National News

‘Seismic collapse’ in private pensions

THE ASSOCIATION of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) last Tuesday warned that there has been a “seismic collapse” in private sector pensions, claiming that nine out of 10 private sector defined benefit schemes are now closed to new entrants.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Eat less or move house

CUTS TO housing benefit will put hundreds of thousands of homes beyond the reach of people on low incomes and leave families with a choice of cutting food bills or moving to cheaper areas, according to a study published last week by the Chartered Institute of Housing.

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Livingstone leads campaign against fare rises

KEN LIVINGSTONE this week launched his “fare deal” campaign in protest at transport fare rises — affecting trains, buses, the London Underground, Dockland Light Railway boats and trams — of 5.6 per cent — at a time when 99 per cent of Londoners are facing serious cuts in their incomes.

Livingstone said: “This is the wrong fare rise at the wrong time.”

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Indian student victim of a hate crime

ANUJ BIDVE, an Indian student studying at Lancaster University, was shot dead on Boxing Day in Liverpool at point blank range in a completely unprovoked attack, which is being treated as a race hate crime.

Five people aged between 16 and 20 remain in police custody on suspicion of murder, including a 17-year-old who handed himself in to police on Tuesday evening, who gave his name as “Psycho Stapleton”.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Rent-to-own rip offs

SUPPLIERS of rent-to-own goods, where people can buy large household goods like washing machines and other appliance under schemes like the old hire purchase arrangements, are exploiting families on low incomes, according to the children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Barnardo’s said rent-to-own lenders should be forced to display the equivalent High Street price of the product and make interest rates clear. It said the Office of Fair Trading must address the “morally bankrupt” market.

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Winter Warm-up demonstration

THE FUEL Poverty Action campaign is planning a national protest for Monday 27th January at the extortionate profits being made by the “Big Six” energy companies.

The campaigners say: “It’s January. It’s freezing. Christmas emptied the coffers and now the bills are starting to bite. As the Big Six energy companies rake in profits of 700 per cent and the Government freezes the fuel allowance, it’s time to tell the Big Six and the government that we’ve had enough!

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Cornelius Cardew: composer, musician and fighter for the people’s cause

Review by Theo Russell

MUSICIANS and political activists gathered on 17TH December at London’s Conway Hall to honour a great cultural figure, pioneering musician and fighter: Cornelius Cardew.

Seven musicians — pianists and violinists — performed works celebrating working class, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggles, and the public premiere of Cornelius Cardew — The Content of Our Song, a superb film by Stuart Monro (available on Youtube).

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Hungarians take the streets

by Ed Newman

TENS OF thousands of Hungarians took to the streets on Monday to protest against the country’s new constitution, claiming it will curb their democratic rights.

The protest coincided with a ceremony at Budapest’s state opera house in which the government of Viktor Orb´n, the prime minister, officially presented the constitution, which came into force on 1st January.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The United States v the world

by Immanuel Wallerstein

THERE was a time when the Americans had loads of friends, or at least relatively obedient followers. These days, it appears that it has only adversaries, of all political stripes. Moreover things don’t appear to be going very well with these adversaries.

Let’s take what has been happening since November and during the early part of December. The US has had confrontations with China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Germany and Latin America, and no one can say that it has come out ahead in any of these controversies.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

2011, a turning point?

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE YEAR 2011 provided us with a telling insight into where our planet is going, into how our community of nations is developing and to what extent hypocritical international relations compromise the western regimes that have spent decades bawling obscenities about human rights but which then present study cases into the worst type of crisis management possible.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Origin of HIV AIDS: African monkey or US lab?

by Paliani Chinguwo

THOUGH mainstream scientific consensus maintains that AIDS originated from Africa in the mid 1930s from a closely related Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, which was passed to a human being from a green monkey, there are alternative views on the actual origin of HIV and Aids.

While some proponents of the alternative views assert that Aids was the inadvertent result of experiments in the development of vaccines; others categorically contend that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was actually developed in the laboratory by top-notch scientists who were hired by the US government.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Birth of Joseph Stalin

Ukrainian communists celebrated the birthday of Joseph Stalin on 21st December with a parade in Kiev last month. Led by the Kiev division of the Fight for the Restoration of the USSR movement they marched through the streets bearing red banners and portraits of the great Soviet leader to a rally in the heart of the capital. There they were addressed by a communist deputy in the Ukrainian parliament, the Verhovna Rada or Supreme Soviet of Ukraine, who contrasted Stalin’s words and deeds with those of the Ukrainian presidents of our time.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]


DPRK stands strong

Fight Back! (US)

THE MORNING of 19th December started like a normal Monday for the Korean staff at the Hae Dang Hwa restaurant in Beijing. The greeting staff welcomed hungry customers at the front door, the chefs began prepping their fine selection of kimchi and other Korean dishes and the waitresses and waiters began taking orders for their guests.

All of that changed when a China Daily reporter mentioned in a conversation with a waitress that Kim Jong Il, the head of state for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), had died that morning of a heart attack. In minutes, the entire Korean staff — from the waiters to the chefs in the kitchen — broke down in tears and, after apologising to the customers, closed the restaurant early for the day so they could grieve over the national tragedy together.

[Read the complete story here- DPRK stands strong ]

Kim Jong Il 1942—2011

In Britain New Communist Party leader Andy Brooks, together with Michael Chant and Chris Coleman of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist), went to the DPR Korea embassy in London to sign the book of condolences and pay their last respects to the great Korean communist leader.

[Read the messages of condolences in the print edition]