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Letters from our readers

By , 31 March 2011

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

US budget talks near agreement on record cuts in social spending

By Patrick Martin, 31 March 2011

The Obama administration and congressional Democrats have offered an additional $20 billion in cuts in domestic social spending.

Proposed Texas budget includes deep cuts in public education, health care

By Andy Hammer, 31 March 2011

A budget proposal currently under review by the Texas House of Representatives would cut billions in spending on public education and health care to close a projected $27 billion deficit.

London conference highlights imperialist power grab in Libya

By Alex Lantier, 31 March 2011

Discussions at the March 29 conference on Libya underscore that the Western-led war aims to install the rebel National Council as an imperialist puppet regime in Libya.

General Electric paid no federal income taxes in 2010

By Andre Damon, 31 March 2011

The largest US corporation made $14.1 billion in profits last year.

Rising prices in China trigger panic buying

By John Chan, 31 March 2011

The latest rush on soap products is another sign of the growing impact of inflation on China’s working class.

The UAW: A purveyor of cheap labor for the US auto industry

By Jerry White, 31 March 2011

In recent comments, officials of the United Auto Workers union have made clear that they are willing to expand the number of workers being paid near-poverty wages as part of new contracts with the US auto companies.

Libyan rebels massacre black Africans

By Wolfgang Weber, 31 March 2011

The opposition forces in Libya are responsible for barbaric, pogrom-like massacres against black African workers.

Obama administration continues assault on public education

By Isabelle Belanger, 31 March 2011

President Obama’s proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act intensify the attack on America’s schools.

Widening global implications of Japan nuclear crisis

By Chris Talbot, 31 March 2011

The Fukushima nuclear plants are emitting ever-increasing amounts of radioactive isotopes.

Washington prepares to escalate the war in Libya

By Bill Van Auken, 31 March 2011

The ongoing public debate in Washington and the American media on “arming the rebels” in Libya points to a dramatic escalation of the US-led war.

Australian soldiers in Afghanistan post racist anti-Afghan comments

By Margaret Rees, 31 March 2011

The Gillard Labor government and military officials have gone into damage control over revealing internet postings by soldiers.

DSO musicians picket board meeting

By Shannon Jones, 31 March 2011

Facing a management imposed April 1 deadline for the cancellation of summer concerts, striking DSO musicians Wednesday picketed the quarterly board of directors meeting at Orchestra Hall.

Cuts threaten survival of Michigan libraries

By James Brewer, 31 March 2011

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed 2012 budget will axe library funding by 40 percent.

Portugal edges towards bailout as borrowing rate hits record high

By Paul Mitchell, 31 March 2011

Portugal edged closer to seeking a financial bailout this week, as the cost of government borrowing hit record highs.

Elizabeth Taylor and the melodrama of American life in the 1950s and 1960s

By David Walsh, 31 March 2011

Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most prominent postwar American film stars, died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles March 23 at the age of 79.

Massey Energy sued by families of Upper Big Branch disaster victims

By Clement Daly, 31 March 2011

Three lawsuits filed earlier this month charge Massey Energy with operating its Upper Big Branch mine in a “willful, wanton and recklessly unsafe manner” that caused the deaths of 29 miners.

Neo-fascist vote rises amid mass abstention in French local elections

By Alex Lantier, 30 March 2011

The March 27 second round of elections in France to select local councilors confirmed popular rejection of the ruling Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

American media silent on CIA ties to Libya rebel commander

By Patrick Martin, 30 March 2011

The new commander of the rebel military forces is a longtime CIA collaborator named Khalifa Hifter.

Illinois abolishes death penalty

By James Nykvist, 30 March 2011

On March 9, Illinois became the 15th US state to abolish the death penalty.

Australia: Academics’ union prepares sell-out at Macquarie University

By our reporter, 30 March 2011

Staff members were told that NTEU bargaining representatives had been forced to make undisclosed trade-offs in order to settle an enterprise agreement.

Poverty, homelessness climb among US schoolchildren

By Debra Watson, 30 March 2011

The government estimates that 25 percent of American children will soon be in poverty and 1.5 million children are homeless.

DSO management issues new ultimatum to musicians

By Shannon Jones, 30 March 2011

With the strike by DSO musicians in its sixth month, management has set a Friday deadline for cancellation of summer concerts.

Reports indicate breach in Japanese nuclear reactor containment vessel

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 March 2011

The Fukushima plant owner, TEPCO, has reportedly admitted for the first time that core pressure containers may be damaged.

Spain takes its place in the imperialist war against Libya

By Alejandro López, 30 March 2011

The Spanish parliament voted last week in favour of Spanish military intervention in Libya with 336 in favour, just 3 against and 1 abstention.

Facing layoff, California city worker commits suicide

By Kim Saito and Rafael Azul, 30 March 2011

In Costa Mesa, California, city maintenance worker Huy Pham jumped to his death shortly after officials announced that they were going ahead with the sacking of nearly half the city workforce.

Oppose all cuts in public spending!

By , 30 March 2011

The Socialist Equality Party in Britain is holding a series of public meetings to champion a politically independent mass social movement against the savage cuts being imposed by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government.

The crisis of revolutionary leadership in 2011

By Joseph Kishore, 30 March 2011

The initial upsurge of working class resistance in the first few months of this year has demonstrated that the basic problem confronting workers around the world is the problem of revolutionary leadership.

Another suicide inside Australia’s refugee detention centres

By Will Morrow, 30 March 2011

The fifth suicide in the past seven months has cast more light on the Labor government’s inhuman treatment of asylum seekers.

Honduran government unleashes violence against striking teachers

By Bill Van Auken, 30 March 2011

The US-backed government of President Porfirio Lobo has used police and military violence in an attempt to quell a teachers’ strike and protests that have continued to escalate over the last month.

South Carolina legislature plans more cuts to health care and education

By Rosa Shahnazarian, 30 March 2011

The state House budget proposal includes deep cuts in education and health care, and increases the contribution state workers would be required to make toward their health insurance premiums.

Syrian government resigns amid continuing unrest

By Jean Shaoul, 30 March 2011

Syria’s government had resigned in an effort to counter the wave of protests calling for political reform.

Canadian Labour Congress was ready to support Conservative austerity budget

By Carl Bronski, 30 March 2011

Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti initially called on the social-democratic NDP to support the austerity budget the Conservatives tabled in parliament last week.

An exchange on “Behind the sellout of the struggle in Wisconsin”

By Jerry White, 30 March 2011

The WSWS replies to a letter sent by an AFSCME union official in Nebraska.

Obama fronts for US nuclear power industry

By Tom Eley, 30 March 2011

In spite of the catastrophe in Japan and mounting evidence of dangerous conditions at American nuclear plants, the Obama administration has made clear its opposition to any change to US nuclear policy.

London conference plots imperialist carve-up of Libya

By Barry Grey, 30 March 2011

The conference on Libya held Tuesday at London's Lancaster House was a repulsive exercise in hypocrisy and cynicism.

Tunisian Reform Commission defends capitalist regime

By Kumaran Ira and Alex Lantier, 30 March 2011

On March 26 Tunisia’s Commission for the Achievement of the Objectives of the Revolution and the Democratic Transition was enlarged from 70 to 130 members in a closed-door session.

Opel factory in Germany threatened with closure

By Dietmar Henning, 29 March 2011

In mid-March, management at the Opel works in Bochum presented the works council with a plan involving the loss of 1,200 jobs at the factory.

Death toll rises from Burma earthquake

By Mike Head, 29 March 2011

Despite difficulties in gauging the true extent of the disaster, there seems to have been widespread death and destruction in isolated villages.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 March 2011

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

Indiana official urged Wisconsin governor to stage fake assassination attempt

By Jerry White, 29 March 2011

An Indiana deputy prosecutor urged Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to stage a violent provocation in order to discredit popular opposition to his attack on public employees, according to an email uncovered by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Civilian casualties mount in US-led air war against Libya

By Barry Grey, 29 March 2011

As delegates from 40 countries and international organizations gather in London today to coordinate the US-NATO war against Libya, carried out in the name of protecting civilians, the toll of Libyans killed and injured by US, British and French bombs continues to mount.

Haiti election result to be announced this week

By Peter Daniels, 29 March 2011

Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced last week that it will release preliminary results from the March 20 presidential election runoff by the end of the month.

The Italian “left” and Libya

By Marc Wells, 29 March 2011

As European and US bombs fall on Libya, the so-called “left” in Italy is serving as nothing more than a fig leaf for Western imperialism as it seeks to keep full geopolitical and economic control of North Africa and the Middle East.

Contaminated water leaking from Japanese nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2011

Highly radioactive water is seriously impeding efforts to bring the situation at the plant under control and threatening to further contaminate the surrounding environment.

The war in Libya and the new scramble for Africa

By Chris Marsden, 29 March 2011

Today’s international conference on Libya in London will be dutifully reported in the media as a gathering of concerned parties determined to honour their pledge to safeguard civilians from reprisals by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Obama on Libya: A war for US “interests”

By Bill Van Auken, 29 March 2011

In his first speech to the American public on what is now a 10-day-old war against Libya, Obama made a case for US imperialism’s right to carry out military aggression anywhere in the world where it sees its “interests and values” at stake.

NSW voters speak out against Labor—Part two

By our reporters, 29 March 2011

Those interviewed bluntly rejected Australian government and media claims that the attack on Libya was motivated by democratic or humanitarian concerns.

Thailand: a bonanza for international investors

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2011

The Thai government headed by Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai is being hailed in the world's financial centres as a model for the International Monetary Fund's intervention into the Asian economic crisis.

Afghanistan: More children killed in US-NATO air attacks

By Patrick O’Connor, 29 March 2011

The atrocity is the latest in a series of recent US-led bombing operations that have inflicted mass civilian casualties.

Political earthquake in German state elections

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 March 2011

A striking feature of last Sunday’s election results is the complete failure of the SPD to profit from the crisis of the Merkel government.

Kentucky coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 29 March 2011

A March 25 mining accident in eastern Kentucky claimed the fourth US coal miner of 2011.

New Australian state government declares budget “black hole”

By James Cogan, 29 March 2011

The only surprising aspect of O’Farrell’s announcement was how rapidly and blatantly it was made.

Boston schools budget slashes $63 million, cuts 250 jobs

By John Marion, 29 March 2011

The Boston School Committee has voted to approve a fiscal year 2012 budget that slashes $63 million in spending and more than 250 jobs, while attacking teachers’ bargaining rights.

Rolling Stone publishes photos of US war crimes in Afghanistan

By Naomi Spencer, 29 March 2011

The gruesome “kill team” photos released by Rolling Stone reveal that the murder of innocent civilians as part of the US occupation of Afghanistan was commonplace, widely known about, and celebrated.

California governor, legislature approve deep cuts in social programs

By David Brown and Joseph Kishore, 29 March 2011

Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed into law last week a package of measures that will slash billions from welfare, health care, and education. Meanwhile, the trade unions and the Democratic Party are working to push through concessions contracts on state and city workers.

Letters from our readers

By , 29 March 2011

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

Unanswered questions as radiation levels rise at Fukushima nuclear plant

By Chris Talbot, 28 March 2011

Workers were once again evacuated from the Fukushima nuclear power plant as radiation rose to extraordinarily high levels on Sunday.

Pakistan: Report reveals deplorable state of country’s education system

By Sampath Perera, 28 March 2011

A recent report from a Pakistan government-established task force paints a harrowing picture of the state of education in the world’s sixth most populous country.

Half a million demonstrate in London against austerity measures

By our reporters, 28 March 2011

Up to half a million people took part in the London demonstration to protest against the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government’s austerity measures—the second largest political protest in British history.

This week in history: March 28-April 3

By , 28 March 2011

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

Syrian regime calls out army against protests

By Patrick Martin, 28 March 2011

At least 20 demonstrators were killed and 200 wounded in the port city of Latakia.

NSW voters speak out against Labor

By our reporters, 28 March 2011

While thousands of people refused to vote Labor, there was general contempt for the entire parliamentary process.

German ruling coalition suffers massive loss in state elections

By Ulrich Rippert, 28 March 2011

Germany’s ruling coalition has suffered a massive loss of votes in state elections held in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

“It is the capitalists who the politicians really work for”

By our reporters, 28 March 2011

The WSWS spoke to some of those protesting at the Trades Union Congress demonstration in London on Saturday.

Michigan cuts unemployment benefits

By Shannon Jones, 28 March 2011

Michigan Republicans have voted to cut unemployment benefits at a time when the state’s jobless rate is one of the highest in the US.

Reports suggest French intelligence encouraged anti-Gaddafi protests

By Alex Lantier, 28 March 2011

Reports have emerged in European media alleging that efforts by French intelligence to destabilize or topple the Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi may have played a role in last month’s protests in Benghazi.

Yemen’s Saleh seeks deal with bourgeois opposition

By Niall Green, 28 March 2011

As protests continue across Yemen, President Saleh holds out for a deal with opposition figures. Meanwhile, in Bahrain, the monarchy continues its crackdown on demonstrators.

Sri Lanka: Tamil parties hold talks with government

By K. Ratnayake, 28 March 2011

While it claims to represent all Tamils, the TNA is seeking a deal that will secure privileges for the Tamil bourgeoisie at the expense of working people.

A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels

By Patrick Martin, 28 March 2011

The newly appointed military chief of the Libyan rebels has ties to American intelligence agencies going back a quarter-century.

Protests against counter-revolution in Egypt

By a correspondent, 28 March 2011

The demonstrators who ousted President Hosni Mubarak now realise that the trust they had in the Egyptian army was misplaced and that their revolution is far from over.

Mass demonstrations in Germany call for an end to nuclear power

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 March 2011

An estimated quarter of a million people took to the streets in Germany on Saturday to call for the closure of all nuclear power plants in the country.

Australian Labor Party suffers devastating election defeat

By James Cogan, 28 March 2011

The swing against the ALP is the largest ever in the state of New South Wales and the biggest since the defeat of the Scullin federal Labor government in 1931.

Gates and Clinton hint at open-ended war in Libya

By Barry Grey, 28 March 2011

The US and its European allies stepped up their bloody bombing campaign on the side of anti-Gaddafi forces over the weekend, further exposing the pretext of a “limited, humanitarian” intervention for the supposed purpose of protecting Libyan civilians.

Britain steps up campaign for regime change, targeted assassination in Libya

By Julie Hyland, 28 March 2011

On Tuesday, London is hosting an international conference to establish a “contact group” of those countries involved in operations against Libya, plus representatives from the African Union and Arab League.

The depopulation of Detroit

By Tom Eley, 26 March 2011

Detroit’s stunning population decline, 25 percent in just ten years, is a stark expression of the crisis and decay of American capitalism.

European summit demands more social cuts for Europe

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 March 2011

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday agreed on reform measures, the so-called “Pact for the Euro”, which will mean new rounds of harsh austerity measures across the continent.

Bernard-Henri Lévy makes “humanitarian” case for bombing Libya

By Alex Lantier, 26 March 2011

Lévy uses his bogus “human rights” credentials to bolster the propaganda of the French government—which claims to be intervening in Libya in a limited campaign designed to protect the lives of rebel National Council supporters.

Letters on nuclear power, private ownership and the profit system

By , 26 March 2011

Readers’ letters on the March 24 perspective, “Nuclear power, private ownership and the profit system.”

Israel responds to Middle East unrest with provocations

By Jean Shaoul, 26 March 2011

On Wednesday, a bomb exploded at a stop by the main bus station in Jerusalem, killing a 59-year-old British woman and wounding at least 24 other people.

Assad regime guns down protesters in Syria

By Patrick Martin, 26 March 2011

Anti-government demonstrations broke out Friday throughout Syria.

Washington seeks NATO cover for protracted war against Libya

By Bill Van Auken, 26 March 2011

The Obama administration is formally shifting its war in Libya to NATO command as the US-led alliance predicts the fighting will go on for at least another three months.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 March 2011

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

Reject TUC’s phoney war

By Socialist Equality Party (UK), 26 March 2011

Today’s demonstration was fraudulently billed by Trades Union Congress head Brendan Barber as the start of a fight-back against the coalition government’s austerity measures.

Germany: Vote “No!” on Hesse credit-cap clause

By Marianne Arens, 26 March 2011

On Sunday, March 27, citizens of Hesse will decide whether there should be a public-borrowing prohibition clause in the state constitution.

US corporate profits hit record high, new home sales at record low

By Andre Damon, 26 March 2011

Corporate profits reached their highest level in history, while new home sales fell to their lowest pace ever, according to data released this week by the US government, showing the extent to which the present economic "recovery" is being made at the expense of working people.

Sri Lankan government wins local council elections

By Sarath Kumara, 26 March 2011

Far from being a vote of confidence in President Mahinda Rajapakse, the result reflects a collapse of support for the major opposition parties.

FBI memo orders delayed Miranda warnings for “terror” suspects

By Kate Randall, 26 March 2011

The Obama administration has moved to weaken the legal rights of those held as domestic-terror suspects, significantly strengthening exceptions to procedures that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for decades.

Extraordinary deathbed confession exposes Julian Moti frame-up

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 March 2011

The Australian Labor government’s vendetta against former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti on trumped up rape allegations has suffered a devastating blow.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 March 2011

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

The fate of the Merkel coalition in Germany and the state election in Baden-Württemberg

By Michael Regens and Peter Schwarz, 26 March 2011

A loss of power for the Christian Democrats in Baden-Württemberg could be the nail in the coffin for the federal coalition under Angela Merkel.

Casino Jack: The corruption scandals of the Bush years

By Joanne Laurier, 26 March 2011

Kevin Spacey stars as Jack Abramoff, the real-life Washington D.C. lobbyist, who bilks millions from his clients, buying and selling congressmen and other government officials.

Canada’s Conservatives lose confidence vote, triggering May election

By Keith Jones, 26 March 2011

Canada’s minority Conservative government officially lost parliament’s support Friday when MPs from all three opposition parties supported a Liberal motion declaring “non-confidence” in the government.

Radioactive contamination spreading from damaged Japanese nuclear plant

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2011

There is mounting evidence that the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is emitting radioactivity more widely and at more toxic levels than acknowledged by the Japanese government.

China and Russia criticise Libyan bombing campaign

By John Chan, 25 March 2011

Moscow and Beijing are concerned that Washington is once again using its military might to advance its strategic ambitions at their expense.

Air strikes escalate, stalemate deepens in fighting around Libyan cities

By Patrick Martin, 25 March 2011

Air strikes by French, British and American warplanes continued to expand in Libya Thursday, but despite the massive firepower deployed by the imperialist powers against the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, anti-Gaddafi rebels remained stalemated in the ground warfare.

Behind the sellout of the struggle in Wisconsin

By Tom Eley, 25 March 2011

The executives who run Wisconsin’s public sector unions have responded to the passage of Governor Scott Walker’s anti-worker bill by rushing to put in place contracts that impose all of the bill’s demands for financial concessions on the state’s 375,000 teachers, nurses, city workers and other public employees.

First spacecraft begins orbiting the planet Mercury

By Patrick Martin, 25 March 2011

MESSENGER is the first space mission to Mercury in more than three decades.

Egyptian workers face US-backed counter-revolution

By Bill Van Auken, 25 March 2011

The promulgation this week in Egypt of a decree banning strikes and protests has laid bare the real character of the military-controlled regime that succeeded the US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 25 March 2011

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