National News

Vigil for dead Afghans

by New Worker correspondent

PEACE activists gathered in Trafalgar Square on Monday evening for a vigil organised by Stop the War to express their shock and outrage at the cold-blooded massacre of 16 civilians, nine of them children, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on Sunday.

The imperialist authorities maintain the culprit was a single individual United States sergeant. But freelance photo journalist Guy Smallman, who travelled to Afghanistan a few years ago to report on the effect of the war on the Afghan people, told the Trafalgar Square rally that the contacts he had made there had been in touch and said that there was definitely more than “one rogue soldier” involved.

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Freeing the language of tribunals

THE GIANT union Unite last week launched a campaign to reverse the privatisation of court interpreting, as service descends “into chaos”.

The privatisation of the court and tribunal interpreting service is hampering the justice system for those that don’t have English as their first language.

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Benefit cuts that will devastate single parents

THE SAVE the Children charity warned changes to the benefits system and the introduction of the Universal Credit” could hit 150,000 single mothers, some of whom could lose £68 a week. This would affect around 250,000 children.

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Students face a lifetime of debt

UNIVERSITY students throughout the country staged a Day of Action this Wednesday (14th March) to demand that David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science “Come Clean” about the effects of the latest Government proposals for higher education in Britain. The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the National Union of Students say that under his new fee regime students will face a lifetime of debt.

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NHS staff suffer wage cut

UNISON, the large union representing 460,000 NHS workers, last Tuesday condemned the Government’s decision not to give a pay rise to nurses, therapists, paramedics, midwives and other health staff for the second year running. The cut means that health staff have seen the value of their wages fall by 11.6 per cent since the Con-Dem Coalition came to power.

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Insurance to replace legal aid?

JUSTICE Minister Jonathan Djangoly is proposing that people be encouraged to take out insurance cover for catastrophic events as a replacement for legal aid, according to documents revealed by the Guardian last week.

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Women face brunt of job cuts

THE LATEST unemployment figures released on Wednesday show that unemployment rose in the last three months by 28,000 and that women losing their jobs accounted for the vast majority of the increase.

Youth unemployment, among 16 to 24-year-olds, also rose — by 16,000, a rate of 22.5 per cent compared to the overall rate 8.4 per cent.

Figures released earlier in the week showed that young black youths now face an unemployment rate of over 50 per cent.

Unemployment amongst women increased by over 22,000 with male unemployment increasing by over 5,000. This is because most of the job cuts have been in the public sector, which employs a higher proportion of women.

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Homelessness rising fast

OFFICIAL figures published by the UK Statistics Authority last week showed that the number of households accepted as homeless is rising alarmingly.

Between 1st October 2011 and 31st December 2011 was 12,830 — which is 18 per cent higher that during the same quarter in 2010.

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Honouring Karl Marx

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 200 people gathered last Sunday in the spring sunshine in Highgate Cemetery to pay their respects at the grave of Karl Marx on the anniversary of his death on 14th March 1883.

They included representatives of the Vietnamese, Cuban and Chinese embassies as well as delegation from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Tudeh Party of Iran.

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Searchlight: the magazine they couldn’t ban

Reviewed by Andy Brooks

FEW ON the left, or indeed the extreme right, will have not heard of Searchlight. Back in 1975 when the National Front and their skinhead gangs were trying to kick their way to power Searchlight magazine was launched to expose the racist and neo-Nazi movements that were inciting racist violence on the streets.

Check it out yourself by ordering a copy from your local bookshop or send £24 for an annual subscription to: Searchlight, PO Box 1576, Ilford IG5 ONG.

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The IRA in British prisons

Reviewed by Theo Russell

LAST WEEK the London Irish Centre saw the London launch of Special Category: The IRA in English Prisons by Dr Ruán O’Donnell of Limerick University, the first detailed history on the subject. He told the New Worker that at the outset he had no idea it would become such a huge project.

Special Category: The IRA in English Prisons, Vol 1: 1968-1978 by Ruán O’Donnell. Irish Academic Press, Dublin, hardback £45 / paperback £19.95

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International News

Afghan puppet delegation attacked at massacre site

by Ed Newman

TALIBAN militiamen have attacked an Afghan government delegation that was visiting one of the two villages where a US soldier killed at least 17 civilians in cold blood.

The delegation, which included two of President Hamid Karzai’s brothers and other senior officials, was holding a memorial service on Tuesday in a mosque for the civilians killed on Sunday when the shooting began.

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Egypt declares Israel number one enemy

by Leandro

THE PEOPLE’S Assembly of the Egyptian parliament has unanimously approved a text declaring Israel as the number one enemy of Egypt and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and a halt to natural exports to Israel.

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Truth about Tibet slowly coming to light

by Gao Lei

SOME 2,000 pro-Dalai Lama Tibetans marched in New York last Saturday to mark their so-called “uprising against Chinese rule” in 1959. In March that year, millions of serfs were liberated from the harsh rule of the Dalai Lama after his failed military attempt to restore the former slave regime in Tibet.

As the Tibetan question has emerged in recent decades, a politically motivated international media has increasingly scrutinised this holy land and the original facts have been twisted to serve the purpose of the Dalai Lama group and his Western supporters.

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Portuguese now poorest in Europe

Radio Havana Cuba

PERHAPS to counter the outrage caused by comments on his own income last month, conservative Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva has now admitted that some of the austerity measures approved by the government have not taken into account what he called the delicate social situation in certain sectors.

The conservative leader was trying to appease the anger of his compatriots, who recently heard him lament that his huge salary, over 11 times higher than the national average, is still too “small” to cover his expenses.

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Workers and youth hit the streets of Europe

by John Catalinotto

THE EUROPEAN ruling class is still focusing its weapons against the Greek workers. But now all European workers are under attack. In the week that ended 26th February some of the hardest class battles took place in Spain. There, in the fourth biggest economy in the Eurozone, the official unemployment rate stands at over 21 per cent.

On 19th February the two largest Spanish union confederations, the CCOO and the UGT, which represent 80 per cent of organised labour, called a countrywide protest. According to the organisers, more than one million people joined the actions, held in 57 cities across Spain that attacked the government’s new labour “reforms.”

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US imperialism and its hatred towards Cuba

by Sinay Cespedes Moreno

THE ECONOMIC crisis is serious. Hatred towards Cuba is even greater, with funds that should be set aside to benefit people being spent instead to finance hostile actions against the island. After criticising Congress’s lack of leadership on the economic problems facing the United States, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on 9th November giving government authorities 45 days to come up with a savings plan.

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Colombian political prisoner Lily Obando free

by Tom Burke

COLOMBIAN political prisoner Liliany “Lily” Obando is now free, released on bond from prison where she spent over three-and-a-half years on charges of “rebellion”. Obando is today hugging her elderly mother and two children. The International Network in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (INSPP) is celebrating the freedom of this powerful Colombian woman labour activist and human rights defender.

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