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New Dutch government plans drastic cuts

By Jörg Victor, 31 May 2003

After months of political wrangling, a new Dutch cabinet was sworn in this week. The new government is a coalition of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the People’s Party for Liberty and Democracy (VVD) and Democrat 66 (D66).

US government lied about Iraqi weapons to justify war

By Patrick Martin, 31 May 2003

US government officials deliberately lied about Iraq’s supposed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in order to concoct a suitable pretext for war. That is the only politically serious conclusion that can be drawn from the revelations and admissions of the past week.

The plight of Jews fleeing Nazi persecution: two films

By Joanne Laurier, 31 May 2003

Shanghai Ghetto, directed by Dana Janklowicz-Mann and Amir Mann; Nowhere in Africa, written and directed by Caroline Link, based on the novel by Stefanie Zweig

Imperialism and Iraq: Lessons from the past

By Jean Shaoul, 31 May 2003

The following is the conclusion of a three-part series. Part One appeared on May 29 and Part Two appeared on May 30.

Homeless man robbed, killed and set on fire in Sydney, Australia

By Terry Cook, 31 May 2003

A 59-year-old homeless man was brutally murdered in the south-western Sydney suburb of Bankstown in the early hours of May 17. Aldo Flaiban, who suffered from schizophrenia, was beaten to death with a paving stone and robbed. His battered body was then set on fire as if it were so much garbage.

Britain: Blair caught in lies over Iraqi “WMDs”

By Julie Hyland, 31 May 2003

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s fleeting visit to Basra Thursday May 29 was meant to vindicate his decision to defy popular opposition and join the US-led attack on Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 31 May 2003

French workers continue strikes against government pension plans

Canada: Lessons of the Vidéotron strike

By Guy Charron, 31 May 2003

After almost a year, the strike at cable distributor Vidéotron, a subsidiary of global publishing giant Quebecor, has ended in bitter defeat for the 2,200 workers involved.

US prepares military repression in Iraq

By Bill Vann, 30 May 2003

Backing off from earlier promises to quickly scale back the US military force presently occupying Iraq, the Pentagon has announced that it will instead increase the number of troops deployed in the country and indefinitely postpone the scheduled departure of key combat units.

SARS and the “openness” of the Beijing leadership

By John Chan, 30 May 2003

The longer the crisis in China over the outbreak of serious acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) proceeds, the more evident it becomes that the epidemic has become a key issue in the factional struggles of the Stalinist bureaucracy. In the name of instituting “openness” and “political reform”, the new leadership of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao is seeking to consolidate its grip over the state apparatus.

Andy Goldsworthy and the limits of working with nature

By Clare Hurley, 30 May 2003

Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, written and directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer

Imperialism and Iraq: Lessons from the past

By Jean Shaoul, 30 May 2003

The following is the second in a three-part series. Part One was posted May 29 and the concluding part will be posted May 31.

Britain: Iranian refugee mutilates himself to protest conditions facing asylum seekers

By Julie Hyland, 30 May 2003

A 33-year-old Iranian Kurdish refugee who had sown up his eyes, ears and mouth in protest at Home Office efforts to overturn his successful application for asylum, is continuing to refuse food, despite learning that the government has lost its challenge.

Guerra Oligarquía y la Mentira política

By , 30 May 2003

WSWS : Español

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 30 May 2003

Labor protests continue in Costa Rica

Australia: State Labor government and media attack Anti-Discrimination Board

By Richard Phillips and Ruby Rankin, 30 May 2003

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Réplica a un difamatorio ataque al trotskismo

By , 30 May 2003

WSWS : Español

The German Social Democratic Party: 140 years

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 May 2003

Every 10 years the SPD (German Social Democratic Party) presents the grotesque spectacle of its regular anniversary celebration. On May 23, the SPD was 140 years old. No other party places so much emphasis on history and tradition—and is, at the same time, so disinterested in historical truth and in learning lessons from history.

Israel: Sharon has not changed his spots

By Chris Marsden, 29 May 2003

When the inveterate war criminal Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being portrayed as a born-again advocate of peace and the creation of a Palestinian state, one knows that something truly despicable is being planned.

Washington involved in drafting statements designed to split Europe prior to Iraq war

By Julie Hyland, 29 May 2003

The Bush administration was involved in the two separate European declarations issued prior to the attack on Iraq, designed to split the European Union and isolate Paris and Berlin for their antiwar stance the Financial Times has revealed.

Another US war crime: the use of depleted uranium munitions in Iraq

By Ben Nichols and Joe Lopez, 29 May 2003

One of the war crimes for which the Bush administration should be prosecuted is the US military’s extensive use of weapons tipped with depleted uranium (DU) during the war against Iraq.

Currency upheaval could have major consequences

By Nick Beams, 29 May 2003

Since the disintegration of the system of fixed exchange rates at the beginning of the 1970s, there have been four major upheavals in international currency markets—all with far-reaching economic and political consequences. The fifth such upheaval, which has seen the slide of the US dollar against the euro, looks likely to prove no less significant.

Imperialism and Iraq: Lessons from the past

By Jean Shaoul, 29 May 2003

Anyone looking at the events today in Iraq cannot but be struck at the obvious parallels with what happened there in the first half of the twentieth century.

What lies behind the recent explosions in Chechnya?

By Vladimir Volkov, 29 May 2003

A series of powerful explosions in Chechnya earlier this month gave the lie to claims by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin and by the pro-Russian local administration of Ahmad Kadyrov that the present situation in the republic is leading to peace and the restoration of normality.

Washington turns to “regime change” in Iran

By Bill Vann, 29 May 2003

Top officials in the Bush administration met Tuesday to discuss American policy toward Iran. The meeting between Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security adviser, came in the wake of published reports indicating that the Pentagon’s right-wing civilian leadership is strongly pushing a strategy of “regime change.”

Paris, Berlín y Moscú autorizan ocupación de Irak por EEUU.

By , 29 May 2003

WSWS : Español

Court ruling on fare hikes exposes New York’s class divide

By Peter Daniels, 28 May 2003

The recent ruling by a State Supreme Court judge ordering the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to rescind the huge New York City bus and subway fare increases that went into effect in early May was a rare occasion indeed. In his May 14 decision, Judge Louis B. York declared that the agency, controlled by the New York governor through his appointment of a majority of its members, had failed to “provide the public in attendance at public hearings with accurate information.”

Japanese bank bailout reveals deepening economic crisis

By Joe Lopez, 28 May 2003

Last week’s decision by the Koizumi government to organise a 2 trillion yen ($17 billion) bailout of the ailing Resona Bank was sparked by fears that the bank’s collapse could have sparked a widespread financial meltdown. The decision, taken at an emergency cabinet meeting, means that the government has effectively nationalised Resona, owning more than half of its equity.

Metaleurop: The ugly face of European capitalism

By Françoise Thull and Marianne Arens, 28 May 2003

On Friday April 11, the Béthune Commercial Court rejected a motion to liquidate the Metaleurop SA, parent company of Metaleurop Nord, the French foundry which closed down without notice on March 10, throwing 830 employees onto the unemployment lines.

Shareholders reject GlaxoSmithKline CEO’s golden parachute: the reality behind the hyperbole

By Jean Shaoul, 28 May 2003

Shareholders at the annual general meeting of the British based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKilne (GSK) narrowly rejected chief executive Jean-Pierre Garner’s severance pay or “golden parachute”. The package, estimated to be worth a massive $35.7 million (£22m) should he be sacked before the term of his two-year contract expires, is nothing less than a reward for failure.

Philippine president renews her pledge of loyalty in Washington

By John Roberts, 28 May 2003

In the nineteenth century, at the height of the British Empire, a stream of potentates, maharajas and other assorted dignitaries made their way to London to pledge fealty to their colonial masters, to be awed by British power and to take home a handful of trinkets and the stamp of British approval.

Giving $100,000 to every US millionaire

By Patrick Martin, 28 May 2003

The Republican-controlled Congress gave final passage May 23 to legislation that will slash tax rates for corporate dividends and capital gains, providing a windfall of close to $100,000 for every American millionaire.

Congress adopts Bush tax cut for the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 28 May 2003

Meeting its self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day, the Bush administration celebrated the national holiday in the manner most fitting for a government of millionaires and former corporate CEOs. It pushed legislation through Congress giving every American millionaire a tax cut averaging $93,500, while providing little or nothing to the vast majority of working people.

CIA-backed exile was source for Times “scoops” on Iraqi arms program

By David Walsh, 28 May 2003

A report in the Washington Post has cast devastating new light on claims by the New York Times correspondent Judith Miller that the US military had uncovered the “smoking gun” of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD). Post media correspondent Howard Kurtz revealed May 26 the contents of an e-mail exchange between Miller and Times Baghdad chief John Burns in which the former acknowledges that long-time US government asset Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress “provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD” to the Times.

Germany: Party of Democratic Socialism gripped by crisis

By Hendrik Paul, 27 May 2003

The crisis inside the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS—formerly the SED, the Stalinist party of government in former East Germany) has reached a new high point with the resignation of party chairwoman Gabi Zimmer and the announcement that the entire executive intends to resign at a special congress in June.

Nearly one million left homeless by Sri Lankan floods

By our correspondents, 27 May 2003

The extent of the disaster caused by the floods and consequent landslides in Sri Lanka since May 17 is now emerging. Hundreds of people are dead and nearly a million more have been displaced. Many have been left without any government assistance and are struggling just to obtain the basic necessities of life.

The resignation of Ari Fleischer: Bush’s official liar goes for the gold

By Barry Grey, 27 May 2003

With his resignation announcement last week, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer neared the end of his tenure as the official mouthpiece for an administration that has made secrecy and lies the basis of its political operations.

Algerian earthquake disaster provokes wave of anger

By Chris Talbot, 27 May 2003

Latest official figures from the Algerian earthquake are 2,162 dead and 8,965 injured, with the final number of deaths expected to be over 3,000 as more bodies continue to be recovered from collapsed buildings.

Sixty years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

By Harvey Thompson, 27 May 2003

“... The decline of capitalism has suspended the Jews between heaven and earth.” (1)

Has the Australian government been lying to Iranian asylum seekers?

By Jake Skeers, 27 May 2003

Internal Immigration Department documents recently released by the Australian Financial Review and statements by the Iranian consulate in Canberra throw into doubt announcements by the Australian government last March that an agreement with Iran allowed for the forced deportation of Iranian asylum seekers.

Howard government blocks release of Australians from Guantanamo Bay

By Richard Phillips, 26 May 2003

The Howard government has been accused by the New York Times of blocking the release of two Australians imprisoned by the US military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The two men, 27-year-old David Hicks and 46-year-old Mamdouh Habib, together with the more than 660 prisoners from 42 countries, are incarcerated at the concentration camp style jail without charge and denied all access to lawyers and their families.

A growing seriousness

By David Walsh, 26 May 2003

This is the third and final part of a series on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival. Parts one and two were posted on May 21 and May 23.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 26 May 2003

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

A million workers march against pension cuts in France

By Antoine Lerougetel and Stephane Hughes, 26 May 2003

Over a million workers demonstrated across France on Sunday, May 25 against the Chirac-Raffarin government’s proposed cuts in pensions. In Paris alone more than 600,000 marched, including over 100,000 demonstrators who travelled to the capital from the provinces in 35 special trains and 1,000 buses.

Zambia: AIDS reduces life expectancy to 33 years

By Barry Mason, 26 May 2003

Life expectancy has fallen to 33 years in Zambia, making it the lowest in the world.

The UN vote on Iraq: the political issues

By Peter Symonds, 26 May 2003

Last week’s 14-0 vote in the UN Security Council lifting sanctions on Iraq has graphically exposed the futility of the illusions fostered in the UN—and in France, Germany and Russia—as a means of stopping the US-led invasion and occupation of this small, impoverished and largely defenceless country.

A political strategy to fight the attack on workers’ pensions in France

By the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 24 May 2003

The following statement is being distributed by supporters of the WSWS and the International Committee of the Fourth International at mass demonstrations called for May 25 in opposition to the French government’s plans to slash pensions and attack public education and health benefits. The statement is posted in leaflet form in French as a pdf file. We urge all of our readers and supporters in France to download the statement and distribute it at Sunday's rallies, and well as at work locations and other public venues.

Political lessons of the war on Iraq: the way forward for the international working class

By , 24 May 2003

The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party are holding a public conference on the weekend of July 5-6, 2003 in Sydney, Australia. The subject of the conference will be: “Political lessons of the war on Iraq: the way forward for the international working class.”

Mass unemployment in Israel, but austerity plan approved

By David Cohen, 24 May 2003

On Thursday May 22 the Finance Committee of Israel’s parliament approved the agreement reached by the Histadrut labour federation and the Finance Ministry earlier in the week regarding dismissals and wage cuts in the public sector. Outside the committee room, social activists told the World Socialist Web Site that they are determined to defeat the government in its austerity drive and defined the Histadrut-Finance deal as “sell-out” of the workers’ interests.

An exchange with a US war correspondent

By , 24 May 2003

On April 12, the WSWS posted a comment by David Walsh on the battlefield deaths of Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly and NBC correspondent David Bloom, at The following letter from “Embedded war correspondent” Sig Christenson of the San Antonio Express-News was received May 16. David Walsh replies below.

Unemployment hits 8 percent in Oregon

By Hector Cordon, 24 May 2003

Oregon continues to lead the nation in joblessness, as April’s unemployment figure showed a four-tenths of a percent increase to 8 percent. This is the highest percentage since February 2002 and represents the loss of 11,200 jobs in nonfarm employment since April of last year. The total number of unemployed in Oregon now stands at 147,270. The total number employed stands at 1,557,700, the lowest level since October of 1998.

Problemas económicos mundiales empeoran e intensifican las divisiones del grupo G8

By , 24 May 2003

WSWS : Español

France leads clamour for Congo intervention

By Chris Talbot, 24 May 2003

A French military reconnaissance team has been sent to Bunia, regional capital of the northeastern Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is intended to prepare the way for 1,000 French troops that would lead a United Nations force to halt the violent conflict in the region.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 May 2003

Millions strike across India against privatisation

Canada: Budget cuts played pivotal role in SARS crisis

By Keith Jones, 24 May 2003

Ontario’s chief medical officer announced Thursday evening that four Toronto-area residents have likely contracted SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)—Canada’s first new cases of the potentially lethal viral infection since mid-April. A fifth person was identified as a possible SARS victim Friday.

US urges military to overrule Turkish government

By Justus Leicht, 24 May 2003

If any additional proof were needed to demonstrate that the aim of the US in the Middle East is the subjugation of the region rather then the introduction of “freedom” and “democracy,” then it was provided by the visit to Turkey two weeks ago by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

More letters on the New York Times and the firing of Jayson Blair

By , 23 May 2003

Below we post a selection of recent letters on the New York Times and the firing of junior reporter Jayson Blair.

BBC documentary exposes Pentagon lies: The staged rescue of Private Jessica Lynch

By Julie Hyland, 23 May 2003

A BBC Correspondent documentary, “War Spin” broadcast in Britain on Sunday 18 May, presented a devastating account of how US and British government and military forces set out to mislead and misinform the public during their war against Iraq—aided by hundreds of compliant “embedded” journalists.

Hecklers shout down journalist’s antiwar speech at college commencement

By Bill Vann, 23 May 2003

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges was forced to cut short a commencement speech at a private Illinois college on May 17 after right-wing hecklers shouted him down and rushed the platform. The hooligan attack was directed against Hedges’ sharp condemnation of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Bitter Sri Lankan power struggle flares up over lotteries board

By Wije Dias, 23 May 2003

The political struggle in Sri Lanka between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the United National Front (UNF) government took another sharp turn earlier this month when Kumaratunga suddenly announced she was taking control of the Development Lotteries Board (DLB). The board, which previously was under the control of the Ministry of Economic Reforms, has functioned as a slush fund for dispensing political favours.

Ciencia y sociología del SARS

By , 23 May 2003

WSWS : Español

“But there is a great deal more to say”

By Joanne Laurier, 23 May 2003

This is the second of three articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival. The third article will be posted next week.

Britain: New Statesman publishes government report on illegality of Iraq war

By Chris Marsden, 23 May 2003

A leaked memo from British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith confirms the charge levelled by International Development Secretary Clare Short when she resigned on May 12 that Prime Minister Tony Blair had been warned that the occupation of Iraq by the US and Britain may be illegal.

Paris, Berlin, Moscow sanction US occupation of Iraq

By Peter Schwarz, 23 May 2003

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday sanctioned the military occupation of Iraq by the United States and Great Britain. With the votes of 14 of its 15 members, the Security Council decided to immediately lift sanctions against Iraq and accord effective governmental power and unlimited control of the country’s oil wealth to the occupying forces.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 23 May 2003

French workers continue national protests against pension reforms

The historical roots of neoconservatism: a reply to a slanderous attack on Trotskyism

By Bill Vann, 23 May 2003

The May 20 edition of the Spanish-language daily El Diario/La Prensa in New York City published a column by the newspaper’s political editor Vicky Pelaez entitled “From permanent revolution to permanent conquest.” The thrust of the piece is an attempt to trace the current policies of the extreme right-wing clique that dominates the Bush White House and the Pentagon to the American Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s.

New policy needed to fight Schröder’s social cuts

By World Socialist Web Site & Social Equality Party, 22 May 2003

On Saturday May 17 the trade union Ver.di called a national demonstration in Berlin to protest against the German government’s “Agenda 2010”. See “10,000 demonstrate in Berlin against attack on social conditions” for a report on the demonstration. The following text was distributed in leaflet form at the demonstration.

Britain: Sunday Times “Rich List” notes fall in combined wealth of super-rich

By Simon Wheelan, 22 May 2003

The annual Sunday Times Rich List is based on the newspaper’s estimates of the minimum wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest people. What makes this year’s list noteworthy is that for the first time in nearly a decade the combined wealth of the super-rich is estimated to have fallen.

Australian government announces new military force for domestic use

By Terry Cook, 22 May 2003

The Australian Federal government has used the threat of increased terrorism following the US-led war on Iraq to further bolster repressive state powers. On May 18, Defence Minister Robert Hill confirmed the government would draw 1,000 personnel from Australia’s 25,000-strong Army Reserve to create a special body trained in “counter terrorism” duties. The move constitutes another assault on fundamental civil rights. It is a further step towards the removal of any restrictions on the use of the armed forces in civil affairs and is designed to accustom the public to an increasing military presence.

10,000 demonstrate in Berlin against attack on social conditions

By Verena Nees, 22 May 2003

“Agenda 2010 is a declaration of war by the SPD (Social Democratic Party) government against the socially disadvantaged.” This comment by a participant at the trade union rally in Berlin on May 17 summed up the predominant mood. Around 10,000 trade unionists and members of unemployed organisations responded to the call made by the service industries union Ver.di to protest against the attacks being carried out by the German government on the welfare state.

Decline of US dollar roils Canada’s elite

By Keith Jones, 22 May 2003

The US dollar’s sharp decline is causing concern in Canada’s economic and political elite. Since the beginning of the year, the Canadian dollar has risen more than 15 percent in value against the greenback, with two-thirds of that increase coming since early March. Tuesday, the dollar closed above 74 cents US for the first time since early 1997.

Britain: Labour extends antiwar witch-hunt to Tam Dalyell

By Chris Marsden, 22 May 2003

Following on the attacks levelled against George Galloway MP, another outspoken critic of the US-led war against Iraq is being targeted for vituperative press coverage, threatened with disciplinary action by the Labour Party and even legal proceedings.

Indonesia launches “shock and awe” military offensive in Aceh

By Peter Symonds, 22 May 2003

Exactly five years after the fall of military strongman Suharto, the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) have unleashed a military offensive that recalls the worst atrocities of the dictatorship. Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri gave the green light on Monday for the TNI to carry out its own massive “shock and awe” operation aimed at destroying the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and terrorising the local population in northern Sumatra.

Bush, Congress wrangle over how best to fatten the rich

By Patrick Martin, 21 May 2003

No satirist of the wealthy, no populist critic of corporate greed could have devised a more absurd or disgusting scenario than that being played out in Washington this month, as the Bush administration, the House of Representatives and the US Senate wrangle over the exact shape of a tax cut that will pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of the richest Americans.

Dollar decline accelerates as US Treasury abandons “strong” currency policy

By Nick Beams, 21 May 2003

The potential for a major crisis in global financial markets has markedly increased over the past few days amid growing concerns that the Bush administration has adopted a policy of allowing the US dollar to fall.

FCC green light for US media monopolization

By Joseph Kay, 21 May 2003

On June 2, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on a set of deregulatory measures that will be an enormous step toward even greater corporate media consolidation in the United States. The five-member board—chaired by Michael Powell, the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell—will almost certainly pass the proposals, which apply to ownership restrictions on television, radio and newspaper media.

Belgium: Liberals and Social Democrats to renew coalition without the Greens

By Paul Bond and Richard Tyler, 21 May 2003

The Liberals and Social Democrats have emerged as the strongest parties in the new federal parliament following the general election in Belgium on Sunday May 18. The biggest losers were the Greens, who look unlikely to re-enter the federal government.

Britain: Labour Party suspends MP George Galloway for antiwar stance

By Julie Hyland, 21 May 2003

On May 6 Labour Party General Secretary David Triesman announced that he had suspended George Galloway from the party due to remarks the Scottish Member of Parliament (MP) had made opposing the war against Iraq.

A modest proposal: a cinema of ideas

By David Walsh, 21 May 2003

This is the first of three articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival. The second article will be posted later this week.

Top level US visit strengthens strategic ties with India

By Vilani Peiris and K. Ratnayake, 21 May 2003

The recent visit by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and nine other senior US officials to the Indian subcontinent coincided with a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at strengthening US involvement in the region and Washington’s ties with New Delhi in particular.

Community colleges in US facing massive cutbacks

By Charles Bogle, 20 May 2003

The author teaches at a community college in Michigan.

Interview with Dean Gabourie, director of Awake and Sing!

By Carl Bronski, 20 May 2003

Carl Bronski: You’ve recently revived Waiting for Lefty here in Toronto. You’ve just finished a run with Awake and Sing! What is it about Odets’ work that attracts you?

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 May 2003

Guatemalan teachers protest

Terror bombings bare US crisis in Middle East

By Bill Vann, 20 May 2003

The terror bombings that claimed the lives of 34 people in Saudi Arabia and at least 41 in Morocco last week have underscored the deepening crisis confronting US policy in the Middle East in the wake of the war against Iraq. Far from the “turning of the tide” in the “war on terrorism,” as Bush proclaimed last month aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the US invasion has only exacerbated deep political and social tensions throughout the region.

War crimes case against General Franks: Interview with Belgian lawyer Jan Fermon

By , 20 May 2003

Richard Tyler spoke with the Belgian lawyer Jan Fermon, who filed the war crimes lawsuit against US General Tommy Franks last week.

Over 200 dead in worst Sri Lankan floods in 60 years

By our correspondents, 20 May 2003

More than 200 have been killed and over 175,000 people left homeless due to raging floods and related landslides, which hit five southern districts in Sri Lanka on Saturday. According to government officials, more than 700 people are missing, adding to fears that the death toll may further increase. Many of the homeless are crowded into makeshift refugee camps without even basic facilities.

Worsening global economic problems see G8 divisions deepen

By Nick Beams, 20 May 2003

The meeting of finance ministers from the G8—the seven major industrial economies plus Russia—held in Deauville, France over the weekend was illustrative of two significant trends: the deepening divisions among the major capitalist powers and, even if they could reach agreement, their growing impotence in the face of the problems besetting the world economy.

Entrevista con Nicolás Wainszelbaum y Roberto Testa, directores de Flores de Septiembre

By , 20 May 2003

WSWS : Español

Belgium: government seeks to block war crimes case against US General Tommy Franks

By Richard Tyler, 20 May 2003

The Belgian government has intervened to block a war crimes case against US General Tommy Franks. The lawsuit, lodged with the federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels on May 14, accuses Franks of being responsible for war crimes carried out during the US war against Iraq.

Politics and the theatre: two plays in Toronto

By Carl Bronski, 20 May 2003

“I know what men can be!”—Clifford Odets, 1935

Una tragedia argentina

By , 20 May 2003

WSWS : Español

New proconsul in Baghdad tightens US grip over Iraq

By Peter Symonds, 19 May 2003

Just days after his arrival in Baghdad last week, Washington’s new proconsul in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, has ushered in a series of measures which signal the US will brook no opposition to its neo-colonial rule and will not hesitate to use military force to deal with any challenge. While the crackdown is nominally directed against looters and Ba’ath Party officials, the US is using the opportunity to tighten its grip over the country.

Britain: Foundation hospitals mean health inequality is official government policy

By Jean Shaoul, 19 May 2003

The Labour government’s Health and Social Care bill setting up Foundation Hospital Trusts (FHTs) is central to measures aimed at opening up public hospital services to private sector corporations and the banks and so establish a market for healthcare. These measures, to be introduced initially in health, provide a template for the rest of the welfare state.

Australian companies rush to profit from Iraqi devastation

By Rick Kelly, 19 May 2003

In the aftermath of its participation in the illegal invasion of Iraq, the Howard government has rushed to ensure that Australian corporations win a slice of the multi-million dollar contracts being offered for the rebuilding of Iraq’s devastated infrastructure. Between April 27 and May 2, Australia’s trade minister, Mark Vaile, led a delegation of executives from 10 major Australian construction, engineering, and oil and gas companies in talks with US officials and corporate executives.

France renews ties with Malagasy President Ravalomanana

By Alex Lefebvre, 19 May 2003

The April 29-30 official state visit to Paris by Madagascar’s President Marc Ravalomanana has officially ended the chill in relations between France and its former colony that set in after Ravalomanana seized power with US backing in 2002.

US and Britain in plans for “road map” for Zimbabwe

By Chris Talbot, 19 May 2003

A series of meetings involving African leaders and representatives from the United States and Britain have taken place in Southern Africa aimed at forcing the removal of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. The plan is to bring in a transitional government in Zimbabwe made up of the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that will then adopt economic emergency measures.

Germany: WSWS editorial board member participates in forum on Iraq war

By Marianne Arens, 17 May 2003

“What follows the attack on Iraq?” was the title of a meeting organised by the “Initiative against the Iraq war” held in the southern German city of Heilbronn on April 25. According to the organisers, the goal of the meeting was to discuss the tasks and perspectives of the anti-war movement.

Lessons of the Iraq War: the tasks of the European working class

By , 17 May 2003

Berlin Sunday, 1 June, 3:00 p.m. Berlin-Mitte Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Haus Hotel und Tagungszentrum Ziegelstraße 30 (near S-Bahnhof Friedrichstr.)

McCarthy transcripts released in Washington

By Peter Daniels, 17 May 2003

The release this month of transcripts of closed hearings conducted 50 years ago by witch-hunting anti-communist US Senator Joseph R. McCarthy could not have come at a more appropriate time. McCarthy’s interrogation of such figures as composer Aaron Copland and writer Langston Hughes, among many others, contains no major surprises, but sheds additional light on the historical significance of what came to be known as McCarthyism.

Israel: Sharon’s rejection of US “road map” has powerful support in Washington

By Chris Marsden, 17 May 2003

Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon arrives for talks in Washington next week, during which he will discuss with President George W. Bush his objections to the “road map”— the plan drawn up by the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations that is meant to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and set up a Palestinian state by 2005.