"WE WILL not force countries onto our programmes."
Rising petrol prices sparked protests in Beirut in Lebanon last week, where six demonstrators were killed by the army in the suburb of Hayy El Seloum in the south of the city. The army tried to disperse a protest led by taxi drivers by shooting live ammunition in the air. Protesters retaliated by throwing stones. The army then opened fire, killing protesters.
THE SEIZURE and killing of foreign employees in Saudi Arabia last weekend has underlined the depth of the crisis the US faces across the Middle East. Shockwaves spread through the world's oil markets in the wake of the attack. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter and the only country currently with the capacity to boost output to drive down prices.
GERMANY SAYS its biggest ever mobilisation for social justice and against cuts in social benefits took place on Saturday. More than 500,000 people, mostly workers, took to the streets-250,000 in the capital, Berlin, 120,000 in Cologne and 150,000 in Stuttgart. The German demonstrations were largely focused on the government of Gerhard Schršder, a coalition between the SPD (equivalent to the Labour Party in Britain) and the Greens.
MORDECHAI VANUNU was jailed for 18 years for exposing the truth about Israel's secret nuclear weapons programme. He is due to be released a week next Wednesday after serving the full sentence. In 1986 Vanunu revealed to the Sunday Times that Israel had produced some 200 nuclear warheads, making it the world's sixth largest nuclear power.
FIRST Coca-Cola got caught out bottling up tap water and flogging it back to us in posh bottles labelled Dasani. Then Coke was forced to withdraw the "sexed up" tap water from sale because it was full of cancer-inducing chemicals.
TONY BLAIR's visit to Libya and handshake with its ruler Colonel Muammar Gadaffi got huge publicity last week. Much of the media coverage was whipped up by New Labour's own spin doctors. With Iraq in chaos, Blair is desperate to claim some success for his foreign policy. What better than claiming to have tamed Libya, one of the key "rogue states"?
ANTI-WAR campaigners around the globe protested on 20 March after a call went out at this year's World Social Forum in India. The example set by Spain's anti-war movement inspired marchers in Italy. Two million filled the streets of Rome chanting "Berlusconi's next!"
THE CONTINUING nightmare of the occupation of Iraq is making US soldiers rebel against their leaders' plans. Some 600 US soldiers have gone absent without leave from the war. US staff sergeant Camilo Mejia last week refused to carry on fighting in Iraq. The 28 year old soldier says, "I am saying no to war. It is a war for oil, based on lies. "I went to Iraq and was an instrument of violence, and now I have decided to become an instrument of peace. "The Iraqis don't want us there. We don't want to be there. We're getting killed there.
OVER A million people took to the streets of South Korea last Saturday. More than 200,000 people gathered in Seoul for a candlelight rally to protest against the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun by the three opposition conservative parties-the Grand National Party, Millennium Democratic Party, and United Liberal Democrats.
THE MOST important feature of the elections was that they were a sanction against the right wing government.
'NO WAR! No war!" the crowd chanted as the Socialist Party leader, Zapatero, made his acceptance speech in Madrid on Sunday. They did so as a shock election result in Spain removed from office the Tory Popular Party of Aznar. Aznar was the one of the key European leaders who most backed the war against Iraq, and a year ago posed with Bush and Blair in the Azores as they launched that war.
WARMONGERS IN the West rushed to express horror at the death toll in last week's bomb attacks in Madrid. Yet they continue to carry out massacres of their own in Iraq on a regular basis. A year of occupation has led to the deaths of over 10,000 Iraqi civilians.
THE TERRORIST attacks in Madrid, placed in three local trains, took place around 7.30am last Thursday. Most of the victims were commuting to work and school. The aim of the terrorists, according to the police, was to blow up the trains inside Atocha's station and bring down the whole building.
SPAIN'S TORY government tried to blame ETA for the Madrid explosions as part of its attempt to hang on to power using Spanish nationalism in a completely reactionary manner. Under the Spanish republic established in 1931 Catalonia and the Basque country had their own governments. Franco's fascists destroyed this independence when they overthrew the republic in the civil war of 1936-9.
ACROSS THE world this Saturday people are marching against Bush and Blair's invasion of Iraq and "war on terror". An appeal to march on this day came out of the 50,000-strong European Social Forum in Paris last November, and the 100,000-strong World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, in January.
THE HEROIC struggle by supermarket workers in the US, who were on strike or locked out for four and a half months, ended last week. Unfortunately the leaders of the United Food and Commercial Workers union ensured the workers suffered a defeat.
THE GREEK centre-left party that pursued Blairite policies for four years was swept out of office at last Sunday's general election. New Democracy, the Tory party, took 47 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Pasok, equivalent to the Labour Party in Britain.
AN AMERICAN airforce plane flew Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile last weekend as US troops landed in the Caribbean state for the fourth time in 125 years. The White House said Aristide had resigned. Aristide now says he was forcibly removed.