National News

Join the Resistance!

LRC backs McDonnell for Labour leader

by Theo Russell

THE TORY-Liberal Democrat assault on public services and a Labour Party leadership contest provided the backdrop of a conference last Saturday called by the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) that came with an invitation to “Join the Resistance”.

And immediately after the conference the LRC national committee voted to endorse John McDonnell MP as a Labour leadership candidate and urged LRC members and others to lobby Labour MPs and pass motions in their Constituency Labour Parties and trade union branches to nominate McDonnell.

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Remembering the Nakba

by Robert Laurie

LAST SATURDAY lunchtime saw hundreds of protesters join a picket in Whitehall opposite Downing Streets to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the newly formed Israel state in 1948, known as the Nakba (catastrophe).

Organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, the British Muslim Initiative and CND the lively picket included Palestinian exiles, British Muslims, left-wing supporters of the Palestinian cause and orthodox Jews who regard Zionism as a perversion of their faith.

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Occupational pensions in decline

ONLY half of all employees are now in pension schemes run by their employers, according to figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The proportion of workers in company pension schemes has fallen from 55 per cent in 1997 to 50 per cent in 2009 and the proportion of full-time, self-employed men has fallen from 64 per cent to 45 per cent in the same period.

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Trades councils in conference

by New Worker correspondent

THE ANNUAL conference of trade union council took place in Blackpool last weekend and passed a resolution to be put before the TUC conference next autumn calling for an end to anti-trade union legislation and for the TUC to initiate a campaign against anti-TU laws.

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Neo-Nazi terrorist gets 10 years

IAN DAVISON, a white supremacist, was sentenced last week for 10 years for producing a chemical weapon — enough ricin to kill nine people — which he kept in a jar in his kitchen for two years.

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Recession causes depression

THERE HAS been a big rise in the number of workers seeking help for mental health problems as a result of the economic crisis, according to a report published on Tuesday by the mental health charity Mind.

The report presents compelling new evidence that the recession has had a devastating effect on the wellbeing of British workers.

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NHS facing £20 billion-plus cuts

THE NEW Lib-Con government has wasted no time in getting out its axe for the NHS as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley indicated that the NHS may need to make more savings than the previously announced £20 billion in “efficiency savings” by 2014.

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Southern trains forced to think again

SOUTHERN TRAINS has stepped back from an attempt to undermine rail safety by extending driver-only train operation after the RMT transport union threatened industrial action.

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Nurseries closing

INCREASES in nursery fees at double the rate of inflation, coupled with parents facing pay freezes or reduced working hours, have led to the closure of many nurseries.

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Call centre job cuts

MORE than 1,000 workers employed at Garland North East call centre were made redundant after the company, Garland Call Centres, based at Hartlepool Marina, Middlesbrough and South Shields, announced it had gone into administration on Monday.

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Inflation rising

RETAIL inflation has risen to a 17-month high according to figures released last week. Food prices in particular have risen, which impacts hardest on those on low incomes.

On the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure, inflation hit 3.7 per cent — well above the target of two per cent and the highest rate since November 2008.

On the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure, which includes housing costs, inflation was up to 5.3 per cent.

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Rise in pupils on free school meals

RISING numbers of children are becoming eligible for free school meals as the recession is pushing more and more families below the breadline, according to latest figures from the Department of Education.

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Swing Pride Season

THE COMMUNICATION Workers’ Union last week welcomed the approaching Swing Pride Season. A union press release said that the Pride festivals are a wonderful testament to how diverse our society is and the CWU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) members have always played an active part in participating on these wonderful occasions.

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International News

Oil industry ‘fix’ fails

by Gene Clancy

SEVEN British Petroleum executives gathered on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico on 20th April 20 “celebrated the project’s safety record.” Considering the dismal past safety performance of BP, the rig’s owner, this would seem to have been a hollow exercise.

Several miles below them, natural forces were preparing to spoil their party in a deadly way.

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China and Russia seek stronger ties

Xinhua news agency

CHINA AND RUSSIA last Tuesday pledged to work together to take their strategic partnership of coordination to a new high.

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US civil rights groups fight immigration law

Radio Havana Cuba

A COALITION of civil rights groups in the United States has filed what they’re calling the most comprehensive federal lawsuit challenging Arizona’s recent anti-immigrant law since it was approved last month.

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Russia’s women fight to regain equality

IN RUSSIA’S State Duma, on 11th May 2010 a Round Table was held on the theme: “Women and Power: On women’s contribution to the country’s history and creation of a legal environment for the further involvement of women in contemporary political life”.

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Vietnam and Belarus ‘tighten the bonds between them’

VIETNAMESE President Nguyen Minh Triet and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, Andrei V Kobyakov, last week witnessed the signing of a trade agreement between the two countries.

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Capitalist crisis is spreading!

by Fred Goldstein

THE BIG message that the working class should take away from the latest European bailout and the stock markets’ ups and downs is that capitalism is failing as an economic system and the time for workers to open a struggle is now.

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Foyle’s folly — Horowitz off target

Robert Gowland

ANTHONY Horowitz’ series Foyle’s War, about a democratically-minded and very principled copper on the south coast of Britain during the Second World War, earned a lot of credibility through its frank depiction of the prevalence of the forces of appeasement in that country, especially in the early part of the War.

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Northern Ireland: police agent provocateur

An Phoblacht

THE POLICE Ombudsman is to investigate the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) after it emerged that a vulnerable 19-year-old had been recruited to act as an agent provocateur and informer.

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