National News

Yarl’s Wood guards bar Father Christmas

SECURITY guards at the Yarl’s Wood immigration removal detention centre in Bedfordshire prevented “Father Christmas” from entering to distribute toys and cheer to the children being held with their parents.

The attempt was a charitable gesture by members of the Anglican Church, including Rev Canon James Rosenthal, the church’s leading academic expert on Father Christmas, who was dressed in traditional Santa Clause costume.

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BA cabin crew vote for strike action

THE GIANT union Unite last Monday announced that a ballot of over 12,000 cabin crew at British Airways revealed an overwhelming vote for strike action in a dispute over the imposition of sweeping changes to working practices. Ninety-two-point-four per cent of all those who returned their ballot forms voted yes to industrial action on an 80 per cent turnout.

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Labour closing poll gap

THE TORY lead over Labour in the opinion polls had shrunk to just nine points in the Guardian/ICM poll published on Wednesday last week.

This lead would probably still give the Tories a narrow win in the coming general election next year but the chances of a hung Parliament are becoming increasingly likely.

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A memorial for printers who fought fascism

by New Worker correspondent

PRINT workers and anti-fascists gathered last Monday evening at Marx House in Clerkenwell to witness the unveiling of a memorial to printers who gave their lives fighting in the wars against fascism: the war in Spain and the Second World War.

The Marx Memorial Library houses a specialist collection of books and memorabilia from the war against fascism in Spain — many volumes being donated by people who went to fight there.

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LRC asks, who rules Britain?

COMMENTING on last week’s Pre-Budget Report, John McDonnell MP, who chairs the Labour Representation Committee, said: “The two questions in this Pre-Budget Report are ‘who is going to pay for this crisis?’ and ‘who rules the country: the Government or the City?’.

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Blacklisting laws ‘full of loopholes’

UNIONS are calling on MPs to strengthen new blacklisting regulations, branded by one legal expert as “disgraceful”.

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Unions to remember Holocaust

THE HOLOCAUST Memorial Day Trust is calling on trade unionists to mark a major anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by the Red Army.

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Steel workers march to save Corus

LAST SUNDAY’S Coca-Cola Championship League match between Middlesbrough and Cardiff City became a focal point for steel workers protesting against the planned closure of the Corus steelworks at Redcar.

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Cadbury workers fight to keep the firm independent

WORKERS at the Cadbury chocolate factory in Bourneville, Birmingham, last Tuesday launched a campaign to protect their company’s independence and fend off a hostile bid by the massive multi-national Kraft. The workers and their union, Unite, set their community fight-back underway from the heart of Cadbury at its historic Bourneville home.

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Factory boss guilty of deaths

MARTIN Winter, the owner of the Alpha Fireworks factory near Lewes in East Sussex was found guilty of the manslaughter of two firefighters who were killed by an explosion during a fire at the factory in December 2006.

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International News

Iran: full support for Palestinians

by Mehdi Bagheri in Tehran

IRAN’S high ranking officials have reiterated the country’s all-out support for the Palestinian resistance during the three-day visit of Islamic Hamas movement leader Khaled Meshaal to Tehran.

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International Day of Human Rights: Few reasons for rejoicing

MEMBERS of the fledgling United Nations Organisation, inspired by the horrors perpetrated during the Second World War, passed in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation of justice, freedom and peace worldwide.

In 1950 the UN General Assembly established the 10th December as the international day for people to underline the need for their basic rights. Fifty-nine years later there are still few reasons for rejoicing.

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US veterans say don’t go!

IN RESPONSE to US President Barack Obama’s announcement to deploy 30,000 additional troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, the organisation March Forward! comprising both veterans and active-duty members of the US military, has called on all soldiers to refuse their orders to deploy.

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Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders accelerate talks

by Petros Petrides in Nicosia

LEADERS of the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus are speeding up their 16-month long negotiations in a bid to reach a settlement by next March. Cypriot President and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias has agreed with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to accelerate the talks before the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus elects a new leader in April 2010.

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Features

What’s wrong with Christmas?

by Daphne Liddle

WHAT IS IT about the traditional commercial Christmas that really annoys us communists and atheists? We do not subscribe to the sentimental legends about the sweet little baby Jesus nor are we tree-worshipping druids. We know that capitalism survives by selling as many commodities as it can. So why do we feel so offended by the excess of sales pressure at this time of year? Why do we feel that some deep internal sensibility inside us is being exploited; expectations aroused and then disappointed and betrayed?

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World’s poor battle for climate justice

by Emma Clancy

THE ENORMOUS rift between rich and poor countries on solutions to climate change has, unsurprisingly, immediately come to the fore at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen which began on 7th December and is to conclude on 18th December.

A secret draft agreement, believed to have been worked on by the US and Denmark among other states, which was leaked to the London Guardian newspaper on Tuesday 8th December, outlined rich countries’ plans to sideline the UN in all future climate change negotiations.

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