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Britain: Blair’s relations with Europe deteriorate after Bush’s state visit

By Chris Marsden, 29 November 2003

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s November 24 meeting with President Jacques Chirac of France was his first official engagement following the state visit of President George W. Bush to Britain.

Marking Time scriptwriter speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 29 November 2003

John Doyle, scriptwriter of Marking Time, a recent Australian television mini-series, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site early this week. Marking Time, Doyle’s second television drama, is about a 19-year-old Australian youth who meets and falls in love with an Afghan refugee on a temporary protection visa. (See: “Love and anti-refugee racism in rural Australia”)

Britain: Survey shows increase in social inequality

By Keith Lee, 29 November 2003

A recent survey entitled “The Wealth of The Nation 2003” shows that over the last decade British society has undergone a significant social and economic polarisation.

California Governor Schwarzenegger launches right-wing agenda

By Don Knowland and Andrea Peters, 29 November 2003

Within the first two weeks of taking office, California’s recently elected replacement governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has unveiled a series of reactionary measures. In addition to laying out an initial $3.8 billion worth of cuts in social services, Schwarzenegger is calling for the implementation of a budgetary spending cap and a massive borrowing scheme that will ultimately lead to the gutting of public services of all kinds.

Sri Lankan government treads a fine line over the budget

By K. Ratnayake, 29 November 2003

The Sri Lankan government presented its budget last week under conditions of an acute political crisis triggered by President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s autocratic moves in early November, including the suspension of parliament. The ruling United National Front (UNF) was due to bring down its budget on November 12 but was only able to do so on November 19, when parliament reconvened.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 November 2003

Immigrant workers sacked for demanding correct pay in Thailand

Bush’s PR stunt in Baghdad underscores US crisis

By Patrick Martin, 29 November 2003

President Bush’s Thanksgiving Day visit to US troops in Baghdad, organized by the White House to shore up crumbling public support for the occupation of Iraq, only confirms the deepening crisis of the administration.

Makiko Tanaka returns to political prominence in Japan

By James Conachy, 28 November 2003

At the November 19 opening session of the newly elected Japanese parliament, the former foreign minister Makiko Tanaka formally aligned herself with the main opposition Democratic Party (DPJ) against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 28 November 2003

Greek public sector workers hold further day of protests

US moves to silence Iraq’s most popular TV news channel

By Mike Head, 28 November 2003

In another indication of the “freedom” and “democracy” that Washington is bringing to the people of Iraq, the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) shut down the Baghdad bureau of the country’s most watched television news channel on November 24. Without warning, more than 20 police and Interior Ministry officials arrived at the Al Arabiya facility, ordered its closure and seized its broadcasting equipment “until further notice”.

50 Years of the International Committee of the Fourth International

By , 28 November 2003

Speaker: Nick Beams, WSWS International Editorial Board member and national secretary of the SEP (Australia)

Britain: Queen’s speech outlines attack on students, immigrants and civil liberties

By Julie Hyland, 28 November 2003

The Queen’s speech on November 26 outlined the Labour government’s legislative programme for the next year.

Britain: Media and government use Istanbul bombings to intimidate antiwar dissent

By Julie Hyland, 27 November 2003

The terror attack on the British consulate and HSBC headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey last week is being used to justify a further clamp down on democratic rights and to vilify and intimidate all those who politically opposed the war against Iraq.

Facts, but no framework

By , 27 November 2003

Shattered Glass, written and directed by Billy Ray; Veronica Guerin, directed by Joel Schumacher; screenplay by Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue

Afghanistan: escalating opposition to the US occupation

By Peter Symonds, 27 November 2003

A series of recent incidents in Afghanistan have highlighted the precarious position of the US military in the country. While the level of armed attacks is not the same as in Iraq, there is nevertheless growing resistance, to the military presence of the US and its allies in Afghanistan.

European Union to deport immigrants

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 27 November 2003

Plans by European Union interior ministers to establish a joint border protection authority were revealed earlier this month. Beginning in 2005, the new EU agency will coordinate the protection of European borders in a bid to block the entry of immigrants and refugees. In addition, the authority will be responsible for deporting immigrants and those seeking asylum who lack official residence status.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 November 2003

The following is a selection of recent letters to the WSWS.

New Zealand anti-terror legislation gives police sweeping new powers

By John Braddock, 27 November 2003

The New Zealand parliament voted last month to approve the Labour government’s so-called “Counter-Terrorism” Bill at its third and final reading. The only opposition in the house came from the Greens’ nine MPs, who voted against it. According to Foreign Minister Phil Goff, the passage of the bill was the government’s “final step in adopting United Nations conventions aimed at fighting global terrorism”. In reality, in New Zealand as elsewhere, the threat of “terrorism” is being used to enact previously unacceptable laws that establish the basis for sweeping attacks on basic democratic rights.

The “war on terror” and American democracy—some ominous warnings

By Patrick Martin, 27 November 2003

Three commentaries published recently in the US media, all by well-connected observers of the US military, have suggested that a major new terrorist attack within the United States could disrupt the 2004 elections and even result in military intervention on the streets of America as well as the suspension of the Constitution.

Las raíces sociales y políticas de la crisis de la democracia en Estados Unidos

By , 27 November 2003

WSWS : Español

Medicare bill marks major step in destruction of government health plan for US seniors

By Shannon Jones and Barry Grey, 26 November 2003

The US Senate passed President Bush’s Medicare legislation Tuesday by a vote of 54 to 44. The measure, which provides partial coverage of prescription drugs for seniors, marks a significant step toward the privatization and ultimate destruction of government-sponsored health care for those over age 65.

Police violence at Miami FTAA protest

By Jennifer Van Bergen, 26 November 2003

Tens of thousands of demonstrators who came to Miami last week to protest the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) ministerial meetings met with police harassment, provocation, and brutality. More than 100 protesters were treated for injuries, 12 were hospitalized and an estimated 250 were arrested. The Bush administration provided $8.5 million to back up local police against protesters.

The New York Times: a proposal for ethnic cleansing in Iraq

By Bill Vann, 26 November 2003

With popular resistance mounting to its military occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration is casting about in increasing desperation for a new strategy to salvage the principal aims of its war—the seizure of oil resources and the establishment of a US client regime in a strategically vital region.

Bush, House Republicans rig vote to pass Medicare bill

By Shannon Jones, 26 November 2003

Flouting parliamentary norms and democratic procedures, the Bush White House and Republican leadership of the House of Representatives rammed through passage of the Republican Medicare bill in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 22. Without their recourse to parliamentary larceny, the business-backed legislation that paves the way for the privatization of the government-run health care program for seniors would have failed. Instead, it moved on to the Senate, where it was passed with significant Democratic support on Tuesday, November 25.

Northern Ireland election: An attempt to rescue the Good Friday Agreement

By Steve James, 26 November 2003

Today’s second election for the Northern Ireland Assembly is another desperate effort to resuscitate the constitutional arrangements established under the power-sharing Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (Agreement).

Political crackdown in China as leadership prepares mass privatisations

By John Chan, 26 November 2003

In recent months, the Chinese government has jailed dozens of workers, peasants and political dissidents on charges of “subverting the state power” or “disturbing the social order”. The police-state crackdown is probably the largest since the destruction of the China Democracy Party and the Falun Gong religious movement in 1998-99.

On “State scapegoats parents, workers in New Jersey child welfare scandal”

By , 26 November 2003

To the editorial board,

France: Elf verdicts reveal state corruption at highest levels

By Antoine Lerougetel, 25 November 2003

The Elf corruption trial, whose verdict and sentences were delivered on November 12 by Judge Michel Desplan, presiding at the Paris Criminal Court, provides a chilling insight into the nature of the French state, French politics and French imperialism as a whole since the 1960s.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 25 November 2003

Peruvian strikers demand jobs

Spain: Relatives of military plane crash victims met with official indifference

By Keith Lee, 25 November 2003

Families of Spanish servicemen killed when their plane crashed in May have accused the Aznar government of not taking due precautions when hiring the aircraft. They are petitioning the courts to see if negligence charges can be brought.

Whither the US dollar?

By Nick Beams, 25 November 2003

Will the fall in the value of the US dollar proceed gradually or will there be a financial crisis sparked by a rapid exit of funds from American financial markets? This is a question that is being asked more frequently in world financial centres as US indebtedness reaches new highs.

US occupation authority tramples on Iraqi workers’ rights

By Alex Lefebvre, 25 November 2003

The legal and economic position of workers in Iraq gives the lie to the Bush administration’s avowed democratic intentions in the occupied country. Few reports on the subject have appeared in the establishment media. However, what information has filtered through demonstrates that the American government has no intention of protecting the democratic rights of the working population.

Unemployment rate in Australia twice the official figure

By Terry Cook, 25 November 2003

Following the release earlier this month of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly labor force figures for October, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello declared they demonstrated that “nearly every Australian who wants to work can find an opportunity.” He went on to boast that “full employment” was now in sight.

Report exposes criminal connections of Lithuanian president

By Niall Green, 25 November 2003

The release at the end of October of a state security department report into corruption and breaches of national security by the president of Lithuania and his office has opened up a political crisis in the Baltic state.

Indonesia: Trials underway into Suharto-era atrocities

By John Roberts, 24 November 2003

Four trials have begun of 14 current and retired members of Indonesia’s armed forces (TNI) for a massacre carried out nearly 20 years ago, on September 12, 1984. Evidence emerging in the courts has the potential of becoming a political embarrassment, not only for the regime of President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is closely aligned with the military, but with the American and Australian governments, both of which have moved to re-establish close ties with the TNI.

Terrorism commission caves in to White House over 9/11 documents

By Patrick Martin, 24 November 2003

The independent commission charged with investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington has backed down in the face of White House intransigence and agreed to let the Bush administration determine what information it will turn over to the panel.

Britain: Police chief apologises to family of man shot dead by officers

By Paul Bond, 24 November 2003

The Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Ken Jones, has made an unprecedented apology to the family of an unarmed man shot dead by police officers during a raid five years ago. The family has continued to call for a public inquiry, both into the killing and also into its subsequent investigation by the police. Four officers were cleared of misconduct charges relating to the planning of the police raid. Murder charges were dropped against the officer who fired the fatal shot.

An exchange on “Friedman of the Times declares war on France”

By , 24 November 2003

To the Editor,

International and corporate pressure for a political compromise in Sri Lanka

By K. Ratnayake, 24 November 2003

As the political crisis in Sri Lanka drags into its fourth week, heavy pressure is being brought to bear by the United States, the European Union (EU), India and Japan on President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to patch-up some sort of compromise.

Paul Martin to be Canada’s new prime minister

By Keith Jones, 22 November 2003

Former finance minister and multimillionaire businessman Paul Martin will be sworn in as Canada’s new prime minister December 12, replacing Jean Chrétien. At the same time Martin will unveil a new Liberal cabinet. In answer to corporate Canada’s call for a major change in the government’s course, Martin is expected to deny ministries to most of those serving in the current Chrétien cabinet. And to underscore his desire for much closer relations with the Bush administration, Martin may create a new cabinet post—minister for Canada-US relations.

Sylvia Plath is hardly present

By David Walsh, 22 November 2003

Sylvia, directed by Christine Jeffs, screenplay by John Brownlow

New York police assault fundraiser for anarchist group

By Jamie Chapman, 22 November 2003

New York City police launched a vicious attack on a private fundraising event for the group, Anarchist People of Color, at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 16. The benefit was being held in the Brooklyn offices of Critical Resistance, a California-based group that focuses on police brutality and the prison system.

Reflections on the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination

By David North and Bill Vann, 22 November 2003

In November 1963, 37 years before George W. Bush was installed as president by means of a political conspiracy, the assassination of John F. Kennedy demonstrated how a man could be removed from the presidency by conspiratorial means.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 November 2003

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

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 22 November 2003

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to: editor@wsws.org

“Meet the people”—Bush and Blair style

By Chris Marsden, 22 November 2003

One million pounds spent and 1,300 police officers invading a village of 5,000 residents—all so that US President George W. Bush and his host, Prime Minister Tony Blair, could fake a “meet the people” photo opportunity.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 22 November 2003

Riot police attack Cambodian garment workers

Striking Los Angeles transit workers return to work without a contract

By Andrea Peters, 22 November 2003

Los Angeles County’s mass transit system resumed operations this week after the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) ordered its 2,400 striking mechanics and service employees back to work on Monday evening. After 35 days on the picket lines, the workers have returned to their jobs without a final contract.

Uzbekistan: Britain’s ambassador embarrasses Bush administration

By Peter Reydt, 22 November 2003

Last week, Baroness Symons, a Foreign Office minister, announced that Ambassador Craig Murray would go back to Tashkent. The Labour government hopes this will bring to a close one of the most embarrassing scandals to hit a British foreign mission in years.

Federal appeals court upholds Bush abuse of “material witness” statute

By John Andrews, 21 November 2003

On November 7, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Bush administration’s practice of arresting people not suspected of any crime, based on their designation as “material witnesses” whose testimony might assist a grand jury.

Fissures deepen within Israeli political establishment

By Jean Shaoul, 21 November 2003

In an extraordinary move, four former leaders of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security force, gave a joint interview to Israel’s leading daily, Yedioth Aharanoth, criticising Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s suppression of the Palestinians.

Massachusetts high court rules in favor of same-sex marriages

By David Walsh, 21 November 2003

The 4-3 ruling by Massachusetts’ highest court on Tuesday striking down a state ban on same-sex marriages is the affirmation of an elementary democratic right. The Supreme Judicial Court held, in the words of Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, that “barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution.”

Britain: Massive turnout at demonstration against Bush and Iraq war

By Mike Ingram, 21 November 2003

Upwards of 150,000 people participated in a protest demonstration in London on November 20 against the state visit of US President George W. Bush. The turnout far exceeded the organisers’ predictions of 100,000. Throughout the day police and media had attempted to play down the scale of opposition to the Bush visit, but the police were begrudgingly forced to acknowledge the presence of at least 100,000 protesters.

Terror blasts in Istanbul: atrocities aid Bush’s “war on terror”

By Justus Leicht and Peter Schwarz, 21 November 2003

On Thursday, the Turkish capital of Istanbul with its 12 million inhabitants was rocked by violent explosions for the second time within the space of a few days.

David North addresses Sri Lankan Trotskyists on the 50th anniversary of the ICFI

By a correspondent, 21 November 2003

To mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), David North, Chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board, addressed a meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka on November 16 in the capital Colombo. The gathering took place in the midst of a political crisis on the island provoked one week earlier by the president’s threat to invoke a state of emergency.

Love and anti-refugee racism in rural Australia

By Richard Phillips, 21 November 2003

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“Free trade lite” deal papers over US-Latin American conflict

By Bill Vann, 21 November 2003

In an attempt to stave off another humiliating public debacle like the recent collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Cancun, Mexico, the Bush administration has backed off from its drive to forge a sweeping agreement for a hemisphere-wide free trade zone at a ministerial meeting in Miami, Florida.

Arson destroys Indiana Holocaust museum

By Joanne Laurier, 20 November 2003

A museum dedicated to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust in Terre Haute, Indiana, was set on fire and its contents destroyed Tuesday. The Candles Museum was torched after a wall of the building was spray-painted with an homage to Timothy McVeigh, the right-wing terrorist who was convicted in 1995 for the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. McVeigh was executed at the federal prison near Terre Haute in 2001. The fire caused an estimated $15,000 in damage.

Washington demands “triggers” for attack on Iran

By Mike Head, 20 November 2003

Even as its occupation of Iraq plunges further into disarray, the Bush administration is stepping up its drive for similar “regime change” in neighbouring oil-rich Iran. Ever since President Bush named Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as an “axis of evil” in his January 2002 State of the Union address, the White House has maintained a barrage of allegations and threats against the Iranian regime, repeatedly accusing it of conducting a secret nuclear weapons program.

US: 21,000 Verizon workers accept buyout

By Samuel Davidson, 20 November 2003

More than 21,000 Verizon workers have accepted an early retirement package as the corporation, the largest telephone company in the US, seeks to cut costs, boost its falling stock price and trim some of the massive debt accumulated over the past few years.

Bush’s London visit highlights mass opposition to US and British governments

By Chris Marsden, 20 November 2003

The day US President George W. Bush arrived in Britain at the start of his four-day state visit, the Guardian newspaper led with a headline declaring, “Protests begin but majority backs Bush visit as support for war surges.”

India: Tamil Nadu government launches far-reaching attack on the press

By Arun Kumar, 20 November 2003

In an unprecedented attack on the freedom of the press, the Legislative Assembly speaker in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu this month imposed 15-day jail terms on the main editorial staff of a leading Indian newspaper, the Hindu, for “breach of privilege” of the parliament. The decision is part of an escalating assault on democratic rights and workers’ conditions by the state government led by Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa.

Spain: Investigation into death at sea of 36 African migrants

By Paul Stuart, 20 November 2003

On November 12, Spain’s national ombudsman, Enrique Mugica, announced that an inquiry would be launched into the horrifying events of October 25 when 36 immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa drowned after their motorboat sank in high seas off the coast off Cadiz. The inquiry will concentrate on why it took 52 minutes for rescue services to leave the shore after the motorboat had been reported to be in severe difficulties.

Bush’s London speech: A defense of aggression and lawlessness

By Patrick Martin, 20 November 2003

President Bush’s speech Wednesday to a London audience, the highlight of his three-day state visit to Great Britain, was an uncompromising defense of the conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan. He made it clear the US would not hesitate to employ whatever level of violence was necessary to suppress the Iraqi resistance, and left no doubt that his administration remained opposed to ceding political control of the occupied country to the United Nations.

The New York Times “sours” on Bush’s new plan for Iraq

By Bill Vann, 19 November 2003

In its lead editorial of November 16, entitled “Iraq Goes Sour,” the New York Times decries the decision of the Bush administration to move up its time-table for handing over political power to a US puppet regime in Iraq. Voicing the fear that American forces might be pulled out of Iraq “prematurely,” the newspaper advances its own recommendations for salvaging the US occupation.

An international socialist strategy to oppose militarism and war

By Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 19 November 2003

The following statement is being distributed by the Socialist Equality Party (Britain) at demonstrations taking place in London to protest the state visit of President George W. Bush. The statement has also been posted as a PDF file. We urge our readers and supporters to download and distribute it as widely as possible.

Arizona sheriff introduces female chain gangs

By Elisa Brehm, 19 November 2003

A recent newspaper item provides a horrifying glimpse into an aspect of modern life in the US that is not generally publicized. It describes the phenomenon of female chain gangs. This practice occurs not in a rural southern American town, but Maricopa County, Arizona, which covers an area that includes the 3 million residents of metropolitan Phoenix, one of the country’s largest urban centers.

Letters from our readers

By , 19 November 2003

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

Conservatives and Greens form coalition government in Upper Austria

By Markus Salzmann, 19 November 2003

Only weeks after regional elections in Upper Austria, the conservative Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP) and the Green Party have agreed to form a local coalition government. This decision will accelerate these parties joining forces on a national level.

Election fraud induces political crisis in Georgia

By Simon Whelan, 19 November 2003

Ongoing political unrest in Georgia in the southern Caucasus region is threatening to get out of control.

Thousands of workers in South Korea strike against repressive labour laws

By Terry Cook, 19 November 2003

Over 150,000 South Korean workers participated in a one-day strike and large demonstrations on November 12 to protest at the government’s repressive labor legislation. Called by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), the protests involved workers from car making, metals, textile and chemicals industries across South Korea demanding the withdrawal of existing legislation and opposing a raft of new laws aimed at giving even greater powers to employers. Strikers also called for measures to protect the rights and conditions of “irregular workers” (casual labourers).

Jessica Lynch criticizes government-backed lies

By Kate Randall, 19 November 2003

Over the last 10 days, the story of Army Private First Class Jessica Lynch has been the focus of a media blitz. On Sunday, November 9, NBC broadcast the made-for-TV film Saving Jessica Lynch. The following Tuesday, the book I Am A Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, by Rick Bragg, was released. That evening, ABC aired its much-hyped interview with the former soldier conducted by Diane Sawyer. Lynch made the rounds on the morning talk shows last week, climaxed by an appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” Friday night. Her picture graced the cover of Time magazine’s November 17 issue.

US: 21,000 Verizon workers accept buyout

By Samuel Davidson, 19 November 2003

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The Maher Arar case: Washington’s practice of torture by proxy

By Keith Jones, 18 November 2003

Maher Arar’s poignant account of his treatment by US, Jordanian and Syrian authorities constitutes a devastating exposure of the illegal, arbitrary and barbaric methods Washington is employing in the name of combating terrorism. It also raises vital questions as to the role that the Canadian government and its police and intelligence agencies played in delivering Arar into the hands of his torturers. (See: Canadian authorities complicit in Arar’s illegal detention and torture.)

Briefly noted

By David Walsh, 18 November 2003

Love Actually, directed by Richard Curtis; Intolerable Cruelty, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen; School of Rock, directed by Richard Linklater; The Matrix Revolutions, directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 18 November 2003

National strike in Dominican Republic

US: State scapegoats parents, workers in New Jersey child welfare scandal

By Robert Berezny and John Levine, 18 November 2003

The discovery of four badly malnourished boys in a foster home in Collingswood, New Jersey—a working-class inner suburb of Camden—has plunged the state child welfare agency, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), into a crisis that has received national attention.

Bush aboga por décadas de guerra para establecer la "democracia" en el Oriente Medio

By , 18 November 2003

WSWS : Español

Bush’s visit to London: Is a state provocation being prepared?

By Julie Hyland, 18 November 2003

Unprecedented security measures are being put in place for President George W. Bush’s visit to London this week.

Canadian authorities complicit in Arar’s illegal detention and torture

By Keith Jones, 18 November 2003

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has condemned US authorities for their treatment of Maher Arar—the Syrian-born Canadian citizen whom the US deported to Syria so he could be detained without charge and tortured. “It is completely unacceptable and deplorable,” declared Chrétien the day after Arar had held a press conference to explain how US officials had deported him to Syria over his vehement objections and how in Syria he had been held in a tiny cell and savagely beaten.

Japanese government holds power, but with reduced majority

By Joe Lopez, 18 November 2003

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi retained control of Japan’s lower house of parliament in the November 9 elections, but with its majority substantially cut.

Los Angeles County and public employees union reach tentative contract

By our correspondent, 18 November 2003

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 660, which represents over half of the county’s 90,000 workers, have announced a tentative labor agreement covering the next three years. Most county employees have been working without an agreement since September.

Teenager’s death highlights terrible toll in Australian workplaces

By Terry Cook, 18 November 2003

The tragic death of 16-year-old Joel Exner on a construction site in Sydney’s western suburbs has again focused attention on the high rate of industrial deaths and accidents in Australia. The teenager died on October 15 when he fell 15 metres from the roof of a building on an Australand project.

US media sanctions campaign of atrocities in Iraq

By Patrick Martin, 17 November 2003

The visible disarray of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, in the wake of a series of military-political disasters—the shooting down of helicopters, suicide bombings, the mortar attacks on US occupation headquarters in the “Green Zone” in central Baghdad—is a turning point in the war in Iraq.

Sinhalese extremist thugs attack arts festival in Colombo

By a correspondent, 17 November 2003

In the days leading up to the Sri Lankan president’s grab for power on November 4, various Sinhala extremist groups were stepping up pressure on the government, denouncing its attempts to restart peace talks with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) as a betrayal of the country. As part of the campaign, Sihala Urumaya (SU) organised a vicious attack on a two-day cultural festival in Colombo.

Why are retirement pensions under attack?

By Jean Shaoul, 17 November 2003

Under the guise of reform, pensions are under attack in virtually every industrialised country in the world. As a result, millions of workers face appalling poverty and isolation in their last years and pensions are fast becoming one of the most bitterly contested political issues.

Australian government flouts international law to eject Kurdish refugees

By Jake Skeers, 17 November 2003

During the past two weeks, the Australian government has stooped to new lows in its violation of international law and its assault on the basic democratic and legal rights of refugees. Its latest act has been to deny a boatload of Kurdish refugees the right to apply for asylum and instead force them back to Indonesia.

Provocateurs and criminals in the employ of the Brandenburg intelligence service

By Lena Sokoll, 17 November 2003

German undercover agents known as “V-men” have been regularly recruited or infiltrated by the intelligence services on a state and national level into groups and organisations the secret services regard as politically dubious. The official function of such agents is to acquire firsthand information about the groups.

European Social Forum: French LCR seeks to channel popular opposition to official left parties

By Chris Marsden and Peter Schwarz, 17 November 2003

Over 40,000 delegates gathered in Paris between November 12 and 15 for the second European Social Forum (ESF). The majority were in their teens and twenties, but others were veterans of the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

US “turning point” in Iraq—deeper into the abyss

By Bill Vann, 15 November 2003

Seven months after Baghdad fell to US troops, Washington is unveiling a crisis strategy that combines the attempt to consolidate an Iraqi puppet regime with the unleashing of a redoubled military onslaught against the Iraqi people.

Mother of US soldier: “Bush killed my son”

By Kate Randall, 15 November 2003

The mother of one of the US soldiers who died when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Iraq earlier this month has sharply condemned the Bush administration, and blames George W. Bush for her son’s death. First Lt. Brian Slavenas, 30, an Illinois National Guardsman, was the pilot of the helicopter that crashed November 2, resulting in 16 soldiers’ deaths and 20 injuries.

Israel: Histadrut suspends general strike against pension reform

By David Cohen, 15 November 2003

Israel’s Histadrut trade union federation and the finance ministry headed by former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have agreed a deal that brings the government’s plans to severely undermine workers pension rights significantly closer.

Chapter 17: The Split in the Fourth International

By , 15 November 2003

It is hardly surprising that the renegade Michael Banda centers his denunciation of the International Committee on the document which summoned Trotskyists all over the world to fight a revisionist cancer which threatened to destroy the world party of socialist revolution.

Chapter 18: James P. Cannon’s “Open Letter”

By , 15 November 2003

For all the vehemence of Banda’s denunciation of the “Open Letter,” the readers of his “27 Reasons” will search in vain for any analysis of this document. He vilifies it as the “epistle from the philistines of ‘orthodox Trotskyism,’” an “arrogant ultimatum,” an “opportunist response” and an “equivocal and undignified maneuver.” But he says nothing about the political content of the “Open Letter.” He does not say whether he agrees or disagrees with its summation of the principles of Trotskyism, its characterization of Pablo’s line as revisionist, or even its assertion that irreconcilable differences exist between Trotskyism and Pabloism. Nor does Banda explain why he personally supported the “Open Letter” in 1953.

The entanglement with life

By Joanne Laurier, 15 November 2003

The Human Stain, directed by Robert Benton, screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, based on the novel by Philip Roth

WSWS republishes extracts from The Heritage We Defend by David North, chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board

By , 15 November 2003

On the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), the World Socialist Web Site is proud to republish two key chapters from The Heritage We Defend: A Contribution to the History of the Fourth International, by David North, chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States.

Britain: New government attack on asylum seekers

By Liz Smith, 15 November 2003

The latest government proposals relating to asylum seekers arriving in Britain are the most prohibitive introduced to date and represent a deepening attack on democratic rights.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 15 November 2003

Bangladeshi employers forced to compensate workers for police shootings

No resolution to Sri Lankan political crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 15 November 2003

Just a week after plunging the country into an acute political crisis, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday to discuss ways of ending the current standoff.

The political origins and outlook of Jemaah Islamiyah

By Peter Symonds, 14 November 2003

Below we are publishing the concluding section of a three-part series on Jemaah Islamiyah. Part 1 was posted on November 12 and Part 2 on November 13.