National News

Keep the NHS public

SEVERAL thousand campaigners and activists assembled on London’s South Bank last Saturday for a massive protest about the relentless dismemberment and privatisation of the National Health Service.

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Public sector pensions face more cuts

FOUR million public sector workers are facing a new round of cuts that will see a dramatic reduction in the value of their pension schemes, according to a new report.

The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) said members will see a one-third cut in the value of their pensions, as a result of forthcoming changes.

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Barnet council privatises regulation

THE LONDON Borough of Barnet last week announced that it is to hand its regulation responsibilities to the private sector, according to a report from the public sector union Unison.

Barnet council staff were told at a series of briefings that Capita Symonds is the preferred bidder to deliver a whole range of council regulatory services to Barnet residents and businesses.

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Police DNA test children

THE HOWARD League for Penal Reform last week called a serious reduction in the number of swabs taken from children for DNA testing.

The league found that Police in England and Wales have taken 120,000 DNA swabs during 2010 and 2011 and this included 54,000 children. At least 368 of these were 10-year-olds and 1,030 were 11year-olds. On average, officers therefore took samples from 27 primary school-aged children each week.

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Fig leaf for slashing the fire service

THE FIRE Brigades Union last week commented on the Knight Review of the fire service. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The review of the fire and rescue service by Ken Knight is just a fig leaf for slashing our fire and rescue service to bits.

“David Cameron has promised to protect front line services. That has been exposed as a lie over the past three years as the fire service has faced the biggest cuts in its history.

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Welfare-to-work scheme failing, say MPs

THE PARLIAMENTARY Work and Pensions Committee last week reported that a scheme to help the unemployed find work appears to be failing the most disadvantaged jobseekers.

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Blacklisted worker victim of hit-and-run

GEORGE TAPP, 64, who has been illegally blacklisted, needs reconstructive surgery after he was knocked down by a hit and run driver while he was peacefully protesting against the blacklist system last week in Manchester.

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Workfare companies must go public

THE DEPARTMENT of Work and Pensions last week lost an Appeal Court case and now must disclose the names of companies involved in compulsory workfare schemes.

Under these schemes the unemployed and some on sickness benefits can be forced to work for no wages or face losing their benefits and being made destitute.

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Racist police hound whistleblower

KEVIN Maxwell. A young gay black police officer was hounded out of the force “like an enemy of the state” for raising concerns, in private, about racist, homophobic behaviour in the force.

Last week an industrial tribunal found in his favour on at least 40 points.

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Saving Clapham Fire Station

by New Worker Correspondent

HUNDREDS of people marched through the centre of Brixton, south London, to Lambeth Town Hall last Thursday evening (16th May) to protest at plans to close Clapham Fire Station.

And in the following public consultation meeting in the Town Hall the audience insisted on a vote that could be minuted and, in defiance of the platform, took a vote that showed the audience was unanimously opposed to the cuts.

The march was led by the Fire Brigade Union’s own fire engine, bearing the slogan: “Workers of the world unite”.

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Death of a brave suffragette

ON 4TH JUNE this year it will be 100 years to the day since the suffragette Emily Wilding Davison died at Epsom racecourse after stepping out from the crowd during the Derby race in front of the King George V’s horse, Anmer.

Last Thursday there was a memorial meeting in Bloomsbury and on 18th April a plaque to commemorate Davison’s sacrifice to draw attention to the cause of women’s right to vote, was unveiled at the race course, on the spot by Tattenham Corner from where she stepped out to her death.

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International News

Syrians destroy Israeli vehicle

Syria TV

THE GENERAL Command of the Syrian Army and the Armed Forces said that their armed forces destroyed an Israeli vehicle entered from the occupied territories and crossed the ceasefire line towards the village of Bir Ajam.

“The village is located in the liberated area of Syrian territories where there are armed terrorist groups,” the General Command said in a statement issued Tuesday.

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Homage to Jose Marti

Radio Havana Cuba

FLORAL WREATHS were laid on behalf of Revolution leader Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Cuban people last Sunday at the Mausoleum treasuring the mortal remains of Cuban National Hero Jose Marti on the 118th anniversary of his death in combat.

Other wreaths were sent in on behalf of the Cuban Councils of State and Ministers to the Mausoleum at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, where Cubans from all walks of life paid tribute to Marti.

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Kim Jong Un’s envoy visits China

Xinhua news agency

A SPECIAL envoy of Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), left Pyongyang on Wednesday for a visit to China, the official KCNA news agency reported.

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Hungarian communists forced to change name

Statement from the Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party

Comrades,

THE HUNGARIAN Communist Workers’ Party has held its 25th Extraordinary Congress on 11th May 2013 in Budapest.

We have changed the name of the party. Our party will be called in the future Hungarian Workers Party.

The change of the name of the party does not mean any political or ideological change. We want to continue our fight against capitalism openly, rather than be forced into illegality. That’s why the congress has modified the party’s name in order to register as the Hungarian Workers Party.

[ Read the full statement from the Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party ]

Imperialists are behind escalated attacks on Syria

by David Sole

THE RECKLESS bombing by Israel near Damascus in early May has provoked a sharp response. Syrian state media quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying he would turn the Golan Heights into a “resistance front,” allowing combatants to attack Israel from the area.

The Golan is Syrian territory that was seized by Israel in the 1967 war and continues to be occupied by the Zionist regime. Syria has continuously protested against the seizure, but no major fighting has occurred there for the past 40 years.

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Features

Cleveland USA : A ‘house of horrors’ in a society of horrors

by Martha Grevatt

BEFORE 6th May Georgina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight were unknown outside of the Cleveland area. DeJesus and Berry, who went missing in 2004 and 2003, respectively, were only kept in the public eye locally by annual vigils held by community activists. Knight — who had been removed from the Cleveland Police Department’s missing persons list 15 months after her 2002 disappearance — was not known.

Now the three women — who endured beatings, rape and torture during their captivity — are world-famous symbols of strength. Step-by-step depictions of Berry’s dramatic escape from captor Ariel Castro’s house on 6th May have been played and replayed on television. Hearts have been warmed by images of DeJesus and Berry reuniting with loved ones, while many people are concerned about Knight, who is estranged from her family.

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Brazil and the slave trade

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

ON 13TH MAY 1888 the Golden Law (Lei Aúrea) officially ended slavery in Brazil, some 350 years after the first Portuguese colony was established, following the discovery of Brazil by the Portuguese explorer Pedro álvares Cabral in 1500. During those centuries, some four million Africans were taken away from their families and sold into slavery.

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Lenin Mausoleum re-opens after revamp

by Lada Korotun

THE LENIN Mausoleum, located in Red Square in the very heart of Moscow, will re-open for visitors on 15th May, after a largescale revamp that began in December 2012. Many believe that the re-opening of Lenin’s tomb will spark off more discussions about removing Lenin’s body from the Kremlin Necropolis for a “proper” burial.

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The incomplete library

by David Brooks

RECENTLY a presidential quintet met in Texas to celebrate the opening of a library bearing the name of one of them, thereby rehabilitating, according to public opinion, one of the worst presidents of the modern era.

The George W Bush Presidential Library was inaugurated in the presence of former presidents of this country and the current one, Barack Obama. These were Bush of the new library, Bill Clinton, George H W Bush (father of George W) and Jimmy Carter. The most notable thing about Obama’s speech (in which he assured that Bush is a good man), as in all the other speeches of this exclusive club, was the absence of any reference to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression; in other words, the principal successes of the Bush administration.

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