Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/667/11903
News in brief
World Bank unease
On the eve of the recent Group of 20 (G20) meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington - set against a backcloth of a fragile world economy - the World Bank said rocketing food prices have created "a toxic brew of real pain contributing to social unrest."
The bank's president called on the G20 governments to 'reduce volatility' (ie speculation) in food prices and to improve food security. The World Bank estimates that an additional 44 million people worldwide (ie whose income is less than $1.25 a day) have fallen into extreme poverty as a result of food prices rising by an average of 36% in the last year.
It was escalating food prices that contributed to the social uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East in recent months. Significantly, the World Bank pledged new loans amounting to $500 million to help stabilise the weak interim Tunisian government - the country which sparked the so-called Arab Spring.
A leaked United Nations report into the culmination of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009 reveals "credible allegations" of war crimes perpetrated by the ruling regime of president Rajapakse.
Up to 50,000 civilians were slaughtered in the last months of the 26 year-long war, mainly by shelling from Sri Lanka's armed forces, including the deliberate targeting of hospitals.
Many civilians were raped and tortured. The report also blames the separatist Tamil Tigers for using civilians trapped in the war zone as human shields.
The report appears to confirm the authenticity of video footage aired on news media last year purporting to show summary executions of Tamils captured by the Sri Lankan military.
The right-wing Rajapakse regime has used the defeat of the Tamil Tigers to consolidate its grip on Sri Lanka by clamping down on all opposition, targeting socialists, journalists and NGOs by using paramilitary thugs.
Crisis at the Met
The Youth Fight for Jobs campaign offered its full solidarity and support to the students and employees of London Metropolitan University, whose management announced plans to cut 70% of its courses, while raising fees for some of the few courses remaining to a punitive £9,000 a year.
London Met vice-chancellor Alfred Morris has crowned a history of ham-fisted profit-chasing (which has seen the university penalised millions of pounds for ignoring government regulations in what the media have called a student intake 'scam'), while at the same time being faced with an unprecedented 'grey listing' by academic workers' union the UCU for its moves to cut hundreds of jobs.
London Met management should listen to the voices of its students and employees and continue to provide a full range of courses, taught by fully paid and fully trained staff.
It is unacceptable that the governors of the university are passing the consequences of their own failings on to students and lecturers; these governors should resign.
In The Socialist 20 April 2011:
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