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Australia: Labor government accelerates right-wing offensive against public education

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 August 2008

In a major speech delivered on Wednesday to the National Press Club, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd unveiled a series of far reaching right-wing reforms to the public education system. The proposed measures include the publication of national league tables based on schools’ test results, tying school funding to these test results, shutting down schools deemed “underperforming”, introducing so-called performance pay for teachers, and bringing university graduates without teaching qualifications into the public school system. The central aim of this “education revolution” is to better meet business demands for a more productive workforce.

Britain: Labour government proposes huge increase in state surveillance

By Paul Stuart and Paul Mitchell, 30 August 2008

In a further escalation of the attack on democratic rights, the Labour government is proposing a huge increase in state surveillance. It is implementing new measures under the pretext of the “war on terror” to intrude ever deeper into the private lives of people who are viewed as potential criminals rather than citizens.

Letters on the Democratic National Convention

30 August 2008

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to article covering the Democratic Party National Convention.

McCain’s VP pick: A sign of deepening crisis in the Republican Party

By Bill Van Auken, 30 August 2008

The surprise pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the vice presidential running mate of Senator John McCain is indicative of a sharp political crisis within the Republican Party.

Obama’s Denver speech: Populist demagogy in the service of militarism

By Patrick Martin, 30 August 2008

The speech delivered by Senator Barack Obama Thursday night, accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at a football stadium in Denver, combined populist rhetoric with invocations of patriotism and pledges to escalate the war in Afghanistan and build up the US military “to meet future conflicts.”

Three years since Hurricane Katrina

By Naomi Spencer, 30 August 2008

Three years ago, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the US Gulf Coast. The storm devastated nearly 100,000 square miles and displaced over a million people. New Orleans, Louisiana, bore the brunt of this disaster, after the levee system failed and nearly 80 percent of the city was submerged.

Unemployment and poverty on the rise in Berlin

By Emma Bode, 30 August 2008

A debate is underway in political circles and the German media over the possibility of collaboration between Germany’s oldest political party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), and the recently formed Left Party. Such collaboration could take the form of coalition governments in the German states of Hesse and Saarland or agreements by which the Left Party supports SPD governments in those states.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 August 2008

Asia

Australia: Damning evidence surfaces in Beaconsfield mine inquest

By Noel Holt, 29 August 2008

Testimony by miners, mining experts and inspection officials in the first weeks of the long-delayed coronial inquest into the death of miner Larry Knight at the Beaconsfield gold mine on April 25, 2006 has revealed the culpability of both the mine owners and the Tasmanian state government.

Democratic National Convention outlines policy of wider war

By Bill Van Auken, 29 August 2008

After going through the formality of a roll call vote ending in the preordained nomination of Barack Obama as its presidential candidate, the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday turned to the question of “national security,” portraying itself as more competent than the Bush administration in defending the interests of US imperialism abroad, while making it clear that it is prepared to launch new and even bloodier wars than those carried out over the past eight years.