The Chinese government’s response to a massive earthquake in Sichuan Province May 12 has been swift, according to a number of news sources. The government said that tremors and aftershocks were felt in 16 provinces, from Tibet to Beijing. Up to 15,000 people have been killed with many tens of thousands more still missing and injured, and over 500,000 houses have been destroyed.
While the rest of Latin America moves left, Mexican President Felipe Calderon is pushing hard in the other direction with a thinly disguised plan to privatize PEMEX, the huge state oil company that provides 40 percent of the Mexican government’s revenues.
The surprise results of Nepal’s elections are now giving way to the next, perhaps more challenging, step of piecing together a coalition to write a new constitution and move toward abolishing the monarchy. In the recent election, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won the most seats — 220 out of 601 — in the Constituent Assembly that is tasked with writing the constitution and deciding on the political framework for the Himalayan nation. Nepal has been ruled by a Hindu king for more than 200 years.
In a blow to the revolutionary Bolivian government of President Evo Morales, overwhelmingly elected in 2005 as the nation’s first indigenous president, a much anticipated autonomy referendum in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department gained approval by an estimated 80 percent of voters on May 4.
Food prices are soaring around the world. Long lines for rations of rice or wheat flour snake through cities and towns across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Food protests have rocked Haiti, Egypt, Senegal, Bangladesh and the Philippines. A United Nations report last December listed Haiti and Bangladesh among 37 countries who face “food crises” and need external assistance to stave off mass starvation and famine. The capitalist “free market” economy has helped to create this crisis.
After showing its strength with a march of 25,000 teachers and their supporters Feb. 17, the Puerto Rico Federation of Teachers (FMPR) has been able to make progress toward a new labor agreement, averting for the moment a nationwide work stoppage that had been threatened for Feb. 19.
Top labor leaders ended a trip to Colombia Feb. 13 by telling that country’s president, Alvaro Uribe, American unions will not support the U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement until the killing of union members by right-wing death squads there is put to a stop.
CHICAGO — Josué, 14, Juan, 11 and Paloma, 9, live with their grandmother in a small rural town in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. They have not seen their mother, Flor Crisostomo, 28, since she crossed the Arizona desert in June 2000, to find work in the U.S. so she could support them.
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan last month has a direct relationship to the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the subject of “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the Hollywood “comedy” in which a corrupt congressman and a wily CIA man win “the Cold War” against the “evil Soviet empire” in Afghanistan.
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