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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.

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

By , 30 November 2002

Indonesian workers attempt to stop employers leaving country

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nigeria: Death toll from inter-communal violence mounts

By Ann Talbot, 29 November 2002

At least 215 are confirmed dead and several thousand injured after six days of rioting between Christians and Muslims in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna. It is estimated that 12,000 people have been made homeless. Many have fled the city as whole residential areas have been burnt to the ground.

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.

What is bin Ladenism?

By Bill Van Auken, 29 November 2002

A recently translated 4,000-word letter purported to be written by Osama bin Laden provides what may be the clearest presentation yet of the utterly reactionary political and social views that underlie his brand of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.

Northern Ireland: talks resume following suspension of Assembly

By Steve James, 29 November 2002

Talks convened on November 21 between the British government and parties represented in the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, including Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionists (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

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.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 29 November 2002

Fiat autoworkers demonstrate against job losses in Italy

Striking British firefighters speak out: "They want to bring us down"

By our reporters, 28 November 2002

On November 22, some 51,000 firefighters began an eight-day strike in pursuit of a 40 percent wage rise to bring them up to £30,000 per annum. The walkout was deliberately provoked by the Labour government of Tony Blair, which wants to inflict a major defeat on the firefighters in order to ram through cuts in the service and to set an example to other workers that there will be no money made available for higher pay awards.

Socialist Equality Party public meetings in Britain opposing war vs. Iraq

By , 28 November 2002

Preparations are well advanced in Washington and London for war against Baghdad. Having already faced one devastating onslaught in 1991, and more than a decade of economic strangulation that has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, Iraq faces complete devastation. The question is not whether, but when—senior US officials have admitted that United Nations resolutions on weapons inspections are nothing more than a smokescreen, and that Washington will act unilaterally to achieve its ends.

Germany: Socialist Equality Party stands in Hesse election

By Partei für Soziale Gleichheit, 28 November 2002

On November 18, the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG—Socialist Equality Party) filed 1,100 voter signatures with the electoral registration office in the German state of Hesse. This fulfilled conditions for participating in the election for the state legislature on February 2, 2003. The state elections committee will take the final decision regarding the party’s application on December 6.

Striking London teachers march through capital

By Tania Kent, 28 November 2002

Tens of thousands of workers throughout London took strike action Tuesday against low pay in one of the most widespread protests seen in the capital for years.

Aide to Canadian prime minister replaced for calling Bush a "moron"

By Keith Jones, 28 November 2002

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien caved in November 26 to pressure from the US and Canada’s political right and accepted the resignation of Françoise Ducros. The prime minister’s communications director, Ducros had been vilified for calling US President George W. Bush a “moron.”

Bush picks Kissinger to head official probe: new stage in the September 11 coverup

By the Editorial Board, 28 November 2002

The nomination of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to head the official US commission into the September 11 terrorist attacks guarantees that the inquiry will be a whitewash, not an independent investigation. Bush’s selection of Kissinger is a statement of the administration’s contempt for the public and its implacable opposition to any serious investigation into the most deadly terrorist attack in the nation’s history.

Bush’s Christmas gift to the jobless: one million lose benefits December 28

By Patrick Martin, 28 November 2002

The US Congress adjourned November 22 without taking any action on an extension of unemployment benefits for long-term jobless workers, after the Bush administration refused to intervene in a dispute between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate. The result is that nearly one million unemployed will lose their benefits by the end of the year.

Huge losses for Haider’s Freedom Party in Austrian elections

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 November 2002

The huge loss of votes by the Austrian Freedom Party (FP), led by right-wing populist Jörg Haider, was applauded in European capitals Monday. “Haider finished” ( Financial Times) and “petty bourgeois tames the arsonist” ( Süddeutsche Zeitung) were typical headlines, as it became clear that Haider’s FP had lost two-thirds of its vote in last Sunday’s prematurely called Austrian general elections. From a level of 26.9 percent three years ago, the FP plunged to 10.1 percent Sunday.

Murdoch editorial justifies assault on democratic rights

By the Editorial Board, 27 November 2002

In the wake of the Howard government’s release of a sweeping terrorist alert last week, the Australian media has lined up behind the government’s efforts to condition public opinion to the far-reaching assault on democratic rights that is currently underway.

France: strikes, protests mount vs. austerity measures

By Alex Lefebvre, 27 November 2002

Truck drivers in France staged a nationwide strike November 24 and 25, erecting roadblocks on highways and intersections in various parts of the country. Union demands were for a pay increase, the standardization of the Christmas bonus, improved health insurance, a shortening of the workweek and bonuses for work experience.

France: Closure of Sangatte camp intensifies attack on asylum-seekers

By Antoine Lerougetel, 27 November 2002

On November 5, the Red Cross refugee centre in Sangatte, near Calais in northern France, was closed to new arrivals. The sudden decision, made without forewarning and 10 days before the official date set for the camp’s closure, was guaranteed to create a humanitarian crisis.

Two New York City transit workers killed in 48 hours

By Allen Whyte, 27 November 2002

Two New York City transit employees were struck and killed by trains while working on the tracks in Manhattan on the morning of November 21 and the following night, November 22. They were both working in small maintenance crews with no one assigned to watch for oncoming trains.

LTTE member faces court over assault on SEP member in Sri Lanka

By K. Ratnayake, 27 November 2002

Karthigesu Amirthalingam, a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is due to appear in the local magistrates court on Kayts Island in northern Sri Lanka on December 4, over an attack on Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member Nagarajah Kodeeswaran. He has been charged with assault using a weapon and causing injury.

Fijian military court convicts 15 soldiers on mutiny charges

By Frank Gaglioti, 26 November 2002

On November 15, a court martial in Fiji found 15 soldiers, including an army captain, guilty of involvement in a mutiny at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in November 2000. However, while the proceedings pointed to the involvement of figures within the country’s military, political and business elites, no legal action has been taken against them.

Desperation in New York: rumors bring thousands of poor in search of cash

By Peter Daniels, 26 November 2002

At about 10 a.m. on November 21 in New York City, a crowd began to gather slowly in lower Manhattan outside the Worth Street office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The government body is empowered to distribute federal grants and assistance to those who suffered economic losses as a result of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Berlin trial of neo-Nazi implicates Brandenburg secret service

By Marius Heuser, 26 November 2002

On November 11, the second criminal chamber of the Berlin district court sentenced Toni Stadler, a neo-Nazi, to two years’ imprisonment with a probationary period of four years. The court concluded that the 28-year-old man from Cottbus in eastern Germany was guilty of incitement to violence, committing violence and disseminating insignia promoting unconstitutional organisations.

Israel to expand Jewish settlements in Hebron

By David Cohen and Jean Shaoul, 26 November 2002

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has seized on the November 15 ambush of Israeli security forces to announce that Israel would expand the ultra-orthodox Zionist settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron, tearing up the 1997 Hebron Protocol and paving the way for the expulsion of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat from the West Bank.

Bush advisor tells British MPs: war against Iraq regardless of UN findings

By Chris Marsden, 26 November 2002

One of President Bush’s top security advisers, Richard Perle, told British members of Parliament (MPs) at a November 15 all-party meeting that the United States intends to attack Iraq even if United Nations inspectors fail to find any weapons.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 November 2002

Chilean unions to strike

Fox News chief doubled as political adviser to Bush

By David Walsh, 25 November 2002

The revelation that Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes sent a secret memo offering political advice to George W. Bush after last year’s terrorist attacks illustrates one of the fundamental facts of American political life: the utterly dishonest and politically incestuous relationship between the mass media and the government.

The Philippines pushes for a leading role in the US "war against terrorism"

By John Roberts, 25 November 2002

In the wake of the Bali bombings on October 12, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is aligning her administration even more closely with Washington and pressing ahead with “anti-terrorist” legislation to give the police and military far-reaching powers to crack down on all forms of opposition.

Bush administration to track Iraqis living in the US

By Kate Randall, 25 November 2002

The Bush administration has begun to monitor thousands of people of Iraqi descent in the US. Government officials have disclosed that the intelligence program involves tracking both Iraqi citizens and Iraqi-Americans with dual citizenship who are attending American universities or working in the private sector.

Australia’s unemployment rate masks continued decline in full-time jobs

By Barry Jobson and Beth Cook, 25 November 2002

For months the Australian government has been crowing that the decline in the official unemployment rate is a vindication of its economic policies. Following the release of the latest statistics showing a jobless figure of 6 percent for October, Treasurer Peter Costello bragged that the result was the “lowest in Australia since the great recession of March 1990”.

Austria’s Social Democrats, Greens shift to the right

By Markus Salzmann, 23 November 2002

On the eve of the general election this Sunday, the political landscape in Austria has begun to shift significantly. The Social Democrats (SPÖ), who have the largest parliamentary faction, are leading the polls, and the Greens are gaining significantly.

Right-wing US group lobbies for war on Iraq

By Bill Vann, 23 November 2002

Faced with mounting public unease and outright opposition to its preparations for an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration and its right-wing supporters have cobbled together a front group whose aim is to convince Americans that war is necessary to “liberate” the Iraqi people.

British government refuses aid to Ethiopian famine victims

By David Rowan, 23 November 2002

On November 19, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) organisation defended comments made by the prime minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, on the escalating famine crisis in the country.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 November 2002

Indonesian police fire shots during workers’ demonstration

Sri Lankan fine arts institute suffers drastic cuts

By Kapila Fernando, 23 November 2002

Successive government financial cuts to the Institute of Aesthetic Studies (IAS) in Sri Lanka are slowly destroying the country’s premier institution for higher studies in the fine arts and performing arts. Many of the country’s leading and veteran painters, musicians, dancers and sculptors are the graduates of the institute and some are currently on its academic staff.

The political issues raised by Britain’s firefighters strike

By Chris Marsden, 23 November 2002

It should now be clear to everyone that the eight-day strike by Britain’s firefighters has been deliberately provoked by the Labour government of Tony Blair.

Britain: Labour abandons planned corporate killing legislation

By Neil Hodge, 22 November 2002

Britain’s Labour government has dropped plans to make companies and their directors liable for deaths in their charge. Home Secretary David Blunkett bowed before intense pressure from business groups who insisted the proposed law of corporate killing would be “unworkable”, would “lead to the pursuit of individuals” and leave companies defenceless against criminal convictions in the wake of train crashes and other accidents.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 22 November 2002

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

Top German official demands "more inequality"

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 November 2002

In a rare moment of candour, a top government economist has publicly stated what Germany’s corporate and political elite has long been discussing in private and is now implementing as social policy.

Lacklustre re-creation of a vital piece of Australian history

By Richard Phillips, 22 November 2002

Black and White, which is currently screening in Australian cinemas and due for international release next year, is based on the 1959 trial of Max Stuart, a young Aboriginal man found guilty of the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl, and the campaign waged to prevent his execution.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 22 November 2002

Portuguese state workers strike

US intelligence appeals court sanctions increased domestic spying

By John Andrews, 22 November 2002

Although it has been in existence for 25 years, the secret United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which consists of three semi-retired appeals court judges selected by Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, issued its first-ever ruling on November 18, gutting a Watergate-era law intended to limit government wiretap surveillance within the US.

Australian ABC falls into line on Bali bombing

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2002

In the wake of the Bali bombing on October 12, the Australian media has openly lined up with the Howard government in deliberately cultivating a climate of fear and uncertainty to justify a far-reaching assault on basic democratic rights and support for the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism”. Any pretence of independent journalism has been rapidly abandoned as outlets compete to transmit the latest claims of government spokesmen, police and intelligence agencies about the activities of terrorist groups.

Italy: Twenty anti-globalization activists arrested in police sweeps

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 November 2002

Less than a week after one of the biggest anti-war demonstrations in Europe since the end of World War II, the Italian judiciary and police have conducted a large-scale operation against anti-globalisation protesters.

Wealth gap continues as young generation falls behind in Australia

By Janine Harrison, 21 November 2002

Several reports issued in Australia over the past two months have pointed to a continuing gulf between the richest and poorest households, with falling levels of cash savings for most households and a sharp decline in the economic position of young people.

Solomon Islands begins implementing IMF demand for severe job cuts

By Peter Byrne, 21 November 2002

At the insistence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Solomon Islands government is pressing ahead with plans to retrench 1,300 employees or about 30 percent of the public sector workforce. The first group of sackings was due to take place last week.

Iran: death sentence sparks protests and coup threats

By Justus Leicht, 21 November 2002

Following a week of student protests, the Iranian government has apparently lifted a politically motivated death sentence. The decision, however, has done nothing to dampen severe social tensions, which have been exacerbated by pressure from the US.

Britain: The shattering of the Royal illusion

By Julie Hyland, 21 November 2002

“The use of the Queen, in a dignified capacity, is incalculable. Without her in England, the present English government would fail and pass away.”

The element of social tragedy in King Lear

By David Walsh, 21 November 2002

King Lear is among the most complex and contradictory of Shakespeare’s works. While the play has no single character with the intellectual or sensual appeal of a Hamlet, Falstaff, Cleopatra, Richard III or even a Rosalind, it treats in the most vivid and dense language a vast array of problems. The tragedy’s cumulative effect is deeply troubling and, in its own fashion, subversive.

Iraq war dominates NATO summit in Prague

By Peter Schwarz, 21 November 2002

The last NATO summit meeting in Washington in April 1999 took place during the war against Yugoslavia. As the government heads met in the American capital to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the transatlantic alliance, NATO fighters were bombing Belgrade. The summit which takes place November 21 and 22 in the Czech capital of Prague is dominated by military preparations for an American-led war against Iraq.

Telecommunications layoffs mount worldwide

By Paul Sherman, 20 November 2002

Massive layoffs and downsizing continue to dominate the telecommunications industry throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Britain: Children socially, educationally disadvantaged by age two

By Harvey Thompson, 20 November 2002

Recent research into the learning development of very young children suggests that many are educationally classified according to social class before they are two years old.

Zimbabwe: A letter from the MDC and a reply

By , 20 November 2002

The following letter was sent by Eddie Cross, a leading Zimbabwean businessman and the secretary for Economic Affairs for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main pro-Western opposition party to President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Cross’s letter was sent in response to a previous exchange with a reader of the World Socialist Web Site on our attitude to Mugabe and Western intervention in Zimbabwe ( See “An exchange on Zimbabwe”.) The letter is followed by a reply by Ann Talbot.

Massive security crackdown at Prague NATO summit

By our own correspondent, 20 November 2002

The NATO summit scheduled to take place this week, November 21-22, in the Czech capital of Prague has been accompanied by a massive security operation. For the first time, a NATO summit will take place in a country that once formed part of the dismantled Soviet bloc. Forty-six heads of state are expected to attend, including US President George W. Bush.

Bangladesh’s "crime" crackdown results in the deaths of 24 detainees

By Wimal Perera and Sarath Kumara, 20 November 2002

In the name of combatting crime, the Bangladesh government has mobilised some 40,000 soldiers alongside police in a huge nationwide dragnet that began on October 17 and has already resulted in the detention of more than 5,700 people. They include union officials, as well as politicians.

More letters on "The death of US Senator Paul Wellstone: accident or murder?"

By , 20 November 2002

Readers continue to send messages expressing their support and appreciation for the editorial board statement published by the World Socialist Web Site on October 29, raising the question whether Senator Paul Wellstone’s death was a political assassination [“The death of US Senator Paul Wellstone: accident or murder?”]. The WSWS published a number of letters criticizing this editorial, together with a reply by Patrick Martin, on November 11. Below we reprint a number of letters commenting on the original statement and the subsequent correspondence.

US pressure provokes fissures in European Union

By Alex Lefebvre, 19 November 2002

The world economic crisis, European Union (EU) enlargement, and the debate on EU governmental structures are forcing major changes in the political positions of the European powers, exposing deep economic and political fault lines inside the EU. Underlying the disagreements within the EU is the impact of US foreign policy on the European integration project. In its turn toward unilateralism and militarism, Washington is exacerbating intergovernmental tensions on the continent, instead of favoring European integration as it did during the Cold War.

Britain: Firefighters speak on strike

By our correspondent, 19 November 2002

Britain’s firefighters mounted their first two-day strike last week as part a planned series of strikes against the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair. They are demanding a 40 percent pay rise to bring their annual pay up to £30,000. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is in the second day of renewed talks with the government in an attempt to resolve the dispute before an eight-day strike due to begin Friday, November 22.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 19 November 2002

Chilean unions to mobilize this week

Canada: Thousands demonstrate against war on Iraq

By a correspondent, 19 November 2002

Thousands of workers and students took to the streets of more than two dozen Canadian cities last weekend to oppose a US invasion of Iraq.

US Border Patrol sets up random checkpoints in Michigan

By Joanne Laurier, 19 November 2002

As part of the Bush administration’s ongoing attack on democratic rights, the US Border Patrol began setting up rotating and unannounced checkpoints November 12 in southeast Michigan near the US-Canadian frontier. The Border Patrol, part of the Department of Justice’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), claims authority to establish traffic checkpoints that can stop and interrogate all motorists and their passengers.

25 años desde el asesinato deTom Henehan (1951-1977)

By , 19 November 2002

WSWS : Español

Pakistan parliament convened but no government formed

By Vilani Peiris, 19 November 2002

More than a month after national elections on October 10, Pakistani military strongman General Pervez Musharraf finally convened the National Assembly last weekend, where newly elected MPs took the oath of office. Musharraf, who secured a vote of support in what was widely regarded as a rigged referendum earlier in the year, was sworn in for a five-year term as president. But the whole affair, which was meant to demonstrate that Pakistan was returning to civilian rule, was a charade.

Police assault anti-WTO protesters in Australia

By Mike Head, 19 November 2002

Backed by state and federal government leaders, police attacked anti-World Trade Organisation (WTO) protesters in Sydney on Thursday and Friday. At least 50 demonstrators were arrested as police deliberately broke up rallies and marches.

Are Britain and the United States moving against Zimbabwe?

By Ann Talbot, 18 November 2002

Amid speculation about the possible actions of the Britain and the United States, Zimbabwe’s petrol pumps have run dry, deepening the crisis already caused by the famine and threatening emergency food deliveries.

Bush Homeland Security bill nears passage by US Congress

By the Editorial Board, 18 November 2002

The US House of Representatives voted November 13 to establish a new federal Department of Homeland Security along the lines laid down by the Bush administration. The Senate, still under Democratic Party control in the lame-duck session, began considering the bill Friday, under an expedited procedure that limits debate to 30 hours and insures a final vote by November 20.

New powers proposed for French police

By Marianne Arens and Francis Dubois, 18 November 2002

On October 23 the French government submitted a proposed reform of French criminal law that strengthens the powers of the police and introduces harsh punishments for beggars, prostitutes and other socially deprived groups. The package of laws worked out by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is currently being discussed in the Senate and is due to be discussed and decided upon by the National Assembly in the second half of January.

Bush’s double standard: protecting corporations, victimizing workers

By Patrick Martin, 18 November 2002

The Homeland Security bill is a blatant piece of class legislation, combining the destruction of workers’ rights with a slew of special provisions awarding tax or liability benefits to favored corporations and industries. These provisions were added to the bill after the November 5 election, when the White House decided to use the revived bill as a vehicle for rewarding some of its most important corporate supporters, such as the drug manufacturers.

12th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 November 2002

This is the second and final article on the recent 12th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema.

Letters on Democrats’ debacle in US midterm elections

By , 16 November 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the WSWS concerning the debacle suffered by the Democratic Party in the US midterm election.

State takeover of Flint highlights social decay in birthplace of US auto union

By Shannon Jones, 16 November 2002

Flint, Michigan, the fourth largest city in the state with a population of 125,000, is in receivership. The municipal government in the former center of the General Motors auto empire has been plunged into bankruptcy as a result of successive plant closures, capped by the recent shutdown of the Buick City complex.

Michigan workers speak out: "It seems like General Motors has abandoned Flint"

By a reporting team, 16 November 2002

A reporting team from the World Socialist Web Site interviewed workers in Flint, Michigan about conditions in the city.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 16 November 2002

Indonesian journalists rally against assaults

Argentina defaults on loan to World Bank

By Bill Vann, 16 November 2002

Argentina defaulted Thursday on an $805 million debt to the World Bank. The decision by the government of President Eduardo Duhalde not to meet the payment came amid reports of child starvation and other signs of social disintegration within the country and increasing tensions in its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

Bush administration exploits DC sniper case to promote death penalty

By Kate Randall, 16 November 2002

The Bush administration is deliberately manipulating the tragedy surrounding the Washington-area sniper shootings to promote capital punishment, a key element of its right-wing political agenda.

West Australian base to be used for US navy "sea-swap" trial

By Richard Phillips, 15 November 2002

The Australian government has agreed to allow the US military to use the HMAS Stirling naval base in Cockburn Sound on the west coast of Australia to trial its new “sea-swap” program. The plan, which is aimed at boosting US naval firepower in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf, is part of the Bush administration’s preparations for war against Iraq.

UK firefighters begin first nationwide strike in 25 years

By our correspondent, 15 November 2002

Britain’s firefighters began a national 48-hour strike on November 13 following the breakdown of talks with local authority employers and the government. The strike is the first national action in the industry in 25 years.

12th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema

By Stefan Steinberg, 15 November 2002

In reviewing the body of films at a given festival it is never easy to determine whether a change in the character of the work shown reflects a general shift in mood and subject matter on the part of filmmakers or merely a change of stance on the part of the festival worker(s) responsible for selecting films. With this proviso in mind, based on the selection of films on show at the 12th festival of East European Cinema in the German city of Cottbus, a few encouraging signs were visible in the work of a number of young filmmakers.

Sri Lankan budget reveals an acute financial crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 15 November 2002

The Sri Lankan budget for 2003, presented to parliament last week, provides a picture of an economy in acute crisis—the product of declining exports, falling foreign investment and the ravages of nearly two decades of civil war. To shore up its own precarious financial position, the United National Front (UNF) government has announced a series of new burdens on the working class, even as it hands out concessions to business.

Mayor Bloomberg takes ax to New York City budget

By Peter Daniels and Bill Vann, 15 November 2002

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday unveiled a package of cuts in services to the city’s neediest that is designed to close a $1.1 billion budget gap in what remains of the current fiscal year. At the same time, he proposed billions of dollars more in cuts and regressive tax hikes to deal with next year’s projected deficit of $6.4 billion and similar shortfalls for the foreseeable future.

US economic outlook: fears of renewed recession—and worse

By Patrick Martin, 15 November 2002

The unexpectedly large interest rate cut announced by the Federal Reserve Board last week demonstrates that the US central bank shares the fears of renewed recession that are widespread in corporate America.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 15 November 2002

Strikes at seven UK airports planned

Spain: Ecuadorean immigrant cleared of murdering her baby

By Vicky Short, 15 November 2002

Felicitas Melva Cañar Camacho, a 26-year-old Ecuadorian young woman emigrated to Spain in April 2000 in search of work that would enable her to send money back home to her family. Six months later she was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment on the charge of murdering her newborn baby.

WSWS Chairman David North addresses Berlin meeting on US war drive against Iraq

By our reporter, 14 November 2002

On November 4 the World Socialist Web Site held a public meeting at Humboldt University in Berlin to discuss a political strategy to oppose war against Iraq. The well-attended meeting was addressed by David North, chairman of the World Socialist Web Site editorial board and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of the United States. His speech precipitated a lively and, at times, heated discussion.

Mounting signs of early US invasion of Iraq

By Chris Marsden, 14 November 2002

In the wake of Iraq’s formal acceptance Wednesday of the United Nations Security Council resolution imposing a new weapons inspection regime, the Bush administration is continuing to prepare a war against the Arab country, which could begin as early as next month. Reinforcing its bellicose stance, the Pentagon leaked invasion plans involving a force of a quarter of a million troops to the New York Times and Washington Post earlier this week.

Afghan police shoot student protesters

By Peter Symonds, 14 November 2002

As many as four students are dead and others were seriously injured on Monday night after police in Kabul opened fire with automatic weapons on hundreds of demonstrators protesting over the appalling conditions in their university dormitories. The protest reportedly erupted when students found that, after observing the traditional Muslim Ramadan fast during daylight hours, food for the evening meal had run out.

The US "free" press and the Pentagon war machine

By Bill Vann, 14 November 2002

In the rash of articles that spread across the front pages of virtually every major newspaper earlier this week detailing US plans for the invasion of Iraq, information was attributed to unnamed “military sources,” “senior administration officials” or “Pentagon analysts.”

Sweeping police measures against anti-WTO protests in Australia

By Mike Head, 14 November 2002

Acting at the behest of the state Labor government, New South Wales police have taken extraordinary measures to block protests against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Sydney today and tomorrow. Street marches have been denied permits throughout downtown Sydney for five days—from November 13 to 17—and the WTO venue at Sydney Olympic Park has been turned into a virtual fortress, surrounded by steel and concrete barricades.

Britain: New asbestos law puts legal onus on employers

By Neil Hodge, 13 November 2002

Successive British governments have consistently failed to address the risks and consequences of exposure to asbestos for the past century, but now they may be forced to give workers the protection they need.

Chinese Communist Party to declare itself open to the capitalist elite

By John Chan, 13 November 2002

The 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has been meeting in Beijing since November 8, is set to formally open party membership to China’s business elite. Before the congress concludes on November 14, its 2,114 delegates from across China will elect a new 200-member Central Committee, a 21-member Politburo and an all-powerful seven-member Politburo Standing Committee that will be responsible for removing the few remaining barriers to the untrammeled capitalist exploitation of the Chinese masses.

German documentary charges US used biological weapons in Korean War

By Peter Schwarz, 13 November 2002

The claim by the Bush administration that Baghdad is threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction is the main pretext for its war preparations against Iraq. However, a documentary recently broadcast by the German state television channel, ARD, suggests that the US government is itself hiding biological warfare programs from the rest of the world, and actually employed such weapons in 1952 during the Korean War.

The business of glorifying backwardness

By David Walsh, 13 November 2002

Eminem, born Marshall Mathers (hence “M & M”) in Kansas City, Missouri in 1972 and raised in Michigan, is a white rap singer who has known considerable commercial success over the past several years. His life has loosely inspired 8 Mile, the story of a rap artist in Detroit struggling for recognition. (8 Mile refers to the avenue that separates the city of Detroit from its northern suburbs.)

Australian building site tragedy reveals erosion of safety conditions

By Terry Cook, 13 November 2002

A tragedy on a government building site in Australia last month has highlighted the erosion of safety standards in the construction industry after two decades of restructuring by employers and governments in collaboration with the unions. Two men were killed and three others badly injured when the roof of a partly constructed water tower collapsed on October 22 in the rural town of Lake Cargelligo, 590 kilometres west of Sydney.