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Bank of England made secret £62 billion loans to bankrupt banks

By Jean Shaoul, 30 November 2009

Bank of England governor Mervyn King has revealed for the first time that in October 2008 the Bank had lent Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) £62 billion.

Asia’s asset bubbles fuel global financial instability

By John Chan, 30 November 2009

China’s huge stimulus bank lending, combined with the US Federal Reserve Board’s loose monetary policy and US pressure on China to revalue the yuan to the US dollar, is fuelling East Asian property prices and creating new global financial instabilities.

German government crisis over Kunduz massacre

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 November 2009

Former defence minister Franz Josef Jung (CDU) resigned at the end of last week from his present government post as employment minister, paying the price for the lies used to hush up the Kunduz massacre.

What does Iceland’s “national assembly” represent?

By Jordan Shilton, 30 November 2009

On November 14 a “national assembly” was held in Reykjavik, involving approximately 1,500 participants, or 0.5 percent of the population.

Revised Iraqi election law alienates Sunni minority

By James Cogan, 30 November 2009

Changes to Iraq’s election law have inflamed the sectarian and ethnic animosities that have been fomented by the US occupation since the 2003 invasion.

US pushes through IAEA censure of Iran’s nuclear programs

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2009

The IAEA resolution sets the stage for an intensifying confrontation between Iran and the US and its European allies over the coming month.

This week in history: November 30-December 6

By , 30 November 2009

This Week in History provides brief synopses of important historical events whose anniversaries fall this week.

America the hungry

By Patrick Martin, 30 November 2009

A report in Sunday’s New York Times, detailing the sharp rise in food stamp use, gives a much different picture of America at the end of 2009 than the complacent assurances of economic “recovery” voiced by Wall Street and the Obama administration.

Uruguay: On the first-round victory of the Frente Amplio

By Hector Benoit, 30 November 2009

On October 25, José “Pepe” Mujica, a former member of the Tupamaro guerrilla movement and presidential candidate of Uruguay’s ruling Frente Amplio (Broad Front), won by a wide margin over his nearest rival, ex-president Luis Alberto Lacalle.

ISSE shows historic film Tsar to Lenin

By , 30 November 2009

The CCNY chapter of the International Students for Social Equality will be hosting a showing of the classic documentary From Tsar to Lenin on Tuesday, December 1.

Vincere—the tragic life of Ida Dalser, Mussolini’s first wife

By Richard Phillips, 28 November 2009

Vincere is about Ida Dalser, the first wife of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Directed by Marco Bellocchio, this audacious work should encourage audiences to examine the dark history of this period in more detail.

GM Europe announces 9,000 job cuts

By Dietmar Henning, 28 November 2009

The new head of General Motors’ European division has announced the company will eliminate at least 9,000 jobs on the continent. The cuts underscore the impossibility of defending jobs based on the nationalist and divisive policies of the trade unions.

Film director Roman Polanski to be freed on bail

By David Walsh, 28 November 2009

The Swiss justice ministry announced Thursday that it would not appeal a court ruling handed down the day before permitting filmmaker Roman Polanski’s release on bail, opening the way for the director to be freed within the next several days.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 November 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contributeto this regular feature.

Dubai’s $59 billion default sends tremor through global financial system

By Alex Messenger, 28 November 2009

Dubai’s default on $59 billion of foreign borrowings is more than the inevitable product of the gulf state’s property boom. It reflects the continuing fragility of the global financial system

US food charities overwhelmed by demand

By Tom Eley, 28 November 2009

Responses from local food charities to a survey by Feeding America show that hunger has increased rapidly across the US. They paint a devastating portrait of a nation in the throes of a social crisis without parallel since the Great Depression.

Obama administration continues Bush policy on land mines

By Jeff Lassahn, 28 November 2009

The State Department has said that the administration will not sign an international treaty banning the use of land mines, which cause thousands of civilian causalities every year.

Australia: Carbon trading legislation triggers Liberal party “meltdown”

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 November 2009

The opposition Liberal party is tearing itself apart over a pending parliamentary vote on legislation for an Australian carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS), with leader Malcolm Turnbull facing a leadership spill on Tuesday morning.

US imperialism, 9/11 and the Iraq war

By Patrick Martin, 28 November 2009

An official British inquiry into the war with Iraq, which opened this week, has already heard evidence sufficient to indict top Bush administration leaders on the same charge that was the axis of the indictment of the Nazi leaders at Nuremberg—deliberately waging an aggressive war.

Sweden: Koenigsegg pulls out of Saab deal

By Jordan Shilton, 28 November 2009

After months of uncertainty, the Koenigsegg Group announced November 24 that it was no longer interested in purchasing Saab Automobile.

A grim journey through Sri Lanka’s war zone

By our correspondent, 28 November 2009

A WSWS reporter recently travelled through the war-ravaged northern Vanni region to provide an account of the conditions created by the government’s brutal offensive in the final months of the civil war that ended in May.

International Paper shuts three mills, laying off 1,600 workers

By Jeff Lassahn, 28 November 2009

On October 23, International Paper announced the closure of three plants, resulting in the loss of 1,600 jobs. Most devastating is the spring 2010 closure of an enormous mill in Franklin, Virginia, which will result in 1,100 job cuts.

New York: Wall Street profits soar, education and health care face the ax

By William Moore, 28 November 2009

The government of New York State has been deadlocked for two months over how to deal with a growing financial crisis. Just over halfway through the fiscal year, the state has a budget deficit of at least $3.2 billion.

Abstention and fraud mark first round of Romanian elections

By Diana Toma and Markus Salzmann, 28 November 2009

The presidential elections which took place last Sunday in Romania reveal that 20 years after the fall of the despised Stalinist Ceauşescu regime the country is far removed from any sort of stability or genuine democracy.

Britain: Family of Jean Charles de Menezes forced to accept derisory compensation award

By Paul Mitchell, 27 November 2009

After a four and a half year struggle for justice, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes has been forced to make an out-of-court settlement with the Metropolitan Police. The family could have received just a third of the £300,000 compensation award they were seeking.

Corruption scandal creates major crisis for Indonesian president

By John Braddock, 27 November 2009

Barely a month after his inauguration for a second term, Indonesian President Yudhoyono is embroiled in a scandal involving attempts to discredit the Corruption Eradication Commission.

Thousands of students demonstrate in Leipzig

By our correspondents, 27 November 2009

There was broad agreement among students taking part in a large demonstration in the German city of Leipzig that the issue of education could not be separated from wider political questions.

Manmohan Singh admits Indian state has failed tribal peoples

By Kranti Kumara, 27 November 2009

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has conceded that the Indian state and establishment have abused and exploited the country’s more than 80 million tribal people.

Washington endorses gunpoint election in Honduras

By Bill Van Auken, 27 November 2009

The Obama administration has endorsed this Sunday’s elections in Honduras under conditions in which the regime that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya last June remains in power and is preparing to suppress popular opposition to an illegitimate vote.

AfPak War and geo-political tensions cast long shadow over Indo-US summit

By Keith Jones, 27 November 2009

The Obama administration’s plans to expand the AfPak war and mounting world geo-political tensions—tensions between India and Pakistan, India and China, the US and India, and, last but not least, the US and China—cast a very long shadow over Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s four day visit to the US this week.

US: Massachusetts public sector unions agree to contract concessions

By Mike Ingram, 27 November 2009

The state of Massachusetts has reached an agreement with leaders of the four major public sector unions on contract concessions as part of efforts to reduce the state budget deficit.

Europe backs Afghanistan strategy aimed at “regionalization”

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 November 2009

The new troop surge in Afghanistan is aimed at dividing Afghanistan into individual cantons—in a similar manner as was done in Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia.

Sri Lankan government announces “release” of Tamil detainees

By Sarath Kumara, 27 November 2009

The Sri Lanka government announced it will “resettle” hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians held in detention camps since mid-May, but they are being moved into what amounts to a permanent military occupation and subjected to prison-like restrictions.

Deepening economic crisis in eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 27 November 2009

Recent reports indicate that the economies of many central and eastern European states are headed for new shocks.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 27 November 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Iraq occupation beset by constant tensions between US and UK

By Julie Hyland, 26 November 2009

Documents leaked to the Telegraph newspaper indicate how severe tensions developed between the British and United States armed forces in Iraq, to the extent that a former British Chief of Staff described relations with his American counterparts as “akin to dealing with a group of Martians”.

Australia: Bipartisan carbon trading deal transfers $6 billion from households to corporate polluters

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 November 2009

The final terms of the government’s so-called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme—set to be approved by parliament this week and to commence operations in 2011—underscore that the mechanism has nothing to do with protecting the environment, but is driven by the interests of corporate Australia.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 November 2009

A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

Sri Lankan government calls early presidential poll

By K. Ratnayake, 26 November 2009

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has called for presidential elections nearly two years early in a desperate bid to strengthen his hand amid a deepening economic and political crisis.

In guise of reform, Democrats further weaken financial regulation

By Andre Damon, 26 November 2009

One year after the near-collapse of the US financial sector, the Democratic-controlled Congress continues to strip away even the minimal regulations to the financial system that existed prior to the 2008 meltdown.

The Palestinians and the perspective of Permanent Revolution

By Chris Marsden, 26 November 2009

Repeated attempts by Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah leadership to restore their flagging authority amongst the Palestinian masses only underscored the abject failure of Fatah’s perspective.

German politicians, media warn about the next global financial crisis

By Peter Schwarz, 26 November 2009

Germany’s leading political circles fear a second international financial crash exceeding in intensity and impact that of autumn 2008.

The Men Who Stare at Goats: US military goes for the paranormal

By Joanne Laurier, 26 November 2009

Loosely based on real events, The Men Who Stare at Goats concerns itself with a secret US Army attempt to harness extrasensory perception and mental telepathy for military objectives.

British documents detail US and UK plans for Iraq war

By Julie Hyland, 26 November 2009

Recently leaked documents confirm that then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied to the British public when he repeatedly denied that he and US President George W. Bush had agreed on war months before the invasion.

US: Michigan school districts in turmoil over education cuts

By Lawrence Porter, 26 November 2009

The recent education cuts by Michigan’s Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm and the state legislature have thrown virtually every school district in the state into crisis, and many into opposition.

Another Indonesian ferry disaster claims dozens of lives

By John Roberts, 25 November 2009

In the latest Indonesian ferry disaster, at least 29 people are dead and many missing after an overcrowded boat sank in bad weather off the Riau Islands province.

Ireland: 300,000 public service workers strike

By Steve James, 25 November 2009

Up to 300,000 public service workers in Ireland struck November 24 against proposals by the Irish government to impose devastating spending cuts in the 2010 budget.

India: Inquiry finds BJP and RSS responsible for 1992 pogrom

By Keith Jones, 25 November 2009

A government-appointed commission of inquiry has found the top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh bear responsibility for the 1992 razing of the Babri Masjid—an outrage that precipitated an anti-Muslim pogrom in which more than two thousand people lost their lives.

China’s mine deaths: The brutal face of global capitalism

By John Chan, 25 November 2009

The tragic death of 104 workers in China’s latest coal mine disaster is a glaring reminder of the brutal exploitation of the country’s 400 million workers, whose sweat and labour constitute the foundations of Chinese and global capitalism.

Britain: Labour government sets out its election manifesto

By Ann Talbot, 25 November 2009

The Queen opened the new session of parliament last week with a speech that listed a package of bills meant to recoup the Labour government’s popularity in the opinion polls.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 25 November 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Obama to announce Afghanistan surge of over 30,000

By Tom Eley, 25 November 2009

Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan sets the stage for a deepening of US military violence in Central and South Asia and for a confrontation with the US working class, which increasingly opposes the war.

Russia: Economic crisis fuels differences within Kremlin

By Andrea Peters, 25 November 2009

The impact of the global financial crisis on the Russian economy is fueling conflicts within the country’s ruling elite over the administration of state resources.

Politicians, media strive to contain student protests in Austria and Germany

By Johannes Stern, 25 November 2009

Influential figures in political, business and media circles are seeking to use the political confusion in current student demonstrations to stifle the protests.

France: Teachers and students mobilise to defend education

By Antoine Lerougetel, 25 November 2009

As many as 40 percent of all primary and secondary education teachers struck yesterday in thousands of schools throughout France and staged demonstrations against staff cuts and the deterioration of educational provision throughout the French education system.

Parents, pupils speak out over Abbeydale Grange closure

By our reporters, 24 November 2009

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team spoke to a number of those on the demonstration to oppose the closure of Abbeydale Grange school in Sheffield on November 21.

New Zealand bus drivers reject union-backed pay deal

By Chris Ross and John Braddock, 24 November 2009

The deepening resistance by New Zealand workers to attacks on living standards was highlighted this month by the rejection of a union-backed management pay offer by Auckland-based drivers and cleaners from NZ Bus.

Australia: The second anniversary of the Rudd Labor government: appearance and reality

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 November 2009

The past 24 months under Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have seen the maintenance and intensification of the previous government’s right-wing and pro-business agenda, characterised by militarism abroad and attacks on the social conditions and democratic rights of the working class at home.

Four more US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

By Tom Eley, 24 November 2009

Four US soldiers died in Afghanistan on Monday, as Obama’s “war council” finalizes its plans to substantially increase the number of soldiers participating in the occupation.

Britain: Oppose the closure of Abbeydale Grange! Defend public education for all!

By Tania Kent and Colleen Smith, 24 November 2009

On November 21 up to 150 parents, pupils, staff and supporters from Abbeydale Grange School in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England marched to oppose its proposed closure.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 November 2009

A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

Double-digit unemployment fuels growing social crisis in Oregon

By Hector Cordon, 24 November 2009

Oregon’s October unemployment figure, released last week, remained unchanged from September and showed a nearly 1 percent drop from May 2009’s high of 12.2 percent. The report, however, was far from good news for workers.

Demonstration against closure of Abbeydale Grange School

By , 24 November 2009

Up to 150 parents, pupils and staff marched through the city and demonstrated on November 21 outside the Town Hall in Sheffield, England to oppose the proposed closure of Abbeydale Grange School.

Deepening economic crisis in Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 24 November 2009

Recent reports indicate that the economies of many central and eastern European states are headed for new shocks.

For a working class movement to defend higher education!

By International Students for Social Equality, 24 November 2009

The sharp increase in fees at the University of California is part of a national and international trend to block access to higher education for millions of working class youth.

Australian Labor’s refugee detention regime triggers Christmas Island riot

By Mike Head, 24 November 2009

Fears of imminent deportations, aggravated by increasing over-crowding, triggered a riot on Saturday night inside the refugee detention centre on Australia’s Christmas Island.

Hundreds of students rally against budget cuts in Detroit

By a WSWS reporting team, 24 November 2009

Students rallied to denounce cuts to the Michigan Promise scholarship approved by the Democratic Party-controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Once again: Obama and the jobs crisis

By Patrick Martin, 24 November 2009

The Obama administration has flatly rejected appeals for the federal government to take any direct action to create jobs and alleviate the mounting toll of unemployment in the United States.

Where the Wild Things Are—a thoughtful, sensitive look at childhood

By Hiram Lee, 24 November 2009

Director Spike Jonze has made an impressive film based on Maurice Sendak’s classic 1963 children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are.

Unemployment rises in 29 US states

By Patrick Martin, 23 November 2009

Unemployment rates rose in 29 of the 50 US states, according to a report released by the federal Department of Labor Friday, with California, Florida, South Carolina and Delaware reporting all-time highs.

EU appointments reflect growth of national conflicts in Europe

By Peter Schwartz, 23 November 2009

There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from the appointments to the two new top posts in the European Union: In future, national interests will set the tone in Europe.

Egypt hit by wave of strikes and protests

By Johannes Stern, 23 November 2009

Increasing social inequality has led to a series of workers' protests in Egypt.

Britain: Brown and Miliband seek in vain to regain support for Afghan war

By Ann Talbot, 23 November 2009

With the Afghan death toll mounting, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband have tried desperately to regain support for a war which three-quarters of the British population now oppose.

Sri Lanka: SEP/Balmoral Action Committee hold plantation workers meeting

By our correspondents, 23 November 2009

The meeting in Sri Lanka’s central plantation district took place despite attempts by the Balmoral Estate management, unions and police to intimidate Action Committee members and bully workers into not attending.

This week in history: November 23-29

By , 23 November 2009

This Week in History provides a brief synopsis of important historical events occurring 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago.

Australia: Engineers place bans, defying Qantas intimidation

By Terry Cook, 23 November 2009

Aircraft engineers at Qantas began industrial action on November 13 in support of improved pay and working conditions. The 190 professional engineers, members of the Association of Professional Engineers Scientists and Managers of Australia (APESMA), have placed indefinite bans on overtime and on attending out of hours calls between 5pm and 9am daily.

US Senate votes to open debate on cost-cutting health care plan

By Kate Randall, 23 November 2009

The US Senate voted Saturday to begin formal debate on a health care bill that proposes deep cuts to federal health care programs. An estimated 25 million people would remain uninsured.

British government rejects inquiry into new allegations of Iraq abuses

By Robert Stevens, 23 November 2009

The Brown government has ruled out a public inquiry into fresh allegations of abuse by British soldiers in Iraq.

Chinese mine explosion kills more than 100

By John Chan, 23 November 2009

China’s state-owned coal mining industry recorded another bloody day last Saturday, when at least 104 miners died in a massive gas explosion.

Civil war spreads across north west Pakistan

By James Cogan, 23 November 2009

Islamists and tribal militants now consider themselves in a fight to the death with the pro-US government of President Zardari.

Obama leaves Asia empty-handed

By John Chan, 21 November 2009

South Korea, the final leg of Obama’s Asian trip, was no more successful that his other stops. Obama failed to make any advance toward a free-trade agreement between the two countries.

New York City homeless population at an all-time high

By Sandy English and Ali Ismail, 21 November 2009

The number of homeless housed by the city is 11 percent more than last year and is the highest number of people seeking shelter on record, even before cold weather has started.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 November 2009

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

European Union selects president and foreign minister

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 November 2009

The nomination of political lightweights to the top posts in the European Union is primarily aimed at creating favourable conditions for European states, with France, Germany and Great Britain in the lead, to pursue their own nationalist agendas.

German government plans sweeping social attacks

By Peter Schwarz, 21 November 2009

The recent meeting at Schloss Merseburg between leading representatives of the parties in the German coalition government has set the stage for a redistribution of income and wealth from those at the bottom of society to those at the top.

Royal Mail strike: Britain’s Socialist Party defends union capitulation

By Tony Robson, 21 November 2009

The Socialist Party has mounted a vociferous defence of the sellout of the national postal strike by the Communication Workers Union.

Obama’s public education race to the bottom

By Tom Eley, 21 November 2009

Recent days have seen an unlikely threesome promoting the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” public schools initiative.

Letters from our readers

By , 21 November 2009

A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

New fashions in Canadian politics: Guide for immigrants promotes the monarchy and the military

By Jack Miller, 21 November 2009

Canada’s new guide for prospective citizens no longer pretends that Canada is about social programs and saving the environment. Instead, it celebrates a land reigned over by a monarch and that possesses a tough, no-nonsense military.

Civil liberties attorney Lynne Stewart ordered to prison

By Peter Daniels, 21 November 2009

A three-judge panel of a US federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of civil liberties lawyer Lynne Stewart, convicted of assisting terrorism by transmitting the contents of a press statement by her client, cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.

University protests continue in California

By Andrea Peters, 21 November 2009

Protests continued Friday at university campuses across California in opposition to a 32 percent hike in fees.

Why are women being told to forgo cervical cancer screenings?

By Kate Randall, 21 November 2009

Only days after a government panel recommended cutting back screenings for breast cancer, another body has advised that women undergo less frequent screenings for cervical cancer, and begin them at a later age.

“There is no safe haven from the crisis”

By Sandy English and Ali Ismali, 21 November 2009

WSWS reporters went to an office run by New York City’s Department of Homeless Services in the Bronx.

A conversation with organizers of the Toronto film festival protest

By David Walsh, 21 November 2009

At the recent Toronto film festival, a number of film and video artists protested the event’s spotlight on Tel Aviv, accusing the festival of colluding with Israel’s “re-branding” effort. David Walsh spoke to some of the protest organizers.

Michigan job seekers speak to WSWS

By Naomi Spencer, 20 November 2009

Several hundred Detroit area residents attended a jobs fair Wednesday in nearby Livonia, Michigan, the latest of several similar events held in the area that have drawn unemployed residents seeking any kind of work.

Obama warns of new sanctions against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2009

The Obama administration is preparing for new sanctions against Iran after Tehran called for modifications to an agreement reached last month over its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 20 November 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US home foreclosures at record high as jobs crisis deepens

By Andre Damon, 20 November 2009

The continued increase in home foreclosures is now driven largely by the sharp rise in unemployment.

Canada complicit in torture of hundreds of Afghan detainees

By Keith Jones, 20 November 2009

“We detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people,” a Canadian diplomat has told a parliamentary committee on the Canadian Armed Forces’ Afghan mission.

Australia: Defiant stand by Oceanic Viking refugees triggers political crisis

By Mike Head, 20 November 2009

The refusal by Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to disembark in Indonesia from an Australian Customs vessel, the Oceanic Viking, has triggered an extraordinary political crisis for the Australian Labor government.