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The new Sarkozy government hosts conference on Darfur

By Alex Lantier, 30 June 2007

Representatives of the US, France, the European Union, the Arab League, Russia and China met June 25 in Paris to discuss possible peacekeeping operations in the war-torn Sudanese province of Darfur. The press widely presented it as a means for newly elected French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his foreign minister Bernard Kouchner to demonstrate a more accommodating attitude toward Washington than Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac.

East Timor’s election held under shadow of Australian military

By Mike Head, 30 June 2007

Today’s parliamentary elections in East Timor are being conducted amid continuing Australian interference and pressure to secure the defeat of the Fretilin government, which has been in office since formal independence was declared in the former Indonesian territory in 2002.

Padilla “terrorism support trial” unravels

By Alex Lantier, 30 June 2007

The US government’s “terrorism support trial” against Jose Padilla and two acquaintances, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, is rapidly unraveling as the prosecution continued with its case this week. Even though US District Judge Marcia Cooke has let the prosecution introduce irrelevant evidence and proceed despite procedural violations, it is clear the prosecution is grasping at straws to make a case against the accused.

German government complicity in CIA abductions: The case of Khaled al-Masri

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 30 June 2007

On June 8, the Council of Europe’s Special Raporteur for human rights, Dick Marty, presented his second report concerning the illegal transport and secret imprisonment of prisoners (so-called “special renditions”). This report presents the facts and refutes the misleading and false statements made by government officials in the US and Europe.

US Senate Republicans block union-sponsored bill

By Patrick Martin, 30 June 2007

In a near party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate rejected a proposal to take up the Employee Free Choice Act, an AFL-CIO-sponsored bill that would have removed some of the procedural obstacles used by corporations to thwart union organizing drives. The 51-48 vote fell nine short of the 60 required to end debate and force a vote on the legislation. Only one of 49 Senate Republicans, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, voted for cloture, along with 48 Democrats and two independents.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 June 2007

Bangladeshi doctors on indefinite strike

US: Senate Republicans kill plan to overhaul immigration law

By Bill Van Auken, 30 June 2007

The defeat Thursday of sweeping immigration legislation backed by both the White House and the Democratic congressional leadership underscores the profound crisis of the Bush administration and the continuing swing to the right by the US political establishment and both of its major parties.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 June 2007

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

Italy: Trial of CIA agents deferred until October

By Marianne Arens, 30 June 2007

On June 18, a Milan court decided to defer to October the trial of those charged with abducting the Egyptian expatriate Imam Osama Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Judge Oscar Magi agreed to the motion of the defence lawyer representing the main Italian defendant, the former chief of Italian Military Intelligence (SISMI), Nicolò Pollari.

Australian government takeover of Aboriginal communities: the real content of the “Children are Sacred” report

By Susan Allan, 30 June 2007

Prime Minister John Howard has claimed that the trigger for his announcement last week of a federal military takeover of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory was the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry’s report into sexual abuse of Aboriginal children, entitled “Little Children are Sacred”.

Divisions erupt in the French Socialist Party

By Antoine Lerougetel and Peter Schwarz, 30 June 2007

The knives have come out in France’s Socialist Party (PS) following its defeats in the presidential and parliamentary elections. The party’s national council meeting held last weekend in Paris was dominated by sharp divisions between the camp of presidential candidate Ségolène Royal and the party apparatus, led by her former partner François Hollande, the PS first secretary. Many of the 306 delegates attending the meeting attacked Royal, and she, for her part, disavowed the party by refusing to turn up at the gathering of its highest body.

Sycophancy in parliament and an insult to world opinion

By by Socialist Equality Party of Britain, 29 June 2007

The manner of Tony Blair’s departure as prime minister says a great deal about both British and international politics.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 29 June 2007

Europe

US Supreme Court rules school districts cannot consider race in integration plans

By John Burton, 29 June 2007

On Thursday, the last court session before its traditional summer recess, the Supreme Court struck down school integration plans in Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky, ruling for the first time that local school officials cannot constitutionally consider the race of their students when implementing plans to maintain racial balance among public schools within their districts. The court reversed lower court rulings that had upheld the integration plans.

Australian journalist Glenn Milne’s “twisted logic” on Northern Territory deployment

By Laura Tiernan, 29 June 2007

Last Thursday the Howard government unveiled one of the most shameful chapters in Australian political history: a military deployment into poverty-ravaged Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, along with punitive cuts to welfare, under the shabby guise of halting child sexual abuse.

White House rebuffs congressional subpoenas, escalating confrontation over attorney purge and domestic spying

By Barry Grey, 29 June 2007

Developments over the past two days have intensified the confrontation between the Bush White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the administration’s domestic spying operations and its politically motivated ouster of nine US attorneys.

US: Northwest Airlines cancels flights amid pilot shortage

By Joe Kay, 29 June 2007

Northwest Airlines has cancelled hundreds of flights in the US in recent days, amidst a shortage of pilots and other problems brought on by downsizing and cost-cutting. Tens of thousands of passengers have already been affected in major disruptions that are expected to continue at least through the weekend.

Former EPA head defends US government lies about post-9/11 safety conditions

By Sandy English, 29 June 2007

Christine Todd Whitman, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, told a Congressional panel on Monday that she stood by the claims that she made shortly after that the attack that the area’s “air was safe to breathe.”

North Korea announces shut down of nuclear reactor

By Peter Symonds, 29 June 2007

More than four months after the US reached an agreement with North Korea over its nuclear programs, Pyongyang announced on Monday it had finally received $25 million in funds previously frozen in the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA) and would proceed to shut down its small nuclear research reactor at Yongbyon. A team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in North Korea this week to make the technical arrangements to verify the shutdown and seal the reactor and adjacent plutonium reprocessing plant.

Édith Piaf’s life in La Vie en Rose: a modern biopic

By David Walsh, 29 June 2007

La Vie en Rose, directed by Olivier Dahan, written by Dahan and Isabelle Sobelman

Sri Lankan government cracks down on protesting farmers

By , 28 June 2007

Sri Lankan police have carried out a wave of arrests after protests by thousands of farmers in the Northwest province against their forced eviction to make way for an irrigation scheme. The police action came in the wake of an angry confrontation on June 11 between farmers in several remote villages near Wariyapola and Irrigation, Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse.

US Supreme Court rulings mark a swing to the right

By Don Knowland and Patrick Martin, 28 June 2007

On June 25, the US Supreme Court issued decisions on three cases involving the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right to free speech and forbids government promotion of religion. All three decisions were reactionary rulings promoting the interests of corporate America, weakening the constitutional separation of church and state, or attacking freedom of speech. All were approved by the same five justices: Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy.

Australian neo-colonialism comes home: The Northern Territory and the Solomon Islands

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 June 2007

A series of direct and chilling parallels exists between the Howard government’s police-military takeover of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia and its military interventions in the Solomon Islands and other neighbouring South Pacific states.

Iraqi court hands down 22 death sentences in four weeks

By James Cogan, 28 June 2007

Over the four weeks from May 6 to June 2, the Central Criminal Court in Iraq (CCCI) sentenced 22 people to death, 21 to life imprisonment and dozens more to terms of between 10 and 30 years. At this rate, the US-backed Iraqi regime will order the judicial murder of well over 250 people by the end of the year and condemn another 2,000 to lengthy prison terms. In numerous cases, the “crimes” for which Iraqis have been convicted were acts of war against US occupation forces.

Britain: Postal workers set for first national strike in 11 years

By Keith Lee, 28 June 2007

Britain’s postal workers are set to hold their first national strike in 11 years on June 29. The strike was called by the CWU (Communication Workers Union) after pay talks between the union and management at Royal Mail collapsed.

Antiwar coalition attempts to prop up Democratic Party: United for Peace and Justice holds conference in Chicago

By Joe Kay and Andre Damon, 28 June 2007

The US antiwar coalition United For Peace and Justice held its third National Assembly over the weekend of June 22-24. Attending the delegated conference were some 250 to 300 individuals representing a selection of the organization’s member groups.

CIA documents point to massive and ongoing government criminality

By Bill Van Auken, 28 June 2007

The CIA’s release Wednesday of a nearly 700-page, previously classified set of documents known within the agency as the “family jewels” has served to spotlight rampant state criminality in Washington that continues to this day.

Germany: The founding of the "Left Party"

By Ulrich Rippert, 28 June 2007

At the recent founding conference of the “Left Party”—through the merging of the Party of Democratic Socialism-Left Party and the Election Alternative—the speech by co-chairman Oskar Lafontaine met with a storm of enthusiasm and standing ovations from the delegates and guests. Lafontaine styled himself in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, fulminating against war and capitalism, and expressing his support for the general strike “as a means of democratic struggle.”

Iraqi general “Chemical Ali” condemned to death

By Alex Lantier, 27 June 2007

General Ali Hassan al-Majid, one of the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s top associates, was sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) on June 24, after being found guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity as leader of the 1987-88 Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds. At the time, his indiscriminate use of poison gas earned him the nickname “Chemical Ali.”

Brussels treaty reveals divisions in the European Union

By Peter Schwarz, 27 June 2007

After 34 hours of contentious political negotiations, the EU heads of state and government finally agreed on a treaty in Brussels in the early hours of Saturday morning, June 23. The accord is supposed to take the place of the failed European Constitution.

Australia: Growing opposition to police-military takeover of Aboriginal communities

By Mike Head, 27 June 2007

Opposition is mounting within Aboriginal communities and among medical and welfare professionals toward the Howard government’s plan to impose police-military control over about 70 indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.

Guantánamo military tribunals exposed by military officer

By Mark Rainer, 27 June 2007

In an affidavit submitted to the US Supreme Court last Friday, Army reserve officer Stephen Abraham sharply criticized the military tribunals held in Guantánamo. Abraham is a 26-year veteran of military intelligence and the first member of a Guantánamo tribunal panel to be identified and speak critically of the tribunal process.

Sweatshop scandal puts black mark over Beijing Olympics

By John Chan, 27 June 2007

The Chinese government is facing embarrassing accusations that the licensed merchandise for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is being manufactured in sweatshops, in some cases using child labour. While the issue has created something of a scandal in Olympic circles, low pay, long hours and difficult, dangerous conditions are the norm in Chinese industry and have fattened the profits of global corporations for more than two decades.

Canadian Supreme Court ruling in BC hospital dispute

By Keith Jones, 27 June 2007

A ruling issued by Canada’s highest court earlier this month is being hailed by the trade union officialdom as an “historic victory” for workers. It is nothing of the sort.

UAW moves to ram through massive Delphi concessions

By Shannon Jones, 27 June 2007

The United Auto Workers bureaucracy is attempting to force through rank-and-file ratification of the recently announced contract with auto parts maker Delphi, which cuts wages by half and imposes unprecedented health and pension benefit concessions. With locals holding votes Wednesday and Thursday, workers are being given scant time to consider the far-reaching significance of the agreement and mobilize against it.

Two Republican senators attack Bush’s “surge” in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 27 June 2007

In a surprise political shift, one of the most senior Republican lawmakers warned from the floor of the US Senate Monday evening that the Bush administration’s military offensive in Iraq is doomed to failure and undermines Washington’s strategic interests in the region and internationally. A second Republican senator issued a similar declaration the following day.

Doha Round trade talks collapse amid recriminations

By Nick Beams, 26 June 2007

Talks aimed at trying to restart the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) stalled Doha Round of tariff cuts collapsed at the end of last week with signs that the divisions may be unbridgeable.

The New York Times has to correct itself again, this time on Iran

By David Walsh, 26 June 2007

On Monday, June 25 the New York Times published an “Editor’s Note” correcting an article in its Sunday edition. The note hardly answers the questions raised by the “corrected” article.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 June 2007

Latin America

Britain: New Labour’s right-wing course to continue under Brown

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 26 June 2007

Gordon Brown took over as leader of the Labour Party on Sunday at a special conference in Manchester, England. The chancellor of the exchequer will officially become Tony Blair’s successor as prime minister on Wednesday. The same conference also saw Harriet Harman elected as Labour’s deputy leader.

White House, Democrats reported in “compromise” talks on Iraqi partition

By Bill Van Auken, 26 June 2007

Top Bush administration officials have reportedly opened up talks with leading congressional Democrats aimed at forging a “compromise” plan for reducing US troop levels in Iraq that is predicated on the country’s partition along sectarian lines.

Damien Hirst’s main obsession is wealth, not mortality

By Paul Bond, 26 June 2007

Damien Hirst remains one of the highest-profile of those artists who came to prominence through the vacuous “Brit-Art” movement. Cynical and showy, his work tends to receive column inches in inverse proportion to its artistic merit. His latest show, “Beyond Belief,” has received major press coverage. One item in particular has attracted the journalists more than any other.

Police spy agencies target Australian universities

By Laura Tiernan, 26 June 2007

Last week’s revelation that police intelligence sought to recruit University of Sydney Students Representative Council (SRC) leader Daniel Jones to spy on fellow students points to increasing state surveillance of political activity on university campuses.

Northern Ireland: Apparent suicide and destruction of records mark opening of Billy Wright inquiry

By Steve James, 26 June 2007

John Kenneway was found dead in his Northern Ireland prison cell on June 8. Shortly after his death in Maghaberry Prison, the Northern Ireland Prison Service announced its regrets. The Northern Ireland Prison Ombudsman launched an investigation, in line with normal procedures.

Detroit Riverview Hospital to close: “Losing this hospital will devastate this community”

By Charles Bogle, 26 June 2007

St. John Detroit Riverview Hospital has served east side Detroit since 1987. Earlier this year, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announced their intent to transform the community hospital into a facility devoted exclusively to cancer patients.

US Supreme Court continues pattern of pro-corporate rulings

By Don Knowland, 25 June 2007

Last week the US Supreme Court issued two opinions sharply curtailing investor rights to sue for fraud and other abuses in the sale of corporate shares.

Letters on “Why the Nation remains silent on Cindy Sheehan’s departure from the Democratic Party”

By , 25 June 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site concerning our June 18-20 series “Why the Nation remains silent on Cindy Sheehan’s departure from the Democratic Party” (Part One, Part Two, Part Three).

Report reveals UK youth abandoned by education system

By Liz Smith, 25 June 2007

The Bow Group, a Conservative Party think tank, published a report on May 25 entitled Invisible Children. Using the government’s own statistics, albeit selectively, it paints a devastating picture of a whole generation of young people being abandoned by the current educational system.

US auto union accepts massive wage cuts and layoffs in tentative pact with Delphi

By Shannon Jones, 25 June 2007

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

The Blackstone IPO: $4 billion payday for private equity bosses

By Patrick Martin, 25 June 2007

An initial public offering of stock in the Blackstone private equity firm raised more than $4 billion June 22, the bulk of it going to the firm’s two founders, Stephen Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson.

Bear Stearns organises bailout but concerns remain

By Nick Beams, 25 June 2007

The giant Wall Street investment and brokerage firm Bear Stearns has put up $3.2 billion to bail out one of its troubled hedge funds in the biggest rescue operation of its kind since the collapse of the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund in 1998.

Sri Lankan unions betray university workers’ struggle

By our correspondents, 25 June 2007

The Sri Lankan trade unions have carried out another miserable betrayal.

US military prepares Fallujah-style bloodbath in Iraqi city of Baqubah

By Peter Symonds, 25 June 2007

A huge US offensive codenamed “Operation Arrowhead Ripper” is underway in the Iraqi city of Baqubah, as part of extensive American operations aimed at suppressing insurgent groups in Baghdad and areas to the north and south of the capital. US troops, backed by armoured vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes, have sealed off the city of 300,000. The action recalls the murderous November 2004 assault on Fallujah in which much of the population fled and large sections of the town were levelled.

Germany: Union sells out Deutsche Telekom strike—agrees to wage cuts and longer working hours

By , 25 June 2007

After a nearly six-week strike by Deutsche Telekom workers, service sector union Verdi last week agreed to virtually all the company’s demands.

Storm wreaks havoc across Australia’s Hunter Valley and Central Coast

By Terry Cook, 25 June 2007

People across the Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions in the southeast Australian state of New South Wales are still cleaning up nearly three weeks after devastating storms ravaged the area over a three day period, causing widespread damage and claiming nine lives.

CIA to release 1970s documents on agency’s crimes

By Bill Van Auken, 23 June 2007

The US Central Intelligence Agency is preparing to release a set of documents compiled more than 30 years ago detailing the agency’s involvement over the previous quarter century in crimes both at home and abroad. These included assassination attempts against foreign heads of state, covert spying on newspaper columnists and other US citizens, the infiltration of left-wing groups and the testing of mind-alerting drugs on unwitting American subjects.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 June 2007

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

Australian government imposes military-police regime on Aborigines

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 23 June 2007

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

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 June 2007

Philippines electronics workers protest victimisations

Britain: Dispatches programme exposes US renditions

By Barry Mason, 23 June 2007

On June 11, British Channel 4 television’s current affairs Dispatches programme featured “Kidnapped to Order.” The programme presenter and investigator was Stephen Grey, author and journalist.

At least 25 Afghan civilians killed in US bomb attack

By Barry Grey, 23 June 2007

At least 25 civilians were killed in a US air strike early Friday morning in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. The dead included nine women, three babies and an elderly mullah in the village of Kunjakak in the Grishk district of Helmand, according to the provincial police chief.

Take Back America conference: Democratic candidates seek “progressive” support

By David Walsh, 23 June 2007

At the “Take Back America” conference, held in Washington June 18-20, leading Democrats played to a crowd of 3,000 Democratic Party activists and members of liberal protest groups, promising an end to the war in Iraq and a number of social reforms. The crowd met the politicians more than halfway and chose, for the most part, to believe them.

The secret government of Dick Cheney: US vice president claims to be outside the law

By Patrick Martin, 23 June 2007

The office of Vice President Dick Cheney has refused to comply with an executive order issued by President George Bush four years ago, requiring all executive branch offices to cooperate in regular reviews of their security procedures for handling documents.

FBI targets universities in new scheme to recruit informers

By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2007

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently paid visits to a number of universities in New England as part of an effort to enlist faculty, students and staff in informing for the national police agency. The bureau’s rationale for its campus initiative is the danger posed by foreign spies and terrorists stealing sensitive research. It provides briefings on what it calls “espionage indicators” supposedly aimed at protecting the data in question.

Terry Hicks, father of former Guantánamo prisoner, speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 23 June 2007

Late last month, 31-year-old Australian citizen David Hicks was transferred from Guantánamo Bay prison to the Yatala Labour Prison in South Australia following a plea-bargain deal in his US military commission trial on March 26. Hicks, who was demonised by Washington and Canberra as a dangerous terrorist, spent almost five and half years in the US military jail after being captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.

Slave labour scandal erupts in China

By John Chan, 22 June 2007

A scandal involving the brutal exploitation of slave labour in China’s brick industry has once again confirmed the absurdity of describing the country as “socialist” or “communist”.

The Iraq orphanage story: US troops “rescue” 24 as thousands remain in the streets

By Bill Van Auken, 22 June 2007

Last Monday saw US occupation forces in Iraq launch a massive offensive involving some 10,000 troops against centers of resistance outside of Baghdad It also saw a car bombing in the center of the capital that claimed scores of lives and left hundreds wounded.

Steven Soderbergh and Ocean’s Thirteen

By David Walsh, 22 June 2007

Ocean’s Thirteen, directed by Steven Soderbergh, written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien

Lawyers claim British government approved systematic policy of torture in Iraq

By Paul Mitchell, 22 June 2007

Lawyers are claiming that the British government approved a systematic policy of torture of detainees in Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 22 June 2007

Europe

Fourteen US troops killed in two days of Iraq fighting

By Barry Grey, 22 June 2007

The US military reported Thursday that 14 US soldiers and Marines were killed in Iraq the space of 48 hours. The surge in American deaths coincided with an enormous intensification of US military violence that has claimed an unknown number of Iraqi lives in Baquba, the provincial capital of Diyala Province, in other cities and towns around Baghdad, in the capital itself, and in Mayan Province in the country’s Shia south.

Opinion polls provoke bewilderment in lead-up to Australian election

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

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

Death in Los Angeles hospital exposes social crisis in US

By Rafael Azul and Joe Kay, 22 June 2007

Edith Isabel Rodriguez died on May 9th while two people called the emergency services phone number, 911, frantically trying to get her medical help. She died just outside the emergency room in Los Angeles’ King-Harbor hospital after spending hours seeking treatment for a steadily worsening condition. The entire tragedy reveals the strained and unhealthy state of social relations in America today.

Bush administration rushes to Pakistani dictator’s aid

By Keith Jones and Vilani Peiris, 22 June 2007

Top Bush administration and Pentagon officials have held intensive consultations with Pakistan’s embattled military regime during the past two weeks with the aim of bolstering the autocratic rule of General Pervez Musharraf and securing increased Pakistani military support in staunching the insurgency against Afghanistan’s US-installed government.

German-Polish conflict dominates EU summit

By Peter Schwarz, 22 June 2007

The European Union summit that began on Thursday, June 21, in Brussels is supposed to crown German’s six-month EU presidency. In months of detailed work, Berlin has worked on the various member states in an effort to prepare a treaty that will fill the gap left by the rejection of the European Constitution in referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005.

Kurt Waldheim (1918-2007)

By Dietmar Henning, 21 June 2007

Last week, former UN Secretary-General and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim died at the age of 88. His family was with him when he succumbed to cardiovascular failure.

Bear Stearns funds collapse hits subprime securities market

By Nick Beams, 21 June 2007

The major investment and brokerage firm Merrill Lynch is going ahead with a sale of $850 million worth of financial assets seized from two troubled hedge funds controlled by another major Wall Street firm Bear Stearns.

Religious backwardness trumps science as Bush vetoes stem cell bill

By Joe Kay, 21 June 2007

Bush used the third veto of his tenure on Wednesday to reject a bill that would expand federal funding of some stem cell research. Once again, Bush is seeking to promote right-wing religious conceptions by opposing scientific research that could help millions of people and is supported by the vast majority of the US population.

Sri Lankan president’s “peace” mask starts to slip off

By Wije Dias, 21 June 2007

During a visit to the Middle East late last month, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse defended his government’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an interview with Al Jazeera that was notable for its crudeness, arrogance and incoherence.

British university teachers’ union votes for boycott of Israeli academics

By Barry Grey, 21 June 2007

Delegates at the first conference of the newly formed University and College Union (UCU) of Britain voted May 30 to recommend a boycott of Israeli universities and academics. In a 158 to 99 vote, the delegates passed a motion condemning the “complicity of Israeli academia” in the 40-year occupation of Palestinian land and backing a call by Palestinian unions for a “comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli institutions.”

US: Nine firefighters perish in warehouse fire in Charleston, South Carolina

By Kate Randall, 21 June 2007

Charleston, South Carolina is mourning the deaths of nine firefighters who perished battling a blaze that raged through a furniture store and warehouse Monday night. Just before dawn Tuesday, the last of the firefighters’ bodies was carried from the wreckage as the ruins of the building continued to smolder.

Twenty-five years since the Malvinas war

By Paul Bond and Chris Marsden, 21 June 2007

With full military pomp, the British ruling class has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of victory in the Malvinas (Falklands) Islands. With religious services on the Islands and across Britain, parades and fly-pasts, there has been a definite air of imperialist triumphalism about the occasion. Some 900 people—255 British servicemen, 649 Argentineans, and 3 islanders (killed during the naval bombardment of Port Stanley)—died during the 74-day war.

Billionaire New York mayor may run in US presidential campaign

By Patrick Martin, 21 June 2007

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his departure from the Republican Party Tuesday, after officially changing his registration to “independent,” in evident preparation for launching a campaign for the presidency financed by his multi-billion-dollar media fortune.

Thai junta cracks down on ousted prime minister

By Peter Symonds, 21 June 2007

In the latest effort to tighten its grip, the Thai military regime has brought corruption charges against ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and ordered him to return to Thailand by June 29 to attend a court hearing. Thaksin, currently in London, went into exile after the armed forces led by General Sonthi Boonyarathkalin seized power last September.

Germany: Huge security operation exposed in wake of G8 summit

By Marius Heuser, 20 June 2007

The G8 summit in Heiligendamm in northern Germany, held June 6-8, has come and gone. It is only now that the meeting of world leaders at the Baltic Sea coast is over that a full picture is emerging more clearly of the massive security operation that accompanied it.

Australian government’s water plan to benefit major agribusinesses

By Frank Gaglioti, 20 June 2007

For the past two months, farmers throughout Australia’s largest agricultural region, the Murray Darling Basin, have faced the threat of being stripped of water allocations for irrigation purposes, while federal and state governments have wrangled over a plan that will accelerate the introduction of trading in water rights.

New study documents increasing income inequality in Canada

By John Mackay and Keith Jones, 20 June 2007

A study released last March and titled “The rich and the rest of us—The changing face of Canada’s growing gap” reveals that Canadian society is becoming dramatically more unequal, with the gap between the earnings of the richest Canadians and the rest, both those considered middle-income and the poor, widening.

The Gaza crisis and the failure of Palestinian nationalism

By the editorial board, 20 June 2007

The formation of a new government by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the declaration of a state of emergency, after a week of civil warfare in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas ended in the military victory of the Islamist movement, have consolidated the de facto political division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Why the Nation remains silent on Cindy Sheehan’s departure from the Democratic Party

By David Walsh, 20 June 2007

This is the third part of a three-part article. Parts one and two appeared on June 18 and June 19.

Washington Post’s Richard Cohen offers “liberal” case for Lewis Libby’s freedom

By Andre Damon, 20 June 2007

The conviction and sentencing of I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the exposure in July 2003 of former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, has elicited a furious response from the American right.

Death penalty on the rise in US-occupied Iraq

By James Cogan, 20 June 2007

The US-backed Iraqi government is currently imposing the death penalty at a rate only surpassed by China, Iran and Pakistan. According to Amnesty International, just three men were executed in 2005, following the reintroduction of capital punishment. In 2006, at least 65 were hung, including the country’s former dictator Saddam Hussein. This year, at least 30 to 40 more people have been executed, and another 50 to 60 are waiting on death row at a high security prison in Baghdad’s Kazimiyah district.

US military launches massive assault in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 20 June 2007

Backed by armored columns and helicopter gunships, some 10,000 US troops have launched a massive assault on the provincial capital of Baquba and other areas north and east of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Interview with Dr. Michael Gros, a victim of water contamination at US Marine base

By Joanne Laurier, 20 June 2007

For more than 30 years, residents of Camp Lejeune, a US Marine Corps base in North Carolina, were exposed to contaminated water. From 1957 to 1987, Marines/Naval personnel, family members and civilians drank and used water containing toxic levels of industrial solvents, although the military knew in late 1980 or early 1981 that at least one of the base’s water treatment plants was polluted.

US missile strike kills seven children in Afghanistan

By Andre Damon, 19 June 2007

US-led coalition forces bombed a compound containing a mosque and a religious school in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing seven children aged 10 to 16.

Devastating floods hit six Chinese provinces

By Dragan Stankovic, 19 June 2007

Annual torrential rains, river overflows, floods and landslides are beginning to hit China, bringing devastation to millions of people. Heavy rain fell on June 6-9 in six southern Chinese provinces—Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Fujian—and kept pouring down throughout the week. Although flooding happens almost every year, the Chinese government has done little to prevent it and protect the most vulnerable—the rural poor.

Spate of antidemocratic rulings by US Supreme Court

By Tom Carter and Jeff Lincoln, 19 June 2007

A number of recent decisions by the US Supreme Court further undermine long-upheld democratic protections and regulations.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 19 June 2007

Latin America

Australia: report exposes government’s foreign “aid” program

By Patrick O’Connor, 19 June 2007

An investigation released on May 28 by AidWatch, a non-governmental organisation, has highlighted the bogus character of the Howard government’s foreign aid program. The material in the report, entitled “Fighting poverty or fantasy figures? The reality of Australian aid,” establishes that the government’s aid program has nothing to do with improving the lives of impoverished people in neighbouring states. On the contrary, the program has been integrated into Canberra’s aggressive drive to assert its domination over the South Pacific, with a major proportion of “aid” funds being spent on Australian police, bureaucrats and other personnel inserted into the state apparatuses of various Pacific countries.

Setback for Sarkozy in second round of French legislative elections

By Antoine Lerougetel, 19 June 2007

While the Gaullist UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has secured a clear majority in the new National Assembly, the widely predicted “blue tidal wave” (blue is the colour of the UMP) failed to materialise.

Letters and a reply on the Kucinich presidential campaign

By , 19 June 2007

Many readers have written to the World Socialist Web Site in response to the June 5 article on the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire, which sharply criticized the antiwar posturing of Congressman Dennis Kucinich. (See “Democrats pose as Iraq war opponents in New Hampshire debate”).Below we publish three letters and a reply by Patrick Martin of the WSWS editorial board.