National News

Brown proposes tax on banks

by Caroline Colebrook

GORDON BROWN last week proposed a transaction tax on deals between banks that could raise £30 billion a year as a way of recovering the bailouts that tax payers have made to banks over the last year.

The proposal has won the support of the TUC but, crucially, not the United States government; such a tax would have to be introduced internationally to work.

The proposal for this tax, known as a Tobin tax, comes a week before the Government’s pre-budget report and is meant to make a contribution to repairing the damage done by the credit crunch.

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Mirror closes pension scheme

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists last week condemned the Trinity Mirror publishing group for announcing the closure of its final salary pension scheme. And for telling staff about it late on Friday afternoon.

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Rail job cuts will bring chaos

THE RMT transport union last week warned of “total chaos” as nearly half of Network Rail maintenance job cuts are targeted at busy West Coast Main Line.

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Nuclear expansion

THE GOVERNMENT last Monday formally announced a huge expansion in nuclear power and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband claimed this was essential in the fight against global warming.

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Medical pay gap

WOMEN doctors working for the NHS are on average paid £15,245 less than their male colleagues, according to a report published last week by the British Medical Association. And this is attributed to widespread discrimination and a “hostile culture” at work.

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Rendition flights may be outlawed

THE HOUSE of Commons all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition has drawn up new laws that would criminalise the practice of extraordinary rendition.

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Union strength produces deal

THE COMMUNICATION Workers’ Union last Thursday announced that it had reached an interim agreement with the Royal Mail and so called off strikes set for Friday 6th and Monday 9th of this month.

The union says that the interim agreement will provide a period of calm for the CWU and Royal Mail to reach a full and final agreement. It guarantees that modernisation will be introduced with agreed job security and improved terms and conditions for postal workers.

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Deaths due to negligent firework storage

FIREWORKS illegally stored in a metal container became a bomb when the factory caught fire and exploded, killing two firefighters and injuring 20 others, a Crown Court was told last week.

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Charities being used for backdoor NHS privatisation

VOLUNTARY sector organisations are being used as a “Trojan Horse” to break up the NHS, according to a warning from the giant union Unite.

The union cites the case of Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon as being “a guinea pig” as it is currently seeking “the first franchise offer of its kind to find a partner to provide the full range of clinical and non-clinical services”.

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Banks cut 9,000 jobs

THE GIANT part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group last week announced that it will cut 5,000 jobs by the end of next year; some of these are temporary posts so the total loss of permanent places in Britain would be around 2,600.

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Brighton bin workers’ strike success

TWO DAYS of strike action by bin workers in Brighton and Hove were enough to bring the City council to the negotiating table with a much better offer, in a dispute over achieving equal pay by levelling down.

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Pride and remembrance

THE SOVIET Memorial Trust marked Remembrance Sunday with a moving ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum in south London last Sunday.

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Red Salute for Red October

THE GREAT October Russian Revolution is commemorated by communists all over the world and comrades and friends gathered at the New Communist Party Centre on 7th November for the Party’s traditional celebrations of the greatest event of the 20th century.

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Sweep away corrupt capitalism!

by New Worker correspondent

LAST THURSDAY Ray Jones, Chair of South East District New Communist Party, gave a talk at Varndean Sixth Form College in Brighton as part of a broad series of lectures organised by Roy Cullen of the Politics Department.

This has become an annual event for the NCP in recent years and this year had a record take-up. Getting on for 70 students crowded into a classroom to hear what Ray had to say and take part in a lively discussion afterwards.

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International News

Venezuela prepares for its defence

AT THE END of the fourth century, when Rome represented the imperial power stretching over Europe and the North of Africa, Flavius Renatus Vigetius stated his famous phrase: “If you want peace, prepare for war”.

On Sunday the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, could have repeated this phrase when he called on the people of the South American nation to get ready to defend their country, threatened more than ever due to the presence of US troops in Colombia.

Chavez said that the entire country would be mobilised to preserve national sovereignty, and he made a special call to military commanders of the Venezuelan army, calling on them to undertake this important task as soon as possible.

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Palestinians remember Arafat

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THOUSANDS of Palestinians took to the streets this week in honour of their great national leader, Yasser Arafat. But the events were marred by the decision of the Hamas authorities in Gaza to ban any mass ceremonies that could turn into rallies for the rival Fatah movement while the continuing rivalries between the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood and the Mahmoud Abbas leadership in the West Bank leave the Palestinians weak and divided in the face of Israeli and American intransigence.

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US jobless hits record high

UNEMPLOYMENT in the United States has reached a quarter of a century high — now standing at 17.5 per cent. In all, more than one out of every six workers was unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 per cent in December 1982.

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DPRK demands south Korea apologise for clash

THE DEMOCRATIC People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday demanded that south Korea apologise for a naval clash earlier in the day, said a report issued by the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army.

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Don’t Burn It a major new contribution to war cinema


by Theo Russell

DON’T Burn it, a remarkable new film about the Vietnam War, was shown recently during the Vietnam Festival Of Culture 2009 in London. It is based on the diary of a young woman doctor, Dang Thuy Tram, at a field hospital in Quang Ngai province, a National Liberation Front stronghold during the war.

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Workers tell Ford : No right to strike? No way!

by Martha Grevatt

LOSING a job is a scary thing for any worker to contemplate. It’s certainly scary for any worker lucky enough to still have a job with union wages and benefits. The fear of job loss has for several years led members of the once-mighty United Auto Workers (UAW) to accept drastic concessions they normally wouldn’t consider.

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Honduras: Agent Micheletti

by Jean-Guy Allard

THE LATE CIA agent Philip Agee, who dedicated himself to identifying and denouncing his crimes after resigning from the agency, would have predicted it some time ago: Robert Micheletti, current leader of the Tegucigalpa military/business junta, has all the characteristics of a yankee intelligence agent, recruited at a certain moment by some Langley official assigned to the Honduran Embassy.

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Farewell to China’s father of space technology

by Fu Shuangqi and Miao Xiaojuan

TENS OF thousands of Chinese people paid their last respects to the country’s much-admired space scientist Qian Xuesen, whose body was cremated at the Beijing Babaoshan Cemetery on 6th November.

Joining them were President Hu Jintao, former President Jiang Zemin and other top leaders. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) described him as “an outstanding CPC member, loyal communist fighter, renowned scientist at home and abroad and founder of China’s space programme”.

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