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Australia: jobs decline amid signs of economic downturn

By Terry Cook, 29 October 2005

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour force figures for September showed the official unemployment rate climbed for the first time in five months to 5.1 percent, up from 5.0 percent in August. Significantly, the data also revealed a loss of jobs—25,900 full-time and 16,500 part-time. The total number of people in work fell by 42,300 to 10.022 million, with the largest drop of 25,600 in Victoria.

Big business lobbies step up pressure on Germany’s grand coalition

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 October 2005

“All power proceeds from big business and its lobbies.” This is not how the German constitution reads, but this is how it is interpreted by numerous economic research institutes and business groups that, under the guise of scientific research, lobby on behalf of the employers and major capitalist interests.

Britain: attorney general prevents prosecution of police who killed Harry Stanley

By Paul Mitchell, 29 October 2005

Britain’s Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith has prevented attempts to prosecute police marksmen who shot dead painter and decorator Harry Stanley in 1999.

Energy companies announce record profits amidst soaring prices for US consumers

By Joseph Kay and Naomi Spencer, 29 October 2005

This week, the major international energy companies announced sharp increases in profits for the third quarter. The energy giants are benefiting from a prolonged period of rising energy costs, exacerbated in September by the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The record profits are being paid directly from the pockets of millions of Americans, who face increased gasoline prices and the prospect of sharply higher home heating bills during the winter.

Fighting backwardness

29 October 2005

By Emanuele Saccarelli 29 October 2005

Ibero-American summit criticises US policy

By Paul Mitchell, 29 October 2005

Heads of state attending the 15th Ibero-American summit have criticised the US administration’s policy towards Cuba and Venezuela.

Iraq war is the real “underlying crime” in the Libby indictment

By Bill Van Auken, 29 October 2005

The indictment in the CIA leak investigation of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, has deepened the political crisis of the Bush administration, while further exposing the methods of criminality and conspiracy that extend from the White House on down.

Poland: Lech Kaczynski elected president in low voter turnout

By Marius Heuser, 29 October 2005

Lech Kaczynski of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party overcame his rival, Donald Tusk of the right-wing Civic Platform (CP), in the final ballot for presidential elections held October 23 in Poland. Kaczynski received 54 percent of the vote and thereby becomes the new president of Poland. Voter participation stood at 51 percent, meaning that the winning candidate in effect had support from only a quarter of the electorate.

US passports to contain remotely readable computer chips

By Mike Ingram, 29 October 2005

The State Department issued a final rule October 25 for the implementation of new electronic passports. The so-called e-passport will come into effect October 2006, requiring all new US passports to include a radio frequency ID (RFID) chip that can transmit personal information, including the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and a digitized photograph of the passport holder. The chip will be 64KB in size to leave room for additional biometrics data to be added in the future.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 October 2005

Philippines union leader gunned down