THE DEBATE at a Tower Hamlets council meeting in east London last week took an unusual turn. Campaigners took advantage of a little used procedure to table a motion calling for the council to officially "twin" with the Palestinian town of Jenin.
IN RECENT months metal workers, postal workers, print workers, construction workers, bank workers, telecoms workers and others have been on strike. It is amazing that these strikes are happening just months before a general election, with an SPD (Labour-type) government in office and the Tories ahead in the polls.
WE ARE going to help the US arm Israel. That was the message from the government this week. New Labour caused outrage by admitting it is bypassing its own arms embargo on Israel by selling military equipment via the US. Vital component parts for US F-16 fighter jets, which are used against the Palestinian people, are made in Britain.
TWO YOUNG protesters were shot dead in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, on Wednesday of last week. Dario Santillan and Maximiliano Kosteki were part of a demonstration of unemployed workers protesting at the effects of the huge economic crisis gripping the country.
THE KILLING of six Palestinian children, 700,000 Palestinians trapped in their homes, the assassination of Palestinian leaders, the rounding up of Palestinian men, the reoccupation of Palestinian land. This is what George Bush's vision for the Middle East means-Israel's freedom to do whatever the hell it wants to the Palestinians.
THE US president George Bush's plan for "reform" in the Middle East announced this week will not bring about peace. He gave his complete backing to Israel and its brutal repression of the Palestinians. Right wing prime minister Ariel Sharon sent his troops and tanks to "indefinitely" reoccupy the main Palestinian areas in the West Bank in the days before Bush made his speech.
THE CITY of Seville in southern Spain was shut down on the eve of the European leaders' summit there last week. A general strike of workers saw militant pickets defy the law and shut down major industrial and transport centres. Most shops, bars and restaurants were also closed down for the day.
The government has been forced to halt its sell-off of the state electricity companies after last week's near-uprisings in the southern Peruvian cities of Arequipa and Tacna. This was the most violent confrontation in Arequipa since a rising against a military dictator in the 1950s.
THE FRENCH Tories won a big majority in the parliamentary elections on Monday. The right will have around 400 seats in the new parliament, while the Socialist Party (equivalent of the Labour Party) and its allies will have around 175. After the recent presidential elections John Monks of the TUC and newspapers like the Guardian blamed the far left for the fact that the Nazi Le Pen beat the Socialist Party.
THE BIGGEST general strike for 15 years in Argentina's neighbour Uruguay, in South America, took place last week. There was an almost total stoppage by public sector workers, and a very strong response in private industry.
MORE THAN 70 people were arrested and beaten in Harare, Zimbabwe, last weekend. They were taking part in a peaceful commemoration of the Soweto anti-apartheid uprising in South Africa in 1976. Socialist MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, who is due to speak at Marxism 2002 in London, was singled out for special treatment by the riot police. He was severely beaten and needed urgent medical treatment.
UP TO 200,000 people demonstrated in the Spanish city of Seville last Sunday against government attacks on unemployment benefits and workers' rights. The protest was the biggest seen since 1979 in the Andalucia region in the south of Spain.
MAJOR STRIKES over pay could hit Germany after postal and telecoms workers staged "warning" stoppages on Monday. Unions are demanding a 6.5 percent rise for 250,000 workers. Inflation is just over 1 percent.
FRANCE'S TORIES look set to win a large majority in parliament after the second round of voting in the country's elections takes place this Sunday. In the first round of voting last Sunday the Tories led by the UPM coalition of France's president Jacques Chirac had around 44 percent of votes. Chirac managed to unite almost all of France's traditionally fractious Tory parties behind him.
MASS protests greeted US president George W Bush as he began his tour of Europe last week. Over 100,000 people demonstrated in the German capital, Berlin, on Tuesday. The following day 50,000 marched.
THE CYNICAL territorial ambitions of the rulers of India and Pakistan lie behind the threat of war between them. Their conflicting claims over Kashmir and its 12 million people have sparked hostilities since the end of British rule in 1947.
THE EUROPEAN Social Forum will be a massive gathering of activists from many different movements. It will be held in the Italian city of Florence from 7 to 10 November this year. The alliance between Tony Blair, Spanish leader Aznar and Italian prime minister Berlusconi aims to drive Europe further to the right.
"IT WASN'T a surprise to anyone, certainly not to the people of Jenin, that the United Nations fact-finding mission did not come to investigate. People had been told not to move anything until the team came, just in case valuable evidence disappeared into the trucks that carried away the rubble that was once their homes.
WHAT LIES behind the support for the far right?
THE SECOND round of the French presidential election on Sunday saw the expected landslide victory for the Tory Jacques Chirac. He got 82 percent of the votes against 18 percent for the Nazi Jean-Marie Le Pen. The election result shows the limits of Le Pen's support.