National News

NHS to face financial crisis after 2011

THE NATIONAL Health Confederation last week warned that the NHS will face the most sustained financial shortfall in its history after 2011 and will not survive unchanged.

The report warned that rising costs will outstrip modest funding increases leaving the NHS in England face a deficit, in real terms, of between £8 billion and £10 billion. …..........................

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Police accused of torture

THE METROPOLITAN Police has suspended or placed on restricted duties six officers after allegations that they tortured suspected drug dealers after a police raid.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the Enfield-based officers’ conduct, according to Scotland Yard.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place in the borough during two drugs raids on 4th November last year.…...................................

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BA staff asked to work for nothing

BRITISH Airways is asking its workforce to work unpaid for up to one month to rescue the company from collapse.

The appeal, sent by email to more than 30,000 workers in Britain, asks them to volunteer for between one week and one month’s unpaid leave, or unpaid work.

BA’s chief executive Willie Walsh has already agreed to work unpaid in July, forgoing his month’s salary of £61,000. It is not difficult for someone earning that much to “scrape by” and make one month’s money last for two. ................................

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Jobs ‘bloodbath’ predicted

THE CHARTERED Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) last week predicted that around 350,000 public sector jobs are likely to be cut over the next five years.

Chief economist John Philpott said the recession will bring “a bloodbath in the public finances” which will force employers to slash their workforce. …............

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A different manifesto?

LEFT-WING Labour MPs are considering issuing a separate manifesto in the run-up to the next general election if the Labour leadership fails to adopt more working class-friendly policies.

John McDonnell, leader of the Labour Representation Committee and chair of the Campaign Group of Left MPs says the candidates intend to remain inside the Labour Party while telling voters they will fight for different policies to the leadership. This is within the rules of the Labour Party....................

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‘No blank cheque’ Unison warns Labour

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison has declared that it will no longer give financial support to MPs who do not support its values.

General secretary Dave Prentis told union members that Unison would no longer give a “blank cheque” to the Labour leadership.

He warned that MPs and candidates who backed further privatisation of public services would have their funding withdrawn and added that his union was “tired of feeding the hand that bites it”............................

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Advice services under pressure

THE GIANT union Unite last week urged the Government to move faster to revamp legal aid funding, as the recession pushes advice services to breaking point.

Unite is particularly concerned that people with complex cases are finding it harder to get a legal aid solicitor, or an advice agency to take them on, while Citizens Advice reports over a 20 per cent jump in demand for its services. …......................

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Students fight for cleaners

STUDENTS at the University of London’s School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) last week began an occupation of university buildings in protest at an immigration service raid and the arrest, pending deportation of a number of the cleaning staff.

The students say the raid is a repressive reaction for recent trade union activity. ….................

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Jobless still rising

UNEMPLOYMENT rose to 2.261 million in the three months up to last April, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Office of National Statistics.

This brings the unemployment rate up to 7.2 per cent, the highest it has been since 1997. ….................

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Lindsey refinery dispute

AN UNOFFICIAL strike by 1,200 workers at the Lindsey oil refinery in north Lincolnshire is continuing as talks between unions after employers at the conciliation service Acas began last week.

The conciliation service Acas was due to attend a scheduled meeting between unions and employers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire.

Workers walked out last week over plans by a sub-contractor to cut 51 jobs. On Monday, 140 contractors at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in Widnes, Cheshire, walked out in support. ….................

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Features and International News

Uproar follows Iran elections

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

IRAN’S Council of Guardians has agreed to investigate claims of electoral fraud and hold partial recounts following violent clashes in the capital, Tehran, after last weekend’s hotly contested presidential election. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accepted the result and urged the protesters to accept the outcome and refrain from provocative actions and statements.

Venezuelan President Chávez congratulated Ahmadinejad on his re-election, saying it was “a very big and important victory for the peoples who are fighting for a better world”. But US imperialism is trying to exploit the crisis in a covert campaign, which a Pakistani general says is part of a plan to overthrow the Islamic Republic.….......................

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Shameful racist attacks in Belfast

MARTIN McGUINNESS, the Deputy First Minister of the north of Ireland last Wednesday described racist attacks in Belfast that forced 20 Rumanian families to flee their homes as “a shameful episode”.

The families, including a five-day-old girl, were given shelter in a local church overnight and were then moved to a leisure centre in the city after a succession of racist attacks in which bricks were thrown through their windows, causing some injuries...............

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Cuba, Korea and US bellicosity

WHEN IT became clear that the countries of the Organiation of American States — all but one — would vote on 3rd June to re-admit Cuba to membership, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representing the one, walked out.

Cuba has applauded the efforts of member countries to finally reverse its expulsion from the OAS, which Washington had engineered in 1962 after the failure of its invasion of Cuba. But Havana has said “no thanks” to re-entering the OAS, which for half a century has done Washington’s bidding. …....................

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Buried in a plastic coffin?

by Rob Gowland

PLASTIC, a by-product of coal and oil, first appeared at the end of the 19th century, but really took off in the mid 20th century, helped along in a big way by the Second World War. During the War the US developed a tremendous productive capacity making cheap, flexible and disposable products for the war effort.

After the War it sought other outlets to maintain its profit flow, and plastics were applied to all manner of uses and products. By 1979, the US was making more plastic than steel.…........

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Ireland: remembering the past - Michael Gaughan

by Mícheál Mac Donncha

THE NEW phase of the Irish freedom struggle that began in 1969 saw Irish republicans imprisoned in all three jurisdictions – the Six Counties, the 26 Counties and in England. While all prisoners endured harsh conditions, the prisoners in England faced isolation from their comrades and their families and were at the mercy of the most hostile of prison regimes.

One of the first republicans imprisoned in England in that period was Michael Gaughan of Ballina, County Mayo. Born in 1949, he was the eldest of six children. While in England Michael Gaughan joined the IRA and was a committed and active Volunteer. He was arrested at Liverpool Street station, London with three others in May 1971 and charged with an armed raid on a London bank................

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Obama’s task is not an easy one

by Fidel Castro

I REMEMBER when I visited the People’s Republic of Poland during the years of Gierek; they took me to Oswiecim [Auschwitz], the most infamous of the concentration camps. I was able to appreciate the horrific crimes committed by the Nazis against Jewish children, women and elderly people.

The ideas implemented there were from the book Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Previously they had put them into practice by invading the territory of the USSR in search of “vital space” [liebensraum]. On that occasion the governments of London and Paris egged on the Nazi leader against the Soviet state. The Soviet Army liberated Oswiecim and almost all of the Nazi concentration camps, exposed what had been done there, took photos and film footage that toured the world.................

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Spanish honours for IB veterans

by Dapne Liddle

SEVEN veteran International Brigaders last week were honoured by the Spanish government and awarded Spanish citizenship in a ceremony at the Spanish Embassy in Belgravia.

They were 96-year-old Paddy Cochrane, Sam Lesser, Thomas Watters, Penny Feiwel, Jack Edwards, Lou Kenton and Joseph Kahn.

The ambassador, Carles Casajuana, shook hands with each of the volunteers and handed them Spanish passports.................

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US shuts down Kyrgyzstan base

by Mícheál Mac Donncha

THE UNITED STATES has begun the process of shutting down its air base in the former Soviet central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, an important centre for US military operations in Afghanistan. Colonel Christopher Bence said the Manas air base had started to wind down operations on Monday.

The Kyrgyz government had ordered the base closed by mid-August. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the president of Kyrgyzstan, signed a bill to close the base in February, giving the US six months to leave. Bakiyev complained at the time that the US was not paying enough in rent for the base.................

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Mammoth Pyongyang rally denounces Security Council resolution

OVER 100,000 workers and students packed a rally in Pyongyang, the capital of the DPR Korea to denounce the UN Security Council’s resolution on sanctions, cooked up at the instigation of the US imperialists.

Leading members of the Workers’ Party of Korea and senior officers in the Korean People’s Army condemned the latest moves against the DPR Korea taken at the UN at the mass meeting in Kim Il Sung Square on Monday.

Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, said that the Security Council resolution was another grave provocation and part of a new American offensive to disarm the DPR Korea, strangle its economy and undermine its ideology and system. ................

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Netanyahu’s speech disappoints Palestinians

by Saud Abu Ramadan in Gaza

PALESTINIANS held high hopes after US President Barack Obama delivered a historic speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on 4th June but their hopes for statehood evaporated following the Israeli prime minister’s remarks on the future of peace in the Middle East.

In Sunday’s speech at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Binyamin Netanyahu called for peace with the Arabs and the Palestinians, but he imposed conditions for the establishment of a demilitarised Palestinian state, namely the................

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Cuba: Crisis won’t fall on the shoulders of its people

CUBA’S Labour and Social Security Minister Margarita González stated on Monday in Geneva that the economic crisis won’t fall on the shoulders of its people, that layoffs won’t be an option, and that no one will be unprotected.

We’ll split available resources between us. No Cuban will be abandoned to his or her fate, the top official at the International Labour Conference in Switzerland affirmed.................

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