National News

Runcorn builders rebel against appalling conditions

CONSTRUCTION workers on a new giant power station in Runcorn on Merseyside last week walked out in an all-out strike at the shocking working conditions and lack of basic facilities.

“It takes the lads to vote with their feet and walk out before they’re taken seriously”, said one of the workers.

One of the many issues is the lack of toilets — just 12 of them for 600 workers and often some of them are locked. The ones that are open are reported to be in a truly dreadful condition.

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Defending south west NHS

A CONSORTIUM of national health trusts in South West England is planning to slash the pay, terms and conditions of health staff in the region in a bid to soften up the NHS for privatisation.

This was one of the key issues that prompted the giant union Unite, which represents thousands of health workers, to call a mass meeting in Bristol this Wednesday to discuss the defence of the NHS and to allow local people to express their anger at the Government betrayal of the NHS.

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Change in benefit will ‘exclude disabled’

DISABLED people will be “ghettoised and excluded from society” under the new benefit rules, according to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who is a wheelchair user and former Paralympic gold medal winner.

She said the Government needs to “think again” about changes to the new system of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

About 3.2 million people receive DLA of between £20.55 and £131.50 a week.

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Police pay cut

HOME SECRETARY Theresa May last week accepted a proposal from the Police Arbitration Tribunal to cut the starting salary for police constables by £4,000 a year to £19,000. This is expected to save the Government about £150 million.

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London Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament AGM

by New Worker correspondent

JEREMY Corbyn MP addressed the annual general meeting and conference of London Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament held at the Conway Hall last Saturday.

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International News

A brutal execution in Paris

Kurdistan National Congress

IN THE early hours of Thursday 10th January, in the heart of Paris, an appalling crime was perpetrated against the entire Kurdish nation: the cold-blooded shooting of three of our most dedicated Kurdish women activists.

The victims represent three generations of Kurdish women; the most senior victim was Sakine Canziz, a founder member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, who has since been playing a crucial role in the Kurdish women’s movement; Fidan Dogan (Rojbin) who was a member of the Kurdistan National Congress and the youngest casualty, Leyla Soylemez, an activist working on diplomatic relations.

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Fidel and Raul Castro meet Venezuelan leaders

by Lena Valverde

FIDEL CASTRO, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, and Cuban President Raul Castro met on Sunday with the Executive Vice President the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, who is visiting Cuba with other Venezuelan leaders.

During the meeting, the Cuban and Venezuelan leaders analysed the successful results of the Special Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Petrocaribe-ALBA, held recently in Caracas, and the promising prospects of these integration plans. The meeting also addressed aspects of the strategic alliance between both countries.

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The ‘Arab Spring’ two years on

by Andrei Ontikov

IT IS TWO years since the overthrow of Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali set off the domino chain of upheavals known as the “Arab Spring”. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh followed Ben Ali in rapid succession, and now Bahrain and Syria are on the wave’s crest. So what next for the Arab world?

Many experts believe that the Arab masses revolted because of abject poverty and lack of political freedom. At the same time, they also see a foreign hand behind the Arab Spring revolts. Indeed, Nato openly interfered in the conflict in Libya and continues to covertly interfere in the civil war in Syria. American diplomatic correspondence brought to light by Wikileaks, too, exposes direct western involvement in the events of the Arab Spring.

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DPR Korea calls for peace treaty

by Ed Newman

THE DEMOCRATIC People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has called for the dissolution of the United Nations Command (UNC) in South Korea and a peace treaty to replace the armistice that stopped the Korean War in 1953.

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UDA victim’s daughter to sue MOD

by Mark Moloney

THE DAUGHTER of a bricklayer gunned down in his home by an Ulster Defence Association death squad in 1988 is to sue the British Ministry of Defence (MOD), following newly-released information which shows British state collusion in the killing.

Twenty-nine-year-old father- of-two Terence McDaid was watching TV in the living room of his Newington Street home on 10th May 1988 when two UDA gunmen burst in and opened fire.

McDaid was shot seven times in the head and chest and died a short time later. His mother was shot in the leg. His wife, Maura, was lucky to escape uninjured as she tried to fight off one of the gunmen who attempted to shoot her in the head but missed. Terence’s two daughters, then eight and six, were also in the house at the time.

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A different way of ageing

by Luisa María Gonzalez

THE CERTAINTY that old age also includes room for one’s self-development is confirmed by the more than 85,000 graduates of the University of the Older Adult, a Cuban institution that has been operating for more than 12 years.

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Bangladeshi workers the worst victims of greed for profit

Workers World (US) conducted the following interview with Khalequzzaman, the general secretary of the revolutionary Socialist Party of Bangladesh, regarding the fire in a textile factory that took the lives of 124 workers, mostly women, on 24th November last year. The factory had produced clothing for Walmart and other major international retailers.

WW: What is the relationship between the big textile manufacturers and retailers in the imperialist countries like Walmart and Carrefour and the sweatshop owners in Bangladesh?

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What is the United Nations good for?

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE UNITED Nations Organisation was founded in 1945 to stop conflicts and provide a forum for debate, discussion and dialogue for crisis management. It costs around $15 billion a year to run, so in indexed terms it has already spent some one thousand billion dollars of taxpayers’ money. On err...?

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Guantánamo: death by dryboarding

by Ernesto Carmona

IN JUNE 2006, three prisoners were found dead in the US detention camp on the Guantánamo Naval Base, hanging in their cells from what looked like improvised nooses. Although the Defense Department (DoD) declared “death by suicide,” the US Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) found evidence to the contrary, including the fact that the prisoners’ hands were tied behind their backs.

The NCIS evidence suggests that they could have died during fatal interrogation sessions involving the controlled asphyxia technique or “dryboarding”, a variant of the submarine torture used in countries like Chile during the military dictatorship, which consisted of asphyxiating prisoners by placing a plastic bag over their heads or prolonged immersion with the mouth and nose under water.

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