National News

Justice demanded for Ian Tomlinson

AROUND 200 protesters gathered at the London headquarters of the Crown Prosecution Service on the south bank of the Thames in Southwark last Friday to demand that the police constable responsible for pushing Ian Tomlinson to the ground with such force that he died minutes later should face a criminal prosecution.

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British Gas profits surge

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week responded to the announcement by British gas that its half-yearly profits had risen by 98 per cent compared to the same period last year.

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Con-Dems in ‘Catch 22’ on welfare ‘reforms’

THE MOST vulnerable people in our society could be at risk from the Government’s welfare reforms and they are unlikely to work, according to several unions.

The giant union Unite warned last week that the proposals unveiled by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith merited consideration, but it had serious concerns how these plans would work given the enormous job losses that will flow from this autumn’s comprehensive spending review.

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Caseloads too heavy for child safety

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison, which represents many social workers, last week reiterated its call for strict controls on social work caseloads, after a new report showed just one in five social workers thought they had enough time to work effectively with the children they are responsible for.

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Pay the interns!

A REPORT published last week by the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank says that young jobseekers who are working for nothing as interns for various employers are entitled to be paid.

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Hiroshima commemoration in Charlton

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 100 people attended an event last Tuesday in the historic early 17th century Charlton House, south London, to commemorate the dead and injured victims of the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 and to hear survivor Shoso Kawamoto tell his story.

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Fuel tanker drivers ready to strike over job cuts

THE GIANT UNION Unite last week warned Britain’s major oil companies, retailers and independents who provide fuel for the country that their strategy of squeezing the conditions of delivery drivers to feed profits will backfire with potentially serious consequences for the country.

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Child trust funds abolished

THE COALITION government last week scrapped the Labour Child Trust Fund scheme which gave vouchers worth £250 for every child born to be invested as a nest-egg for the child on reaching adulthood — and to act as an incentive for parents and relatives to add to it as the child grew.

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Gender pay gap

THE GOVERNMENT’S new policies — from budget cuts to criminal justice, will have a greater impact on women than men and will undermine generations of progress towards equality, according to a report published last week in the Observer.

The report, by Yvette Cooper, claims that the policies reveal that ministers are either blind to women’s lives or, even worse, it is an ideological drive to turn back the feminist clock.

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The spirit of Beijing comes to south London

by New Worker correspondent

JUST over a year ago the people of Charlton in south east London noticed council workers installing a variety of exercise machines in a corner of Charlton Park, close to the path where hundreds of people every day cut through from various estates to the village shops and bus stops, on their way to work, shopping or whatever.

The council workers also erected a couple of basket ball nets and a five-a-side football sized goal with a small kick-about area and a long wall with irregular hand and footholds for would-be climbers to make their way along.

The equipment was checked and then just left. For anyone and everyone to use, as and when they wanted to. No formalities, no joining a club, no commitments to turn up regularly. Just use as you want to, as the mood takes you.

And it has been a roaring success. It is almost continually in use at all times of day and late into the night. It has its busy times, mostly in the evenings but it is rare to pass it at any time of day and not find at least one or two people using it.

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International News

Clash on the Lebanese Israeli border

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE UNITED Nations has called on Israel and Lebanon to exercise “maximum restraint” after a deadly skirmish on Tuesday that followed a war of words between Israeli and Lebanese leaders that many feared would erupt into another shooting match across the entire border.

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US & Iraq: we leave, but we stay

Radio Havana Cuba

THE PRESIDENT of the United States, Barack Obama, has announced that the mission of his troops in Iraq will be over by 31st August. He will begin the gradual pull-out of his soldiers in order to leave only some 50,000 soldiers in the country, which is devastated, with no government and with its natural resources in hands of a foreign country.

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Cuban economy up despite world slump

Radio Havana Cuba

WHILE THE world economic situation is complicated, with ups and downs in the main indicators and several European countries retreating against insoluble problems for now — such as high rates of unemployment, the crushing burden of foreign debt and a large fiscal deficit — Cuba came out on top during the first half of this year with modest but positive results in its economic performance.

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Cuba-China ties stand the test of time

Radio Havana Cuba

RELATIONS between Cuba and China have stood the test of time and close to the 50th anniversary are at their highest.

The deep ties between the two countries have historical roots, dating back to the arrival on the island of the first Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. The contribution of the Chinese in Cuba’s independence struggle against Spain was also important.

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Brazil: the giant has awoken, or has it?

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

EVER SINCE President Lula won the first of his two Presidential elections in 2002, Brazil has grown from strength to strength, while his social policies targeted the poor, bringing millions out of poverty and from welfare to workfare, contributing towards the economy. Today Brazil has proudly announced that it has surpassed the average world GDP per capita. Do we pay attention to the sunshine today or the clouds on tomorrow’s horizon?

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Features

The toxic Tea Parties

by New Worker correspondent

IMAGINE an organisation somewhere between the right wing of the Conservative Party and the British National Party, with 220,000 enrolled members, hundreds of thousands of active supporters and backed by an estimated 17-19 million people. Welcome to the Tea Parties.

Imagine a state where the police can stop and question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant or a town where illegal immigrants are now formally “banned”. Welcome to how the immigration debate is playing out in the United States.

Imagine a society where there are uniformed and heavily armed gangs of racist extremists patrolling the streets and the border areas, seeking out and sometimes shooting people they suspect of being illegal immigrants. Welcome to the Minutemen.

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Competition makes the world go round?

Rob Gowland

THE PUNDITS of capitalism are fond of presenting the idea of “competition” as fundamental to the system. Competition, they say, is what keeps prices down, improves service, and somehow keeps the system from becoming inhumane.

Drivel of this sort has poured out of the rumour mills of capitalism, and especially out of the movie studios and television networks of capitalism, for a couple of centuries.

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