National News

Miliband backs Tory ‘snoopers’ charter’

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband last week told Home Secretary Theresa May that Labour would support the passing of a Bill that would enable police and intelligence services to monitor all electronic communications in this country without need to apply for a warrant.

The Tories are hoping to pass this Bill quickly following the hacking to death of a serving soldier in Woolwich last week by militant Islamists but their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, are opposed and their dissent led to the Con-Dem Coalition dropping plans for such a Bill previously.

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Patient dies 9 days after benefits cut

LINDA WOOTTON was a very sick woman; she had undergone a double heart and lung transplant; she was on 10 prescription drugs a day, suffering high blood pressure, renal failure and regular blackouts.

But Atos — the private firm carrying out the Government’s controversial Work Capability Assessments — ruled she was fit enough to find a job after she was interviewed.

Cost-cutting officials sent Linda a letter telling her that her £108.05 a week employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed.

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Legal theft

POLICE in the north London Borough of Redbridge have been conducting coordinated swoops on the resting places of the homeless, confiscating sleeping bags and food parcels that have been donated by the public.

Adam Jaskowiak was one of the men targeted and said he pleaded with police to be able to keep his things but was ignored.

He was sleeping with eight other people finding shelter for the night in the former Ilford Baths in High Road, Ilford.

All of their belongings were bundled into a police car leaving the men, one in his 60s, stunned.

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PO workers go on strike again

POST Office workers went on strike again on Tuesday 28th May at high street Crown branches against planned closures of 76 of them, cuts that could affect up to 800 jobs across the country.

The action follows previous strikes on 30th March, 19th April, 29th April 7th May of this year.

Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said that strike action had to happen to deal with the “growing unrest” among employees.

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Tories want to ration GP appointments

THE CONSERVATIVE Policy Forum has published a consultation document, Local Health Discussion Brief, asking Tory party members to consider an annual cap on the number of times patients can visit their family doctor in a year.

It is one of a number of options grassroots members were asked to look at in the discussion brief.

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PFI funding dries up

IT SEEMS the fat cats of Private Finance Initiative funding have, for the moment, had their fill of leeching off the public purse — or may be their confidence in getting their money back is waning.

The Government is going to have to raid the public purse to finance rolling stock for the Crossrail project to plus a gap in the overhauled PFI scheme.

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Yorkshire ambulance staff set to strike

MEMBERS of the giant union Unite working for the Yorkshire ambulance service are set to take strike action again next month in the dispute over patient safety.

Unite said that the continuing refusal of the management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to discuss patient safety — which led to the derecognition of the union — had left its members with no option, but to take further industrial action.

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Syria: stop Western intervention

by Theo Russell

A STOP the War Coalition public meeting: “Syria — Stop Western Military Intervention”, heard that a large majority of the British people are opposed to western intervention, and warnings of the war in Syria spreading into a major regional conflict.

The meeting was addressed by Professor Kamal Majid, an Iraqi journalist and member of the STWC executive, and Dr Issa Chaer of the Syrian Social Club, a group representing the Syrian community in Britain.

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Lobbying against the cuts

by New Worker correspondent

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE members of Unite, Unison, GMB and local residents lobbied the annual meeting of South Gloucestershire Council on Wednesday 22ndMay to protest against planned cuts in overtime and shift enhancements for council workers. The lobby was also supported by teachers and health workers from neighbouring Bristol.

The cuts in pay being proposed by the Tory led council are —

In addressing the full council, Lee Hayward from Unite, warned the councillors in no uncertain terms that the planned £2,000 to £3,000 cut in gross pay would have a serious impact on those who are not in any case high earners. The workers most severely affected would be those working in libraries, care homes, street care and caretaking, all who have to work weekends as part of their normal working patterns.

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International News

Democratic Korea proposes easing tensions

Radio Havana Cuba

THE DEMOCRATIC People’s Republic of Korea has proposed that private South Korean organisations be allowed to take part in events between the two sides, one day after Seoul refused an invitation to attend celebrations marking the 13th anniversary of the Joint Declaration.

The Declaration was signed between south Korean President Kim Dae Jung and the late north Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000, ushering in a period of rapprochement between the two sides.

During that time, a large-scale bilateral co-operation project was built — the Kaesong industrial complex, located close to the north Korean 38th parallel — now closed as a result of recent tensions.

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Russian CP leader grants medal recalling first visit

Radio Havana Cuba

by Lena Valverde

THE LEADER of Russia’s Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, said that the medal for the 50th anniversary of the first visit by Fidel Castro to the Soviet Union represents a symbol of dignity and friendship.

Zyuganov granted the medal on Monday to Cuba’s ambassador to Moscow, Emilio Lozada, and to other members of the island’s embassy in Russia during a ceremony attended by other Russian Communist Party officials.

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Colombian President explains Government-FARC Land Deal

by Ed Newman

LAND distribution, development programmes, welfare plans and food security are the four pillars that support the first agreement reached by the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during peace talks in Havana, according to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

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Maduro accuses CNN of promoting coup Radio Havana Cuba

VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro has accused the American CNN news agency of promoting a coup in Venezuela through its Spanish news channel, as part of a media “psychological war” against his government.

Speaking at a public event, broadcast on state television, Maduro said: “CNN in Spanish serves destabilising attempts, openly calls for a coup in Venezuela, and distorts the political and social life of our country.”

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The centenary of Indian cinema

by Sitaram Yechury MEGA GALA events, full of glitter and glamour, have begun to mark 2013 as the birth centenary of Indian cinema with the 1913 release of Dada Saheb Phalke’s silent film Raja Harishchandra.

However, going relatively unnoticed is the fact that 2013 is also the birth centenary of Balraj Sahni, who rode like a colossus for at least quarter of a century not only on the evolution of Hindi cinema but also in the growth of popular people’s culture and theatre.

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Ghadar: a continuous struggle

by Gurpreet Singh

AS THE Indian Diaspora celebrates the centenary of the Ghadar Party this year, many observers have mainly focused on its role in India’s independence from the British Empire, overlooking the party’s contribution to mass movements in the post-independent period.

India gained independence from the British rule in 1947, following years of struggles by both the passive resistance movement and armed insurgents. The Ghadar Party was among the groups that believed in violence to rid India of foreign occupation. The word ``Ghadar’’ means mutiny in Urdu, and the British rulers referred to the first organised act of rebellion in 1857 as the “Ghadar” which was suppressed.

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European workers continue struggles

by G Dunkel

SOMETIMES by examining what the corporate media cover and what they ignore, you can learn something useful about what the super-rich want the workers to know.

For example news that Greek teachers called off a strike when the government threatened to put any teacher on strike in jail received some coverage in the US big-business media.

On the other hand a search of LexisNexis news sources database showed that there was no coverage of the news that 3.7 million German metal workers won a 5.6 per cent raise over the next 20 months.

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Russians pick best Soviet ruler

AMONG all leaders of the Soviet Union and the pre-Putin Russia, Russians are most positive about Leonid Brezhnev. As many as 56 per cent of respondents praised his work and 29 per cent said that they shared a negative attitude to his persona.

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Africa Day: 25th May

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

IT EVEN rhymes... how cool. I do not remember when I last wrote an Opinion piece about Africa Day to appear on Africa Day, May 25th because it is easy for the international community to use Africa as a vehicle for self-aggrandisement, patting an African on the head, jumping on the Africa bandwagon. I prefer to write about Africa on May 24th or 26th ...

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Cuba and Africa: united throughout the years

by Ed Newman

AFRICA DAY, celebrated every 25th May, is a special occasion to recall the strong and close relations between Cuba and the African continent. Common history, culture and the struggle against colonialism tie the island and African nations close together.

The African continent gave Cuba a significant demographic and cultural contribution, along with the presence of African descendants in the island’s wars against Spanish colonial rule.

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