Video shows Israeli cop brutality
On November, 19 two Israeli cops were arrested for the brutal beating of Palestinians trying to cross the West Bank border a month before. Azzam Maraka witnessed the act and captured it on videotape October 10. The tape, aired on national television, shows officers kicking Palestinians in the head and groin, slapping them around, and forcing them to do pushups.
Public Security Minister of Israel Avigdor Kahalani
claimed, "This is a culture I don't know.... It really is
something very exceptional." Speaking of the brutality
dished out to Palestinians by the cops, Maraka said, "It
happens a lot." Even chief border cop Yisrael Sadan was
forced to admit, "This is not an isolated case.... It is
an isolated case that was photographed." After a similar
incident in 1993 resulted in the killing of a Palestinian,
an Israeli court fined the soldiers responsible the
equivalent of one third of a penny.
Greek workers strike: `crippling'
Members of the Greek Confederation of Labor marched in the streets November 28 during a 24-hour strike against government planned austerity measures. The measures include a freeze on public sector hiring and cut tax allowances for workers. The walkout came one day before the economy minister, Yannos Papantoniou, was to present a budget to parliament.
London's Financial Times reported the strike left the
transportation system "severely disrupted, with
international flights being delayed." Bus and train
services were stopped, and taxi drivers joined the strike.
German metalworkers firm on 100 percent sick-pay entitlements
The Germany's IG Metall union, which has a membership of 850,000 workers in the North Rhine-Westphalia, forced employers into negotiations November 25 after the union refused to accept a 20 percent sick-pay cut. Daimler-Benz and other big companies tried to impose 80 percent sick- pay for workers, triggering a series of work stoppages that forced employers to back down.
The bosses are attempting to cut their labor costs,
but the metalworkers union has not budged from its
position of maintaining sick pay at 100 percent of normal
Romanian gov't plans `reforms'
Newly sworn in Romanian president Emil Constantinescu, promised to accelerate moves toward a free market economy. At the same time he warned that rough times lay ahead for working people as his regime aims to dismantle the gains of the workers' state. He cited the speed up of privatization as one of his `reform' measures. Constantinescu's party, the Democratic Convention will set up the new government together with the Union of Social Democracy. One billion lack full employment
A report issued by the United Nations November 25, stated that in 1995, the number of those either unemployed or underemployed rose to one billion. This marks an increase of 180 million since the previous 1993-94 statistics, which then were deemed a crisis not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment in Europe is over five and a half times greater than in the 1960s. The report cited that 30 percent of the world's labor force lacks full employment. Cops post up racist cartoon strip
Two racist cartoons were found in the St. Petersburg, Florida, police headquarters in November. One drawing of the recently cop- slain Black youth, TyRon Lewis, depicted him falling into fire with a devil, pitchfork in hand, saying "TyRon, we've been expecting you." The other etching shows several racist stereotyped drawings of Blacks talking slang laced with profanity. The police chief Darel Stephens refused to name the artist responsible. Rev. Clarence Davis, who received one of the drawings from someone in the department said, "I think it says to the Black community that we condemn you to hell.... That you are worthless and that we can do without you." Secrecy laws violate constitution
Attacking constitutional rights, a New York state panel called the Commission on Child Abuse has recommended several changes in the state child welfare system. In the name of protecting abused children, the panel proposes making endangering the welfare of a child a felony instead of a misdemeanor, keeping unsubstantiated claims of abuse on record and accessible to police and other state institutions for possible evidence, and giving welfare agencies more power to take babies born with drugs away from their mothers. Civil liberties groups said that this legislation could violate the right to privacy and would victimize individuals falsely accused of child abuse. Public concerns about racial discrimination and the constitutionality in conducting drug tests on babies have hindered these undemocratic measures in the past. Woman wins $60,000 settlement for harassment by U.S.army
On November 25, the U.S. Army agreed to pay $60,000 to Cecilia Marie Port, a former civilian security guard, who said she was sexually harassed by co-workers and then punished by the Army for making this known. Port said she was constantly hit with lewd comments while working at Aberdeen Proving Ground as the only woman on the shift. The other guards would not relieve her temporarily at her post to use the bathroom. When she complained the Army retaliated by assigning her to a trailer. The Army admitted to the harassment, firing one guard, but only reprimanding supervisors involved. Mexican sugar workers win fight
Members of the Mexican Sugar Workers Union, who represent 45,000 workers, won a 26 percent raise after striking all 62 of the country's refineries in late November. The two-year contract with the National Sugar Producers Business Chamber of Mexico also includes improvements in working conditions and increased training for workers.
The union said that the real wages of its members has
been in decline since the December 1994 devaluation of the
Mexican peso. The Confederation of Mexican Workers says
the cost of basic food has risen 120 percent in this
Brazil cops convicted of killings
On November 28, Brazilian state trooper Nelson Oliveira dos Santos Cunha was convicted of the 1993 murder of eight street children. Cunha and other gunmen opened fire on a group of about 70 homeless children sleeping in Candelaria Church Square in Rio de Janeiro, killing six youth on the spot. Two others were taken to the beach and murdered execution style. Cunha, who admitted being on site, blamed the killing on a cop who was killed two years ago.
Over 3,000 children live in the streets of Rio de
Janiero. Human rights groups say shopkeepers pay policeman
to kill homeless children that dwell near their
establishments. Police records count 596 minors as slain
in Rio de Janeiro state in 1995, but rights groups say the
toll is much higher because many are killed and buried in
Venezuela workers fight for pay
Venezuelan public workers struck for 10 days in November demanding back pay. Union officials suspended the job action for two days November 29. "We called a two-day truce as of last Friday to give the government a last chance to pay up," said Carlos Borges, head of the public workers union. Workers are owed 10 months of wage bonuses totaling $212 million. The strike and actions surrounding it had affected many public offices and ministries.
- BRIAN TAYLOR
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home