National News

Tories plan Sheriff Boris of the Met

CONSERVATIVE Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling last week outlined his party’s plans, if elected, to change the structure of London’s Metropolitan Police Force.

They would scrap the existing Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) — which came into being with the Greater London Assembly and is comprised of elected representative from London boroughs.

It would be replaced by a single, elected, Metropolitan Police Commissioner — and the Tories plans that the first to fill this post will be Boris Johnson.

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Vigil to defend Muslim graves

ANTI-FASCISTS in Manchester last week staged a vigil at Manchester’s Southern Cemetery after a number of Muslim graves were vandalised for the third time in two months.

Police are treating the latest attack, which happened between 20th and 23rd November and left about 20 graves damaged, as racially-motivated. Headstones were also damaged on 29th September and again three days later.

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Bhopal anniversary

PEOPLE gathered on the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square on Wednesday 2nd December to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial accident at Bhopal in India.

Thousands of people died at the time of the accidents and many more have died since from health problems arising from the accident, when the American-owned Union Carbide factory exploded, drenching the area in lethal chemicals.

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Consumer borrowing biggest fall

THE BANK of England last week announced the biggest fall ever recorded in the level of consumer borrowing — excluding mortgages — for the month October, compared to September.

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No place in Scotland for racists

HUNDREDS of people last weekend joined the Scottish TUC annual St Andrew’s Day march through Glasgow. And, as usual, the march had a strong anti-racist theme.

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Call for end to child detention

THE HOME Affairs Select Committee last week declared that it was unacceptable for children whose parents are awaiting deportation to be held in immigration detention centres for too long, noting that some are being detained for up to two months.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs the committee, said the children had “done nothing wrong” and should only ever be held as “a last resort”.

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Save night rescue sevices

CAMPAIGNERS in the South West are protesting at proposed cuts in night search and rescue services.

The change proposed by the Ministry of Defence means that night cover will be provided by nine bases around the country, instead of the current 12.

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National Express’s bad soap opera

RAIL UNION RMT last week demanded an end to the “chaos, instability and waste” of rail privatisation following the Government’s announcement that National Express will have their East Anglia franchise terminated in 2011.

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Cameron attacks health and safety ethos

THE TRADES Union Congress last Tuesday called for political parties not to undermine the consensus over health and safety in the run up to the general election.

The call follows claims by Tory leader David Cameron that there is too much regulation in Britain. Cameron called for a review of “the strait-jacket of health and safety rules”.

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International News

Despair and frustration a year after the Gaza war

by Saud Abu Ramadan and Emad Drimly in Gaza

Despair and frustration is mounting in the impoverished Gaza Strip, one year after the Israeli military offensive in Gaza ended with more than 1,400 Palestinians killed and thousands of buildings destroyed.

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Remembering two martyrs

by Gurpreet Singh

NOVEMBER 16th is the martyrdom day of a great Indian revolutionary, Kartar Singh Sarabha, who was hanged in 1915 by the British Empire that occupied his motherland until 1947. Although it’s a matter of sheer chance that his martyrdom day coincides with that of Louis Riel, the Métis hero of Canada, the two men had one thing in common: they challenged colonialism at different times and in different forms.

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Cosmonaut who designed Soviet spaceship dies

by Lisa Karpova

KONSTANTIN Petrovich Feoktistov, Hero of Russia and Hero of the Soviet Union, passed away at age 83 on Saturday 21st November.

He was member of the first three-person space crew with Vladimir Komarov and Boris Yegorov, flying aboard a vehicle he helped to design. Feoktistov made his first and only space flight on 12th October 1964 aboard the USSR’s Voskhod 1 on a one-day mission to test the craft’s design, perform research and study how a multi-disciplinary team could work together in space. The crew went into space without space suits as there was insufficient room for three men in space suits on the craft.

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Cuba: Tireless fighter against AIDS

MORE THAN 33 million people in the world suffer from the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS. And although the number of new cases of infection has decreased by 17 per cent over the past eight years, AIDS is still a serious health problem worldwide.

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Nazi war crimes trial underway

JOHN DEMJANJUK, accused of helping to murder more than 27,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp, is on trial in the German city of Munich. Demjanjuk, who is 89 and was deported from the United States in May, is attending the trial in a wheelchair.

The former Nazi officer denies being a camp guard at Sobibor, in German-occupied Poland during the war. The trial is expected to last until May and, if found guilty, Demjanjuk could be sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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Honduras crisis dominates summit

ALTHOUGH the 19th Ibero-American Summit is underway in Estoril, Portugal, with the main subject being technological innovation and knowledge, there’s no doubt that the situation in Honduras, the capitalist economic crisis, and the militarisation in Latin America, will be the centre of the most heated debates during the meeting.

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China crackdown on corruption

LIU ZIRONG, a village official in south China’s Guangdong Province, stood trial on Tuesday for allegedly misappropriating almost 24 million yuan ($3.5 million) of public money.

Liu, secretary of the Zidong village branch of the Communist Party of China, was charged with squandering village assets on gambling and loans to his own company, said prosecutors at the hearing at the Chancheng District Court of Foshan City.

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Hondurans shun farcical fascist election

ONLY 25 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls in Honduras last Sunday, showing their total distrust of the fascist regime in that Central American country. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, speaking with reporters from the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, said that the election was a farce and should be declared illegal.

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Palestine: stories our mothers told us

by Pauline Collins

THERE WAS an air of excitement as we arrived and drove into Beit Fourik. It was my third visit to our SE London Linked Village in the West Bank.

The old checkpoint had been demolished and had been replaced by two concrete pillars. I think a “sweetener” to the world while the land grabbing, collective punishments, deaths continue unabated.

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Militant car workers disrupt ‘global value chain’

by Martha Grevatt

RECENTLY, at three General Motors and Ford plants in the United States and Canada, production was temporarily brought to a standstill. This time, however, the cause was not sagging car sales but an event halfway around the world.

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When Thatcher came to Dublin

by Mícheál Mac donncha

IN 1984, the British Tory Government of Margaret Thatcher and the 26-County Fine Gael/Labour Government, led by Garret FitzGerald, were trying to cope with resurgent Irish republicanism as the IRA continued its armed campaign and Sinn Féin increased its electoral rise in the Six Counties.

To help prop up the [northern Irish] Social Democratic & Labour Party, FitzGerald had established the New Ireland Forum in Dublin, a conference of nationalist parties from which Sinn Féin was excluded. In May, the Forum issued its report, describing a united Ireland as the desire of nationalists but also posing a federal/confederal state and joint authority with Britain as possible solutions. Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey, then playing the green card in opposition, stressed Irish unity more than the others and the forum fizzled out with no strategy on offer from the parties represented.

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