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Afghanistan mired in poverty, insecurity and despotic rule

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2002

It is a year since the US drove the Taliban regime from power and installed Hamid Karzai as head of an interim administration. The whole process was sanctified at a UN conference of handpicked Afghan “representatives” convened in late November at the Petersberg Castle, a luxury hotel outside the German city of Bonn. There was no shortage of high-blown rhetoric at the time, proclaiming a new period of peace, prosperity and democracy in Afghanistan.

Chief Justice’s daughter purges Health and Human Services office

By Peter Daniels, 30 November 2002

A series of complaints about the conduct of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general has shed some additional light on the workings of the Bush administration.

Harvard University forced to back down on censorship of British poet

By Harvey Thompson, 30 November 2002

On November 12, Harvard University cancelled a poetry reading by the Oxford based poet and critic Tom Paulin, following pressure from the university’s pro- Israel student lobby. The student body objected to remarks Paulin had made denouncing the state of Israel and supposedly designating US Jewish settlers on the West Bank as fascists.

Los Angeles health system near meltdown

By Nick Davis, 30 November 2002

Public and private health services in Los Angeles County face devastation under the weight of financial deficits brought about by years of attacks by both Democratic and Republican politicians at the county, state and federal levels.

Thousands of tons of oil pollute Spanish coast

By Vicky Short, 30 November 2002

An ecological disaster of terrible magnitude has taken place and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their livelihoods as a consequence of the break up of the oil tanker Prestige off the north west coast of Spain. The future of many others resident in the area is in jeopardy after the tanker, broken in two, dived to the bottom of the sea with its cargo of nearly 60,000 tons of oil.

When the music’s over, turn out the lights

By Joanne Laurier, 30 November 2002

Standing in the Shadows of Motown, directed by Paul Justman, produced by Justman and Allan Slutsky and based on Slutsky’s 1989 book, Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 November 2002

Indonesian workers attempt to stop employers leaving country

Australian prime minister gives the nod to anti-Muslim racism

By Richard Phillips, 29 November 2002

Last week Reverend Fred Nile, leader of the rightwing Christian Democratic Party, issued an inflammatory call for the New South Wales state government to ban Muslim women from wearing the chador, the head-to-toe Islamic veil, in public. The coverings, he declared, were a “perfect disguise for terrorists” and could be used to “conceal both weapons and explosives”, citing the recent siege by Chechen separatists in a Moscow theatre.

Britain: Blair declares class war against firefighters

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 29 November 2002

Britain’s firefighters must consider carefully the gravity of the situation they face. The past weeks have stripped the veil from the “third way” rhetoric of Prime Minister Tony Blair and exposed Labour as a government of strike breakers in the service of big business.

Media pushes for a majority Labor government in Victoria

By Margaret Rees and Mike Head, 29 November 2002

In the final days of the campaign for the Victorian state election this Saturday, the media has blitzed voters with predictions that the Labor government will win a landslide victory. Kerry Packer’s Bulletin news magazine, which this week features a smiling Premier Steve Bracks on its front cover, has even forecast a “Bracks era” that will stretch for a decade or more.