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Britain: Breast cancer patient’s legal challenge highlights rationing of health care

By Rob Stevens, 31 March 2006

Ann Marie Rogers, a 54-year-old breast cancer patient and mother of two, went to the Court of Appeal this week as part of her fight to receive the drug Herceptin free of charge under the National Health Service (NHS).

Democrats unveil midterm election platform: a blueprint for endless war

By Bill Van Auken, 31 March 2006

The following is a statement issued by Socialist Equality Party candidate for US Senate from New York, Bill Van Auken.

Theodore Draper—American historian and social critic

By Peter Daniels, 31 March 2006

Theodore Draper, the historian who first came to prominence with his two volumes on the history of the American Communist Party published nearly 50 years ago, died last month at the age of 93. Draper’s long career as a freelance historian and essayist also included studies of the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s and of the American Revolution.

France: “First Job Contract” legislation approved by Constitutional Council

By Rick Kelly and Antoine Lerougetel, 31 March 2006

France’s Constitutional Council yesterday approved the legality of the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” (CPE) legislation. The CPE—which allows employers to sack young workers sacked without cause during their first two years of employment—has provoked ongoing strikes and demonstrations by workers and students.

Deadlocks continue at Kosovo final status talks

By Tony Robson, 31 March 2006

This is the first of a two-part article on Kosovo. The conclusion will be published on April 1.

Peter Schwarz presents new German edition of Trotsky’s In Defence of Marxism

By a correspondent, 31 March 2006

The Leipzig Book Fair held earlier this month saw record attendance. A total of 126,000 visitors attended the fair in eastern Germany, which featured stands, exhibitions and book readings by 2,160 exhibitors from 36 countries. This represented a 17 percent increase in attendance compared to the previous year.

US: Plan to drive homeless out of downtown Richmond, Virginia

By Jeff Lassahn, 31 March 2006

In line with the nationwide trend, the city of Richmond, Virginia, backed by business and Virginia Commonwealth University, is carrying out policies that hide homelessness and punish the poor. Construction of a new building that will consolidate meal services to the city’s homeless and working poor is slated to begin this summer.

UN Security Council bows to US pressure for a statement against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 31 March 2006

After three weeks of behind-the-scenes US bullying, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a statement on Wednesday calling on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program and giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 30 days to report back. Although amended at the insistence of Russia and China, the statement provides Washington with the pretext for escalating the confrontation with Tehran and its threats of punitive sanctions and military action.

Amnesty International reports 152 taser-related deaths in the US

By Andre Damon, 31 March 2006

The use of taser weapons by US police has been linked to 152 deaths since 2001, according to a report published Tuesday by Amnesty International. The report found that most fatal taser electrocutions involved unarmed subjects who posed no serious threat to cops or civilians at the time of weapon discharge. Many were electrocuted while already in restraints and/or received multiple electroshocks.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 31 March 2006

Europe

Beijing’s new moral model: from peasant soldier to middle class consumer

By John Chan, 30 March 2006

For generations of Chinese, Mao Zedong’s slogan of “learn from Comrade Lei Feng”—a peasant soldier who symbolised Maoist “morality”—has been an ever-present component of their education and lives. This year, Beijing is suddenly updating Lei’s image transforming him into a new moral model more conducive with “market reform” and its ideological needs to appeal to the rising middle class.

France: Unions appeal to President Chirac to resolve “First Job Contract” crisis

By Rick Kelly and Antoine Lerougetel, 30 March 2006

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s strikes and demonstrations in France, the trade unions are redoubling their efforts to end the mass movement against the “First Job Contract” (CPE) and stabilise the administration of President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. The CPE legislation, which allows young workers to be sacked without cause during a two-year period, has become a focal point for opposition to the government’s right-wing programme by French workers and youth.

Puerto Rico sues FBI for stonewalling probe of independentista’s murder

By Bill Van Auken, 30 March 2006

The government of Puerto Rico went to federal court last week, accusing the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Justice Department of obstructing justice by stonewalling a local investigation of the FBI’s killing of a leading figure in the island’s independence movement during a raid last September.

Narrow victory for Kadima in Israeli elections

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 30 March 2006

The victory of Kadima in Israel’s general election has been hailed as a popular mandate for the unilateral redrawing of the country’s borders by 2010 and the creation of a new “political centre-ground.” In reality, the vote reveals a deeply fractured society that is politically, economically and socially unstable.

Political crisis deepens in Brazil: The rise and fall of Palocci

By Mário Y. de Almeida, 30 March 2006

The Brazilian government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, having seemingly survived a series of corruption scandals that appeared on the verge of bringing it down last year, was wracked once again this week by the resignation of its finance minister, Antônio Palocci Filho, amid a scandal involving bribes, payoffs and prostitutes.

Thousands of students walk out of schools in Southern California to protest anti-immigration legislation

By Ramón Valle, 30 March 2006

On the heels of the massive march in Los Angeles last Saturday to defend the rights of immigrants, some 40,000 high school students walked out of classes throughout southern California Monday to protest legislation pending in Congress that would criminalize undocumented workers and those who aid them. The walkout continued on Tuesday.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 March 2006

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

German coalition parties hail state elections as mandate for anti-social “reforms”

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 March 2006

Leading Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politicians have announced they will speed up “reforms” following the first state elections since the Grand Coalition of the CDU and Social Democratic Party (SPD) assumed office in Berlin last autumn.

Local government elections in Sri Lanka heighten political instability

By K. Ratnayake, 30 March 2006

Elections for local government bodies are to take place in Sri Lanka today. While normally a rather mundane affair, these “mini polls” have been bitterly fought, as all of the major parties vie for position in the increasingly unstable political situation surrounding the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

Miles de estudiantes abandonan sus escuelas en el sur de California para manifestarse en contra de la legislación anti inmigrante

By , 30 March 2006

WSWS : Español

White House chief of staff steps down

By Patrick Martin, 30 March 2006

The resignation of Andrew Card as White House chief of staff and his replacement by another long-time Bush aide, Joshua Bolten, is an expression both of the deepening crisis in the Bush administration and the inability of the White House to find any way out.

Thousands of students walk out of schools in Southern California to protest anti-immigration legislation

By Ramón Valle, 29 March 2006

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Australian parliament embraces Blair’s lies and hypocrisy

By James Cogan, 29 March 2006

The address by Tony Blair to the joint-sitting of the Australian parliament on Monday underscored the fact that the British prime minister functions as one of the most cynical defenders of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The reaction to his speech, however, demonstrated once again that no section of the Australian political and media establishment is prepared to challenge the lies used to legitimise these criminal acts.

The economic, social and political disaster produced by the Zionist project

By Jean Shaoul, 29 March 2006

Published below is the conclusion of a two-part report on Israel and Palestine by Jean Shaoul to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Part one was posted on March 28. Shaoul is a WSWS correspondent and a member of the Socialist Equality Party in the UK.

Three years since the invasion of Iraq: historical lessons and political perspectives

By , 29 March 2006

The Socialist Equality Party will be holding a series of meetings across the United States marking the third anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. David North, chairman of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board and national secretary of the SEP (US), will speak at meetings in Ann Arbor, Michigan; New York City; Phoenix, Arizona; and Los Angeles, California.

The Ukrainian parliamentary elections and the fraud of the “Orange Revolution”

By Patrick Richter, 29 March 2006

The Ukrainian parliamentary elections, held March 26, have thoroughly deflated the myth of the “Orange Revolution.” Just 15 months after Victor Yushchenko was elected president in what his American and European backers proclaimed an epochal popular and democratic revolution, his party has been routed, with a strong plurality voting for the purported vote-rigger and despot whom he ousted.

Britain: More than one million strike over cuts in pension provision, but unions limit protest

By Julie Hyland, 29 March 2006

Thousands of schools, local government facilities and transport services across the United Kingdom were closed or partially closed Tuesday as almost 1.5 million local government workers took strike action to defend their pension rights.

Britain: Drug trial leaves volunteers seriously ill

By Chris Talbot, 29 March 2006

The drug trial conducted at Northwick Park Hospital, London, that left six volunteers seriously ill has prompted a medical researcher, Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn, to challenge the role of the British government’s drug watchdog, the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Más de un millón marchan en Los Ángeles y otras ciudades de Estados Unidos en defensa de los derechos de los inmigrantes

By , 29 March 2006

WSWS : Español

France: Millions of workers and students strike against Gaullist government

By Rick Kelly and Antoine Lerougetel, 29 March 2006

An estimated 2 to 3 million striking workers and students demonstrated in cities and towns throughout France yesterday in opposition to the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” (CPE—Contrat première embauche) legislation, which permits employers to dismiss young workers without cause or compensation during their first two years on the job.

As mass demonstrations continue, Republicans split over anti-immigration bill

By Patrick Martin, 29 March 2006

Demonstrations in defense of the rights of immigrants continued in cities from coast to coast Monday, as the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to an immigration bill that would remove many of the most draconian provisions demanded by the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

Ex-radical stands for Colombo mayor on ticket of Sri Lankan ruling coalition

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 29 March 2006

In upcoming local municipal elections in Sri Lanka, it is worth noting the candidacy of long-time, middle class radical Vasudeva Nanayakkara, leader of the Democratic Left Front (DLF), who is standing for the position of mayor of Colombo on the ticket of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA). The UPFA—a coalition led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)—holds power nationally.

Spain: Bomb threats and funding cuts follow theatre show

By Paul Bond, 28 March 2006

Responses to a theatre show by comedian Leo Bassi indicate the escalation of right-wing clerical reaction in Spanish politics. The cutting of government subsidies to a theatre festival that staged the show is the latest in a sequence of attacks that has seen theatres picketed and attempts made to bomb auditoriums.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 March 2006

Latin America

France: Fight vs. “First Job Contract” raises need for new working class leadership

By World Socialist Web Site editorial board, 28 March 2006

The following statement is being distributed by supporters of the World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International at mass demonstrations being held across France on the March 28 Day of Action against the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” (CPE). We urge readers and supporters to download this statement, which is also posted as a pdf file, and distribute it as widely as possible.

Pioneering modernist exhibition: a cultural turning point for 1930s Australia

By John Christian and Richard Phillips, 28 March 2006

Degenerates and Perverts, a richly illustrated 306-page book by Eileen Chanin and Steven Miller, examines the 1939 Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art and its impact on Australian artistic and social life. Accurate information about the impact of this landmark event in local cultural history is long overdue.

US home foreclosures on the rise

By Naomi Spencer, 28 March 2006

Millions of Americans stand to face enormous financial strain or foreclosure when their adjustable-rate mortgages reset this year. The number of mortgage holders slipping behind in monthly payments rose steadily throughout the winter, according to major foreclosure tracking companies. As federal interest rates continue to increase, the number of borrowers defaulting on their mortgages is certain to grow.

For a European-wide strategy to defend workers’ social gains

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 28 March 2006

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

Iraq: US mosque massacre deepens occupation’s crisis

By Bill Van Auken, 28 March 2006

The massacre of as many as 40 unarmed worshipers in a northeast Baghdad mosque Sunday has triggered a political crisis that threatens to accelerate Iraq’s descent into civil war while sharply intensifying the hatred of millions of Iraqis for the three-year-old US occupation of their country.

The economic, social and political disaster produced by the Zionist project

By Jean Shaoul, 28 March 2006

Published below is the first of a two-part report on Israel and Palestine by Jean Shaoul to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Shaoul is a WSWS correspondent and a member of the Socialist Equality Party in the UK.

Australia: Anger mounts over government response to Cyclone Larry

By Richard Phillips, 28 March 2006

Australian federal and state leaders visited cyclone devastated Innisfail, about 1,600 kilometres north of Brisbane, the Queensland state capital, last week claiming that victims of the March 20 disaster would be provided generous assistance. But as more information emerges about the havoc and human suffering caused by Cyclone Larry, frustration and anger is growing about the government’s insufficient relief and reconstruction measures.

Australia: Howard’s draconian industrial relations laws come into operation today

By Terry Cook, 27 March 2006

The Howard government’s new industrial relations laws come into force today, after Australian Minister for Employment Workplace Relations Kevin Andrews released the regulations governing their application on March 19.

Union orchestrates end to Ontario college teachers’ strike

By Lee Parsons, 27 March 2006

A three-week strike by over 9,100 instructors, librarians and counselors at Ontario’s 24 community and technical colleges has been brought to an end after their union and the colleges agreed to have their contract written by an arbitrator.

Terrible conditions facing workers in Asian ship-breaking yards

By Ajay Prakash, 27 March 2006

The recent controversy over the demolition of the decommissioned French aircraft carrier Clemenceau has highlighted the terrible conditions facing workers at the giant Alang-Sosiya Ship-Breaking Yard (ASSBY) located in the Indian state of Gujarat and elsewhere in Asia.

Pioneering modernist exhibition: a cultural turning point for 1930s Australia

By John Christian and Richard Phillips, 27 March 2006

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Wagging the dog in Belarus

By Tom Carter, 27 March 2006

On March 19, elections were held in Belarus in which the incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, was reelected. Since Lukashenko was declared the winner, public officials and media pundits in the US and western Europe have launched a major public offensive to brand the election results “fraudulent” and “illegitimate.”

France: Students and workers prepare mobilisation against government’s “First Job Contract”

By WSWS correspondents, 27 March 2006

Mass protests and strikes are planned throughout France tomorrow in opposition to the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” legislation, which permits companies to dismiss young workers without cause during their first two years of employment. Public sector workers have delivered strike notices in 71 cities and towns, and 135 demonstrations will be held against the attack on young workers’ conditions.

More than a million march in Los Angeles, other US cities in defense of immigrant rights

By Ramon Valle and Rafael Azul, 27 March 2006

In the largest demonstration in California’s history, well over half a million people marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, March 25, in defense of immigrant rights and to protest the government attacks on immigrants, especially undocumented workers.

Germany: Verdi union boss attacks striking doctors

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 March 2006

For the past seven weeks, public service employees have been on strike to stave off an extension of unpaid working time and a general deterioration of their working conditions. The current industrial action has become the longest strike in the German public service sector since the 1930s.

Britain: More evidence suggests July 7 bombings were preventable

By Paul Mitchell, 27 March 2006

Evidence has grown over the last weeks suggesting the suicide bombers who carried out the July 7, 2005 bombings in London, which killed 56 people and injured 700, were known to the authorities months before the attacks.

Confused, not thought through: V for Vendetta

By David Walsh, 27 March 2006

V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, written by the Wachowski Brothers, based on characters created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Africa and the perspective of international socialism

By Richard Tyler, 27 March 2006

Published below is the conclusion of a two-part report on Africa by Richard Tyler to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Part one was posted on March 25. Tyler is a WSWS correspondent and a member of the Socialist Equality Party in the UK.

State authorities threaten to impose contract on New York transit workers

By Alan Whyte and Peter Daniels, 27 March 2006

The New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruled last week that the contract fight of New York City’s 34,000 subway and bus workers must be resolved by arbitration. This decision is the latest development in the protracted dispute, which led to a two-and-a-half day strike just before Christmas.

An administration in deepening crisis: Some reflections on the Bush press conference

By Patrick Martin, 25 March 2006

The Tuesday press conference held by George W. Bush at the White House was another display of the banality and sheer intellectual incapacity of the 43rd US president, and of the mounting contradictions which are undermining the most reactionary administration in American history.

Labor wins Australian state elections with business backing

By Mike Head, 25 March 2006

Two Australian state Labor governments were returned to office last Saturday with intensive business and media backing, continuing the federal-state divide in official Australian politics. Labor has won every state and territory election since 1998, but lost each federal election since 1993.

France: Mass movement against “First Job Contract” in danger

By Rick Kelly, 25 March 2006

Leading French trade unions held discussions yesterday with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin over the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” (CPE) legislation, which permits employers to sack young workers without cause in their first two years of employment. In the face of growing student protests against the attack on young workers’ conditions, the trade unions are stepping up their efforts to isolate the mass movement by working out a compromise deal with the government that would leave intact the essential elements of the CPE legislation.

France: May-June 1968 and today

By Ulrich Rippert, 25 March 2006

“Is this another May-June 1968?” This question has repeatedly been raised recently in the French and international media.

Africa and the perspective of international socialism

By Richard Tyler, 25 March 2006

Published below is the first of a two-part report on Africa by Richard Tyler to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Tyler is a WSWS correspondent and a member of the Socialist Equality Party in the UK.

Netherlands: Government suffers heavy losses in local election

By Dietmar Henning, 25 March 2006

The federal government of prime minister Jan-Peter Balkenende was punished heavily in local elections held in the Netherlands on March 7. Following the failure to win a majority in the referendum on the European Constitution last summer, the local election result is the second defeat for the coalition government of the Christian Democrats (CDA), the right-wing liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the liberal D66 party. Behind the defeat is the widespread opposition to the government’s social and immigration policies.

Appalling conditions continue in China’s toy factories

By Carol Divjak, 25 March 2006

In recent years, several reports have exposed the harsh working conditions in Chinese toy factories, which produce almost 75 percent of the world’s output. The perspective behind many of these reports was to shame multinationals such as Wal-Mart, Mattel, McDonalds and KFC into ensuring decent conditions and pay in the plants that churn out their toys.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 March 2006

Workers in Indonesia protest manpower law changes

Peter Watkins’ Edvard Munch: Diagnosing panic and dread

By Joanne Laurier, 25 March 2006

Edvard Munch, written and directed by Peter Watkins

Iraq’s “National Security Council”: a move toward open dictatorship

By James Cogan, 24 March 2006

The announcement on March 19 that steps are being taken to form an extra-parliamentary “National Security Council” (NSC) is a warning that the Bush administration is moving toward an openly dictatorial regime in Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 24 March 2006

Europe

South Asia and the political bankruptcy of bourgeois nationalism and Stalinism

By Wije Dias, 24 March 2006

Published below is a report by Wije Dias on South Asia to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Dias is a member of the WSWS IEB and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka).

The French Popular Front of 1936: Historical lessons in the “First Job Contract” struggle

By Peter Schwarz, 24 March 2006

The conflict over the “First Job Contract” (CPE) has developed into an open confrontation between the government of Dominique de Villepin and Jacques Chirac and broad layers of French society. On the one side stands the government, supported by the employers federations, and on the other the youth, backed by their parents and the large majority of working people.

Britain: Blair sets out ideological justification for new wars of aggression

By Julie Hyland, 24 March 2006

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s March 21 speech in London marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war coincided with President George W. Bush’s Washington press conference making clear that the occupation of Iraq will continue for years and threatening military attacks against any country deemed an obstacle to US interests.

Mass student protests in France: trade unions come to Villepin’s rescue

By Antoine Lerougetel, 24 March 2006

Yesterday afternoon leaders of the five French trade union federations met and issued a statement that they were accepting Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin’s invitation to talks on the CPE on the government’s terms, dropping their demand that de Villepin withdraw the new law prescribing inferior conditions for young workers, the “First Job Contract,” known by its French acronym CPE.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich at the University of Michigan: thin gruel

By David Walsh, 24 March 2006

Frank Rich, op-ed columnist for the New York Times and the newspaper’s theater critic from 1980 to 1993, spoke before an audience of several hundred people at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on March 20. The subject of his talk was the current state of culture and politics in the US.

Music wins battle over barbarism, if only for a moment

By Ruby Rankin, 24 March 2006

Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten), written and directed by Christian Carion

India’s pro-investor plans for urban renewal

By Jake Skeers, 24 March 2006

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched an “urban renewal” program last month designed to attract private investment to 63 of India’s largest and most important cities. His government is proposing to supply more reliable infrastructure and services, remove city regulations that act as impediments to the market, abolish rent caps and provide reliable and enforceable property rights.

France: University and high school students continue anti-government protests

By Rick Kelly, 23 March 2006

French university and high school students have continued to demonstrate against the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” (CPE) legislation, which allows young workers to be sacked without justification during their first two years of employment. The ongoing protests have further exacerbated the crisis facing Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin’s government, which has refused to rescind the CPE.

A comment on the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

By Barbara Slaughter, 23 March 2006

This is the conclusion of a two-part article. Thefirst part was posted March 22.

On orders from prime minister’s department and police: Australian web site shut down

By Richard Phillips, 23 March 2006

One week before the third anniversary of the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Australian government forced the closure of a satirical web site that powerfully exposed several key lies told by Prime Minister John Howard to justify participation in the US-led war.

Democratic rights and the attack on constitutionalism

By Richard Hoffman, 23 March 2006

Published below is a report on democratic rights by Richard Hoffman to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Hoffman is a WSWS correspondent.

Israel announces plans to annex more Palestinian land

By Jean Shaoul, 23 March 2006

Ehud Olmert, Israel’s acting prime minister, whose Kadima party is expected to win the national election on March 28, recently announced that Israel would unilaterally redraw its borders by 2010, annexing Palestinian land without negotiations with the Palestinians.

China’s new five-year plan: a mixture of futile hopes and false promises

By John Chan, 23 March 2006

The most significant item approved at the recently concluded National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing was China’s eleventh “Five-Year Plan” for the period 2006-2010.

New York Times details secret US military torture operation

By Joe Kay, 23 March 2006

A New York Times report on March 19 details the operations of Task Force 6-26, a highly secret US Special Operations Unit whose members have reportedly engaged in torture and assassination in Iraq and Afghanistan. The existence and a hint of the operations of the unit—previously known as Task Force 121 and since renamed Task Force 145—have been reported in the press before, however there has never been a complete public accounting for its illegal activities.

Australian Workers Union washes its hands of Boeing workers

By Noel Holt and Terry Cook, 23 March 2006

The Australian Workers Union (AWU) leadership breathed a sigh of relief when the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission (NSWIRC) earlier this month decided to ignore a federal ruling that the state body had no jurisdiction to arbitrate a protracted dispute involving 25 Boeing engineers. The workers, who service F/A-18 jet fighters at the Williamstown airforce base near Newcastle, were locked out last June after imposing work bans in support of better pay and conditions.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 March 2006

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

GM, Delphi, US autoworkers’ union agree to massive job-cutting program

By Jerry White, 23 March 2006

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has concluded a deal with General Motors and its former parts company Delphi Corporation that paves the way for a major contraction in the US auto industry and the permanent elimination of tens of thousands of jobs.

Bush says US troops to remain in Iraq indefinitely

By Jerry White, 22 March 2006

At a White House press conference Tuesday morning President George W. Bush suggested that the US would continue the occupation of Iraq for years, if not decades, to come. Asked if there would be a day when there were no more American forces in that country, Bush replied that that would be “decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.”

Australia: Pre-selection brawls demonstrate Labor’s internal rot

By Terry Cook, 22 March 2006

While current Federal Opposition leader Kim Beazley and former leader Simon Crean emerged from a so-called “peace meeting’ in Sydney on March 13 claiming their discussion was “constructive”, venomous factional rivalries continue to fester just below the surface of the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Artistic and cultural problems in the current situation

By David Walsh, 22 March 2006

Published below is the conclusion of a two-part report on artistic and cultural issues delivered by David Walsh to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Part one was posted on March 21. Walsh a member of the World Socialist Web Site IEB and the WSWS Arts editor.

France: Police assault leaves protesting worker in coma

By Rick Kelly, 22 March 2006

A 39-year-old French telecommunications worker is in a coma as a result of a brutal beating by riot police last Saturday evening. Cyril Ferez was attacked during the mass demonstration against the Gaullist government’s “First Job Contract” (CPE), which permits companies to sack young workers without cause during the first two years of employment. More than a million workers and students marched against the measure last Saturday, including 350,000 in Paris.

Polish President Kaczynski visits Berlin

By Marius Heuser and Peter Schwarz, 22 March 2006

The new Polish president Lech Kaczynski has not had much luck so far with his trips abroad. He has found little support among both the political elites and the populations of the countries he has visited, if the latter noticed his visits at all.

FBI agent testifies: Bureau resisted Moussaoui investigation before 9/11 attacks

By Joe Kay, 22 March 2006

The death penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui resumed on Monday, after Federal District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema partially reversed a decision that threatened to derail the government’s case. Testimony continued with the defense’s cross examination of FBI agent Harry Samit. Samit detailed the repeated rebuffs he received from top bureau officials as he sought an investigation into Moussaoui prior to the September 11 attacks.

A comment on the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

By Barbara Slaughter, 22 March 2006

Pierre Boulez was once asked about the problems of presenting contemporary music to the public. He said that people have to be educated to understand new music and that it was necessary for musicians to go out and build an audience.

Tense confrontation continues between Thai prime minister and protestors

By John Roberts, 22 March 2006

The political standoff in Bangkok between Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and opposition leaders calling for his removal shows no signs of abating, despite high-level appeals for the two sides to resolve the crisis.

Britain: Inquiry details inhumane treatment of children in prison

By Liz Smith, 22 March 2006

A recent report of an inquiry into the treatment of children in penal custody in England and Wales details the inhuman conditions facing many vulnerable young people in state institutions.

Socialist Equality Party announces candidates in New York, Michigan and California

By , 21 March 2006

To participate in the SEP election campaign,click here. For information on upcoming SEP public meetings in Michigan, New York, Arizona and California, click here.

Religion and science: a reply to a right-wing attack on philosopher Daniel Dennett

By James Brookfield, 21 March 2006

The 19 February 2006 issue of the New York Times Book Review carries a tendentious attack on Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, the latest work by American philosopher Daniel Dennett.

Artistic and cultural problems in the current situation

By David Walsh, 21 March 2006

Published below is the first of a two-part report on artistic and cultural issues delivered by David Walsh to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Walsh a member of the World Socialist Web Site IEB and the WSWS Arts editor.

Bush administration refuses to collect penalties for mine safety violations

By Samuel Davidson, 21 March 2006

The death of 21 US coal miners so far this year is the tragic result of the systematic dismantling of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). This process—carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations—has accelerated to an unprecedented degree under the Bush administration, which has transformed MSHA from an agency that at least nominally enforced safety regulations into a “partner” with the mining industry.

Britain: The “loans for peerages” scandal and the terminal decline of New Labour

By Julie Hyland, 21 March 2006

The ability of British Prime Minister Tony Blair to remain in office is in doubt due to claims that Labour’s wealthy backers were given seats in the House of Lords, Britain’s second chamber, in return for millions of pounds in loans.

Australia: Cyclone Larry leaves thousands homeless and destroys livelihoods

By Mike Head, 21 March 2006

A category five cyclone, the strongest in Australia for nearly a century, hit the northern Queensland coast early yesterday morning, leaving thousands of people homeless. Cyclone Larry devastated the regional city of Innisfail and nearby townships, and destroyed about $300 million worth of banana, sugar, pawpaw and rambutan crops.

France: Dispute escalates over “First Job Contract”

By Peter Schwarz, 21 March 2006

Following mass demonstrations throughout France last Saturday, the conflict over a new law regulating employment rights for young workers, the “First Job Contract” (CPE), has intensified.

Sri Lanka: 300,000 public sector workers strike for higher pay

By our reporting team, 21 March 2006

Sri Lankan public sector workers held a one-day strike on March 16 throughout the island to demand a 65 percent pay increase to make up for rising prices and deteriorating living standards. An estimated 300,000 workers took part across many departments, including postal, health, education, local government and technological services, railways and state-owned factories.

France: Dispute escalates over “First Job Contract”

By Peter Schwarz, 21 March 2006

Following mass demonstrations throughout France last Saturday, the conflict over a new law regulating employment rights for young workers, the “First Job Contract” (CPE), has intensified.

Marine recruiters accused of rape: California high school students file suit

By Marge Holland, 21 March 2006

Two students from Mendocino High School in Northern California are suing the Marine Corps in San Francisco federal court, alleging that they were raped by recruiters. The lawsuit is the latest in a growing series of accusations of sexual impropriety on the part of military recruiters against minors.