National News

Thousands march to protect public services

THOUSANDS of pensioners, trade unionists, public sector workers and socialists from many different parties and groups gathered last Saturday by Temple Tube station on the Thames Embankment in London for a march against cuts in public sector jobs and services, ending in a rally in Trafalgar Square.

A similar march and rally, also attended by thousands, was held in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park.

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First ever AA strike?

THE GMB general union has balloted members employed by the Automobile Association in a dispute over proposed changes to their pension scheme.

The union reports that 57 per cent of the 2,400 members had voted for a strike on an 87 per cent turn out in this consultative ballot.

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Its OK for the bosses!

A REPORT published last week by Incomes data Services (IDS) revealed that senior managers in Britain’s NHS trusts last year received average pay rises of almost seven per cent, while nurses and other workers received less than three per cent.

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TUC says don’t buy settlement goods

THE TRADE UNION Congress and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) last Thursday called on consumers not to buy goods from illegal Israeli settlements.

Launching a leaflet, Would You Buy Stolen Goods? and a briefing for unions to promote the campaign, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Israeli settlements are built on stolen Palestinian land and are illegal under international law. By confiscating land and resources, and encouraging conflict, they make life a misery for ordinary Palestinian workers and their families.

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Colchester protesters speak up for Joe Glenton

MEMBERS of Colchester Stop the War Coalition, the Colchester Trades Council and the local New Worker Supporters’ Group were out in force again last Sunday, with a campaigning stall close to the “corrective barracks” where Joe Glenton is being held.

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The myth of ‘efficiency savings’

MARK SERWOTKA, general secretary of the civil service union PCS, last week replied to recent claims in the media that “efficiency savings” are possible in the civil and public services.

“We fundamentally reject this myth of ‘efficiency’ that says you can make billions of pounds worth of cuts without affecting frontline services.

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Jarvis workers march through Doncaster

MEMBERS of the rail unions RMT and TSSA staged a march through Doncaster last Monday in protest at the closure of the rail maintenance firm and Network Rail’s role in that decision.

They were supported by cheering onlookers as they held a rally outside the town’s Mansion House where they were addressed by local MP Rosie Winterton.

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Kim Il Sung remembered

by New Worker correspondent

A SUCCESSFUL seminar was held last week at the John Buckle Centre in London to mark the 98th anniversary of the birth of the great Korean revolutionary leader Kim Il Sung, organised by the Friends of Korea (FOK). In Democratic Korea this is celebrated at the Sun’s Day and all over the world friends of Korea held events last week to join with the Korean people in remembering their great son.

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International News

Iraq: On the 7th anniversity of the occupation

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

IRAQIS took to the streets in their thousands last week calling for national unity on the 7th anniversary of the American occupation, while the Baathist-led resistance launched a flurry of raids across the country.

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Polish leaders die in air disaster

Xinhua news agency

NO COUNTRY is fully prepared for such a tragedy in peacetime in which its leader and dozens of high-ranking officials die simultaneously. So when it does happen, the country is exposed to unexpected social and political disturbances, and its people are on pins and needles about the future.

On Saturday, Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife died when their chartered plane, en route from Warsaw to Russia’s Smolensk, crashed shortly before landing.

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Sinn Féin message for militarist factions

IN HIS ADDRESS at the Lurgan Easter commemoration, Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney said that, as a result of the republican struggle, Irish unity is now inevitable, and he also had a strong message for militarist factions on the fringes of republicanism.

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Iran denounces US nuclear strategy

IRAN on Monday urged United Nations member states to denounce the new US Nuclear Posture Review, which refuses to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against the Islamic Republic, describing it as a form of “terrorism”.

“Can the US new nuclear strategy, which authorises the use of nuclear bombs against other countries, including Iran, be named other than ‘state terrorism,’ in its truest sense?” Mohammad Khazaee, the Iranian ambassador to the UN, asked a UN General Assembly committee on measures to eliminate international terrorism.

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Kyrgyzstan: one step away from civil war

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey and Lisa Karpova

THE CENTRAL Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has become the latest republic to reject a colour revolution after President Kurmanbek Bakiev was forced out of office in a popular uprising against his nepotism, corruption and disastrous social policies, which stretched his people to breaking point.

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Artists defend Cuba

Radio Havana Cuba

THE CITIES of Havana and Santiago de Cuba vibrated over the weekend to the rhythm of the music and voices of the Cuban artists who took part in the two gigantic concerts organised on the island to protest the international media driven campaign against Cuba.

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Features

The Kingdom of Ife

Africa before the slave trade

by Edwin Bentley

ALMOST a defining characteristic of humanity is our ability to justify and explain away our actions, however outrageous and harmful they may be. When money is involved, that ability has no limits. From the establishment of the first permanent Portuguese trading post in Elmina in what is now Ghana in 1471, Africa has continuously served as a place from which Europe can take out whatever it needs without any obligation to offer anything in return. Africa was certainly very different from Europe, but those first European visitors had little interest in finding out about the totally unfamiliar, often frightening, always amazing cultures they encountered. Making money was, quite literally, the only concern. Africa offered huge possibilities for vast fortunes as capitalism replaced the old feudal order in Europe, and the merchant class became the powerbrokers of society.

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Cornerstone of a new New World Order

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE TANGIBLE results of the visit of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Latin America were, in a word, massive: the first concrete step in laying the cornerstone of a new geopolitical order based on multilateral values, a New World Order which spells a clear message to the USA: either you are with us, or against us.

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