National News

Train operators exploit severe weather

THE TRANSPORT union RMT last Monday attacked the private train operating companies accusing them of using the extreme bad weather to extort unreasonable compensation from the state-owned Network Rail.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Due to the stupid way that privatisation works it suits the train operators down to the ground not to run services and to lay the blame at the door of Network Rail.

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Islington has no confidence in Atos tests

THE LONDON Borough of Islington has become the first council in Britain to pass a vote of “No Confidence” in the private health firm responsible for assessing sick and disabled benefit claimants on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Islington Council says that benefit assessments, carried out by French firm Atos Healthcare, cause unnecessary suffering to thousands of sick and disabled people and that Atos make far too many mistakes when assessing those people’s benefit eligibility.

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News of the World hacking trial begins

THE TRIAL of Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and other News International staff on charges of phone hacking and trying to corrupt public official (misconduct in a public office) began in London last Monday.

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Con-Dems are punishing poverty

CITIZENS’ Advice last week published a new report that describes in no uncertain terms the seriousness of Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) sanctions and the dire financial position people end in when they are sanctioned:

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Hunt loses appeal on Lewisham Hospital

THE SAVE Lewisham Hospital campaign was jubilant last Tuesday as it announced another court victory in its battle to defeat Government plans to close the maternity and Accident and Emergency units at Lewisham as part of a plan to rescue a neighbouring NHS trust that had become bankrupt.

The campaign, which has gained massive local support and held two very big local marches in November 2012 and January 2013, fought for a judicial review of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision and won it in July this year. The decision to close parts of Lewisham Hospital was declared unlawful.

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Ryanair trainees pay heavy fees

JOB SEEKERS wishing to train to become cabin crew members employed by economy airline Ryanair can pay nearly £2,000 for training, but still remain on probation.

They are promised an exciting career and the chance to see “the world’s top sights”, but some who pay the best part of £2,000 for training courses to join a company that supplies Ryanair with cabin crew end up disappointed.

Those who are rejected during their probationary period are still pursued for training costs, while others with jobs are left angry by the working conditions dictated by their contract.

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Government loses workfare appeal

THE CON-DEM Coalition lost another legal appeal on Wednesday in the case of forcing an unemployed woman to work for the Poundland chain store or face benefit sanctions. The Supreme Court rules that the Government’s flagship “back to work” schemes were legally flawed.

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Ireland partition: a blight on economic development

by Theo Russell

THE ENORMOUS negative economic impact of the division of Ireland, and of the border itself, were highlighted at the “Towards a New Ireland” conference last month in London, in contributions by Sinn Féin MP Connor Murphy and the economist Michael Burke, author of the [Socialist Economic Bulletin] blog.

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Celebrating a job done

by New Worker correspondent

IN DEMOCRATIC Korea print workers always hold a ceremony to mark the completion of a job and we did the same in London on 16th October to celebrate the publication of a keynote speech by Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the New Communist Party of Britain.

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International News

Greece: the ‘olive tree’ and its ‘master’


FOR MANY thousands of years the characteristic tree of the Mediterranean, the olive tree, coexisted with the peoples of this region. The olive tree is connected with their diet and often their survival and their traditions, leaving its mark on all the cultures that have developed on these coastlines.

In recent days in Greece the olive tree has suddenly returned to the news in another way. In a joint statement, 58 political and social figures are calling for the formation of a “democratic progressive formation” like the Italian “Olive Tree”, in other words a new political umbrella, which with the name of this tree will house various parties of Greek social-democracy.

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Russian bombers fly non-stop to Venezuela

Voice of Russia

TWO RUSSIAN Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers flew from an airbase in south-western Russia on Monday and landed in Venezuela on a routine exercise.

The nuclear-capable bombers, which took off from the Engels airbase in the Volga region, “flew over the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and along the south-western coast of the North American continent, and landed at Maiquetia airfield in Venezuela,” the Russian defence ministry said. The bombers covered a distance of more than 10,000 km (over 6,200 miles) during a 13-hour non-stop flight.

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Saudi Arabia, the hell of migrant workers

by Giovanni Giacalone

THE VICTIMS include skilled and unskilled workers of different religions and nationality, mainly from Asia. Christians, Hindus, Muslims, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia. Young adults leaving their home countries to look for a better future abroad; men and women often with children to support back home.

In Saudi Arabia these workers are willing to take those jobs that are considered “low” or “humiliating” by the Saudi population. The men deliver dairy products, clean hospitals, repair pipes, collect garbage while the women often work as maids; they clean, cook and take care of children. They are an essential working force for Saudi Arabia since without them such jobs would probably remain uncovered even if, paradoxically, the youth unemployment rate in the kingdom is approaching 30 per cent.

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Czech elections: Communists advance but protest candidates steal the show

by Emile Schepers

ON 25th AND 26th October the Czech Republic held elections for the 200 seats in the lower house of parliament. Turnout was 59 per cent. Contrary to what polls had predicted, the Social Democratic Party lost ground, though the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia scored a substantial gain. But a brand new protest party scored the largest gains at the expense of the parties of the former ruling coalition and the Social Democrats.

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Emergency protests held against Veolia in US

by Tony Murphy

WHEN Veolia Transportation committed an unfair labour practice lockout of 700 school bus drivers in Boston on 8th October and suspended five leaders of Steelworkers Local 8751, the city’s corporate media began attacking the union leaders.

Boston newspapers used every name imaginable to slander the leaders of a fighting union known for having some of the highest wages and best benefits for school bus drivers in the United States. If these so-called news organisations had any respect for the truth, they would have directed the name calling at Veolia.

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Built-in obsolescence

by Rob Gowland

WHEN my wife and I bought our present car, a second-hand RAV-4, we were a little perturbed by the high mileage it had already clocked up. But asking around among friends and neighbours produced a universal comment: “Oh, but it’s a Toyota”. The implication was that vehicles built by Toyota were better built than most others and would therefore be able to knock up a high mileage and still be in good shape.

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The Kreyol language in Cuba

by Juan Leandro

FOR MANY people, Kreyol International Day, held since 1983 on 28th October will go unnoticed. But for Cuba this date has a particular significance since our national identity includes immigrants from Haiti.

Kreyol, the language of Haiti, is a cultural mix of African and European with possible Amerindian roots.

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The CIA role in Iran and the region exposed

by Yohannan Chemarapally

NEWLY declassi - fied CIA documents have now conclusively revealed the role of American and British secret services in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran 60 years ago. Another set of unconnected declassified CIA documents released around the same time have also revealed that the CIA had clandestinely operated American U-2 surveillance flights from an Indian base in Odisha.

Permission to do so was given by none other than the redoubtable prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, after his meeting with the American president, John F Kennedy. Nehru was reeling from the debacle of the 1962 war with China and, according to declassified documents accessed some years ago, had even sent two desperate letters to the American president asking for military help in the wake of the 1962 war.

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