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Creation: When Darwin was writing his groundbreaking work

By Kevin Martinez and Hiram Lee, 31 March 2010

Creation, directed by John Amiel, attempts to tell the story behind the writing and publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

Two deaths highlight Sri Lanka’s terrible social crisis

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 31 March 2010

Two tragedies this month underscored the plight of poverty-stricken families in Sri Lanka. Two mothers, seeing no way out of their intractable financial problems, each drowned a child in a local river.

German arms exports more than double

By Sven Heymann, 31 March 2010

Sixty-five years after the end of World War II, Germany is once again a leader in the world arms industry. The main responsibility for this development lies with the former Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green Party government.

Obama education plan boosts privatization, victimizes teachers

By Patrick Martin, 31 March 2010

The Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” awards provided $600 million to two states, Tennessee and Delaware, where local and state union affiliates carried out the greatest collaboration to undermine public education and teachers’ job security.

Ontario announces spending cuts, public sector wage freeze

By Keith Jones, 31 March 2010

Ontario’s Liberal government has announced an austerity budget that sets the stage for years of public spending cuts that will adversely impact all working people, but especially public sector workers, the poor, the sick, and the old.

Germany: Who is behind the neo-Nazi march in Duisburg?

By Dietmar Henning, 31 March 2010

The following statement was produced for distribution to opponents of the neo-fascist march held in the German city of Duisburg last Saturday.

Banks named as “co-conspirators” in municipal bid-rigging

By Andre Damon, 31 March 2010

As states and cities throughout the United States slash social spending to pay their debts, major Wall Street firms have been accused of conspiring to drive up prices on loans to local governments.

Greek trade unions line up behind government austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 31 March 2010

The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the public-sector Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY) are working to stifle opposition to the austerity package being imposed by the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government.

The impact of poverty on utility shutoffs

By Debra Watson, 31 March 2010

The following report on poverty and welfare in Michigan was submitted to the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire, which held a hearing on March 20.

The growing danger of trade war

By Peter Symonds, 31 March 2010

Demands for measures against China are mounting in Washington as the April 15 deadline approaches for the Obama administration to decide whether to declare China a “currency manipulator”.

Obama’s visit underscores US crisis in Afghanistan

By Bill Van Auken, 30 March 2010

Sneaking in and out of Kabul under the cover of darkness Sunday, President Barack Obama’s trip to Afghanistan only underscored the crisis confronting the US in the midst of the war’s current escalation.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 March 2010

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

Indian government continues its offensive against Maoist insurgents

By Arun Kumar and Palash Roy, 30 March 2010

Despite several cease-fire proposals from the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Indian government is continuing a massive, multi-state military offensive aimed at stamping out the tribal-based Maoist insurgency.

Sri Lanka: Urban poor deprived of proper housing

By Priyadarshana Meddawatta, 30 March 2010

Government and opposition candidates for the Colombo district in the April 8 general election have been rushing to the shanty areas of the capital appealing for votes with promises of good housing.

Ypsilanti, Michigan, board votes to close schools, impose layoffs

By our correspondents, 30 March 2010

Ypsilanti Public Schools board members approved a plan to close two of the city’s seven remaining schools, and eliminate a third of the teaching staff over the next two years.

Philippine presidential candidates to cut budget deficit

By Dante Pastrana, 30 March 2010

While all the presidential candidates in the May elections are making empty promises to help working people, the next administration will quickly launch a further assault on living standards.

Scotland: Aberdeen University students oppose spending cuts and tuition fees

By Jordan Shilton, 30 March 2010

Scottish students face spending cuts, as well as the introduction of tuition fees, which will have a devastating impact on their education and future following graduation.

US Congress allows jobless benefits to expire

By Kate Randall, 30 March 2010

The US Senate left for a two-week vacation last Friday without passage of a $10 billion extension for unemployment insurance, threatening the benefits of hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans.

Britain: Government suspensions forced by lobbying revelations

By Julie Hyland, 30 March 2010

Three former cabinet ministers were suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party last week, after Channel 4’s Dispatches exposed them seeking to line their own pockets in exchange for helping corporations shape policy.

For a working class movement to defend public education!

By Socialist Equality Party, 30 March 2010

This statement will be distributed at “town hall” meetings called by the Detroit Public Schools to discuss proposals to close 44 more schools this year.

Is a US attack on Iran imminent?

By Alex Lantier, 30 March 2010

In recent weeks there have been a series of press reports as well as statements by military experts that strongly indicate that either the Obama administration or the Israeli government, or both, may be moving toward an attack on Iran.

Poverty and health care in America: the unavoidable facts

By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 30 March 2010

Dr. Richard Cooper from the University of Pennsylvania is a persistent opponent of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, whose assumptions and findings have played an influential role in the debate over health care “reform” in the US.

Health and health care services in the poorest US city

By E. Galen, 30 March 2010

Detroit is the poorest major city in the US, and this has direct consequences for the health of the population. Children are particularly affected by environment-caused conditions like lead poisoning and asthma.

Train bombing in Moscow kills dozens

By Andrea Peters, 30 March 2010

Bombs exploded in two Moscow metro stations on Monday morning, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens more. The Kremlin is blaming separatists from the north Caucasus and is using the incidents as an opportunity to step up repression.

Australia: Unions try to head off public anger over Queensland privatisation plan

By Terry Cook, 30 March 2010

The trade unions are trying to contain the deep working class opposition to the Queensland Labor government’s plan to privatise lucrative public assets.

BA strikers: “It is time to stop this rush to the bottom”

By our reporters, 29 March 2010

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to striking cabin crew staff at Heathrow and Manchester airports.

Fifty years since the Sharpeville Massacre: The nature of post-Apartheid South Africa

By Brian Smith, 29 March 2010

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 people were gunned down by the police during a peaceful protest in South Africa.

Former CIA asset Allawi touted as next Iraqi prime minister

By James Cogan, 29 March 2010

With the Iraqiya coalition of Iyad Allawi narrowly ahead of the bloc headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, frantic negotiations are underway to form the next government.

New York Times continues cost-cutting campaign with “doctors thoughts”

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2010

In promotion of Obama’s cost-cutting health plan, the Times asks “doctors on the medical front lines,” “What do they think the country—in other words, you and me—should do to help moderate costs?”

Washington ratchets up war threats against Iran

By Patrick Martin, 29 March 2010

The Obama administration is ratcheting up its war threats against Iran, in a calculated effort to provoke a crisis with Tehran which could produce a general war in the Middle East.

Britain: The business of education under Labour—Part 3

By Jean Shaoul, 29 March 2010

This is the conclusion of a three-part series on the extent of the privatisation of state education under the Labour government.

An American liberal looks at health care systems around the globe

By Fred Mazelis, 29 March 2010

The Healing of America, by longtime Washington Post journalist T.R. Reid, a proponent of health care reform, raises some important issues, despite the severe inadequacy of both its analysis and its prescriptions for change.

DC public schools lead in reactionary education “reforms”

By Niall Green, 29 March 2010

Public schools in Washington, DC, are being subjected to the reactionary education policies associated with the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative.

This week in history: March 29-April 4

By , 29 March 2010

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

The struggle against the EU’s financial diktats is a class issue

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 March 2010

The economic crisis has cut the ground from under the propaganda that the European Union provided the means to realize a peaceful and harmonious unification of Europe.

Australia: Union ends print workers’ picket

By Terry Cook, 29 March 2010

Workers stood down at Paragon Printers lifted a week-long picket and will return to work under a union deal reached with the administrator on Friday.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 March 2010

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

The NPA’s Alain Krivine speaks in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 27 March 2010

On March 17 Alain Krivine spoke in the German city of Bielefeld at the invitation of the Left Party. Krivine is a leading member of the recently founded French New Anticapitalist Party.

Pro-imperialist Global Tamil Forum inaugurated at British Parliament

By Athiyan Silva and Antoine Lerougetel, 27 March 2010

The Global Tamil Forum held its inaugural meeting at the British parliament last month. This venue was no happenstance. The meeting had the blessing of the entire British political establishment and of the US government.

Britain: The business of education under Labour—Part 2

By Jean Shaoul, 27 March 2010

This is the second of a three-part series on the extent of the privatisation of state education under the Labour government.

Obama cuts to home energy assistance to have devastating consequences

By Hiram Lee, 27 March 2010

The Obama administration’s 35 percent cut to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will have deadly consequences for those in danger of utility shutoffs.

New release from Mehring Books

By , 27 March 2010

This new release from Mehring Books contains reports by David North and Joe Kishore analyzing the character, historical origins, and political implications of the current global economic crisis.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 27 March 2010

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

In the aftermath of the health care vote

By David North and Joe Kishore, 27 March 2010

In the aftermath of the passage of the health care bill, there have been various acts of right-wing vandalism and intimidation against congressional Democrats who voted for the legislation.

A socialist program to defend education

By , 27 March 2010

This meeting hosted by the ISSE and SEP will discuss a socialist perspective on which a struggle for the defense of public education must be based.

European summit proposes bailout and austerity plan for Greece

By Alex Lantier, 27 March 2010

A two-day European Union summit in Brussels concluded yesterday, announcing plans for an as-needed bailout package for Greece and tougher sanctions against eurozone countries whose deficits exceed European guidelines.

Decline in 2009 personal income reveals impoverishment of US population

By David Walsh, 27 March 2010

Figures released by the US Commerce Department Thursday highlight the continuing decline in living standards for wide layers of the population, suffering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Australia: Report details police attacks on African immigrant youth

By Peter Byrne, 27 March 2010

A report has exposed the constant police harassment and violence endured by African immigrant youth in Melbourne.

The Lacuna, or what’s missing

By Sandy English, 27 March 2010

In The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver recounts the life of a fictional writer named Harrison Shepherd, mixing his story in with those of such historical figures as the Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

White House announces bank-friendly housing assistance modifications

By Andre Damon, 27 March 2010

The White House announced Friday a set of modifications to its foreclosure relief program, which will increase subsidies to banks to renegotiate mortgages with borrowers.

Left Bloc offers its services to Portuguese capitalism

By Paul Mitchell, 27 March 2010

The petty-bourgeois political grouping, the Left Bloc (Bloco Esquerda), is offering its services to Portuguese capitalism as it faces renewed pressure from international financial institutions and speculators.

Obama administration pushes for more war funding

By Bill Van Auken, 27 March 2010

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on Capitol Hill March 25 to launch the Obama administration’s drive to secure nearly $40 billion in supplemental appropriations to fund the escalation of the Afghanistan war.

Sri Lanka: Pro-government mob attacks media network offices

By Sujeeva Amaranath, 27 March 2010

A protest against a rap singer has become the latest pretext for a pro-government mob to attack the media, in this case, the head office of the MTV/Sirasa media network.

The Blind Side: No one-eyed man or woman in this kingdom

By Joanne Laurier, 26 March 2010

The story of African-American football player Michael Oher, rescued as a teenager from poverty and homelessness by a well-to-do white family in Memphis, Tennessee.

Britain: The business of education under Labour—Part 1

By Jean Shaoul, 26 March 2010

This is the first of a three-part series on the extent of the privatisation of state education under the Labour government.

Germany: Rapid increase in poverty for pensioners

By Elisabeth Steinart, 26 March 2010

According to a study produced by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) last week, widespread poverty is the prospect for the elderly in Germany, with East German pensioners hit especially hard.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 26 March 2010

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

Britain expels Israeli diplomat over Mossad assassination of Hamas leader

By Chris Marsden, 26 March 2010

Britain has expelled an Israeli diplomat over the use of 12 forged British passports by the hit team that carried out the January assassination of Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the Dubai capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Malaysian government plays the communal card

By John Roberts, 26 March 2010

Tacitly backed by the government, Muslim hardliners are continuing to stoke communal tensions over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

The conviction of ex-Nazi Boere and Washington’s war crimes

By Bill Van Auken, 26 March 2010

On March 23, a German court sentenced former Nazi death squad member Heinrich Boere to life imprisonment. While Boere committed his heinous crimes 65 years ago, similar acts continue today, with those responsible enjoying complete impunity.

A tense election campaign in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 26 March 2010

A worsening economic crisis is fuelling sharp rivalry between the various factions of the ruling elite, which also reflect the international tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Vendetta continues against mother who lost three in Detroit fire

By Jerry White, 26 March 2010

The legal witch hunt against the young mother who lost three of her children in a March 2 house fire in Detroit—just hours after DTE Energy cut off heat and electrical service to her home—is continuing.

New Jersey budget targets workers, services

By Dan Brennan, 26 March 2010

Faced with a budget deficit of nearly $11 billion for next year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced austerity plans last week.

Sri Lankan SEP holds election meeting in Jaffna

By our reporters, 26 March 2010

Around 100 people attended the meeting, where speakers explained the global dimension of the capitalist debt crisis and the struggle facing the working class.

US jobless claims, home sales point to protracted recession

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2010

The US Labor Department on Thursday reported that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly in the week ending March 20, prompting much of the media to hail the data as another sign that the job market is “stabilizing” and the economic recovery is gaining strength.

Bing demands smaller, more exploited Detroit

By Tom Eley, 25 March 2010

In his annual state of the city address, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing reiterated his demand for the shutdown of neighborhoods and appealed for private investment through cuts to city services and ramped up exploitation of workers.

New York Times fashions “egalitarian” defense of Obama health plan

By Alex Lantier, 25 March 2010

As the press moves to dispel popular anxiety over Obama's health care plan, the New York Times' David Leonhardt has received the assignment of presenting Obama's health care plan as part of a struggle for social equality.

Make Way for Tomorrow: Remarkable Depression-era film released on DVD

By Charles Bogle, 25 March 2010

Acclaimed as “Hollywood’s greatest humanist” by Jean Renoir, director Leo McCarey deserves greater recognition. The 2010 Criterion Collection re-release of his Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) will hopefully reignite interest in McCarey’s work.

Deindustrialization, the UAW and the Decline of Detroit

By Jerry White, 25 March 2010

Utility shutoffs and the lack of the most basic necessities in Detroit are the consequences of a decades-long assault on the jobs and living standards of the working class.

Iceland to commence EU accession talks

By Jordan Shilton, 25 March 2010

The European Commission announced last month that it was prepared to commence talks with Reykjavík on terms for Iceland’s membership.

Hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire

By , 25 March 2010

The Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire: Utility Shutoffs and the Social Crisis in Detroit held a hearing at Wayne State University on March 20.

For socialist policies and a workers’ and farmers’ government

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 25 March 2010

The SEP calls on workers and youth to support our candidates and actively participate in the party’s campaign for the April 8 general election.

California: NUMMI auto workers railroaded into severance package

By Kevin Kearney, 25 March 2010

The vote by workers at the NUMMI auto plant in Freemont, California, to approve severance packages in exchange for losing their jobs is a vote of no-confidence in the United Auto Workers, which has worked consciously to shut down the plant.

Nevada budget cuts worsen the social crisis

By Roger Herman and Therese Leclerc, 25 March 2010

Nevada already suffers the highest foreclosure rate in the country and unemployment second only to Michigan. Republican Governor Jim Gibbons and the Democratic-controlled legislature are placing the burden of the crisis firmly on the backs of the working class.

Netanyahu defies Washington on settlements

By Chris Marsden, 25 March 2010

There was no report on the meeting Tuesday between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Neither was an official handshake staged, let alone a press conference.

Europe split over Greek crisis

By Stefan Steinberg, 25 March 2010

European diplomats are working feverishly to reach some sort of compromise on the Greek debt crisis and prevent an economic and political debacle at the summit of EU heads of government meeting in Brussels Thursday and Friday.

Japanese economy plagued by deflation and debt

By Alex Messenger, 25 March 2010

Recent economic statistics appear to show Japan is shaking off the worst of the global economic crisis, but the headline figures say nothing about the most critical issues, chronic deflation and public debt.

Activist group ACORN collapses following witch-hunt

By Hiram Lee, 25 March 2010

The community activist group ACORN, known for its voter registration efforts among minorities and the poor, has announced it will disband and cease operations following a lengthy, right-wing witch-hunt.

Obama signs anti-abortion executive order

By Kate Randall, 25 March 2010

Barack Obama signed an executive order Wednesday that upholds severe restrictions on the legal right to abortion, sealing a deal with a group of anti-abortion Democrats who had threatened to vote against his health care legislation.

Letters from our readers

By , 25 March 2010

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

Australian government announces plan to train more doctors

By Mike Head, 25 March 2010

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s promise to train extra doctors is in reality another component of his government’s overall blueprint for slashing long-term public health spending.

US and Pakistan hold “strategic dialogue,” but frictions persist

By Sampath Perera, 25 March 2010

The enduring character of the US-Pakistan relationship is exemplified by the leading role that General Ashfaq Kiyani, the current head of Pakistan’s armed forces, is playing in the talks. Even the New York Times had to concede that Kiyani “has driven the agenda for the talks” and “will be the dominant Pakistani participant.”

Germany: Siemens to cut another 4,200 jobs

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 24 March 2010

After slashing 2,000 jobs in its industrial division in late January, the German multinational Siemens company announced the axing of a further 4,200 jobs last week.

Protest group covers for Obama and the Democrats

By Samuel Davidson, 24 March 2010

From the signs and speeches at Saturday’s antiwar rally in Washington, DC, one would be hard pressed to know that Obama is the president of the United States and is continuing the occupation of Iraq while expanding the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

France: Over a million people strike against Sarkozy’s austerity policies

By Antoine Lerougetel, 24 March 2010

Two days after French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) had suffered a landslide defeat in the regional elections, over a million French public service and government employees struck yesterday against the government’s austerity plans.

In a visible voice: Alex Chilton (1950-2010)

By Hiram Lee, 24 March 2010

Alex Chilton, former lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star, died on March 17 at the age of 59.

Quebec public sector workers confront a political struggle

By Socialist Equality Party (Canada), 24 March 2010

Millions of workers across Canada face the same conditions as Quebec’s public sector workers—falling real wages, deteriorating working conditions, shriveling public services. The conditions thus exist to make the fight of public sector workers the spearhead of a vast counteroffensive by the entire working class.

DTE Energy holds public relations event as utility shut-offs continue

By Tom Eley, 24 March 2010

Seeking to calm anger over utility shut-offs, DTE Energy joined state authorities at a Detroit media event on Tuesday designed to portray the energy giant as a caring corporation.

US, Mexico in crisis talks on “drug war”

By Rafael Azul, 24 March 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is heading a high-level US delegation to Mexico City this week for crisis talks on the US-backed “drug war”.

Sri Lanka: Pro-government thugs attack plantation workers

By Panini Wijesiriwardena, 24 March 2010

In further election violence, an armed gang associated with the Ceylon Workers Congress attacked the homes of five members of a rival union at a tea plantation on March 17.

British Airways strike: What happened to the pledges of international solidarity?

By Julie Hyland, 24 March 2010

If one wants to understand how businesses and governments are able to impose job and wage cuts and other austerity measures, despite popular opposition, the dispute at British Airways provides the answer.

Washington dictates terms to devastated Haiti

By Patrick Martin, 24 March 2010

Bush and Clinton preached capitalism as the solution to Haiti’s problems, pressing President René Préval to lift restrictions on the use of land by foreign NGOs and corporations. During the visit, Préval issued the decree demanded by Washington.

Trotsky the subject of cultural events in Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 24 March 2010

In recent months Leon Trotsky has been the subject of two cultural events in Russia – an exhibition at the State Museum of Political History in Saint Petersburg and a documentary film aired on television. While both provide a more objective evaluation of his historical role than what typically found in Russia, they each had significant limitations.

Utility shutoffs: Who profits?

By Tom Eley, 24 March 2010

Report to the Citizens Inquiry on the policies DTE has used to generate profit in spite of the economic crisis, and who has benefited from these policies.

Japanese government reveals secret nuclear agreement with the US

By John Chan, 24 March 2010

The Japanese government has revealed the existence of a five-decades-old secret arrangement with the US, allowing the American military to bring nuclear weapons into the country.

Australia: Labor and Liberal leaders stage phony healthcare debate

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 March 2010

Yesterday’s phony “debate” between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott underscored an essential feature of official politics—there can be no genuine discussion of the economic or social agenda of the major parties.

Trial begins in killing of Ecuadorean immigrant in New York suburb

By Peter Daniels, 24 March 2010

A trial began last week in a tense courtroom in the town of Riverhead, Long Island, in connection with the killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant 16 months ago.

Obama health bill sets the stage for assault on Medicare and Social Security

By Barry Grey, 24 March 2010

The passage of the Obama administration’s health care bill has been greeted with a wave of media commentary hailing the measure as a milestone in progressive social reform and a political triumph for Barack Obama.

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

By Richard Phillips, 24 March 2010

The latest feature by veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio treats the life of Ida Dalser, the first wife of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The audacious work premiered at the Cannes film festival in May 2009.

French regional elections: second round confirms rejection of ruling party

By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier, 23 March 2010

The results of the second round of the regional elections confirm voters’ massive rejection of the austerity policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy, against unanimous support for these measures in the political establishment.