National News

Protest at BNP Question Time

THE BROADCASTING union Bectu last week condemned the BBC’s decision to invite British National Party leader Nick Griffin on to Question Time and pledged to join a demonstration against the programme’s recording.

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Barnsley national FBU protest

FIREFIGHTERS from all over Britain gathered in Barnsley last Monday in protest at South Yorkshire fire authority’s threat to sack 744 firefighters to force through new contracts requiring 12-hour day shifts.

South Yorkshire firefighters have voted five-to-one in favour of strike action, but have not yet set strike dates.

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Eurostar cleaners to strike

RAIL UNION RMT last Monday confirmed a further six days of strike action by Eurostar cleaners working at St Pancras International for contractors the Carlisle Group in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay, the introduction of routine staff fingerprinting, redundancies and the victimisation and harassment of RMT union reps.

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Government backs down over welfare changes

“DISABILITY Living Allowance is not under threat ... be very happy,” a Government minister told campaigners from the pressure group Work and Benefits last week.

In what may represent a dramatic victory for campaigners, Care Services Minister Phil Hope last Monday told a reporter at the Labour Party conference that DLA is not under threat by the care green paper.

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Prisoner bled to death in private jail

A CORONER last week described conditioned conditions at a privately-run prison where an inmate on suicide watch bled to death as “appalling and unacceptable”.

Ukrainian-born Aleksey Baranovsky, aged 33, died in a blood-covered cell at HMP Rye Hill in June 2006.

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Concern over student loan delays

SIR MARTIN Harris, the director of Fair Access whose role is to champion poorer students last week said he was “extremely concerned” about the delays to grant and loan payments.

Harris urged those in difficulty to ask their university for help. Some students say the official promise that those who applied for grants on time will get their money at the start of term is not being met.

Student Finance England has admitted it has been overwhelmed by the volume of applications for grants and loans.

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Union pressure leads to action

THE EXECUTIVE of the train drivers’ union Aslef last week withdrew its advice to drivers to approach the New Barn Occupational Crossing in the Barnham, West Sussex, at no more than 30 miles-an-hour.

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BNP councillor exposed

RICHARD BARNBROOK — the British National Party’s third highest elected official — has been exposed fabricating two murders in a high profile BNP campaign.

He has been found guilty of bringing both the Greater London Authority and the Barking and Dagenham Council into disrepute — his lies show the depths the BNP are willing to stoop to in their vile propaganda war.

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GMB calls for free school dinners

THE GENERAL union GMB at Labour Party Conference in Brighton has put forward a Contemporary Motion which calls for a Labour Party manifesto commitment at the next general election to introduce universal free school meals for all nursery and primary school children in Britain.

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Unite defends IBM pensions

THE GIANT union Unite last week criticised the latest IBM proposals announced to the workforce. This follows a backlash by thousands of IBM employees because of its proposals to close the final salary pension schemes to future accrual for existing employees and alter the terms of its early retirement scheme.

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Mental health patients do not feel safe

MORE than half of patients in Britain’s mental health service acute wards do not feel safe in hospital according to the first ever official survey, conducted by the Care Quality Commission.

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Rage against New Labour

by Ray Jones in Brighton

BILL NORTH, secretary of Brighton and Hove TUC, welcomed the several thousand demonstrators on the Rage Against New Labour march on Saturday.

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Defending Welsh culture

by Ray Davies

On Saturday 26th September Côr ‘Cochion received an enthusiastic response from the public in Cardiff , as they collected money and signatures on the petition calling on the Welsh Assembly to withdraw from the WestCheshire / North East Wales sub regional strategy.

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Features and International News

Iran defiant as imperialists threaten more sanctions

by our Middle East affairs correspondent

THE IMPERIALIST is threatening to impose more sanctions on Iran following the recent tests of long-range Iranian missiles and the announcement in Tehran that it has secretly built a second uranium enrichment plant inside the northern mountains near the holy city of Qom.

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70th Anniversary of Second World War - Covering up preparations for fascism and war

by Chris Coleman National spokesperson of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

SEPTEMBER 3rd marks the 70th anniversary of the declaration of war by Britain and France against Nazi Germany, following Hitler’s invasion of Poland on 1st September 1939. On the occasion of this 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, the imperialists and their apologists — as did the leaders at Gdansk on 1st September — have lost no time in attempting once again to rewrite history.

Read full story here 70th anniversary of second world war

Arabs divided over Unesco defeat

by Muhammad Yamany and Abdel Maguid

THE ARAB world divided last week over the reasons behind Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova’s victory over the Egyptian Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni, in the race for Unesco’s top post.

Irina Bokova won 31 votes against Hosni’s 27, although Hosni was supported by Arab, African and some European countries in the race to head the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural agency.

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Electricity from sugar in Cuba

by Arnaldo Arnie Coro

ELECTRICAL energy production by the sugar industry continues to attract the attention of scientists, engineers and environmentalists around the world. The discussions are centred around the many available options and possibilities for the sugar cane industry to produce more electricity that is very properly described as value-added energy.

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Merkel wins German election

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel and her preferred ally, the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP), claimed victory in the general election on Sunday. The two parties will now form a new coalition government without her former social-democrat partners, who came a poor second.

But Merkel’s victory was far from a landslide. Her Christian Democrat bloc won 33.7 per cent of the vote — their worst performance since 1949 and she owes her re-election to the sensational swing of her the liberal FDP allies who won a record-high 14.6 per cent. Put together they jointly took 48.3 per cent of votes in the general election, in a 71 per cent turn-out, assuring the two parties of a clear majority to form a new coalition government.

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Portuguese socialists punished in poll

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

DESPITE being the party with most votes, the Socialist Party (PS) saw its leader, the Prime Minister Jose Socrates, punished in Sunday’s general election, losing its overall majority, which he sought to retain. The Socialist Party is socialist only in name, defending in fact right-wing policies and acting with an autocratic arrogance which has alienated the hearts and minds of the majority of the Portuguese voters.

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Brazil rejects fascist regime’s ultimatum

THE BRAZILIAN government says it will not comply with a demand from the Honduran military’s choice for president, Roberto Micheletti, to define the status of President Manuel Zelaya within ten days. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa, after returning to his country last week.

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War veterans in Cyprus gather for Day of Peace

by Petros Petrides in Nicosia

SOME 20,000 Turkish and Greek Cypriots fought side by side during the Second World War against Nazism and Fascism. These days, only a few dozen of them are still living, all in their late eighties or early nineties.

A few of them met on Monday evening to mark the International Day of Peace. They crossed the Green Line, which has divided Cyprus since 1974, to take part in a sentimental event organised by the United Nations mission overseeing peace in the island.

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DPR Korea: nothing is impossible

by An Song Duk

THE DEMOCRATIC People’s Republic of Korea attaches great importance to easing the national shortage of electricity by building large hydropower stations that rely on the country’s rich water resources.

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Cuba: restoring rural life

Radio Havana Cuba

IN CUBA, like in many countries, people have the tendency to migrate from rural areas to big cities. Despite the efforts of the government, it has been impossible to put the most isolated places on a level with the big cities, taking into account Cuba’s condition as a poor and blockaded country.

In our country, there’s a programme called Plan Turquino — which concentrates resources in order to open new educational and health services, as well as to repair roads in the mountains.

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