National News

Lobbying Bill a threat to freedom of speech

THE TUC last Monday raised the alarm about clauses in the Lobbying Bill — due to be debated in Parliament when it returns from its summer break, that would seriously curtail the freedom of unions and campaign groups to criticise Government policy during the run-up to an election. It could even outlaw the TUC annual conference.

On Monday the TUC was seeking an urgent meeting with the Cabinet Office Minister, Chloe Smith, protest at “an outrageous attack on freedom of speech worthy of an authoritarian dictatorship” contained in clauses in the Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill.

The TUC is concerned that the Bill will make organising its 2014 annual Congress, or organising a TUC national demonstration in the 12 months before the 2015 general election, criminal offences.

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C of E in ‘fracking land-grab’

THE CHURCH of England has recently begun legal action to claim ancient mineral rights under thousands of homes and farms, according to a report in the Telegraph.

This is raising fears that the church is considering cashing in on fracking.

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Was terror detention political revenge?

AIRPORT police last Tuesday defended their action under anti-terror laws to arrest and detain David Miranda, the partner of a Guardian journalist, Glenn Greenwald, involved in reporting the leaked material supplied by Edwin Snowden.

Miranda, a Brazilian national, was held at Heathrow on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro for nine hours without charge. He reportedly had his mobile phone, laptop, memory sticks, DVDs and other items seized before he was released.

The government of Brazil expressed “grave concern” at Miranda’s detention and said it was “unjustified”.

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EDL marcher attacks anti-racist

BYSTANDERS watched in horror as a man ran out from an English Defence League march in Hull town centre and attacked a man holding a banner that said he was proud to be part of a multi-cultural Britain.

The victim was left with blood pouring from his head and face as police wrestled the racist thug to the ground in St Stephen’s shopping centre in Ferensway.

Passers-by rushed to the aid of the injured man who was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary but later released.

A friend of the injured man, who asked not to be identified, said: “We had banners saying we were proud to be part of a multi- cultural Hull.

“We came out to say that the vast majority of Hull people don’t agree with any of this and we want to live peacefully together.”

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Council could charge children in care

WORCESTER County Council has issued plans for consultations that would force parents of children taken into care for their maintenance and could even charge the children themselves.

Children’s charities have warned that the charging plan would deter some parents and carers from seeking council help.

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Government fog falls on clean air stats

THE CAMPAIGNING group Clear Air London (CAL) has accused the Government of a cover-up over worsening air quality standards that is literally breath-taking. As statistics are revealing deteriorating conditions the Government’s response has been to reduce monitoring of air quality in London.

CAL says that the Government’s four proposals to scrap or reduce Local Air Quality Management are unacceptable and that the Government has “covered-up” and/or breached its legal duty to issue two separate “Information alerts” to warn the public of smog just days after proposing to scrap local air quality monitoring by others.

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Remembering Welsh heroes

by Ray Davies

WHILE the likes of ex MPs Kim Howells and Peter Mandelson may turn their backs on the trade unions who gave them their place in the sun, let’s remember and celebrate the huge contribution made by the brave men of Merthyr, Newport and Llanelli, who gave their lives in the Welsh struggle for a better world for us all.

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International News

Musharraf charged with Bhutto’s murder

Voice of Russia

PA KISTAN’S ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf was indicted on three counts on Tuesday over the 2007 murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a gun and suicide attack, a prosecutor said.

Charging a former army chief is an unprecedented move in a country ruled for more than half of its life by the military and where the army is still considered the most powerful institution.

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Why we must never forget this day ON 15TH AUGUST 1945,

People’s Daily (Beijing)

Japan declared its unconditional surrender, bringing to an end its colonial wars of militarist aggression.

Germany shared Japan’s guilt as the cause of World War II, and shared its status as a vanquished country. But after the war, Germany adopted a sincere, clear and thorough attitude to its historical responsibilities. During a visit to Poland former German chancellor Willy Brandt earned admiration from international public opinion when he went down on both knees before the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto.

In contrast, this August 15th large numbers of Japanese politicians went to worship at the Shrine to the worst Japanese militarists and war criminals, people like Toujou Hideki.

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Egypt’s turmoil overshadows life in Gaza

by Saud Abu Ramadan in Gaza

GAZANS are closely following what is happening in neighbouring Egypt, as the violence there has cast a shadow over the life in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Historically and geographically, the Gaza Strip has been directly linked to Egypt. Since Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007 and the subsequent Israeli blockade, the Egyptian Rafah crossing border has been the main gate of the enclave to the outside world.

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A birthday in an absurd captivity by Roxana Marquez

DESPITE the existence of the new information and communications technologies, Fernando Gonzalez Llort could not receive directly the congratulations messages on his birthday, sent by his comrades, anti-terrorists who are unjustly imprisoned in the United States of America. They are banned from communicating with each other by a Court ruling.

But finally, with unnecessary hours of delay, Fernando was able to add those congratulations from his imprisoned comrades to the ones sent by his family. His anti-terrorist- fighter comrades are serving long and even life prison terms in faraway spots all over the USA, in order to make the sentences still more cruel.

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The price of doing business

by Neil Harris

AS THE world’s leading imperialist power, America has a dominant role in every field — diplomatically, militarily and, of course, its economy dominates the whole world. It survives by exporting capital and sucking in cheap labour, natural resources and profits. However, the highly successful world of American finance capital also has a dark side, normally glossed over: the American government is the greatest debtor in the world and that debt is still growing.

This US Federal debt, which reached $9909 billion at the end of 2012, is often discussed, but not in much detail. The complex flows of capital around the world, ending up at the US Treasury Department, highlight some interesting realities about the world economy and America’s relationship with it.

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Who started the Second World War and the Cold War?

Voice of Russia

IT SEEMS that in the western media it has become popular to discuss who began the Second World War. But such eagerness to find an answer to this question is easy to explain. The Cold War, which the West thinks it won, ended a while ago. There are no new ideological “victories” and it seems there will be no more in the near future. So it is a perfect time to “clean” its past in order not to worry about the whiteness of the clothes during the battles with the new “empires of evil”.

In addition to that, the guilt of unleashing the war is laid on Hitler and Stalin or even entirely on the USSR. According to the Soviet defector V B Rezun, alias “Suvorov”, the Soviet communists blamed all the other countries for unleashing the Second World War “in order to conceal their disgraceful role of instigators”.

But the modern “historians” in the West should be reminded that if anyone is best suited to the role of instigators it would be their own governments of that time — especially the United States, Britain and France. That is where the policy of reconciliation of Hitler was nurtured, firstly by forgetting the conditions of Treaty of Versailles on the demilitarisation of Germany and then by appeasing its territorial expansion.

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Propaganda and class interests

by Rob Gowland

ANTI-COMMUNIST propaganda these days is very sophisticated, the product of highly intelligent college graduates who are selectively recruited by agencies like the CIA even before they graduate. They are given a stirring patriotic spiel about serving freedom and stopping Red dictatorship, defending democracy and free speech — and these days human rights — and then turned loose to wage a war of lies against the USA’s enemies.

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A brief history of ‘marriage’

Part five

Hominin origins and evolution

by Bob McCubbin

WE TURN now to speculation on the origins and evolution of humanity. In this section, we relied on a few recent publications, the motive being that archaeological and primatological investigations, using ever more sophisticated technologies, have been able to produce ever more precise datings and ever more evidence- backed scenarios of and hypotheses regarding primate life and human prehistory.

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