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Belgium: right-wing Vlaams Blok benefits from hostility to government

By Paul Bond, 30 June 2004

Regional and European elections on June 13 have dealt a serious blow to Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

Canadian Liberals cling to power, but results attest to mass popular disaffection

By Keith Jones, 30 June 2004

The Liberals, Canada’s traditional ruling party and its government since 1993, have clung to power. But Monday’s general election has left them 20 seats short of a parliamentary majority, meaning that the Liberals will have to manoeuvre to obtain support from among the three opposition parties—the Conservatives, the pro-independence Bloc Québécois (BQ) and the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP).

China cracks down on Internet cafes and “cyber dissidents”

By John Chan, 30 June 2004

A new campaign is underway in China aimed at bringing the use of the Internet under strict state supervision. While the official pretext is the need to control the Internet’s “harmful effects”, particularly among young people, the overriding preoccupation of the Stalinist regime is to clamp down on political dissidents and prevent access to web sites critical of Beijing.

Ireland: election results record decay of Fianna Fail

By Steve James, 30 June 2004

The European and local election results in the Republic of Ireland have further exposed the advanced stage of decay of the main Irish business party, Fianna Fail. Expressing widespread political alienation with the government, Fianna Fail lost over 20 percent of their local constituency seats, and a European seat.

Michael Moore’s contribution

By David Walsh, 30 June 2004

This review is available as a PDF leaflet to download and distribute

Sri Lankan health unions call off two-day strike

By Ajitha Gunaratna, 30 June 2004

At the last minute, Sri Lankan health unions belonging to the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) postponed a two-day strike scheduled to start yesterday after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse promised to take action over their demands within two weeks. Union leaders took the decision despite demonstrations by health workers indicating their willingness to defy threats by the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

US: jury acquits Idaho webmaster of terrorism charges

By Jamie Chapman, 30 June 2004

In a sharp setback to the US Justice Department, a federal jury on June 10 found the University of Idaho doctoral student Sami Omar al-Hussayen not guilty of all three charges of promoting terrorism that prosecutors had brought against him under the USA Patriot Act. He remains in prison under a deportation order.

US: SEP files for Colorado ballot status

By Tim Tower, 30 June 2004

On Monday, June 21, supporters of the Socialist Equality Party filed the required affidavits and signatures to place its candidates for president and vice president of the United States on the ballot in Colorado. Well in advance of the July 2 deadline, the filing included nine electors and four alternates to ensure that Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence will appear on the state’s ballot. A drawing will be held during the first two weeks of July to determine the order in which the names of candidates will appear, and the completed ballot will be certified September 8.

US government’s unofficial defense of torture

By Joseph Kay, 30 June 2004

The lead article in Sunday’s New York Times is a backhanded defense of torture given by officials within the Bush administration. Consisting largely of citations from unnamed “current and former government officials,” the article—“Aides Say Memo Backed Coercion for Qaeda Cases,” by David Johnston and James Risen—implicitly presents a justification for torture as a necessary tool in the so-called “war on terrorism.”

US Supreme Court overturns Pledge of Allegiance ruling on technical grounds

By Don Knowland, 30 June 2004

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