Crisis in Germanys Social Democratic Party

The big weekend blowout in Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) demonstrates how to cut off your nose to spite your face. In a series of small, smaller and smallest secret gatherings the party leaders — facing a disastrous seepage of members and voters because of their switch rightwards in recent years — got rid of party chief Kurt Beck, who had tried to repair things by risking a few timid steps in a vaguely ‘leftish’ direction, and put the party’s future into the hands of two unabashed right-wingers, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeyer and the former Vice-Chancellor and party head Franz Muentefering.

Austria, Bavaria and Brandenburg go to the polls

Berlin — Bavaria, Germany’s largest state, borders on Austria: Both have countless Alpine peaks, lots of men in lederhosen, and many right-wing Roman Catholic traditions. Both had elections on Sunday. Before nightfall many an otherwise happy yodeler showed tightly compressed lips and a grim look.

For Canadian elections, left parties urge green economy, social spending

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The country’s political parties are on the campaign trail in the wake of Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent surprise call for an election to be held Oct. 14.


Zimbabwe welcomes power-sharing pact

Nearly half a year after disputed elections and following two months of delicate negotiations, Zimbabweans on Sept. 15 welcomed the signing of a unity government agreement by President Robert Mugabe and opposition politicians.


WORLD NOTES: September 27

Pakistan: Incursions escalate violence, confrontations Venezuela: Numbers tell story China: Unionization grows Nigeria: Oil facilities under siege France: Nuclear power safety questioned Cuba: EU relations back on track

Venezuela & Honduras defy Bush administration

In an act of solidarity with Bolivia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expelled U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy on Sept. 11, one day after Bolivian President Evo Morales had declared Ambassador Philip Goldberg “persona non grata.” Proclaiming that “until there is a government in the United States that respects the people of Latin America, there will be no Venezuelan Ambassador in that country,” Chavez withdrew veteran ambassador Bernardo Alvarez from Washington, just a step ahead of his expulsion.

World Notes: Sept. 20, 2008

Afghanistan: EU envoy issues warning Panama: Strike shuts down cities Lebanon: New peace moves India: Left front mounts mass protests Angola: Big win for ruling party Cuba: U.S. unmoved by vast storm suffering

Why Bolivia said Yankee go home!

As the struggle sharpened to uphold national authority and oppose forces for autonomy in Bolivia’s East, Washington’s role in weeks of conflict there led the government of Evo Morales to eject U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Sept. 10.

Celebrating Mexican independence

The biggest national holiday in Mexico, and celebrated by Mexican people living all over the world, is Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16.

NATO, an idea whose time has gone

When NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was founded after World War II, its first secretary general, British general Lord Ismay, succinctly stated its real, original purpose: “To keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” In other words, NATO was supposed to be an instrument not for spreading democracy, but for maintaining geopolitical hegemony in Europe by the Western capitalist states. Very soon, of course, the idea of keeping the Germans “down” was scrapped, and Germany became a major actor in NATO military matters.

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