National News

Plans to axe NHS Direct

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week reacted angrily to the news that the Coalition government is planning to scrap the NHS Direct telephone help and advice line staffed by qualified nurses and replace it with call centre, whose staff will not necessarily be qualified.

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Sale of Teesside Cast Products

THE COMMUNITY union last week described the sale of the mothballed Corus steel plant in north-east England as “welcome news” but “long overdue”.

The Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant is being sold to Thai steel company SSI, which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Corus.

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BA provokes cabin crews

BRITISH Airways has begun a campaign of suspensions and sackings against cabin crew members who have been active in the series of strikes earlier this year that may re-open the whole dispute with the union, Unite.

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Relief, curry and samosas in Bradford

THERE was widespread relief across Bradford last Saturday night after the English Defence League protest passed off without major incident, according to Searchlight editor Nick Lowles.

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Children’s clubs too expensive

THE SAVE the Children charity and pressure group last week published a survey showing that after-school clubs were too expensive for many families, especially those on low incomes.

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Hungry in hospital

NHS HOSPITALS are still failing to ensure that many elderly patients are eating enough to sustain their health, according to a report, Still Hungry to be Heard, by the pensioners’ support group Age UK.

International News

US: a lonely departure from Iraq

by Li Bo

THE UNITED States military formally concluded its combat operations in Iraq on Tuesday, marking the end of a seven-year-long war that was neither popular in Iraq, the United States, nor the world at large.

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Tragedy in Pakistan continues to worsen

Radio Havana Cuba

THE LAST 48 hours have been dramatic for many people in southern Pakistan, where persistent rainfalls forced the evacuation of one million more people while increasing the need for the so-far insufficient humanitarian assistance.

Although the water level has dropped in northern and central territories, the situation is still tense in the south with flooding from the Indus River caused by heavy torrential rain.

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Chilean miners: trapped by the system

Radio Havana Cuba

DESPITE the natural and justified joy of having finally found the 33 Chilean workers trapped in a copper mine in the middle of the Atacama Desert, there is increasing information about the current precarious safety conditions in many of these mines where labour protection regulations are not observed.

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Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658

by Andy Brooks

OLIVER CROMWELL, the leader of the English Revolution, died on 3rd September 1658. Cromwell, the MP for Huntingdon, was the leading Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War, which began in 1642 and ended in 1649 with the trial and execution of Charles Stuart and the abolition of the monarchy. The Republic of England, or Commonwealth as it was styled in English, was proclaimed soon after.

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Pentagon dirty tricks can’t close can of worms

by Deirdre Griswold

A NEW generation of “Plumbers” seems to be at work, trying to discredit the leak of secret US government war documents. Their first attempt has failed.

An arrest warrant on a rape charge filed in Sweden on 21st August against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was withdrawn within hours. Karin Rosander, spokesperson for the national prosecutor’s office, told reporters that when the chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, reviewed the case, she found no reason to believe that Assange had committed rape.

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Australian elections: major break with two-party system

by Bob Briton

A HUNG parliament with neither the Australian Labour Party (ALP) nor the Coalition (Liberal and National Parties) able to claim government in their own right — that is the result of last month’s federal election. It is a fitting outcome for the major parties. Labour, the Liberals and the Nationals have become completely remote from the communities they claim they want to serve. Their “solutions” to the pressing concerns of the people are less and less convincing and trust that they will ever deliver on their commitments has nosedived. Their close ties to the corporate sector are plain for all to see.

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The Bedouin Arabs of the Negev: a right to dignity

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE PLIGHT of the Negev Bedouin inside Israel rarely makes the pages of the international press, yet the suppression of these people by the Israeli authorities is a history of racism, intolerance and discrimination more befitting of Nazi Germany than a modern state that claims to be a democracy.

As General Moshe Dayan said in 1963 “This phenomenon of the Bedouins will disappear”.

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