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Israel: Sharon’s victory presages internal strife amidst escalating aggression

By Ann Talbot, 31 January 2003

Ariel Sharon became the first prime minister in recent history to win a consecutive term in office on January 28 when his Likud Party won the Israeli general election.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 31 January 2003

French schoolteachers hold nationwide day of action

Political disaffection spreads throughout the former Yugoslavia

By Paul Bond and Tony Robson, 31 January 2003

The failure of the presidential poll in Montenegro at the end of December has deepened the crisis of the political establishment in the former Yugoslavia.

Toronto students protest visit by "Campus Watch" founder

By our correspondent, 31 January 2003

Despite snow and bitterly cold conditions in Toronto, some 100 York University students and faculty held a protest Tuesday against a visit to the campus by columnist Daniel Pipes. Invited to speak by the Jewish Student Federation, Pipes is a right-wing Zionist and founder of the “Campus Watch” web site, which witch-hunts academics who question the Bush administration’s militaristic policies and its support for Israeli repression in the occupied territories.

Chinese capitalism: industrial powerhouse or sweatshop of the world?

By John Chan, 31 January 2003

When Beijing entered the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December 2001, it undertook to remove most of the remaining barriers to the operation of foreign corporations inside China by 2006. The resulting flood of investment into the country has given rise to glowing predictions in international financial circles that China is emerging as the new industrial powerhouse of world capitalism.

Britain: Labour government threatens ban on UK firefighters strike

By Robert Stevens, 31 January 2003

The nationwide firefighters dispute continued this week, with workers holding a 48-hour strike between January 28-30. The latest strike followed the failure of negotiations between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and local authority employers.

US launches large military operation in southern Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 31 January 2003

Serious fighting in south-eastern Afghanistan this week has highlighted the existence of continuing armed resistance to the US occupation of the country, which in turn reflects a broader hostility and opposition to the American presence.

Canada’s NDP opts for leader promising image makeover

By Keith Jones, 30 January 2003

Toronto City Councillor Jack Layton won a decisive first ballot victory in last Saturday’s vote to determine the leader of Canada’s social-democratic party—the New Democrats or NDP.

10,000 march and rally in Pittsburgh against Iraq war

By Paul Sherman, 30 January 2003

Nearly 10,000 people took part in a series of marches, rallies, teach-ins, town hall meetings and vigils in Pittsburgh last weekend to protest the impending war in Iraq. The protests were the largest anti-war demonstrations in the city since the Vietnam War era.

France’s Internal Security law and the cult of Interior Minister Sarkozy

By Alex Lefebvre, 30 January 2003

On January 23, France’s National Assembly passed Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s Internal Security Law, which had been in preparation since late September of last year. As in its previously proposed versions, the law gives police the option of intimidating poor neighborhoods with draconian sentencing and dramatically strengthens police powers. Ruling circles are also using the law to incite nationalism and generally spread the reactionary atmosphere created by the media cult around Sarkozy.

US plans "shock and awe" blitzkrieg in Iraq

By Henry Michaels, 30 January 2003

The war being prepared by the White House and Pentagon on the people of Iraq will be characterized by barbarism on a scale not seen since the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s. The level of brutality will recall scenes seared into the collective consciousness of previous generations, such as the bombing of Guernica and the Nazi blitzkrieg against Poland.

Australian prime minister assists US push for war

By Terry Cook, 30 January 2003

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is playing his part in the diplomatic offensive for war, launched by the White House following the report by UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to the UN Security Council on January 27. Within hours of the report’s release Howard was insisting that Iraq was in “material breach” of UN resolution 1441 and that the UN Security Council had to “match the rhetoric of that resolution with action.” The prime minister went on to threaten that failure to back a US-led war would “deliver an enormous blow to the authority and prestige of the United Nations”.

Bush’s State of the Union speech: the war fever of a ruling elite in crisis

By the Editorial Board, 30 January 2003

The State of the Union speech delivered by George Bush to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night reflected a government in deep crisis. The war fever in the chamber and Bush’s litany of lies and threats created the impression of a ruling elite that feels itself under siege and overwhelmed by economic contradictions it barely comprehends. Bush speaks for a regime that is going to war in the hope that it can somehow extricate itself from its crisis by means of military aggression and the seizure of Persian Gulf oil.

Ivory Coast peace deal flounders

By Chris Talbot, 30 January 2003

France’s attempt to impose a settlement that would end the four-month-old civil war in the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) appears to be coming apart already. The peace deal signed by both the government and rebels at the weekend after nine days of talks is supposed to set up a power sharing government.

Leaving the others behind

By David Walsh, 29 January 2003

Antwone Fisher, directed by Denzel Washington, written by Antwone Fisher

The changing face of Canada

By Henry Michaels, 29 January 2003

Data from Canada’s 2001 census, released last week, show that the Canadian population is rapidly diversifying and becoming increasingly urbanized, as well as socially polarized. These trends have immense implications.

Australian construction union moves to shut down Grocon dispute

By Terry Cook, 29 January 2003

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has called off threatened work bans against the construction company Grocon after reaching a truce in a long-running dispute in the state of Victoria. The decision is a clear sign that the union is moving to stitch up a deal that will allow the Melbourne-based company, one of the largest construction firms in Australia, to make sweeping changes to working conditions.

Britain: Police raid on mosque aimed at intimidating immigrants

By Tania Kent, 29 January 2003

In an unprecedented operation, some 150 police officers clad in body armour and armed with battering rams and ladders stormed a north London mosque in the early hours of Monday, January 20. Armed police surrounded the outside of the building and several streets nearby were cordoned off as police battered their way in to the mosque in Finsbury Park. The police continued to occupy the mosque for four days.

Blix report to the UN: diplomatic charade masks US imperialist war aims

By Barry Grey, 29 January 2003

The report delivered Monday by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to the United Nations Security Council was clearly crafted to placate the Bush administration and provide a measure of grist to its war mill. Blix was unable to produce a single piece of evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but nevertheless indicted Baghdad for failing to comply fully with last November’s Security Council resolution.

Corporate bankruptcies exhaust US pension guaranty fund

By Patrick Martin, 29 January 2003

The US Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has exhausted its entire $8 billion surplus as a result of a series of big corporate bankruptcies last year, the agency reported last week. The PBGC provides partial protection for private pensions paid to 44 million workers.

Australian fires: Canberra residents left to fend for themselves

By a WSWS reporting team, 29 January 2003

Just over a week ago, Canberra, the Australian national capital, was hit by one of the worst fire disasters in the country’s history. Driven by hot, dry winds, bush fires broke containment lines on January 17 and engulfed several suburbs the following day. Four people were killed, over 200 were treated for injuries and 530 houses and buildings were destroyed. Hundreds more homes were badly damaged.

Britain: SEP supporter addresses Bradford anti-war meeting

By our correspondent, 29 January 2003

Nearly 200 people packed a lecture theatre at Bradford University on January 23 for a meeting to protest US plans to attack Iraq.

New York Times offers “friendly advice” to abort the anti-war movement

By David Walsh, 28 January 2003

This month’s mass demonstrations against the Bush administration’s imminent war in Iraq took the political and media establishment by surprise. The surge of opposition evaded their political radar screens. They had either ignored the growing resistance or pretended it did not exist.

New York City transit workers narrowly approve pact

By Alan Whyte, 28 January 2003

New York City transit workers last week narrowly ratified a three-year contract negotiated between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and their union, Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100. TWU Local 100, representing 34,000 bus and subway workers, announced that with 19,582 ballots counted 11,757 voted yes and 7,825 voted to reject the offer.

New Zealand policeman acquitted in private prosecution for murder

By John Braddock, 28 January 2003

A landmark private prosecution for murder has resulted in the acquittal of a New Zealand police constable after a three-week trial shortly before Christmas. The prosecution was brought by Jim Wallace, the father of Steven Wallace, a 23-year-old Maori gunned down by police in an early morning incident in the rural township of Waitara in 2000.

US faces record budget deficits, new spending cuts

By Patrick Martin, 28 January 2003

US budget director Mitchell Daniels said that the Bush administration expected the federal budget deficit to shoot past the $200 billion mark during the current fiscal year. He predicted it would hit $300 billion next year, the largest amount in US history. Both figures exclude the impact of a war with Iraq.

Unions set Air Canada flight attendants against each other

By David Adelaide, 28 January 2003

The corporatist policy of the union bureaucracy—lining up workers behind rival capitalist interests and against each other—has led to a fratricidal dispute among Air Canada’s 8,500 flight attendants. As a result, at the very point when Air Canada executives are preparing a new assault on airline workers’ jobs and working conditions, the flight attendants are busy struggling with each other, trying to avoid being the first on the chopping block.

Davos summit: From the “new economy” to war and recession

By Nick Beams, 28 January 2003

Back in the halcyon days of the 1990s, when the stock market bubble was being hailed as the birth of a “new economy,” the annual gathering of politicians and business leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) took the form of a celebration of the supposed wonders of global capitalism. The free market had triumphed and was now demonstrating its superiority. But with share markets having fallen three years in a row, it’s a very different scene at the Davos summit.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 January 2003

Guatemalan teachers strike

Israeli elections highlight disaster facing Middle East

By Ann Talbot, 28 January 2003

Israelis going to the polls today find the official political life of their country has reached an unprecedented impasse as the Middle East faces a war that will destabilise the entire region.

Brazil’s Lula: From Porto Alegre to Davos

By Bill Vann, 27 January 2003

Brazil’s recently inaugurated president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva flew to Switzerland Friday night to participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos. Lula boarded the flight only hours after delivering a speech to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The latter annual gathering of anti-globalization activists, including supporters of Lula’s own Workers Party, or PT, was initiated three years ago in direct opposition to the Davos meeting of world bankers and heads of state.

Germany: Berlin public services face drastic cuts

By Verena Nees, 27 January 2003

Berlin city hall is governed by a coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor to the Stalinist party of state in former East Germany. This so-called “red-red” coalition in the Berlin Senate is leading the national field when it comes to public service cuts.

US establishes closer military ties with Nepal

By Anura Jayaweera, 27 January 2003

Using the country’s ongoing civil war as a convenient pretext, the US administration has, in the course of the last two years, been quietly securing close military and political ties with Nepal. Since President Bush was installed, there have been three high-level visits to the country—the latest by US Assistant Secretary of State Christine Rocca.

Letters on “Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly red-baits the Workers World Party”

By , 27 January 2003

Below we post a selection of letters on David Walsh’s January 24 article, “Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly red-baits the Workers World Party.”

Britain: Spending watchdog publishes damning report on PFI school projects

By Neil Hodge, 27 January 2003

Schools commissioned under the government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) have not been built more quickly, cheaply or better than those built under traditional procurement, the UK’s public sector spending watchdog the Audit Commission announced January 15.

Toronto police harass anti-poverty activists during trial

By Henry Michaels, 25 January 2003

Toronto police are continuing to harass three activists from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) who are currently on trial facing unprecedented riot charges. Last Friday, a police intelligence detective sergeant visited a community radio station armed with a subpoena, demanding the handing over of tapes of an interview with the three defendants broadcast on January 12. Radio station CKLN-FM, which operates from Ryerson University in downtown Toronto, offers alternative news coverage to the mainstream media.

US: anti-immigrant dragnet in advance of Super Bowl

By John Andrews, 25 January 2003

The US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is rounding up immigrant workers in the San Diego area in advance of this Sunday’s Super Bowl football game. Dubbed “Operation Game Day” by INS officials, the ongoing sweeps have received virtually no publicity outside of one Reuters story and reports in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 January 2003

Migrant workers protest across China

Britain: Refugees face destitution under new asylum law

By Richard Tyler, 25 January 2003

Since January 8, refugees entering Britain face destitution if they do not immediately claim asylum at the port of entry. Those who make an asylum application “in-country” can have welfare payments withheld and are also banned from working to support themselves and any dependents.

How to deal with America? The European dilemma

By David North, 25 January 2003

There comes a point in the development of every major political crisis when the essential underlying motivations and issues, long hidden from view, come to the surface. We have now arrived at that point in the crisis produced by the decision of the Bush administration to invade Iraq.

Washington insists Iraqi scientists submit to private interviews

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2003

Amid mounting domestic and international opposition, the Bush administration is increasingly desperate to find a pretext for war against Iraq. With the issue due for debate in the UN Security Council after weapons inspectors present their progress report on Monday, Washington’s repeated denunciation of Iraq’s “non-cooperation” and “non-compliance” has gone into overdrive.

Coal mine explosion kills three in West Virginia

By Jerry Isaacs, 25 January 2003

Three workers were killed and three others injured in an explosion January 22 at a coal mine near Cameron, West Virginia, in the state’s northern panhandle. The six men, contract employees of Central Cambria Drilling Co., were digging an air shaft at Consol Energy’s McElroy Mine when a blast occurred at 1 a.m. at the bottom of a 940-foot-deep shaft.

US Senate upholds Bush aid to air polluters

By Patrick Martin, 25 January 2003

In the first policy test for the Bush administration since the US Senate reverted to Republican control, the upper house of Congress voted to implement new air pollution regulations that allow corporations to run coal-burning factories and power plants without installing anti-pollution devices.

Race to lead Canada’s social democrats limps to finish

By Keith Jones, 24 January 2003

Canada’s social democrats will choose a new federal party leader this weekend after a half-year long campaign that has generated little public interest or enthusiasm.

A pittance in international aid after cyclone devastates Fiji

By Frank Gaglioti, 24 January 2003

Cyclone Ami is the second cyclone to hit the South Pacific in less than a month. After cyclone Zoe, one of the most intense tropical storms on record ripped through the Solomon Islands in late December, Fiji was struck by 200 kph winds that devastated housing, crops and infrastructure on Vanua Levu, the country’s second largest island. The aftermath has again highlighted not only the inadequacy of the local relief efforts but also the contemptuous response of the two regional powers, Australia and New Zealand, which have provided the most limited aid.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 24 January 2003

Doctors in Croatia continue strike

Widespread industrial unrest in Kenya

By our correspondent, 24 January 2003

Workers at the Kenyan Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Nairobi, have taken strike action against companies that manufacture finished textile goods, mainly for export to the United States. At least 15,000 workers are involved in the dispute with 17 companies. Over the last week demonstrations by the striking workers have resulted in clashes with riot police using tear gas. At least one worker was killed and several injured as a consequence.

War plans against Iraq aggravate conflict over Cyprus

By Justus Leicht, 24 January 2003

During the past weeks, tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots have demonstrated for reunification with the Greek part of the island and for accession to the European Union (EU). These mass demonstrations were directed against Rauf Denktash, the president of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), who has blocked the proposals by the United Nations (UN) to end the division of the island. Only Turkey recognizes the TRNC.

FBI dispatched to Indonesia to deal with Freeport murders

By John Roberts, 24 January 2003

After inconclusive Indonesian investigations into an ambush near the Freeport mine in West Papua last year, a team of US FBI investigators is due to arrive this week to take part in a joint inquiry. Two American teachers and an Indonesian died in the attack and 12 others were injured. The evidence so far points to the involvement of officers of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) in West Papua and possibly at higher levels in Jakarta.

Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly red-baits the Workers World Party

By David Walsh, 24 January 2003

The witch-hunting attack by columnist Michael Kelly on the Workers World Party in the Washington Post (“Marching with Stalinists,” January 22, 2003) was entirely predictable. One right-wing hack or another was bound to get around to the task.

Commutation of death sentences in Illinois deals blow to capital punishment

By Kate Randall, 23 January 2003

The decision by outgoing Illinois Governor George Ryan to void the death sentences of all of the state’s condemned prisoners has focused attention on the systemic injustice of capital punishment. On January 11, Ryan exercised his power under state law to carry out the largest commutation of death row prisoners in US history. The sentences of 163 men and 4 women were reduced to life in prison, except for three who received terms of 40 years imprisonment.

Two Chinese workers tried for subversion over protests

By John Chan, 23 January 2003

Two Chinese workers’ leaders—Yao Fuxin, 52, and Xiao Yunliang, 56—could face the death penalty if found guilty of charges related to their role in demonstrations of laid-off workers in the city of Liaoyang in north-east China last March. As many as 30,000 workers participated in the protests to demand financial assistance and the prosecution of corrupt officials.

Law and order in Illinois—frame-up, torture and legal murder

By Kate Randall, 23 January 2003

In commuting the death sentences of all current capital prisoners in Illinois, Governor George Ryan said he was motivated in part by the failure of the Illinois State Assembly to enact any reforms in the death penalty system, despite a governor’s commission that exposed a system rife with misconduct on the part of police and prosecutors.

Firestorm wreaks havoc in Australia’s capital city

By Richard Phillips, 23 January 2003

Four people were killed, hundreds injured and 530 homes destroyed when bushfires engulfed the southern and western suburbs of Canberra, Australia’s national capital, last Saturday afternoon. Shops, a high school, health centre, water treatment plant, fire station, RSPCA animal hospital and the Mount Stromlo Observatory were among the facilities incinerated.

Virginia Woolf cannot be held responsible

By David Walsh, 23 January 2003

The Hours, directed by Stephen Daldry, screenplay by David Hare, based on the novel by Michael Cunningham

One-quarter of British army sent for war vs. Iraq

By Julie Hyland, 23 January 2003

One-quarter of Britain’s armed forces are being moved to the Gulf in preparation for war against Iraq, the Blair government announced Monday, January 20.

Washington escalates military buildup in Latin America

By Mauricio Saavedra, 23 January 2003

Under the pretext of combating terrorism, the Bush Administration is promoting the most intense US military buildup in Latin America since Washington backed a series of military coups that brought right-wing military dictatorships to power in much of the continent in the 1960s and 1970s.

Australian government deploys military forces to the Persian Gulf

By Terry Cook, 22 January 2003

Despite growing domestic opposition, Australian Prime Minister John Howard is dispatching military forces and equipment to join the massive US military buildup in the Persian Gulf. While the Australian commitment is small in military terms, its main purpose is political: to send a message of continuing and unconditional support to the Bush administration and help bolster Washington’s claims of an “international coalition of the willing” for its impending invasion of Iraq.

French airline steward detained for nine months in US

By Alex Lefebvre, 22 January 2003

A 25-year old French airline steward, Michael Philippe, was held for nine months in the US on trumped-up charges of terrorist activity. On a January 2002 London-to-Orlando, Florida flight he discovered messages written in liquid soap in an airplane bathroom. The messages were: “Bin Laden is the best, all Americans must die,” and “There is a bomb on board—Al-Qaida.”

Letters on the growing opposition to US war against Iraq

By , 22 January 2003

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

US military insists on right of “hot pursuit” inside Pakistan

By Sarath Kumara, 22 January 2003

Following a shoot-out involving the US military on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on December 29, Washington is insisting that its troops continue to be permitted to cross into Pakistan in “hot pursuit” of alleged Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters.

Zimbabwe: Britain and South Africa in Mugabe retirement plot

By Chris Talbot, 22 January 2003

An article in a Zimbabwe newspaper reveals a move amongst top leaders to remove President Robert Mugabe in exchange for obtaining economic support from the West.

US: New attacks on Medicare and Medicaid

By Peter Daniels, 22 January 2003

In advance of President George Bush’s January 28 State of the Union address, the White House has leaked several proposals for the “reform” of the Medicare system of health care coverage for the elderly. These plans amount to the introduction of for-profit medicine into the Medicare system. As the New York Times acknowledged in its report on the plans, the changes “could eventually make Medicare look more like private insurance.”

New York Times discovers the opposition to war in Iraq

By Bill Vann, 21 January 2003

In a January 20 editorial entitled “A Stirring in the Nation,” the New York Times issued a belated and hypocritical welcome to the mass movement that has emerged against the Bush administration’s drive to war against Iraq.

German Green Party proposes drastic cuts in Frankfurt

By Marianne Arens, 21 January 2003

In its “proposals for a sustainable urban policy” published in December, the Green Party has outlined hundreds of drastic social cuts it wants carried through in Frankfurt am Main.

Blueprint for a US colonial regime in Baghdad

By Peter Symonds, 21 January 2003

As US troops pour into the Middle East for an imminent invasion of Iraq, Washington’s preparations for setting up a colonial-style regime in Baghdad have reached an equally advanced stage. The plans themselves are secret, but progress reports have been periodically leaked to the American media, partly because of sharp feuding within the Bush administration.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 January 2003

Bolivian police breaks up retirees’ march

Pay deal in the German public sector

By Peter Schwarz, 21 January 2003

A nationwide strike by three million German public sector workers was averted at the last minute on January 9. National, state and local authorities agreed on a wage deal with the public sector trade union Ver.di that evening. The following day the trade union pay commission agreed to the agreement, with 106 votes in favour, 18 against and 5 abstentions.

Britain: demonstrators speak out against war vs. Iraq

By our correspondent, 21 January 2003

Thousands of people protested the Blair government’s support for a US-led war against Iraq at the weekend, in a series of demonstrations and vigils aimed at building up momentum for the co-ordinated worldwide protest against the war on February 15.

Trade deficit up, as US economy turns down

By Nick Beams, 21 January 2003

A series of statistics released last week show a worsening in the international financial position of the US economy and underscore growing fears that it may be entering a new economic downturn.

Venezuela “strike”: the anatomy of a US-backed provocation

By Patrick Martin, 20 January 2003

Leaders of the right-wing umbrella group seeking to overthrow Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez have dropped their demand that Chavez resign immediately as a condition for calling off the business shutdown that has dragged on for more than six weeks.

Canada: Mass protests against war on Iraq

By a WSWS reporting team, 20 January 2003

Tens of thousands took to the streets in cities across Canada Saturday to voice their opposition to the impending US invasion of Iraq. The anti-war demonstrations also targeted Canada’s Liberal government, which, while feigning support for a peaceful resolution of the US-Iraqi conflict, is preparing to mobilize Canadian troops, planes and battleships in support of a US occupation of Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands protest US war drive vs. Iraq

By Kate Randall, 20 January 2003

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for demonstrations in Washington DC, San Francisco and other cities across the US and Canada on Saturday to protest the Bush administration’s impending war against Iraq.

Questions on socialist organisation and planning

By Nick Beams, 20 January 2003

Dear Sir/Madam,

Britain: Pension proposals do nothing to resolve retirement income crisis

By Neil Hodge, 20 January 2003

The Labour government chose the week before Christmas to release its long-awaited proposal on pensions, presumably because the seasonal festivities would mean people were too preoccupied to notice its dire content.

Washington demonstrators speak out against war on Iraq

By Paul Sherman, 20 January 2003

The WSWS interviewed workers and youth who participated in Saturday’s anti-war demonstration in Washington.

Blair warns United Nations has no veto over US-led war vs. Iraq

By Julie Hyland, 18 January 2003

Prime Minister Tony Blair has spelt out his preparedness to back a unilateral attack on Iraq, in defiance of international and domestic opposition.

Mass jobs destruction at US retailer Kmart

By David Walsh, 18 January 2003

Giant US retailer Kmart, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2002, announced plans January 14 to close 326 stores and lay off as many as 37,000 workers. Since it became the largest retail store chain in history to declare bankruptcy, with $16.3 billion in pre-bankruptcy assets, the company has already closed 283 stores and laid off more than 22,000 workers.

Sri Lankan peace talks run into difficulties over LTTE disarmament

By K. Ratnayake, 18 January 2003

The fourth round of the Sri Lankan peace talks was held in Thailand on January 6-9. Unlike the previous three rounds, which were hailed by the media as “breakthroughs” in the so-called peace process, the latest ran into serious difficulties. Sharp disagreements emerged around demands by the military that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) disarm prior to the resettlement of refugee families inside the army’s High Security Zones (HSZs).

US pilots face trial for Canadian "friendly fire" deaths in Afghanistan

By Henry Michaels, 18 January 2003

In a case riddled with hypocrisy, the United States Air Force this week began prosecuting two F-16 pilots for killing four Canadian soldiers and injuring eight others in a “friendly fire” incident in Afghanistan last April 17. A preliminary military tribunal commenced taking evidence Tuesday at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Britain: Firefighters to resume nationwide strike

By Robert Stevens, 18 January 2003

Britain’s firefighters are to resume their nationwide strike—suspended in December to allow further talks with local authority employers through the conciliation service Acas.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 January 2003

Police disperse demonstration in Indonesia

Letters from our readers

By , 17 January 2003

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

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 17 January 2003

Lufthansa employees strike in Germany

Worsening problems for global economy

By Nick Beams, 17 January 2003

A comment in the New York Times last Saturday by well-known economist Jeffrey Garten calling for a global economic stimulus plan reflects growing concern in academic as well as financial and business circles that the world economy is facing a series of problems for which no policies have been developed.

US blocks cheap drugs for undeveloped world

By Barry Mason, 17 January 2003

World Trade Organization (WTO) talks on the provision of generic drugs to underdeveloped countries broke down as the United States, on behalf of the major pharmaceutical companies, blocked agreement at the last minute.

The political issues in the struggle against war

By World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 17 January 2003

The following statement of the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party will be distributed at demonstrations to be held Saturday, January 18 in Washington DC and other cities.

A life’s labors lost

By Joanne Laurier, 17 January 2003

About Schmidt directed by Alexander Payne; written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Louis Begley

German government signals support for Iraq war

By Peter Schwarz, 16 January 2003

Prior to the new year the German government, a coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens, definitively abandoned its previous posture of categorical opposition to a war against Iraq. When asked by Spiegel magazine whether Germany would vote against such a war in the United Nations Security Council, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Green Party) replied, “This cannot be decided in advance, because nobody knows how and under what circumstances the Security Council will deal with this issue.”

Pro-western Bosnian Serb leader given exceptional treatment

By Paul Mitchell, 16 January 2003

The favourable treatment given an indicted Bosnian Serb war criminal underscores the hypocrisy of western claims to be upholding standards of international justice at The Hague.

Britain: Train drivers refuse to move supplies for war vs. Iraq

By our correspondent, 16 January 2003

In a courageous stand, a group of rail workers based in Motherwell, Scotland, have refused to drive a freight train loaded with military supplies for the British government’s war against Iraq.

Misanthropy and contemporary American filmmaking

By David Walsh, 16 January 2003

Gangs of New York, directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian and Kenneth Lonergan

Pyongyang reacts to US threats by withdrawing from non-proliferation treaty

By Peter Symonds, 16 January 2003

Despite all its talk of a diplomatic solution to tensions on the Korean peninsula, the Bush administration’s aggressive stance towards North Korea is rapidly leading to a full-blown confrontation. Faced with the prospect of deepening economic isolation and future US military action, Pyongyang last Friday announced that it intended to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty—a move that frees its hand to restart its nuclear facilities.

Argentine military commander eulogizes ex-dictator

By Bill Vann, 16 January 2003

A eulogy by Argentina’s top army general describing the country’s former dictator Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri as a “disciplined soldier” who “acted according to his convictions” has sparked widespread protests and demands for the officer’s dismissal.

Canada intensifies support for US war on Iraq

By Keith Jones, 15 January 2003

Canada’s Liberal government has served notice that Canada will support and participate in a US-conquest of Iraq and do so irrespective of whether the United Nations Security Council has sanctioned military action.

Letters from our readers

By , 15 January 2003

Below we post a selection of recent letters from our readers.

Australian government launches "anti-terrorist" advertising campaign

By Richard Phillips, 15 January 2003

On the eve of participating in a deeply unpopular US-led war against Iraq, the Howard government has launched a $15 million three-month “terrorism alert” advertising campaign entitled, “Let’s Look Out for Australia”. The television, radio and newspaper commercials, which began on December 29, urge people to contact a 24-hour toll-free hotline to report any “suspicious behaviour” to Australian police and spy agencies.

California universities and public schools face massive budget cuts

By Kim Saito, 15 January 2003

Nearly 600,000 students are immediately confronting 10-15 percent fee increases at all University of California (UC) and California State University (Cal State) campuses as they return from winter break. The unprecedented midyear action came as the result of emergency meetings held last month by higher education officials responding to Governor Gray Davis’s initial announcements about the state’s projected $34.8 billion deficit over the next 18 months.

New York Times’ Thomas Friedman: "No problem with a war for oil"

By Kate Randall and Barry Grey, 15 January 2003

In recent weeks popular opposition to the impending war against Iraq has grown not only internationally, but also within the US. Even polls published by the pro-war American media show a sharp drop in support for Bush’s war drive. A CBS News poll published January 7 reported that only 29 percent of Americans support unilateral US military action against Iraq, while 63 percent favor a diplomatic solution.

Striker killed on GE picket line in Kentucky

By Jerry Isaacs, 15 January 2003

A General Electric worker was struck by a police vehicle and killed Tuesday morning while picketing in front of a GE appliance manufacturing facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Michelle Rogers, a single mother with three teenage daughters, was in her early 40s and had worked for GE since 1994.