TONY BLAIR cast himself in the role of peacemaker as he embarked on a tour of India and Pakistan to defuse recent tensions over Kashmir. The two nuclear powers stand dangerously close to war. Thousands of Kashmiris have been forced to flee their homes.
SOME 800 workers in Colombia were this week entering the third week of an occupation against privatisation. The workers in the city of Cali are protesting at the threat to privatise the Emcali public utilities corporation.
"Nobody knows if they will have a job tomorrow or when they will be paid. People are almost paralysed by fear." This was what an Argentinian psychologist told journalists last weekend. No wonder. Argentina, an industrial country that once boasted a living standard as high as that of Italy, has been hit by an economic crisis.
A spirited march of 5,000 people took place in Ottawa, the hastily chosen site of the slimmed down summit of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, on Saturday of last week.
About 250,000 striking engineers took part in a national demonstration in Rome, Italy, last week. Strike action shut dozens of major workplaces up and down the country. Officially, the strike was over a £10 a month pay increase, but in the highly politicised atmosphere of Italy it was about much more than getting a pay rise in line with inflation.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his Liberal-National (Tory) coalition won the general election last Saturday, giving him his third term in government. Even in August few people were predicting Howard could win. His government was deeply unpopular. It had driven through massive attacks on workers, privatisation in the benefits system and education cuts. His supporters claim his popularity increased because he opposes refugees and is a vocal supporter of the US war on Afghanistan.
Despite the repression they suffer from the Taliban, Hilla says all women in Afghanistan oppose the US bombings:
GEORGE BUSH and Tony Blair are terrified that the US and Britain's pummelling of Afghanistan will lead to upheaval across the Middle East. That is what is behind all their talk of "losing the media war".
THE ATTACK on Afghanistan has provoked a wave of anger against the US and Britain across the Middle East. As the first bombs fell, protests erupted in Palestine, Syria, Egypt and many other countries.
SAUDI ARABIA is at the centre of US policies in both the Middle East and Central Asia. This Western ally, one of the world's biggest oil producers, is ruled by the royal family-and there is no democracy whatever. The US and Britain armed Saudi Arabia, and used it as the key military base in the war against Iraq.
TENS OF thousands of Italian activists are heading to Naples in the south of Italy two days before the Washington events to protest against a NATO summit. The authorities' fear of the protests means that the summit has been moved to an air force base six miles outside the city. Despite the police repression in Genoa, activists are determined to keep up the pressure on Italy's right wing government.
"TENS OF thousands of people plan to turn the nation's capital into a melting pot of dissent." That is how the Washington Post describes the anti-capitalist mobilisation set for Washington DC in the US in two weeks time. "We are planning large scale, well organised, high visibility actions to protest at the IMF/World Bank meetings on 29-30 September," says the Movement for Global Justice, one of the leading groups behind the protest.
THE AUSTRALIAN government has set new standards for callous treatment of refugees. Its attitude to the 460 desperate refugees rescued by the Norwegian freighter Tampa from their sinking boat on Sunday 26 August was "let them drown". John Howard, the Liberal (Tory) prime minister of Australia, has ignored the refugees' pleas to be allowed to come to Australia.
ISRAEL IS stepping up its assassination of Palestinian activists, ten months into the Palestinian uprising against Israeli brutality. The assassination policy has been endorsed by George Bush's number two, Dick Cheney.
ONE OF Spain's longest running industrial disputes has ended in victory for the workers. Telephone engineers celebrated in the centre of Madrid last weekend after their fight forced the country's Tory government to concede most of their demands.
TONY BLAIR toured Latin America last week preaching the virtues of the market and neo-liberal economic policies. As he did, those very policies were bringing misery to millions across the continent. But workers and the poor are fighting back.
Over 4,000 riot police stormed into a Daewoo Motors plant in South Korea last week. They stormed the building to smash up a four day long sit-in by 700 sacked workers and their families fighting for their jobs. The security forces broke down barricades with forklift trucks and excavators.
Revolt against the "neo-liberal" policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) swept the South American country of Ecuador last week-and won. Thousands of indigenous people from the countryside marched on the capital, Quito, and occupied the city's university and the headquarters of a visiting IMF delegation.
When the leaders of the IMF and World Bank arrive in Nigeria, West Africa, next Wednesday they might find up to two million protesters on the streets across the country. One of the biggest demonstrations will be against job losses and workers being forced to pay for the country's crisis. Nigeria is in turmoil.
The discussions between Ariel Sharon, the new right wing prime minister of Israel, and leading figures of the Israeli Labour Party show how neither main Israeli party wants peace with the Palestinians.