National News

Tories plan nightmare for council tenants

THE CONSERVATIVE Party is planning, if it wins the next election, to raise council home rents to “market values” and to end secure tenancies.

This could see average council rents rise from around £70 to £90-a-week to well over £220-a-week. And it would change the terms of council tenancies so that, however long tenants have lived in their homes, they could have their tenancies terminated at just two months’ notice.

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BNP activist on explosives charges

SUFFOLK POLICE last week charged David Lucas, a leading British National Party activist with a number of explosives and firearms offences.

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Post dispute goes on

TENS OF THOUSANDS of postal workers throughout the country took part in last week’s three days of strike action and further action is set to take place at the end of this week, involving an all-out three-day strike from Friday to Monday.

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Manchester hears the truth about People’s Korea

by New Worker correspondents

THE KOREAN Friendship Association UK held an extremely successful meeting in central Manchester at the Friends Meeting House on 31st October attended by members of the labour and peace movement, New Worker supporters and prominent academics, students and KFA members from the locality and other parts of the country.

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Hundreds protest against homophobia in Liverpool

NEARLY 2,000 people last Saturday attended a candlelit vigil against homophobia held in Liverpool city centre following an attack on a trainee police officer.

James Parkes had his skull fractured when he was attacked by up to 20 youths as he left the Superstar Boudoir club with his partner last Sunday.

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Celebrating the Chartists’ vision

by Ray Davies

ON THE DAY that the postal workers launched a massive defence for their jobs and the future survival of the post office, an all-day commemoration in Newport marked the anniversary of the Chartists’ uprising.

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Some progress in defending DLA

THE BATTLE to defend Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance from proposals in the Green Paper on social care is having some success.

The proposals would cut these vital benefits for the long-term sick and disabled — paid on a non-means tested basis in recognition that being disabled incurs extra living expenses — and currently administered by the Department of Work and Pensions and transfer the finding to the social service departments of local authorities to dole out to claimants on a means tested basis according to their needs.

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Diageo workers vote yes for action to save jobs

UNITE members at three leading Diageo sites in Scotland have last week voted overwhelmingly to back a ballot on industrial action in protest against the closure of the Johnnie Walker whisky distillery at Kilmarnock.

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Union legal challenge to BA

THE GIANT union Unite is to take legal action to stop British Airways’ plans imposing contractual changes on 14,000 cabin crew without agreement.

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Tories plan new anti-union laws

THE CONSERVATIVES are looking at introducing laws setting new minimum turnout thresholds for strike ballots on the basis that they can only be lawful disputes if a majority of those being called out on strike have voted for it in a ballot.

In the case of the Royal Mail dispute there was a clear majority for the strike among those voting, but not among the total workforce.

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International News

Honduras: Zelaya must be restored to office

by our Latin America correspondent

OUSTED Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has reached agreement with the coup leaders for his constitutional return to power but hopes that this would lead to a speedy end to the crisis have been dashed by the stalling tactics of the fascist regime.

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Abbas under pressure

by David Harris in Jerusalem

A FLURRY of US diplomatic activity over the last two days has left the spotlight on the Palestinian leadership, with Washington disappointed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is currently balking at immediate peace talks with Israel.

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Take my hand; we need each other — a Cyprus story

by Petros Petrides in Pyla

PYLA, a small village in southeastern Cyprus, was the venue on 25th October of a bi-communal music, song and dancing event aimed at bringing closer Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the divided island.

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Afghan crisis deepens with Karzai ‘win’

by Abdul Haleem in Kabul

AFGHANISTAN’S election body, the Independent Election Commission (IEC), has declared incumbent president Hamid Karzai the winner of the presidential election after it decided to scrap a planned run-off ballot.

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DR Congo — better situation but still shaky

by Luc Roger Mbala and Shu Shi in Kinshasha

THE DEMOCRATIC Republic of Congo (DRC) has entered into a decisive phase in the process of reconstruction and democratisation, but the government still has much to do to get rid of insecurity.

In a recent press release, Congolese Defence Minister Charles Muando Nsimba announced that the operation initiated by the armed forces and the UN mission to combat Rwandan rebels and other insurgents was on the right track with positive results.

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China boosts Latin American economies

ACCORDING to the latest report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin-America and the Caribbean, (Cepal), China’s sustained demand for food, energy and minerals has helped to protect Latin-American countries and lessen the negative impact of the current global recession. Latin-American exports to China only dropped 4.1 per cent compared to 36.3 per cent and 35.3 per cent to the EU and the US

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Holding to the line

Remembering the founding of the Communist Party of Australia

by Rob Gowland

WHITE Australia’s convict background, the rebel attitudes of its many Irish and Scottish immigrants and the Eureka Stockade experience very early led to the growth of militant sentiment among workers. This was particularly evident among the itinerant rural workers who manned the shearing sheds in the country’s most important and valuable primary industry — wool production.

The Shearers’ Union was formed in 1886 and fierce struggles were waged for union recognition and rights in the sheds. Unions at the time were almost entirely craft based. However the Australian economy was largely agricultural. Primary industry (not counting mining) accounted for 80 per cent of the value of production at least until 1910.

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