National News

Oppressive conditions provoke Job Centre strike

JOBCENTRE workers who deal with calls from people entitled to benefits and crisis loans went on strike on Monday over oppressive working conditions and unrealistic targets.

More than 6,000 PCS members in 32 call centres in England, Scotland and Wales have reignited industrial action first taken last year against draconian conditions that prevent them from providing the kind of service callers require and deserve.

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British trade deficit grows

BRITAIN’S trade deficit grew rapidly in June to its highest level since 1997 according to official figures.

The deficit, which measures how much imported goods and services exceed exports, rose to £4.3 billion in June from £2.7 billion in May.

The rise was driven by a 4.6 per cent month-on-month fall in the value of UK exports to eurozone and non-European Union countries.

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Con-Dems move goal posts to removing goal posts!

THE CON-DEM government continues to show breath-taking hypocrisy in the wake of the Olympic Games by claiming to be promoting sport and exercise among young people but at the same time introducing new rules that will make it easier for schools to sell off playing fields.

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Housing Association face £8,000 pay cut — or sack

THE GIANT union Unite has warned that the board of the London-based One Housing Group has told its workers they must agree to a, £8,000 pay cut or a quarter of them will be made redundant.

The union is now asking the housing association, which manages 13,000 homes in London and the south east, to reconsider its decision which could see 245 staff face losing their jobs in September.

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Government lies on mental health exposed

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week criticised new Government figures that reveal new spending cuts on mental health care provision.

Christina McAnea, Unison’s head pf health, said: “The Government’s promises to protect health spending are once again exposed as a sham. And true to form it is some of the most vulnerable people in our society who are paying the price.

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No jobs for the over-50s

BRITAIN is failing its older job seekers and the recession is widening the gap, according to a report published last week by the Resolution Foundation.

If this country were to match the employment rates of the top five performing countries, 1.5 million people aged between 50 and 64 would be in employment. Unemployment among the over-50s in Britain has risen by 53 per cent since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008 and the country has fallen from 10th to 15th out of 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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Public sector pension cuts cost workers £8.5 billion

THE CIVIL service union PCS last Tuesday reported that Government cuts to public sector pensions will cost workers £8.5 billion a year, forcing them to work longer for a smaller pension when they do retire.

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Cuban artists at the London Olympics

by Damian Donestevez

WORKS by renowned Cuban artists, such as Flora Fong, Ever Fonseca, Rigoberto Mena and Luis Enrique Camejo went on display in London last week at the invitation of the 2012 Olympic Arts Committee.

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The Olympics: glory and controversy

by Zhu Dongyang

WITH THE flames going out at the closing ceremony Sunday night, the 2012 London Summer Olympics wrapped up mostly in happiness and glory, but the Games were not immune from controversy in and out of the sports arenas.

The 16-day event was dubbed by Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as “happy and glorious Games” and they indeed turned out to be a success going far beyond the expectations of many Londoners and audiences around the world.

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International News

Syrian journalists caught in crossfire

Xinhua news agency

SYRIA’S pro-government al-Ekhbariya TV announced on Monday that its photographer Hatem Abu Yahia, who was kidnapped three days ago along with three other mates, has been killed.

Video footage posted on YouTube showed three of the kidnapped employees announcing the death of their colleague and claiming that he was killed during the government’s shelling of the Damascus suburb of al-Tal, where the four were kidnapped Friday.

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Situation under control at South African mine

Xinhua news agency

POLICE claimed last Tuesday that the situation has been brought under control at a platinum mine in the North West province following violence that claimed the lives of at least nine people.

“At this stage no other incidents were reported throughout Monday night,” Captain Dennis Adriao said, adding that the situation was now stable. He said the police were continuing to monitor the situation at the Lonmin mine, which had been plagued by violent protests in the past few days.

The miners walked out on Friday after their demand for a 12 per cent pay rise was turned down.

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Ecuador considers Assange asylum case

by Xelcis Presno

ECUADORIAN President Rafael Correa will respond to a request for political asylum made by the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, after a meeting with diplomats working on the negotiations with Britain and Sweden on the case.

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Iran doubles aid to earthquake victims

by Ed Newman

IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that he will double government assistance to people hit by Saturday’s 6.4 and 6.3 magnitude earthquakes.

Iran has now raised its calculation of the death toll from the twin earthquakes to 306 — one day after rescuers called off the search for survivors. Health officials told a session of Iranian parliament on Monday that the number of dead had jumped by about 50 after victims died in area hospitals. More than 3,000 people were injured in the earthquakes.

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South Ossetia four years later

by Roman Mamonov

LAST WEEK marked four years since Georgia invaded South Ossetia on 8th August 2008 and the anniversary was marked in Russia and South Ossetia with remembrance ceremonies for those killed during the armed conflict.

President Vladimir Putin for the first time recounted his role in the South Ossetian operation while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during his visit to Tskhinvali that the decisions taken in 2008 were “correct and timely”.

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Zimbabwe:Conditions for African farmers improve after land reform

by Abayomi Azikiwe

THE IMPERIALIST states are very concerned about the success of the land redistribution programme in Zimbabwe.

Black Zimbabweans lost their land during the colonial era, beginning in the late 19th century. In 1998 it became clear that the Republic of Zimbabwe in southern Africa would take action regarding long-delayed promises to distribute land to African farmers.

Consequently over the last 14 years the Zimbabwe government has come under vicious attack by the imperialist states.

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US social conditions create racist massacre

by Kris Hamel

THE TERROR of yet another mass killing struck in the heartland of the United States on 5th August when alleged shooter Wade Michael Page opened fire in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Oak Creek is a suburb of about 35,000, located 12 miles south of Milwaukee. Six people were killed and three were critically injured. According to eyewitnesses, a cop killed Page as he was shooting another police officer.

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