National News

Victory for Sodexo workers

TWO HUNDRED workers — cleaners, cooks, porters and so on — employed by the agency Sodexo to work in the North Devon Hospital Trust last week won their battle for better pay and improved terms in line with a national agreement settled in October 2006.

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Control order victims to sue

TWO MEN formerly accused of being terrorists and made the subjects of control orders — though never charged or given a proper trial or told what evidence there was against them — are planning to sue the British government.

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Hate crime follows BNP poll wins

THE LEVELS of reported hate crime — motivated by racial or religious hate — has risen significantly in areas throughout Britain where the neo-Nazi British National Party has won council seats, according to research on police statistics conducted under the Freedom of Information Act by the Guardian newspaper.

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BA’s scab crew move

BRITISH Airways management last week sent a letter to its entire staff asking for “volunteers” to crew the aircraft should the cabin crew be forced to take industrial action.

Unite, the union fighting to save cabin crew’s’ terms and conditions, attacked the move as “provocative” and said BA was seeking to use “scab” labour.

It appealed to the airline to put its energies into resolving the dispute through negotiation.

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Corus closure postponed for a month

THE GIANT Corus steelworks in Redcar, Teeside, will continue making steel until the end of February or until its supply runs out. This is a short postponement of the decision to mothball the plant at the end of January, with the loss of around 1,700 jobs.

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Contractors underpaid imported workers

THE GMB general union has called for a protest demonstration in London on 3rd February 2010 at the offices of Alstom and Lord Mandelson to demand an end to employers’ lies about underpayment and exploitation in Engineering Construction, while a GMB strike ballot proceeds at Staythorpe over redundancies.

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Workers sad as Cadbury falls to hostile Kraft bid

THE SUCCESSFUL bid by US giant Kraft for Cadbury marks a “very sad day for UK manufacturing,” Unite the union said today.

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Tories in bed with health companies

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week warned that the Tories are in bed with private health companies and cannot be trusted to run the NHS for the benefit of all.

The warning is in response to revelations that Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s private office received £21,000 from Care UK, one of the UK’s largest private health providers.

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Welsh solidarity with Gaza

by Wendy Lewis

ONE YEAR after Israel’s devastating attack on Gaza, Cardiff Stop the War Coalition held a candle-lit vigil for the besieged Palestinians. In January 2009, 1,400 men, women and children were killed in the relentless bombing; tens of thousands were made homeless.

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Hundreds of jobs slashed in Cardiff and Bristol

THE FINANCIAL crisis may be over as far as the bankers and bosses are concerned but its consequences continue to devastate jobs throughout Britain. Last Friday workers at Bosch’s car parts manufacturing plant in Cardiff were devastated by the company’s announcement that it was to close the factory with the loss of 900 jobs.

Meanwhile just across the Bristol Channel 300 workers at the Orange mobile phone company learned their place of work, a customer services call centre, was to close and they would lose their jobs. They heard the news on Wednesday and each received a formal 90-days notice.

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Brown now wants his say

by Daphne Liddle

PRIME Minister Gordon Brown last Wednesday offered to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the causes of the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 after former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon had told the inquiry that the invasion was badly equipped and prepared because of spending cuts by the Treasury.

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Gaza victims remembered

by Karen Dabrowska

MORE THAN 150 protesters holding large sheets of paper with the names of the 1417 victims of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza in late 2008, observed five minutes of silence in London’s Trafalgar Square last Saturday.

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International News

Crunch time for Belfast talks

THE SPOTLIGHT has been well and truly on Northern Ireland Assembly politics over the last couple of weeks, and not always for the right reasons. Sinn Féin has highlighted for some time what the key issues are.

The media has inaccurately summarised the problems as differences between the Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party, ignoring the crucial role and responsibility of the Irish and British Governments in ensuring the full implementation of the terms of the Good Friday and St Andrew’s agreements.

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A critical year ahead for Sudan

by Shao Jie and Fayez el Zaki Hassan in Khartoum

THE NEXT 12 months will be critical for Sudan with general elections scheduled for April and a referendum on self-determination for south Sudan slated for January 2011.

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Fair play to Iceland

by Eoin Ó Broin

ICELAND is a small country. It has a population of just over 300,000 and a landmass of a mere 103,000 square kilometres. It is on the periphery of Europe geographically, economically and politically.

In October 2008, one of the country’s largest banks, Icesave, collapsed. The bank held a large amount of British and Dutch deposits. In response to the collapse, Gordon Brown’s government used anti-terrorist legislation to freeze Icelandic assets held by British banks. He and his Dutch counterpart also threatened to block Iceland’s EU membership bid unless the matter was resolved to their satisfaction.

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Features

Palestine: time for a new political era of resistance and national liberation

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) marked its 42nd anniversary last month with the following statement.

THE POPULAR Front for the Liberation of Palestine today stands 42 years from its founding on 11th December 1967. The PFLP was founded in response to the defeat of regimes and ideologies in the June 1967 war, and took action to initiate resistance in all forms on a strategic, long-term basis; to mobilise the masses of the Palestinian Arab people to fight; to neutralise the technological advantage of the occupation war machines through lightning attacks; and to defeat the enemy and the entire Zionist and imperialist colonial scheme.

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Democratic Korea A society based on collectivism

by Rim Chol

A PROMINENT European political figure visiting Korea said: “Korea is a country united as one. The spirit of collectivism pervades all fields of its social life, the people working selflessly for the sake of society and collective.” This is an apt remark true to the reality of Korean society.

Chairman Kim Jong Il of the DPRK National Defence Commission said: “Collectivism is an essential quality of socialism and a source of its superiority and validity.”

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