National News

No confidence in Royal Mail

THE COMMUNICATION Workers’ Union last Thursday reported a yes vote in the national ballot for strike action in Royal Mail. Postal workers voted by 76 per cent in favour of strike action.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “This is a huge vote of no confidence in Royal Mail management. The company has tried to make out that problems only exist in some local offices, but postal workers across the UK have now spoken and they say no to Royal Mail’s arrogance.

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Bereaved father confronts Blair

TONY Blair offered his hand to Peter Brierley during a reception following a service to commemorate the dead of the Iraq war. “Don’t you dare,” said Peter. “You have my son’s blood on your hands.”

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Unite urges BA to step back from the brink

UNITE, the biggest union in aviation and the union for British Airways cabin crew, last week denounced the airline’s attempt to impose significant contractual changes on its 14,000 cabin crew employees, and introduce a second tier workforce on poorer pay and conditions.

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Fascists routed in Manchester

by Mervyn Drage in Manchester

APPROXIMATELY 2,500 anti fascists, progressives and trade unionists held an anti English Defence League (EDL) rally on the Green at Piccadilly Gardens Manchester at 12am on Saturday the 10th of October 2009, organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) with the assistance of Manchester Trades Union Council.

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Women denied pensions

THE PENSIONS Advisory Service last week reported that tens of thousands of women are not getting the state pension because of rules relating to part-time work.

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Heating bills to soar

THE GENERAL union GMB last week reacted to a report by OFGEM on future energy security. OFGEM said that consumers in Britain faced potentially steep price rises in their gas and electricity bills as supplies become more volatile.

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Army abuse not investigated

THREE HIGH Court judges last week declared that one of the Royal Military Police’s (RMP) most senior figures “a most unsatisfactory witness” after a hearing into claims of army abuse in Iraq.

The judges ruled that RMP Deputy Provost Marshall Colonel Dudley Giles “lacked reliability” when he gave evidence to an inquiry into claims that British soldiers mistreated and murdered prisoners.

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Fujitsu strike vote

THE GIANT union Unite is balloting employees IT services firm Fujitsu on industrial action in a dispute about redundancies and the proposed closure of its final-salary pension scheme.

The Japanese company, which employs 12,500 people in Britain, had announced its intention in August to cut 1,200 jobs and close the defined-benefit pension scheme — which has 4,000 current members — for future accrual.

Unite national officer Peter Skyte said: “Members are asking why they should lose their jobs or tighten their belts when last year the company paid about £150 million to shareholders and £1.6 million to two directors as compensation for loss of office.”

Milestone in Korean history

COMMUNISTS and progressives gathered in London last week for a seminar on the meaning and impact of the Korean revolution to mark the anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea on 10th October 1945.

Organised by Friends of Korea and chaired by Harpal Brar, the guest of honour was a diplomat from the DPR Korea embassy in London and contributors included NCP leader Andy Brooks, Michael Chant of the RCPB (ML), John McLeod of the Socialist Labour Party and Ella Rule of the CPGB (ML) along with Korean solidarity activists Keith Bennett and Dermot Hudson of the British Juche Society.

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International News

Israeli students reject call-up

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

A HUNDRED Israeli students have taken the principled stand by stating they will not serve in the Israeli Army because of the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

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Celebrating the Day of Indigenous Resistance

MONDAY 12th October marked 517 years of European intervention in the Americas, and the beginning of a painful process which dramatically changed the history of native peoples, victims of the dispossession of their territories, the destruction of their social fabric, their customs and culture.

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Words to change the world

by Daphne Liddle

THREE themes came together is Kensington Town Hall last Saturday night — they were Third World Solidarity, the Poetry Olympics and the Muslim celebration of Eid in an event of performance poetry and music.

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Oil: blessing or curse to Africa?

by Ben Ochieng in Nairobi

THE ON-GOING Second South-South High-Level Meeting on Oil and Gas Management taking place in Nairobi has raised one fundamental question among delegates present: Is oil a blessing or curse?

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Obama needs to earn Nobel Peace Prize

THE HEAD of a US group of military veterans says that President Barack Obama needs to move from rhetoric to action to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to Mike Ferner, president of Veterans for Peace: “Once you had to help lead one of the most important social movements in US history or minister to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Now you can promise change and international cooperation while ordering more drone bombings that kill innocent civilians — and still get a Nobel Peace Prize. There’s something wrong with this picture.”

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Honduran fascists tighten grip around embassy

THE HONDURAN military has tightened its forces around the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, where President Manuel Zelaya has taken refuge for the past three weeks. Among the measures taken over the weekend include the use of a mechanical platform that can be raised several stories, allowing troops to look into the windows of the embassy.

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Clinton urges continuation of devolution

US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton has urged northern Ireland’s political leaders to “complete” the process of devolution during a one-day visit to Belfast on Monday.

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Pakistan pounds Taliban hideouts

PAKISTAN fighter jets blasted Taliban sanctuaries in the northwest border areas on Tuesday, as the militant group claimed responsibility for the latest in a wave of attacks that have killed 125 people in a week.

Pakistani air-force jets launched another round of bombing raids, killing six suspected insurgents in South Waziristan, the semi-autonomous region bordering Afghanistan and a known stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked rebels, officials said.

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Features

Honduras: days of resistance

by Nidia Diaz

ONE HUNDRED days of heroic resistance against the coup regime’s repressive apparatus have been sufficient for the local fascists and their extreme right-wing US sponsors to finally realise that the Honduran people are resolved to keep fighting until President José Manuel Zelaya is restored, as the first step in their strategic course to convene a national constituent assembly. For this they will have to sit down and find a negotiated solution to the conflict backed by the empire.

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Paul Robeson at Peekskill

by Brenda Sandburg

SIXTY years ago Paul Robeson — fearless civil rights advocate, renowned actor and magnificent singer — came to Peekskill in the state of New York, to give a concert. The event became historic in the struggle against racism and fascism when concert goers were attacked by a racist mob.

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The day the IRA bombed Brighton

by Mícheál Mac Donncha

THE YEAR 1984 saw the British government of Margaret Thatcher step up its war in Ireland with greater repression on the streets of the Six Counties, the use of paid perjurers to round up and jail citizens in a form of internment and the continued murder campaign by Britain’s counter-gangs: the unionist paramilitaries.

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