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Australian government poised to make sweeping industrial relations “reform”

By Terry Cook, 30 April 2005

Under mounting pressure from major corporations, investors, banks and media owners, the Australian government is poised to ram through anti-working class industrial relations (IR) “reforms” when it gains control of the parliamentary upper house, the Senate, on July 1.

Bush demands deep cuts in Social Security benefits

By Bill Van Auken, 30 April 2005

President Bush used a rare prime-time nationally televised press conference Thursday to open up a campaign for cutting Social Security benefits and ultimately dismantling the country’s principal old-age pension system.

Britain: Blair forced to publish legal advice on Iraq war

By Julie Hyland, 30 April 2005

As the general election campaign enters its final stages, the issue that all the main parties have sought to suppress—the Iraq war—has finally reared its head.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 April 2005

Thousands of miners strike for pay increase

Christian fundamentalist bigotry reigns at US Air Force Academy

By Patrick Martin, 30 April 2005

Evangelical Christians among the officers and cadets at the US Air Force Academy have created an atmosphere of systematic intolerance towards Jewish and non-religious students, according to reports by minority students and investigations by off-campus groups concerned about the rise of fundamentalist bigotry.

New York bus workers end strike

By Alan Whyte, 30 April 2005

Bus drivers, mechanics and cleaners returned to work Monday after being on strike since March 3 against Bee-Line/Liberty Lines Bus Company in Westchester County, New York. The strike by 568 members of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) was over wages, health benefits and retirement age. During the course of the strike, 41 workers were arrested on the picket lines. About 55,000 commuters were affected by the walkout, which halted the company’s bus service from New York City’s northern suburbs.

Iraqi cabinet announced under US pressure

By James Cogan, 29 April 2005

After months of infighting, and despite numerous unresolved differences, the dominant pro-occupation parties in the Iraqi National Assembly have been pressured by the Bush administration into forming a government. A cabinet list was submitted by transitional prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to the assembly yesterday and approved by 180 of the 275 legislators.

Anti-Japanese protests and the reactionary nature of Chinese nationalism

By John Chan, 29 April 2005

Three weeks of anti-Japanese protests in China were brought to a halt last weekend when Beijing stepped in to shut them down. After giving tacit support to the demonstrations, the Chinese leadership declared that the protests had become a threat to social stability and dispatched police to prevent any continuation. A handful of protesters detained by police over violent incidents were paraded in the media as a warning to others.

Italy: a week-long government crisis in Rome

By Peter Schwarz, 29 April 2005

Things must change if we want them to stay as they are, affirms the young Tancredi in Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard). These words came to mind last week as a drama played out in the political theatre of Rome. The players had to make do with the small stage, since the main one was running another piece in the glare of the world’s media—the selection of the new Pope.

Graduate students strike at Columbia and Yale universities

By Alan Whyte, 29 April 2005

Graduate student-employees coordinated a five-day strike at both Columbia University in New York City and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut last week in order to publicize their demand that the two US Ivy League schools recognize their right to unionize. There were widely different evaluations of the walkout’s impact, depending on which side provided the estimate. According to a Yale union representative, more than one half of the 700 teaching assistants walked out, affecting more than 450 classes.

Britain: Islamic fundamentalist group threatens candidates and voters

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 29 April 2005

A series of threats and provocations by a group of Islamic fundamentalists against Respect candidate George Galloway and other political figures, combined with efforts to intimidate Muslim voters, represents a serious attack on democratic rights that must be opposed by all working people.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 29 April 2005


German Interior Minister Schily tests out “zero tolerance” in Berlin

By Lucas Adler, 28 April 2005

Residents of Berlin have witnessed an unusual spectacle over the past month. Federal border patrol (BGS) helicopters have conducted low-level flights lasting several hours through different parts of the city, scanning the streets with infrared cameras.

Letter from a US airline worker and a reply

By , 28 April 2005

Below is a letter sent to the WSWS by an airline worker in response to the article “Judge imposes pay cut on United Airline mechanics”, followed by a reply by Shannon Jones.

A spate of police killings in Sri Lanka

By Saman Gunadasa, 28 April 2005

In the midst of an ongoing law-and-order campaign in Sri Lanka, there have been a series of suspicious police killings. Over the last four months alone, the media has reported the deaths of at least 19 people. In each case, the police claimed to have been defending themselves after being attacked by suspects attempting to escape. By its silence, the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has given tacit approval to the police actions.

The Republican Party and the Christian right: sowing the seeds of an American fascist movement

By the Editorial Board, 28 April 2005

Sunday’s appearance by Republican Senate leader William Frist on a nationwide telecast of Christian fundamentalists, organized to brand opposition to the Bush administration as “anti-Christian,” is an unprecedented step. For the first time in American history, the attempt is being made to make religion the basis for a major political party.

Inconclusive peace talks between Jakarta and Acehnese separatists

By John Roberts, 28 April 2005

Talks in the Finnish capital of Helsinki between Indonesian officials and representatives of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) broke up on April 17 without any agreement on the central issue: the future status of Aceh. Despite claims of progress in the negotiations, the conflict in the war-torn province is continuing.

The closure of MG Rover and the need for an international perspective

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 28 April 2005

This is the conclusion of a three-part series. Part One and Part Two were posted on April 26 and 27 respectively.

Australia: school principal denounces removal of teacher

By Will Marshall, 27 April 2005

At the beginning of the 2005 school year, the Labor government in the Australian state of Victoria forced a young teacher to resign. Andrew Phillips, who taught at Orbost Secondary College in rural Victoria, was suspended from teaching for a minor sexual offence he committed over a decade ago (See “Australia: Victorian government forces young teacher to quit”)

Britain: university student debt reaches record levels

By Harvey Thompson, 27 April 2005

A number of recent studies have highlighted the escalating level of debt university students in Britain are forced to accumulate. The eleventh Barclays Annual Graduate Survey shows that students who graduate this year will have accumulated debts totaling almost £2.5 billion.

MG Rover and the need for an international perspective

By Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 27 April 2005

This is the second part of a three-part statement. The first part was posted April 26.

Mutual concern over US militarism brings China and India closer

By K. Ratnayake, 27 April 2005

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent tour of South Asia on April 5-12 marked a further step in a still tentative rapprochement between China and India. The two countries, which fought a war in 1962, moved toward settling their border differences as well as opening up closer economic relations. Wen, who also visited Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, stressed his “most important visit” was to India where he spent the last four days of the eight-day tour.

US rights group calls for criminal probe of Rumsfeld

By Joseph Kay, 27 April 2005

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement April 24 calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the role of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high US officials in connection with the torture of American-held prisoners.

Canada: Using corruption scandal as a smokescreen, Tories prepare neo-conservative assault

By Keith Jones, 27 April 2005

Although the date for Canada’s next federal election has yet to be set, the campaign has, for all intents and purposes, already begun.

The closure of MG Rover and the need for an international perspective

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 26 April 2005

This is the first of a three-part series.

Nader solidarizes himself with extreme right in Terri Schiavo case

By Andrea Peters, 26 April 2005

Ralph Nader’s intervention in the Terri Schiavo case was significant for what it revealed about the former Green Party and independent presidential candidate’s political trajectory. In a series of public statements concerning the tragic episode, Nader expressed his agreement with the anti-scientific and anti-democratic positions taken by the extreme right, effectively solidarizing himself with this social layer.

Bush administration hails Moussaoui guilty plea—continues 9/11 cover-up

By Patrick Martin, 26 April 2005

Zaccarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty April 22 to six counts of conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks on US targets, the first conviction of any Al Qaeda member or supporter in a US court for actions linked to the events of September 11, 2001.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 April 2005

Latin America

“Secularism” and hypocrisy: official France mourns pope and bans Muslim scarf

By Barry Grey and Antoine Lerougetel, 26 April 2005

The response of the French government and media to the death of Pope John Paul II has, among other things, exposed the utter hypocrisy of the campaign waged by the entire political establishment against the right of Muslim girls to wear head scarves in public schools. That reactionary crusade, waged in the name of “secularism,” culminated only a year ago in the enactment of a law banning head shawls from public places such as schools.

More evidence of US military’s culture of torture in Iraq

By James Cogan, 26 April 2005

Material obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), under Freedom of Information, provides further evidence of the culture of torture and abuse that has prevailed among US military personnel involved in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. It confirms that the brutal treatment photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad during November and December 2003 was not an isolated series of actions. The abuses occurred within the context of an open discussion among US interrogators on using illegal methods to break the willpower of Iraqi prisoners and extract information.

Washington fuels Japanese militarism

By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2005

The following is the concluding part of a two-part series. Part One was published on April 25, 2005.

Letters from our readers

By , 25 April 2005

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

Jury throws out charges in first Australian “terrorist” trial

By Mike Head, 25 April 2005

In the first real test of the Howard government’s barrage of anti-terrorism laws, a Sydney jury this month threw out charges laid against a young unemployed worker, Zeky “Zak” Mallah. After a 13-day trial, Mallah, 21, was found not guilty of preparing to storm government offices and shoot dead intelligence or foreign affairs officers in a supposed suicide mission.

New York protest against Bush’s cuts in adult literacy funding

By Steve Light, 25 April 2005

Over a thousand people demonstrated in Union Square in New York City April 22 to protest the Bush administration’s proposed 2006 federal budget cut for adult education and family literacy programs funded through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). This 64 percent budget cut would slash funding from $569 million to $207 million nationwide.

Washington fuels Japanese militarism

By Peter Symonds, 25 April 2005

The following is part one of a two-part series. The concluding part will be published tomorrow.

An exchange on the nationalism of the Scottish Socialist Party

By Chris Marsden, 25 April 2005

The following e-mail was sent in response to the Socialist Equality Party of Britain’s statement, “The British working class and the 2005 General Election.” It is followed by a reply written by Chris Marsden, the British SEP’s national secretary.

Bush administration terrorist list excludes right-wing groups

By Patrick Martin, 25 April 2005

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not include extreme right-wing groups, some of which have ties to the Republican Party, on its list of potential terrorist threats, according to a report last month by the Congressional Quarterly, a publication with high-level sources in Congress and the federal government.

Germany: conflicts in the Foreign Ministry over past fascist links

By Martin Kreickenbaum and Peter Schwarz, 23 April 2005

The summary dismissal of a high-ranking career diplomat has brought to a highpoint disputes over past fascist involvement of German Foreign Ministry diplomats and staff. Two weeks ago, at the request of Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, President Horst Koehler sent the German ambassador to Switzerland, Frank Elbe, into immediate enforced retirement. Elbe had fiercely attacked the German foreign minister in a letter because Fischer had banned memorial tributes to diplomats who had been members of Hitler’s Nazi Party (NSDAP).

Australian Reserve Bank reveals another Howard government lie

By Mike Head, 23 April 2005

Yet another set of lies organised by the Howard government was revealed earlier this month—on this occasion by the country’s central bank. On April 8, the Reserve Bank made public the fact that, during last year’s federal election campaign, it had taken the unprecedented step of lodging official complaints against the government’s misleading claims on interest rates.

Labour policies make London a haven for the super-rich

By Mike Ingram, 23 April 2005

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List of the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain contains a record number of billionaires. The past year saw a 23.3 percent increase, the highest rise in a year ever recorded, giving the top 1,000 a staggering £249,615 billion between them.

Growing social inequality in Israel

By Rick Kelly, 23 April 2005

The Adva Centre, a Tel Aviv-based social research organisation, recently released its annual report on social divisions within Israel.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 April 2005

Chinese workers strike over pay and working conditions

Germany: neo-Nazi killer acquitted on “self-defense” grounds

By Justus Leicht, 23 April 2005

On April 4, the provincial court in Halle, eastern Germany, acquitted a 20-year-old neo-Nazi, Andreas P, of killing a 60-year-old pensioner on the grotesquely implausible grounds that P was acting in self-defense. (The defendant’s last name has not been divulged by the media in keeping with the German practice of withholding the names of defendants unless and until they are convicted of a crime).

An uncensored look at America’s young soldiers in Iraq

By Joanne Laurier, 23 April 2005

Four months after President Bush declared an end to “major combat operations” in Iraq, in May 2003, American filmmaker Michael Tucker began filming a remarkable documentary about the members of the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment. For two months, in the fall and winter of 2003-2004, Tucker was unofficially “embedded” with the Gunners, comprising 400 troops billeted in one of the late Uday Hussein’s palaces in Baghdad. Tucker and his German-born wife, Petra Epperlein, edited 100 hours of footage to craft the 85-minute documentary.

Bush signs bankruptcy law: another cruel blow in a one-sided class war

By Patrick Martin, 23 April 2005

President Bush signed into law April 20 the second major piece of domestic legislation enacted by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005: a massive restructuring of federal bankruptcy laws which punishes middle-class debtors and awards increased payouts of as much as $1 billion a year to their creditors, mainly banks and credit card issuers.

Iraqi legislators denounce US assault on assembly member

By James Cogan, 22 April 2005

An incident on Tuesday graphically illustrated the real relationship that exists between the US military forces in Iraq and the newly-elected, so-called “sovereign” Iraqi national assembly. At a vehicle checkpoint controlling the entrance to the “Green Zone” compound where the assembly’s building is located, a US army private threw an assembly member’s identity card in his face, pulled him from his car, handcuffed him and dragged him away in front of stunned onlookers.

German government uses anti-terror laws to head off protests

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 22 April 2005

The anti-terror laws that the German government passed following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US are being used to head off social unrest. This is the content of a confidential government report revealed by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. In language seldom employed, the report candidly admits that the dismantling of democratic rights is intimately bound up with the current reforms to the job market and sweeping attacks on the welfare system.

Pope Benedict XVI’s political resume: theocracy and social reaction

By Joseph Kay, 22 April 2005

The selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope is a clear sign that the Vatican will seek to use its influence to promote the most reactionary political forces within the ruling elites of countries around the world, particularly in Europe.

Germany: facing defeat in state election, SPD chairman talks “left”

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 April 2005

With opinion polls pointing to his party’s loss of power in the crucial state of North Rhine Westphalia, where elections are due to be held in mid-May, the chairman of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) has taken to making left-sounding criticisms of corporate power. Such was the character of a speech given last week by Franz Müntefering, SPD chairman and leader of the party’s parliamentary group.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 22 April 2005

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

Australian government bullies PNG over airport security incident

By Will Marshall, 22 April 2005

A security incident at an Australian airport involving Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Michael Somare escalated into a full blown diplomatic row between the two countries after Canberra refused to issue an apology for the demeaning treatment.

Socialist Equality Party May Day meeting in Colombo

By , 22 April 2005

The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) will hold a public meeting in Colombo on May 1 to mark International Workers Day.

From “grand inquisitor” to pope: Benedict XVI to head crusade vs. secularism, democracy

By Peter Schwarz, 21 April 2005

With the selection of Josef Ratzinger as the new pope, the Roman Catholic hierarchy has placed at its head a hard-line enforcer of Church dogma, and one of the Vatican’s fiercest opponents of not only Marxism, but liberalism, secularism, science and virtually all things modern.

Bush guarda silencio mientras conocido terrorista busca asilo en Estados Unidos

By , 21 April 2005

WSWS : Español

Britain: trial finds no evidence of “ricin plot”

By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden, 21 April 2005

On April 12, the case collapsed against eight men accused of being part of an Al Qaeda plot to poison masses of people in the UK. Of the nine originally charged, just one, Kamel Bourgass, was sentenced to imprisonment—and that was for the killing of a police officer and wounding several others and “conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.”

Israeli military court clears officer in killing of British filmmaker

By Rick Kelly, 21 April 2005

On April 14 an Israeli military court cleared an army officer of charges relating to the shooting of 34-year-old British documentary filmmaker James Miller two years ago. Miller had been recording footage in the Rafah refugee camp, in southern Gaza. The accused, identified only as “Lieutenant H,” was acquitted of “misusing his firearm.”

University of California service workers strike for a day

By Kevin Kearney, 21 April 2005

Service workers from each of the nine University of California (UC) campuses and four medical centers, scattered between San Diego and Santa Cruz, walked off their jobs April 14 for a one-day strike against low wages.

Eminem’s new release, Encore: delusions, megalomania and social confusion

By Marc Wells, 21 April 2005

Multiple Grammy Award winner Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem (from his initials M&M), is currently one of the top-selling music artists in the world. The rapper’s lyrics have been the subject of much controversy and criticism, from right-wing Christian fundamentalist groups as well as the liberal media, and as such they deserve closer attention.

Australia: Victorian government forces young teacher to quit

By Will Marshall, 21 April 2005

As part of a series of measures aimed at intimidating public school teachers, the Labor government in the Australian state of Victoria has forced a young teacher to resign. Andrew Phillips, who taught at Orbost Secondary College in rural Victoria, discovered in the pages of the press in January that he had been suspended from teaching for an offence he committed over a decade ago.

Washington Post glorifies US military “ruthlessness” in Iraq

By James Cogan, 20 April 2005

A disturbing article by Washington Post journalist Steve Fainaru, published on April 13, serves to both justify and promote a colonial and homicidal mentality among American troops fighting in Iraq.

Longstanding Sri Lankan Trotskyist dies

By K. Ratnayake, 20 April 2005

Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member Velupillai Sarawanaperumal, known affectionately to his comrades and friends as Papa, died early on the morning of April 14 after his lungs failed. His untimely death at the age of just 56 is a great loss to the SEP in Sri Lanka and the international Trotskyist movement. He is survived by his wife, Saraswathie, and 15-year-old son, Paranitharan.

Canada’s Liberal government faces imminent defeat

By Keith Jones, 20 April 2005

Canada’s Liberal government is at grave risk of losing a parliamentary non-confidence motion in the coming weeks, as the opposition parties seek to take advantage of damaging testimony before a public inquiry into government corruption.

An interview with Louis Pizzitola, author of Hearst Over Hollywood

By David Walsh, 20 April 2005

The recent film about the early life of corporate mogul Howard Hughes, The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese, raised a number of important questions. The film offered a portrait of a young Greek god, albeit an eccentric one, obsessed with speed, cinema and women. In a dishonest and evasive fashion, Scorsese’s film sanitized Hughes’ life and career, leaving out his fanatical anti-communism, anti-Semitism and intimate, long-term connections with the military and intelligence apparatus.

Students for Social Equality public meeting at University of Maine

By , 20 April 2005

The Students for Social Equality will be holding a public meeting at the University of Maine in Orono on Thursday, April 21. The meeting will discuss the war in Iraq, the political questions facing the antiwar movement, and the political crisis in the United States. The main report at the meeting will be delivered by Bill Van Auken, the 2004 presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party.

Respect-Unity coalition in Britain: a marriage of Labourism and Islamism

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 20 April 2005

This is the conclusion of a two-part series which began Monday April 18.

Letters from our readers

By , 20 April 2005

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

Austria: behind the split in the Freedom Party

By Markus Salzmann and Ulrich Rippert, 20 April 2005

Sharp conflicts within the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FP) have ended in an open split. On April 4, former FP chairman and Carinthian state leader Jörg Haider appeared before the press in Vienna and announced the establishment of a new organisation with the name “Alliance for Austria’s Future” (AAF).

State investigation clears Michael Schiavo of all abuse charges

By Patrick Martin, 20 April 2005

In a crushing rebuttal to the hysterical lies spread by the Christian fundamentalist right about the Terri Schiavo case, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has released documents on its investigation into complaints of abuse of the brain-damaged woman, showing that charges repeatedly filed against Michael Schiavo over the past four years had no foundation.

US cities face crushing debt burden

By D’Artagnan Collier and Jerry White, 19 April 2005

One of the central features of the current US economy is the trillions of dollars of debt being accumulated by corporations, consumers and all levels of the government. While it is barely mentioned in the mass media, major US cities have accrued an enormous debt burden to finance their day-to-day operations.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 19 April 2005

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

France: Chirac TV appeal for “yes” vote fails to shift growing sentiment against European constitution

By Pierre Mabut, 19 April 2005

French President Jacques Chirac went on television last Thursday night in an attempt to reverse the flagging fortunes of his campaign for a “yes” vote in the referendum on the European constitution set for May 29. Chirac, who heads the conservative ruling coalition, and his allies in the Socialist Party are desperate to counteract the growing opposition to the constitution. The last fourteen opinion polls all give the campaign for a “no” vote a lead of 7 to 9 points.

Democrats back Negroponte nomination as new documents detail role in contra war

By Joseph Kay, 19 April 2005

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted on April 14 to approve John Negroponte to fill the new post of director of national intelligence. He is expected to have no trouble passing a full Senate vote this week.

Australian media debates legalisation of torture

By Richard Phillips, 19 April 2005

Over the past three and a half years, the Howard government, in line with its embrace of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” and the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, has conducted an unrelenting assault on fundamental democratic rights.

Bangladeshi factory collapse kills more than 70 workers

By Vilani Peiris, 19 April 2005

More than 70 Bangladeshi garment workers died in the collapse of a nine-storey factory at Palashbari, 32 km northwest of the capital Dhaka on April 11. Rescue workers are continuing to comb through the rubble but believe there is little chance of finding any further survivors. About 100 people were injured in the collapse.

Ten years since the Oklahoma City bombing

By , 19 April 2005

April 19 marks the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. At the time, the attack marked the bloodiest act of terrorism in US history, claiming the lives of 168 men, women and children. While it has since been eclipsed by the September 11, 2001 attacks, like virtually every other act of terrorism within the US in recent decades, its political source lay in the extreme right wing of American politics.

Videos expose false arrests at 2004 Republican Convention protests in New York

By Peter Daniels, 19 April 2005

Seven months after the mass arrests of over 1,800 protesters at the Republican Convention in New York City last summer, 91 percent of the nearly 1,700 cases that have been concluded have resulted in acquittals or the dismissal of charges. Four hundred cases were dismissed after video recordings made by volunteer observers and others showed that there was no reason for the arrests, the New York Times reported last week. Some of the videos also exposed false testimony by the police.

Main Basque nationalist party suffers losses in Spanish regional elections

By Paul Bond and Keith Lee, 19 April 2005

The coalition government of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the Eusko Alkartasuna (EA) won the elections held in the Basque region April 17, but lost their overall majority, mainly as a result of advances by the Socialist Party and the regional Communist Party.

World markets expecting further falls

By Nick Beams, 18 April 2005

World stock markets are bracing themselves for further turbulence following the sharp decline on Wall Street last week which saw the Dow Jones index close at its lowest level for the year. The sell-off began on Wednesday and accelerated as the market fell 191.24 points on Friday, the biggest one-day decline for almost two years. For the week, the Dow fell 373.83 points, bringing the total decline for the year to more than 6 percent.

Respect-Unity coalition in Britain: a marriage of Labourism and Islamism

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 18 April 2005

This is the first of a two-part series.

Who is Iraq’s new prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari?

By James Cogan, 18 April 2005

On April 7, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a leading member of the Islamic fundamentalist Daawa Party and the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), was installed as Iraq’s new prime minister to lead the government being formed following the January 30 elections. The 58-year-old is likely to unveil his cabinet in the next two weeks.

Impeachment of Mexico City mayor sparks political crisis

By Rafael Azul, 18 April 2005

On April 7, the Mexican House of Deputies stripped Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mayor of Mexico City, of his immunity from prosecution in connection with an obscure case involving a contempt of court charge over a land-use dispute. The action sets the stage for Lopez Obrador’s prosecution by the National Attorney General, which would bar him from running in the 2006 presidential election. He currently places first in presidential polls.

British royal wedding: from fairy tale to fiasco

By Ann Talbot, 18 April 2005

It was the most ordinary of events. A couple in late middle-age went into the local town hall on a bright spring day with the grown-up children of their first marriages and other family members in attendance and emerged as man and wife. The groom’s mother, reflecting the outlook of an earlier generation, avoided the civil ceremony, but attended the subsequent church blessing and reception. Even the bride’s ex-husband put in an appearance and raised a glass to the newlyweds.

Britain: report alleges assaults on immigration detainees

By Liz Smith, 18 April 2005

Organisations involved in protecting immigrants’ rights are calling for a public inquiry after compiling 35 cases of alleged assaults by immigration personnel against asylum seekers.

May Day 2005 Public Meetings

By , 16 April 2005


Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 16 April 2005

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

Japan stokes tensions with China

By John Chan, 16 April 2005

Tensions between Japan and China are continuing to escalate. Tokyo has harshly criticised Beijing’s failure to put an end to anti-Japanese protests, which are set to erupt again this weekend. After demonstrations last weekend, Japan’s Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo to lodge a formal complaint, demanding an apology, stronger security measures for the Japanese embassy and businesses in China, and compensation for damage.

US Marshals, local police stage nationwide mass arrests

By Bill Van Auken, 16 April 2005

In a massive dragnet, US Marshals led more than 90 state, local and other federal police agencies last week in arresting over 10,000 people across the country on outstanding warrants, the Justice Department revealed Thursday.

India adopts WTO patent law with Left Front support

By Kranti Kumara, 16 April 2005

In a move designed to make India’s patent legislation conform with the World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) patent regime, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has pushed a patent amendment bill through India’s Parliament with the support of the Stalinist-led Left Front. The patent amendment covers the food, pharmaceutical and agribusiness sectors and can be expanded over time to other sectors.

French government orders police crackdown against high school protesters

By Antoine Lerougetel, 16 April 2005

The mass protest movement of French high school students, lycéens, against education minister François Fillon’s education law, now well into its third month, is being met with increasing state violence. The students are up in arms against a measure which they consider undermines equality of opportunity for youth, has a built-in bias against children from poor backgrounds, and degrades the general quality of education for all. They are also campaigning against the under-resourcing of the school system.

Anti-abortion fanatic Eric Rudolph pleads guilty to terrorist bombings

By Patrick Martin, 16 April 2005

The right-wing American terrorist Eric Rudolph pleaded guilty Wednesday to the 1996 bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and to three subsequent bombings in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama. He killed two—Alice Hawthorne, who died at Olympic Park, and Robert Sanderson, an off-duty policeman working as a security guard at a Birmingham abortion clinic—and wounded 150 people.

Bush’s meeting with Sharon confirms US support for West Bank land grab

By Rick Kelly, 16 April 2005

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s April 11 visit with President George Bush provided yet another demonstration of US support for the continuing expansion of Zionist settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and for Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Letters from our readers

By , 15 April 2005

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

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 15 April 2005

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

Rumsfeld pushes for permanent US bases in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2005

Having laid down the law to the newly-installed Iraqi president and prime minister on Monday, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday to do the same to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. In both cases, Rumsfeld’s diktats make a mockery of the Bush administration’s claims to be bringing peace, independence and democracy to the region.

Violence in southern Thailand escalates

By John Roberts, 15 April 2005

Three apparently coordinated bomb blasts on April 3 in the city of Hat Yai, the commercial centre of southern Thailand, have raised fears in ruling circles that anti-government opposition is spreading beyond traditional Muslim areas. Following the attacks, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has beefed up security in Bangkok at embassies, department stores and transport hubs and set up 256 checkpoints around the capital.

Senate panel debates Bolton nomination for UN ambassador post

By Patrick Martin, 15 April 2005

The hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the nomination of John R. Bolton as US ambassador to the United Nations provided extensive evidence of two important political facts: the leading personnel of the Bush administration consist of thugs and liars, and the Democratic Party is incapable of any serious opposition to these political gangsters.

Israel: government of provocateurs denounces settler provocation in Jerusalem

By Rick Kelly, 15 April 2005

Far-right Zionists attempted to storm a disputed religious site in Jerusalem April 10. Approximately 50 members of the Revava organisation rallied at Haram al Sharif, home to the Al Aqsa Mosque, in an inflammatory effort to scuttle the pending removal of Israeli settlements from Gaza.

Students for Social Equality public meeting in Los Angeles

By , 14 April 2005

The Students for Social Equality will be holding a public meeting at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on Tuesday, April 19. The meeting will discuss the war in Iraq, the political questions facing the antiwar movement, and the political crisis in the United States. The main report at the meeting will be delivered by David Walsh, arts editor of the World Socialist Web Site.

Disturbing new facts emerge on incarceration of Australian woman

By Mike Head, 14 April 2005

Over the past two weeks, important new evidence has emerged about the treatment of an Australian woman who was wrongfully imprisoned as a suspected illegal immigrant for 10 months. Cornelia Rau, 39, a former Qantas flight attendant, spent six months in a Queensland state jail, followed by four months in the federal government’s remote Baxter detention facility. Her ordeal has provided a glimpse of what takes place daily inside the nation’s refugee detention centres, jails and under-funded psychiatric services.

Hundreds die in severe flooding in western Pakistan

By Vilani Peiris, 14 April 2005

More than 800 people have died in western Pakistan since early February due to flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain and snows. At least two million people have been affected in Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) by the disaster, which left houses, roads, schools and hospitals severely damaged. Many of the victims are still waiting for government assistance and compensation.