National News

No new war: don’t invade Iran

by New Worker correspondent

PEACE activists all around Britain and the world last Saturday — New Year’s Day in Iran, turned out to raise awareness of the dangers of a Nato attack on Iran — an action that is now definitely on the imperialist agenda.

In central London members and supporters of Stop the War gathered in front of the National gallery, overlooking Trafalgar Square, for speeches, music, poetry and a symbolic “die-in” to protest against Nato’s plans to bring death and destruction to the people of Iran as they did to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

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Tanker drivers vote for safety strike

PETROL tanker drivers employed by five major oil distribution companies voted for strike action in a ballot declared on Monday in a dispute over the fragmentation of their industry through outsourcing and a fall in safety standards.

The five companies are: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, BP, Shell and Esso. The call for strike action was supported by an average of 69 per cent from turnouts averaging 77.7 per cent across the five companies.

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New planning regulations

THE NEWS that the Con-Dem Coalition is planning to “simplify” planning regulations in England will have shaken stalwart Tories throughout the shire counties and exacerbated a rift between the county squirearchy and the banking profit-is-god sections of that party.

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NHS bosses warn Osborne

UNIONS representing hundreds of thousands of NHS employees attacked Government proposals to introduce local pay bargaining last week.

And this week it was the NHS employers who warned the Government it could lead to staff shortages, low morale and worse patient care.

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Come dine with Cameron

PRIME Minister David Cameron last week responded to the cash-for-access-and-influence scandal by claiming that all the millionaires he had invited to private dinners in his flat at Number 10 Downing Street were just private friends and that the dinners had nothing to do with Tory party fundraising.

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Mark Duggan: what are the police trying to hide?

THE INDEPENDENT Police Complaints Commission last week aroused suspicions when it announced that the inquest into the shooting dead of Mark Duggan last July by police in Tottenham — that sparked several days of angry rioting throughout the country — was to be postponed until next January — and even then it may not be held in an open court.

The IPCC says sensitive evidence of police decision-making may prevent an open hearing. Many are now asking: “What are the police trying to hide?”

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Injured student protester faces trial for violent disorder

ALFIE Meadows, a philosophy student who was involved in the student protests in December 2010 and received a serious head injury from a police baton, is now on trial for violent disorder at the demonstration.

Supporters of Alfie Meadows, 21, who underwent emergency surgery for his injuries, have demonstrated outside Kingston Crown Court, in Surrey, against what they say is an attempt to silence legitimate protest by pursuing the victim of an assault rather than investigating any police who allegedly carried it out.

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Police ballot on right to strike

POLICE officers in England and Wales are to be balloted on whether they should have the right to strike.

The Police Federation has also announced plans to hold a protest march and rally in London in May over cuts to police budgets and what they call the “unprecedented attack on policing by this Government”.

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International News

Luxembourg: cracks in the capitalist system

by Sergio Alejandro Gómez

NOT even where the capitalist system has achieved its highest levels of development has injustice been eliminated, says Ali Ruckert, the president of the Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL).

The tiny country of 500,000 people, which has one of the largest Gross Domestic Products per capita in the world, has not escaped the effects of Europe’s economic and social crisis.

“Poverty is increasing, the government is cutting social programmes and raising taxes, affecting the purchasing power of the workers,” said Ruckert.

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Attacks reveal Taliban influence in Afghan army

by Jawid Omid and Abdul Haleem in Kabul

A SERIES of deadly attacks by Afghans in army and police uniform on the Nato-led forces in Afghanistan demonstrates the degree of Taliban penetration into the fledgling Afghan security forces.

In the latest attacks, three soldiers with the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) fighting Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan lost their lives on Monday.

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Nato terror across the world

by Lisa Karpova

THE 24th March was the anniversary of a non-auspicious occasion: the entrance of Nato into the no-man’s land of aggression, war crimes and offensive operations. This is the anniversary of that day in 1999 when Nato brutally and savagely attacked Yugoslavia.

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Iran: ballots, talks and military capacity

by Ulises Canales

in Cairo

WHILE the long period of western pressure on Iran may lead us to believe that the military option is less likely, the Iranian authorities have promoted legislative elections and nuclear negotiations with the same caution they are using to guarantee their national defence.

The 2nd March election for 290 seats in the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, was a test of the Islamic government’s political capacity and astuteness. With the tactic of inclusiveness, it prevented a repeat of the disturbances that followed the June 2009 presidential elections.

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China: more live in cities, but reform still needed

by Lan Lan

in Shanghai

CHINA’S urbanisation rate has rocketed over the past three decades, but statistics don’t tell the whole story, and the country faces a challenge in improving the quality of urbanisation, senior officials said last weekend.

Urban residents accounted for 51.27 per cent of the population in 2011, compared with about 18 per cent in 1978 at the beginning of reform and opening-up, according to official figures.

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Russia finally has the Bulava

by Andrei Mikhailov

IT SEEMS that the longest epic story in the history of Russian missile technology is drawing to an end. Russian defence ministry officials have announced that the Bulava ballistic missile will be passed into service for the Russian Navy in October 2012.

If all goes well, the new intercontinental ballistic missile will become the basis for the naval component of Russia’s nuclear triad. The state flight tests of the new missile system have ended successfully, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.

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US: stop the war on Black youth!

Workers World (US)

TRAYVON Martin, a 17-year-old African-American youth, was shot in the chest and killed at point-blank range by a vigilante on 26th February in Sanford, Florida. Martin was unarmed as he was returning from a store when his young life was tragically cut short. The man who shot him, George Zimmerman — who lived in a gated community — has not been arrested as of this writing.

The 911 emergency number tapes of the exchange between the two, including the shot that killed Martin, have been released to the public. On these tapes, Martin can be heard pleading for his life before Zimmerman pulls the trigger.

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Death rays and the like

by Rob Gowland

THE SCIENTIFIC boys and girls who work for the US military, products of some of the best educational institutions in the USA, recently showed off their latest effort to move human civilisation forward: a “crowd control” pain ray. Rejoicing in the relatively innocuous name “Active Denial System”, the new US weapon sends out a high-frequency electromagnetic ray.

In other words, it is designed to do to demonstrators what a microwave oven does to porridge. And you don’t have to stick the demonstrator in the oven for it to be effective: the ray has a range of “seven football fields”. Whoopee!

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Jamaica: A Nation of Reggae

by Miguel Lozano

REPRESENTING the roots of music in Jamaica, former Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Patterson was chosen to accept the 2012 Association of the Reggae Industry prize awarded to the Skatalites, the legendary band he once managed.

The group, formed in 1963, is considered the father of Ska, a precursor of reggae and other trends in modern Jamaican music that symbolises the island’s culture across the world.

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