National News

Cabin crew success rally

THE STRIKING cabin crews employed by British Airways finished their second successful strike (this one four days) last Tuesday with a rally at TUC headquarters and the news that their union, Unite, is levying all its members to raise a £700,000 fighting fund to support them through further strikes.

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Safety Improvement Notice for Network Rail

IN THE run up to the planned four-day strike by rail workers in the RMT and TSSA members over safety concerns, last minute talks with the management are continuing at the conciliation service Acas.

The dispute is over Network rails plans to cut 1,500 maintenance jobs, which the unions maintain will compromise safety for workers and passengers.

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Fewer ‘sickies’ for public sector staff

NEW TUC research released last Monday smashes the myth that public servants are always on the lookout for an excuse to pull a “sickie” and questions Government claims that there are easy savings to be had from cracking down on absence in the public sector.

Public sector workers are more likely than private sector colleagues to work when too ill to do so and less likely than private sector staff to take a “sickie” — a short period off sick — according to a new TUC report The Truth About Sickness Absence.

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Patients pay in pain

A GROUP of leading surgeons last week said that primary care trusts are restricting patient access to many basic surgical procedures in order to save money.

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Gangmaster conviction ‘Too many bosses lying and cheating’

THE GENERAL union GMB last week welcomed the sentencing of a Southampton based gangmaster who has been sentenced for intentionally obstructing an officer of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority on Monday 22nd March 2010 at Southampton Magistrates Court.

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Make a noise about pay, jobs and services

THREE major public sector unions, Unison, GMB and Unite last Tuesday jointly organised a lobby of the headquarters of the Local Government Association to “make some noise about pay, job and service cuts”.

The unions are accusing Tory-led councils of using the recession as a smokescreen to cut services, freeze pay and shed jobs, when money is available to keep vital services, such as homecare, running, and keep up much-needed investment in departments including social work.

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Call for women to fight fascism

DAVE Prentis, the general secretary of the public sector union Unison, last week called on women to join the fight against fascism when he presented a cheque for £16,200 to Searchlight’s Hope not Hate campaign.

The unions’ match fund money will mean that hundreds of thousands of people in regions targeted by the fascist British National Party — Yorkshire and Humberside, North West, London and the West Midlands — will receive leaflets exposing the party’s shocking opinions on women.

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LRC launches A People’s Agenda

THE LABOUR Representation Committee has launched a pamphlet for the General Election 2010 — A People’s Agenda — to generate real political discussion about how we organise our society, a debate that will be lacking from the party political pantomime of the general election campaign.

LRC Chair John McDonnell MP says in the introduction: “As we go into the 2010 General Election, it is clear that much of the electorate feels it has no choice — with all the three major parties offering the same prescription for the UK: there will be cuts to your local services and to your pay — and quite possibly your job too.

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International News

Palestinian Land Day

by Fares Akram and Emad Drimly in Ramallah and Gaza

SCORES of Palestinians were injured in West Bank rallies and six by Israeli bullets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday during demonstrations marking the 34th anniversary of Palestinian Land Day.

The Palestinians mark the Land Day to commemorate the death of six Palestinians in 1976 when Israeli forces dispersed a peaceful rally to protest against the annexation of land to the Jewish state.

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Moscow mourns Metro victims

MOSCOW is mourning Monday’s victims of the terrorist acts in the metro during the morning rush-hour. Flags fly at half mast in Moscow. All TV and radio entertainment programmes have been cancelled and people are continuing to bring flowers to the two stations in memory of the victims of the bombings.

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Cuban-Jubans bring hope to South Sudan

Radio Havana Cuba

WITH CUBAN pork roast on the menu, salsa classes on a Thursday and animated Spanish competing with the Latin beat, De Havana club in the South Sudanese capital Juba feels a part of Cuba.

It is here that a group of former Sudanese exiles, known as the “Cuban-Jubans”, gather most nights to share a bottle of whisky and put the world to rights — but in Spanish.

Among them are doctors, pharmacists, accountants, engineers and economists. All were educated in Cuba during Sudan’s 21-year civil war and are now regarded as the intellectual elite of the south - one of the world’s poorest and least developed regions.

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More protests in Greece against austerity

Xinhua news agency

GREEK workers took to the streets in Athens again on Tuesday against the government’s austerity measures. The rail network was hit by a walk-out by transport workers while many trials in courts were postponed due to a 48-hour strike of lawyers in protest against VAT hikes and the new taxation system.

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Falklands oil hopes dashed

Radio Havana Cuba

THE BRITISH oil company Desire has seen its market shares drop by almost half after they announced that a well being drilled off the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, may not be as economically viable as previously thought.

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Who will get Russian mathematician’s award?

Komsomolskaya Pravda

A RECLUSIVE Russian mathematician from St Petersburg has won the Millennium Prize — $1 million — from the US-based Clay Mathematics Institute. Will the Russian genius accept the prize? There is still no answer to this question.

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The first commemoration of the Easter Rising

by Mícheál Mac Donncha

THE FIRST commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising was held in Dublin at Easter 1917 and was an act of defiance of British military rule. Many republicans were still in jail a year after the Rising and the city was full of British troops. The Defence of the Realm Act imposed strict censorship and public assembly was severely restricted.

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The US health care bill What it means for workers

by Fred Goldstein

TENS OF MILLIONS of people in the United States were hoping to be delivered from the clutches of the ruthless profiteers who control the health care system and were hoping for universal health care. But the very opposite has happened.

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Of statues and lawyers

by Rob Gowland

MANY Australians, like me I suspect, watched Australia’s Channel Nine’s woeful coverage of the Winter Olympics with growing dismay: where was any sign or recognition of the “Olympic spirit”, any that the athletes were there for the glory of sport, not for gold medals (no other colour would do for anchorman Eddie McGuire and his crew)?

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