stage for a sharp escalation of the US military intervention in the war-torn South American country.

Thousands die each year in US because they lack health insurance

By Jerry Isaacs, 25 May 2002

More than 18,000 Americans die every year solely because they cannot afford private health care insurance. This is the finding of a new study entitled “Care without coverage: Too little, too late,” which compares the health of insured and uninsured adults in the US, where 30 million—or one out of every seven—working-age people lack health care coverage.

Britain: Labour government whips up anti-immigrant sentiment

By Julie Hyland, 25 May 2002

Prime Minster Tony Blair used discussions with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Maria Aznar, in London on May 20 to demand tougher asylum controls across Europe. Urging Aznar, who will host June’s Seville summit of the European Union, to speed up the implementation of asylum controls, Blair proposed a three-point plan to be adopted by the EU. It includes:

Texas to execute three for crimes committed as juveniles

By Kate Randall, 25 May 2002

If the state of Texas were a nation it would lead the world in executions of those convicted of crimes committed when they were younger than 18 years old. Of the 74 juvenile offenders presently on death row in the US, 26 of these condemned young men are in the “Lone Star State,” and 3 of them are scheduled to die by lethal injection by mid-September. Of the 777 inmates sent to their deaths since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, more than a third, or 268, were in Texas. Ten of these were juvenile offenders.

Workers’ protests continue in northeast China

By John Chan, 25 May 2002

Despite the efforts of the central Beijing and local governments to end the working class unrest in China’s north eastern provinces, laid-off workers in Liaoyang, Liaoning province, and the Daqing oilfields in Heilongjiang province have organised protest actions throughout May.

Hershey Chocolate workers strike in Pennsylvania

By Paul Sherman, 25 May 2002

Two thousand seven hundred workers are striking against Hershey Chocolate in Hershey, Pennsylvania to fight cuts in health care, increases in prescription drugs costs and similar cuts in benefits for retired workers.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 May 2002

South Korean government threatens crackdown on strikes

Report details Israeli seizure of West Bank land

By Jean Shaoul, 25 May 2002

Land grab, Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank, the newly released report by B’tselem, the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, documents for the first time the full extent of Israel’s illegal seizure of land in the West Bank that it has occupied since the 1967 war.

India and Pakistan back off from war—temporarily

By Vilani Peiris and Sarath Kumara, 24 May 2002

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vaypayee yesterday took a small step back from the brink of war with Pakistan, declaring to the media that he saw clear skies replacing war clouds—at least for the moment. He warned, however, that, “sometimes lightning can strike even when the sky is clear. I hope there will be no lightning.”

The war in Afghanistan, world politics and the perspective for socialism

By Nick Beams, 24 May 2002

The following is the third and final part of a report delivered to a public meeting held in Sydney on May 12, 2002, organised by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. Parts 1 and 2 were published on Wednesday May 22 and Thursday May 24 respectively.

New York’s ex-mayor Giuliani leaves a legacy of corruption and racism

By Bill Vann, 24 May 2002

He was lionized by a fawning media as “America’s Mayor,” the “hero” of September 11. With his relentless playing to the TV cameras and his celebrity tours of the World Trade Center disaster site in Manhattan, he projected his image worldwide, winning himself a knighthood from the Queen of England.

Government by provocation: Bush administration escalates terror warnings

By the Editorial Board, 24 May 2002

The series of statements over the past several days from the Bush administration, warning of terrorist attacks that could take the lives of thousands, if not millions of Americans, constitutes a huge political provocation. One after another, top officials declared that new attacks, involving biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, were inevitable, and the government was powerless to prevent them.

Michigan conference calls for defense of Arab, Asian immigrants

By Shannon Jones, 24 May 2002

Representatives of Arab-American and civil liberties groups from across the United States attended a two-day meeting last weekend in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan to discuss methods of opposing the ongoing attacks on Middle Eastern and other immigrants.

Britain: Potters Bar derailment highlights deterioration in rail safety

By Tony Robson, 24 May 2002

“I travelled by rail yesterday and what I would say to people is, all the measures are being put in place to ensure it is as safe as it possibly can be. This would appear to be a one-off, unique event, affecting this particular set of points. It’s not a generic problem that applies across the railway network.”

Rewards, disappointments and surprises

By David Walsh, 24 May 2002

This is the first in a series of articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 2)

Tens of thousands march against Bush in Berlin

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 May 2002

As many as 50,000 demonstrators marched through the middle of Berlin Tuesday in the first of a series of demonstrations and rallies planned for the next three days protesting the first ever visit to Germany by American President George Bush.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 23 May 2002

Irish postal workers balloted for strike action

Israel: Sharon pushes through austerity budget

By David Cohen and Chris Marsden, 23 May 2002

Israel’s prime minister Ariel Sharon’s political gamble of firing ministers and deputy ministers from Shas and United Torah Judaism has paid-off, by the government’s emergency economic austerity programme passing on its second reading. It had first met with defeat by a vote of 47-44 due to a no vote by the two ultra-Orthodox parties.

An uneasy cease fire in Sri Lanka

By K. Ratnayake, 23 May 2002

An indefinite cease fire between government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been in place in Sri Lanka since February, as a prelude to peace negotiations in Thailand next month. But the arrangements, which are being supervised by a monitoring mission involving delegates from Norway and other Scandinavian countries, are far from secure.

Sri Lankan navy kills two fishermen

By , 23 May 2002

The Sri Lankan Defence Ministry reported on May 2 that the navy had intercepted two trawlers, suspected of carrying arms for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), off the country’s east coast in the Batticaloa district. One vessel “blew itself up” and the navy chased the other, which mingled with smaller civilian fishing boats. “Suddenly LTTE boats sprang from inside the cluster of civilian boats and opened fire at the naval boats. Naval troops engaged these LTTE boats resulting in the destruction of one LTTE boat which engaged them.” The trawler sped off.

The war in Afghanistan, world politics and the perspective for socialism

By Nick Beams, 23 May 2002

The following is the second part of a report delivered to a public meeting held in Sydney on May 12, 2002, organised by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. Part 1 was published on Wednesday May 22. Part 3 will be published on Friday May 24.

Pro-US military strongman elected president in Mali

By Chris Talbot, 23 May 2002

Military strongman General Amadou Toumani Toure (known as ATT) was declared the new president of the West African country of Mali on May 16, in a run-off vote that followed the first round of voting held at the end of April.

Discussions on the Argentine crisis

By David Walsh, 22 May 2002

This is the fourth and final part in a series on the recent Buenos Aires independent film festival (April 18-28).

Letters on the social crisis in America

By , 22 May 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters about the social crisis in America.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 22 May 2002

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

Why is the New York Times defending Bush’s September 11 cover-up?

By Barry Grey, 22 May 2002

Two revelations that emerged in the mass media last week threaten to topple the entire edifice of lies that has been used to justify the Bush administration’s policy of open-ended war and political repression. The first is the fact that Bush was briefed weeks before September 11 that Al Qaeda was preparing to hijack US commercial jets. The second is that the administration had already drafted a detailed plan for a global “war on terrorism” which included an attack on Afghanistan—the very plan Bush implemented in the aftermath of the hijack-bombings in New York and Washington.

Britain: Mother faces prison for failing to send daughters to school

By Liz Smith, 22 May 2002

Patricia Amos, a 43-year-old divorced mother of five, became the first person in Britain to be imprisoned for failing to send her two daughters aged 13 and 15 years to school. Amos was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment in Holloway jail and refused bail last week, pending an appeal today. Amos was so unprepared for her sentencing at Oxford Crown Court that she had to call an elder daughter, who has three children of her own, from the prison to ask her to look after the two younger daughters, Emma and Jackie.

The war in Afghanistan, world politics and the perspective for socialism

By Nick Beams, 22 May 2002

The following is the first part of a report delivered to a public meeting held in Sydney on May 12, 2002, organised by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. Part 2 was published on Thursday May 23 and Part 3 on Friday May 24.

New arms treaty paves way for US military buildup

By Joseph Kay, 22 May 2002

During his upcoming visit to Moscow, US President George Bush will join Russian President Vladimir Putin in signing a new arms-control treaty. The agreement, reached May 13, is a treaty for arms control in name only. It allows for the continued escalation of American militarism with the acquiescence of the Russian government.

Heat and poverty kill over 700 people in India

By R. Shree Haran, 22 May 2002

A severe heat wave in India has killed at least 734 people over the past fortnight—666 of them in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Most of the victims were poor—small farmers, elderly people, rickshaw pullers and street vendors—who succumbed to heatstroke and dehydration in temperatures that reached 49 degrees Celsius.

German government clamps down on opposition prior to Bush visit

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 May 2002

A total of 10,000 police are being mobilised for the one-day visit to Berlin, Germany planned by US President George W. Bush this week. In addition to a full mobilisation of the Berlin police force, extra contingents of police are being drawn from other states in the east and west of the country.

German metalworkers strike brought to an end

By Dietmar Henning, 21 May 2002

On May 15, a nine-day strike in the metal and electronics industries in the German states of Baden-Wurttemberg and Berlin/Brandenburg came to an end.

US under fire over steel and farm policies

By Nick Beams, 21 May 2002

Whether the Bush administration’s decision to impose duties of up to 30 percent on imported steel in March will prove as historically significant as the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 remains to be seen. But the US move, followed by last week’s $180 billion farm industry subsidy bill, has resulted in a marked sharpening of trade tensions within the global economy.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 May 2002

Teachers march on Mexico City

India and Pakistan move to the brink of war

By Vilani Peiris and Sarath Kumara, 21 May 2002

The danger of war between India and Pakistan has rapidly escalated following a terrorist attack in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on May 14. At least 34 people died and another 50 were wounded when three armed men opened fire, first on a bus and then inside the residential quarters of an army camp at Kaluchak near Jammu, the state’s winter capital. Ten children and 12 women—mainly the families of soldiers—were among the dead. The three attackers were shot dead by troops.

Britain: Asbestos ruling opens way for compensation claims

By Neil Hodge, 21 May 2002

Thousands of people dying from asbestos-related diseases can now bring claims for compensation after a landmark ruling by five Law Lords on May 16. The judgement on three test cases, described as the most significant in the history of industrial disease, followed a three-day hearing headed by Lord Bingham of Cornhill.

Bush vows tighter blockade, Castro pushes for rapprochement with US

By Bill Vann, 21 May 2002

Just three days after former president Jimmy Carter ended his trip to Cuba by urging an end to Washington’s 40-year-old embargo and closer economic ties with the island nation, President Bush vowed to tighten the blockade.

Two more cases of coldblooded murder in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 20 May 2002

A major military operation involving US, British, Australian and other troops has been underway in eastern Afghanistan, in addition to ongoing patrols by various special forces units throughout the area. What these soldiers are doing is shrouded in a cloak of official secrecy. Every now and then, however, a report leaks out that confirms a trend—those being killed are not “Al Qaeda” or “Taliban” but ordinary villagers and tribesmen whose deaths are treated with a mixture of indifference and contempt.

Drama, ideas and life

By David Walsh, 20 May 2002

This is the third part in a series on the recent Buenos Aires independent film festival (April 18-28).

Letters on Bush and September 11

By , 20 May 2002

Below we post a selection of letters on the WSWS Editorial Board statement “Cover-up and conspiracy: The Bush administration and September 11” and the four-part series “Was the US government alerted to September 11 attack?” by Patrick Martin.

Irish elections: Ruling Fianna Fail vote increases, Sinn Fein win five seats

By Mike Ingram, 20 May 2002

With votes counted in 37 of the 42 constituencies, Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fail had taken 74 of the 166 seats in the Dail (Irish Parliament). The party had achieved 41.5 percent of first preference votes, an increase of 2.2 percent on the last elections held in 1997.

Australian maritime union accepts job losses

By Terry Cook, 20 May 2002

The occupation by nine seamen of the CSL Yarra in South Australia’s Port Pirie was brought to an abrupt end last Thursday after the Maritime Union of Australia cobbled together a deal with the ship’s owners in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).

A Tribute to Vadim Rogovin

By David North, 20 May 2002

At a meeting held in Moscow on May 15, more than 75 people commemorated what would have been the 65th birthday of the Russian Marxist historian and sociologist, Vadim Z. Rogovin. Among those attending the gathering were surviving children of Russian Left Oppositionists murdered by the Stalinist regime, scholars who worked with Vadim at the Institute of Sociology in Moscow, the representatives of several socialist tendencies in Russia and many friends. The meeting was organized by Galina Rogovina, Vadim’s wife.

Famine spreads across southern Africa

By Chris Talbot, 18 May 2002

The famine in southern Africa threatens to become a major humanitarian disaster, with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warning that more than five million people will need food aid in the near future. Officials based in the region say as many as 20 million people could be affected. WFP is already feeding 2.6 million in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The impact of flooding followed by drought, combined with deteriorating economic conditions and the highest rate of AIDS infection in the world, mean many more will be affected.

Right-wing parties unseat social democrats in Dutch elections

By Ulrich Rippert and Steve James, 18 May 2002

The main victors in the May 15 general election in the Netherlands are the conservative Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the List Pim Fortuyn (LPF), which was founded just three months ago by the recently assassinated right-wing populist, Pim Fortuyn.

Letters on "US attorney general invokes God in 'war on terrorism'"

By , 18 May 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters about “US attorney general invokes God in “war on terrorism” by Shannon Jones

Australia: Howard government bans French movie Baise-moi

By Mile Klindo, 18 May 2002

In a serious attack on democratic rights, Australia’s Classification Review Board last week banned the controversial French film Baise-moi after Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams called on the censorship body to review the film’s R18+ (admission to over 18-year-olds) classification. The movie, which was rated by the Office of Film and Literature last October, began showings at selected art house cinemas on April 24 and was seen by over 50,000 people before screenings were stopped. Many of those who saw the film did so in order to demonstrate their opposition to the anticipated ban.

What the Likud vote reveals about Israel’s real intentions

By Chris Marsden, 18 May 2002

Consider, if you will, the following hypothetical scenario:

Cover-up and conspiracy: The Bush administration and September 11

By the Editorial Board, 18 May 2002

The Bush administration has been plunged into a major political crisis following press reports that Bush was briefed on the danger of a terrorist attack involving the hijacking of US airliners more than a month before September 11.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 May 2002

South Korean drivers rally in Seoul

East Timor’s "independence": illusion and reality

By Mike Head and Linda Tenenbaum, 18 May 2002

Just after midnight on May 20, the tiny enclave of East Timor will be proclaimed the first newly independent country of the 21st century. Amid official celebrations in the capital Dili, UN secretary general Kofi Annan will formally hand power over to President-elect Xanana Gusmao and declare the territory’s 800,000 people liberated.

May Department Stores lays off 1,800 in Pennsylvania and Oregon

By Paul Sherman, 17 May 2002

The May Department Stores Company announced May 3 it would close two divisional stores and consolidate operations, resulting in 1,800 job cuts. The retailer said it would combine its Kaufmann’s and Filene’s divisions in the Northeast, as well as its Robinsons-May and Meier & Frank division in the West and Northwest, cutting its business divisions from eight to six.

Films of Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, and a number of documentaries

By David Walsh, 17 May 2002

This is the second part in a series on the recent Buenos Aires independent film festival (April 18-28).

Number of US workers on jobless benefits hits 19-year high

By Jerry Isaacs, 17 May 2002

The number of US workers collecting unemployment insurance in the beginning of May rose to its highest level in 19 years, according to a report released Thursday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau also reported that new jobless claims rose 2,000 to 418,000 in the week ending May 11, with new claims staying above the 400,000 level for two consecutive months.

The political lessons of the French presidential elections

By , 17 May 2002

The Socialist Equality Party of Britain held a public meeting on May 12 in Central London, entitled, “The perspective for socialism in the 21st Century”. Below we publish the main report to the meeting delivered by Peter Schwarz, the secretary of the International Committee of the Fourth International, on the political lessons of the French presidential elections.

Chinese leaders seek allies against US encirclement

By John Chan, 17 May 2002

Last month’s tour by Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Germany, Nigeria, Tunisia, Libya and Iran, and the visit of Premier Zhu Rongji to Turkey, Egypt and Kenya, highlighted Beijing’s concerns over the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism”. While ostensibly trade missions, the tours indicated that Chinese leaders are seeking to develop alliances with the European Union and others to resist American domination over the resources of Central Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific.

French President Chirac appoints new government with right-wing agenda

By Peter Schwarz, 17 May 2002

The French constitution imparts powers to the president that are unique in Europe. On May 5, the Gaullist candidate Jacques Chirac was confirmed as president with a large majority thanks to the support of France’s “Plural Left” parties—the Socialist Party, the Communist Party and the Greens. Now he is systematically using the powers accorded to him by the constitution to strengthen his position.

Chilean court reenacts stadium execution of American journalist

By Bill Vann, 17 May 2002

Gunshots rang out once again in Santiago’s National Stadium May 14, nearly 30 years after the Chilean sports facility was turned into a center of torture and execution by a US-backed military junta that overthrew the elected government of President Salvador Allende.

The Crusader affair: A military-corporate oligarchy out of control

By Patrick Martin, 16 May 2002

The controversy over the proposed cancellation of the Army’s new self-propelled artillery piece, the Crusader, sheds light on a fundamental characteristic of contemporary America: the increasingly brazen role of the military and corporate elite in dictating the policies of the US government.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the dead-end of Zionism

By , 16 May 2002

The Socialist Equality Party of Britain held a public meeting in Central London, entitled, “The perspective for socialism in the 21st Century”. David North, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of the United States and chairman of the editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site , was unable to attend and Chris Marsden, the national secretary of the SEP in Britain, delivered the report on the political situation in the Middle East.

Australian budget targets social welfare to pay for war

By Nick Beams, 16 May 2002

After running a scare campaign against asylum seekers in the lead-up to last November’s election, joining the US-led assault on Afghanistan and unleashing some of the most serious attacks on democratic rights seen in more than 50 years, the Howard government intends to make the poorest sections of the population pay for its policies. That is the aim of the 2002-03 budget brought down by Treasurer Peter Costello on Tuesday night.

Paris club decision keeps Indonesian economy temporarily afloat

By Amanda Hitchcock, 16 May 2002

Two decisions by international economic bodies last month provided a much-needed, temporary reprieve to the Indonesian government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri, but none of the underlying weaknesses of the debt-burdened economy have been resolved. In mid-April, the Paris Group of Indonesian creditors gave a $US5.4 billion extension for repayments on loans due to expire this fiscal year. Subsequently, the International Monetary Fund disbursed $347 million worth of loans.

On the labor party question in the US

By Jerry Isaacs, 16 May 2002

Dear Editor,

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 16 May 2002

Air traffic controllers in Rome strike