National News

GMB calls for a plan as pensioners freeze

THE GMB general union, which represents thousands of gas and electricity workers, last week, condemned the lack of a national strategic plan for gas and electricity as prices are set to soar.

The union believes that the cold weather and National Grid saying that demand for gas is outstripping supply highlights the lack of a strategic plan for the gas industry.

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Rail union slams private waste

RAIL UNION RMT today slammed the government for “presiding over a culture of private waste” on the railways after new figures obtained by RMT parliamentary convenor John McDonnell revealed that the cost of designing and tendering rail franchises since 2003 is a staggering £75 million.

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Unions welcome new council homes

BRITAIN’S major trade unions last Monday welcomed an announcement by Housing Minister John Healey of £500 million-worth of public investment to build 4,000 new council homes — though some did point out that it was a small first step and many more such homes are desperately needed.

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Death in custody man “could not breathe”

“I CAN’T breathe. You’re killing me,” were the last words of Paul Coker, a mixed race youth, as he was being arrested for causing a disturbance at his girlfriend’s home in south London in August 2005.

Police took Paul Coker away and the next days his family were informed he had died in custody two hours after being put in a cell, an inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court was told last week.

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Salt miners vow to work flat out

MEMBERS of the giant union Unite employed a Britain’s biggest salt mine last Monday vowed to continue battling into work in icy conditions above ground and Saharan temperatures underneath to produce salt to keep Britain moving through the big freeze.

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RMT to lobby Parliament

RAIL UNION RMT last week announced arrangements for a rally and lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 27th January 2010 in the fight to stop the axing of nearly 1500 safety-critical maintenance jobs by Network Rail.

A timetable for a national ballot for industrial action by rail maintenance staff will be confirmed shortly.

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Universities ‘face meltdown’

GOVERNMENT funding cuts to Britain’s top universities will lead to a “higher education meltdown” according to The Russell Group, which includes Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as Warwick and Glasgow among others.

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Unpaid overtime

WORKERS in Britain gave away £27.4 billion in unpaid overtime in 2009, a TUC analysis of official statistics revealed last week.

The TUC study shows that 5.07 million people regularly worked unpaid overtime in 2009, a decline of 168,000 since 2008.

Staff who did unpaid overtime worked an average of seven hours 12 minutes a week, worth £5,402 a year — the highest amount since records began in the late 1990s - and an increase of £263 since 2008.

Change the policies, not the leader

PEOPLE want changed policies and changed politics, not leadership coups, said a statement issued by Labour MP John McDonnell, who chairs the Labour Representation Committee on 6th January in response to the call for a leadership ballot from two former Labour cabinet ministers circulated today. Further action in Fujitsu dispute THE GIANT union Unite last week confirmed further strike action at IT services company Fujitsu on 7th, 8th, 11th, 14th and 15th January.

Unite members at Fujitsu voted in favour of strike action with 75 per cent voting for industrial action and 92 per cent voting for action short of a strike in November.

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Cameron threatens new anti-union laws

DAVE PRENTIS, general secretary of the public sector union Unison, last week responded to Tory Leader David Cameron’s comments that he would be “happy” to tighten anti-union laws to stop public sector workers striking over a pay freeze. He said: “This is typical of Cameron’s Tories who are reverting to type. Instead of attacking their rich friends in the city who caused the recession, they turn their fire on ordinary hard-working public servants.

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Lock-keepers keep their homes

MORE THAN 20 lock and weir keepers, and their families, will keep their homes thanks to an agreement hammered out by public sector union Unison with the Environment Agency.

The deal follows a year-and-a-half of complex negotiations, after lock and weir keepers were threatened with losing the homes that some had lived in for 30 years.

International News

Top nuclear scientist slain in Tehran

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

IRAN HAS accused America and Israel of being behind the assassination of a senior Iranian nuclear physicist who was killed in a bomb explosion on Tuesday that had all the hall-marks of a CIA or Mossad hit.

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Obama and the third Yemeni front

THE ALLEGED failed terrorist attack against a US plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit not only caused an anti-terrorist hysteria and a public reprimand against the US espionage and security apparatus, it was also the reason President Barack Obama needed to give the green light to the opening of a third front in its war against the al Qaeda group, this time in the Republic of Yemen.

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Hamas calls for restraint in Gaza

by Saud Abu Ramadan in Gaza City

DESPITE the recent escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian resistance forces in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Hamas movement has opted not to react to Israel’s attacks and has called on the minor Gaza militant groups for restraint.

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More Afghan victims of US war

THE MILITARY coalition, headed by the United States, in the war against the Afghan people has finally admitted the deaths of at least eight civilians during the recent bombing in the southern province of Helmand. This adds to the number of innocent victims in this violent war which started in 2001.

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Dalai Lama: new tricks — old game

THE FOURTEENTH Dalai Lama has made frantic trips overseas, one after another, since early 2008. He not only begged leaders and other dignitaries to receive him but also schemed to meet with rioters and incite them to work with the pro-Tibetan independence activists to set up the so-called “Han Chinese-Tibetan Friendship Association”. What a trash indeed is this self-styled “Association”!

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Great expectations for Morales’ second term

THE PRESIDENT of Bolivia, Evo Morales, will be inaugurated on 21st January as leader “Abya Yala”, the indigenous name meaning “Our America”. This will take place a day before he officially begins his second term of office as head of a government which has aroused great expectations for its dedication to the poor, the dispossessed and the historically excluded.

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Bombing at CIA base

by John Catalinotto

A BOMB explosion in a Central Intelligence Agency camp in Khost Province of Afghanistan on 30th December resulted in the deaths of seven experienced operatives, including the base commander. The attack struck a heavy blow against the US-led occupation. It has changed the ground rules for the US spy organisation and evoked threats from US President Barack Obama and CIA head Leon Panetta.

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Return to the well in 2010

by Mícheál Mac Donncha

IRISH MUSIC in its traditional form of song and dance has often been compared to a well of spring water from which generations of people have drawn and which has never run dry. Today it shows every sign of continuing to flourish and at no time has our distinct music been played by more people in Ireland and around the world.

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DPRK: a female football star

by Jang So Jong

NEARLY 11 years ago on 14th February 1999, a soccer match was held between the world’s all-star women’s team and the US national women’s team in the United States, and the score was 2:1 in favour of the former.

Player No 2 of the world team, Kim Sun Hui from Korea, became the centre of attention among the spectators and soccer circles of the world for her splendid performance. She baffled every attempt of an American player they called a “female Maradona” to thrust herself forward.

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