National News

Occupy the City digs in

by Caroline Colebrook

PROTESTERS from all over Britain and from many different backgrounds assembled around St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London last Saturday, intending to begin an indefinite occupation of nearby Paternoster Square.

But their way was barred by a heavy police cordon. Paternoster Square, it seems, is private property, so they stayed put and began their occupation in St Paul’s churchyard.

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Patients wait longer

THE NUMBER of patients waiting more than 18 weeks — the recommended maximum — for NHS treatment has risen by 48 per cent since last year.

A report from the King’s Fund included figures from the Department of Health revealed that in more than 45 hospital trusts more than 10 per cent of patients were not admitted within 18 weeks after being referred by their general practitioners.

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Private rents now unaffordable

A SERIOUS housing crisis looms as the costs of renting homes in the private sector are now well above what the majority of families can afford, according to a report published by the housing charity Shelter.

For many years now house prices have risen well beyond the reach of the vast majority of workers. Now rented alternatives are also too expensive.

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EDL thugs storm Muslim exhibition

A MUSLIM book stall in Cradley Heath market was stormed by over 25 thugs from the English Defence League last weekend, according to a report from Hope not Hate.

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Another police spy revealed

BOB LAMBERT, known as a progressive academic and activist on environmental and anti-fascist issues, has been revealed to be a police spy.

Lambert, an expert on Islamophobia, posed as environmental activist then ran police spy unit that infiltrated anti-racist groups.

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PCS wins rise for Queen’s cleaners

THE QUEEN’S cleaners have won a 16 per cent pay rise after a campaign by the civil service union PCS.

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Colliery manager arrested

A FIFTY-FIVE-year-old man has been arrested and questioned on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter in connection with the deaths of four miners last month at the Gleision drift mine in South Wales.

Police have not named the man but the BBC has said it understands the man is the Gleision manager and that he is being held in custody in Port Talbot police station.

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Britain risks losing clean coal race, warns TUC

TUC GENERAL secretary Brendan Barber last week warned that Britain must step up investment in clean coal or risk losing jobs and jeopardising its chances to lead in the development of carbon-capture and storage.

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Unite clashes with Honda over ‘union derecognition’

THE GIANT union Unite last week warned shareholders that the Japanese car manufacturer Honda is contemplating banning the union from its large Swindon plant.

Unite accused Honda union-busting after it uncovered company documents referring to minimising its influence at the car company’s UK operations.

General secretary Len McCluskey wrote to shareholders to warn that the Japanese company could derecognise the union, barring it from Honda premises including the Swindon factory where 3,000 people work.

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Awkward Question Time for Lansley

by New Worker correspondent

PROTESTERS angry about cuts to the NHS marched on an East London university theatre last week to demonstrate against the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s appearance on Question Time, the BBC flagship politics programme, which was being filmed there.

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International News

US: protests soar as crisis deepens

by Alex Silva

THE ECONOMIC future of the world appears very clouded, due mainly to the lack of financial strength in the powerful nations of the West — a phenomenon that creates uncertainty in the world population. The United States is experiencing a rising climate of protests against government measures, which question the economic system.

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Somali gunmen destroy Kenyan tourist industry

by Sergei Balmasov

THE KENYAN army, in cooperation with Somali government troops, is conducting a military operation against the Al-Shabab al Mujahideen Muslim youth movement militia. It is not the first time that Kenya has moved into the territory of Somalia. But the operation that was launched on 16th October has become the largest.

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Skulls and hypocrisy

by G Dunkel

AS A GESTURE of “reconciliation,” the German imperialist government sent 20 skulls back to Namibia in early October. They had been removed from the bodies of Herero and Nama warriors killed by German soldiers who were occupying their country — then called South West Africa by Europeans — in the early 20th century.

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Cardiff’s Day of Action against the banks

by Wendy Lewis

ALL OVER world there is a fight back against the austerity cuts and unemployment inflicted on working people as capitalism crumbles, a crisis caused by the bankers and fat cats in the city.

Wales itself is facing the prospect of losing 20,000 public service jobs and youth unemployment is at levels that threaten our long-term future.

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Caravaggio: Unceasing Lightning

by Mireya Castañeda

ART historians say that Michelangelo Merisi, named Caravaggio (1571-1610), appears like a bolt of lightning within the stagnant environment of Rome in the last years of the 16th century.

That’s why I have used the words of the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández, El rayo que no cesa [unceasing lightning], to describe Caravaggio’s revolutionary style of painting, which not only influenced his contemporaries, but paralyses with emotion anyone who has the privilege of contemplating one of his works. Now Cuban lovers of art can see this for the first time with their own eyes.

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Features

Black History Month Frederick Douglass

by Owen Liddle

I WAS inspired to write this article one day as I was sitting on a 53 bus listening to a group of school children talk about their projects for Black History Month; they were each given a famous black historical figure and told to write an essay on him. The normal figures were there: Martin Luther King Junior, Barrack Obama and teachers’ favourite George — Washington Carver, the man who invented over a 100 ways to use peanuts.

I was really annoyed that two important figures were glaringly missing: Mary Seacole and Fredrick Douglass. It appeared to me that, according to the history being taught at schools today, no black historical figure got involved in politics until the 1950s. Also that the first black woman of any historical significance was Rosa Parks. When I told my friends this story they agreed with me that important black historical figures were missing from the school curriculum. But what shocked me more was that none of them had heard of Fredrick Douglass.

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