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Southern California grocery workers ratify new contract

By Kim Saito, 31 July 2007

Southern California grocery workers ratified a new four-year contract on July 22. The 65,000 workers, employed at 785 stores from central California down to the Mexican border, are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Jury finds Drummond Coal not liable in murder of Colombian unionists

By D. Lencho, 31 July 2007

On July 26, after less than four hours of deliberation, jurors found Alabama-based energy giant Drummond Coal not liable for the 2001 murder of three Colombian union officials by paramilitary death squads.

Peru explode em greves por todo o país e governo de Alan García aproxima-se rapidamente do Bonapartismo

By , 31 July 2007

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Iraqi team wins Asian Cup, captain condemns US occupation

By Patrick Martin, 31 July 2007

The 1-0 victory by the Iraqi soccer team in Sunday’s Asian Cup featured a brilliant goal on a header by Younis Mahmoud, the team’s 24-year-old captain. This was followed by an “own goal” for the Bush administration and its Iraqi stooge regime, which had hoped to reap a propaganda windfall from the event.

Oxfam reports one-third of Iraqis in need of emergency aid

By Jerry White, 31 July 2007

Eight million Iraqis—or one third of the country’s population—urgently require water, sanitation, food and shelter, according to a new report issued by the British-based relief organization Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee of Iraq, a network of nearly 300 international and Iraq-based non-governmental organizations.

British students jailed for possessing “extremist” literature

By Chris Talbot, 31 July 2007

Four 20-year-old Bradford University students and a 19-year-old school student were jailed after a trial at the Old Bailey for being found with material said to be “glorifying Islamic terrorism” on their computers. Aitzaz Zafar, Usman Malik and Awaab Iqbaal were jailed for three years each, Akbar Butt was jailed for 27 months and the school student, Mohammed Irfan Raja was given two years’ youth detention.

German army and air force deployed against G8 summit demonstrators

By Emma Bode, 31 July 2007

Although the German constitution strictly forbids the intervention of the army for domestic purposes, German army units and an air force squadron were used to spy on demonstrators in the course of the G8 summit of world leaders held in Germany in the middle of June. Tornado fighter aircraft were switched from their current mission in Afghanistan to fly over and photograph the camps set up by demonstrators on the fringes of the G8 summit held in the German resort of Heiligendamm.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 31 July 2007

Bolivian football players to strike next week

Somare set to win PNG election despite Canberra’s smear campaign

By Will Marshall, 31 July 2007

This month’s Papua New Guinea national election results are yet to be finalised but it appears that Prime Minister Michael Somare will retain government. By yesterday, his National Alliance had won 25 seats in the 109-member parliament, with 14 seats still undecided. Having the largest single number of seats of any group, Somare will have the first opportunity to establish a ruling alliance with smaller parties and independents. The PNG press indicated that the party was confident it already had sufficient support to form a new government.

On Cindy Sheehan and impeachment: a reply to a Stalinist critic

By David Walsh, 31 July 2007

In the course of discussing the political significance of the recent arrest of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan in the offices of Rep. John Conyers (Democrat from Michigan), we noted that “One of the most strident and uncritical ‘left’ defenses of Conyers (and attacks on Sheehan, although she is never referred to by name) on the issue of impeachment was offered by Joel Wendland, managing editor of the Communist Party’s Political Affairs magazine.” [See “The political meaning of the conflict between Cindy Sheehan and the Democratic Party”]

Racist frame-up in Louisiana: the case of the Jena Six

By Marge Holland and Alex Lantier, 31 July 2007

Six black high school students in the small town of Jena in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana, have been framed up on charges of murder and conspiracy. The charges came following a series of racist incidents triggered by black students’ decision on August 31, 2006, to sit under a “whites-only” tree at the school. In a racist provocation the following day, three nooses in school colors were found hanging from the tree.

Global credit crisis fuels stock market turmoil

By Barry Grey, 31 July 2007

The US stock market on Monday recouped some of the losses it suffered in last week’s massive sell-off, and most stock exchanges in Europe and Asia registered modest gains. However, the panic selling that hit Wall Street and most global exchanges last week exposed a deep-going structural and systemic crisis of US and world capital markets that cannot be dispelled by a short-term rebound in share prices.

Talks over North Korea’s nuclear programs fail to make any progress

By John Chan, 31 July 2007

A second round of six-party talks over North Korea’s nuclear programs ended in Beijing on July 20 without any agreement on the next steps to be taken in implementing the broad deal reached in February. While the Bush administration is pushing Pyongyang to rapidly disable all of its nuclear facilities, North Korea is demanding economic assistance and, above all, the normalisation of relations with Washington, including a security guarantee.

Fiji’s nurses strike in defiance of military junta

By Frank Gaglioti, 30 July 2007

Fiji Nursing Association (FNA) members went on strike on July 25 to oppose a 5 percent pay cut and the axing of jobs by the lowering of the retirement age from 60 to 55 across the public sector. The nurses’ union leadership was compelled to call the strike despite concerted threats from the country’s military regime and the capitulation of most other public sector unions to the junta’s dictates.

Sarkozy angers European Union over Libya’s release of Bulgarian medics

By Steve James, 30 July 2007

Six medical workers—five Bulgarian and one Palestinian—sentenced to death on fabricated charges and held for eight years, have finally been released by the Libyan government.

Sustaining a humanist approach in the twentieth century: George Tabori (1914-2007)

By Stefan Steinberg, 30 July 2007

The Hungarian-born playwright George Tabori (born György Tábori) has died in Berlin, at the age of 93. He continued to work actively in theatre until the end and the head of the Berliner Ensemble theatre and Tabori’s last employer, Claus Peymann, was proud to describe his friend as the oldest active director in the world. A warm, friendly man who sought close collaboration with his co-workers and actors, Tabori was held in high esteem by many of those he had worked with over a period of decades.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 July 2007

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

International conference offers no solution to Iraqi refugee crisis

By James Cogan, 30 July 2007

An international conference held on July 26 in Jordan to address the refugee crisis produced by the US occupation of Iraq exemplified the callous indifference of the Bush administration and its allies toward the catastrophe they have created.

Vast data mining programs behind 2004 dispute within Bush administration over domestic spying

By Joe Kay, 30 July 2007

A New York Times article published Sunday reports that a dispute within the Bush administration over its domestic spying programs in 2004 centered on so-called “data mining” operations. These programs involve accessing massive databases of communications logs—both foreign and domestic—to search for links and associations between tens of millions of people.

United States warns Spain over Cuba policy

By Vicky Short, 30 July 2007

The United States has warned Spain about its policy towards Cuba as the imperialist countries seek power and influence there as Fidel Castro’s decades in power come to an end.

Sustaining a humanist approach in the twentieth century: George Tabori (1914-2007)

By Stefan Steinberg, 30 July 2007

The Hungarian-born playwright George Tabori (born György Tábori) has died in Berlin, at the age of 93. He continued to work actively in theatre until the end and the head of the Berliner Ensemble theatre and Tabori’s last employer, Claus Peymann, was proud to describe his friend as the oldest active director in the world. A warm, friendly man who sought close collaboration with his co-workers and actors, Tabori was held in high esteem by many of those he had worked with over a period of decades.

Haneef “terrorism” charges dropped: a debacle for the Australian government

By Mike Head, 28 July 2007

In a major blow to the Howard government and the entire methodology of the “war on terror,” the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has been forced to admit serious “mistakes” in the case against Indian Muslim doctor Mohamed Haneef, and to drop the “terrorist” charge against him. After 25 days of incarceration, the case against Haneef has completely unravelled in the face of growing public opposition to the government’s witch-hunt.

The summer floods in Britain: Outmoded and decayed social infrastructure exposed

By Robert Stevens, 28 July 2007

Severe flooding in Britain has produced an ongoing national crisis, with tens of thousands of people seeing their homes ruined.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 July 2007

Hospital workers strike enters third week

US commission on wounded soldiers: stopgap measures for a veterans healthcare system in “meltdown”

By Alex Lantier, 28 July 2007

The Presidential Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors (PCCWW) issued its final report on July 25. The commission was formed in response to February 2007 reports that severely injured soldiers were being forced to wait weeks and months for treatment in vermin-infested quarters in US military hospitals.

Hundreds die in eastern Europe heat wave

By Markus Salzmann, 28 July 2007

While Great Britain has experienced heavy rainfall and flooding with catastrophic results, high temperatures during recent days and weeks in the east and southeast of Europe have resulted in hundreds of deaths, including an estimated 500 in Hungary alone. Broad areas of Italy, Greece and the Balkans have been hit by a multitude of forest fires, resulting in numerous fatalities as well as massive damage to property.

Standoff between White House and Congress over US attorney purge, domestic spying intensifies

By Joe Kay, 28 July 2007

Two developments on Thursday escalated the confrontation between the Democratic-controlled Congress and the Bush White House over the firing of nine US attorneys and an administration domestic spying program.

Democrat Barack Obama spells out his foreign policy: “I will not hesitate to use force”

By Andre Damon, 28 July 2007

This month’s issue of Foreign Affairs carries an essay by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama outlining his foreign policy. Obama gets to the point early on. Noting the catastrophe in Iraq, he writes: “After thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, many Americans may be tempted to turn inward and cede our leadership in world affairs. But this is a mistake we must not make.”

Bush’s international peace conference: A conspiracy against the Palestinian people

By Jean Shaoul, 27 July 2007

President Bush’s July 16 announcement that he will relaunch the Middle East peace process with an international conference in New York is an attempt to use the puppet regime of Mahmoud Abbas to rubber-stamp an agreement that leaves the Palestinian masses with nothing.

Thousands held in horrific conditions in Iraqi prisons

By James Cogan, 27 July 2007

The Los Angeles Times on July 21 revealed some of the abuses taking place inside US-monitored, Iraqi government prisons. The article documented the plight of prisoners in a Baghdad facility, which has the Orwellian name of Forward Operating Base Justice.

Sri Lanka: Police stall in Human Rights Commission inquiry into disappearance of SEP member

By our correspondent, 27 July 2007

The latest Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC) hearing into the disappearance of Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member, Nadarajah Wimaleswaran, and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan, has again revealed the failure of the authorities to conduct any serious investigation into the case.

The political meaning of the conflict between Cindy Sheehan and the Democratic Party

By David Walsh, 27 July 2007

The arrest of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan along with several dozen others on July 23 in the office of Rep. John Conyers, Democratic congressman from Detroit, has a political significance that transcends the immediate event.

The motives behind the Bush administration’s latest terror scare

By Jerry White, 27 July 2007

Over the last two weeks the Bush administration has orchestrated yet another campaign to sow fear and anxiety among the American people with unsubstantiated claims that signs are mounting of a looming Al Qaeda terrorist attack.

Poland: Kaczynski brothers provoke government crisis

By Francisca Fahr, 27 July 2007

Using falsified secret service documents, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwo—PiS) has sacked Andrzej Lepper, the right-wing populist leader of Self-Defence (Samoobrona—SRP) as vice premier and minister of agriculture.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 27 July 2007

Europe

Mortgage lending crisis sparks Wall Street plunge

By Patrick Martin, 27 July 2007

A three-day sell-off on Wall Street has slashed nearly 540 points from the Dow-Jones Industrial Average and wiped out hundreds of billions in stock market value. The sharp decline, following so closely the breaking of the 14,000 mark by the Dow last week, underscores the increasing instability of the US and world financial system.

200 dead in Brazil air disaster: Lula government shows gross indifference

By M. Ybarra, 26 July 2007

The following article was sent in Portuguese by a Brazilian correspondent for the WSWS on July 22. In the meantime, the crisis of the Brazilian government has deepened, with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva forced to fire his defense minister, Waldir Pires, the official in overall charge of the country’s precarious aviation system. In an evident attempt to quell criticism from the right, Lula selected as his replacement Nelson Azevedo Jobim, a politician of the opposition PMDB and former justice minister in the government of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Charges dropped against New Orleans doctor in Katrina hospital deaths

By Shannon Jones, 26 July 2007

Charges were dropped July 24 against Dr. Anna Pou when a Louisiana grand jury failed to indict her in connection with the deaths of four severely ill patients during the evacuation of a New Orleans hospital flooded by Hurricane Katrina.

Daniel Pearl’s tragic death in A Mighty Heart

By Hiram Lee, 26 July 2007

A Mighty Heart, directed by Michael Winterbottom, screenplay by John Orloff, based on the memoir A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life And Death Of My Husband, Danny Pearl by Mariane Pearl with Sarah Crichton

Britain: Antiwar MP George Galloway suspended from parliament

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 26 July 2007

The ejection and suspension of George Galloway MP from the House of Commons on July 23 is the result of a witch-hunt aimed at intimidating and silencing all opponents of the Iraq war.

The US adopts belligerent posture in Baghdad talks with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 26 July 2007

In the second round of US-Iranian talks in Baghdad on Tuesday, US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, intensified the pressure on Iran over unproven claims that Tehran is training and equipping anti-US insurgents in Iraq. Against a backdrop of sniping against the State Department diplomacy towards Iran by more hawkish elements in the White House, Crocker’s rhetoric was markedly more aggressive than at the first round of talks in Baghdad in late May.

US Congressional committee approves contempt citations against White House aides

By Joe Kay, 26 July 2007

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to find one current and one former Bush White House aide in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer subpoenas in the investigation into the 2006 firing of nine US attorneys.

Indonesian prosecutors launch limited civil action against Suharto

By John Roberts, 26 July 2007

Indonesian state prosecutors launched a civil suit against former Indonesian strongman Suharto on July 9, claiming $US1.5 billion in restitution and damages for state funds plundered during his regime’s 32-year rule up to 1998.

Democrats conceal pro-war policy in South Carolina debate

By Andre Damon, 25 July 2007

The eight candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination participated in a televised debate Monday night at The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. While the format of the debate was novel, with questions based on online submissions to YouTube, a video sharing site popular among young people, the candidates broke little new ground in their responses.

Bush delivers rant on Iraq to military audience as poll numbers plummet

By Bill Van Auken, 25 July 2007

With poll numbers indicating that support for both his administration and the Iraq war have fallen to record lows, President Bush Tuesday delivered a militarist rant before a uniformed audience in South Carolina, insisting that the fighting must continue in order to defeat Al Qaeda.

Australian government launches unprecedented attacks on lawyers as Haneef case falls apart

By Mike Head, 25 July 2007

With its prosecution of Indian Muslim doctor Mohamed Haneef on a terrorism charge in disarray, the Howard government has responded by launching unprecedented attacks on his lawyers, and the legal profession at large, accusing them of waging a campaign to undermine the anti-terrorism laws.

A further exchange: Sicko and American politics and cinema

By , 25 July 2007

Dear David Walsh,

Sri Lankan police charge farmers over anti-government protest

By Nihal Fernando and W.A. Sunil, 25 July 2007

A local magistrate in Sri Lanka granted bail last Tuesday for 21 farmers who have been imprisoned on remand for more than a month after confronting a minister over broken promises on the Deduru Oya irrigation scheme. Police told the court the farmers would be charged on five counts of unlawful assembly, damaging government property and vehicles, and attacking police officers.

Washington, EU welcome AKP victory in Turkish elections

By Stefan Steinberg, 25 July 2007

Business, finance and political circles in the United States, the European Union and within Turkey itself reacted positively to the victory of the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in national elections held Sunday.

Britain: No one to be prosecuted over “cash for honours” allegations

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 25 July 2007

Last week’s decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to proceed with criminal charges in the cash-for-honours scandal has been the occasion for self-serving statements by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, his chief fundraiser Lord Levy and aides such as Ruth Turner. All have expressed a desire to “move on,” put the affair behind them and not engage in any criticism of the police investigation headed by Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

Iraq war opponent Cindy Sheehan arrested at Democratic Congressman’s office

By Kate Randall, 25 July 2007

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and dozens of supporters were arrested in the Rayburn House office building in Washington DC on Monday following an hour-long meeting with Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan.

US pressure on Iraqi parliamentary factions to enact “benchmarks”

By James Cogan, 24 July 2007

The Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), which holds 44 of the 275 seats in the Iraqi parliament, announced an end to its boycott of the legislature last week. The Bush administration pushed for the IAF’s return to secure the passage of legislation it is demanding in time for a progress report on the Iraq war to Congress in September. Accounts in the Arab and US press indicate that Washington demanded that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki make overtures to the Sunni IAF to end its boycott.

Royal Dutch Shell and the struggle for Iraqi oil

By Jörg Victor, 24 July 2007

Despite growing popular opposition, the Dutch government coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDA), Social Democrats (PvdA) and Christian Union (CU), under Christian Democratic Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende, continues to provide military support to US imperialism in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“I’m interested in a documentary and fiction hybrid”: filmmaker Kriv Stenders speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 24 July 2007

Filmmaker Kriv Stenders graduated from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in 1989 with a major in cinematography. Like many of his fellow graduates, Stenders shot and directed music videos, television commercials and documentaries until 2005, when he made his first two features—The Illustrated Family Doctor and Blacktown.

Bush orders freeze on assets of those threatening Iraq “stabilization efforts”

By Joe Kay, 24 July 2007

In an extremely broad executive order issued on July 17, President Bush authorized the Treasury Department to freeze the property of anyone determined to be hindering US actions in Iraq and the stability of the US-backed regime in Baghdad. The wording is vague enough to encompass not only those resisting the occupation directly, but also US citizens involved in antiwar activity.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 July 2007

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

Australian reflections: Boxing Day, The Home Song Stories and Lucky Miles

By Richard Phillips, 24 July 2007

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the 2007 Sydney Film Festival, held June 8-24. Part 1 appeared on July 4, Part 2 on July 10, Part 3 on July 11 and Part 4 on July 12.

Democrats’ “censure” plan—another cynical diversion of fight against war and reaction

By Bill Van Auken, 24 July 2007

Senator Russell Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin) announced on Sunday that he will introduce resolutions in the US Senate seeking to “censure” President Bush for his conduct of the Iraq war as well as his violations of the US Constitution and both US and international law, including his administration’s illegal domestic spying program and use of torture. Vice President Dick Cheney and perhaps other administration officials would be named in the censure bills.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 24 July 2007

Latin America

Britain: Iraq Commission rules out setting date for troop withdrawal

By Julie Hyland, 24 July 2007

On July 14, the Iraq Commission released its conclusions “on the scope and focus of Britain’s future involvement in Iraq”.

US and Russia at loggerheads over Kosovo independence

By Paul Mitchell, 23 July 2007

Tensions between the United States and Russia, already inflamed at the G8 summit last month, have erupted over the issue of independence for Kosovo. The dispute is also splitting Europe, emboldening secessionist movements elsewhere to press for independence and threatening further instability in the Balkan region. There is widespread fear of further violence whether independence goes ahead or not.

United Auto Workers opens talks with US car companies

By Shannon Jones, 23 July 2007

As contract talks open between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and US car manufacturers Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, management is making clear it expects massive concessions from the union. Wall Street and the auto manufacturers are calling for changes of an historic character that will sharply reduce the present $30-per-hour cost differential between US automakers and Japanese-owned companies operating so-called transplants in the US.

US generals call for extension of Iraq war

By Patrick Martin, 23 July 2007

In an unprecedented display of military intervention into an ongoing political debate in the United States, five high-ranking officers, four of them in command positions in Iraq, have publicly opposed the growing popular demand for immediate withdrawal of US troops and urged the extension of the war at current or even greater levels of violence, for years to come.

Bush sanctions CIA torture program

By Jerry White, 23 July 2007

President Bush signed an executive order Friday clearing the way for the Central Intelligence Agency to resume the use of “enhanced interrogation measures” against alleged terror suspects held in US facilities around the world.

Ford Australia announces axing of Geelong engine plant

By Richard Phillips, 23 July 2007

After months of speculation, Ford Australia announced last week that it will end six-cylinder engine production at its Geelong plant by 2010, axing 600 full-time jobs or almost 30 percent of the company’s workforce in the Victorian regional city. The closure will flow on to auto-parts manufacturers, with an estimated 3,000 local jobs to be slashed in these industries.

Sri Lankan government celebrates “victory” after army seizes the East

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 23 July 2007

The army’s capture of the last eastern stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Thoppigala on July 11 became the occasion for the Sri Lankan government to stage a grotesque “victory” celebration last Thursday to whip up jingoistic sentiment. Far from evoking popular support, however, the ceremony exposed President Mahinda Rajapakse’s increasing reliance on the armed forces and the growing militarisation of every aspect of society.

Jack Lang and the continuing disintegration of the French Socialist Party

By Pierre Mabut and Stefan Steinberg, 23 July 2007

Jack Lang, one of the last remaining ‘Elephants’ (old guard) within the French Socialist Party leadership, is the latest to turn his back on the party and take up the offer of a ‘mission’ by newly-elected President Nicolas Sarkozy. The latter offered Lang a role on the government’s commission to renovate state institutions.

White House asserts sweeping power to defy the law

By Bill Van Auken, 21 July 2007

The Bush administration has claimed virtually unlimited power to defy Congress and federal law in its rejection of congressional attempts to secure information related to the politically motivated firing of nine US attorneys.

Lawsuits expose conditions in US “guest worker” program

By Andre Damon, 21 July 2007

A federal judge last week awarded $1.9 million to 600 local Yakima Valley, Washington farm workers in compensation for illegal treatment by Global Horizons, one of the country’s largest labor contractors.

Judge dismisses Plame/Wilson suit against Bush administration officials

By Joe Kay, 21 July 2007

A federal judge dismissed on Thursday a case brought by Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, against top Bush administration officials, including vice president Dick Cheney and former White House aide I. Lewis Libby. Judge John Bates of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, a Bush appointee, ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

FEMA covered up toxic danger in trailers given to Katrina victims

By Andre Damon, 21 July 2007

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) systematically suppressed reports of high toxicity levels in trailers provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to the findings of a congressional committee hearing Thursday.

Bush administration threatens military intervention in Pakistan

By Peter Symonds, 21 July 2007

The Bush administration this week signalled a tough new stance on Pakistan, demanding that military strongman General Pervez Musharraf takes action against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in areas bordering Afghanistan, and threatening US strikes if he failed to do so.

British government and BAe Systems revealed as money launderer for Saudi Arabia

By Jean Shaoul, 21 July 2007

The scandal over allegations of BAe Systems, Europe’s biggest weapons manufacturer, and the British government’s corrupt dealings with the Saudi ruling clique promises to haunt the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, despite his predecessor Tony Blair’s best efforts to contain it.

Australian Fair Pay Commission hands down pittance for low-paid workers

By Terry Cook, 21 July 2007

On July 5, the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) granted a weekly pay increase of just $10.26 for around 850,000 low-paid workers earning below $700 a week. Those earning over $700 will get just $5.30.

In a stunning rebuke to Musharraf, Supreme Court orders chief justice reinstated

By Keith Jones, 21 July 2007

In a major blow to Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf, the country’s Supreme Court has ordered the immediate reinstatement of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and the quashing of all charges against him.

Social tensions at the forefront in run-up to Turkish parliamentary elections

By Sinan Ikinci and Justus Leicht, 21 July 2007

On Sunday, July 22, Turkey will vote for a new parliament. The fact that these elections are taking place in July and not, as scheduled, in November is a reflection of the profound divisions in Turkish society. The Turkish army has sought to directly intervene and increase tensions in the run-up to the election by deliberately shelling Kurdish-occupied positions in northern Iraq on Wednesday. While the Iraqi government condemned the shelling, the Turkish government led by Prime Minister RecepTayip Erdogan has so far refused to criticise the military provocation.

Bush plans veto on child health bill

By Alex Lantier, 21 July 2007

US President George Bush has announced his intention to veto a bipartisan bill prepared by a Senate committee to increase funding for the S-CHIP (State’s Children Health Insurance Program) block grant program. S-CHIP funds are typically used to subsidize health insurance for children whose families earn more than the maximum set for participation in the Medicaid program, but who are nonetheless too poor to buy private insurance. White House officials’ defense of the decision relied on a deceitful paean to private insurance and free enterprise.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 July 2007

South Korean auto-workers strike

Peru’s President Garcia faces nationwide protests

By Cesar Uco, 20 July 2007

Three weeks shy of his first anniversary in power, Peruvian President, Alan Garcia is facing nationwide mass protests against his political and economic program. Culminating in a two-day protest on July 11-12, millions of Peruvians including industrials workers, miners, coca growers, high school teachers, students and small merchants went on strike, organized marches, occupied public buildings and blockaded roads leading to all major cities.

New York City: steam pipe blast kills 1, injures dozens

By Bill Van Auken, 20 July 2007

In what many in the heart of midtown Manhattan initially mistook for a replay of the September 11 terrorist attacks, an aging steam pipe exploded Wednesday, sending a geyser of mud and debris and billowing clouds of steam rising over New York City’s skyscrapers.

The London bombing trial: How much did the security services know?

By Paul Mitchell, 20 July 2007

Earlier this month a jury in Woolwich Crown Court found Muktar Said Ibrahim, Hussain Osman, Ramzi Mohammed, and Yassin Omar guilty of conspiracy to murder in a failed attempt to set off four bombs in London on July 21, 2005. The judge said each of them must serve at least 40 years in jail before they can be considered for parole. The jury failed to reach a verdict relating to two other defendants, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu and Adel Yahya, who now face a retrial.

China executes former food and drug administration chief

By John Chan, 20 July 2007

In a cynical move aimed at shoring up the “Made in China” brand name, Chinese authorities executed Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, on July 10 for accepting 6.5 million yuan ($US850,000) in bribes from eight pharmaceutical companies. He was accused of approving fake drugs and other substandard items during his tenure from 1998 to 2005, including an antibiotic that killed at least 10 people last year.

Sarkozy government plans to extend strikebreaking law to entire public sector

By Alex Lantier, 20 July 2007

Top officials in the government of newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy are planning to extend a law mandating a “minimum service” level in public mass transit to the entire public sector workforce, starting with public school teachers.

The political issues posed by the German train drivers’ struggle

By Ulrich Rippert, 20 July 2007

The four-hour strike by train drivers at the beginning of July that brought large parts of the country’s rail traffic to a standstill came as a surprise for many. After years of trade union protests, which the labour bureaucracy restricted to impotent demonstrations involving whistle-blowing and drum-banging—while union officials organised one sell out after the other—the warning strike by train drivers provided a glimpse of the power and militancy of the working class and the mass opposition that exists to the assault on living standards and conditions of German workers.

Democrats halt Senate debate on Iraq war

By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2007

Senate Democrats abandoned an effort to impose restrictions on the Bush administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq after losing a procedural vote Wednesday to halt a Republican filibuster. After 24 hours of desultory debate on Iraq war policy, the Democratic leadership caved in to the White House, effectively conceding that there will be no change in US policy in Iraq for as long as Bush has congressional Republican support to continue the present course.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 20 July 2007

Europe

War economy weighs heavily on Sri Lankan workers

By Saman Gunadasa, 20 July 2007

The Sri Lankan government has imposed price increases on basic essentials in recent weeks, creating further hardships for workers and the poor. While rising world oil prices are a factor, the government is passing the economic burden of its escalating war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) directly onto the population.

Australian government’s “terrorist” case against Dr Haneef unravels

By Mike Head, 20 July 2007

In a serious blow to the Howard government’s scare-mongering campaign, Stephen Keim QC, the barrister for detained Indian Muslim doctor Mohamed Haneef, has leaked a revealing transcript of his client’s initial police interview and called on the government to release any undisclosed information it has on the case.

Harper commits billions to build Canada an Arctic navy

By Lee Parsons, 19 July 2007

In an aggressive move to bolster Canada’s claims in the Arctic, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last week the building of as many as eight Arctic patrol ships and a deep-water, Arctic Ocean port.

New Zealand: asylum seeker faces secret “security risk” hearing

By John Braddock, 19 July 2007

Algerian asylum seeker Ahmed Zaoui began presenting his case to stay in New Zealand last week in a complex process that involves reviewing Security Intelligence Service (SIS) classified files. Zaoui, a former MP for the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) in the Algerian parliament, arrived in New Zealand in December 2002 on a false passport and claimed asylum. He was promptly jailed without charge for two years—including 240 days in solitary confinement—with authorities claiming he was a suspected terrorist.

A new pretext for American militarism and domestic repression

By Bill Van Auken, 19 July 2007

A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a report that synthesizes the findings of Washington’s 16 separate spy agencies, warns that the US faces a “heightened threat environment” for terrorist attacks. The Bush administration’s release of the report strongly suggests that the US government is seeking to justify new military interventions in both Pakistan and Iran, as well as stepped up domestic surveillance and other forms of state repression at home.

Diplomatic tensions worsen after Britain expels Russian diplomats

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 19 July 2007

Britain’s expulsion of four Russian diplomats on July 16 has led to a further deterioration in already strained relations between the two countries.

The way forward in the Polish doctors and nurses strike

By Marius Heuser, 19 July 2007

The weeks-long strikes and protests by Polish doctors and nurses are threatening to end in defeat. Although protesting nurses have recently undertaken increasingly desperate measures, including a hunger strike, the right-wing Law and Justice Party government led by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has refused to make any concessions. The response by the nurses’ own trade union has been to break off all demonstrations and dismantle the protest camp set up in front of the government offices in Warsaw.

Report predicts environmental disaster for US Northeast

By Alan Whyte, 19 July 2007

A two-year study published this month entitled “Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast” analyzes the impact of global warming on the environment and the threat it poses to human survival in the northeastern US states along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Iraq: Carnage in Kirkuk amid conflicts over city’s future

By James Cogan, 19 July 2007

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-filled truck on Monday in the busy political and commercial district of the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk, just as hundreds of people were going for their lunch-break. The carnage was horrendous. At least 85 people were killed and more than 180 wounded. The victims were predominantly ethnic Kurds. Given the crisis-stricken state of the country’s health system, many of the injured are unlikely to survive.

US: Testimony in Drummond Coal lawsuit on murders of Colombian union leaders

By D. Lencho, 19 July 2007

Five years after its filing, a civil lawsuit against Drummond Coal, an Alabama-based energy corporation, began in US District Court in Birmingham, Alabama on Monday, July 9, before a 10-member jury. The suit, filed by the United Steelworkers (USW) and the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF)—representing families of the victims—alleges that the coal giant’s Colombian subsidiary arranged and financed the assassinations of three union leaders in Colombia in 2001.

Reports show impact of climate change in Africa

By Barry Mason, 18 July 2007

A recent news item on Britain’s Independent Television News by Martin Geissler highlighted the impact of climate change on sub-Saharan Africa. He reported from Lesotho, a country of less than two million people, which forms an enclave within South Africa.

Letters from our readers

By , 18 July 2007

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

US: More immigrant deaths in desert border crossings

By Shannon Jones, 18 July 2007

The US Border Patrol reported the deaths of two more undocumented immigrant workers July 16 in the southern Arizona desert, as the number of border crossing deaths climbs toward a new annual record.

Tensions between NATO and Russia escalate

By Peter Schwarz, 18 July 2007

Tensions between NATO and the former states of the Soviet Union reached a new climax last weekend, following Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Treaty for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).