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As war clouds gather: Democrats back covert US attacks on Iran

By Patrick Martin, 30 June 2008

Leading congressional Democrats have given their approval to a vastly expanded program of US covert warfare against Iran, according to an article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, published in the New Yorker, and made available on the magazine’s web site Sunday. (See “Preparing the Battlefield—The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran”)

Australia’s “Iguanagate”: the politics of scandal

By Laura Tiernan, 30 June 2008

For three weeks now (and counting) the population at large in Australia’s “premier state” has been forced into the role of captive audience for a scandal dubbed “Iguanagate”. The nation’s media outlets have seized on a series of relatively minor incidents in pursuit of aims that have little to do with the aggressive tendencies of a female MP.

Britain: SEP campaign in Cottingham and Beverley

By our reporters, 30 June 2008

Chris Talbot is the candidate of the Socialist Equality Party in the by-election in the constituency of Haltemprice and Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Britain: Tony Benn defends his decision to back David Davis

By Chris Marsden, 30 June 2008

Tony Benn, still the most prominent figure within what remains of the Labour “left,” has written in the Sunday Telegraph to justify his backing right-wing Conservative David Davis in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election.

Fed minutes show extent of Bear Stearns crisis

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2008

While the language is bureaucratically bland, the minutes of the Federal Reserve Board’s emergency meetings of March 14 and 16, released on Friday, do convey some of the fear that gripped financial authorities as it became apparent that the investment bank Bear Stearns was about to collapse.

France: How the unions broke an offensive of the working class

By Alex Lantier and Kumaran Ira, 30 June 2008

In the two months since his April 24 national televised interview, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced or passed a wave of socially regressive measures in the face of mass popular hostility, compounded by anger over state inaction on rapid inflation of food and fuel prices. However, the last demonstration called by trade unions against these policies on June 17 found a relatively small response, and no further national demonstrations are currently planned.

RAMSI immunity challenged after death of Solomon Islander in car accident

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 June 2008

The Australian media has maintained a unanimous silence on the recent death of a young Solomon Islands’ woman who was hit by a vehicle driven by a police officer deployed under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The failure to cover the story is all the more striking given the political furore it has caused in the Solomons’ capital, Honiara, with senior parliamentarians demanding that the Australian-dominated RAMSI forces be stripped of their immunity from the country’s laws.

Screen Actors Guild negotiations continue in secret on eve of contract expiration

By Ramón Valle and David Walsh, 30 June 2008

As the July 1 expiration date for the contract of 120,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) looms, union leaders continue to negotiate in secret with the American Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Many television and film productions have shut down over fears of an actors’ walk-out. However, SAG leaders have not yet even asked their members for strike authorization.

Australia: Once again unions call off Qantas stoppages

By Terry Cook, 28 June 2008

For the third time in six weeks, union leaders have called off industrial action by 1,500 Qantas engineers in a bid to prevent a potentially explosive confrontation with the airline and the Rudd Labor government over the company’s demand for cuts to wages and conditions.

Britain: SEP campaign in Haltemprice and Howden by-election

28 June 2008

Chris Talbot, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for the by-election in the constituency of Haltemprice and Howden, held a press conference at Cottingham Civic Hall in the village of Cottingham on June 27.