National News

‘Our members need a reason to vote Labour’

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week joined other major unions in criticising Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls for their acceptance of the savage cuts on jobs, wages, services and pensions being imposed by the Con-Dem Coalition.

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Wandsworth council drops eviction threat

THE LONDON Borough of Wandsworth last week retreated from its threat to evict a family on the grounds that their son had been involved in rioting in Clapham Junction.

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NHS Bill hits new storms

THE CON-DEM Coalition’s flagship NHS Bill has run into renewed opposition from health unions, including the British Medical Association and also from the Commons Health Select Committee, headed by former Tory Cabinet Minister Stephen Dorrell.

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Public sector pension fight update

PUBLIC sector unions have looked at the offers the Government made after their 30th November two-million strong national strike to defend their pensions. And they are rejecting the new offers and gearing for another round in the battle.

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Coalition sham moves to curb bosses’ pay

THE CON-DEM Coalition’s much publicised efforts to curb the pay of senior executives is a fraud and a sham that has been condemned by trade unions.

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Tribunal charges deny justice

THE TRADE Union Congress last week warned that new charges will make tackling discrimination at work even harder.

Introducing fees to take claims to employment tribunals could have a huge impact on ensuring equality at work.

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Hungry and cold

MORE THAN one in five people have cut their spending on gas and electricity to help pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months — a 60 per cent rise since 2008.

A new survey from Shelter also reveals that just over one in three of us have spent less on food to pay our housing costs, a rise of 44 per cent over the same period.

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The Iron Lady

Reviewed by Andy Brooks

The Iron Lady: (12A) 104 mins. Dir: Phyllida Lloyd. General release.

MOST OF the left groaned when they heard that the movie moguls were going to give Lady Thatcher the Hollywood treatment with a star-studded cast and Meryl Streep as the leading lady herself. The Tories meanwhile sat back expecting an epic of Churchillian proportions. What they actually got was a bitter disappointment.

Margaret Thatcher is portrayed as a half-mad old crone, shunned by her children, who holds imaginary conversations with her long dead husband, which trigger flash-backs to her long-gone days of glory.

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International News

Poverty grows in Israel

Communist Party of Israel

DOZENS of activists returned to Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on Monday night, as a reminder that the social justice they sought in the summer has yet to be satisfied. A few tents were set up at the northern end of the boulevard, alongside some mats, while some activists wore their tents on their bodies so as to avoid having them confiscated by municiple inspectors.

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Nigerian troops occupy Lagos

by Abayomi Azikiwe

Editor, Pan-African News Wire

THE GOVERNMENT of President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria has deployed troops to the country’s commercial capital of Lagos in the aftermath of the general strike. The leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress declared the strike ended on the evening of 15th January after the administration cut the fuel cost hikes that prompted the nationwide strike and other actions in the first place.

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Paradox in the United States

by Maria Josefina Arce

THE PARADOX of the United States continues to be in the spotlight of the world’s attention. The country involved in a serious economic slump, growing unemployment rate and a poverty line already surpassing 46 million, is preparing to carry out what could be considered as one of the most expensive electoral campaigns ever.

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Gaddafi loyalists seize Libyan town

by Ed Newman

LIBYAN government forces lost control of a former stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday after local residents staged an armed uprising, posing the most serious challenge yet to the country’s new rulers.

Elders in Bani Walid, where militias loyal to the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) were driven out in a gun battle a day earlier, said they were appointing their own local government and rejected any interference from the authorities in Tripoli, the capital.

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Cuba before the Revolution Lucky Luciano in Person

by Ciro Bianchi

THE UNITED States government in 1946 was pressuring Cuban President Ramón Grau San Martín, but he wouldn’t budge. In the end he had to, when Washington ordered a halt to pharmaceutical shipments to Cuba. After that Lucky Luciano, czar of the underworld, was arrested with all consideration and courtesy by the Cuban police and locked up in the Cuarentenaria de Tiscornia police station, and a deportation order was drawn up.

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Capitalist crisis and class consciousness

by Eric Trevett

IT IS NOT often that we agree with Mervyn King, the head of the Bank of England, but we concur with his appraisal that the present economic crisis may be more profound than that of the 1930s and that there is no way of avoiding a further recession.

Capitalist crisis and class consciousness

Iran: common front with Latin America

by Berta Joubert-Ceci

IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to four countries in Latin America and the Caribbean this month highlights the commitment of the members of the Bolivarian Alliance of Our America (ALBA) to defy US threats and act as sovereign, independent nations.

When Ahmadinejad’s visit was first announced, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland arrogantly warned: “We are making absolutely clear to countries around the world that now is not the time to be deepening ties, not security ties, not economic ties, with Iran.” The threat boomeranged. Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador all deepened and expanded their ties with the Islamic Republic during the five-day whirlwind visit, with regard to politics, economy, energy, infrastructure, industry and nanotechnology.

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