The Guardian 23 March, 2005

Global briefs

JAPAN: In results just released from local elections held in the Nagasaki Prefecture for the 26-seat Goto City Assembly, the three candidates from the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) were all elected. They won 8.66 per cent of the vote and one of the three received the largest number of votes. The JCP's campaign included visiting residents to find out their needs and concerns and investigating the state of social services. Their policies included a review of the urban planning taxation system, school lunches for junior high school students and the provision of a bus service for local residents.

INDIA: The Politit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) issued the following statement on the Tripura Autonomous District Council (ADC) election: The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) extends its warm congratulations to the CPI(M) and the Left Front in Tripura for their magnificent Victory in the ADC elections. The Left Front has made a clean sweep, winning all the 28 seats in the Council. This unprecedented victory has been made possible because of the overwhelming support of the people in the ADC areas. It is a clear illustration of how the line of the CPI(M) and the work of the Left Front government are appreciated by the people of the state. The Polit Bureau congratulates the people of Tripura who have strengthened unity in the area by according such a resounding victory to the CPI(M) and the Left Front.

AFGHANISTAN: The top US military officer says the Department of Defense is studying the possibility of setting up permanent US bases in Afghanistan. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers said, "At this point we are in discussions with the Afghan government in terms of our long-term relationship, remembering that for the moment, the coalition has work to do here, the United States has work to do here, and that is where our focus is right now." The US military has about 18,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, right wing Senator John McCain called for Washington to make its military presence in Afghanistan a permanent one.

USA: The parents of the 23-year-old activist Rachel Corrie killed while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home have sued Caterpillar Inc, the company that made the bulldozer that ran over her. The lawsuit, filed in a US District Court, alleges that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces, knowing the machines would be used to demolish homes and endanger people. "The brutal death of my daughter should never have happened", her mother, Cindy Corrie, said in a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights, one of the law firms handling the case. "We believe Caterpillar and the Israeli Defense Forces must be held accountable for their role in the attack."

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