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Presidential elections in France: The nationalism of the Workers Party

By Pierre Mabut and Peter Schwarz, 31 March 2007

A major feature of the French presidential election campaign has been the nationalist rhetoric employed by all candidates of the political establishment to cover up social divisions, stigmatise immigrants and defend “French interests.”

Britain: Multimillionaire warns poverty threatens “violent reactions”—but don’t tax the rich!

By Jean Shaoul, 31 March 2007

One of Britain’s richest men, venture capitalist and Commission on Unclaimed Assets Chairman Sir Ronald Cohen, warned recently that the gap between rich and poor is now so deep that it threatens to provoke “violent reaction” in society.

Guantánamo prisoner charges confession extracted through torture

By Kate Randall, 31 March 2007

A Guantánamo detainee has charged that he was tortured into confessing to a role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 41, a Saudi national of Yemeni descent, said he faced years of torture following his arrest in 2002 and that he fabricated stories to satisfy his captors.

Sri Lankan SEP holds media conference over disappearance of party member

By our correspondent, 31 March 2007

The Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a media conference in Colombo yesterday as part of the SEP/WSWS campaign to demand that the Sri Lankan government and military conduct an urgent investigation into the disappearance of party member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan in the northern Jaffna islands on March 22.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 31 March 2007

Pakistani airline staff strike over conditions

Guantánamo’s kangaroo court convicts Australian David Hicks

By Peter Symonds, 31 March 2007

The sham trial of Australian detainee David Hicks at the Bush administration’s prison camp at Guantánamo Bay is drawing to a close. Yesterday presiding judge Colonel Ralph Kohlman formally convicted Hicks on one charge of “providing material support for terrorism”, and released the details of a plea bargain that will return Hicks to Australia to serve his jail term. The deal provides for a maximum of seven years, but all but nine months have been suspended.

History cut off at the pass: Zach Snyder’s 300

By Sandy English, 31 March 2007

300, directed by Zach Snyder, screenplay by Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

Welsh Assembly elections: Burberry closes its Treorchy plant in area blighted by unemployment

By the candidates for the Socialist Equality Party South Wales Central, 30 March 2007

The SEP candidates issued the following statement to Burberry workers.

Sri Lanka: SEP public meeting to demand inquiry into party member’s disappearance

By , 30 March 2007

The Socialist Equality Party is calling a public meeting in Colombo on April 9 to demand that the Sri Lankan government and military launch an urgent investigation into the disappearance of party member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan.

Massive police mobilisation in central Paris

By Stefan Steinberg, 30 March 2007

Hundreds of police and special CRS units fought a pitched battle with youth and commuters at the Gare du Nord in the centre of Paris on Tuesday evening. The confrontation, in which heavily armed police employed tear gas and massive force against travelers at one of France’s busiest train stations, was immediately taken up by leading French politicians on Wednesday to elevate the issue of law and order to the centre of debate in the current presidential election campaign.

US: Circuit City fires 3,400 better-paid store workers

By Naomi Spencer, 30 March 2007

In a ruthless move to slash worker compensation costs, electronics retailer Circuit City announced March 28 that 3,400 in-store employees, 9 percent of the company’s workforce, would be fired. The company is specifically targeting experienced workers because after years on the job they had accumulated relatively higher wages. According to the Washington Post those affected were notified Wednesday morning and immediately escorted out of the stores by management.

Bush vilifies Democrats, vows veto of Iraq war funding bill

By Bill Van Auken, 30 March 2007

In a bellicose speech delivered Wednesday, on the eve of a Senate vote approving a $122 billion spending bill directed primarily at funding the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, US President George W. Bush vowed to veto any legislation proposing troop withdrawals.

2005 US income figures: top 10 percent had largest share of national wealth since 1928

By David Walsh, 30 March 2007

A series of recent economic studies and media reports have added new details to the portrait of the US as a country riven by deepening social divisions. While a financial and corporate oligarchy rules America, with access to almost unimaginable wealth, millions and millions of people find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. This condition has explosive social and political implications.

China passes private property law for capitalist elite

By John Chan, 30 March 2007

At end of the 12-day National Peoples Congress (NPC) in Beijing on March 16, some 3,000 hand-picked lawmakers rubber-stamped a Property Law. The enactment of this law, which follows the opening of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) membership to private businessmen in 2002, is a significant step in establishing the dominance of capitalist property relations in China.

Germany pushes for great power politics behind a European facade

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 March 2007

The weather was fine in Berlin last weekend, and in bright sunshine tens of thousands of Berliners took the opportunity of a walk along the city’s historic Unter den Linden.

Iraq: US occupation sets off sectarian atrocities in Tal Afar

By James Cogan, 30 March 2007

After suffering four years of US occupation, constant violence and unspeakable living conditions, communities in some of the most traumatised cities in Iraq are facing a new wave of sectarian and politically motivated killings, provoked by the stepped up operations being carried out by American troops and the predominantly Shiite and Kurdish Iraqi government security forces against largely Sunni insurgents.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 30 March 2007

Europe

Ex-aide contradicts Attorney General Gonzales on US attorney firings

By Barry Grey, 30 March 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that he discussed plans to fire US attorneys on numerous occasions with Gonzales. Sampson’s sworn testimony flatly contradicted statements by Gonzales both in congressional testimony and in press conferences that he was not involved in the purge of federal prosecutors.

Britain: What is revealed by Labour’s leadership contest?

By Julie Hyland, 29 March 2007

This week Jack Straw, leader of the Commons, announced that he is to run the campaign of Chancellor Gordon Brown to become leader of the Labour Party and the new prime minister of Britain.

Hundreds attend funeral of Senthil Ravee

By our reporter, 29 March 2007

WSWS

Sri Lankan authorities fail to investigate murder of SEP supporter

By our reporter, 29 March 2007

Eight months after the murder of Socialist Equality Party supporter Sivapragasam Mariyadas, Sri Lankan police have carried out no serious investigation to find and arrest his killers.

Britain heightens confrontation with Iran over detained sailors

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2007

The Blair government, backed by the Bush administration, yesterday stepped up diplomatic pressure for the release of 15 British sailors and marines detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) last Friday. In an already tense situation in the Persian Gulf, US aircraft carrier battle groups have held a major military exercise over the past two days, while British ministers in London called for Iran to be further diplomatically isolated.

Memorial meeting planned in Paris for Comrade Raveenthiranathan Senthil Ravee

By , 29 March 2007

WSWS

57th Berlin Film Festival—Part 2

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 March 2007

This is the second in a series of articles on the recent Berlin film festival.

The anti-democratic agenda behind the US attorney firings

By Barry Grey, 29 March 2007

It is becoming increasingly clear that the firing of eight US attorneys was part of an illegal conspiracy whose principle aim was to maintain Republican power by suppressing the votes of working class and minority voters and using trumped-up voter-fraud prosecutions to manipulate elections and reverse close ones that went to the Democrats.

Pat Tillman’s family speaks out against latest whitewash of “friendly fire” killing in Afghanistan

By Tom Carter, 29 March 2007

The family of Patrick Tillman, a victim of “friendly fire” in the war in Afghanistan, spoke out strongly against the US military’s latest efforts to gloss over as “missteps” what they described as “criminal negligence, professional misconduct, battlefield incompetence, concealment and destruction of evidence, deliberate deception, and conspiracy to deceive” in his death.

Russian trans-Balkan pipeline to skirt Turkey

By Vladimir Volkov, 29 March 2007

On March 15 in Athens, the heads of state of Russia, Greece and Bulgaria signed an agreement of cooperation in the construction and exploitation of an oil pipeline from Burgas, Bulgaria to Alexandroupolis in Greece. Connecting the Bulgarian port on the Black Sea with the Greek port on the Aegean, it will provide for a transport route for Russian oil to the Mediterranean that would bypass Turkey and the Bosporus Straits, which Turkey controls.

Zimbabwe: Resistance to Mugabe’s rule deepens

By Chris Talbot, 29 March 2007

The arrest yesterday of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC), is the latest move in a desperate clampdown on growing opposition to the rule of President Robert Mugabe.

US auto executives grant themselves millions in bonuses

By Shannon Jones, 28 March 2007

American auto manufacturers are rewarding executives with fat payouts following a year of massive job cuts and attacks on the wages, working conditions and benefits of autoworkers. In a particularly provocative manner, the multimillion-dollar packages were announced just days before the United Auto Workers (UAW) union opened its bargaining convention in Detroit to discuss upcoming contract negotiations with the Big Three automakers, which are demanding an unprecedented rollback in the wages, benefits and working conditions of UAW members.

US Senate votes $122 billion in war funding while suggesting withdrawal “goal”

By Bill Van Auken, 28 March 2007

The US Senate voted Tuesday evening to narrowly approve Democratic language attached to a $122 billion emergency war-spending bill that proposes a phased withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq, beginning four months after the bill is enacted and to be completed by March 2008.

New Zealand prime minister ingratiates herself with Bush White House

By John Braddock, 28 March 2007

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark used meetings with US President George Bush and members of his administration on March 20-21 to ingratiate herself with the White House and further align her government with the criminal policies of militarism and neo-colonialism being carried out under the rubric of the “war on terror”.

New York police conducted massive international spying on anti-Bush demonstrators

By Sandy English, 28 March 2007

Secret documents obtained by the New York Times have exposed a massive international spying operation that was mounted by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in advance of the last Republican National Convention (RNC), held in the city in August 2004.

Sri Lankan defence ministry stalls on inquiry into missing SEP member

By our correspondent, 28 March 2007

Today marks the seventh day since the disappearance of Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member, Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan, both residents of the northern island of Kayts. Although the SEP has lodged formal complaints with government authorities, including Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, no action has been taken to find the pair.

David Hicks bullied into guilty plea at Guantánamo kangaroo court

By Richard Phillips, 28 March 2007

After more than five years of imprisonment in Guantánamo Bay where he endured torture and protracted periods of solitary confinement, Australian citizen David Hicks finally pleaded guilty to one charge of “providing material support for terrorism” as part of a plea bargain to get out of the US hell-hole.

IMF and Turkish government agree to new attacks on workers

By Sinan Ikinci, 28 March 2007

On March 9, the International Monetary Fund issued an edict to the Turkish authorities signalling a new wave of far-reaching attacks on Turkish workers in both the public and private sectors.

British government scientists vouched for validity of study estimating 655,000 war deaths in Iraq

By Naomi Spencer, 28 March 2007

British government scientists endorsed the validity of a study released last October that estimated 655,000 Iraqis have been killed as the result of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, the BBC reported March 26.

Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer and the remorselessness of US political life

By David Walsh, 28 March 2007

Last Wednesday doctors in Chapel Hill, North Carolina told Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards, former US senator, Democratic Party vice presidential candidate in 2004 and presidential hopeful in 2008, that the breast cancer originally diagnosed three years ago had metastasized to her right rib, the surrounding bones and possibly to her lungs.

Quebec elections: Right-wing populist ADQ benefits from mass disaffection with establishment

By Keith Jones, 28 March 2007

Monday’s Quebec election shattered the political framework that has prevailed in Canada’s sole majority French-speaking province for the past three decades.

Attack on major Sri Lankan airforce base as civil war continues to escalate

By Sarath Kumara, 27 March 2007

Three Sri Lankan airforce personnel were killed and 16 wounded in an attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the early hours of Monday morning on the main airforce base at Katunayake, north of Colombo. The LTTE used light aircraft for the first time in more than two decades of civil war to drop several bombs on the base, which is adjacent to the country’s only international airport.

Letter from an Israeli reader on the recent strike in Israel

By , 27 March 2007

Below we are publishing a letter from an Israeli reader on the recent general strike in Israel, sent in reply to a World Socialist Web Site “Workers Struggles” brief posted March 23).

Former government lawyer describes Bush administration meddling in landmark tobacco suit

By Naomi Spencer, 27 March 2007

The lead prosecutor in a six-year landmark government lawsuit against the tobacco industry has described how Bush administration loyalists intervened to weaken and manipulate the Justice Department’s case, resulting in a drastic reduction of the financial penalties demanded by federal prosecutors.

German parliament cuts corporate taxes

By Dietmar Henning, 27 March 2007

Two weeks ago, the German Bundestag (parliament) voted for massive cuts to corporate taxes, with the support of all the government parties: the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The cuts, which are due to come into effect next year, will effectively hand over at least €8 billion per year to German corporations.

Spanish Judge calls for architects of Iraq invasion to be tried for war crimes

By Vicky Short, 27 March 2007

Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish judge who sought to prosecute Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, has called for US President George W. Bush and his allies to be tried for war crimes over Iraq.

Election manifesto of the Socialist Equality Party of Britain

By , 27 March 2007

Below we publish the manifesto of the Socialist Equality Party of Britain for the elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly on May 3. The SEP is standing a regional list in West of Scotland and South Wales Central. The election site can be accessed at “Vote SEP for a socialist alternative in Scotland and Wales”.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 March 2007

Latin America

CIA document links Colombian army chief to right-wing “terrorists”

By Bill Van Auken, 27 March 2007

In another blow to the Bush administration’s closest political ally in Latin America, an intelligence report obtained by the US Central Intelligence Agency has charged Colombia’s army chief Gen. Mario Montoya with collaborating intimately with right-wing paramilitaries who are classified by Washington as terrorists. The paramilitary organization, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym AUC, is also believed to be one of the principal forces in cocaine trafficking from Colombia.

Anger, resentment and discontent in Australian state election

By our reporters, 27 March 2007

The WSWS interviewed voters at polling booths in three electorates for the New South Wales state election last Saturday March 24. The overwhelming sentiments in the working class areas of Heffron, Marrickville and Newcastle were hostility to both major parties—Liberal/National and Labor—along with deep-going concerns about the general state of the world, the eruption of war, environmental crises and deteriorating social services.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 March 2007

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

New documents expose White House, Justice Department lies in firing of US attorneys

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2007

A new batch of email messages and other documents released Friday by the Justice Department to congressional investigators provide conclusive evidence that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied about his involvement in the politically motivated firing of eight United States attorneys last year. The glaring contradictions between the documents and Gonzales’ statements earlier this month point to a systematic cover-up of the White House role in the purge of the federal prosecutors.

Parti Quebecois stumbles through Quebec election campaign

By Guy Charron, 26 March 2007

On February 21, 2007, when Quebec Premier Jean Charest called a provincial election, the approval rate of his Liberal government, as measured by the opinion polls, was under 50 percent. Nonetheless, Charest considered this a favorable moment to seek re-election, as the approval ratings for his government had hovered in the 30 to 40 percent range for most of the past four years. Over the past month, the government’s approval ratings have again sagged, falling to about 40 percent.

UN agrees to new Iran sanctions as military tensions mount in Gulf

By Chris Marsden, 26 March 2007

The unanimous March 24 vote by the United Nations Security Council to impose stricter sanctions on Iran is the latest step in the Bush administration’s campaign to isolate the regime in Tehran and prepare the conditions for a possible military attack. The resolution came one day after Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval forces seized 15 British Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf, setting off a diplomatic confrontation between Iran and the UK.

Federal judge rules terrorism trial against Jose Padilla to proceed

By Kate Randall, 26 March 2007

A federal judge has refused to dismiss terrorism-related charges against former “enemy combatant” Jose Padilla, rejecting defense arguments that the US government had violated his constitutionally protected right to a speedy trial.

Quebec state yields to right-wing provocation on eve of provincial election

By Richard Dufour, 26 March 2007

Confronted, on the eve of the March 26 Quebec election, by a new eruption of xenophobia whipped up by the media and the major political parties, Quebec’s Director General of Elections (DGE) yielded Friday to the chauvinist demand that Muslim women be prevented from voting if they come to the polls wearing a niqab (face veil).

Sri Lankan SEP demands urgent inquiry into disappearance of party member

By Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 26 March 2007

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) demands that the Sri Lankan government conduct an urgent investigation into the disappearance of SEP member, Nadarajah Wimaleswaran, and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan, who have been missing since Thursday evening. All the evidence to date points to the involvement of the navy, which controls the northern islands near Jaffna, where both men live.

NSW election: Labor government returned despite popular disaffection

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 March 2007

The New South Wales Labor government was re-elected for another four-year term on Saturday, despite widespread hostility towards all the major parties. The result expressed, albeit in a highly distorted manner, mounting popular anger over the Iraq war, attacks on democratic rights, growing social inequality and the far-reaching assault on working and living conditions. While this right-wing and militarist agenda is shared by all the major parties, the Howard government and its state Liberal allies are most closely associated with it. Exploiting the absence of a perceived alternative, Labor won re-election by presenting itself as the “lesser evil”, focussing on the opposition’s proposals to implement the Howard government’s despised WorkChoices legislation and cut 20,000 jobs from the public sector.

Democrats pass “anti-war” bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Barry Grey, 24 March 2007

After weeks of public posturing and behind-the-scenes maneuvering, Democrats in the House of Representatives secured passage Friday of an emergency spending bill that grants the Bush administration’s request for over $100 billion in additional funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In what amounts to a colossal political fraud, they presented their “Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act” as a measure to force an end to the war in Iraq by September 1, 2008.

Political prisoner Sami Al-Arian’s hunger strike enters third month

By Tom Carter, 24 March 2007

As Palestinian activist Sami Al-Arian’s hunger strike reaches its 62nd day, family members and friends have expressed grave concerns for his health. A University of South Florida professor of computer science and engineering and outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Dr. Al-Arian was arrested with three other men shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on sensational terrorism charges, and he has remained in US prison ever since. None of the charges against him has resulted in conviction.

A tale of two cases in US “war on terror”: Jose Padilla and Chiquita Brands

By Bill Van Auken, 24 March 2007

Two recent cases prosecuted by the US Justice Department involving charges of providing material aid to a foreign terrorist organization have led to startlingly different results for the defendants.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 March 2007

Asia

The Madrid bombing trial: what has been revealed so far

By Paul Bond, 24 March 2007

On the third anniversary of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people, the trial of those accused of planning and perpetrating the atrocity has become a focus for bitter political divisions within Spain.

Letters demand the immediate release of Gary Tyler

By , 24 March 2007

Below we print letters of protest to Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco regarding the case of Gary Tyler, the victim of a 1974 frame-up. (See “Renewed calls for the freedom of Gary Tyler”)

Britain: Brown delivers a budget for the rich that penalizes the poor

By Julie Hyland, 23 March 2007

Gordon Brown’s last budget as chancellor of the exchequer ended his time at the treasury as he began it—robbing the poor and gutting the social services on which millions rely in order to benefit the rich. It was, at the same time, a declaration that, should he become prime minister as expected after Tony Blair steps down, the interests of big business will remain his paramount consideration.

Canadian abuse of Afghan POWs

By Lee Parsons, 23 March 2007

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has accused his Liberal Party opponents of being more concerned about the plight of Taliban insurgents than the 2,2000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan.

Joschka Fischer calls for European great power politics under German leadership

By Ulrich Rippert, 23 March 2007

On March 16, the foreign minister in the previous German Social Democratic-Green Party government, Joschka Fischer, gave a speech at a conference of the European Greens held at Humboldt University in Berlin. Since leaving his post as foreign minister, Fischer has taken a position as guest professor at Princeton University in the US and given lectures on “international crisis diplomacy.” His lecture in Berlin was entitled “A Europe of Common Interests.”

In wake of West Bengal massacre: Indian workers must advance an independent socialist programme

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 23 March 2007

Facing popular opposition across India over the police shooting of scores of peasants in Nandigram last week, West Bengal’s Left Front government, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), (CPM), is desperately maneuvering to contain the crisis.

Australia: Why you should vote for the SEP in the New South Wales election

By Nick Beams and SEP candidate for the NSW Legislative Council, 23 March 2007

The NSW election campaign has again revealed the ever-widening chasm between the major political parties and the concerns of the broad masses of ordinary working people.

Japan-Australia security declaration strengthens US encirclement of China

By John Chan, 23 March 2007

A joint security declaration signed by Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 13 is a significant step toward the formation of a triangular US-Japan-Australia grouping directed against China.

Australian Greens election campaign: silence on the Iraq war and a grubby deal with Labor

By Richard Phillips, 23 March 2007

Popular anger and frustration over the big business policies of the Iemma Labor government in New South Wales (NSW) and the opposition Liberal-National Party coalition, along with concerns about climate change and mass opposition to Australian participation in the US-led occupation of Iraq, is expected to generate increased votes for the Greens in the March 24 state ballot.

Australia: Newcastle newspaper distorts SEP’s position on law and order

By our reporter, 23 March 2007

On March 21, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) wrote to Chad Watson of the Newcastle Herald strongly protesting an article by journalist Jason Gordon implying that the SEP agreed with the law and order campaign that has dominated the newspaper’s election coverage over the last weeks.

The US attorneys “showdown”—Democrats seek to evade a confrontation

By Bill Van Auken, 23 March 2007

The supposed constitutional “showdown” between the Democratic-led Congress and George Bush’s White House over the firing of eight federal prosecutors has served primarily to shift the focus of media attention and official public debate away from the war in Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 23 March 2007

Europe

Wealth piles up for the German elite

By Dietmar Henning, 22 March 2007

Earlier this month, the WSWS reported on the annual Forbes list of billionaires. (See “Forbes 2007 list: Nearly one thousand billionaires in the world, a misfortune for humanity”) The number of billionaires in the world increased from 793 to 946 in just one year. This club of the super-rich jointly owns US$3.5 trillion (€2.7 trillion).

Australian SEP election campaign wins appreciative response

By our reporters, 22 March 2007

Over the past five weeks, the Socialist Equality Party’s candidates for the March 24 New South Wales (Australia) election have taken the party’s program to a wide and generally sympathetic audience, despite an almost total blackout by the mainstream media.

Bush’s “aid” to Latin America mirrors national programs to mask oppression

By Vitor Hugo and R. Pichuaga in Sao Paulo, 22 March 2007

On the eve of his recent trip to Latin America, US President George W. Bush and his administration complained that Washington was not given enough credit for the economic aid that it is bestowing upon the region—$1.8 billion for 2007. The figure, however, represents a $200 million cut from lat year, with half the total going to military aid.

How to vote for the Socialist Equality Party (Australia)

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 22 March 2007

The SEP’s how-to-vote card for the Legislative Council is available here as a PDF file. We encourage readers to download and distribute it as widely as possible at polling booths throughout New South Wales.

Proposed new powers for bailiffs in Britain: an attack on the poor and indebted

By Dennis Moore, 22 March 2007

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Commons in early March, proposes new powers that will enable the agents of bailiffs—court officers involved in the collection of debts and fines—to force entry into people’s homes, seize belongings and, in certain cases, restrain people.

Bush administration steps up economic pressure on Iran

By Peter Symonds, 22 March 2007

Even as the UN Security Council debates a punitive new resolution against Iran, the Bush administration is threatening to impose unilateral sanctions against foreign corporations and banks engaged in investment and trade with Tehran. The measures to cripple the country economically are accompanied by ongoing US military preparations in the Persian Gulf for an attack on Iran.

Congressional hearings detail political tampering in US climate research

By Naomi Spencer, 22 March 2007

Hearings resumed March 19 in the US Congress on charges of political interference in governmental climate research. The evidence and testimony further demonstrate the lengths the Bush administration, at the behest of the oil industry, has gone to suppress scientists’ findings and confuse public opinion of climate change.

German foreign minister warns against return to the Cold War

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 March 2007

The plan by the US government to bypass NATO and establish a missile base in Poland with a related radar system in the Czech Republic, as part of its satellite-based anti-missile defence system NMD (National Missile Defence), has prompted angry responses in Europe. A number of prominent European politicians are now openly warning that the US proposal poses a threat to NATO’s future and the danger of a split within the European Union as well.

A demonstration against the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR)

By , 21 March 2007

The following account of a French anti-nuclear demonstration was sent by a WSWS reader in Nancy, France.

Australian government condemns Tamil refugees to years of incarceration

By Peter Symonds and SEP candidate for NSW Legislative Council (Australia), 21 March 2007

The Australian government’s treatment of 83 Tamil asylum seekers fleeing from war-torn Sri Lanka is barbaric and criminal. Far from providing them with the necessary material and psychological support, the government has treated them as criminals. Last Sunday they were dumped in a detention centre on the remote and desolate Pacific island of Nauru.

Russia: Deadliest mining disaster in 60 years claims 107 lives

By Cezar Komorovsky, 21 March 2007

In the deadliest mining disaster in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, 107 miners have lost their lives in a gas explosion that ripped through a mine 60 kilometers south of the southern Siberian town of Novokuznetsk early Monday morning.

Jerusalem and Washington bring Palestinians to the brink of starvation

By Jean Shaoul, 21 March 2007

The House of Commons International Development Committee has recently published a report of the findings of its visit to Israel and Palestine.

US: Medicaid recipients denied benefits under proof of citizenship law

By Naomi Spencer, 21 March 2007

Under a federal law enacted July 1 of 2006, hundreds of thousands of US citizens have been dropped from state Medicaid programs. The law, a provision of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, requires all Medicaid applicants and enrollees to present proof of their identity and citizenship in order to qualify for the health coverage. The rule was pushed by its Republican sponsors in the House as a way to shut undocumented immigrants out of receiving federally funded medical coverage.

Turkey: Kurdish nationalists and left groups move towards electoral bloc

By Sinan Ikinci, 21 March 2007

With national elections set to be held in Turkey on November 4, political parties on both the right and “left” are increasingly engaged in unprincipled horse-trading. Plans and proposals to form electoral blocs are floated frequently and get considerable coverage in the media. An indispensable part of this process is the mutual political recriminations between competing bourgeois factions.

Iraq: Protests against US operations in Sadr City

By James Cogan, 21 March 2007

Several thousand people protested last Friday following evening prayers in the first public expression of hostility toward the US military operations now taking place inside the densely-populated Shiite working class district of Sadr City in Baghdad. Demonstrators chanted “No occupation” and “No America” as they marched in opposition to the announcement by American commanders that they were establishing their first permanent base inside Sadr City’s limits, at an Iraqi police station.

The US invasion has caused nearly three-quarter million Iraqi deaths

By the Editorial Board, 20 March 2007

On the fourth anniversary of Washington’s unprovoked invasion of Iraq, President Bush delivered a five-minute midday televised speech pleading with the American people to give his latest escalation of the war more time to suppress Iraq resistance to the US occupation.

Letters from our readers

By , 20 March 2007

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

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 March 2007

Latin America

Rome: Thousands demonstrate against US war policy and the Prodi government

By a WSWS reporting team, 20 March 2007

An estimated 30,000 people marched through the centre of Rome March 17 to protest against the Iraq war and the policies of Italy’s government. On the fourth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, demonstrations also took place in Madrid, Prague, Copenhagen, Athens, Istanbul and other European cities.

Anti-terror police raid homes of Sydney University students

By Patrick O’Connor, SEP candidate for Marrickville and NSW (Australia), 20 March 2007

Last week’s highly provocative raids by anti-terrorism police on a number of University of Sydney students underscore the real political agenda behind the so-called war on terror. The bolstering of the state apparatus through a series of draconian “anti-terror” laws has been centrally aimed not at protecting ordinary people from the threat of terrorist attack, but rather at suppressing political dissent and intimidating anyone considering challenging the government or the state.

New Zealand government announces extension of Afghanistan military operations

By John Braddock, 20 March 2007

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced last week that the country’s military intervention in Afghanistan will be extended until September 2008. The latest deployment of a 120-strong Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan province and other military postings follows a similar 12-month extension announced last April.

US: Medicaid recipients denied benefits under proof of citizenship law

By Naomi Spencer, 20 March 2007

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Edward Pearce’s The Great Man, Sir Robert Walpole

By Ann Talbot, 20 March 2007

Edward Pearce The Great Man, Sir Robert Walpole: Scoundrel, Genius and Britain’s First Prime Minister (London: Jonathan Cape, 2007) 352 pp.

An appeal to WSWS readers: Attend the ISSE/SEP Emergency Conference Against War

By , 20 March 2007

Dear readers,

SEP demands immediate release of Australian citizen David Hicks from Guantánamo

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 20 March 2007

On March 1, after more than five years of detention in Guantánamo Bay, Australian citizen David Hicks was formally charged by the American military with “providing material support for terrorism”. He will be arraigned before a military commission later this month—the first prisoner to be tried before the Pentagon’s modified kangaroo courts.

Three New York City cops indicted in last year’s killing of unarmed Queens man

By Peter Daniels, 19 March 2007

Three New York City police detectives were indicted on March 16 in the killing of 23-year-old Sean Bell and the wounding of two others last year. The unarmed men were hit when the cops, along with two others who were not indicted, opened fire, unloading 50 shots into their car in the early morning hours of November 25.

SEP candidates address Sydney election meeting

By our reporters, 19 March 2007

The Socialist Equality Party (Australia) held its final public meeting yesterday in its campaign for the March 24 New South Wales (NSW) state election. Before an attentive audience of students and working people, young and old, the party’s candidates focussed on the central issues of political perspective raised by the SEP’s intervention in the election.

Airbus union leaders turn rally over to right-wing politicians

By our reporters, 19 March 2007

Some 20,000 turned out Friday March 16 for the demonstration against job cuts at Airbus in Hamburg. They packed the Spielbudenplatz in the centre of the city, with many having travelled from other Airbus factories in the cities of Bremen, Buxtehude, Laupheim, Stade and Varel. In addition, delegations came from subsidiary industries, and a large number of young people were also in attendance. Entire school classes had been given the day off, and some held signs reading, “My dad should keep his job” and “Who is thinking of our future?”

Homeless in the US: Underfunded and brutalized

By Naomi Spencer, 19 March 2007

While statistics do not capture the real social dimension of homelessness in the United States, new data confirm that the homeless face increasing brutality, criminalization and neglect. But like the growing poverty population, the suffering of the homeless population finds no meaningful reflection in the budget or policy priorities of the federal government.