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Britain: Tommy Sheridan makes his pitch to the Scottish National Party

By Steve James, 31 July 2008

One question posed by the recent by-election in Glasgow East is just how long it will be before Tommy Sheridan joins the Scottish Nationalist Party?

Letters on The Dark Knight

By , 31 July 2008

The following letters were sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to the article, “The Dark Knight: Striving to be impressive, but essentially empty”and a subsequent letter sent to the WSWS published in “Letters from our readers”

Global trade talks collapse

By Bill Van Auken, 31 July 2008

Prospects for a global free trade agreement were dashed this week as negotiations in Geneva collapsed in bitter acrimony and mutual finger pointing.

Military censorship of the war in Iraq

By Naomi Spencer, 31 July 2008

Five years of bloody US occupation have seen numerous crimes against humanity unfold in Iraq. Millions of Iraqi civilians have been killed and wounded, with millions more made into refugees. Ancient, once-vibrant cities have been destroyed by air raids and chemical weapons. Thousands of Iraqis have been imprisoned by the US military in barbaric conditions, and in many cases tortured. In carrying out the occupation, more than 4,400 military personnel—most of them American—have died and tens of thousands have been wounded.

Sri Lankan defence ministry evicts poor families as part of war drive

By our reporters, 31 July 2008

The Sri Lankan government has issued orders to evict more than 800 families from their homes in central Colombo, claiming the land belongs to the defence ministry.

Inflation fuels social unrest in Vietnam

By Carol Divjak, 31 July 2008

In the first four months of this year, workers in Vietnam staged more than 300 strikes in response to surging inflation. The consumer price index (CPI) hit a record high of 26.8 percent in June on a year-on-year basis. Housing and construction materials rose 23.7 percent. Overall food costs increased 74.3 percent, with a 45.6 percent jump in the price of rice, the staple food.

German: IG Metall employs splitting tactics at Siemens

By Markus Salzmann, 31 July 2008

The trade union IG Metall has adopted the basic principle of “divide and rule” in its current negotiations with the management of Siemens, the German-based multinational company.

Knoxville, Tennessee: Unemployed man targets liberals in church shooting

By Shannon Jones, 31 July 2008

On July 27, Jim Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church near Knoxville, Tennessee and opened fire with a semiautomatic shotgun on the audience attending a children’s’ play. Greg McKendry, age 60, and Linda Kraeger, age 61, were killed; another six were seriously wounded.

Germany: Praising Obama, Joschka Fischer calls for increased militarism

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 July 2008

In his regular Monday column for the weekly Die Zeit newspaper, the former German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer (Green Party), summed up “Barack Obama’s recent speech in Berlin” as follows: “Put an end to European free-riding when the military situation is serious!”

Bush approves execution of army prisoner

By Kate Randall, 30 July 2008

President Bush on Monday approved the death sentence of Ronald A. Gray, a former US Army cook convicted on multiple rape and murder charges. The decision marked the first time in 51 years that a president has affirmed the death penalty of a member of the US military.

After immigration raid, workers protest conditions in Iowa meatpacking plant

By Andre Damon, 30 July 2008

Immigrant workers marched through the center of Postville, Iowa on Sunday, demonstrating against working conditions at the local meatpacking plant raided by immigration officers ten weeks ago. In the wake of the raid, the plant’s workers have reported numerous cases of labor law violations, including the employment of underage workers, physical abuse, and intimidation by management.

Massive US deficit spells austerity policy for next administration

By Jerry White, 30 July 2008

The Bush administration this week predicted that the US budget deficit will hit a record $482 billion in 2009. This means that the next president, whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, will follow a policy of unprecedented austerity, including gutting entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security.

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic and the complicity of the West in Bosnia’s civil war

By Paul Mitchell, 30 July 2008

The capture of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has unleashed a torrent of historical distortions echoing the propaganda used to justify US-NATO intervention in the former Yugoslavia and to obscure the role of the Western powers in the federation’s break-up.

Australia: Qantas engineers’ union brokers another shabby pay deal

By Terry Cook, 30 July 2008

Following a new round of negotiations in a long-running pay dispute, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) announced last week it was calling off all industrial action after reaching another in-principle agreement covering 1,500 licensed aircraft engineers employed by the Australian airline Qantas.

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson—a documentary

By Joanne Laurier, 30 July 2008

Written and directed by Alex Gibney

Iraq: Kirkuk on edge following suicide bombing

By James Cogan, 30 July 2008

A female suicide bomber detonated an explosion on Tuesday in the midst of a demonstration by over 5,000 Kurdish residents of the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The carnage was horrific. Seventeen people were killed immediately and more than 47 others were wounded.

Japan: Rising fuel prices lead to largest ever fishermen’s strike

By Eric Des Marais, 29 July 2008

In the largest strike ever in the history of the industry, Japanese fishermen brought the nation’s 200,000-strong fishing fleet to a grinding halt on July 15 to protest against the high fuel prices that are crippling their livelihoods. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 fishermen refused to go to sea. In Tokyo, 3,600 marchers joined a protest to demand tax breaks and financial support in front of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

US: Ford posts record quarterly loss

By Shannon Jones, 29 July 2008

Ford, the second largest US carmaker, reported an $8.7 billion loss for the second quarter of 2008, the largest one quarter deficit in the company’s history. The loss comes amidst a collapse in demand for large trucks and sport utility vehicle—on which the company has been heavily dependent—due to surging gas prices.

Letters from our readers

By , 29 July 2008

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

British government implicated in abuse of refugees and asylum seekers

By Marcus Morgan, 29 July 2008

The British government has been implicated in the abuse of refugees and asylum seekers, according to a report published this month by a group of human rights campaigners and medical legal experts.

US military admits soldiers killed unarmed Iraqi civilians

By David Walsh, 29 July 2008

American military officials acknowledged Sunday that three civilians killed by US soldiers June 25, described as “criminals” in an original press release, were “law-abiding” citizens on their way to work.

Porgy and Bess in Berlin

By Verena Nees, 29 July 2008

Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, July 4 to August 1, 2008; conducted by Willie Waters; directed by Angelo Gobbato; the opera will also be performed at Den Norske Opera, Oslo, August 9 to August 29

Australia: Jack Thomas appeals against retrial on terrorist charges

By Mike Head, 29 July 2008

Lawyers for a Melbourne worker, Jack Thomas, will appear in the High Court, Australia’s supreme court, on August 1 to seek leave to appeal against a decision by the Victorian Court of Appeal in June that he face re-trial on two terrorist-related charges. Thomas has been granted bail, but the Rudd government is still keeping him under a “control order”—a modified form of house arrest originally imposed by the previous Howard government in 2006.

Obama backs long-term US military presence in Iraq

By Patrick Martin, 29 July 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama reiterated his support for an open-ended US military presence in Iraq over the weekend, further narrowing his professed differences with the Bush administration and Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Top US general hints at refocused “war on terror” in Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 29 July 2008

Since 2001, the Bush administration has used a purported threat of terrorism to justify the predatory invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the establishment of US control over the resources and territory of both countries. At the same time, the so-called war on terror has served as the pretext for a massive expansion of the US military and the activities of intelligence agencies, as well as major inroads into the democratic rights and civil liberties of the American people.

Turkish prime minister blames PKK for Istanbul terror attacks

By Sinan Ikinci and Stefan Steinberg, 29 July 2008

On Sunday, Istanbul, Turkey’s major city and economic centre with 12 million inhabitants, was rocked by two successive bomb blasts in the residential neighbourhood of Gungören at around 9:45 p.m., killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 150. Many of the injured are in critical condition.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 July 2008

Latin America

US Congress approves government bailout of mortgage giants

By Barry Grey and Andre Damon, 28 July 2008

Less than two weeks after the Bush administration called on Congress to approve an unprecedented plan to authorize the use of unlimited public funds to bail out the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Senate on Saturday joined the House of Representatives in passing the necessary legislation and sending it to the White House for President Bush’s signature.

Bush administration seeking to block regulation of workplace toxins

By Shannon Jones, 28 July 2008

As the Bush administration enters its final six months in office, the US Department of Labor is attempting to push through rule changes aimed at making it more difficult to set new standards for exposure to toxic substances and hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This is part of the Bush administration’s efforts to weaken federal oversight and dismantle regulatory protections on behalf of big business.

California governor threatens to reduce state workers’ pay to minimum wage

By Kim Saito, 28 July 2008

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has threatened to sign an executive order next week to slash the salaries of nearly three-quarters of the state’s 275,000 employees down to $6.55 an hour, the federal minimum wage, or $1.45 below the California minimum of $8.00 an hour.

Australian Labor government unveils carbon trading scheme that shields corporate polluters

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 July 2008

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong have released the Labor government’s “Green Paper” on its proposed carbon emissions trading scheme that is scheduled to come into effect by mid-2010. The various measures outlined make clear that Rudd is determined to ensure that ordinary working people, rather than the major corporate polluters, bear the full cost of a scheme that will inevitably fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the required levels.

Islamophobia in the British media

By Barry Mason, 28 July 2008

A recent Channel 4 Television “Dispatches” documentary, “Muslims under Siege,” showed how the demonisation of Muslims and the propagation of Islamophobia have become widespread in British media and politics.

Malaysian government persists with bogus charges against Anwar

By John Roberts, 28 July 2008

Political tensions remain high in Malaysia following the arrest and release of de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on trumped-up charges of sodomy. The police, backed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, are pressing ahead with the so-called investigation, while Anwar has launched a political counteroffensive with the declared aim of forming a new government in September.

US: Veteran turned away from military hospital commits suicide

By Naomi Spencer, 28 July 2008

On July 7, a Navy veteran suffering from psychological problems hanged himself after being turned away from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. A July 20 report by the Spokesman-Review notes that the death of Lucas Senescall was the sixth suicide this year of veterans under care of the Spokane Veterans Administration (VA).

Obama demands Europe send more troops to Afghanistan

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 July 2008

Barack Obama’s speech before an audience of some 200,000 in Berlin was a reactionary affirmation of Cold War anti-communism and an attempt to promote the new framework for US imperialist militarism and aggression, the so-called “global war on terror.”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 July 2008

Asia

Letters from our readers

By , 26 July 2008

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

US housing slump “without precedent”: foreclosures up 121 percent over 2007

By David Walsh, 26 July 2008

Foreclosures in the US continued to climb in the second quarter of 2008, experts acknowledge that the current housing slump is “without precedent” in the modern era, and the resulting stress is taking both an economic and emotional toll: a 53-year-old Massachusetts woman committed suicide July 22 only hours before her family’s home was to be put up for auction.

Britain: Labour faces wipe-out after defeat in Glasgow East

By Niall Green, 26 July 2008

Labour’s defeat by the Scottish National Party in the Glasgow East by-election is a devastating blow to the party and leaves Prime Minister Gordon Brown one of the walking dead.

France: Sarkozy embarrasses his allies in the trade union bureaucracy

By Pierre Mabut, 26 July 2008

President Nicolas Sarkozy created a furore with remarks he made to the National Council of his right wing ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party on July 5.

Indonesian and Timorese leaders join hands to sanctify 1999 atrocities

By Mike Head, 26 July 2008

In a particularly disgusting ceremony on the island of Bali on July 15, Indonesian President Susilo Banbang Yudhoyono was embraced by his East Timorese counterpart, José Ramos-Horta and Timorese prime minister Xanana Gusmão after the two governments took delivery of a report whitewashing the atrocities carried out by the Indonesian regime in 1999.

End of the 35-hour week in France: Sarkozy handed victory by the unions and “left” parties

By Alex Lantier, 26 July 2008

The raft of anti-working class laws adopted by a joint session of Parliament late on July 23 represent a major triumph for the French bourgeoisie and the conservative government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the face of mass popular opposition, they have enacted legislation that marks a significant shift in class relations in France: lengthening the workweek, cutting unemployment compensation, changing laws governing trade unions and strikes, and giving large handouts to big business and finance.

Memos show Bush administration sanctioned torture

By Tom Eley, 26 July 2008

Justice Department and CIA memos recently obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union confirm once again that high-ranking members of the Bush administration sanctioned torture.

Military show trial of Hamdan opens at Guantánamo Bay

By Tom Eley, 25 July 2008

The “war crimes trial” of Salim Ahmed Hamdan began Tuesday after a military judge ruled on Monday that the drumhead military tribunal may go forward at the US base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Hamdan, who was allegedly Osama Bin Laden’s personal driver at the time of the US invasion of Afghanistan, has pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy and material support for terrorism. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

State violence at 2001 G8 summit in Genoa goes unpunished

By Marianne Arens, 25 July 2008

Last week the judgement was handed down in Genoa in the Bolzaneto trial. The trial is one of four examining the orgy of brutality employed by Italian security forces during the G8 summit held in Genoa in 2001. The Bolzaneto judgement amounts to a virtual acquittal for the state, although the trial made clear that the Italian police had viciously abused and tortured G8 protesters seven years ago.

Louisiana, US: Death of man tased nine times by police ruled homicide

By Hiram Lee, 25 July 2008

A Louisiana coroner has ruled the January 2008 death of 21-year-old Baron Pikes at the hands of police was a homicide. Pikes, a sawmill worker from Winnfield, Louisiana, was killed while in police custody on January 17 after being shot nine times with a Taser gun.

Australia: Pay decision maintains poverty level wages

By Noel Holt, 25 July 2008

In its first decision since the Rudd Labor government came to office last November, the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) on July 8 awarded an increase of just $21.66 weekly for low-paid workers, ensuring many will remain among the country’s working poor.

Pakistan faces mounting US demands to suppress “terrorism”

By K. Ratnayake, 25 July 2008

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is due in Washington next week for top-level discussions, including with President Bush, in which the escalating war in Afghanistan will certainly be a central focus. The Pakistani government has come under mounting pressure from Washington to take action against anti-US insurgents operating from bases inside the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 25 July 2008

Europe

The Dark Knight: Striving to be impressive, but essentially empty

By David Walsh, 25 July 2008

Directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer.

Bush on the financial crisis: “Wall Street got drunk”

By Alex Lantier, 25 July 2008

On July 23 the New York Times published a brief account of President George W. Bush’s comments on the struggling US economy to an invitation-only fund-raiser in Houston. The July 18 event was held at a private home to benefit Pete Olson, the Texas Republican who is challenging Democratic Representative Nick Lampson. The comments were recorded by a local ABC television station and broadcast, despite Bush’s verbal request that journalists in attendance turn off their cameras.

Merrill Lynch pulls out of World Trade Center redevelopment

By Clare Hurley, 25 July 2008

Dealing yet another blow to the terminally crippled rebuilding of the World Trade Center site by the New York Port Authority and billionaire developer Larry Silverstein, Merrill Lynch announced last week that it would not be moving its headquarters to one of the office towers planned, but not yet built, at ground zero.

San Diego, CA: “America’s Finest City” not immune to social crisis

By Josué Olmos and Marc Wells, 25 July 2008

San Diego, the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the US, has historically been regarded as a city of beautiful weather with miles of beaches, a large tourist industry and many economic opportunities. For years the city has dubbed itself “America’s Finest City,” despite the stark disparities in wealth and living standards that exist in the different neighborhoods of San Diego and surrounding cities.

Banks sharply increased fees as US households fell deeper into debt

By Andre Damon, 25 July 2008

As millions of Americans fell ever deeper into debt, lenders drastically increased penalty fees and interest rates. These are among the findings of an investigative report published in Sunday’s New York Times by journalist Gretchen Morgenson.

Obama promotes wider war in Afghanistan: Another presidential race between pro-war candidates

By Jerry White, 25 July 2008

It is clear that the presidential campaign of Barack Obama has become the political vehicle for a significant shift in the focus of US military aggression from Iraq to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 July 2008

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

US: Executions in Texas and Mississippi

By Kate Randall, 24 July 2008

Two more US death row prisoners died by lethal injection on Wednesday evening. Dale Leo Bishop died just after 6:00 p.m. at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, and Derrick Sonnier was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. local time, eight minutes after his lethal injection in the death chamber in Huntsville, Texas.

Glasgow East by-election: Stark social problems, poverty

By Niall Green, 24 July 2008

A by-election is being held today in the constituency of Glasgow East following the resignation of sitting Labour Member of Parliament David Marshall. The seat, which Marshall held with a majority of 13,507 in the 2005 General Election, is a traditional Labour stronghold.

South Korean economy faces mounting problems

By John Chan, 24 July 2008

There are signs of growing economic trouble in South Korea. The country, which is currently the world’s 13th largest economy, is particularly vulnerable to the global economic turbulence. The financial shocks that began with the subprime mortgage crisis in the US loans last year, combined with global inflationary pressures, caught South Korea unprepared.

Aboriginal oppositional voices ignored and censored by the media

By a WSWS reporting team, 24 July 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 fifth in a series of articles, interviews, video clips and slide shows (1 and 2). Parts one, two, three, four, six and seven were posted on June 21, June 26, July 2, July 15, August 6 and August 25 respectively.

New York Times boosts Pentagon push for wider bombing in Afghanistan

By Patrick Martin, 24 July 2008

A lengthy front-page article in Wednesday’s New York Times cites US military officials to make the case for wider latitude in conducting bombing raids against targets in Afghanistan. The article by reporter Thom Shanker carries a headline reflecting the complaints of the Pentagon: “Civilian Risks Curbing Strikes in Afghan War.”

Bridge collapse at Indiana casino construction site injures workers

By Tom Eley, 24 July 2008

On Tuesday, a bridge collapse on a floating casino in Hammond, Indiana, injured a dozen construction workers. The Horseshoe Casino, which is moored on Lake Michigan directly offshore near the border with Illinois (and the city of Chicago), was nearing completion of a $500 million remodeling project at the time of the accident.

ISSE lecture tour of six German universities

By our correspondent, 24 July 2008

Under the title “1968: The Lessons for Today,” the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) carried out a very successful series of meetings at German universities during the past two months. A total of over 250 students and workers participated in the ISSE meetings held in Frankfurt, Berlin, Essen, Leipzig, Karlsruhe and Würzburg.

What accounts for Europe’s love affair with Obama?

By Chris Marsden, 24 July 2008

There is a surreal element to the wave of adulation being generated in the European media surrounding Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama’s upcoming three-day trip to Europe.

White Paper on defense: the French bourgeoisie prepares for war

By Kumaran Ira and Alex Lantier, 24 July 2008

On June 16, the French government released its White Paper on military policy, which outlines the country’s strategic and procurement plans for the next 15 years. Despite necessarily diplomatic language, the document makes clear the intense concern with which France’s ruling elite views the growing tensions in the global and French political situation, and its determination to prepare a military response.

What does British Tory MP David Davis stand for?—Part 2

By Chris Marsden, 23 July 2008

This is the second of a two-part article examining the political history of Conservative MP David Davis, who resigned his parliamentary seat in protest at Labour’s terror legislation enabling 42 days’ detention without trial. Part one was published July 22.

Labour facing by-election disaster in Glasgow

By Steve James, 23 July 2008

The resignation of David Marshall, the Member of Parliament for Glasgow East, has forced today’s by-election in what was once considered as an unassailably safe Labour seat. But Labour is worried about suffering massive losses and there has even been talk of losing to the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Bush administration ratchets up diplomatic pressure on Iran

By Peter Symonds, 23 July 2008

In the wake of talks in Geneva last weekend, the Bush administration is increasing the pressure on Iran to agree to negotiations over an international incentives package in return for shutting down its uranium enrichment and other nuclear programs. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bluntly warned on Monday that Tehran would face a new round of “punitive measures” in the UN Security Council if its formal response, for which a two-week deadline has been set, were not satisfactory.

Chicago: “Life-threatening deficiencies” found in largest US jail

By Naomi Spencer, 23 July 2008

Conditions in Chicago’s Cook County Jail, the nation’s largest, are so hazardous and brutal that federal authorities have declared the facility in violation of prisoners’ constitutional rights. The findings are the result of a 17-month investigation beginning in February 2007, which examined multiple deaths from beatings and neglect.

Bush: ‘Human life is precious’—EPA: ‘Less than you might think’

By David Walsh, 23 July 2008

A human life is infinitely precious, according to the Bush administration—unless, it turns out, keeping an individual alive might cut into corporate profits.

Boy A: An antidote to the “law and order” mania

By Joanne Laurier, 23 July 2008

Directed by John Crowley, written by Mark O’Rowe, based on the novel by Jonathan Trigell

Obama in Iraq underscores his commitment to US militarism

By James Cogan, 23 July 2008

The visit of US presidential candidate Barack Obama to Iraq on Monday underscores once again that the millions of American workers and youth who oppose militarism have been completely disenfranchised by the Democratic Party. The Illinois senator used the trip to make clear his commitment to the indefinite occupation of Iraq, as well as to agitate further for his policy of redeploying troops from the Middle East in order to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

Indian parliament gives green light to Indo-US nuclear treaty

By Keith Jones, 23 July 2008

After an acrimonious debate punctuated by opposition charges of intimidation and vote buying, India’s parliament reaffirmed its confidence in the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government Tuesday.

Amiens, France: Goodyear tyre workers face attacks on jobs and conditions

By Pierre Mabut, 23 July 2008

Bitter opposition by workers at Goodyear/Dunlop tyre in Amiens, northern France, to management’s rationalisation plans came to a head on July 15. The company announced 402 redundancies from next September, with 600 more to follow within months.

France: Sarkozy government implements repressive police measures

By Ajay Prakash, 23 July 2008

On the direct orders of right-wing French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the national security intelligence services have been significantly overhauled, giving full powers to the police to prosecute any individual or social or political organization whose activity is likely to disturb public order. Thirteen-year-old children can now be prosecuted under this legislation.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 July 2008

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

India: Parliamentary “trust vote“ to determine fate of UPA government and Indo-US nuclear treaty

By Keith Jones, 22 July 2008

The Lok Sabha—the lower, directly-elected house of India’s parliament—began debate Monday on a one-sentence motion affirming confidence in the country’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The debate will end today with a vote that will decide the fate of the four-year-old UPA government.

Top US commander publicly criticizes Obama Iraq policy

By Patrick Martin, 22 July 2008

Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, intervened in the US presidential campaign Sunday. Mullen gave an interview to Fox News in which he rejected the shift in US policy in Iraq proposed by Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in favor of continuing the policy laid down by the Bush administration and backed by the Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain.

China’s Olympic security measures reveal a regime under siege

By John Chan, 22 July 2008

With less than a month before the Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese government has implemented extraordinary security measures, including the mobilisation of the military. Amid widespread discontent over inflation, and unrest among the country’s national minorities, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is determined that nothing will mar its efforts to showcase China to the world.

Germany: Job destruction at Siemens heralds a new stage of social attacks

By Elisabeth Zimmermann and Ulrich Rippert, 22 July 2008

At the beginning of July, Siemens chief Peter Löscher announced the destruction of 17,200 jobs worldwide at the engineering multinational, with 6,400 being slashed in Germany. His announcement was followed by workers launching protests at several locations, and the IG Metall union has called a national day of action for July 23.

Sri Lankan unions call for further strikes and protests over pay

By W.A. Sunil, 22 July 2008

Despite a relatively low turnout for a one-day general strike on July 10, Sri Lankan trade unions are calling for further action in support of their demands for a 5,000-rupee rise in monthly pay, cost-of-living allowances and reduced railway and bus fares.

What does British Tory MP David Davis stand for?—Part 1

By Chris Marsden, 22 July 2008

This is the first of a two-part article examining the political history of Conservative MP David Davis, who resigned his parliamentary seat in protest at Labour’s terror legislation enabling 42 days’ detention without trial. Part two will be published tomorrow.

US-led forces kill more Afghan civilians

By Jerry White, 22 July 2008

US and NATO forces killed at least 13 Afghans over the weekend, adding to the toll of civilian deaths as the military intensifies efforts to crush opposition to the nearly seven-year-old US occupation.

Spanish government uses tragedy of African boat people to strengthen anti-immigration policies

By Paul Stuart, 22 July 2008

Once again, Spain has been gripped by horrific images of boats drifting from Africa to its shores overflowing with the traumatized and exhausted bodies of migrant workers lying motionless amongst the dead. It is estimated that over the last few years up to 3,000 migrants have died en route to Spain. But this year Francisco Vicente, the head of the Red Cross in the Spanish port of Almería declared that, “In five years, this is the worst I have ever seen.”

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 July 2008

Latin America

Four workers dead in Texas crane disaster

By Tom Carter, 21 July 2008

Four workers were killed at a Houston, Texas oil refinery on the afternoon of July 18 when a huge construction crane collapsed, pulling a second crane down with it. Seven other workers were injured in the collapse, and one worker remains hospitalized for his injuries.

US airlines escalate attacks on workers as losses mount

By Shannon Jones, 21 July 2008

The US airline industry, which recorded huge losses in the second quarter of 2008 due to soaring fuel prices, is stepping up its job-cutting and cost-cutting in an effort to resolve its crisis at the expense of workers.

The Obama candidacy and the new consensus on Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 21 July 2008

The statements made by Barack Obama during his visit to Afghanistan over the weekend verify that his campaign for president is the mouthpiece for a significant section of the American ruling elite that is insisting on a shift in US policy in the Middle East and Central Asia. Far from proposing any retreat from militarism, Obama is arguing for a faster drawdown of troop numbers in Iraq and a reduction in tensions with Iran, only in order to facilitate a major escalation of US military operations in Afghanistan, potentially extending them into Pakistan.

International greetings to the Sri Lankan SEP

By , 21 July 2008

The following greetings were read out at a public meeting held by the Socialist Equality Party on July 16 in Sri Lanka to mark 40 years since the founding of its predecessor—the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL)—as a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

Spanish government uses tragedy of African boat people to strengthen anti-immigration policies

By Paul Stuart, 21 July 2008

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Sri Lankan Trotskyists mark 40 years of struggle for socialist internationalism

By our correspondents, 21 July 2008

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka held a public meeting in Colombo on July 16 to mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL)—the predecessor to the SEP. Around 150 people attended, including workers, young people, students and professionals from Colombo, along with others from the island’s southern and northwestern provinces and the central plantation districts.

Real Emotional Trash from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

By Hiram Lee, 21 July 2008

American singer, songwriter and guitarist Stephen Malkmus is approaching his twentieth year of making music. Best known as the lead singer and principal songwriter of the influential indie rock band Pavement, which got its start in Stockton, California, in 1989, Malkmus began his solo career when the group disbanded after 10 years of recording together.

Screen Actors meeting in Los Angeles: still no way forward

By Ramón Valle and David Walsh, 21 July 2008

On July 19 about 700 actors from the Hollywood division of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) packed the Empire Room of the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. The meeting was called by the guild’s leadership in celebration of SAG’s 75th anniversary. The Hollywood branch has approximately 72,000 members, or about 60 percent of the national membership.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Zimbabwe: A case of unclean hands

By Alex Lantier, 21 July 2008

The foreign affairs columnist of the New York Times,Thomas Friedman, published an op-ed piece on July 16 entitled “So Popular and So Spineless.” The column was devoted to denouncing the Russian-Chinese veto, delivered on July 12, of a US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. The sanctions targeted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who responded to his March 29 electoral defeat with a campaign of violence and repression against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 19 July 2008

Pakistan telco workers strike after police attack

Letters from our readers

By , 19 July 2008

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

Communalism dominates run up to Iraqi provincial elections

By James Cogan, 19 July 2008

The plan to hold provincial elections on October 1 is provoking intense conflicts and preparing the conditions for renewed warfare between rival Iraqi factions.

Widespread protests against Swedish wire-tapping law

By Jordan Shilton, 19 July 2008

With protests against Sweden’s new surveillance law rising, the Justice Center (CFR) announced July 14 it would file a case against the legislation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

US judge rules Guantánamo military tribunal can proceed

By John Burton, 19 July 2008

After holding a two-hour hearing Thursday, a federal judge brushed aside constitutional objections and refused to delay the July 21 start of the military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, allegedly a driver for Osama bin Laden, on charges of conspiracy and providing support for terrorism.

Istanbul police attack municipal workers

By our Turkish correspondent, 19 July 2008

Some 2,000 municipal workers trying to stage a peaceful protest in Istanbul July 17 as part of a labour dispute were violently attacked by Turkish riot police.