National News

Save the Whittington Hospital

by New Worker correspondent

THOUSANDS of people braved the cold and wet weather last Saturday in north London to take part in a protest march against plans to close the accident and emergency (A&E) unit and the maternity unit at the Whittington Hospital in Archway.

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Teachers tell Gove to go

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 600 teachers marched from Westminster’s Catholic Cathedral to the Department of Education last Wednesday evening in a protest called by the National Union of Teachers London region. Many marchers wore Gove masks as they loudly demanded the removal of the Education Secretary.

They also protested to say no to pay cuts, pension attacks, the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance, a very modest amount that used to be paid to fifth and sixth formers to enable them to stay in school and take A-levels.

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No Life without ILF!

by New Worker correspondent

MEMBERS and supporters of the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) filled the Strand in London outside the law courts to show their support for six of their comrades inside fighting test cases to defend the Independent Living Allowance (ILF).

The ILF was set up in 1988 to support disabled people with the highest levels of support need to live in the community. Since then it has helped thousands to live active and full lives.

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£8.50 to see a doctor?

THE NHS Confederation, a body representing all NHS trusts, last week proposed charging patients who need an out-of-hours doctor to come and visit them £8.50, as part of a package of measures to cope with big spending cuts being imposed on the NHS.

The confederation also suggested charging hospital patients for the costs of their meals, arguing that if they were not in hospital they would have to pay for their own meals anyway.

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G4S death

A MAN who had lost both legs through diabetes died when his unsecured wheelchair tipped over backwards and his head struck the floor in an ambulance operated by the private security company G4S.

An inquest jury found that the driver and staff of the security firm had not received sufficient training to move patients safely between their homes, hospitals and clinics.

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Bedroom tax protests across Britain

THOUSANDS of people took part in protests last weekend against the “bedroom tax” in more than 50 towns and cities throughout Britain — an issue that is dividing the Liberal Democrats.

Under the Government’s benefit cuts, tenants of public and private landlords who are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their home will have their housing benefit claims reduced by £40 to £80.

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Confusion over press regulation deal

DAVID Cameron last week brought parliamentary debate on the Leveson Inquiry and on what sort of press regulation there should be to a swift climax by drawing up a Bill to be debated and voted on Monday.

The deadline was postponed but it did lead to the leaders of the three main parties and the pressure group Hacked Off being embroiled in intensive negotiations over the weekend and agreeing to a Bill that all have claimed as some sort of victory — though it is far from clear exactly what has been agreed.

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Newcastle prepares to repel EDL

ANTI - FASCISTS , peace campaigners and progressive residents of Newcastle-upon Tyne are preparing to organise a peace festival on 25th May to oppose plans by the Islamophobic English Defence League to hold a national march and rally there.

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Stop the workfare law

THE CIVIL service union PCS has called on MPs to vote down an attempt by the Government to change legislation on workfare programmes — which last month were found in court to be illegal — to make them legal to apply retrospectively.

On 12th February this year Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson won a case against the government’s proposals which force people to work without pay in order to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

The Government is now trying to change the law, to act retrospectively, so they don’t have to pay those from whom their illegal welfare laws removed benefits.

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An assault on access to justice

CAMPAIGNING lawyers are calling on their colleagues to resist new changes to the legal aid system, as a part of the broader defence of state welfare, saying: “Legal aid will only survive as part of the campaign to defend the welfare state”.

New proposals to change the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LAPSO) due to be introduced in few weeks’ time are a massive attack not only on our jobs but also our clients, the welfare state and the principles of justice, writes Paul Heron, an executive member of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.

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No to sanctions! No to war!

By New Worker correspondent

NEW COMMUNIST PARTY members joined other supporters of Democratic Korea outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square in London on Tuesday to condemn the latest US war-games in south Korea that threaten the peace of the whole region.

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Marx — a great scholar and great revolutionary

by New Worker correspondent

Comrades and friends gathered last Sunday to salute the memory of Karl Marx at his tomb in Highgate Cemetery in London. Marx died in his study at half-past two on the afternoon of Wednesday 14th March 1883.

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Defend Democratic Korea!

by New Worker correspondent

Comrades and friends denounced the latest provocations of US imperialism at a solidarity meeting in central London last Saturday evening organised by the UK Korean Friendship Association (KFA).

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International News

Cypriot parliament rejects levy on bank deposits

Xinhua news agency

CYPRUS’ parliament rejected a Eurogroup imposed “haircut” on bank deposits on Tuesday, plunging the island into economic uncertainty verging on uncontrolled default.

The 56-member chamber threw out the levy legislation with 36 against, 19 abstentions and no one in favour.

The levy was decided at the end of last week at a Eurogroup finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels, after Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades was warned that emergency liquidity assistance to the Cypriot hard-pressed banks would be immediately discontinued.

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Ahead in polls

by Lena Valverde

VENEZUELA’S acting President Nicolas Maduro enjoys a commanding 14.4 per cent lead over his main rival, opposition leader Henrique Capriles, ahead of the next month’s election.

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Turkey’s PKK leader calls for ceasefire?

Xinhua news agency

THE OUTLAWED Kurdish Workers’ Party’s (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan is expected to make a call for a ceasefire to the group on 21st March during the traditional Newroz New Year celebrations.

The withdrawal of thousands of PKK guerrillas to the Kurdish autonomous area in northern Iraq as part of a “peace process” would eventually mean the end of the movement’s armed struggle.

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Yemeni National Dialogue

by Ed Newman

YEMENI President Abdradbuh Mansour Hadi has begun national reconciliation talks aimed at putting an end to a prolonged political crisis and drafting a new constitution.

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Litvinenko worked for MI6

by Polina Chernitsa

Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London in 2006. The British government claims he was assassinated by Russian agents. These claims have been repeatedly dismissed by the Kremlin. Now it appears that the former Russian intelligence officer was working for MI6.

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Historical drama: a challenge for Vietnamese directors

VNS

MAKING historical films is a challenge for Vietnamese directors who do not have large outdoor studios to shoot in and who cannot find relevant props and costumes. Many seminars have been held by the Department of Cinematography to improve the creation of historical epics, but these have so far had little effect. A film entitled Hanoi — Winter 1946 is a rare production centred around 20th century Vietnamese history. It was directed by the international award-winning filmmaker Dang Nhat Minh and was presented at the recent Toronto Film Festival. Minh spoke about the difficulties creating historical films in Vietnam.

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Features

A terrorist attack on Cuba 53 years later - Patria o Muerte!

by Yeanny Gonzalez

ON THE 4th March 1960 an explosion shattered the peaceful afternoon and shook the port of Havana. It was a terrorist attack on the French ship, the La Coubre, and it left 101 people dead; it also left a historic photograph and a slogan that was taken up by the Cuban people as a banner of struggle: Patria o Muerte! (Homeland or Death!)

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Kenyatta wins Kenya election Pressure from US, Britain and ICC backfires

by Abayomi Azikiwe

DEPUTY Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has won the presidential election in the East African nation of Kenya. Kenyatta, son of the first president of the country, Jomo Kenyatta, has come under fire from the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as the governments of the United States and Britain.

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Saudi Arabia needs more executioners

by Lyuba Lulko IN SAUDI Arabia — the country that lives under Sharia law — the death penalty is carried out by beheading or crucifixion. Saudi authorities have faced the shortage of executioners and consider an opportunity to replace traditional methods of execution with execution by shooting. This does not improve anything for those residing in the poor south of the country. They cannot pay the ransom that replaces the death penalty. Those people have to deal with much tougher punishments than the Muslims of Mecca and Medina.

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