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Canberra dictates terms in Solomon Islands pay dispute

By Will Marshall, 1 March 2004

The direct intervention of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) into a major pay dispute involving public servants has once again exposed the neo-colonial character of the Australian-led operation in the small Pacific nation. Canberra formally insists that the Solomon Islands remains an independent, sovereign country despite the presence of hundreds of mainly Australian troops, police and officials. In reality, it exercises broad powers in the country’s internal economic and political matters.

Russia: Putin sacks government on eve of presidential elections

By Vladimir Volkov, 1 March 2004

On February 24, President Vladimir Putin announced the surprise dismissal of the government of Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. The decision expresses differences and conflicts that have reached a crisis point. It concentrates the levers of state power in the hands of the incumbent president and serves to prevent any disruption of Putin’s re-election on March 14.

The overthrow of Haiti’s Aristide: a coup made in the USA

By World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 1 March 2004

The violent overthrow and forced exile of Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has ripped aside the democratic pretensions of Washington and the other major powers to expose the brutal and predatory character of resurgent imperialism. The actions taken by the US government in Haiti demonstrate the farcical character of its claims that the aim of the US invasion of Iraq was to inaugurate an era of democratization and freedom in the Middle East and around the world.

Uganda: Hundreds of civilians massacred by Lord’s Resistance Army

By Brian Smith, 1 March 2004

A rebel group in northeastern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) massacred over 250 defenceless civilians on February 21, at Barlonyo refugee camp 400 kilometres north of the capital Kampala. It is the worst attack against civilians in the last ten years of an 18-year-old conflict.

US launches huge military operation to capture bin Laden

By Mike Head, 1 March 2004

In a desperate bid to produce a public relations “success” in the war on terrorism before the US presidential election, the Bush administration is orchestrating a major land and air military offensive on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, with the professed aim of capturing top Al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

Britain: Short’s allegations of spying against UN confirm criminal character of Iraq war

By Chris Marsden, 28 February 2004

Former cabinet member Clare Short has come under sustained attack by the Labour government and sections of the media for revealing that Britain spied on United Nations general secretary Kofi Annan in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Britain’s Labour Party expels rail union

By Julie Hyland and Paul Stuart, 28 February 2004

On February 7, Labour’s national executive expelled the Rail Maritime Transport Workers Union (RMT) for allegedly breaking the party’s constitution by allowing its branches to affiliate to other parties.

Sri Lankan prime minister passively accepts his dismissal

By Saman Gunadasa, 28 February 2004

For anyone who believed that Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would challenge the undemocratic dismissal of his government by President Chandrika Kumaratunga on February 7, his performance last Sunday would have been a disappointment. Speaking before the convention of his right-wing United National Party (UNP) in central Colombo, he mildly criticised the president’s actions but insisted that the party could do nothing but participate in the snap election on April 2.

US and France target Haiti’s elected president for removal

By Keith Jones, 28 February 2004

The United States and France are demanding the political head of Haiti’s elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Why Israel boycotted the International Court hearing on West Bank wall

By Jean Shaoul, 28 February 2004

Israel’s refusal to appear before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing on the West Bank security wall demonstrates its longstanding contempt for the United Nations and flouting of international law. Yet, instead of eliciting condemnation and threats of reprisals from the United States, Britain and the European Union for having acted as a “rogue state,” Israel has been supported in its insistence that the ICJ—and by extension the United Nations—has no right to interfere in Israel’s affairs without prior agreement.