National News

Blacklist victims sue construction giants

CONSTRUCTION workers whose working lives have been blighted by the operation of an illegal blacklist last week launched a High Court claim against Sir Robert McAlpine for around £17 million, which they say could rise to £600 million.

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Work Capability cruelty exposed

THERE HAVE been significant moves in the campaign to expose and bring to an end the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WCA) programme, in which the Department of Worker and Pensions, through the agency of the private French-based company Atos, assess all claimants to sickness and disability benefits with the aim of drastically cutting the number of claimants and to save the Treasury £10 billion a year.

It is a process that has led to large numbers of seriously disabled and ill people being told they are fit for work and force onto the lower level benefit Job Seekers’ Allowance and made to look for work.

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Police kettle cyclists as Olympics open

THE METROPOLITAN Police last Friday used the opening of the Olympics as an excuse to attack the regular monthly Critical Mass cycle ride around central London.

The police have never liked this event, which has no organisers and no pre-planned route and takes place on the last Friday of each month.

In 2005 they tried to stop them by handing out notices informing participants of the requirement under section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 to notify the police of the route of any “public procession” — and the criminal consequences of failing to do so. This notification requirement doesn’t apply to processions “commonly or customarily held” and a legal case that went all the way to the House of Lords established that Critical Mass comes within this exception.

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Disabled attacked as ‘benefit scroungers’

Disabled people suffer further from Government-backed media campaigns that describe them as “benefit scroungers” according to a survey published last week by the disability charity Scope.

Disabled people report that they are increasingly confronted by strangers questioning their right to support.

Of those who responded to the survey, 46 per cent said people’s attitudes towards them have got worse over the past year; 73 per cent experienced the assumption that they don’t work; 83 per cent say coverage about benefits scroungers can negatively affect attitudes; 87 per cent say benefit scroungers themselves have a negative effect on attitudes.

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Homeless up by a quarter

THE NUMBER of households declared in need of emergency accommodation in England rose by about 25 per cent over the past three years, new figures suggest.

The data company SSentif said some 50,290 families and individuals were classed as homeless in 2011/12, up from 40,020 in 2009/10.

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A bad week for the BNP

THE FASCIST British National Party last week experienced a series of defeats on the streets and at the ballot box in its efforts to re-establish itself after a disastrous couple of years of wipe-outs in elections, internal division and virtual bankruptcy, which forced it to implement its own massive internal cuts programme.

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Shelter Scotland urges end to right-to-buy policy

THE HOUSING charity Shelter in Scotland has urged ministers to scrap the right to buy for council and housing association tenants.

Shelter Scotland said the move would encourage local authorities to invest more in social housing. The charity claimed 10,000 new social houses were needed a year to meet current demand.

The Scottish government is currently consulting on reforming the right-to-buy policy, with the option of scrapping it in the future.

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International News

Car workers’ rebellion shakes India

by Stephen Millies

WE REMEMBER that auto mogul Henry Ford employed 3,000 gangsters at his Rouge plant outside Detroit to try to stop workers from joining the United Auto Workers. But company violence couldn’t stop the union drive at Ford, and it won’t stop the workers in India.

Most recently Indian car workers at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant rebelled on 18th July against company goons and police. The huge factory, located 20 miles south of Delhi, India, can produce 550,000 cars per year.

The rebellion was sparked by a supervisor who abused and insulted a Dalit worker — whose caste used to be known as “the untouchables” — and then the worker protested. Instead of taking any action against the supervisor and without any investigation, company managers suspended the worker.

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Pastors for Peace Caravan returns to US

by Leandro

MEMBERS of the 23rd US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan organised by IFCO/Pastors for Peace will return on Tuesday to the United States, after a 10-day stay in Cuba in which they shared with the people and visited sites of interest.

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Assange's Mother in Ecuador

by Ed Newman

THE MOTHER of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange met Ecuadorian authorities on Monday to urge them to grant her son asylum. Christine Assange, who arrived in the capital city Quito over the weekend, told reporters she will appeal to Ecuador's stance on human rights during her meeting.

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Dissidents cannot achieve a united Ireland

by John Hedges

SINN FéIN MLA Gerry Kelly says the reported coming together of the “Real IRA”, Republican Action against Drugs (RAAD) and a number of other micro-republican factions will not achieve anything and not a united Ireland.

“They have no strategy and their aims are as clear as mud,” the Northern Ireland Assembly member for North Belfast said.

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Ireland: Remembering the Past Rifles for the Irish Volunteers

An Phoblacht

REPUBLICAN LEADERS in 1913 decided that it was an opportune time to challenge England's illegal occupation of Ireland through force of arms or threat of armed revolt. Following their establishment to the Irish Volunteers in the Rotunda Rink, Dublin, on 25th November 1913 they set about arming and equipping the new force.

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40 years weaving pictures of Ho Chi Minh

Nhan Dan

ARTISAN Nguyen Van Trung has spent his whole life working as a bamboo and rattan weaver and has created many valuable products imbued with humane values. He has a great passion for creating portraits of President Ho Chi Minh and has spent most of his time indulging in his passion.

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African states meet in Beijing

by Abayomi Azikiwe

A TWO-DAY meeting on 19/20th July in Beijing was the focus of international attention as ministers from 50 African states held discussions with officials of the People’s Republic of China. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) also attracted the heads of state of six of these countries: South Africa, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti and Niger. Also attending was United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

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Australia: what the papers say today

by Rob Gowland

I PICKED up a recent copy of the Sydney Morning Herald that was lying around in the lounge room and selected a varied slew of items from it for this week’s column. I figured I had better get in before it goes the way of other papers owned by filthy rich individuals (the name Murdoch springs to mind, don’t know why).

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