National News

Stop the vicious cutbacks

AROUND 9,000 postal workers in London and Edinburgh last Friday took strike action, while their Royal Mail bosses attended a posh awards ceremony. The 24-hour action was organised by the Communication Workers’ Union. ..........................

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Young offenders’ wrists broken

ANNE Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, last week called for an urgent inquiry into restraint methods used at a young offenders’ institution (YOI) at Castington, Northumberland, where 10 inmates have suffered serious injuries, including broken wrists over the last two years. Castington houses young offenders aged from 15 to 21....................................

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Don’t ask a policeman!

by Daphne Liddle

POLICE brutality has hit the headlines again after video footage emerged of two women who attended the Kingsnorth power station environmental protest last year being arrested, almost throttled and bundled into police vans simply because they had asked police officers who were not displaying their badge numbers to identify themselves.................................

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Royal inflation

THE CASH grant paid to Prince Charles by taxpayers rose last year to £3 million from £2.4 million the previous year.

Most of the rise was down to two overseas tours by the prince and Camilla, which cost the taxpayer just over £1million.

The travel, paid by a grant–in-aid from Parliament, increased from £1.1million to £1.7million.

In March, Charles and Camilla flew to Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and then the Galapagos islands. They also visited Japan and Brunei last October, while Charles continued alone to Indonesia.

The cost of each trip was around £500,000. Much of that was down to using chartered aircraft.

The main theme for the visits was climate change, with Charles focusing on the threat to the world’s rainforests. ............

Pensions in peril

A SERIES of authoritative reports from the finance sector has indicated that the pensions sector in Britain will struggle to cope in the future and may fail to deliver.

Figures show that the gap between private sector and public sector pensions is larger now than it has ever been and pressure will grow to curb public sector pensions, especially those based on final salaries. ....................

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Cardiff Three comp ‘erred in law’

STEPHEN Miller, who spent four years in jail for a murder he did not commit in one of Britain’s most notorious miscarriage of justice cases last week had his compensation of £55,000 declared “irrationally low” by the Court of Appeal.............................

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Say ‘no’ to fascist civil servants – PCS

THE CIVIL service union PCS has launched a petition and is calling for people to say ‘no’ to the BNP in the civil and public service by signing it.

Civil servants deliver a huge range of services as part of implementing Government policies and programmes. ......................

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BNP shunned by Euro extremists

THE NEO-NAZI British National Party’s (BNP) efforts to form a coalition with other extremist groups in Europe have ended in failure.

Party leader Nick Griffin had hoped to form a grouping with parties such as Italy’s Northern League and France’s Front National..................

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Unison calls for pensions justice

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison is stepping up its campaign for the restoration of final salary pension schemes and against all pension scheme closures.

Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Brighton voted last Friday (19th June) to organise a united campaign to defend pension rights and to counteract the myth of gilt-edged public sector pensions. .................

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£9.6 million for new RBS boss

THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland last week approved a pay package of up to £9.6 million for its new chief executive, Stephen Hester.

The remuneration deal was agreed on Friday by RBS chair Sir Philip Hampton and its leading shareholders. ….................

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Features and International News

Iran: ‘The nation will not yield’

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

THE IRANIAN authorities have ordered a new crack down on demonstrators challenging the presidential elections that the opposition claim were rigged. Iran’s supreme religious leader says the government will not give in to mass protests against the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad........................

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Welcome to Maurice Bishop International Airport

by Stephen Millies

GRENADA’S international airport was renamed after Maurice Bishop on 29th May. It would have been the late revolutionary leader’s 65th birthday.

Thousands of Grenadians rallied the next day at the airport to celebrate. Bishop’s 94-year-old mother, Alimenta Bishop, was there. So were his partner, Angela, and their children, Nadia and Johnny. Many people wore T-shirts with Bishop’s face and the slogan “A dream come true”.

Grenada lived through a nightmare when the US invaded on 25th October 1983. President Reagan sent 7,000 troops and two aircraft carriers to attack a country with only 110,000 people. US planes bombed the Richmond Hill Psychiatric Hospital, killing 47 patients. The Pentagon claimed “armed patients and staff” were ready “to resist our forces”. ...............

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Belfast: Romanians flee homes after racist violence

by Emma Clancy

MORE THAN than 100 Romanian immigrants have been forced to flee their homes in the Lisburn Road area of south Belfast, following a week of violent attacks by far-right racist thugs. On Tuesday night 115 people, including a newborn baby and several young children, gathered their belongings and took refuge overnight in a church before being bussed to a leisure centre on Wednesday morning.

The Belfast City Council and Housing Executive were attempting to find new accommodation for the families, who have said they plan to try to save enough money to return to Romania.

Over the weekend, a group of about 20 fascists attacked the homes of two Romanian families in south Belfast. Reportedly chanting slogans of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 and the British National Party, the gang smashed …....................

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Vietnamese films for peace

by Rob Gowland

Vietnam News Service

Le Phong Lan, one of Ho Chi Minh City’s few women documentary makers, has devoted her life to capturing history and society on camera. Most critics agree that if Lan is involved, a documentary’s quality is guaranteed. A skilled scriptwriter and director, Lan used to work for the State-owned Nguyen Dinh Chieu Film Studio and has collaborated with many private studios and television stations. Though her works focus mostly on historical characters, they also include romantic scenes from daily life. She discusses her work and plans for more on wars in Vietnam with Anh Thu..…........

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Bolivia: Aymaras welcome New Year

by Elsy Fors Garzon

LAST WEEK the new Bolivian government approved a decree which declared 21st June, the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, a national holiday. The winter solstice is the central element of a traditional indigenous American festival. ................

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Greenland – 51st state of America?

by Mikhail Vovk

GREENLAND, the world’s biggest island, took an important step towards independence on 21st June when it achieved full self-government following the passing of new legislation in the Danish parliament last month. The island, which is largely populated by Eskimos, has been a part of Denmark for over 300 years and it was granted home rule in 1979..................

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Chinese Mars probe is set for October

CHINA’S first Mars probe will have to stand the test of nearly nine hours in the freezing, dark shadow of the red planet during its one-year mission – the longest such period in exploration history – the scientist in charge of the probe’s design has said.

During the 8.8 hour windows that occur in Yinghuo 1’s Mars mission, the solar panel cannot receive any sunlight for generating power, Chen Changya, a researcher with the Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering, said. To conserve energy, part of the facilities on board will have to be switched off, and the probe will restart the facilities when the probe enters into sunshine, Chen said.

Should anything go wrong, the orbiter could become “frozen” – like the United States’ Phoenix Lander, which froze on the surface of the planet..................

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UN Agencies demand end to Gaza blockade

A GROUP of nearly 40 United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations has called for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has now been in force for two years and has left the population of 1.5 million almost totally dependent on international aid..................

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Cuba: no democracy lessons from US

by Arnold August

ON 15th JUNE the US Supreme Court announced its decision to reject the request for a revision of the Miami Five case. This demand for a review was carried out by millions of people from all walks of life around the world, a record number of “Friends of the Court” petitions and thousands of personalities and elected officials from every continent. All of these pleas also came from within the USA itself. ................

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New Sinn Féin Irish unity call

by Theo Russell

PAT DOHERTY, Sinn Fein MP and former member of the party’s negotiating team, spoke at the Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre last week on the theme “Ireland and Britain after 2010”, using the platform to promote a new a major new Sinn Féin Irish unity initiative.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams hosted a major conference on the issue in New York, and in July he will launch the initiative in Britain with a conference planned for London early next year. ................

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