National News

London rally links with global anti-Nato protest

by New Worker correspondent

HUNDREDS of people gathered in Grosvenor Square, outside the United States embassy, last Saturday to demonstrate solidarity with peace protesters in Chicago outside the meeting of Nato chiefs to reinforce the worldwide demand for an end to the war in Afghanistan and to say “Hands Off Iran” and “Hands Off Syria”.

The London event — one of dozens around the globe — was organised jointly by the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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Coalition retreat on Beecroft proposals

BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable last Monday signalled that the Con-Dem Coalition government is about to ditch controversial proposals from Tory donor Adrian Beecroft that would remove all employment rights and protections from workers in Britain.

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Police to take mobile phone data

LONDON’S Metropolitan Police Force has invested new technology that will extract all the data — history, texts and contacts — from the mobile phones of anyone arrested and store the information, even if the suspect is not charged or is subsequently acquitted.

The technology is being used in 16 London boroughs, and could potentially be used by police across Britain.

The campaign group, Privacy International, described the move as a “possible breach of human rights law”.

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Who would trust privatised police?

THE GIANT union Unite last week revealed the results of a survey it commissioned, which shows that 61 per cent of people would be less likely to report a crime if they knew that a private company was in charge of their personal data.

The poll comes as plans to privatise parts of the police force unravel, with the announcement that the pilot forces in the West Midlands and Surrey are to bow to pressure for greater public consultation on the plans.

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Recession increases mental distress

MENTAL health charity Mind last week reported a surge in calls to its helplines since the start of the recession.

Advisors at the charity say calls about personal finance and employment issues have doubled since 2008.

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Second strike by Tilbury dockers

DOCKERS at Tilbury last Monday staged a second strike in their dispute with Enterprise Distribution Centre (EDC) over the arbitrary introduction of new contracts.

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NUJ victory over police film demands

PHOTO journalists were celebrating last week when the National Union of Journalists and other media organisations have won the judicial review at the Court of Appeal following the decision by Chelmsford Crown Court to grant the Dale Farm footage production order.

The decision to force journalists to hand over Unbroadcast film footage has been overturned.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Today is a huge victory for the cause of press freedom and the protection of sources and journalistic material.

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Benefit cuts threaten Paralympians

BRITAIN’S best known greatest Paralympian, Lady Tanni Grey-Thompson, has warned that disability benefit cuts will affect the development of top athletes and undermine the Games’ key legacy aim of widening access to sport for disabled people.

Hundreds of thousands of working-age people will lose disability benefits over the next four years as a result of the Government’s controversial welfare reforms.

Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals as a wheelchair athlete, said disability living allowance (DLA) had been crucial in enabling her and many other disabled athletes to participate and compete.

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Racist constable

A METROPOLITAN Police special constable was convicted of racially abusing a man on a Croydon train last Monday.

Luke Smith, 27, was fined £300 for racially abusing a 48-year-old member of rail staff on board a train travelling between Gatwick and East Croydon on 5th October last year.

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The Politics of Literature

Reviewed by Andy Brooks

British Communism and the Politics of Literature 1928-1939: Philip Bounds, 320pp, Merlin Press 2012, £18.95.

OTHER people’s PhD dissertations seldom make for easy reading and Philip Bounds’ book, based on his thesis submitted to Swansea University in 2003, is no exception.

Nevertheless this comprehensive and well-researched study of the role of communist intellectuals during the hey-day of the old Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) is a must for all serious students of our movement and the literature that it produced.

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Bauhaus: art as life

by Anton Johnson

THIS SUMMER the Barbican is holding the first exhibition of Bauhaus in London for over 40 years. The Bauhaus school was founded in Germany in 1919 on Socialist-Utopian ideas and the Arts & Crafts movement — to bring art and technology together. The first school was based in Weimar then moving to Dessau to a purpose-built facility in 1925.

Bauhaus saw play and fun as a starting point for creativity with a collective approach. The school had for that time a very progressive admissions policy, with women being allowed equal entry and in the mid-1920’s the majority of students were under 30 years of age.

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International News

Iran seeks change of attitude from West

Xinhua news agency

ON THE EVE of the Baghdad nuclear talks between Iran and the world’s major powers on Wednesday, the Iranian officials called for West’s “change of attitude” towards Iran’s nuclear programme and removal of sanctions against the Islamic republic.

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Cordoba accuses Uribe of plotting

Radio Havana

FORMER Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba said that there is a “destabilising situation” on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, which she attributes to “a defence strategy” of the country’s former President Alvaro Uribe, who she said feels “visceral hatred” toward Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

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Syrian rebels abduct pilgrims

Xinhua news agency

SYRIAN rebels abducted around 12 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Tuesday, prompting their relatives to protest in Lebanon’s capital Beirut.

The pilgrims were on their way back to Lebanon from a trip to religious sites in Iran, Al Jadeed TV channel reported. The report said the kidnapping took place in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, shortly after the buses carrying Lebanese pilgrims crossed Turkish-Syrian borders.

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China-Africa cooperate in agriculture

Xinhua news agency

THE CHINA-AFRICA Development Fund (CADFund), the Chinese state fund promoting investment cooperation between China and Africa, is considering entering into partnerships with agriculture development banks in some African countries to expand investment, the fund’s vice president Hu Zhirong said.

China’s cooperation with African development banks dates back to 1985 when the government started supporting the Africa Development Bank (AfDB). Since then China has been providing aid to the African banks.

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Cuba relations with Seychelles

Radio Havana

SEYCHELLES’ foreign minister, Jean Paul Adam, who is on an official visit to Cuba, thanked his counterpart Bruno Rodriguez for the island’s cooperation in several fields and said relations with Cuba are essential for his country’s development plans.

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Features

The Leveson Inquiry

by Neil Harris

WHEN Lord Hutton produced his long-awaited report into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, people were surprised that his conclusions were so out of step with the evidence. Instead of exposing those who had launched a war of aggression based on lies, the only people who were to lose their jobs as a result of that report were those who had challenged the supposed basis for the illegal invasion of Iraq: the journalist Andrew Gilligan, the BBC’s director general Greg Dyke and Chair of Governors, Gavin Davies.

It is also likely that, despite its conclusions about Murdoch and News International, the parliamentary committee on culture, media and sport will only see one person jailed as a result of its hearings: the hapless Jonnie Marbles who got four weeks for throwing a custard pie at Rupert Murdoch.

Now with Lord Justice Leveson floating the idea that his report does not even need to consider individual wrong-doing, on top of his indication that it is not his priority to make findings of fact, it looks as though we are facing Hutton II. This means that unless one of the witnesses makes a foolish admission of wrong-doing on oath, the report will deal with generalities only.

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