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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.

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”)

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.

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.

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.

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.

More signs of Israeli-US preparations for attacking Iran

By Peter Symonds, 28 June 2008

The visit by US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen to Israel yesterday is one more indication that the two countries are actively discussing a military strike on Iran. Mullen’s trip followed news that the Israeli air force carried out a major exercise earlier this month involving 100 fighter jets, backed by midair fuel tankers and rescue helicopters, flying some 1,500 kilometres westward over the Mediterranean Sea—roughly the same distance as eastward from Israel to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

North Korea makes initial nuclear disarmament gestures

By Alex Lantier, 28 June 2008

By blowing up the cooling tower of its Yongbyon nuclear facility yesterday and publishing a report on its nuclear program on June 26, North Korea signaled its willingness to begin a nuclear disarmament program. In accepting the report, while saying it will make as few concessions to North Korea as possible, Washington is acknowledging its political and military weakness in this crucial region, while leaving itself the option of later returning to a more belligerent policy.

Britain: SEP campaign in Haltemprice and Howden by-election

By , 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.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 June 2008

Indian textile workers continue strike over pay

European press leaks US military reports on nuclear weapons safety

By Alex Lantier, 28 June 2008

Prominent European news outlets—including the British Financial Times, Germany’s Berliner Zeitung and Der Spiegel, and France’s Le Monde—are revealing details of US military reports on the poor status of US nuclear weapons security. These reports, and subsequent discussions by European politicians, raise disturbing questions over the US military’s loose handling of nuclear weapons and show the European bourgeoisie’s growing concerns over the potentially explosive consequences of US military policy.

Iceland’s economic turmoil threatens instability throughout Scandinavia

By Jordan Shilton, 28 June 2008

Iceland’s economic future continues to be bleak, with inflation increasing again in May and threatening to precipitate the first recession since the early 90s. An OECD report stated that an economic recession in Iceland now appears “imminent”.

You can’t go home again: George Romero’s Diary of the Dead

By Hiram Lee, 28 June 2008

With Diary of the Dead, director George Romero has returned to the start of the zombie plague which first took shape in his Night of the Living Dead (1968) and grew in intensity through Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985), until the world was almost completely overrun by zombies in his overlooked Land of the Dead (2005).

German Social Democrats in free-fall

By Ulrich Rippert, 28 June 2008

In the past few weeks, longstanding conflicts in the Social Democratic Party have reached a boiling point. Just this week, SPD Chairman Kurt Beck referred journalists to the “destructive campaign” being carried out against him. The way he is being treated is “obscene,” he told the magazine Der Spiegel, adding, “I would at least like to be taken somewhat seriously.”

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.

The reactionary politics of the Supreme Court’s “gun rights” decision

By Don Knowland and Patrick Martin, 28 June 2008

Thursday’s ruling by the US Supreme Court, declaring that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution provides an individual right to gun ownership, has nothing to do with an actual defense of democratic rights. It is an exercise in specious legal reasoning and historical falsification, carried out for definite, and thoroughly reactionary, political purposes.

France: Immigrant retention centre burnt down following death of inmate

By Chumaran Ira and Pierre Mabut, 28 June 2008

On June 22, the biggest Administrative Retention Centre (CRA) for undocumented immigrants at Vincennes in the Val-de-Marne near Paris was gutted by fire after detainees rioted in reaction to the death of 41-year-old Tunisian Belkacem Souli from a heart attack brought on by bad conditions at the centre. Eighteen of the 273 detainees at the centre were hospitalised.

As GM layoffs mount, more nationalist poison from Canadian auto workers union

By Carl Bronski, 27 June 2008

In a new blow to auto workers at the sprawling General Motors assembly complex in Oshawa, Ontario, GM announced this week that about 1,000 employees at the soon to be closed truck plant near Toronto will be temporarily laid off for up to eight weeks over the course of the next six months.

US Fed caught in global turbulence

By Nick Beams, 27 June 2008

The US Federal Reserve Board’s decision on Wednesday to maintain its benchmark interest rate at 2 percent was not so much a policy decision as the expression of the growing paralysis in government and central banking circles in the face of the powerful forces now at work in the US and global economy.

Bush administration stacked Justice Department with right-wingers

By David Walsh, 27 June 2008

A report issued jointly by the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility, both of the US Justice Department, lifts the lid on one of the numerous efforts by the Bush administration to fill the American government with right-wing ideologues.

Australian call for “Asia-Pacific Community”: A sign of growing tensions

By John Chan, 27 June 2008

Behind the recent speech by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling for an “Asia-Pacific Community” lie deep concerns in Australian ruling circles about the potential for conflict between the major powers in the region—the US, China, Japan and India.

Britain: Cameron and David Davis come out in support of strike breaking

By Chris Marsden, 27 June 2008

On June 23, the Sun newspaper ran a column by Associate Editor Trevor Kavanagh, “Tories must break strikes or strikes will break them.”

US stocks plunge, job cuts spread

By Andre Damon, 27 June 2008

Stocks plummeted yesterday amid worsening expectations for financial firms and record oil prices. The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 358 points, or three percent, to its lowest level since September of 2006. All 30 stocks in the index posted declines, with Dow closing at 11,453.42, down more than 2,500 points since its all-time high last October.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 27 June 2008

Europe

Letters from our readers

By , 27 June 2008

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

800,000 take strike action in the Czech Republic

By Markus Salzmann, 27 June 2008

The following article is to be translated into Czech for distribution at the next demonstration against the policies of the current Prague government.

US Supreme Court rejects “Millionaire’s Amendment” to campaign finance law

By Kate Randall, 27 June 2008

In a 5-4 vote on Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down a campaign financing provision that allows candidates to accept larger-than-normal contributions if their opponents use their own wealth to finance their campaigns.

French President Sarkozy visits Israel to broker regional realignment

By Alex Lantier, 26 June 2008

French President Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Israel June 22-24 to reaffirm his commitment to the state of Israel and to keep diplomatic pressure on Iran and Syria, the current targets of the US in the Middle East. Sarkozy’s visit was part of a continuing French diplomatic offensive in the Middle East, with visits by top officials to the former French colonies of Lebanon on June 7 and Syria on June 15.

Darwin resident explains impact of Northern Territory intervention

By , 26 June 2008

June Mills, a worker for the Long Grass Association which provides care for homeless indigenous people in Darwin, spoke with the WSWS on the impact of the Northern Territory intervention.

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai pulls out of election as Britain and US seek regime change

By Ann Talbot, 26 June 2008

The decision by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to pull out of the presidential election in Zimbabwe has been followed by an appeal for military intervention to oust Robert Mugabe.

US/NATO crisis in Afghanistan generates greater pressure on Pakistan

By James Cogan, 26 June 2008

NATO forces and the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai were compelled to launch a major operation last week to dislodge hundreds of anti-occupation fighters who had seized control of villages in the Arghandab valley, just 16 kilometres to the northwest of Kandahar city. Some of the 1,000-plus prisoners who were freed during the assault on the Sarposa prison in Kandahar on June 13 may have been involved. They reportedly linked up with insurgents who had recently crossed into Afghanistan from safe-havens inside Pakistan.

US: Workplace shooting leaves six dead in Henderson, Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 26 June 2008

According to police, around midnight on Tuesday, a disgruntled 25-year-old worker shot his supervisor outside the Henderson, Kentucky plastics plant where he worked. Wesley Neal Higdon then went back inside and shot five other co-workers, before taking his own life.

Washington’s new alibi for a criminal war: the “surge has worked”

By Bill Van Auken, 26 June 2008

A growing consensus has emerged within the US political establishment, extending to both major parties and the predominant sections of the mass media that the so-called “surge”—the Bush administration’s euphemism for military escalation—has “worked.”

EU parliament agrees to strengthening of Fortress Europe

By Dietmar Henning and Martin Kreickenbaum, 26 June 2008

On June 18, the European Union parliament adopted by a large majority the “Directive on common standards and procedure in the member states for the return of illegally residing citizens.” The new law, also known as the Returns Directive, had been passed by the European Union Council of Ministers for Justice and Internal Affairs two weeks previously.

“Unintended consequences” or deliberate destruction?

By a WSWS reporting team, 26 June 2008

World Socialist Web Site journalists Susan Allan and Richard Phillips and freelance photographer John Hulme recently visited central Australia to report on the social and political impact of the federal government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response or police/military intervention into Aboriginal communities. This is the second in a series of articles, interviews, video clips and slide shows (1 and 2). Parts one, three, four, five, six and seven were posted on June 21, July 2, July 15, July 24, August 6 and August 25 respectively.

Obama attacks US Supreme Court decision barring death penalty for child rape

By Patrick Martin, 26 June 2008

In an action that combines cynical political opportunism and outright reaction, Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, has publicly denounced Wednesday’s decision by the US Supreme Court outlawing the execution of people convicted of child rape.

Trumbo and the Hollywood blacklist

By David Walsh, 26 June 2008

Directed by Peter Askin, screenplay by Christopher Trumbo

US scientist calls for prosecution of energy company CEOs for global warming disinformation

By Shannon Jones, 26 June 2008

In testimony before the US Congress on Monday, James Hansen, a leading climatologist, called heads of major energy companies criminals who should be prosecuted for deliberately spreading false and misleading information about the threat posed by global warming.

Britain: SEP candidate officially registered for Haltemprice and Howden by-election

By Julie Hyland, 26 June 2008

Chris Talbot, the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, is now officially registered for the ballot, following acceptance of his nomination by the electoral office on Wednesday.

More than 700 feared dead in Philippine ferry disaster

By Dante Pastrana, 25 June 2008

The MV Princess of the Stars, one of the largest passenger ferries in the Philippines, keeled over in raging seas whipped up by typhoon Fenshen last Saturday. More than 850 passengers and crew were on board, including at least 20 children and 33 infants.

Northern Territory intervention: Life for Aborigines in Tenant Creek

By , 25 June 2008

Rodney Barnes was interviewed by the World Socialist Web Site in the Northern Territory town of Tenant Creek.

US housing figures and other data: A picture of rapidly growing social misery

By David Walsh, 25 June 2008

Millions of people in the US, and not merely those with the lowest incomes, are being hammered by a combination of job losses, rising prices for basic items such as food and gasoline, and the drop in the value of their homes.

Demonstration in Warsaw to defend the right to strike

By Marius Heuser, 25 June 2008

On Friday, June 20, more than 2,000 workers and youth demonstrated in central Warsaw against plans by the Polish government to limit the right to strike and other basic workers’ rights. Participation in the protest was considerable when one bears in mind that the major Polish trade union federations had refused to support it. Both the conservative Solidarity and the former Stalinist state trade union, the OPZZ, are cooperating closely with the government to implement the new labour law.

Britain: Socialist Equality Party stands in by-election forced by David Davis

By Socialist Equality Party, 25 June 2008

The Socialist Equality Party is standing in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election to counter efforts to divert legitimate hostility to the Labour government and its extension of detention without charge to 42 days into support for right-wing Conservative David Davis.

McCain adviser suggests that Republican campaign would benefit from another 9/11 attack

By Patrick Martin, 25 June 2008

A senior adviser to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, in the course of an interview with Fortune magazine made public Monday, declared that a new terrorist attack like September 11, 2001 would be good for his candidate’s electoral prospects. Such an event “certainly would be a big advantage to him,” declared Charles R. Black Jr., in a comment that even the monthly business magazine felt compelled to describe as “startling.”

Wall Street sheds jobs amid talk of bank failures

By Andre Damon, 25 June 2008

Job losses on Wall Street are set to escalate as Goldman Sachs, the best performing of the major banks, began implementing a series of layoffs last week. The bank intends to cut 10 percent of its workforce in mergers and acquisitions advice and corporate fund raising, aside from its normal workforce rotation.

Australia: Protestors denounce Labor’s Northern Territory intervention

By WSWS reporters, 25 June 2008

Demonstrations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other Australian state capitals last Saturday demanded the Rudd Labor government end the Northern Territory Emergency Response into Aboriginal communities. The protests were held on the first anniversary of the “intervention” which was introduced last year by the Howard government and is now being extended by the federal Labor government.

Young@Heart: Not going gentle ...

By Joanne Laurier, 25 June 2008

Directed by Stephen Walker

Socialist Equality Party replies to Mary Bluett, AEU state president

By the Socialist Equality Party, 25 June 2008

Australian Education Union Victorian President Mary Bluett sent an email to teachers on June 23, replying to a Socialist Equality Party statement released three days earlier titled, “Why Victorian teachers should vote ‘no’ to the AEU-Labor government agreement”. Bluett’s response—like the AEU’s entire campaign for the proposed industrial agreement—evades the central issues facing teachers, selectively and misleadingly promoting certain aspects of the deal while remaining completely silent on others.

Germany: Students protest planned education cuts

By Parwini Zora, 25 June 2008

On June 5, around 2,500 students and university teachers took to the streets to protest against the planned closure of the Romance Studies and Philosophy departments at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The widespread anger among students at this new round of cuts was manifested in the collection of more than 7,000 signatures in about two weeks, which were turned in at the chancellor’s office on the same day.

Einstein letter sold for record sum—Part 2

By Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot, 24 June 2008

This is the conclusion of a two-part article on Albert Einstein and his views on religion. Part 1 was posted June 23.

Growing instability in Sudan and Chad

By Brian Smith and Chris Talbot, 24 June 2008

Over the last week, rebel groups have attacked towns in the east of Chad. According to the BBC, a spokesman for the National Alliance group of rebels claimed they had seized three towns and were preparing to march on the capital N’Djamena, 750 km away, to oust President Idriss Déby.

US: Bear Stearns hedge fund managers indicted

By Andre Damon, 24 June 2008

Federal prosecutors indicted two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers on charges of securities, mail, and wire fraud last Thursday. Funds operated by the two executives, Ralph Cioffi and Mathew Tannin, folded in June of last year, taking some $1.6 billion of investor funds down with them.

Report: Iraq social and refugee crisis is worsening

By Sandy English, 24 June 2008

According to a report issued last week by the human rights organization Amnesty International, the plight of nearly 5 million Iraqis displaced from their homes since the American invasion of 2003 is worsening in nearly every respect.

South Korean government tries to stem protests against US beef imports

By James Cogan, 24 June 2008

The South Korean administration of President Lee Myung-bak has announced significant concessions in order to placate mass opposition to the lifting of a ban on beef imports from the United States and broader discontent over falling living standards.

France: Low turnout for pension rights protest

By Antoine Lerougetel, 24 June 2008

Less than half the expected number of demonstrators participated in protests in France on June 17 in defence of pension rights and against the deregulation of workers time. The poor mobilisation for the day of action—less than half the stated aim of a million demonstrators—is an indictment of the trade unions and their apologists on the “far left.”

German state of Hesse abolishes student fees

By Anna Rombach and and Helmut Arens, 24 June 2008

On June 17 the state parliament of Hesse decided to abolish student fees—a measure which had been introduced one and a half years ago. Certainly many students will be pleased with the decision, which enables them to study free of charge. At the same time, any jubilation on their part may well be short-lived. Students should place no trust in any of the parties represented in the Hesse state parliament in Wiesbaden.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 June 2008

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

Australian government releases National Employment Standards—a “win for employers”

By Terry Cook, 24 June 2008

The Rudd government last week released its National Employment Standards (NES), a set of 10 standards that will apply to all workers within the federal industrial relations system—about 85 percent of the Australian workforce—from January 2010.

Social satirist George Carlin dead at 71

By David Walsh, 24 June 2008

American comedian George Carlin, an acerbic commentator on life and at times a sharp social satirist, died June 22 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 71. His was a critical voice in American public life.

Northern Territory intervention: Comments from an Aboriginal town camp

By , 24 June 2008

Kenny Laughton speaks with the World Socialist Web Site on the conditions facing Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 24 June 2008

Latin America

War threats against Iran overshadow US elections

By Bill Van Auken, 24 June 2008

The US election campaign, rather than offering the American people any real opportunity to vote for an end to the war and occupation in Iraq, is increasingly overshadowed by threats of new acts of military aggression against Iran.

Obama backs House Democrats’ cave-in on Bush spying bill

By Patrick Martin, 23 June 2008

Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, announced Friday that he would support the bill passed by the House of Representatives rubber-stamping the Bush administration’s illegal program of widespread electronic surveillance and wiretapping.

Social crisis in Detroit—An investigative report

By Lawrence Porter and Naomi Spencer, 23 June 2008

This is the conclusion of a three-part series. “Part 1: The spiraling cost of food” was posted June 20; “Part 2: The impact of gas prices” was posted June 21.

West Australian gas explosion cuts state’s energy supplies and throws thousands out of work

By Joe Lopez, 23 June 2008

The fallout is continuing from a major gas pipeline explosion on June 3 at Varanus Island, 100 kilometres off the north-west coast of Australia. The state of Western Australia has lost one-third of its gas supplies, shutting down or dislocating a range of industries and throwing thousands out of work.

Random killing in Tokyo points to deepening social crisis in Japan

By John Chan, 23 June 2008

Millions of Japanese citizens were shocked by a bloody lunchtime scene on June 8, when Tomohiro Kato, a 25-year-old temporary auto worker, went to Tokyo’s busy Akihabara shopping district, ran down several people with a truck and proceeded to stab others in the street, killing seven. Ten people were wounded.

Britain: SEP to stand in Haltemprice and Howden by-election

By our correspondent, 23 June 2008

The Socialist Equality Party is standing Chris Talbot as its candidate in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election to advance a socialist programme in defence of civil liberties.

Einstein letter sold for record sum—Part 1

By Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot, 23 June 2008

This is the first of a two-part article on Albert Einstein and his views on religion.

Flooding in US Midwest: A disaster created by capitalism

By Shannon Jones, 23 June 2008

The flooding in the US Midwest, which has caused billions of dollars in damage and left tens of thousands homeless, has exposed the neglect and incompetence of the state and federal authorities charged with protecting lives and property along US waterways.

Swedish government adopts invasive wire-tapping measures

By Jordan Shilton, 23 June 2008

On June 17, the Riksdag (parliament) approved new laws to allow the Swedish central intelligence bureau to spy on e-mail, faxes and telephone calls.

India’s government plots break with Left Front to implement Indo-US nuclear treaty

By Keith Jones, 21 June 2008

Bowing to pressure from Washington and from India’s corporate elite, India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has launched a new drive to implement the Indo-US civilian nuclear treaty.

Social crisis in Detroit: An investigative report

By Lawrence Porter and Naomi Spencer, 21 June 2008

The following is the second in a three-part series. The first part, “The spiraling cost of food,” was posted June 19.

Letters from our readers

By , 21 June 2008

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

Britain: Labour refuses to answer Davis’s by-election challenge

By Julie Hyland, 21 June 2008

Labour will not contest the by-election forced by the resignation of shadow home secretary David Davis, which he says is intended to initiate a public debate on the government’s attack on democratic rights.

LTTE front group claims responsibility for Sri Lankan bombings

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 21 June 2008

The Ellalan Force, a front organisation of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks on buses and trains in southern Sri Lanka in recent weeks. These blasts have killed 34 innocent civilians and injured hundreds, including in Colombo.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 June 2008

Asia

Rudd Labor deepens Howard’s assault on Aboriginal communities

By a WSWS reporting team, 21 June 2008

World Socialist Web Site journalists Susan Allan and Richard Phillips and freelance photographer John Hulme recently visited central Australia to report on the social and political impact of the federal government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response or police/military intervention into Aboriginal communities. This is the first in a series of articles, interviews, video clips and slide shows (1 and 2). Parts two, three, four, five, six and seven were posted on June 26, July 2, July 15, July 24, August 6 and August 25 respectively.

US: Democratic Congress approves war funding, legalizes domestic spying

By Bill Van Auken, 21 June 2008

In an across-the-board capitulation to the Bush White House, the House of Representatives voted at the end of this week to approve another $162 billion to fund the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while also passing legislation that legalizes the administration’s domestic spying program.

Tim Russert honored: A “state funeral” for services rendered

By Alex Lantier and David Walsh, 21 June 2008

The various services held this week in honor of Tim Russert, longtime moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” underscore the extraordinary degree to which the American media has been integrated into the state apparatus. The ceremonies were far more telling about the current state of the media than those involved probably realized or intended. Russert, who also served as NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief and hosted an interview program on CNBC/MSNBC, died June 13 as the result of a coronary thrombosis.

Strike by Turkish tyre workers ends with real wage losses

By our Turkish correspondent, 21 June 2008

On June 13, the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers of Turkey (Lastik-Is) ended a two-week strike at four factories of three multinational rubber companies. On June 14, 4,000 tyre workers returned to their jobs with substantial real income losses.

Australia: Why Victorian teachers should vote “no” to the AEU-Labor government agreement

By by Socialist Equality Party, 20 June 2008

Click here to download this article as a leaflet.

Bush calls for more handouts to energy companies

By Andre Damon, 20 June 2008

US President George W. Bush called on Congress Wednesday to repeal the ban on offshore oil drilling, ostensibly as a means of “taking pressure off gas prices” and strengthening “national security.” Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain announced his support for the plan Tuesday, and Bush made his speech in support of McCain’s position. Both had previously supported the ban.

Spain: The Popular Party begins to fracture

By Vicky Short and Paul Stuart, 20 June 2008

Spain’s right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) is engulfed in a bitter internal political as today’s three-day national conference begins.

Britain: Shell tanker drivers’ strike foreshadows summer of discontent

By Paul Mitchell, 20 June 2008

Last weekend’s strike by 641 Shell oil tanker drivers foreshadows a summer of discontent over low pay rises and soaring food and fuel bills.

Big oil cashes in on Iraq slaughter

By Bill Van Auken, 20 June 2008

Four major US, British and French oil companies are getting their hands on the petroleum reserves of Iraq for the first time in 36 years, based on no-bid contracts, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 20 June 2008

Europe

Social crisis in Detroit: An investigative report

By Lawrence Porter and Naomi Spencer, 20 June 2008

The following is the first of a three-part series.

Israeli attack on Iran: “not a matter of if, but when”

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 June 2008

An Israeli military strike is not a matter of if, but when, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. The latest edition of the news weekly carries a four-page article entitled “Plan to Attack” devoted to preparations currently underway in Israel for air strikes against Iran.

Obama speaks in Detroit: rhetoric versus reality

By Jerry White, 20 June 2008

Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, addressed a large rally at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Monday night. Experiencing one of these events firsthand gives you a clearer picture of the political tightrope the Obama campaign is walking, raising limited expectations with its populist rhetoric on the one hand, while pursuing policies that are entirely acceptable to corporate America and Wall Street on the other.

More talk of war as Iran delays response to demand it end uranium enrichment

By James Cogan, 20 June 2008

The Iranian government is seeking to delay its response to the latest demands that it suspend its uranium enrichment operations in the face of threats of new European Union economic sanctions and more talk of unilateral US or Israeli air strikes.

Populism and plutocracy: Obama speaks to the Wall Street Journal

By Patrick Martin, 19 June 2008

An interview with Barack Obama published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record of big business, gives a glimpse of the tricky double game that the Democratic presidential candidate is playing in the 2008 campaign. He seeks to combine populist rhetoric about the economic difficulties confronting millions of working people with reassurances to American billionaires that an Obama administration can be relied upon to defend their interests.

New York City spends $2 billion on stadiums while slashing public funds

By Peter Daniels, 19 June 2008

New York City’s two major league baseball teams are in the midst of constructing enormously expensive new stadiums to be ready for opening day of the 2009 baseball season.

Letter on Canadian prime minister’s “apology” to Aboriginal peoples

By , 19 June 2008

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology in the House of Commons June 11 to all Aboriginal people who suffered abuse in native residential schools.

Aboriginal people denounce Northern Territory intervention

By , 19 June 2008

Residents of Aboriginal townships speak to the World Socialist Web Site about the impact of the state intervention in the Northern Territory.

Australia: Labor strikes deal with Liberals to push through NSW power privatisation

By Noel Holt, 19 June 2008

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma announced this week that his government had finalised a deal with the Liberal-National Coalition to allow the $15 billion privatisation of the state’s electricity generating industry.

Zimbabwe: Mugabe government halts food aid

By Ann Talbot, 19 June 2008

The ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe has banned aid agencies from distributing food in rural areas of Zimbabwe in the run up to the second round of the presidential elections later this month. The effect of the ban is to give the government almost complete control over the food supply.

Polish workers oppose government plan to restrict right to strike

By Tadeusz Sikorski and Marius Heuser, 19 June 2008

The following statement will be distributed in Polish at a demonstration being held in Warsaw this Friday to oppose plans by the conservative government to restrict the right to strike.