National News

Government plans to bust public sector strikes

A REPORT published in the Daily Mail last week revealed that the Government is drawing up secret plans to thwart a threat of mass strikes in the public sector in the fight against the cuts.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude is leading the unit and claims to have analysed the workforce at thousands of workplaces and drawn up a “secret war plan to prevent a general strike”.

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Tenant protection crucial

THE HOUSING campaign group Shelter last week called on the Government to ensure that the growing population of people renting privately get the protection they so desperately need.

The call came after the English Housing Survey figures revealed that the number of households in the private rented sector has increased by nine per cent over the last year, while home ownership and social renting is down.

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Legal aid cuts a false economy

JUDGES last week warned that cuts to legal aid will cost more in the long run and lead to declining standards and increasing backlogs as litigants try to represent themselves.

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NHS reforms ‘unethical’

BONUS payments to family doctors could be seen as rewarding them for withdrawing treatment and would undermine trust between doctors and patients.

These “Quality Premium” bonuses would be a key element of the Government’s NHS reform programme and have been branded “disgracefully unethical” by the British Medical Association (BMA).

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Westminster to ban charities

THE LONDON Borough of Westminster is planning to ban charities from handing out food to homeless people in the area around Westminster cathedral.

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Cuts at Pennine NHS Trust will harm patients

THE BRITISH Medical Association last week warned that plans to cut by 10 per cent the staff of an NHS trust in Greater Manchester will have an impact on patients care.

The Pennine Acute Trust, which runs hospitals in Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and north Manchester and employs 10,000 people plans to cut 1,000 as part of a package of cuts to save at least £45 million by April 2012.

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Assange to appeal against extradition

JULIAN ASSANGE, the founder of Wikileaks, last Thursday said he would appeal against the ruling by magistrates at Belmarsh Court in Woolwich, south London, that he should be extradited to Sweden to face charges of sexual offences.

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International News

A cynical danse macabre

by Fidel Castro

Prensa Latina

THE POLITICS of plunder, imposed by the United States and its Nato allies in the Middle East, are in crisis. This was inevitably unleashed with the high cost of grain, the effects of which are being felt with more force in the Arab countries where, despite their enormous oil resources, the shortage of water, arid areas and generalised poverty of the people contrast with the vast resources derived from oil possessed by the privileged sectors.

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The “humanity” of oil

Radio Havana Cuba

THERE IS nothing like 47 billion barrels of high quality oil to awaken the “humanity” of the Western powers, which are ready to intervene in Libya to supposedly protect the lives and safety of the civilian population.

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Ireland: Fine Gael-Labour set to form coalition

IAIS

NEGOTIATIONS are due to start between Fine Gael and Labour as the Republic of Ireland prepares for a new government, headed by Taoiseach-elect Enda Kenny following their victory in the Irish elections last week. Fianna Fáil was defeated with its vote the lowest since its foundation while the Labour Party has enjoyed its best result in a general election to date Taoiseach [premier] Brian Cowen conceded that it had been a “difficult day for Fianna Fáil” but insisted his party took tough but necessary decisions while in office to stabilise the country’s finances. He congratulated Fine Gael and Enda Kenny on “an outstanding performance”.

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Communists meet on Palestine

by New Worker correspondent

Andy Brooks took part in an important conference on the Middle East in Cyprus last weekend. The NCP leader joined delegates from forty other communist and workers parties at a conference called to discuss the Palestinian problem and the solidarity of the left with the struggle of the heroic people of Palestine.

Representatives of the PLO and Palestine Authority, along with members of Palestinian communist and resistance movements, took part in the event along with the Syrian Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath), a number of Arab communist parties, the German left social-democratic Die Linke and the Norwegian Socialist Party.

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Features

Progressive London conference: ‘The worth of a city is how it treats its people’

by Theo Russell

LABOUR movement and trade union activists came together at the TUC’s Congress House in London on 19th February for the third Progressive London conference, at which two of the main topics were Ken Livingstone’s campaign to become mayor in 2012 and mobilising for the TUC demonstration on 26th March.

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US: Wisconsin workers lead the way ‘Kill the bill, not our

unions’ Workers’ World (US)

Congress of Industrial Organisations), the Wisconsin Education Association Council, American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and other unions began busing in thousands of members from across the state and beyond.

Delegations of union members, students and community groups came from across the country and even from Toronto. Emergency support demonstrations by the Bail Out the People Movement began on 18th February at the Stock Exchange on Wall Street and have continued across the world.

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