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American filmmaker Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

By David Walsh, 30 May 2008

American director, producer and actor Sydney Pollack, best known for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), The Way We Were (1973), Three Days of the Condor (1973), Tootsie (1982) and Out of Africa (1985), died May 26 in Pacific Palisades, California of cancer at the age of 73. He had been more active—and perhaps more successful—in recent years as a producer (The Quiet American, Michael Clayton, Recount) and actor in film and television than a director.

Australian photographer Bill Henson—scapegoat for a wider assault on democratic rights

By Richard Phillips, 30 May 2008

Australian police, encouraged by ongoing denunciations of artist/photographer Bill Henson by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, New South Wales (NSW) Premier Morris Iemma and a small group of right-wing commentators, have ramped up their witch-hunt of the internationally-acclaimed artist following the seizure of 20 of his photographs from a Sydney art gallery last week.

Britain: An interview with the manager of Hicham Yezza’s defence campaign

30 May 2008

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to Musab Younis about the arrest and imminent deportation to Algeria of Hicham Yezza, a faculty member of the University of Nottingham, England.( See “Oppose deportation of Hicham Yezza”)

Britain: Oppose deportation of Hicham Yezza

By by International Students for Social Equality, 30 May 2008

The International Students for Social Equality condemns and opposes the arrest and detention of a student and a member of the faculty at the University of Nottingham in England. Student Rizawaan Sabir and staff member Hicham Yezza were both arrested on May 14 under the Terrorism Act 2000. Subsequent to this action, the Home Office has issued an order to deport Hicham Yezza to Algeria—scheduled to take place on June 1.

Canada complicit in illegal detention and torture of Omar Khadr

By Graham Beverley, 30 May 2008

Over the strenuous objections of the Canadian government, the country’s Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Ottawa must turn over to the legal defence team representing Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen and Guantánamo Bay detainee, some of the Crown documents that pertain to his case.

Dow Chemical announces massive price increase

By Alex Lantier, 30 May 2008

Dow Chemical announced it would charge up to 20 percent more for its products on May 28, citing spiraling price increases for oil and other petrochemical inputs. This decision by Dow—a behemoth with $54 billion in 2007 sales spread throughout numerous consumer industries—is expected to substantially increase inflation, which is already increasing rapidly in the US and throughout the world, cutting into workers’ purchasing power.

End of Nepalese monarchy sets stage for new period of political instability

By K. Ratnayake, 30 May 2008

The decision on Wednesday to abolish the Nepalese monarchy has been greeted with a great deal of fanfare, both in Nepal and internationally. Among ordinary Nepalese, there are many hopes that the establishment of a republic will usher in peace and prosperity. In reality, it is a desperate attempt by sections of the Nepalese ruling elite to salvage the discredited state apparatus in preparation for pro-market reforms and a fresh onslaught on the living standards and rights of workers and the urban and rural poor.

Fallout from McClellan book: The Iraq war’s “complicit enablers,” then and now

By Bill Van Auken, 30 May 2008

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book indicting the Bush administration for employing a “political propaganda campaign” and deception to drag the US into an “unnecessary war” in Iraq has unleashed a wave of bitter recriminations from the Republican right, while prompting opportunist attempts by Democrats to exploit the tell-all memoir for their own political purposes.

German Social Democrats put forward their own presidential candidate

By Dietmar Henning and Peter Schwarz, 30 May 2008

The post of German federal president is largely of a ceremonial nature, and the successful candidate possesses little real power. This makes the election of the president all the more suitable for carrying out political manoeuvres and preparing new political constellations.

Phoenix spacecraft lands near Mars polar icecap

By Patrick Martin, 30 May 2008

In the first successful powered landing on Mars in 32 years, the Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on the surface of the planet Sunday, May 26, near the edge of its northern polar icecap. The spacecraft completed a 422-million-mile trip in just under 300 days since its launch last August 4, with virtually flawless performance of all its complex engineering systems.