National News

Aslef defends pensioners’ free passes

KEITH Norman, the general secretary of rail union Aslef has written to Keith Ludeman, the chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group, challenging the businessman's call to limit free travel schemes for pensioners.

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Carers at breaking point

THREE-QUARTERS of all carers say the pressure of looking after others with poor health or disabilities has forced them to breaking point according to a survey carried out on behalf of 10 charities and published last Monday.

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Nuclear veterans’ legal victory

A HIGH Court ruling last Monday has made it possible for around 1,000 veteran servicemen and their widows, who were guinea pigs of the British government nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific, to claim compensation for injury, disability and death arising from exposure to radiation.

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Disability benefits centre defended

MEMBERS of the PCS civil service union at Manchester Disability Benefits Centre are fighting a decision to close the office by the end of the year.

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Construction unions calling for national strike

TWO MAJOR unions involved in the construction industry, Unite and GMB, are preparing for ballots for a national strike over pay and jobs, after a meeting in Manchester of shop stewards representing over 30,000 workers on Wednesday 3rd June.

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Pensioners rally in Blackpool

THOUSANDS of pensioners from all over Britain converged on Blackpool last week for the annual conference and rally of the National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC).

They began with a march through the city centre, carrying banners and demanding an immediate rise in the basic state pension to £165 to lift millions of pensioners out of poverty and just above the official poverty line.

Official figures from the Department of Work and Pensions put the number of pensioners currently living below that level at 2.5 million...........................

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Strike solid on Tube

THE LONDON Underground system was closed to passengers from Tuesday evening for 48 hours this week as members of the RMT transport union took strike action over jobs and pay.

Transport for London's management are claiming a few lines were running a partial service but information was confused and most commuters either stayed away or tried to find a different way into work.

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LDV to go

THE VAN manufacturer LDV was placed in administration by a court earlier this week, with a loss of 850 jobs – and thousands more in the supply chain — unless by a miracle a new buyer can be found for the company very quickly.

So far attempts to sell Birmingham-based LDV as a going concern have failed. Talks with one potential buyer, the Malaysian firm Weststar, broke down at the last minute last weekend, leading LDV to apply for administration.

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Waiters still cheated of tips

A NEW LAW aimed at forcing restaurants to pay their staff at least the minimum wage, before tips are taken into account, is being circumvented by greedy bosses.

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PCS ponders the future

by Andy Brooks

BRIGHTON was once again the venue for the annual conference of Britain's largest civil service union and the sixth biggest in the country. Delegates representing some 320,000 members in the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) gathered at the south coast resort in May to pass a host of worthy and progressive bread-and-butter motions and welcome the new national executive elected by a postal ballot that was an overwhelming vote of confidence for the left-led Democracy Alliance platform.

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Features and International News

Lebanese pro-Western bloc wins poll

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE RULING pro-imperialist bloc in Lebanon has beaten off a challenge from Hezbollah and its allies in the country's general elections last week in a highly contested poll in which both sides accused each other of buying votes and electoral fraud. Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir of the Maronite Catholic Church threw his weight behind the right-wing and the Maronite parties within it. The result was welcomed in Tel Aviv. "There was an election in Lebanon and the moderate camp won. This is definitely a positive sign," Defence Minister Ehud Barak said. "But the real proof will be ... in the government's ability to enforce order and prevent Hezbollah from continuing military actions in southern Lebanon and throughout Lebanon."

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Free Ahmad Sa’adat!

Free all Palestinian political prisoners, free Palestine!

AHMAD Sa'adat is the general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. One of over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners, he is currently facing trial for a range of "security-related" political offences. These charges include membership in a prohibited organisation (the PFLP), holding a post in a prohibited organisation, and incitement, for a speech Sa'adat made following the Israeli assassination of his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa, in August 2001.

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Clinton warns Iran over Israel

UNITED STATES Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Iran of full "retaliation" should it launch a nuclear attack on Israel. In an interview with ABC news she said she will move to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran to see if the country's nuclear activities are aimed at peaceful purposes.

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Relief at last for Christmas Island tests victims

by Verenaisi Racola in Suva

SIXTY former servicemen from Fiji will meet in Suva with their lawyers this week to discuss ways and means to receive compensation after they were subjected to nuclear testing in the 1950s.

Most of the soldiers have since died while others have had their off-springs killed by the cruel reality of the effects of the nuclear blasts that they were unaware of at Fiji’s Christmas Island.

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South Korean leader hounded to death

by our Asian Affairs correspondent

FORMER south Korean president Roh Moo Hyun committed suicide on 23rd May 2009. He jumped off a mountain cliff, after leaving a suicide note on his computer apologising for the suffering he had brought on many people caught up in a corruption scandal after he was accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from a businessman while in office.

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