National News

Cable to cut safety regulations

VINCE CABLE, the Business Secretary, last Monday dispelled any illusions that he might be a little less brutal in his policies towards the working class than his Tory Coalition colleagues by announcing his own bonfire of health and safety regulations — that could all too easily lead to a real bonfire of workers.

He plans to exempt many businesses, which are not recognised as especially hazardous, from health and safety inspections.

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Universal Credit warnings

THE CON-DEM Coalition’s plans to merge all tax credits paid to those in work into a single system could lead to serious hardship among families surviving on low pay, according to 70 organisations involved in family welfare.

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Unions vote for bank nationalisation

TRADE UNION delegates at this year’s annual TUC conference in Brighton votes in favour of a motion that called for the finance industry to be developed as a publicly owned and controlled key public service.

The role of the banks over the past five years and the scandalous levels of pay and bonuses awarded to senior bankers were condemned by congress.

The successful motion said the TUC believes the economic chaos could be ended through full public ownership of the sector and the creation of a publicly owned banking service, democratically and accountably managed.

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Low wage protest at Next in Brighton

THE GMB general union staged a protest outside the Brighton branch of the clothing chain Next, which is one of the worst offenders in the retail sector for low pay and high profits and there is a link between the two.The protest supported the call for the company to increase the wages of staff from national minimum wage of £ 6.08 per hour and below for young staff to a living wage of £7.20 per hour for all staff.

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Police privatisation chaos

THE GIANT union Unite last week warned that a tidal wave of protest at the privatisation of police services in England is gathering over what could become “a recipe for chaos” by the end of 2013.

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No gold without DLA

DANIELLE Brown, a gold medal winner in the Paralympics, last week said that Disability Living Allowance, which is about to be scrapped, made it possible for her to take part in the games.

She was the first Paralympian to speak out since the games began on the importance of the benefits and other financial support received by our elite disabled athletes.

Her comments will deliver a boost to disabled campaigners who fear the Government will use the success of Britain’s Paralympians as an excuse for cutting vital support to disabled people.

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The world’s young artists converge in Britain

YOUNG artists from 100 countries last Friday gathered in Nottingham for an event to showcase their work and a chance to shine.

World Event Young Artists 2012, the first of its kind, was attended by about 1,000 young artists, of whom more than 40 were from China, with their ages ranging from 16 to 30. The Chinese artists have brought with them artistic works, including paintings, sculptures, and photos.

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Winner takes all?

Reviewed by Daphne Liddle Winner Take All — China’s race for resources and what it means for us: by Dambisa Moyo; Allen Lane; hardback £20 (£12 from Amazon) 272pp including index and notes. ISBN 978-1-846-14503-2.

DAMBISA MOYO is a young African economist, born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia. She has studied classical capitalist economics at Oxford and Harvard and worked for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. But she sees the world of international capitalism very much through the eyes of an African and understands the impact of capitalism on Africa and what we call the Third World.

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International News

US ambassador killed in Libya

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE AMERICAN ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday when an enraged mob stormed the US consulate in Benghazi, the centre of the imperialist-sponsored revolt that toppled the Gaddafi government last year. Demonstrators surrounded the consulate on the anniversary of the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States, following reports that a new film insulting the Prophet Mohammed has been produced in America.

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New Greek protests against austerity

by Leandro

THOUSANDS of Greeks have once again flooded the streets to protest against a new set of austerity measures announced by the government, as representatives of international lenders are in Athens to assess the eligibility of the debt-laden country for the next bailout package.

Thousands of people joined demonstrations in the capital and the northern city of Thessaloniki on Saturday to protest at the government’s increasing public spending cuts, which they say have crippled their lives.

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FARC calls on people to back peace talks

ACN THE TOP leader of Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP), Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, also known as “Timochenko” has called on all Colombians to support forthcoming peace talks with the government of Juan Manuel Santos.

A video released last week by FARC representatives in Havana, showed Timochenko stressing his commitment to persevere in the struggle for peace, as he assured that the Colombian people will join the cause.

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Hollande struggles to revive French economy

by Thu Hang

THE FRENCH government is trying to revive its economy after a weak start to this year, underscoring the challenges facing newly elected President Francois Hollande as he seeks to control debt and deficit levels while delivering on a promise to foster growth domestically and in Europe.

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Features

Nato’s involvement in Syria

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

SHOCKING new reports have appeared about the active involvement of operationals from Nato countries in the Syrian conflict, training and aiding terrorist combat units and directing murderous strikes against government forces. The reports, if true, mean that the Nato leaders are liars when they claim aid to the Syrian terrorists is non-belligerent.

The report is written by Italian journalist Achille Lollo, correspondent of the publication Brasil de Fato [Reality Brazil], and editor of the TV programme Quadrante Informativo (Informative Quadrant). His research, involving the study of reports in several international publications, points towards the direct involvement of Nato operationals in combat operations, siding with the terrorists in confrontation with the Syrian authorities.

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The religious — and nutty — Right

by Rob Gowland

THE ATTITUDE of the religious Right towards women is much in the news as I write this. In the USA, Mitt Romney’s campaign for pre-selection as the Republican candidate against Obama for US President had to go into urgent damage control after one of his highly placed supporters expounded the pseudo-scientific notion of “legitimate rape”.

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Shadow Dancer: an MI5 v IRA thriller with the politics taken out

Reviewd by John Hedges

ANY FILM financed by BBC Films and the British Film Council (with a few bob from the Irish Film Board) is unlikely to be a box office production that portrays the IRA of recent decades fairly, particularly up against Britain’s own Security Service, MI5.

Shadow Dancer is based on the novel of the same name by Tom Bradby, political editor for ITN, who gets a cameo role in the early part of the better film he’s scripted from his book.

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