National News

NHS in danger now — your help needed

CAMPAIGERS fighting to save the National Health Service last week raised alarms over Con-Dem Coalition plans to sneak in secondary legislation (under Section 75 of the Health and Social Car Bill passed last year) to force almost every part of the NHS into compulsory competitive markets.

The London Health Emergency (LHS) campaign is calling on everyone to act now to ensure this measure does get debated — and defeated — in Parliament.

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Free our hero Bradley!

by New Worker correspondent

CROWDS of people gathered in Grosvenor Square outside the Unites States Embassy last Saturday in a noisy and colourful assembly to demand the release of US Army Private Bradley Manning — the man who, allegedly, leaked thousands of embarrassing classified US army documents to Wikileaks, who published them on the internet.

The event was part of a global day of action with more than 70 events in 15 different countries to mark Bradley’s 1000th day in prison without trial.

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New wave of council cuts to hit Birmingham

THE PEOPLE of Birmingham are facing a new round of savage local government spending cuts that will devastate voluntary sector projects.

The proposed cut of £4.4 million to the Community and Voluntary sector organisations providing preventative children’s services is the largest single cut within next year’s Children and Young People’s budget and will halve the available funding.

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Work programme farce must end now

THE GIANT union Unite last week called for the Government to abandon its flagship work programme, after it had been shown up as a costly failure.

The call came as the respected Public Accounts Committee issues its report into the scheme today (Friday) which reveals that the multi-billion pound scheme has only a 3.6 per cent success rate when it comes to finding paid employment for those seeking work.

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Rail unions defend safety of sleepy passengers

THE RMT transport union is opposing directions from London Underground to Bakerloo line drivers to drive out-of-service trains into depots and sidings without checking first that all passengers have got off the train.

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The Department for Education cannot add up

LAWYERS for the civil service union PCS are “totally mystified” by the Department for Education’s claim it is not making redundancies while shedding 1,000 jobs.

The DfE’s permanent secretary Chris Wormald has been warned the department will face hundreds of unfair dismissal claims if it presses ahead.

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Strike over bullying on London Overground

TRANSPORT UNION RMT confirmed last week that security and safety staff employed by STM Security Group on London Overground services will be taking strike action next week in a dispute over bullying and harassment and an attempt to impose workplace changes without agreement.

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Work Your Proper Hours Day

THE BROADCASTING union Bectu is supporting the TUC’s with two campaigns running to address excessive hours in programme production — one in factuals in the independent sector — and the other in the BBC.

As the TUC advised in January, if staff who regularly work unpaid overtime did all their extra hours from the start of the year they wouldn’t get paid until 1st March 2013.

The TUC has named this day Work Your Proper Hours Day to celebrate their hard work.

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Anti-fascists outnumber EDL 20-1 in Cambridge

by New Worker correspondent

THE ISLAMOPHOBIC English Defence League last Saturday were hoping to regenerate their failing organisation with a national rally in Cambridge last Saturday.

Realising that could be a little overambitious in the current state they downgraded the event to a local rally but, on a freezing day, they managed only to rally about 35 supporters.

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Fascism’s impact on the gay community

by New Worker correspondent

THE CAMPAIGNING group Queers Against the Cuts last Friday was host to a packed meeting at Clapham Library in south London on the Rise of Fascism in Europe and its impact on the LGBT community.

The meeting focussed on the effects of the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s and its impact on Berlin’s vibrant gay community and the current rise of fascism in Europe — and especially Greece — and the impact this is having on gay rights.

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The reconfiguration of Britain’s Far Right

by New Worker correspondent

GERRY GABLE, the editor and publisher of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, addressed a meeting at the City of London University called by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

He spoke on the reconfiguration of Britain’s Far Right, taking a look at not only the demise of the British National Party and English Defence League but the newly re-emergent Ultra-Conservative scene, as well as the new British Democratic Party that aims to replace the BNP.

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International News

Italy’s election results point to crisis

by Ed Newman

WITH ALL domestic votes counted in Italy’s general elections, Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre- left bloc won the lower house vote, but has failed to secure a majority in the Senate. Control of both houses is needed to govern in Italy.

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100 million join general strike in India

by Gene Clancy

THE WORKING and oppressed classes of India showed their strength and determination last week with a two-day general strike that completely shut down many parts of the country and deeply affected many more.

The All-India General Strike was called jointly by 11 Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations of Workers and Employees, many of which are affiliated with progressive or leftist parties.

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Cyprus: election rightwing win

by Gary Bono

THE FIRST round of the presidential election in Cyprus concluded on 17th February with three candidates emerging out of a field of 10. The overall voter turn-out was more than 80 per cent.....

The vote of Lillikas’ supporters was critical in the second round held on 24th February. The rightwing Anastiades won with 57.5 per cent of the vote to Malas’ 42.5 per cent.

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Mass resistance in Tunisia to leftist leader’s murder

by John Catalinotto

THE 500,000 members of Tunisia’s union federation shut down this North African country’s major cities on 8th February as tens of thousands joined the funeral march in Tunis of Chokri Belaïd, slain leader of the Unified Patriotic Democratic Movement, a Marxist and pan-Arabist organisation. According to reports, masked killers gunned down Belaïd in his car on the morning of 6th February outside his home in Tunis.

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The country that attacks first will die 27 minutes later

by Oksana Zenner

THE INTERNATIONAL Peace Prize ceremony was held in Dresden. Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov became the prize-winner this year. On 26th September1983, Stanislav Petrov prevented the beginning of a potential nuclear war.

During his shift on the Soviet airspace control system he received a report that the US was planning an attack against the USSR.

Petrov remembers that there was shock, bewilderment, and confusion that could easily grow into panic when the “red button” could be pushed.

Lieutenant Colonel Petrov immediately reported the message to senior commanders, but he thought it was perhaps an error and decided to perform a diagnostic systems check. After his decision to further investigate, it turned out that the system had failed and the alarm was false. Stanislav Petrov has shared the memories of this event with Oksana Tsenner:

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Japan raises military tensions with China

by Masao Suzuki

IN THE past few days the Japanese government has accused China provoking Japanese navy ships near the Chinese Diaoyu Islands, which lie about 120 miles northeast of Taiwan. The new nationalist Japanese government is continuing to increase military tensions with China by sending naval forces and military aircraft to the islands, which are occupied by Japan, which calls them the Senkaku Islands. In addition, the US still recognises the Japanese occupation and says that it will back Japan militarily under the US-Japan Security Treaty.

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‘Henry’ Engels and the Frightful Hobgoblin

by Robert Laurie

ONE-HUNDRED and- sixty-five years ago in late February 1848 a small green-covered pamphlet was published in London by a press run by a group of German émigrés. Entitled Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei it initially attracted virtually no interest beyond a small circle of exiles and German spies.

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