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Cesar Chavez 78th birthday celebrated

Across the nation, gatherings honored the 78th anniversary of the birth of labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers of America and a leader in struggles for political and economic rights and peace.

NYC considers law for day labor

On a typical New York morning, thousands of workers can be seen congregating on sidewalks throughout the city, waiting to be taken to worksites. Called day laborers, these workers are among the most exploited in the nation.

Zimbabwe vote results draw mixed reactions

The March 31 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections resulted in a victory for ZANU-PF, the ruling party led by President Robert Mugabe.

Bush team blinks as Venezuela advances

Venezuelan President Chavez asked Feb. 25, “If not capitalism, then what? I have no doubt, it’s socialism. … But what kind?” Change is the rule now in Venezuela, and the forces of popular struggle there are causing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to look over her shoulder. Hugo Chavez himself is coming under similar pressures.

World Notes

Colombia: Army kills 3 trade unionists; Brazil: IMF loan won’t be renewed; Korean Peninsula: Protest vs. U.S. nuclear sub; Nigeria: Oil workers set ‘warning’ strike; India: ‘Just say No’ to F-16s

Jobs, wages and the Goldilocks economy

In the business pages of newspapers last month, there was cautious talk of a Goldilocks economy: “neither too hot nor too cold, but just right for steady growth.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics had just released employment figures for February, showing an “unusually strong” gain of 262,000 jobs, according to a New York Times story. Another story quoted the chief economist at Bank of America Securities saying the job growth shows “the U.S. economy is growing solidly.”

Bush offers retirees option of serving in Iraq

After receiving only muted support for his sweeping proposals to overhaul Social Security, President George W. Bush attempted to sweeten the pot today, offering all retirees the opportunity to serve in Iraq.

Motorcycle clubs oppose Patriot Act

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Northern California Confederation of Clubs, representing 41 motorcycle clubs — including the Hell’s Angels and the Vagos — is asking its members to send letters to their senators opposing the USA Patriot Act. They also oppose California’s Gang Abatement Act and a similar measure now before Congress (S 155, HR 970).

Medical student debt endangers health care

Mounting medical student debt and increased difficulty in repaying this debt is a problem that threatens American health care. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), over 80 percent of medical school graduates carry educational debt. Median debt for graduates is $115,000 and one-quarter of students with debt have a principal of over $150,000. Some report a principal of over $350,000. These amounts do not include credit card debt, which often is in the thousands of dollars.

Remembering workers killed on the job

Commentary It is only a misdemeanor to kill a worker by willfully violating safety laws. The maximum sentence is six months in jail. The recent killing of 15 refinery workers and the injury of more than 100 in the BP oil refinery explosion in Texas, the drowning of four boatman in the towboat accident on the Ohio River, as well as the recent increase in serious accidents and deaths in the steel industry makes this year’s observation of Workers Memorial Day all the more meaningful, important and poignant.

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