National News

Unions fight unpaid work schemes

THE TUC and the shopworkers’ union Usdaw are campaigning against the proliferation of unpaid work schemes in high street shops that are supposed to give the long-tern unemployed work experience to enable them to get a job.

The unemployed are threatened with losing their benefits if they do not take these unpaid positions for up to six months.

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For their eyes only

THE CIVIL rights pressure group Liberty last week warned that changes proposed in the Government’s Justice and Security Green Paper are dangerous and unnecessary and would undermine the fairness of trials.

They would not only overturn centuries of common law fair trial protections for those seeking to challenge the actions of the State, but also undermine the vital constitutional principle that no one is above the law, including the Government.

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Network Rail to axe workers who live too far

NETWORK Rail is moving its Euston headquarters to Milton Keynes this summer and is threatening to sack all staff who will then have a journey of over 75 minutes to get to work, according to the rail union TSSA.

Manuel Cortes, the TSSA leader, said: “This is an unfair and arbitrary decision which we believe to be unlawful. This modern version of Beat the Clock to get to work is a complete nonsense.”

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Remembering Saltley Gate

THE GIANT union Unite, which now includes the former National Union of Mineworkers, last week commemorated the 40th anniversary of the “Battle of Saltley Gate”.

At the time, the National Union of Mineworkers was in the middle of a national strike against the then Conservative government’s pay restraint policies. The NUM had been picketing the Saltley Coke Works in Birmingham in the face of an aggressive and large police presence from the West Midlands Constabulary.

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Help needed for those facing repossession

AS THE EFFECTS of the global economic crisis bite, the housing charity and pressure group Shelter has seen a 38 per cent increase in calls to its emergency line from home buyers in trouble with mortgage arrears and has called for more help for these people.

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Drug centre staff to strike

WORKERS at the Hackney drug centre in east London are to take strike action for one day on Thursday 23rd February in protest at the effects of swingeing cuts to services for women and children.

The giant union Unite balloted its members at the Tudor Grove centre last month. Members voted by 25-to-one for strike action and 26-to-one for industrial action short of a strike.

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Students prepare for mass walk-out

THE NATIONAL Union of Students is planning a national walk-out and boycott of lectures on Wednesday 14th March in protest against the Government’s higher education reforms, which would lead to its back door privatisation.

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Commemorating the life of Kim Jong Il

by New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS of Korea met in London’s historic Marx House last Saturday to commemorate the life of Kim Jong Il, the Democratic Korean leader who sadly passed away in December.

But this was no solemn occasion but a celebration of the life of a revolutionary devoted to the Workers Party of Korea and the democratic people’s republic that has been a red bastion in Asia since its foundation in 1948.

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International News

Huge anti-cuts protest in Lisbon

Xinhua news agency

AROUND 300,000 people gathered in Palace Square here on Saturday in the largest protest so far against austerity measures aimed at slashing the country’s mounting debts.

The demonstration came ahead of a meeting of Portugal’s international lenders scheduled for Wednesday and expected to review the bailout implementation amid concerns that the country may need more bailout funds.

More than 750 buses were rented to ferry people from all walks of life from as far as 400 km away to the rally, which was organised by the CGTP, Portugal’s largest trade union.

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Iran again rejects Israel bomb claims

IRAN HAS strongly rejected Israel’s claim of Tehran’s involvement in attacks against Tel Aviv’s embassies in India and Georgia. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the claim was made in line with launching a psychological war, adding: “We condemn any terrorist attack.”

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Syrian forces seize terrorists and arms

by Ed Newman

SYRIAN forces have raided the hideouts of armed groups in the towns of Daraa and Hama, as well as near Damascus, the capital, killing or capturing terrorists and confiscating large quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosives.

As part of the campaign conducted by the Syrian army in co-ordination with police forces, an effective military operation was carried out at a farm in Tel Kerdi near Damascus, where a terrorist group was hiding.

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Preventing UN Security Council from becoming a rubber stamp

by Zhong Sheng

THE ARAB Spring, a wave of revolutions originating in Tunisia, has spread quickly to entire West Asia and North Africa, and surprised western powers.

After a brief hesitation, the western powers saw a rare opportunity to expand their strategic interests, and thus decided to take firm control of the situation.

In this context it is easy to understand the West’s stance on the Syrian crisis, and to predict its next move. The West is likely to cling to its old way of resolving such crisis. After a related Security Council draft resolution was blocked, western countries unilaterally increased the pressure on the Syrian government, and said that they will bypass the Security Council.

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The Malvinas: a 21st century colonial enclave

by Laura Bécquer Paseiro

ONCE again the British government has reacted arrogantly to Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands (Falkland Islands).

The United Kingdom is maintaining its recalcitrant attitude of rejecting any kind of dialogue. In a recent statement to the BBC, Prime Minister David Cameron discounted negotiations and stated that the country would always maintain vigilance over the islands located on the continental shelf of South America.

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New missile defence for Russian borders

by Dimitri Sudakov

A LONG-RANGE missile for Russia’s state-of-the-art S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapon system is to be deployed this year.

“As a matter of fact, we are at the stage when the development of the missile is about to be completed. I believe that the task will be accomplished in 2012,” General Alexander Zelin, the Commander in Chief of the Russian Air Force said.

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Democratic Korea Single-hearted unity goes ahead

JOINT editorial of Rodong Sinmun, Joson Inmingun and Chongnyon Jonwi:

“Glorify this year 2012 as a year of proud victory, a year when an era of prosperity is unfolding, true to the instructions of the great General Kim Jong Il!” called upon the Korean people to glorify the year 2012 as a year of single-hearted unity, a year of burning loyalty, when the political and ideological might that has been consolidated generation after generation following the great leaders and the great Party, will be given full play.

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US on the defensive, Hungary in turmoil

by Rob Gowland

SO FAR, 2012 has not turned out to be a resounding success for the USA, despite the way it likes to define itself as “the world’s only superpower”. Sure, it knocked off defenceless oil-rich Libya, but had to do so through Nato, with the unwelcome result that now it has to share Libya’s riches with European rival and periodic critic France.

Meanwhile, France’s European ally Germany has been lobbying the other EU states to accept a treaty that would enhance Germany’s economic position in Europe and automatically impose sanctions on countries that violated the terms of the treaty. The US felt this proposal did not assist US interests, and sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Europe to get the Germans to fall in with US preferences.

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Don Cornelius: his Soul Train instilled Black pride

by Monica Moorehead

AS A TEENAGER living in Hampton, Virginia, I would eagerly look forward to watching the TV show Soul Train every Saturday morning like millions of others in the United States, the majority of them Black people like me. Soul Train was the place to see the most popular Black artists, like the O’Jays, LaBelle, Al Green, Chaka Khan, the Jackson Five and many more, perform along with the incomparable Soul Train dancers. And at the end of each show, the creator of Soul Train, Don Cornelius, would tell the viewers in his rich, very cool baritone voice, “I wish you love, peace and soul.”

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