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Parliament of the People

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The international movement against capitalist globalisation faces two important tests. The first is the protests against the bosses' jamboree of the World Economic Forum, moved this year from Davos in Switzerland to New York. The second is the World Social Forum (WSF) that meets in Porto Alegre in Brazil between 31 January and 5 February.

Porto Alegre is the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It first sprang to prominence a year ago, when 13,000 people from 117 countries gathered there to attend the first WSF. A kind of global parliament of the anti-capitalist movement, the WSF throbbed with the life of all the different campaigns and coalitions represented there. A live television link-up allowed representatives of the movement led by Walden Bello to debate - and wipe the floor - with George Soros and other corporate stiffs in Davos.

The Market Abandons New Labour

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Alan Milburn's plan to hand NHS patients to Bupa adds a new intensity to Labour's privatisation plans. However, his party's other market-driven flagships are sinking, stuck in the doldrums or simply failing to leave the dock.

The government has reversed its strategy on university fees, student loans, Railtrack and Education Action Zones. The 'Public-Private Partnerships' for London Underground and British Nuclear Fuels are near to collapse. The same scheme took flight in air traffic control but is currently in slow spiral descent. Adding this to Blunkett's downgrade of cannabis from class B to class C, and his announcement that the hated asylum vouchers are to be scrapped has led many commentators to talk about 'U-turns', and a newer, bolder and more progressive New Labour.

Argentina: The Masses Rise, a Government Collapses

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Protests, strikes and demonstrations by Argentina's workers against cuts and austerity forced the appointment of the fifth president in two weeks, Eduardo Duhalde, at the start of January.

Duhalde replaced Aldolfo Rodriguez Saá who took over at the end of December. Saá was unable to stop the country descending into further crisis. First he announced the government would cease payments on its £106 billion of public debt. This was the largest debt default by any country in history. He maintained a near total freeze on bank withdrawals to prevent a run on the banks by depositors. He also announced the creation of a 'third currency' - the argentino - that would float alongside the pesos and US dollars already in circulation.

Between the Lines

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Capita to process TV licence fees - Harry Potter and Coca Cola - Big increase in US military spending

The contract to process television licence fees has been awarded to Capita, the support services group. However Capita lost its contract with Lambeth council because of its failure to run the housing benefit scheme. Residents in both Lambeth and Westminster have lost their homes because of Capita's inefficiency, and Westminster still has a huge backlog of unprocessed claims.

Argentina: Sparking off a Chain Reaction

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Javier Carles reports from the streets of Argentina.

Tuesday, 18 December
IMF and US rejects financial help to Argentinia's government. Lootings of shops and supermarkets begin in provinces such as Rosario, and quickly spread. The reaction of the De La Rua government is to deny that there is any crisis and that the situation is under control but the looting continues.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry - A Cover Up That Went Right to the Top

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Thirty years after it happened, why is there still such a fuss about Bloody Sunday? 'Daily Telegraph' and 'Daily Mail' commentators rant and rage about the huge political, legal and media concentration on Bloody Sunday, and about the cost of the Saville tribunal of inquiry into the events of 30 January 1972. They point to the fact that other atrocities have seen as many, or more, innocent people cut down, and just as cruelly.

There was no justification for those killings either. So why isn't there a film, much less two films, about the IRA's Remembrance Day bomb in 1987, which left 11 dead? And why are the Bloody Sunday soldiers being pursued when paramilitaries have an effective amnesty?

Enron: Digging the Dirt on New Labour's Friends

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The fall of Enron is a very British scandal because it relied on a British cast as well as friendships with Bush and Clinton to give it respectability. Lord Wakeham sat on the board, chairing the firm's 'Audit Committee'. Labour invited Enron executives to its 'gala dinners'.

In return the party received somewhere between £15,000 and £30,000 a year from 1997 to 2001 from Enron. Even the queen was roped into the sanitisation of Enron, making Enron Europe chairman Ralph Hodge a 'Commander of the British Empire'.

New York: Forum for Protest

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Last year the World Economic Forum (WEF), which had been meeting in Davos in Switzerland for decades, declared that it would hold its next gathering in New York City between 31 January and 4 February at the posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. No one knows for sure the reasoning behind this sudden change of venue.

The official line from WEF organisers is that they were coming to show solidarity with New Yorkers after 11 September. It is more likely that the real reason for the move comes down to the growing protests the WEF was facing in Davos. However, the 3,000 business executives, politicians, and the sundry cream of the elite that gather at the WEF in New York can be reassured that there will be protests.

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