National News

Remploy workers occupy company offices

PROTESTS against the closure of Remploy factories are escalating, with a series of strikes planned and last Thursday (23rd August) a group of workers who had recently been sacked occupied the Leicester offices of the Government-owned company, which specialises in providing employment to workers with disabilities.

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Work experience at the Sun involved stripping

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists last week reacted angrily when it learnt that a young woman on work experience at the Sun newspaper has been asked to strip off and pose with a member of staff for mocked-up pictures of Prince Harry.

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Bankrupt NHS trust offered to private companies

THE DEPARTMENT of Health is offering the management of South London Healthcare Trust, which, on the verge of bankruptcy, went into administration in June, to private companies.

The trust comprises three hospitals: the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, the Queen Mary in Sidcup and the Princess Royal in Orpington. They have been dogged by enormous Private Finance Initiative debts for well over a decade.

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Disabled protest at ‘Atos Games’

DISABLED campaigners, along with their friends, families and supporters, took to the streets this week in the “Atos Games” — a protest at the involvement of the private company Atos in sponsoring the Paralympic Games.

The company is notorious for the work it does for the Department of Work and Pensions in assessing the capability to work of the disabled and long-term sick.

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BNP candidates for Police Commissioner

AS THE people of the West Midlands are about to take part in the first ever election of a Police Crime Commissioner in Britain, the racist British National Party plans to put forward candidates.

And local anti-fascists are concerned that a low electoral turnout — there has been little publicity and no mailings to voters — that the BNP could get a proportionately high vote.

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Bradford free school fails

THE DEPARTMET of Education has withdrawn all funding from a new free school in Bradford shortly before it was due to open because it failed to attract enough pupils.

It would have been one of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s flagship independent schools, which are run by faith organisations, parents’ groups or charities. They are independent of local authority control and funded by central Government.

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A history of Burston — a history of struggle

by Robert Laurie

THIS WEEKEND sees the Norfolk village of Burston celebrate the establishment of the famous Strike School on the village green. In 1914 two popular teachers, the husband and wife team of Tom and Kitty Higdon, were dismissed from their posts at Burston on trumped up charges of assaulting a pupil and “discourtesy to the Managers”. They did not go quietly.

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International News

Israeli court denies justice for peace activist

by Mark Moloney

AN ISRAELI COURT has cleared the Israeli Defence Forces of any wrongdoing in the crushing to death of a 23-year-old US peace activist, Rachel Corrie, near Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, in March 2003.

A statement from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, set up by her parents following her death, said: “While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness.”

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NAM conference begins in Tehran

by Leandro

REPRESENTATIVES from more than 100 countries took part in the Non-Aligned Movement conference, which began in the Iranian capital,Tehran, on Sunday.

At the opening ceremony Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi hailed Egypt’s efforts during the past three years, which “have had considerable effect on the progress of NAM’s programmes” and he also invited delegates to tour Iran’s nuclear facilities and verify that they are being used for peaceful purposes.

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French jobless hits new high

by Ed Newman

THE NUMBER of people out of work in France rose for the 15th month in a row in July to reach its highest level in more than 13 years, in the latest grim news for France’s stagnating economy.

French Labour Ministry data released on Monday showed that the number of registered jobseekers in mainland France rose by 41,300 last month to 2.987 million, in the biggest monthly increase since the 2008-09 financial crisis.

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US caught in Afghan trap

People’s Daily (Beijing)

TWO INCIDENTS that occurred last week have once again put US troops in Afghanistan into an awkward position.

The first was when the special plane of General Martin Dempsey, the chief of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was bombed in Afghanistan.

Foreign troops in Afghanistan have been frequently attacked by Afghan security guards. Since the beginning of 2012, 32 incidents of this kind have occurred, claiming lives of 40 foreign soldiers. US soldiers, in a hard fight against the Taliban militia, now have to be wary of the Afghan military police, whom they personally trained. Therefore it can be imagined that their situation is extremely difficult.

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Tutu snubs war criminal Blair

ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU withdrew from a one-day leadership summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last week, because he would not share a platform with Tony Blair.

The veteran peace campaigner said Blair’s support for the Iraq war was “morally indefensible” and it would be “inappropriate” for him to appear alongside him.

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South Africa: Police massacre of striking miners

by Abayomi Azikiwe

STRIKING platinum miners have defied Lonmin Platinum PLC’s back to work orders and continue their industrial action in Marikana, South Africa, despite a horrific police massacre and threats of termination. This is the British-based, multibillion-dollar firm’s latest ultimatum to the mineworkers, who walked off their jobs on 10th August to protest against low salaries and poor working conditions.

On 16th August, police opened fire with automatic weapons on hundreds of striking miners, killing 34 workers and wounding 78 others. They failed to disperse from a hill near the mining facility, which is located outside Rustenburg in South Africa’s North West province.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma declared a week of mourning. The South African people have been in a state of shock and outrage since a week of violence culminated with the police massacre of the striking miners.

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‘Chile needs a sweeping change’

by Tania Peña

CHILE needs a sweeping change to restore social power, and that is precisely the objective of the struggle to renationalise the country’s copper industry, said Esteban Silva, leader of the Chilean Socialist Party (Allendé Party).

Silva said this was the importance of celebrating the 11th July, Day of National Dignity, on the 41st anniversary of the nationalisation of the copper industry by the Salvador Allendé government (1970-1973).

“Celebrating the nationalisation of copper by that People’s Unity (UP) government is highly significant in the framework of the social struggles and mobilisations taking place in Chile this year,” said Silva, a well-known leftist leader.

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