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The social toll of the US home mortgage crisis

By Andre Damon, 31 August 2007

The following is the first in a two-part series.

Prison officers strike in England and Wales in defiance of High Court injunction

By Robert Stevens, 31 August 2007

Some 20,000 prison officers in England and Wales ended their first national strike on Thursday, following an agreement between the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) and the government to hold new negotiations over pay.

Bush administration attacks child health insurance program

By Marge Holland, 31 August 2007

Earlier this month, the Bush administration announced new standards that will govern the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The changes, intended to safeguard the profit interests of private insurers and cut a significant government-subsidized healthcare program, will have a devastating effect on children throughout the country.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 31 August 2007


Thai military junta suffers setback at national referendum

By John Roberts, 31 August 2007

The result of a national referendum held on August 19 on Thailand’s new constitution was far from a resounding vote of confidence in the country’s military leaders. While the constitution was formally passed, the turnout was low and the vote inconclusive, despite aggressive campaigning by the junta and threats to postpone new elections if the referendum were rejected.

German politicians deny responsibility for racist attack

By Stefan Steinberg, 31 August 2007

Leading members of the German grand coalition government (Social Democratic Party, Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union) have reacted to the recent assault on Indian citizens by a drunken mob in the east German town of Mügeln with a mixture of hypocrisy and denial.

160 immigrant workers arrested in raid on Ohio poultry plant

By Barry Grey, 31 August 2007

Early Tuesday morning, 300 federal immigration agents, aided by local police and sheriff’s deputies, descended on a poultry processing plant outside of Cincinnati, Ohio and arrested 160 immigrant workers. The workers were charged with immigration violations and imprisoned, pending deportation to their home countries.

New Zealand: Iraq charter flights underline Labour’s “antiwar” hypocrisy

By John Braddock, 31 August 2007

A major row broke out in New Zealand earlier this month over an airline contract to transport 600 Australian troops to the Middle East. The issue has served to highlight what a political liability the war in Iraq has become, as well as the Labour government’s duplicitous involvement.

New Orleans: a scene of devastation and blight

By Naomi Spencer, 31 August 2007

The following is the second in a series of articles on the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. “Part 1: New Orleans—A city in social and economic distress” was posted on August 29. Future installments will deal with the state of the levee system, profiteering in the Gulf Opportunity Zone and other issues.

Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness

By David North, 31 August 2007

Mehring Books has published a new book by David North, Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness, which is now available for purchase online. It was written in reply to a critique of the work of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), entitled “Objectivism or Marxism,” by Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner, two former members of the Workers League (predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party).

Join the International Students for Social Equality! Build ISSE chapters at your college or high school!

By , 30 August 2007

The following is a statement by the International Students for Social Equality in the US outlining its perspective and calling on students to join the ISSE and build clubs at schools throughout the country and internationally. The statement is available in pdfformat to download and distribute.

Founding conference of German Left Party in Hessen

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 August 2007

Anyone entering the founding congress of the Left Party held in the city of Frankfurt-Main last Saturday was inevitably reminded of the musty atmosphere of a run-of-the-mill trade union gathering. The overwhelming majority of the some 300 delegates and guests attending the congress obviously had known one another for years, if not decades. Most had already reached, or exceeded, retirement age.

Another US provocation: Iranian officials arrested in Baghdad

By Peter Symonds, 30 August 2007

Late on Tuesday night, the US military detained a visiting delegation of Iranian officials at a Baghdad hotel. The men were handcuffed, blindfolded and dragged away under the glare of TV cameras for further interrogation. Following protests in Tehran and appeals by Iraqi government officials, the delegation, which had been formally invited by the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, was finally released on Wednesday morning.

White House wants $50 billion more for Iraq war

By Bill Van Auken, 30 August 2007

The Bush White House is preparing to ask Congress to approve another $50 billion to continue funding the escalation of the war against the people of Iraq well into 2008, according to a report published Wednesday in the Washington Post.

Britain: Brown rules out Iraq troop withdrawal as top general speaks of a “generation of conflict”

By Julie Hyland, 30 August 2007

As tensions continue within political and military circles over Britain’s role in Iraq, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made clear that he will not bow to calls for a troop withdrawal.

Military court acquits Abu Ghraib interrogations director of prisoner abuse

By Barry Grey, 30 August 2007

A military jury on Tuesday acquitted Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan of all charges related to the torture of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. Jordan is the only officer to face criminal charges in the horrific abuse of Iraqi prisoners that came to light with the publication in April 2004 of photos showing grinning US military police subjecting detainees to sadistic and degrading treatment.

Bush visits New Orleans on Katrina anniversary: returning to the scene of the crime

By David Walsh, 30 August 2007

Working class residents of New Orleans responded with anger and protests to the visit paid by George W. Bush Wednesday on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a tragedy which led to the loss of more than 1,800 lives and massive devastation in the region.

No End In Sight: An establishment view of what went wrong

By Christie Schaefer, 30 August 2007

Written and directed by Charles Ferguson

Join the International Students for Social Equality!

By by International Students for Social Equality, 30 August 2007

Students are returning to school in the United States and other countries this month amidst an extraordinary intensification of global political and economic crisis.

Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation

By World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 30 August 2007

We are reposting below a statement that originally appeared on the WSWS on September 2, 2005, four days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. It is also published in the pamphlet “Hurricane Katrina: Social Consequences & Political Lessons,” which brings together articles and statements posted on the WSWS in the immediate aftermath of the Katrina disaster, and can be ordered online.

US census report shows falling earnings, rise in uninsured

By Jerry White, 30 August 2007

New census data released this week shows that American workers continued to see an erosion of their living standards in 2006, even as the US economy entered its the fifth year of job growth following the recession of 2001.

World economy: Financial crisis exposes market myths

By Nick Beams, 30 August 2007

In the wake of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, there was much talk in financial and political circles of the need for a new “global financial architecture” and greater “transparency” in order to prevent a recurrence of the crisis that hit global markets.

Bush threatens to militarily “confront” Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 29 August 2007

In his second foreign policy speech in less than a week, President Bush Tuesday portrayed the ongoing US military occupation in Iraq as part of a broader regional struggle to defend vital US interests against “radicals and extremists.”

Letters on President Bush’s history lesson

By , 29 August 2007

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site regarding “President Bush’s history lesson”.

Britain acquires thermobaric weapons for Afghanistan

By Julie Hyland, 29 August 2007

For weeks, British media and sections of the political elite have been urging the government and the military to focus their attention on military operations in Afghanistan. In contrast to Iraq, the US-led occupation of Afghanistan is being portrayed as a “winnable.” But a report by Channel 4 News has disclosed just how it is intended to secure victory—through the use of thermobaric weapons.

Hurricane Katrina two years on

By Kate Randall, 29 August 2007

The following is the first in a series of articles on the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Future installments will deal with housing conditions, the state of the levee system, profiteering in the Gulf Opportunity Zone and other issues.

Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness

By David North, 29 August 2007

Mehring Books has published a new book by David North, Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness, which is now available for purchase online. It was written in reply to a critique of the work of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), entitled “Objectivism or Marxism”, by Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner, two former members of the Workers League (predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party).

US Congress receives warning of China’s growing influence in South Pacific

By Patrick O’Connor, 29 August 2007

The US Congress last month received a 30-page report, “The Southwest Pacific: US Interests and China’s Growing Influence”, drafted by the foreign affairs, defense, and trade division of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), its public policy research arm.

Albanian government introduces flat tax

By Markus Salzmann, 29 August 2007

The government of Albania has agreed on a standard tax rate (flat tax) of 10 percent aimed at outdoing its East European rivals and attracting international investors. The government in Tirana is determined to transform the impoverished Balkan state into a haven for multinational companies and western speculators.

US military bombards targets inside Pakistan

By Peter Symonds, 29 August 2007

In an aggressive new step, the US military shelled and destroyed targets across the Afghan border inside Pakistan on Sunday. While it has received scant coverage in the American and international media, the attack foreshadows more extensive US cross-border operations that have the potential to further destabilise Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s uncertain grip on power.

Scientists warn Spain could see mass spread of deserts

By David O’Rourke, 28 August 2007

Several recent scientific reports have warned of the enormous environmental problems that Spain faces as a result of pollution, coastline development, and global warming.

Russia: The political significance of the strike at the auto plant in Togliatti

By Vladimir Volkov, 28 August 2007

On August 1, workers at AvtoVAZ, the largest Russian producer of automobiles since Soviet times, carried out a warning strike. The action pointed to growing social and political ferment among workers in Russia.

Bangladesh regime imposes curfew to suppress student protests

By Wimal Perera, 28 August 2007

The military-backed regime in Bangladesh imposed an indefinite curfew in six major cities on August 22 in an attempt to suppress student agitation demanding an end to emergency rule and the withdrawal of all security forces stationed on university campuses. The clampdown covered the capital Dhaka and the main port of Chittagong as well as Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet.

Sri Lankan SEP letter to JVP demanding end to threats of violence

By , 28 August 2007

The following letter has been sent by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to demand an end to threats of violence against the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) at Peradeniya University. The incident was reported in full on the World Socialist Web Site (see “Sri Lanka: JVP student leader physically threatens ISSE campus team”).

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns

By Joe Kay, 28 August 2007

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who has been closely associated with the anti-democratic measures introduced by the Bush administration, announced his resignation on Monday.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 August 2007

Latin America

Over 60 die as forest fires sweep Greece

By Markus Salzmann, 28 August 2007

Inferno, apocalypse and “hell on earth” are some of the terms which have been used to describe the devastating forest fires which have been raging in Greece since last Friday, and which have so far claimed at least 63 victims, including children.

Ohio floods: another example of America’s failing infrastructure

By Charles Bogle, 28 August 2007

The residents of Ottawa, Ohio, one of the many small Midwest towns hit by recent flooding that has caused at least 18 deaths, are beginning the process of cleaning up and assessing damages. They are doing so, in large part, alone.

The firing of Ward Churchill: Attack on academic freedom in US escalates

By Shannon Jones, 28 August 2007

The firing on July 24 of University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill on charges of historical fabrication and falsification must be opposed by all those who defend democratic rights.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner visits Baghdad

By Alex Lantier, 28 August 2007

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner made a surprise three-day trip to Baghdad on August 19-21, visiting top Iraqi politicians and religious figures, including President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The trip marked the first public contact between the French government and the US puppet regime in Baghdad installed after the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Letters on Cindy Sheehan and the Nation

By , 27 August 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site concerning our response to an editorial in the Nation magazine opposing Cindy Sheehan’s decision to run against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Berlin sociologist detained for three weeks

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 27 August 2007

On Wednesday, August 22, researcher and sociologist Andrej H. from Berlin was released from custody. He had spent three weeks in solitary confinement after Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office made the specious allegation that he was a “member of a terrorist organisation.” (Under German law, the full names of individuals involved in certain legal cases cannot be published.)

US occupation fuels ethnic cleansing and mass repression in Iraq

By Patrick Martin, 27 August 2007

Several reports on conditions in Iraq released last week confirm that the US troop surge in 2007 has accelerated the division of the Iraqi population along ethno-religious lines and dramatically increased the number of Iraqis held in barbaric conditions of imprisonment.

Three British soldiers killed by US friendly fire in Afghanistan

By Robert Stevens, 27 August 2007

Three British soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday by “friendly fire” after an American F15E fighter plane dropped a 500-pound bomb on their position in the Helmand province at around 18:30 local time.

California Republicans seek to rig 2008 presidential vote

By our reporter, 27 August 2007

In a transparent effort to rig the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, the California Republican Party has launched a petition drive to place a referendum on the ballot in June 2008 that would split the state’s huge bloc of electoral votes rather than awarding them based on the traditional winner-take-all formula.

Australian troops carry out provocations against East Timor’s Fretilin

By Richard Phillips, 27 August 2007

Australian troops occupying East Timor vandalised and stole Fretilin flags from two villages in the country’s eastern districts of Baucau and Viqueque last week. The arrogant and crude provocation is part of the Australian government’s ongoing attempts to intimidate opponents of the recent appointment of Xanana Gusmao as East Timorese prime minister.

Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness

By David North, 27 August 2007

Mehring Books has published a new book by David North, Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness, which is now available for purchase online. It was written in reply to a critique of the work of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), entitled “Objectivism or Marxism.”, by Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner, two former members of the Workers League (predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party).

Recent tax data shows widening gap between rich and poor in US

By Tom Carter, 27 August 2007

The latest Statistics of Income (SOI) released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this month point to a marked social polarization in the US over the recent period, compounded by stagnating wages for the majority of the population and huge tax breaks for the rich.

US intelligence report points to Iraqi government’s removal

By Peter Symonds, 27 August 2007

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq released last week reflects a growing consensus not just among the US spy agencies, but in the White House and American ruling elite, that the main obstacle to the US agenda in Iraq is the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Flooding displaces thousands in US Midwest

By Naomi Spencer, 25 August 2007

Severe storms and flooding throughout the central US Plains and Midwest have displaced thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands without power. At least 26 deaths have been attributed to two storm systems that moved through the area in the past week.

Arctic sea ice at record low due to global warming

By Mark Rainer, 25 August 2007

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a US government-funded research center at the University of Colorado, reported this week the lowest Arctic sea ice extent on record with time still left to go in the summer melting season. Arctic sea ice extent is defined as the area of Arctic Ocean that is covered by at least 15 percent ice.

Central Asian military exercises highlight rising great-power tensions

By John Chan, 25 August 2007

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which consists of Russia, China and four Central Asian republics, held its “Peace Mission 2007” joint war games from August 9 to 17, starting in the Chinese western province of Xinjiang and continuing in Russia’s Ural region of Chelyabinsk. The military exercise, followed by the SCO’s annual summit in Kyrgyzstan on August 16, is one more indication of rising great-power tensions over the energy-rich Central Asian region.

Right-wing parties dominate in run-up to Polish elections

By Marius Heuser, 25 August 2007

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called fresh elections for October 21 after only two years in office. His twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, and Donald Tusk, the leader of the opposition Civic Platform (PO), had reached an agreement on this step just prior to the announcement. Now, deputies must vote by a two-thirds majority to dissolve the Sejm (parliament). If this does not happen, the prime minister has announced he will resign.

US fears of British pullout from Basra raise transatlantic tensions to new pitch

By Chris Marsden, 25 August 2007

Military circles in Washington and London are engaged in mutual recriminations over the proposed drawdown of Britain’s troop presence in Basra, with US top brass speaking of the UK’s “Saigon moment” and full withdrawal. The British Army has made clear its anger at such open criticism and the media has responded by accusing the US of scapegoating Britain for the inability of America’s own forces to defeat the Iraq insurgency.

British Army facing worsening situation in Afghanistan

By Harvey Thompson, 25 August 2007

The debacle suffered by Britain in Iraq has united government spokesmen, its critics in Parliament and military figures in depicting Afghanistan as the “winnable war.” In reality, Britain is facing a deteriorating situation on both military fronts, and the calls for a shift of British troops to the Afghan theatre are intensifying conflict there.

Increasing numbers of German children live in poverty

By Dietmar Henning, 25 August 2007

Child poverty is on the increase in Germany. In western German cities such as Bremerhaven, and in many eastern German cities and municipalities, nearly every second child lives in poverty. Since the introduction in 2003 of a new Hartz IV system of welfare payments by the former Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green coalition government, an ever-larger proportion of the German population (7.4 million persons) are dependent on Hartz IV payments. This total includes nearly 2 million children under the age of 15 years.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 August 2007

Indian oil workers strike for pay rise

Solomon Islands government defeats no-confidence motion

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 August 2007

On August 17, the speaker of the Solomon Islands’ parliament, Peter Kenilorea, ruled that an attempted no-confidence motion brought by the opposition against the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was inadmissible under parliamentary standing orders. The decision represents a significant blow to the Australian government-driven campaign to bring down the Solomons government, since it appears to have prevented another no-confidence vote until the next parliamentary session in 2008.

Washington continues propaganda barrage against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 24 August 2007

As it prepares for a diplomatic offensive against Iran at the UN next month, the Bush administration is maintaining a steady barrage of threats and propaganda—in particular, over so-called Iranian “interference” in US-occupied Iraq and Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons programs.

World economy: Credit crunch fallout begins to spread

By Nick Beams, 24 August 2007

While stock markets have stabilised—at least for the time being—the effects of the credit crunch sparked by the crisis in the US subprime mortgage market are now working their way through the banks and financial institutions and the economy as a whole.

President Bush’s history lesson

By Barry Grey, 24 August 2007

On Wednesday, President Bush delivered what the White House billed as a “major foreign policy speech” to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Bourne Ultimatum—Action-packed, and it pays the price

By David Walsh, 24 August 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum, directed by Paul Greengrass, screenplay by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 24 August 2007


CIA 9/11 “accountability” report released: A whitewash that only raises more questions

By Patrick Martin, 24 August 2007

Preaching accountability to the CIA is like preaching fairness to Wall Street or honesty to the White House. It’s not merely futile, it’s counterproductive. The effort itself reinforces illusions in institutions that by their very nature are committed to double-dealing, fraud and lies.

Australian judge overturns government cancellation of Dr Haneef’s visa

By Mike Head, 24 August 2007

The Howard government suffered another significant setback on Tuesday when a Federal Court judge declared that Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews had unlawfully cancelled Dr Mohamed Haneef’s visa.

Hurricane Dean inflicts devastating blow to Caribbean agriculture, infrastructure

By Naomi Spencer, 24 August 2007

Hurricane Dean swept through the Caribbean and into Mexico this week, killing at least 25 and causing extensive damage to homes and infrastructure. In addition to Mexico, the countries of Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, and other islands of the Lesser Antilles, were impacted by flooding and winds up to 256 kilometers per hour.

Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness

By David North, 24 August 2007

Mehring Books has published a new book by David North, Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness, which is now available for purchase online. Last Friday, we began publication of the book’s text. The Foreword was posted on August 17, and below we post Parts 1-3.

Utah mine to be sealed, entombing missing miners

By Samuel Davidson, 24 August 2007

The Washington Post reported Thursday that mine owner Bob Murray had decided to end production at the Crandall Canyon Mine in central Utah where six coal miners were trapped in an August 6 cave-in and to seal the mine.

Amid calls from Clinton and Levin, US moves to oust Iraqi prime minister

By James Cogan, 23 August 2007

Open calls by Democratic Party leaders this week for the removal of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, combined with ongoing expressions of frustration by Bush administration officials, indicate that the Iraqi government’s days are numbered. Moves are underway in Washington and Baghdad to remove Maliki when the Iraqi parliament returns from a summer break on September 4.

14 US soldiers killed in Iraq helicopter crash

By Naomi Spencer, 23 August 2007

Fourteen US soldiers died in a helicopter crash August 22 during night operations near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. According to the initial Army press release, the Black Hawk helicopter went down after an unspecified mechanical malfunction, killing all aboard.

Behind Mbeki’s sacking of South Africa’s deputy health minister

By Chris Talbot, 23 August 2007

The sacking by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa of his deputy health minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, has produced outrage amongst AIDS activists in South Africa and consternation among political commentators internationally.

Scottish National Party publishes policy document on independence

By Julie Hyland, 23 August 2007

Last week, the Scottish National Party-led minority administration in the devolved Scottish parliament published its 40-page document, “Independence and responsibility in the modern world.” It is the first document with a measure of official authority to back the separation of England and Scotland.

Right-wing mob attacks group of Indians in eastern Germany

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 August 2007

In the early hours of Sunday, August 19, a group of eight Indians was attacked by a drunken mob during a street party held in the German town of Mügeln. The eight men, who either worked at the town’s Indian restaurant or were friends of the owner, were attacked by a mob of around 50 youth. The small town of Mügeln is located in the eastern German state of Saxony, which has seen a number of violent racist attacks in recent years.

New Zealand government introduces secretive new immigration and security laws

By John Braddock, 23 August 2007

The New Zealand government announced on August 8 that it will introduce into parliament the most sweeping overhaul of immigration laws in 20 years. The legal rewrite of the 1987 Act, running into hundreds of pages, represents another major step in a series of attacks by the Labour-led government on basic democratic rights and civil liberties.

The Nation urges Cindy Sheehan not to run for Congress against Nancy Pelosi

By David Walsh, 23 August 2007

The Nation magazine, a leading voice of left-liberalism, has come out in opposition to antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan’s decision to run for Congress as an independent against Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Foreclosures soar, layoffs mount in US mortgage industry crisis

By Joe Kay, 22 August 2007

The US housing market showed further signs of deterioration on Tuesday with the release of a report showing a sharp 9 percent increase in foreclosure filings from June to July. World financial markets have been rocked in recent weeks by a credit crisis with origins in the US home mortgage market.

Fiji: Union leaders end strike against military regime’s austerity measures

By Terry Cook, 22 August 2007

The Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions (FICTU) has called off a six-day nationwide strike involving 10,000 public sector workers. It is a betrayal that will inevitably rebound on other sections of workers.

University education in Australia and the impact of “free market” reform

By an ISSE correspondent, 22 August 2007

A series of “free market” reforms to the Australian university system, implemented in the past two decades by successive Labor and Liberal governments, has exposed all but the most privileged layers of the student population to increasingly dire social and financial circumstances.

Serious water shortage in Turkey

By Sinan Ikinci, 22 August 2007

Ankara, Turkey’s capital and home to more than 4.5 million people, has been in the grips of a serious water shortage for the last three weeks.

US court hears suit against AT&T’s collaboration with domestic spying program

By Marge Holland, 22 August 2007

On Wednesday, August 15, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments in the case of Hepting v. AT&T, a class action suit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in January 2006.

Spate of massive recalls highlights failure of the free market

By Naomi Spencer, 22 August 2007

The recall announcements by global toy company Mattel earlier this month involving some 19 million items are only the latest in a string of such actions by major corporations.

US Attorney General Gonzales to wield new death penalty authority

By Kate Randall, 22 August 2007

The US Justice Department is finalizing regulations that would give Attorney General Alberto Gonzales new authority in capital cases to shorten the time death row inmates have to appeal their convictions in federal court.

Workers, students speak out against closure of Los Angeles hospital

By Rafael Azul, 22 August 2007

After more than three years of controversy and downsizing, the closure of Martin Luther King Jr.—Harbor Hospital is a blow to the health care needs of hundreds of thousands of residents in South Central Los Angeles, Watts, Compton and other communities of the working poor of Los Angeles.

Britain: Riot police attack Heathrow Airport protest

By Robert Stevens, 22 August 2007

A week of saturation policing of the peaceful environmental protest at Heathrow Airport concluded on Sunday with a series of brutal attacks on those involved in the Camp for Climate Action.

New York Times calls for escalation of the “good war” in Afghanistan

By Barry Grey, 22 August 2007

In an editorial published on August 20, the New York Times spells out the consensus policy of the liberal, Democratic Party wing of the American political establishment for an escalation of the US military intervention in Afghanistan.

Relatives of trapped Utah miners denounce mine owner, safety officials

By Barry Grey, 21 August 2007

Relatives of six miners trapped 1,500 feet below ground at the Crandall Canyon mine in east central Utah made a statement to the press on Sunday, 13 days after the mine caved in, to express outrage over the decision of the mine owners and federal mine safety officials to effectively abandon attempts to rescue the men.

No Sri Lankan legal aid for young maid facing death sentence in Saudi Arabia

By Vilani Peiris, 21 August 2007

Although an appeal has been filed in the Saudi Arabian Supreme Court, the fate of Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek hangs in the balance. She was sentenced to death in June for the murder of her employer’s child. The case exposes not only the reactionary character of the Saudi legal system but the failure of the Sri Lankan government to defend hundreds of thousands of contract workers in the Middle East.

British SWP covers for sell-out of postal workers strike

By Keith Lee and Paul Stuart, 21 August 2007

On August 9, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced that it was suspending further strike action in Britain’s postal service. Without any explanation to its members, the CWU declared it was entering negotiations with Royal Mail in an attempt to reach an agreement by September 4. A national demonstration planned for August 21 was cancelled.

Chinese miners feared dead in flooded coal mines

By Carol Divjak, 21 August 2007

Anger boiled over yesterday among relatives of 181 Chinese coal miners trapped in two flooded mines in eastern Shandong province since Friday. Frantic relatives scuffled with security forces, demanding answers and criticising rescue efforts after a fourth day without word on the fate of their loved ones.

Australian government wages two-year vilification campaign to justify takeover of Mutitjulu

By Susan Allan, 21 August 2007

Mutitjulu is one of the first of around 80 Aboriginal communities in Australia’s Northern Territory being targeted by the Howard government in its unprecedented attempt to takeover the poverty-stricken areas through military force. A review of the experiences of Mutitjulu’s residents over the past two years helps provide an insight into the grubby methods that have been used to justify the extraordinary police-military intervention.

The widening gulf between official German politics and the electorate

By Dietmar Henning, 21 August 2007

“Wealth... for me means security. To be able to lose one’s job without falling into a bottomless pit.” Deutsche Bank chairman, Josef Ackermann

Peruvian president sends troops into earthquake-ravaged region

By Rafael Azul, 21 August 2007

Peru’s central government has announced the deployment of troops to the cities of Pisco and Ica in the country’s south, citing the need to stop looting in the wake of the massive earthquake that struck last Wednesday evening. Fearing a social explosion, special forces patrols are already in Pisco, where 80 percent of all structures collapsed or have been damaged as a result of the quake.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 August 2007

Latin America

Leading Democratic presidential candidates disavow rapid Iraq withdrawal

By Patrick Martin, 21 August 2007

At a televised debate Sunday morning in Iowa, the three leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination all rejected calls for a pullout of all American troops from Iraq by the end of this year, declaring such an action either unfeasible or undesirable.

Immigrant detainees dying in US custody

By Hiram Lee, 21 August 2007

On August 7, Edimar Alves Araujo, a Brazilian national residing in Milford, Massachusetts, died while in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Araujo, a worker at a gas station and a painter, had been detained and turned over to ICE when Rhode Island police made a traffic stop and discovered Araujo had an open deportation warrant on his record.

Germany: “Human Rights in Times of Terror” by Rolf Gössner

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 20 August 2007

Rolf Gössner, Menschenrechte in Zeiten des Terrors—Kollateralschäden an der “Heimatfront”(Human Rights in Times of Terror—Collateral Damage on the “Home Front”), Konkret Verlag, Hamburg: 2007, 288 pages, €17

Details emerge of vast scope of US domestic spying law

By Joe Kay, 20 August 2007

New reports underscore the extraordinary scope of a law passed earlier this month expanding government powers to spy on the population in the US and internationally. The “Protect America Act of 2007,” passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress, effectively overrides the ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures” laid down by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

A new race for the North Pole

By Niall Green, 20 August 2007

The heroic age of polar exploration took shape at the turn of the twentieth century, as teams from several countries hoped to reach one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. Expeditions from Norway, Italy and the United States made early attempts, with Norwegian Roald Amundsen being the first person generally acknowledged to have crossed the North Pole when he flew overhead in 1926. Twenty-two years later, Aleksandr Kuznetsov’s Soviet exploration party became the first to set foot there.

Credit crisis claims another bank

By Nick Beams, 20 August 2007

The collapse of the market in US subprime mortgages has claimed another European victim. On Friday it was announced that SachsenLB, a bank owned by the German state of Saxony, had to be bailed out to the tune of 17.3 billion euros ($23.3 billion).

Drummer Max Roach dies: Last of the bebop pioneers

By John Andrews, 20 August 2007

On August 16, jazz lost one of its most admired and significant figures when drummer Max Roach died in New York City following a long illness. He was 83.