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Andrew Young, bagman for US capitalism in Africa

By Lawrence Porter, 30 April 2007

Andrew Young, the former black civil rights leader and confidant of Martin Luther King Jr., has recently come under criticism for his dirty dealings with corrupt African governments, especially for his close relationship with General Olusegan Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president.

SEP candidate speaks at election meeting on Scottish island of Arran

By Steve James, 30 April 2007

Socialist Equality Party candidate for the West of Scotland Regional List Robert Skelton addressed a recent meeting in Brodick on the island of Arran He spoke against seven other candidates seeking election to the Scottish Parliament on May 3. The others participating included candidates from Labour, the Scottish National Party, the Conservatives, the Scottish Socialist Party, the Scottish Jacobite Party, the UK Independence Party and an independent Scottish nationalist.

David North refutes falsifications of Trotsky’s life at lectures in Scotland and Wales

By our correspondents, 30 April 2007

In a lecture delivered at the universities of Glasgow in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales, World Socialist Web Site editorial board chairman David North challenged the falsification of the historical role of Leon Trotsky contained in two recent biographies authored by British historians Ian Thatcher and Geoffrey Swain.

International resistance grows to auto industry downsizing

By Shannon Jones, 30 April 2007

Union officials representing General Motors facilities in Europe have called for a one-day strike May 3 to protest job cuts at the GM Opel plant in Antwerp, Belgium. The strike call comes amid signs of growing resistance by European workers to the attempt of US and German-based automakers to carry out restructuring at the expense of jobs and living standards in the major industrial countries.

David North refutes falsifications of Trotsky’s life at lectures in Scotland and Wales

By our reporters, 30 April 2007

In lectures given in Scotland and Wales World Socialist Web Site editorial board chairman David North challenged the falsification of the historical role of Leon Trotsky contained in two recent biographies authored by British historians Ian Thatcher and Geoffrey Swain.

US analyst derides ineffective US-created Iraqi military

By James Cogan, 30 April 2007

The Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that the soldiers and police of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are taking the lead in fighting the armed opponents of the US occupation and the US-backed Iraqi government. Announcing the deployment of 21,000 additional American troops to Iraq on January 10, Bush declared that the “well-defined mission” of the US forces would be “to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs”.

Sri Lanka: military intelligence involved in “terrorist conspiracy”

By W.A. Sunil and K. Ratnayake, 30 April 2007

At a press conference in February, the Sri Lankan military boasted that it had broken up a major terrorist conspiracy. Officials played the video taped confessions of three men detained less than 48 hours earlier, admitting to being members of a previously unknown group, the Revolutionary Liberation Organisation (RLO), to having received training and arms from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and to plotting terrorist acts in the south of the island.

PSG May 1 meeting to be held in Schöneberg city hall

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 April 2007

The May 1 meeting of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG—the Socialist Equality Party of Germany) is to be held as planned in the Schöneberg city hall in Berlin. Last Friday, the Second Chamber of the Administration Court in Berlin issued an order that compels the district office of Tempelhof-Schöneberg to provide the PSG with a suitable room for the meeting.

Millionaire landowner to save the National Health Service?

By by Niall Cooper and Socialist Equality Party candidate for West of Scotland, 28 April 2007

Labour’s drive to privatise the National Health Service (NHS) through the deeply unpopular Private Finance Initiative (PFI), combined with hospital closures and staff and equipment shortages, has provoked widespread anger and opposition.

Royal moves into the camp of Bayrou

By Peter Schwarz, 28 April 2007

Ségolène Royal, the presidential candidate of the French Socialist Party, has reacted to the April 22 election by throwing herself into the arms of François Bayrou, the candidate of the right-wing bourgeois UDF. Bayrou took third place in the first round of the presidential election with 18.6 percent of the vote, trailing Royal (25.9 percent) and the Gaullist Nicolas Sarkozy (31.2 percent).

SEP writes to Sri Lankan defence secretary demanding answers on disappearance of party member

By , 28 April 2007

The letter below was sent by Socialist Equality Party General Secretary Wije Dias to the Sri Lankan defence secretary yesterday protesting against the failure of the police or defence ministry to conduct any serious investigation into the disappearance of SEP member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan. More than five weeks after they were last seen by locals, the security forces are yet to confirm or deny arresting the two men. The letter outlines new evidence pointing to attempts by the navy and the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party, which is part of the ruling coalition government in Colombo, to obscure the circumstances in which the pair disappeared.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 April 2007

Indian highway workers protest

Massacre in Mogadishu—war crime made in the USA

By Bill Van Auken, 28 April 2007

The brutal military siege against the Somali capital of Mogadishu constitutes a war crime for which the US government bears the principal responsibility.

Democratic presidential candidates debate where to wage war next

By Jerry White, 28 April 2007

In the first debate between candidates for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination, the leading contenders made clear that whatever their differences with the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq, they are all committed to maintaining the US occupation of the oil-rich country and that, if elected president, they would not hesitate to use US military power anywhere in the world to defend the geo-political interests of American imperialism.

US: FDA knew of food contamination for years

By Naomi Spencer, 28 April 2007

For years, the federal Food and Drug Administration knew about contamination problems on California spinach farms and at a Georgia peanut butter processor that sickened at least 600 people and caused at least three deaths, according to agency documents and interviews obtained by the Washington Post.

US economic growth slows as housing bubble deflates

By Joe Kay, 28 April 2007

The deflation of the housing bubble in the US severely damaged economic growth in the first quarter of 2007, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Commerce Department. Seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an annual rate of 1.3 percent January through March, the smallest rate of growth in four years.

Australian Labor leader’s US trip: a nod from Murdoch and the Washington establishment

By Laura Tiernan, 28 April 2007

Australian Labor leader Kevin Rudd returned on Monday from a three-day visit to the United States, having assured senior Pentagon and State Department officials of Labor’s unstinting commitment to the US alliance. The opposition leader also met with senior Treasury officials, global media baron Rupert Murdoch and Goldman Sachs’ Robert Zoellick, signalling that he will be a “safe pair of hands” for the financial elite should Labor take office following elections due later this year.

Workers Struggles: Europe

By , 27 April 2007

Scandinavian Airlines staff stage unofficial strike

Reports confirm Canada’s complicity in Afghan state torture

By Lee Parsons, 27 April 2007

“If this report is accurate, Canadians have engaged in war crimes, not only individually but also as a matter of policy”—law professor Michael Byers

Berlin district council meeting upholds ban on PSG meeting

By our reporter, 27 April 2007

On Wednesday evening, April 26, the head councillor for the Berlin district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Bernd Krömer (CDU), openly admitted that the decision to close the district’s city hall on May 1 was politically motivated and aimed at preventing the meeting planned for that day by the Partei für Soziale Glechheit (Socialist Equality Party, PSG). A session of the council voted to uphold the ban on the PSG’s meeting.

Obituary: Kurt Vonnegut, satirist and pessimist

By Sandy English, 27 April 2007

The American writer Kurt Vonnegut died on April 11 at the age of 84 from injuries to his brain suffered during a fall several weeks earlier.

Top hedge-fund managers average $540 million in income

By Joe Kay, 27 April 2007

An article in Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine this week reports that the 25 highest-paid hedge-fund managers in the US had an average income of $540 million in 2006, with the top three pulling in over $1 billion each.

US moves to limit lawyers’ access to Guantánamo inmates

By Tom Carter, 27 April 2007

In the wake of recent revelations of widespread torture and abuse at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, the US Justice Department has taken legal action to restrict lawyers’ access to their clients incarcerated there. These lawyers have been an important source of news from inside the camp, despite being already subject to a strict set of rules established by the Pentagon and the DC Court of Appeals in 2004.

Senate passes Iraq war spending bill, paving way to Bush veto

By Bill Van Auken, 27 April 2007

The Senate’s narrow approval of a $124 billion war spending bill Thursday has brought the current phase of the drawn-out war of words between the Bush White House and the Democratic-led Congress over Iraq one step closer to resolution. The bill, passed by the House the day before, will arrive on Bush’s desk early next week to be promptly vetoed.

US, Japan and India flex naval muscle in the Pacific

By Daniel Woreck, 27 April 2007

The US, Japan and India held their first-ever joint naval exercise near the Boso Peninsula in central Japan on April 16. Four destroyers from Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force, three warships from the Indian Navy and two Aegis-equipped destroyers from the US Navy took part in the six-hour long drill, which reportedly sought to improve communications and coordination, and test interoperability.

Sri Lanka: LTTE mounts second air attack as government forces intensify offensive

By Sarath Kumara, 27 April 2007

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) carried out a second air attack in just over a month, hitting the Sri Lankan military’s main complex in the northern Jaffna peninsula at Palaly late on Monday night. Palaly is the main northern air base and thus a major supply route for the military, which has no road access to the south of the island.

PSG takes legal action against Berlin district office over meeting ban

By the Editorial Board, 26 April 2007

The following press statement has been sent by the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party) to the editorial offices of all of Germany’s national and regional newspapers, and radio and television stations.

Regional powers provide a pittance in aid to tsunami victims in Solomon Islands

By Will Marshall, 26 April 2007

The response of the Australian and New Zealand governments to the humanitarian crisis in Solomon Islands underlines their callous indifference toward the people of the Pacific island states. A massive earthquake triggered a tsunami on April 2, devastating much of the Western and Choiseul provinces and causing a series of landslides on Ranonga Island. Thousands of people have been displaced, leaving them vulnerable to disease and food shortages.

British Lancet medical journal calls for defeat of Australian government

By Mike Head, 26 April 2007

One of the world’s most respected medical journals, the British-based Lancet, has published an editorial calling for the defeat of Australia’s Howard government in this year’s federal election because of the damage it is inflicting on public health and medical research.

Britain: Labour whips up anti-immigrant prejudice

By Chris Marsden and Socialist Equality Party candidate in West of Scotland, 26 April 2007

Once again, a desperate Labour government, fearing electoral meltdown, is responding by mounting a xenophobic campaign against immigrants. And once again, the Guardian and the Observer newspapers, the supposed bastions of liberal opinion, have come forward as conduits for government propaganda and apologists for the most venal right-wing sentiment.

UN warns of growing humanitarian crisis in occupied Iraq

By Kate Randall, 26 April 2007

A new United Nations report on human rights in Iraq paints a devastating portrait of the conditions of life facing the civilian population as the US occupation enters its fifth year. The report from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) covers the period from January 1 to March 31, 2007, which includes the beginning of the Bush administration’s Baghdad “surge,” Operation Law and Order.

After first round of French election: the contest for the “centre”

By Peter Schwarz, 26 April 2007

Workers and young people confront a difficult choice in the final round of the French presidential election on May 6. Although they reject and despise the candidate of the Socialist Party, many will vote for Ségolène Royal in order to prevent a victory for Nicolas Sarkozy, the right-wing candidate of the Gaullist UMP.

The bitter legacy of Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007)

By Vladimir Volkov, 26 April 2007

The first president of post-Soviet Russia, Boris Yeltsin, died on April 23 in a Moscow hospital of heart failure at the age of 76. He will go down in history as a world-class political criminal.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold May Day meeting in Colombo

By , 26 April 2007

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) is holding a public meeting on May 1 in Colombo to mark the international workers day. The unity of the working class around the world is today a matter of urgent practical necessity in order to combat the looming dangers of imperialist war and the deepening assault on democratic rights and living standards.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 April 2007

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

Toyota surpasses GM in global auto sales

By Jerry White, 26 April 2007

During the first three months of 2007, Toyota sold more cars and trucks worldwide than General Motors for the first time ever, as the Japanese company moved closer to becoming the world’s largest automaker in terms of annual global sales. With the exception of individual years in the 1970s and 1980s when production was cut due to labor strikes, General Motors has held the number-one spot for every year since 1931—during the depths of the Great Depression.

Pat Tillman’s brother denounces the US military’s “deliberate and calculated lies”

By David Walsh, 26 April 2007

In impassioned testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee in Washington Tuesday, Kevin Tillman accused the US military and the Bush administration of “deliberate and calculated lies” in regard to his brother’s death by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

Final votes counted in New South Wales election campaign

By Laura Tiernan, 25 April 2007

Vote-counting was finalised at Easter for the NSW state election held March 24, showing the Socialist Equality Party received a combined total of 1,201 votes across three lower house electorates and 456 in the Legislative Council.

Iraqis oppose US plan to divide Baghdad into ghettos

By James Cogan, 25 April 2007

The US military’s plan to seal off an entire suburb of Baghdad behind a three-metre high concrete wall has produced widespread opposition among Iraqis of all religious and ethnic backgrounds. Several thousand residents of Sunni-populated Adhamiyah demonstrated against the wall on Monday behind banners declaring “No Shiite. No Sunni. Islamic Unity” and “No to the sectarian barrier”. Shiite leaders in neighbouring suburbs have also condemned the barrier.

The Situation: a drama of the Iraq war

By Joanne Laurier, 25 April 2007

The Situation, directed by Philip Haas, screenplay by Wendell Steavenson

Scottish Greens vie for coalition with a pledge to abandon protest politics

By Julie Hyland and West of Scotland regional list for the Socialist Equality Party, 25 April 2007

In campaigning for a socialist alternative to the capitalist parties in elections to the Scottish parliament on May 3, some young people have told me that they too are socialist, and that is why they will be voting for the Scottish Greens.

Who missed the deadline on the North Korean nuclear deal?

By John Chan, 25 April 2007

The April 14 deadline for North Korea to shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors back into the country came and went. Washington has highlighted Pyongyang’s “failure” to keep its promises and pressed it to do so soon. The international media has dutifully echoed US concerns and paid scant attention to the Bush administration’s failure to keep its side of the bargain.

India’s elite touts Tata’s Corus Steel takeover as proof India a “global player”

By Poopalasingam Thillaivarothayan and SEP candidate in the Welsh Assembly Election (South Wales Central Region), 25 April 2007

Tata Steel’s recent $13.2 billion acquisition of the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Corus Steel has prompted India’s corporate and political elite to indulge in much euphoric chest-thumping about “rising India.”

Iraq: Nine US troops dead, 20 wounded in Baqubah

By James Cogan, 25 April 2007

The occupation forces in Iraq suffered one of their largest casualties in a single attack on Monday when suicide bombers penetrated the defences of a recently established US patrol base on the outskirts of Baqubah. The city, to the east of Baghdad, has been the scene of increasing fighting between Sunni-based guerrillas and the US military over the past several months.

Washington’s Iraq funding “confrontation:” a dispute over tactics for continuing the war

By Bill Van Auken, 25 April 2007

With House and Senate Democrats having agreed Monday on a common piece of legislation providing over $100 billion to pay for the continuation and escalation of the Iraq war, President George W. Bush called a Tuesday press conference to once again vow that he will veto the bill.

Sri Lankan defence secretary menaces newspaper editor

By Nanda Wickremesinghe, 24 April 2007

In a further attack on democratic rights, Sri Lanka’s defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse last week threatened the editor of the English language Daily Mirror over two articles in its April 16 and 17 editions—the first dealing the activities of a pro-government militia, known as the Karuna group, and the second with the appalling conditions facing Tamil refugees in the East.

Australian government argues for mass detention power in “war on terror”

By Mike Head, 24 April 2007

The Australian High Court is expected to hand down a decision soon that could have far-reaching consequences for civil and political rights. The case, Thomas v Mowbray, involves a constitutional challenge by a young Melbourne worker, Jack Thomas, to a “control order” imposed on him last August. His lawyers argue that the control order—a form of house arrest—amounts to unconstitutional detention without trial.

After strong growth, world economy at a “turning point”

By Nick Beams, 24 April 2007

The latest reports on the state of the world economy by both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank paint a picture of a global boom, the like of which has not been seen in almost four decades.

Austria: 100 days of the grand coalition government

By Dieter Blumenfeld and Markus Salzmann, 24 April 2007

The grand coalition government in Vienna comprising the Austrian Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP) has been in office for 100 days. At the beginning of January, the SPÖ- ÖVP coalition replaced a government made up of the conservative ÖVP and the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). The FPÖ was itself later replaced by the split-off Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), led by Jörg Haider.

More letters on the tragedy at Virginia Tech

By , 24 April 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site regarding our coverage of the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Torture exposed in new US-Iraqi “security stations”

By Jerry White, 24 April 2007

The brutal methods being employed by US forces and the Iraqi military in the current “surge” of US military operations in Baghdad were laid bare by an article that appeared in Sunday’s New York Times. Entitled, “Three suspects talk after Iraqi soldiers do dirty work,” the piece details the torture of Sunni prisoners at one of the new American-Iraqi “security stations” set up in the capital city as part of the US plan to crush popular resistance to the occupation of Iraq.

Climate change seen as “security threat” by UN Security Council, US military experts

By Naomi Spencer, 24 April 2007

On April 17, the United Nations Security Council held its first-ever discussion on climate change as a serious threat to security and future political stability. In addition to the 15 council member states in attendance, 38 other UN member countries sent representatives to speak. Although no action was taken at the meeting’s conclusion, its very convocation reveals growing uneasiness within the world’s ruling powers about social unrest that would come with global warming.

Huge sewage pollution in Scotland linked to Thames Water’s cost-cutting

By Paul Mitchell, 24 April 2007

A pump failure at the Seafield sewage treatment plant near Edinburgh on Friday has sent millions of gallons of untreated human excrement into the Forth river estuary. It was 40 hours before the public was notified.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 24 April 2007

Latin America

Haditha massacre report: US commanders see killing Iraqi civilians as “cost of doing business”

By David Walsh, 24 April 2007

An unpublished report commissioned by the US military on the massacre carried out in the Iraqi town of Haditha by American marines in November 2005 is an unintended indictment of the entire war and occupation. In its Saturday edition, the Washington Post published an article on Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell’s report, including excerpts from the document, a copy of which the newspaper had obtained. Bargewell makes clear that indifference to the fate of Iraqi civilians is pervasive in the military high command.

Welsh voters denounce main parties

By our correspondent, 24 April 2007

In the face of a mounting social crisis and growing alienation among voters, all the major parties in the Welsh Assembly joined together on Sunday to launch an “Equality Day”—with a joint press conference and sponsorship of an anti-racist rally. This bogus exercise reflects the fact that most of these parties fully expect to be part of a coalition government when the votes are counted.

Call for Nigerian presidential election to be annulled after massive corruption

By Ann Talbot, 24 April 2007

Even before Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was announced the winner Monday, calls mounted for the country’s April 21 presidential election to be annulled.

International conference highlights plight of Iraqi refugees

By James Cogan, 23 April 2007

An international conference on the humanitarian crisis caused by the US invasion of Iraq was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 17 and 18. The forum discussed a submission by a number of non-government organisations (NGOs) documenting the needs of more than eight million Iraqis for “immediate assistance and protection”.

Canada’s Green leader backs the Liberals

By Richard Dufour, 23 April 2007

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Liberal leader Stéphane Dion appeared together at a press conference April 13 to announce that their parties will not stand candidates in each other’s ridings in Canada’s next federal election. Their joint statement advocates “a government in which Stéphane Dion serves as Prime Minister” that would “work well with a Green Caucus” to promote “action on climate.”

US media hides behind the Virginia Tech tragedy

By David Walsh, 23 April 2007

In an op-ed piece in Sunday’s Boston Globe, columnist Jeff Jacoby took to task numerous individuals and organizations whom he claimed were exploiting last week’s Virginia Tech massacre for political purposes, including the World Socialist Web Site.

Berlin district office cancels meeting room for PSG meeting on May 1

By by Editorial Board, 23 April 2007

On Friday April 20, the Berlin district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg declared that the Schöneberg city hall would be closed for meetings on May 1. This decision has immediate consequences for the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party) in Germany.

Britain: Socialist Equality Party distributes election statement

By our correspondent, 23 April 2007

More than 600,000 Socialist Equality Party election statements are to be delivered to every household in the West of Scotland and South Wales Central regions over the next week.

Wen’s visit fails to end Sino-Japanese tensions

By John Chan, 23 April 2007

The three-day “ice-melting” visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Japan from April 11 to 13 marked only a superficial reconciliation between the two countries. Behind the handshakes, smiles and friendly gestures, sharp tensions continue between the two rival powers in North East Asia.

Study details US junk food industry’s targeting of youth through TV ads

By D. Lencho, 23 April 2007

A recent report details the food industry’s policy of targeting children in television advertising to promote snack foods and sugar-laden cereals. The study, released on March 28, was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a privately operated foundation focusing on health issues. The report was spurred by growing concern over the number of obese children in the US: about one in three, or 25 million.

Sarkozy and Royal to compete in second round

By Peter Schwarz, 23 April 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal will compete in the second round of the French presidential election on May 6.

Britain: Stop the War Coalition’s humble appeal to Labour’s “new Prime Minister”

By Chris Marsden, 21 April 2007

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

US steps up pressure on Iran’s nuclear programs

By Peter Symonds, 21 April 2007

The US administration intensified its pressure on Tehran after a leaked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) letter written on Wednesday revealed Iran had doubled the number of gas centrifuges installed in an underground hall at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

Gonzalez before the Senate Judiciary Committee: The Bush clique on life support

By Patrick Martin, 21 April 2007

Thursday’s day-long interrogation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee provided a picture of an administration visibly in crisis, but with a political “opposition” unwilling and unable to seriously criticize the regime, let alone genuinely combat it.

West Bengal’s Stalinist chief minister invited to Washington

By Arun Kumar and Kranti Kumara, 21 April 2007

In what constitutes a resounding vote of confidence in the pro-investor policies of West Bengal’s Left Front government, the Bush administration has invited Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the state’s chief minister and a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), to visit the US.

Bayrou poses as alternative to Sarkozy

By Peter Schwarz in Paris, 21 April 2007

There is a tradition in France of obsolete petty bourgeois politicians presenting themselves as people’s tribunes and striving for power on the back of the apparatus of the old workers’ organisations. Prior to the Second World War, this was the role played by the Radical Party, which, despite its name, was deeply conservative and hostile to worker’s interests.

Australian governments covered up 1975 execution of “Balibo Five” newsmen

By Mike Head, 21 April 2007

A coronial inquest, due to resume in Sydney next month, has produced telling new evidence of a cover-up, orchestrated by every Australian government since 1975, of the facts surrounding the execution of five Australian-based newsmen in the lead-up to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.

Leading Democrats posture on abortion ruling

By Joe Kay, 21 April 2007

Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision marks a turning point in jurisprudence on abortion in the United States. By upholding the so-called Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, the Court has set the stage for numerous restrictions on abortion rights.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 April 2007

All India Radio and Doordarshan workers on hunger strike

Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia

By Peter Daniels, 21 April 2007

Tom Stoppard’s trilogy The Coast of Utopia, near the end of its six-month run at Lincoln Center’s Beaumont Theater in New York City, is an unusual theatrical event. The aim of these three plays—Voyage, Shipwreck and Salvage—is nothing less than to depict the rise and early struggles of the Russian intelligentsia. This very small stratum, drawn largely from the most privileged layers of the population, was to play a seminal role in Russian and world history.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 20 April 2007

Europe

Letters on the tragedy at Virginia Tech

By , 20 April 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site regarding our coverage of the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Posada Carriles: terrorist who killed 73 in plane bombing walks free

By Bill Van Auken, 20 April 2007

“I vowed that if you harbor a terrorist you’re equally as guilty as the terrorist. That’s a doctrine. In order for this country to be credible, when the President says something, he must mean it.” President George W. Bush, April 10, 2007, American Legion Post 177, Fairfax, Virginia.

The Scotsman newspaper misrepresents SEP campaign

By Julie Hyland, 20 April 2007

On April 18 The Scotsman newspaper published an election round-up of what it describes as the “small parties” standing for election to the Scottish parliament on May 3.

Anger erupts in Iraq over Baghdad bombings

By James Cogan, 20 April 2007

Four more bombings on Wednesday by suspected Sunni fanatics have left Shiite districts of Baghdad in a state of grief, shock and outrage against the US military and the Iraqi government, which claimed the current US-led security crackdown against Shiite militias would not leave the population vulnerable to attack. In one of the bloodiest days of the occupation, more than 200 people were killed and over 250 wounded.

Greetings to the ISSE/SEP Conference: Britain

By , 20 April 2007

The following greetings were sent to the March 31-April 1 ISSE/SEP Emergency Conference Against War from Julie Hyland, assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain.

The dismal world of Lutte Ouvrière and Arlette Laguiller

By Felix Faber, 20 April 2007

The election campaign conducted by presidential candidate Arlette Laguiller of Workers’ Struggle (Lutte Ouvrière, LO) is dominated by three main themes: unemployment, the housing shortage and wages. The organisation has nothing to say on international questions, and the three pillars of its political perspective are also approached from a purely national standpoint.

The malignant resentments that erupted into mass murder in Virginia

By David Walsh, 20 April 2007

The Virginia Tech tragedy, which led to the brutal deaths of 33 people, is an event that needs to be considered soberly and at length. But even before funerals have taken place and the dead properly memorialized, government and university officials are urging students, faculty and the population at large to “move on.”

East Timor: Hunt for “rebel” military leader called off

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 April 2007

East Timorese presidential candidate and current prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, announced on Tuesday that he was calling off the pursuit by Australian soldiers of “rebel” military leader Alfredo Reinado. The former major is wanted for attempted murder and illegal firearms possession, charges relating to his mutiny and attacks on government forces in May last year. Reinado, who has close links with the Australian military and President Xanana Gusmao, played a significant role in Canberra’s campaign last year to unseat former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. The decision to suspend the pursuit and negotiate terms for a voluntary surrender raises further questions about Reinado’s provocative record.

Solidarity and the Scottish Socialist Party: Programmes for a capitalist Scotland

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 19 April 2007

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

Bush, Democrats meet on war funding as violence soars in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 19 April 2007

US President George W. Bush and Democratic congressional leaders staged a meeting in the White House Wednesday to discuss pending legislation that would provide more than $100 billion to continue and escalate the four-year-old US war and occupation in Iraq.

Extreme right candidate Le Pen profits from the bankruptcy of the “left”

By Peter Schwarz in Paris, 19 April 2007

The vote for the extreme right-wing candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen is tensely awaited in Sunday’s first round of the French presidential elections.

US Supreme Court rules in favor of abortion restrictions

By Joe Kay, 19 April 2007

In a highly significant decision released Wednesday morning, the US Supreme Court for the first time upheld a law banning certain types of abortion. The ruling sets the stage for further legal restrictions on abortion rights throughout the country. It represents a further attack on democratic rights and the separation of church and state.

Report to the ISSE conference: on the political situation in Sri Lanka and the disappearance of SEP member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran

By , 19 April 2007

The following is a report to ISSE/SEP Emergency Conference Against War by Parwini Zora motivating the resolution adopted by the conference on the disappearance of SEP member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan, and demanding an investigation into the murder of SEP supporter Sivapragasam Mariyadas.

The plunder of Iraqi antiquities continues

By Sandy English, 19 April 2007

The looting of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad during the American invasion four years ago was the beginning of a cultural catastrophe for that country. Over 15,000 precious objects were taken from the museum, many of which dated back thousands of years and had inestimable scientific and artistic value. The museum’s equipment and furniture were stolen. Display cases were smashed. Objects that could not be taken were destroyed.

Australia dispatches more troops for phoney “war on terror” in Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 19 April 2007

The Howard government announced on April 10 that a 300-strong unit of the Australian military’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) and army commandos will be sent to the southern Afghanistan province of Uruzgan within several weeks. Their stated mission will be combat operations against alleged supporters of Al Qaeda and the former Taliban regime who are fighting a guerilla war against the US-NATO occupation of the country.

Balance sheet of the German trade unions

By Dietmar Henning, 19 April 2007

Over the last few weeks a number of studies, surveys and articles have appeared which make clear that the social divide in Germany is rapidly deepening. While wages for workers have either stagnated or fallen, company profits and managers’ salaries have soared.

Oil company CEO nets $460 million in 2006

By Debra Watson, 19 April 2007

The Occidental Petroleum Corporation officers disclosed last week that Chief Executive Ray R. Irani took home more than $460 million in compensation in 2006. This is one of the highest annual executive payouts ever at a US corporation. Only a few CEOs have ever made more money in one year, including Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison, who received $706 million in 2001, and former Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner, who got $570 million in 1998.

US continues detention of five Iranian officials in Iraq

By Peter Symonds, 19 April 2007

In a decision that was barely reported, the Bush administration resolved last week to continue to hold five Iranian officials seized in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 11. While the US and international media was flooded with stories about Iran’s contentious arrest of 15 British sailors last month, there was not a murmur of protest over the illegal and provocative American detention of the Irbil five.

Poland’s new “lustration” law—a profound attack on democratic rights

By Cezar Komorowsky, 18 April 2007

In what has been described by the International Herald Tribune as a “mad” law that “makes the McCarthyites of the US in the 1950s look like amateurs at the practice of anti-Communism,” the Polish government has enacted legislation obliging 700,000 Poles to declare whether they collaborated with the secret police between 1945 and the resignation of Poland’s last Stalinist leader, Wojciech Jaruzelski, in 1989.

Court appeal scheduled for US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Jerry White, 18 April 2007

Lawyers for US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal are scheduled to make oral arguments May 17 before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in an effort to win a new trial for the former Black Panther and radio journalist who was framed up for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia policeman.

The Virginia Tech massacre—social roots of another American tragedy

By David Walsh, 18 April 2007

A day after the mass killing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, along with grief and dismay, some reflections on life in the US are clearly in order. The event was horrifying, but no one who has followed the evolution of American society over the past quarter-century will be entirely shocked. Such psychopathic episodes, including dozens of multiple killings or attempted killings in workplaces and schools, have occurred with disturbing regularity, particularly since the mid-1980s. A timeline assembled by the Associated Press and the School Violence Resource Center lists some 30 school and college shootings alone since 1991.

Reports to the ISSE/SEP Conference: Canada and Italy

By , 18 April 2007

The following are reports on the political situation in Canada and Italy delivered to the International Students for Social Equality/Socialist Equality Party Emergency Conference Against War by Guy Charron, a WSWS writer and SEP member in Canada, and Marc Wells, a WSWS writer and SEP member in the US.

Israel: One third of Holocaust survivors live in poverty

By Bill Van Auken, 18 April 2007

Israel marked its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day Monday not only with the traditional wailing of air raid sirens, but also with protests over the government neglect and right-wing social policies that have left one-third of the country’s Holocaust survivors living in poverty, with little or no assistance.

Further lurch to the right in French election campaign

By Peter Schwarz in Paris, 18 April 2007

One week before the first round of voting on April 22, the leading candidates in the French presidential election have moved further to the right.

Labour plans to gut National Health Service in Wales

By Chris Talbot, 18 April 2007

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