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Black fever in India: an epidemic rooted in poverty

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 30 December 2004

Kala-Azar—known medically as visceral leishmaniasis and in popular English as black fever—is a curable illness, but it has become the second most fatal parasitic disease in India, claiming 60,000 victims annually. Only malaria causes a higher number of deaths. Most of the victims of black fever are from India’s rural poor.

Bush’s response to South Asia disaster: indifference compounded by political incompetence

By Patrick Martin, 30 December 2004

President Bush briefly interrupted his vacation on Wednesday to issue a public statement, after three days of silence as the greatest natural disaster of the last half-century unfolded on the television screens of the world. He made a perfunctory and semi-coherent statement to the press corps assembled at his Crawford, Texas ranch, shortly after the administration had announced a doubling of the US government’s contribution to disaster relief efforts in South Asia.

Christmas all year round for Britain’s super-rich

By Simon Wheelan, 30 December 2004

Christmas may come but once a year, but Britain’s super-rich enjoy goodwill all year round courtesy of the Labour government.

Fallujah residents return to a destroyed city

By Joseph Kay, 30 December 2004

On December 23, US forces in Iraq began allowing a handful of residents of Fallujah to return to their devastated homes. Reports from these residents have provided a glimpse of the destruction inflicted upon Fallujah by the American military since an offensive against the city began early in November.

Informe del Pentágono revela las mentiras del gobierno de Bush

30 December 2004

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Letters from our readers

30 December 2004

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

Prensa de Estados Unidos ignora informe acusador del Pentágono

30 December 2004

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Sri Lankan president issues appeal for “unity”

By Wije Dias, 30 December 2004

Two and a half days after the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated Sri Lanka, President Chandrika Kumaratunga finally addressed the nation on the tragedy. Her speech on Tuesday, which consisted of a mixture of obfuscation, evasion and empty sympathy, constituted a confession of bankruptcy on the part, not just of her government, but of bourgeois rule on the island.

A soaring list of dead and injured on Thailand’s southern coast

By John Roberts, 29 December 2004

The impact of the tsunami waves that began crashing into Thailand’s southern Andaman Sea coastal towns at 9 a.m., local time on Sunday was only beginning to be comprehended two days later. By then, authorities had listed 1,473 dead and 7,000 injured.

Italian President Ciampi blocks Berlusconi’s justice “reforms”

By Marianne Arens, 29 December 2004

On December 16, Italian President Carlo Ciampi refused to sign Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s justice reform bill, thereby blocking its enactment. The “reforms” were passed by the Italian parliament on December 1, on the basis of the votes of the right-wing majority, consisting of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the neo-fascist Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance), the Lega Nord (Northern League) and the UDC (Christian Democrats).