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US downplays North Korean regime’s overtures

By James Cogan, 29 February 2012

Pyongyang’s push for renewed talks appears to be a desperate bid for some form of rapprochement.

Republican candidate Santorum attacks the First Amendment

By Barry Grey, 29 February 2012

Santorum’s attack on John F. Kennedy’s insistence on the absolute separation of church and state raises fundamental questions of democratic rights.

French President Sarkozy’s re-election bid appeals to extreme right

By Pierre Mabut, 29 February 2012

On February 15, right-wing French President Nicolas Sarkozy officially announced his intention to run for re-election in April.

Romney wins Republican primaries in Arizona and Michigan

By Patrick Martin, 29 February 2012

The two victories give the former Massachusetts governor a significant lead in delegates, but do not ensure that he will win the presidential nomination.

Political films in Berlin

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 February 2012

A number of film reviewers have been quick to draw a parallel between the Arab Spring revolutions and the opening film of the Berlinale, Farewell, My Queen, by the French director Benoît Jacquot.

Three students dead in Ohio high school shooting

By James Brewer, 29 February 2012

Three students died and two others are hospitalized as a result of a fatal shooting inside a high school cafeteria Monday morning in the suburban community of Chardon, Ohio.

US ambassador suggests nuclear submarine sale to Australia

By Oliver Campbell, 29 February 2012

Whether the sale eventuates or not, Bleich’s comments underscore the extent to which Australian capitalism has been drawn into a maelstrom of geo-political tensions.

Washington pushes drug war in Mexico, Central America

By Bill Van Auken, 29 February 2012

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano signaled Tuesday that Washington is prepared to utilize in Mexico and Central America the same bloody counterinsurgency methods it has employed in the so-called “war on terror”.

London Fire chief proposes closing 50 ambulance stations

By Steve Woodhouse, 29 February 2012

The London Fire Authority has proposed removing the London Ambulance Service from the National Health Service and putting it under the control of the mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Full funding for public transportation!

By of Phyllis Scherrer and SEP candidate for vice president, 29 February 2012

Public transit agencies across the country are facing unprecedented financial crises, with mass layoffs, wage and benefit cuts, the slashing of services and fare increases.

Quebec’s striking students must turn to the working class!

By International Students for Social Equality, 29 February 2012

Students must consciously reach out to workers as allies in a common battle and fight to transform the student strike against tuition fee increases into a unified struggle in defense of all public services, all social programmes, and all jobs.

French Socialist Party presidential candidate issues bogus pledge to tax the rich

By Kumaran Ira, 29 February 2012

French Socialist Party (PS) presidential candidate François Hollande’s promise to tax income above €1 million ($1.345 million) a year at 75 percent is a political lie.

German parliament supports austerity for Greece

By Peter Schwarz, 29 February 2012

Although the talk is always of “aid” or a “rescue package” for Greece, the almost 200 billion euros will flow directly into the coffers of the banks.

Occupy London camp cleared by police from St Paul’s Cathedral

By Paul Stuart, 29 February 2012

Riot police moved in at midnight February 28 to clear the Occupy protest camp established outside St Paul’s Cathedral last October.

Phyllis Scherrer wins strong support from bus drivers and riders

By a WSWS reporting team, 28 February 2012

Socialist Equality Party candidate for Vice-President Phyllis Scherrer won strong support from Pittsburgh area bus drivers and riders as she campaigned for socialism as the alternative to the destruction of public transportation this past weekend.

French unions prepare to back cuts in PSA-GM tie-up

By Kumaran Ira, 28 February 2012

French unions are preparing to back attacks on jobs and wages in the corporate tie-up between GM-Opel and French automaker PSA.

West Bengal government threatens savage reprisals if state workers join one-day strike

By Kranti Kumara, 28 February 2012

West Bengal’s Trinamul Congress government is threatening draconian sanctions against any state worker who takes part in the national one-day general strike called for Tuesday, Feb. 28.

US workers without high school diplomas hit hard by recession

By Nikolai Barrickman, 28 February 2012

Workers in the US with less education have been particularly hard hit by unemployment and low wages, particularly since the “official” end of the recession in mid-2009.

Indian workers must adopt socialist strategy to oppose UPA-led big business offensive

By the WSWS Editorial Board, 28 February 2012

Tens of millions of Indian workers will join a one-day countrywide general strike today, Tuesday, February 28, to protest soaring prices, the spread of contract-labor, privatization, and the appalling conditions under which 90 percent of the workers employed in the so-called informal sector toil.

Japan’s economy contracts as exports plunge

By John Watanabe, 28 February 2012

Falling demand in China, Europe and North America, the high value of the yen and increasing competition are threatening the very viability of Japan’s basic industry.

Mass layoffs expose myth of US economic recovery

By Andre Damon, 28 February 2012

The recent announcements of mass layoffs at the US Postal Service, Procter & Gamble and Archer Daniels Midland, as well as the bankruptcy of Fuller Brush and American Airlines, have upended claims that the United States is in the midst of an “economic recovery.”

The 2012 Academy Awards

By David Walsh, 28 February 2012

At the 84th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles, The Artist and Hugo took home the most awards. Comic Billy Crystal hosted the event.

Amidst widespread discontent, Cooper Tire workers vote for concessions contract

By our reporter, 28 February 2012

The vote on the contract Monday expressed a lack of confidence in the United Steel Workers, which told workers that they had no choice but to sign the contract.

Letters from our readers

By , 28 February 2012

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

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 February 2012

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

Australia: Key 2010 coup plotter quits government after leadership vote

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 February 2012

A factional apparatchik, Arbib, working closely with Washington, played the key role in removing Rudd and installing Gillard as prime minister.

New Zealand: Pike River Coal ignored mine safety warnings

By Tom Peters, 28 February 2012

Evidence given to a Royal Commission shows that the company and government regulators allowed the mine to operate with dangerously faulty equipment and no suitable emergency exist.

US, Britain gear up for war on Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 28 February 2012

The military commands in both the US and Britain have sought increased funding and stepped up deployments of arms and personnel in preparation for an anticipated war against Iran.

Israel steps up repression in occupied Palestinian territories

By Jean Shaoul, 28 February 2012

On Friday, Israeli forces fired on Palestinian protesters at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the West Bank, killing one young man and injuring four more.

Thousands in Michigan continue to lose welfare benefits

By Debra Watson, 28 February 2012

Thousands of Michigan citizens have lost cash welfare benefits in each of the past four months, following the imposition of a strict 48-month lifetime limit by the state.

German court gives green light for expansion of temporary employment contracts

By Ernst Wolff, 28 February 2012

The expansion of temporary working has led to a drastic worsening of the conditions of nearly 1 million workers in Germany, while bringer greater profits to the corporations.

SEP campaigns in New York, Michigan and Kentucky

By , 28 February 2012

Supporters of the Socialist Equality Party’s presidential candidate Jerry White have begun campaigns throughout the country to promote a socialist program in the 2012 elections.

2012 French elections: NPA bids to join pro-austerity government

By Kumaran Ira, 27 February 2012

The New Anti-capitalist Party is preparing alliances to participate directly in possible pro-austerity governments or Socialist Party parliamentary majorities.

This week in history: February 27-March 4

By , 27 February 2012

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

Australian prime minister defeats challenge from Kevin Rudd

By Patrick O’Connor, 27 February 2012

The leadership ballot has resolved none of the key policy issues underlying the vitriolic infighting within the Labor Party.

Strike wave resumes in China

By John Chan, 27 February 2012

A wave of strikes, initiated by workers in Guangdong province export factories last November, has recommenced following the Chinese New Year.

Anger boils over at meetings on Detroit bus cuts

By Lawrence Porter, 27 February 2012

Hundreds of furious Detroit residents attended hearings last Friday called by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) to announce, once again, cuts to the beleaguered city bus system.

Court martial opens against Bradley Manning

By Naomi Spencer, 27 February 2012

Accused Army whistleblower Bradley Manning entered no plea and deferred a choice of military judge or jury as the court martial against him began February 23.

No to Cuts at the MBTA!

By , 27 February 2012

The MBTA is planning deep cuts to the transit system relied upon by millions throughout the Boston area. The T is seeking to make working people pay for a crisis that is not of their making.

Germany: Saxony’s state prosecutor persecutes anti-Nazi demonstrators

By Martin Nowak and John Stern, 27 February 2012

The persecution of anti-Nazi demonstrators in eastern Germany paves the way for the use of similar anti-democratic measures against working class opposition to the growing social crisis.

G20 meeting defers decision on boosting European rescue funds

By Barry Grey, 27 February 2012

A meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 leading economies reached no agreement on calls for the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to double the amount of rescue funds for the European debt crisis.

Protests continue over Boston transit cuts and fare hikes

By Mike Ingram, 27 February 2012

Thousands of people throughout the Greater Boston area have attended public hearings to protest proposals from the MBTA for steep fare increases and drastic cuts in service.

GM and Peugeot Citroën conspire to sack thousands of auto workers

By Dietmar Henning, 27 February 2012

Plans are afoot to impose Obama’s General Motors “solution” on European auto workers and suppliers, who are to pay for the economic crisis with brutal wage cuts and mass layoffs.

Socialism and the Cooper Tire struggle

By Jerry White, 27 February 2012

SEP presidential candidate Jerry White issued the following statement to Cooper Tire workers in Findlay, Ohio. The workers are voting on a tentative agreement today after being locked out for three months.

Union pushes concessions contract at Cooper Tire

By Andre Damon, 27 February 2012

The United Steel Workers union has agreed to nearly all of the company's demands in a tentative contract agreement presented to locked-out Cooper Tire workers in Findlay, Ohio on Saturday.

UK: Salford’s Labour council imposes cuts of almost £100 million

By Jean Gibney, 27 February 2012

The budget of the Labour-controlled Salford City Council includes a total of £94 million in cuts from 2011 to 2015, including £24 million in cuts for 2012/13 on top of £40 million in cuts in last year’s budget

New York teacher evaluations used to deepen attack on public education

By Philip Guelpa and Steve Light, 27 February 2012

New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and the statewide teachers union reached agreement on February 16 to introduce a system for evaluating the effectiveness of teachers based on student standardized test scores.

Syrian conflict destabilizes Lebanon

By Niall Green, 27 February 2012

The conflict in Syria, where US-backed “rebels” are fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad, is exacerbating tensions in neighboring Lebanon.

Afghanistan rises in revolt against US occupation

By Patrick Martin, 27 February 2012

The Koran-burning incident that triggered nationwide protests in Afghanistan is the product of the neo-colonial US occupation.

Sri Lankan plantation workers strike over fuel price rises

By Panini Wijesiriwardane and A. Shanthakumar, 27 February 2012

The unions called the walkout not over concerns about the impact of rising prices on workers, but to pre-empt the eruption of wider struggles.

Obama’s 2013 budget to increase corporate influence over public research

By Nicholas Russo, 25 February 2012

Reprioritization of funding in the proposed budget, together with statements by Obama, indicates a decisive shift toward further subordination of public research to corporate interests.

Highland Park, Michigan teachers and staff go without pay after state refuses aid

By Shannon Jones, 25 February 2012

Teachers and support staff in Highland Park, Michigan schools did not receive paychecks Friday. The WSWS spoke to parents angered by the impending shut down of the district.

Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: Not really a movie about 9/11, whatever else it might be

By Joanne Laurier, 25 February 2012

A young boy, grieving for his father, a victim of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, searches New York City for the lock that matches a key left behind by his beloved parent.

US pressures India to back sanctions against Iran

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 February 2012

While India has attempted to place some distance between itself and the US, New Delhi has repeatedly succumbed to pressure to back US policy against Iran.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 February 2012

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

Yemen: US-brokered presidential elections held with single candidate

By Will Morrow, 25 February 2012

The current vice president was the only candidate in Tuesday’s presidential elections, which are part of a US-brokered deal that maintains the existing regime.

Fire kills 29 at rehab center in Lima, Peru

By Luis Arce, 25 February 2012

Twenty-nine people died as the result of a fire that ripped through the “Christ is Love” rehabilitation center located in one of the poorest districts of Lima on January 28.

Fair Work Australia imposes no-strike bans on Victorian nurses

By Richard Phillips, 25 February 2012

As soon as nurses began industrial action to defend wages, jobs and patient-nurse ratios, the Gillard government’s workplace tribunal declared their action illegal.

Union announces tentative settlement in Cooper Tire lockout

By Shannon Jones, 25 February 2012

The announcement of a tentative settlement comes two weeks after a union meeting at which United Steelworkers officials indicated Cooper workers might not get everything they were seeking and would have to make “tough decisions.”

Obama, “Friends of Syria” press for military intervention against Damascus

By Alex Lantier, 25 February 2012

US President Barack Obama and diplomats at the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunis issued statements yesterday pressing for military intervention in Syria.

Extreme poverty in US has more than doubled since 1996

By David Walsh, 25 February 2012

According to the National Poverty Center, the number of households in the US living in extreme poverty—on less than $2 a day per person—has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

Paratroopers readied for future social unrest in UK

By Paul Stuart, 25 February 2012

Repressive techniques perfected in Northern Ireland are being deployed for the first time on the British mainland.

Deepening job cuts expose Australian Labor’s “new economy”

By Mark Church, 25 February 2012

The first two months of 2012 have seen growing job losses in Australia, revealing the real nature of the Labor government’s restructuring drive.

Australian government torn apart by US-China tensions

By Peter Symonds, 25 February 2012

The present fracturing of the Labor Party is bound up with powerful geo-political rivalries centred on the Obama administration’s growing confrontation with China.

Unite auto workers in Europe, North America and internationally against wage-cutting and layoffs!

By Jerry White and SEP candidate for US president, 25 February 2012

SEP presidential candidate Jerry White issued the following statement opposing GM’s plans to attack auto workers in Europe.

Mass layoffs in US belie talk of economic recovery

By Patrick Martin, 25 February 2012

Giving the lie to claims by the Obama administration and the media that an economic recovery is under way in the United States, major employers announced tens of thousands of new job cuts this week.

European trade unions back EU austerity demands

By Christoph Dreier, 25 February 2012

Rather than siding with the Greek workers against the European Union and its policy of social devastation, the European trade unions, including those in Greece, are working with the EU and the European governments to contain the crisis by impoverishing the working class.

SEP publishes election announcement of Jerry White in Spanish

By , 25 February 2012

The Socialist Equality Party is publishing today the Spanish translation of the statement issued by SEP presidential candidate Jerry White announcing the party’s campaign in the 2012 US elections.

Ontario legislature to debate call for Greek-style austerity

By Carl Bronski, 25 February 2012

Ontario’s Liberal government and the opposition Conservatives and NDP have welcomed a government-commissioned report that proposes sweeping, Greek-style austerity measures.

“Friends of Syria” plan war, regime change at Washington’s behest

By Chris Marsden, 24 February 2012

The “Friends of Syria” are a gang of political criminals, gathered in Tunisia to plan the latest in a series of destabilization campaigns that have all ended in colonial wars of aggression.

Further US involvement in Philippine constitutional crisis

By Joseph Santolan, 24 February 2012

The vital role played by Washington is becoming ever more transparent, with Aquino appointing an American ‘anti-corruption’ consultant as an official advisor to his cabinet.

Video: SEP candidate Jerry White visits Chrysler plant in Warren, Michigan

By , 24 February 2012

Jerry White, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president, visited the Chrysler Warren Truck assembly plant Wednesday, urging workers to support his campaign

French Socialist Party presidential candidate calls for interning the Roma

By Antoine Lerougetel, 24 February 2012

In a February 12 television interview, François Hollande, Socialist Party candidate for president, proposed as a “solution” to the presence in France of Roma European Union citizens “the creation of camps ... to accommodate them”.

Afghans besiege US bases in Koran protests

By Bill Van Auken, 24 February 2012

Two American soldiers and at least 15 Afghans have been killed as crowds besieged US and NATO bases for a third day Thursday, in an escalating protest over US troops burning copies of the Koran.

European economy contracting

By Stefan Steinberg, 24 February 2012

Years of austerity have pushed a number of countries into prolonged recession, depressing incomes and consumer spending across the continent.

Former Australian prime minister raises questions about 2010 coup

By Mike Head, 24 February 2012

On his arrival back in Australia this morning, Kevin Rudd revealed new details of his removal in the “midnight coup” of 2010—revelations that pose key questions about the events of June 23-24 and the forces that orchestrated them.

Trade union and employers work together to break German ground crew strike

By Helmut Arens, 24 February 2012

The strike by ground crew in Frankfurt has had a considerable impact on air traffic at Germany’s biggest airport.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 24 February 2012

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

Autopsy shows retired Michigan auto worker froze to death after utility shutoff

By Lawrence Porter, 24 February 2012

On Wednesday, the local media in Flint confirmed that the death of John Morgan, the 86-year-old retired auto worker found in his truck on Monday, was due to hypothermia and existing heart and lung problems.

Republican primary campaign grows more frenzied as it heads for decisive contests

By Patrick Martin, 24 February 2012

With primary voting Tuesday in Michigan and Arizona, the Republican presidential campaign has effectively narrowed to two candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

A few nuggets on display at the Berlinale

By Stefan Steinberg, 24 February 2012

This year’s Berlinale jury, headed by veteran British director Mike Leigh, awarded the festival’s principal prizes to a number of interesting and significant works.

US Congress to debate motion on “self-determination” for Pakistani Balochistan

By Ali Ismail, 24 February 2012

Cynically invoking human rights abuses of the Pakistani state, Republican Congressmen have presented a resolution to Congress advocating “self-determination” for Balochistan, threatening Pakistan with dismemberment.

Qantas to axe 2,500 more jobs in government-backed restructuring

By Alex Messenger, 24 February 2012

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten was briefed in advance, indicating that the cuts will be implemented with the Labor government’s support.

Savage police assault on students in Valencia, Spain

By Alejandro López, 24 February 2012

A February 20 demonstration by students and schoolchildren in the Spanish city of Valencia was subject to a violent attack by police. The city was flooded with police, who made 43 arrests, including eight minors.

Portland police chief defends latest police killing

By Hector Cordon, 24 February 2012

Portland’s police chief defends the shooting death of a 21-year-old threatening suicide.

Highland Park Michigan school district faces closure threat

By Shannon Jones, 23 February 2012

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is threatening to close the entire Highland Park, Michigan school district in response to a cash shortage that has left the district unable to meet payroll.

SEP presidential candidate Jerry White addresses meeting at University of Michigan

By our correspondent, 23 February 2012

SEP presidential candidate Jerry White spoke on inequality, war and the socialist perspective in the 2012 elections.

US encourages Burma to distance itself from China

By John Roberts, 23 February 2012

The US has signed a waiver ending formal US opposition to the World Bank conducting economic assessments of Burma, potentially paving the way for international economic aid.

Obama administration proposes corporate tax cut

By Kate Randall, 23 February 2012

The Obama administration has released preliminary details of a proposed overhaul of corporate taxes that would lower the tax rate for companies from 35 percent to 28 percent.

Retired autoworker in Flint, Michigan dies after utilities are shut off

By Lawrence Porter, 23 February 2012

Early Monday morning neighbors found 86-year-old John Morgan, a retired Flint autoworker, dead in his truck parked outside in his driveway on Parkway Avenue, only a few days after the local utility company shut off his electricity for a bill of $291.

London Underground uses Hong Kong and Singapore metros as benchmark

By a London Transport worker, 23 February 2012

A London transport worker offers his assessment of management’s new “Operational Strategy Discussion Paper”.

US, Egyptian junta seek to arm Syrian opposition

By Johannes Stern, 23 February 2012

On Monday the US Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham met for talks with the Egyptian junta and leaders of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 February 2012

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

Today’s social divide and the Charles Dickens bicentenary

By John Clayton and Paul Bond, 23 February 2012

A comment on the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of English novelist Charles Dickens.

Australian foreign minister resigns in Washington

By Peter Symonds, 23 February 2012

Rudd’s sudden resignation in Washington follows months of subterranean factional brawling over who will lead the Australian government.

Mounting attacks on Nigerian workers

By Robert Stevens, 23 February 2012

Workers in Nigeria face escalating attacks on their livelihoods following the betrayal of last month’s national general strike against the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan.

India brokers political deal to back coup in Maldives

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 23 February 2012

India arranged a shaky deal among parties in the Maldives in an attempt to defuse the political crisis following a military coup in the islands.

The European Union and Greece

By Peter Schwarz, 23 February 2012

The events in Greece show the true character of the European Union. It is not a means of achieving genuine European unity, but rather an instrument to subjugate all of Europe under the dictatorship of finance capital.

Sri Lankan defence ministry blocks SEP meeting

By K. Ratnayake, 23 February 2012

Amid developing opposition to Sri Lankan government austerity measures, the defence ministry has banned an SEP public meeting in Chilaw.

Report reveals depth of social crisis for African-American men in Milwaukee

By Niles Williamson and Kristina Betinis, 23 February 2012

A report on employment published by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee reveals a decline over four decades that has affected African-American men in particular.