National News

Pub tenants in national ballot for industrial action

TIED public house tenants throughout Britain are taking part in a national ballot for industrial action organised by the GMB general union to demand big cuts in the wholesale prices they are forced to pay the pub companies (pubcos), which they say drive their income below the minimum wage level.

They are demanding £12,000 in the wholesale prices they currently pay to the pubcos.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Free ride for Virgin passengers thanks to TSSA

THOUSANDS of commuters returning to work on Monday on one of Britain’s busiest routes enjoyed the chance of “free travel” because of a 24-hour strike by booking office staff.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Unions attack Tory NHS hypocrisy

TWO GIANT public sector unions — Unite and Unison — which represent thousands of NHS workers, last week condemned an electioneering promise made by Tory leader David Cameron on Monday.

Cameron claimed the NHS will be his “number one priority”. Unite described Cameron’s remarks as “two-faced”. Unite assistant general secretary for the public sector, Gail Cartmail, said: “The Tory party faces two-ways on the NHS.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

New evidence on Lockerbie disaster

A BBC team researching the Lockerbie plane crash for a Newsnight programme has discovered a major flaw in a piece of evidence Libyan Addelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Much of the rest of the evidence was highly suspect — with a crucial witness being fairly obviously a paid CIA stooge. But at the time of the conviction in a Scottish court in 1991 it suited the United States and British government to demonise Libya and its president Colonel Gaddafi.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Devon hospital cleaners strike

AROUND 200 cooks, cleaners and other ancillary workers employed by the North Devon Healthcare Trust last Monday began a 48-hour strike in a dispute over pay.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Signallers’ strike still rock solid

THE RAIL union RMT last Monday confirmed that a six day signaller strike over the imposition of new rosters linked to the opening of the new South Wales Control Centre, which began just after midnight last night, is rock solid with pickets out in force at Cardiff, Newport and the new control centre.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Worth of rail maintenance workers proved

THE TRANSPORT union RMT last Tuesday warned today that the severe weather problems on the railways, which have led to cancellations on key links including London to Leeds with further disruption expected throughout the week, have exposed the dangerous gamble of plans to axe nearly 1,500 maintenance jobs.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Leicestershire jobs decimation

PUBLIC sector unions last week expressed shock at the scale of planned job cuts by Leicestershire County Council as part of a four-year programme of spending cuts designed to save around £66 million.

Around 650 jobs are likely to be axed — one tenth of the workforce.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The economic crisis and the question of peace

by Eric Trevett

AT TIMES of profound capitalist crises there is an increasing struggle for markets and spheres of influence and in the last century this resulted in two world wars. The rivalry between the imperialist powers was especially strong.

[Read the full story here]

International News

China blocks sanctions

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

AMERICAN efforts to destabilise the Ahmadinejad government and derail Iran’s atomic programme are now in top gear. The imperialists are stepping up their economic warfare against Iran while covertly encouraging and inciting the pro-imperialist opposition into increasingly violent clashes on the streets of Tehran.

But the drive to impose fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic has been blocked at the United Nations by People’s China.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Gaza Freedom March rejects Egyptian ploy

MEMBERS of an international group gathered in Cairo to protest against the brutal Israeli siege of Gaza have rejected an Egyptian offer to allow 100 of them entry into the Palestinian territory.

Organisers of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), which is comprised of 1,300 people from 42 different countries, declined the offer on Wednesday, saying “we refuse to whitewash the siege of Gaza”.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The empire’s corrupt campaign against Latin America

by Jean-Guy Allard

THE VOICE of America (VOA) is “expanding its penetration” in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, a Miami newspaper has revealed. With this objective, the radio station that broadcasts US propaganda worldwide is to requisition Radio/TV Martí production facilities.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Mobile link for Chinese communists

A MILLION secretaries of Communist Party of China (CPC) grassroots branches received a text message greeting from Vice President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, marking the launch of a new Party management system.

The messages were sent through a mobile phone service platform launched by the Organisation Department of the CPC and China Mobile.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Cuba’s humane policy

by Cheryl LaBash

WHERE in the world today is unemployment only 1.8 per cent, and every 2009 student graduate found a job? “In Cuba,” reported Raymundo Navarro of the International Department of the Confederation of Cuban Workers (Central Trabajadores de Cuba) at a labour conference in Tijuana, Mexico, last month.

Yet Cuba’s socialist economy is not isolated from the effects of the global capitalist economic crisis. The price of Cuba’s main exports, sugar and nickel, plummeted disastrously, while the price of food imports spiked.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]


Revolution on paper

Exhibition: Revolution on Paper — Mexican prints 1910-1960. British Museum, Room 90.

by Edwin Bentley

THE MEXICAN revolution, which started in 1910 and which was to last in one form or another for some 20 years, started as a local rebellion among peasant farmers and grew to embrace a wide range of progressive causes. This revolution most certainly was not a unified, planned, single-minded action by a highly organised political party. Rather, it was a series of frequently chaotic popular struggles against an economic model that had handed Mexican industry, agriculture and railways over to foreign investors.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

China and International Law and Human Rights

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

A BRITISH man of 53 years of age has been executed by lethal injection in the People’s Republic of China. The British authorities have expressed their outrage. However he was carrying 80 times the minimum amount of heroin which carries the death penalty. Where is the line to be drawn between respect for international law and human rights?

[Read the complete story in the print edition]