National News

Whistle-blowers may be noted

SEVERAL police forces in England and Wales have admitted that they keep records of data on people who call to report crimes or to pass on information.

The information came from Freedom of Information requests logged by the Press Association news agency.

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Coalition to cut Booktrust funding

LEADING writers of children’s books last week attacked a decision by the Con-Dem government to cut funding to the Booktrust charity that gives free books to children.

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NUT attacks ‘Free’ schools

THE NATIONAL Union of Teachers last week showed that the new “Free” Schools proposed by the Con-Dem government — run by parents, charities, religious groups and private companies — are not very popular with parents.

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Maternity services close to breakdown

THE ROYAL College of Midwives last week warned that maternity services in Britain are close to breakdown and care for mothers is worsening.

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Former BNP boss behind anti-abortion group

THE HOPE not Hate website last week revealed that former BNP leading member Jim Dowson is putting his new energies into a extreme anti-abortion group.

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NHS cuts threaten lives

DR PETER Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, last week warned the Con-Dem Coalition that planned cuts to NHS jobs will test the service to its limits and could endanger patients’ lives.

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International News

Ivory Coast crisis deepens

Xinhua news agency

INCUMBENT Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is maintaining his grip on power. He resumed the blockade of the Golf Hotel in Abidjan on Wednesday to pressurise his presidential rival, a day after lifting it and pledging talks to end weeks of standoff.

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Governor’s murder plunges Pakistan into new crisis

by Muhammad Tahir in Islamabad

THE ASSASSINATION of the governor of Pakistan’s biggest province in the capital of Islamabad has further complicated the situation in the country, which had already been passing through a political crisis.

Punjabi Governor Salman Taseer was murdered at a time when Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is struggling to save his government after a key coalition partner joined the opposition, reducing the parliamentary majority of the ruling Peoples Party.

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Bumpy road ahead for euro

by Liu Xiaoyan in Brussels

IN THE shadow of the sovereign debt crisis, the eurozone welcomed Estonia as its 17th member last Saturday. But,the addition does not dispel concerns for the future of the euro, which is in great trouble caused by the Greek debt crisis. Many see a bumpy road ahead for the single currency in its second decade, after coming into being on 1st January 1999.

At the end of 2009 a debt crisis hit Greece immediately after the global financial upheaval. The crisis worsened step by step despite continuous denials by the Greek government of its problem and assurances from top European Union officials.

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Thatcher and Irish unity

Irish American Information Service

FORMER British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government privately signalled that it would not stand in the way of a united Ireland a year after sweeping to power.

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PFLP celebrate anniversary in Gaza


TENS OF THOUSANDS of members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine gathered in Gaza City’s Palestine Stadium, last month to mark the 43rd anniversary of the PFLP’s founding in a mass rally.

Palestinians from all sectors — men and women, elderly and children, workers and farmers, attended the rally on 11th December. They came from Gaza City, and travelling in groups from throughout the Gaza Strip, waving red flags that filled the stadium.

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Brazil: the legacy of Lula

Radio Havana Cuba

AS WE COME to the end of the eight-year presidential term of President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, it seems a propitious time to attempt a brief analysis of his legacy.

From the time he took over the country in 2002, his changes began and the nation he leaves to his successor, Dilma Rousseff — who from Saturday became the first woman President of Brazil — is going in a different direction to what it was before his time.

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Khodorkovsky case: blown out of all proportion

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

DOES THE Russian press speak about “consequences” when a thief is thrown into jail in the UK, USA or anywhere else? No, because just as other countries have their legal systems, Russia has its own. Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev were, after due process, found guilty of embezzlement and their jail term was increased. What is political about that?

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Democratic Korea defuses US war provocation

by Fred Goldstein

THE DANGEROUS military crisis on the Korean peninsula has been defused for the moment. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea did not retaliate, even though the US imperialists and their south Korean clients on 20th December staged provocative live-fire exercises from Yeonpyeong Island, eight miles from the mainland of the DPRK.

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WikiLeaks reveals Nato attack plan against Russia

by Luis Britto Garcia

THE LONDON Guardian has published a cable reproduced by WikiLeaks, this time a Nato plan for a massive attack on Russia. The plan for large-scale war against the Russians predicts the displacement of nine military divisions from the US, Britain, Germany and Poland.

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Remembering the war in Hanoi


MANY NEVER return from war. Through keepsakes and photographs, however, it is possible to keep their memory alive.

To help us somehow come to terms with the great sacrifice made by those who died in the war-torn 20th century, the Museum of Military History in Hanoi held an exhibition of war memorabilia in December.

On display were 1,033 personal possessions and war memorabilia from 11,000 items donated over the last three years.

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