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New wave of police “anti-terror” raids in Australia

By Mike Head, 30 June 2005

Over the past week, Australian intelligence and police agencies have conducted a highly-publicised series of raids on at least 10 homes and interrogated a dozen people in Melbourne and Sydney on the pretext of combatting terrorism. Details have been deliberately leaked to the Murdoch media, and splashed all over its front pages, complete with pictures of one of the family homes.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 June 2005

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

The New York Times closes ranks with Bush on Iraq war

By Barry Grey, 30 June 2005

On Tuesday night President Bush went on national television and rehashed the lies his administration is using to justify the slaughter in Iraq. On Wednesday, the New York Times published an editorial that sums up the position of the so-called “liberal” establishment and the Democratic Party. Oozing evasion and duplicity, the editorial testifies to the commitment of the entire American ruling elite to the war and the complicity of the Democrats in the imperialist enterprise.

Ireland’s dilemma after rejection of European Union budget

By Steve James, 30 June 2005

The Irish government has been placed in enormous difficulties by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s offensive in Europe against social welfare and the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Leading government figures have been forced into criticism of British policy after Blair prevented ratification of the EU budget this month, fearing its implications for the Irish economy and agricultural producers in particular.

Sri Lankan Supreme Court overturns convictions in Bindunuwewa massacre

By Deepal Jayasekera, 30 June 2005

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has acquitted the remaining four men convicted over the brutal massacre of Tamil detainees at the Bindunuwewa rehabilitation centre near Bandarawela in 2000. All charges against M.A. Sammy, D.M.S. Dissanayake, R.M. Premananda and S.J. Karunasena were dismissed on May 27 for “lack of evidence”. The first three were residents of the area and Karunasena was a police inspector in Bandarawela at the time.

Britain and new eastern EU members at loggerheads over budget

By Niall Green, 29 June 2005

The collapse of the June 16-17 European Union budgetary summit in Brussels was accompanied by the dismal scene of Europe’s newest and poorest members pleading for a last-minute compromise that would allow some of the aid due to them to be paid. Reliant on the EU for billions of euros in funds, the ex-Stalinist eastern European countries offered to forgo part of their portion of the 2007-2013 budget in order to facilitate some agreement between the main powers France, Germany and Britain.

Over his head

By David Walsh, 29 June 2005

Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Nolan and David S. Goyer

The impact of war on daily life in Sri Lanka

By Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha, 29 June 2005

Ira Mediyama, written and directed by Prasanna Vithanage

Former colonial official named Hong Kong chief executive

By John Chan, 29 June 2005

Donald Tsang, 61, was automatically selected as Hong Kong’s new chief executive on June 16 after Beijing’s hand-picked electoral committee declared him to be the only valid candidate. He was formally inaugurated on June 23 in Beijing, replacing the former chief executive Tung-Chee Hwa, who resigned in March.

Democrats praise treatment of Guantánamo detainees

By Kate Randall, 29 June 2005

Members of US Congress returning from a tour of the Guantánamo Bay prison camp last weekend praised the treatment of detainees at the facility as “humane.” A 16-member, bipartisan contingent from the US House Armed Services Committee traveled to the camp for a one-day visit on Saturday and a number of senators visited on Sunday.

For social equality. For the United Socialist States of Europe. Vote PSG.

By , 29 June 2005

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) will stand its own candidates in at least four states in the upcoming national election in Germany. The PSG is the German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Bush at Fort Bragg—fear-mongering, lies and desperation

By , 29 June 2005

President Bush’s speech before a captive audience of 740 troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina Tuesday night was a repellant spectacle. It combined the pack of lies that the country has heard over and over again for nearly four years with appeals to backwardness, ignorance and fear, all intended to quash the mounting popular opposition to the war in Iraq.

US military sinks further into the Iraqi quagmire

By Peter Symonds, 28 June 2005

By any measure, the US military occupation of Iraq is steadily sinking into a quagmire of Washington’s own making. Successive claims by the Bush administration that the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, the installation of an interim administration last June, national elections in January and the inauguration of the new puppet government of Prime Minister Abrahim al-Jaafari in April would end armed resistance have proven to be completely illusory.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 June 2005

Latin America

Two Australian “terrorist” trials set dangerous precedents

By Mike Head, 28 June 2005

In separate decisions, both handed down on June 10, two Muslim men were committed for trial in Sydney on “terrorist”-related charges in circumstances that underscore how the so-called “war on terrorism” is being exploited to set far-reaching legal and anti-democratic precedents.

Letters on the media and the war

By , 28 June 2005

The following is a selection of letters received by the World Socialist Web Site on two articles dealing with the media and the war: “The Washington Post and the Downing Street Memo,” posted June 22, and “The New York Times’ Joseph Lelyveld: another ‘liberal’ defense of torture,” posted June 23

Letters on Ethiopia

By , 28 June 2005

On “Ethiopia: West plays down murder of demonstrators”

New York teenager deported to Bangladesh

By Clare Hurley, 28 June 2005

Tashnuba Hayder, a 16-year-old girl from New York City’s borough of Queens, was deported last month to Bangladesh—a country that she does not know—after being held for several weeks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI suspected Tashnuba, the daughter of Muslim immigrant parents who has lived in the United States since she was in kindergarten, of being a suicide bomber.

Washington in crisis over opposition to Iraq war

By Bill Van Auken, 28 June 2005

President George W. Bush has been forced to renew his efforts at selling the war in Iraq to the American people under conditions in which Washington’s military adventure has turned into a quagmire and popular support for a withdrawal of US troops has reached an all-time high.

Tsunami aid deal plunges Sri Lanka into deeper political turmoil

By Sarath Kumara, 27 June 2005

After much vacillation, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga authorised the signing last Friday of a deal with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to establish a joint body to dispense foreign reconstruction aid in the tsunami-devastated North and East. While the decision has been welcomed by foreign donors and business in Colombo, it is certain to plunge the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) into deeper crisis.

Under mounting pressure, Australian government modifies refugee detention

By Mike Head, 27 June 2005

Facing more damning revelations about the treatment of detainees, and anxious to head off any rift in his government, Prime Minister John Howard last week modified one of his government’s key policies—the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

Supreme Court upholds government land grabs for developers

By John Andrews and Barry Grey, 27 June 2005

The US Supreme Court ruled June 23 that local governments have broad powers to force people out of their homes to make way for private developments, despite the constitutional proviso that government takings must be for a “public use.”

Whitewash of Christian fundamentalist bigotry at US Air Force Academy

By Kate Randall, 27 June 2005

A US Air Force panel sent to investigate charges of religious promotion and discrimination at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has issued a report that amounts to a whitewash of the systematic Christian fundamentalist bigotry promoted at the officer training institution.

Couple set themselves on fire at Chile’s presidential palace

By Bill Van Auken, 27 June 2005

An unemployed man and his wife set themselves on fire in front of Chile’s La Moneda presidential palace Thursday to protest their impoverished condition and the government’s failure to provide them with adequate assistance.

Italy seeks arrest of 13 CIA agents for abduction of Egyptian cleric

By Barry Grey, 27 June 2005

The US practice of abducting terrorism suspects on foreign soil and secreting them to third countries, where they are held without charges and routinely tortured, has been propelled to the forefront of international diplomatic relations with the issuing of criminal arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents accused of seizing an Egyptian cleric on the streets of Milan and shipping him to an Egyptian jail.

Donald Fell case: Bush administration attempts to impose death penalty on Vermont

By David Walsh, 27 June 2005

A federal court jury in Burlington, Vermont, took less than two hours to find 25-year-old Donald Fell guilty June 24, ending the first phase of his murder trial. The penalty phase, during which prosecutors will press for the death penalty, will begin next week. Fell was convicted on two federal charges that could result in his execution—carjacking with death resulting and kidnapping with death resulting—as well as two lesser federal firearms offenses.

Germany begins deportations of Afghan refugees

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 25 June 2005

In May, the German city of Hamburg began to deport refugees back to Afghanistan, even though the security situation in that country has dramatically worsened in recent months and the economic and social conditions are desperate.

Blair’s Britain and what it means for Europe

By Julie Hyland, 25 June 2005

In his speech to the European parliament on June 23, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was at pains to stress his commitment to a “social Europe.”

Instability follows final round of Lebanon elections

By Chris Talbot, 25 June 2005

The continuing instability of Lebanon was highlighted when, only two days after the fourth and final round of the parliamentary election, George Hawi, former leader of the Lebanese Communist Party, was blown up by a car bomb. The blast was virtually identical to one that killed journalist Samir Kassir some two weeks earlier. Kassir was a leader of the Democratic Left, a breakaway from the Communist Party. Both men were active in the anti-Syrian alliance that won a majority in the election, led by Saad Hariri—whose father Rafik, the former prime minister, was assassinated in February—and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt

White House aide Karl Rove witch-hunts Iraq war opponents

By Patrick Martin, 25 June 2005

In a heavy-handed effort to intimidate opponents of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, top White House political aide Karl Rove delivered a speech Wednesday in New York City that all but accused critics of these wars of giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. Rove declared that while the Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attacks by waging war, liberals responded by offering “therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

Protests erupt in tsunami-devastated areas of Sri Lanka

By Ivan Weerasekera and W.A. Sunil, 25 June 2005

Six months after the December 26 tsunami hit Sri Lanka, more than a million people in coastal areas around much of the island are still living in temporary shelters, refugee camps or with relatives and face an uncertain future. Much of the promised assistance has failed to materialise and reconstruction has barely begun.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia & the Pacific

By , 25 June 2005

Indian plantation workers strike over wages

A letter from a flight service worker

By , 25 June 2005

The following letter was sent by flight service worker in response to the article, “Bush administration begins to privatize the skies”.

Letters from our readers

By , 25 June 2005

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

Democrats make cowardly retreat on Guantánamo torture

By Bill Van Auken, 24 June 2005

Senator Richard Durbin’s sniveling apology Tuesday for his remarks on US torture at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp was entirely predictable, another of the “profiles in cowardice” that the Democratic Party serves up on a regular basis.

Germany: report exposes massive state spying

By Elisabeth Zimmermann and Dietmar Henning, 24 June 2005

The latest federal Data Protection report issued in Germany documents the existence of an extensive state surveillance apparatus that has been built up to spy on large parts of the population on the pretext of “combating terrorism.” It also reveals that the German constitutional principle separating the work of the state intelligence services and the police has been abandoned.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 24 June 2005

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Why are they smirking?

By David Walsh, 24 June 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith, directed by Doug Liman, written by Simon Kinberg

Letters on the Terri Schiavo case

By , 24 June 2005

On “Florida Governor Jeb Bush renews persecution of Michael Schiavo”

Unions provide platform for Democrats at Michigan rally vs. school cuts

By Walter Gilberti and Lawrence Porter, 24 June 2005

A rally held Tuesday in Lansing, Michigan, to protest sweeping cuts in public education epitomized the efforts of the teachers unions to defuse mass opposition and channel it behind Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Democratic Party.

Questions surround rescue of kidnapped Australian in Iraq

By James Cogan, 24 June 2005

The rescue of 63-year-old Douglas Wood on June 15, after 47 days in the hands of alleged Islamic extremists, was no thanks to the Australian government or the US-led occupation forces in Iraq. From the beginning of the drama, the public stance of Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his ministers, along with the Labor opposition, was that Canberra would “not negotiate” for the release of the Australian-born engineer. It now appears, according to allegations by a leading Australian journalist, that Wood’s well-being and release were put at risk by the sabotage of a negotiated end to the hostage crisis.

Blair threatens European parliament: “change or die”

By Chris Marsden, 24 June 2005

Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair has made clearer the full implications of his call for the economic reform of Europe. In the name of responding to the challenge of globalisation, he is demanding the dismantling of all that remains of European welfare provisions and a massive intensification in the exploitation of working people.

New political strategy needed to defend public education

By Socialist Equality Party, 24 June 2005

The following is the text of a leaflet distributed by supporters of the Socialist Equality Party at a rally of teachers, parents and school staff in Lansing, Michigan on June 21. [See “Michigan teachers protests cuts in public school funding: Unions promote Democrats at mass rally” 24 June 2005]

Increasing attacks on US and allies in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 23 June 2005

Despite a lack of media coverage, there are growing signs that armed resistance to the US-led occupation of Afghanistan is on the rise.

Tense Iranian election goes into second round

By Justus Leicht and Ulrich Rippert, 23 June 2005

The results of the June 17 Iranian presidential elections surprised many commentators and have served to intensify the country’s political crisis. Former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was regarded as favorite to win the election, failed to obtain an absolute majority. For the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the election of the president requires a second round of voting.

Ethiopia: West plays down murder of demonstrators

By Brian Smith, 23 June 2005

Security forces fired indiscriminately at crowds of unarmed protesters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, killing 36 and wounding more than 100 people on June 8. Protests had erupted in Addis Ababa and several other towns and cities over the previous week in response to alleged fraud in the disputed elections of May 15.

Ringleader in 1964 civil rights murders convicted of manslaughter

By Patrick Martin, 23 June 2005

A Neshoba County, Mississippi jury on Tuesday convicted Edgar Ray Killen of manslaughter in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers. The 81-year-old Baptist preacher, who instigated and organized the crime, faces from one to 20 years on each of three counts when he is sentenced Thursday.

An interview with Australian playwright Hannie Rayson

By Richard Phillips, 23 June 2005

Australian playwright Hannie Rayson recently spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about Two Brothers, her latest play, which premiered in Melbourne last May and is currently playing at the Sydney Opera House until July 2.

The New York Times’ Joseph Lelyveld: another “liberal” defense of torture

By Joseph Kay, 23 June 2005

In the lead article in the New York Times Magazine of June 12 (“Interrogating Ourselves”), Joseph Lelyveld weighed in on issue of torture and abuse of prisoners held by the United States government. Lelyveld, a former managing editor of the New York Times and frequent political commentator, set out an argument for the legalization of some forms of abuse, and in doing so joined the growing list of American “liberal” apologists of torture.

Letters on the Smithsonian Institution and Intelligent Design

By , 23 June 2005

Following are letters received by the WSWS on the article “An attack on science: Smithsonian Institution to show film on Intelligent Design”

US: mass layoffs continue

By Kate Randall, 23 June 2005

The bankrupt supermarket chain Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it would sell or close 326 stores and cut 22,000 jobs. The company currently operates 901 stores in nine Southern states and 12 in the Bahamas.

Blair steps up campaign against “old Europe”

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 22 June 2005

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech to Parliament on June 20 made clear that his demand for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and insistence on keeping Britain’s European Union rebate was only a device for pursuing more fundamental economic and geo-strategic aims.

Living with the fear factor

By Richard Adams and Ramón Valle, 22 June 2005

Death by Survival, written by Elizabeth Ruiz, directed by Dori Salois. World premiere presented by Vantage Theatre and Centro Cultural de la Raza at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego, California

Interview with Elizabeth Ruiz, author of Death by Survival

By , 22 June 2005

Jamie Chapman of the WSWS interviewed Elizabeth Ruiz, author of the play Death by Survival, in New York City where she resides, after the premiere of the play in San Diego.

Political turmoil surrounds Philippines President Arroyo

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 22 June 2005

Less than a year after being sworn in for a second term of office, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is confronting a mounting political crisis. The most obvious signs are two ongoing scandals that have provoked a series of protests and calls for her to resign. Underlying her falling popularity, however, is a growing hostility to the impact of her regressive economic policies, including increased taxes, amid continuing levels of high unemployment and widespread poverty.

Bush, Congress snatch funds from injured 9/11 workers

By Bill Van Auken, 22 June 2005

Ever since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has invoked the mass killings of that day and, in particular, the heroism of firefighters and other workers who responded to the catastrophe to promote a policy of global militarism and attacks on democratic rights.

The Washington Post and the Downing Street memo

By Joseph Kay and Barry Grey, 22 June 2005

On June 16, Representative John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, held a hearing in the Capitol on what has become known as the Downing Street memo.

US deficit hits a new record

By Nick Beams, 21 June 2005

The US balance of payments deficit hit an all-time high for the first quarter of the year, rising to $195.1 billion, up 3.6 percent from the previous record of $188.4 billion for the final three months of 2004 and well above market predictions of $190 billion. The latest figure means that the US payments deficit is running at an annual rate of $780 billion, requiring $2 billion a day from the rest of the world—mainly provided by Japan, China and other Asian nations—to finance it.

Basque parliamentary negotiations strengthen regionalism

By Paul Bond, 21 June 2005

Some six weeks since the Basque regional elections, horse-trading continues over the formation of a new regional parliament. Various nationalist groups are jockeying for position within the coalition, and parliamentary regulations are being amended to accommodate their manoeuvrings. Even the president of the main nationalist party, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), has warned that regional politics could become a “quagmire.”

Budget conflict splits European Union

By Peter Schwarz, 21 June 2005

The collapse of the European Union summit in Brussels early Saturday has plunged the EU into deep crisis. Following the breakdown of negotiations over the EU budget for the years 2007 to 2013, European leaders turned on one another and exchanged insults in a manner not seen since the eve of the Second World War.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush renews persecution of Michael Schiavo

By Patrick Martin, 21 June 2005

In an action that combines personal vindictiveness and political calculation, Florida Governor Jeb Bush has sought an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the original injury to Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who died last March 31 after a lengthy court battle over terminating her life support.

Over 100 children drown as flood season begins in China

By Dragan Stankovic, 21 June 2005

Heavy rains, floods and landslides are again inflicting terrible suffering on China’s rural poor. Hundreds of people have died and millions have been affected since the beginning of the annual wet season. One of the most tragic incidents was the death of more than 100 children on June 10.

Case of 1964 civil rights killings goes to the jury

By Peter Daniels and Helen Halyard, 21 June 2005

The murder case against Edgar Ray Killen, accused of masterminding the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964, went to the jury in Philadelphia, Mississippi on Monday, June 20. Tuesday marked 41 years to the day that Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, participants in the “Freedom Summer” campaign to register black voters in the Deep South, were killed.

The media and Terri Schiavo: the case of Fox News

By Noah Page, 21 June 2005

Billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Network’s coverage of the Terri Schiavo autopsy report last week illustrated what its motto “fair and balanced” means in practice. A review of Fox’s coverage during the two-day period after the autopsy results were released Wednesday offers a spectacular contrast with the virtually non-stop coverage of the Schiavo affair during March.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 June 2005

Social Security strike continues in Panama

Nanotechnology and the treatment of cancer

By Perla Astudillo, 20 June 2005

Recent successful medical trials of a cancer treatment involving the use of “nanotechnology” may open up important new avenues for the diagnosis and treatment of other cancers and diseases.

An attack on science: Smithsonian Institution to show film on Intelligent Design

By Walter Gilberti and Joseph Kay, 20 June 2005

On June 23, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to show a documentary, “The Privileged Planet,” put out by the Discovery Institute. The Seattle-based Discovery Institute is the country’s most prominent advocacy group for the “theory” of Intelligent Design, a quasi-religious teaching that seeks to undermine the science of evolution.

Peasant unrest continues in China

By John Chan, 20 June 2005

A series of militant rural protests in China has revealed that peasants are being forced into increasingly desperate forms of rebellion to try to stem the destruction of their living standards. Far from creating “a harmonious society”, as claimed in March at the National Peoples Congress, Beijing’s free market policies are opening up deep social fissures and provoking social unrest.

Portuguese government launches emergency austerity measures

By Paul Mitchell, 20 June 2005

Portugal’s Socialist Party (PS) government, which came into power in February, has launched a three-year plan of emergency austerity measures. These include a gradual increase in the retirement age for Portugal’s 700,000 civil servants from 60 to 65, freezing public sector promotions and reducing sick-leave payments, a 2 percent increase in Value-Added Tax (VAT) to 21 percent, a rise in tobacco and fuel taxes and the creation of a new income tax band of 42 percent on incomes greater than €60,000 ($US74,000).

Northwest Airlines workers protest attack on pensions and jobs

By Barry Grey, 20 June 2005

Northwest Airlines workers held an informational picket at Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s McNamara Terminal June 15 to protest the company’s drive to slash their pensions, eliminate more than 2,000 jobs and impose a new round of concessions in wages, benefits and work rules.

Bush administration defends Guantánamo prison camp

By Kate Randall, 20 June 2005

In the face of new revelations of torture and abuse of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, the Bush administration and its Republican backers in Congress continue to defend the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo and other US-run facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. This defense of war crimes is combined with denunciations of those who expose or criticize them and attempts to further cow an already pliant media.

Bush aide who doctored global warming documents joins ExxonMobil

By Joseph Kay, 18 June 2005

A Bush aide who reportedly altered government climate reports to favor the interests of the oil industry has resigned from the administration to take a job at ExxonMobil, the world’s largest energy company and most fervent opponent of carbon emissions regulations. For the aide, Philip Cooney, the move completes a cycle in which he has served the interests of the oil giants both in and out of government.

Letters from our readers

By , 18 June 2005

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

Australia: Chinese defectors given cold shoulder

By Mike Head, 18 June 2005

All the characteristic features of the Howard government—hypocrisy, opportunism, callousness and lies—have been on open display over the past three weeks in the affair of Chen Yonglin, a Chinese diplomat who attempted to defect on May 26.

Bush faces growing opposition to Iraq war

By Patrick Martin, 18 June 2005

There are mounting signs that the Bush administration is in disarray over the crisis of its military adventure in Iraq. With the US casualty toll steadily mounting, and opinion polls showing a clear majority of Americans opposing the war and supporting a withdrawal of American troops, Bush has begun to face cautious criticism even within the halls of Congress, which up to now has slavishly supported the US aggression in the Middle East.

Public defense system crisis denies justice to poor in US courts

By Naomi Sheehan Groce, 18 June 2005

Approximately 5 million people who cannot afford legal representation are processed through US courts each year as indigent defendants—accused persons too poor to hire their own lawyers—and are provided public attorneys. About 75 percent of current US prison inmates were represented by court-appointed public lawyers, while two-thirds of felony defendants are indigent. At both the federal and state level, indigent defendants are found guilty at a much higher rate than defendants who are able to hire their own private attorneys.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia & the Pacific

By , 18 June 2005

Korean union leader killed on picket line

Pakistan: Bush ally Musharraf mounts terror campaign against telecommunication workers

By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 18 June 2005

More than a thousand Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) workers have been arrested in the six days since the country’s US-backed military regime ordered army and paramilitary forces to seize control of the state-owned company’s key installations.

Swing to right-wing Christian leader Aoun in Lebanese elections

By Chris Talbot, 17 June 2005

Voting in the third round of the Lebanese general election saw an unexpected swing to supporters of the right- wing Christian former general Michel Aoun. Fifteen out of the 16 seats in the predominantly Maronite Christian area of northeast of Beirut went to candidates allied to Aoun in the complex sectarian-based voting system. Altogether, Aoun and his allies took 21 of the 58 seats that were contested in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

Venezuela demands US hand over CIA terrorist for trial

By Bill Van Auken, 17 June 2005

The Venezuelan government Wednesday filed extradition papers with the US State Department demanding that Luis Posada Carriles be handed over to stand trial for the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner in which 73 people lost their lives.

Sri Lankan government on the brink of collapse

By K. Ratnayake, 17 June 2005

Yesterday’s decision by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to quit Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition has left the government on the point of collapse and once again plunged the island into political turmoil. The United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has been reduced to a rump of just 79 MPs out of a total of 225 and is completely dependent on its long-time rival, the opposition United National Party (UNP), not to bring it down.

Letters on the Michael Jackson verdict

By , 17 June 2005

The following is a selection of letters received by the World Socialist Web Site on “The Michael Jackson verdict”

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East & Africa

By , 17 June 2005

Europe

German chancellor says he will not yield on Agenda 2010 cuts

By Peter Schwarz, 17 June 2005

Speaking Monday evening at the Willy Brandt House, the Berlin headquarters of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said he would be “unyielding” in his implementation of “indispensable reforms”—his own designation for the package of deep social cuts known as Agenda 2010.

Detention of US security contractors highlights “culture of impunity” in Iraq

By James Cogan, 17 June 2005

A controversy surrounding the detention of a team of private contractors by US marines on May 28 has exposed the sharp tensions being produced by the activities of thousands of mercenaries employed by the Bush administration to help enforce the occupation of Iraq.

By , 17 June 2005

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New Zealand: Labour’s election year budget under fire

By John Braddock, 16 June 2005

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Fijian government moves to pardon coup plotters

By Frank Gaglioti, 16 June 2005

In a move that is certain to heighten political tensions, the Fijian government tabled its so-called Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill in parliament on May 31. The legislation, which has been derided as the “Get-Out-Of-Jail Bill” in the Fijian press, provides a general amnesty for those involved in seizing control of parliament in May 2000 and holding the Labour-led government of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry at gunpoint for nearly two months.

Everyone’s hope is no one’s hope

By David Walsh, 16 June 2005

Cinderella Man, directed by Ron Howard, screenplay by Cliff Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman

State Department cable details ethnic cleansing by US-backed forces in Iraq

By Patrick Martin, 16 June 2005

US-backed Kurdish police and security units have kidnapped hundreds of minority Arabs and Turkmen in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, according to a confidential State Department cable leaked to the Washington Post.

Argentine court strikes down amnesty for torturers

By Bill Van Auken, 16 June 2005

Nearly three decades after the US-backed military coup that led to the “disappearance” of an estimated 30,000 people in Argentina, the country’s Supreme Court Tuesday struck down a pair of laws that effectively granted an amnesty to those responsible for the dictatorship’s crimes.

US: dispute over air traffic control staffing

By Alan Whyte, 16 June 2005

Nearly a quarter century after the administration of Ronald Reagan fired nearly 10,000 striking air traffic controllers, inaugurating a nationwide wave of union-busting, the dispute over staffing levels that led to the strike is once again erupting in US control towers.

Sharp conflicts precede European Union summit

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 16 June 2005

After British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday in Paris, he declared that there was “sharp disagreement” over the European Union budget for 2007 to 2013, adding that “it is very difficult to see how these differences are going to be bridged.” For once, Blair was telling the unvarnished truth.

New Zealand: Labour’s election year budget under fire

By John Braddock, 16 June 2005

The 2005 New Zealand budget handed down by Finance Minister Michael Cullen last month has run into a storm of criticism from big business over the failure to deliver tax cuts. After weeks of media speculation that a record $7 billion surplus would allow for substantial cuts to both personal income taxes and business charges, palpable outrage followed the document’s failure to deliver.

Autopsy proves Terri Schiavo was in vegetative state

By Kate Randall, 16 June 2005

Findings of the autopsy performed on Terri Schiavo and released to the press on Wednesday confirm the diagnosis of all the independent doctors involved in her case—and upheld by numerous court decisions—that the woman had suffered massive and irreversible brain damage, and was in a persistent vegetative state.

Germany: sacked Opel worker fights victimisation

By Wolfgang Weber and Andreas Kunstmann, 15 June 2005

Last October, workers at the Opel plant in Bochum, Germany, walked out over company plans to cut thousands of jobs. After the strike ended, Adam Opel AG, a subsidiary of General Motors, sacked two employees on the spot—Richard Kaczorowski and Turhan Ersin, the latter a member of the works council. The Industrial Tribunal in Bochum is currently considering separate appeals filed by the two workers against their sackings.

Jakarta pressures Acehnese rebels over peace deal

By John Roberts, 15 June 2005

Talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki between the Indonesian government and the exiled leadership of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) ended on May 31. The outcome of the meeting, the fourth since the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, has been praised by spokesmen from both sides and the Finnish mediators as a major step forward.

The Michael Jackson verdict

By David Walsh, 15 June 2005

The acquittal of Michael Jackson on child molestation and related charges is entirely welcome. Whether it is a sign of changing popular sentiments or a more isolated episode, the decision by the Santa Maria, California jury to find the singer not guilty on ten felony and three misdemeanor charges is appropriate, both from the legal and human standpoint. In contemporary America, unhappily, rational and civilized conclusions to such sordid episodes are all too infrequent.

Bush administration begins to privatize the skies

By Noah Page, 15 June 2005

The Bush administration’s quest to privatize virtually everything will pay huge dividends for the American military contractor Lockheed Martin this year. In February, the giant company was awarded a $1.9 billion contract to assume control of an important function of the US aviation system. Some 2,000 air traffic specialists will lose their jobs in October when the company takes over a function that has been performed by the public sector for half a century.

US and EU provoke trade friction with China over textiles

By John Chan, 15 June 2005

The reactions of the Bush administration and the European Union (EU) to rising Chinese textile exports since the expiration on January 1, 2005, of the three-decades old Multi-Fiber Agreement (MFA) have heightened trade tensions with China. The US has imposed limits on Chinese textiles and is threatening further action, while the EU extracted an agreement from Beijing on June 12 to “voluntarily” curtail the export of 10 textile items to Europe.