The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.59/No.41           November 6, 1995 
In Brief  

Strikes loom in France
Major trade unions in France are threatening to organize more joint actions in response to government-proposed cuts on the social security system. According to the Financial Times, Prime Minister Alain Juppé has pledged to cut spending for social security and increase patients' payments for hospital care.

Louis Viannet, general secretary of the CGT union, said he was contacting other unions to organize joint protest actions in November. A similar statement was made by Marc Blondel, head of Force Ouvriere. "If the government makes proposals completely opposite to ours we will have no hesitation in fighting them," said an official of the CFDT union. A national walkout of 3.5 million workers on October 10 was the first combined action of the national trade unions in France since 1986.

Thousands of workers protest in Ukraine Thousands of unionists picketed the Ukrainian government cabinet building October 19 demanding higher wages and lower prices. The miners union also threatened to strike unless the government pays back wages. The workers' actions are the most visible protests so far against the so-called "market reform program" imposed by the government in 1994.

Meanwhile Leonid Kuchma, president of Ukraine, dismissed Petro Kupin as governor of the industrialized region of Luhansk on October 19, in a dispute over the reform program.

Hussein remains president
Saddam Hussein remained head of state of Iraq after a referendum on his presidency in mid-October. The overwhelming "yes" vote for Hussein reported by the government is widely seen as a reflection of Iraqis' anger at UN-imposed sanctions on their country. "We have 11,000 children dying of malnutrition here every year. Nothing can justify this genocide," a pharmacist told the New York Times. At least 150,000 Iraqis were killed during the U.S.- led slaughter in 1990-90.

Zambia leader fights deportation
Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda asked a court to stop the government from trying to deport him as an illegal alien October 20. The government of Frederick Chiluba says that Kaunda failed to formally seek Zambian citizenship while he was president of the nation in 1970, when he renounced his Malawian nationality.

Authorities ordered Kaunda to report to police headquarters in Lusaka to discuss his citizenship on October 18. They have told members of Kaunda's political party that he could either be handed to a United Nations refugee agency as a stateless person or deported to Malawi as an illegal immigrant. Kaunda became president of the country when it won independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. He was defeated in elections in 1991 by Chiluba. Kaunda's popularity has risen recently as next year's general elections approaches and Chilubás government has failed to stem the economic crisis in the country.

Libya wants to deport 1 million
Libya asked the UN Security Council for permission to begin flying more than 1 million African workers out of the country. The council, which maintains an international air embargo against the country, rejected the request. The United Nations imposed sanctions on Tripoli in 1992 after the government refused to turn over two men accused of the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Scotland. Libya's economy has been under growing pressure as a result of the sanctions and the government is seeking ways to reduce the number of workers in the country.

Libya also continues to expel Palestinians in an attempt to discredit the recent accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, despite Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi's announcement that the action would stop. Some 650 Palestinians, half of them children, were stranded on a ferry off Cyprus October 18 after leaving Libya. Cyprus allowed the ferry to take on food and fuel, but refuse to let any passengers leave the boat.

Lebanon president stays in office
The Lebanese parliament passed a constitutional amendment October 18 to extend the term of President Elias Hrawi by three years. Widely supported by capitalist forces in the country, the change ended plans for presidential elections this year. "An extension for Hrawi is an extension of the stability of the [Lebanese] pound," one Beirut banker told the press. Hrawi has been president since 1989. He enjoys the support of Syrian president Hafez al Assad, who indicated his government's backing for the amendment.

Uprisings at U.S. prisons
Federal authorities confined thousands of inmates to their cells at 70 U.S. prisons after uprisings at four institutions between October 19 and October 22. In the most extensive inmate uprisings in years in the federal penal system, prisoners set fires, broke windows, and clashed with guards at jails in Talledega, Alabama; Greenville, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; and Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

Administration officials stated that the confrontations were partly a response to the House of Representatives vote to maintain a 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for possession of crack cocaine and cocaine powder. Blacks face most of the charges for possession of crack. Justice department studies show that nearly two-thirds of the inmates in federal prisons are serving sentences for drug crimes, with Blacks on average serving longer sentences than whites.

Acquittal in Alabama school fire
After the prosecution presented no physical evidence, Christopher Lynn Johnson was acquitted of charges of burning the Randolph County High School in a jury trial October 20. The school in Wedowee, Alabama, burned down in August 1994, amidst a battle to fire its principal, Hulond Humphries, for racist remarks. Johnson faced up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Johnson's father was a leader of the fight to remove the principal after Humphries threatened to cancel a dance unless the students agreed to adhere to a ban on interracial dating. When a student whose mother is Black and father is white asked who she should go to the dance with, Humphries explained that she was the kind of "mistake" he was trying to prevent with the ban.

Cuts to ruin some dairy farmers
The agriculture committees are the U.S. Congress are developing budget bills that would lower the price that farmers are guaranteed for their milk, or eliminate entirely federal rules that dictate minimum prices that companies must pay farmers. Companies would instead be allowed to buy milk from whatever farmer sold the cheapest, driving many small dairy producers off the market.

"I'm just barely getting by," said Donald Everitt, who has run a small dairy farm in Pennsylvania for 23 years. "They say we're supposed to be better managers, but there comes a point where we can't be any better," he added. - DEREK BRACEY AND MAURICE WILLIAMS

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