National News

London cyclists demand action on safety

OVER 1,000 cyclists and drivers last weekend staged a mass protest “die-in,” blocking roads outside the Transport for London (TfL) headquarters in Southwark after six cyclists were killed in road accidents during the last month.

Organisers of the protest are calling for 10 per cent of each London borough’s transport budget to be spent on cycling infrastructure.

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Hunger strike deportee returned to Heathrow

ISA MUAZU, a Nigerian asylum seeker who had been on hunger strike against plans to deport him, is back in Britain after the private jet hired specially to fly him to Nigeria was refused landing permission in Lagos.

A doctor had declared Muazu unfit to fly after “over 100 days” on hunger strike at Harmondsworth detention centre; a Virgin passenger jet refused to accept him on board because he was assessed as “near death” so the UK Borders Agency booked the private jet that had to return to Heathrow after failing to be cleared to land in Nigeria.

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Hunt seeks law change to close hospitals

HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seeking to change the law following his defeat in the Supreme Court over plans to close maternity and accident and emergency services at Lewisham Hospital in south-east London.

Activists for the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and members of the on-line campaigning organisation 38 Degrees (the angle at which an avalanche starts) have set up a petition to oppose Hunt’s law change.

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Loopholes or black holes?

THE GOVERNMENT’S General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) is so poorly designed that it will allow 99 per cent of tax avoidance to continue, according to a tax briefing published last Monday by the TUC.

The TUC is concerned that as tax loopholes are so narrowly defined under the GAAR, it would have failed to deal with any of the big tax scandals uncovered in the last year — including those infamously exploited by Google, Amazon, Starbucks and NPower — had it been in place at the time.

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Ambulance shortage shock

THE GMB general union last week said it was shocked to discover that the East of England Ambulance Trust is operating with a “deficit” of 30 ambulances and seven rapid response vehicles and was in urgent need of more than 400 extra frontline staff.

The huge gap came to light with the publication of a Clinical Capacity Review for the EEAS.

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Imperial War Museum to be privatised?

THE CIVIL service union PCS last week warned that First World War centenary commemorations risk being overshadowed as the Imperial War Museum considers privatising its visitor services.

The organisation, which runs the world-famous museum in central London and four other sites, is due to decide this week whether to press ahead with the sell-off valued at around £10 million.

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Disabled woman barred at seaside cafe

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

ON THE 29th October 2013 the staff of the Picasso’s Coffee Lounge, Union Street, Torquay, refused entry and service to a female wheelchair user on the grounds of her disability, stating that the manager had taken the decision to exclude such people from the café. There are many similar complaints emerging from Torquay, and it is significant that Torbay has been linked with the fascist British National Party in the media, and in Mark Collins’ book Hate, which exposes the British right-wing and its connection to the area.

Compared to what is considered normal in the progressive cities of Britain, this is a shocking event in a civilised society, particularly as no one in the cafe raised a concern, and the manager, despite authorising this blatant act of discrimination, remains unrepentant (and unpunished) despite UK law being very clear on this point. I understand that the local Police (and Member of Parliament) have been informed, but despite nearly a month going by, no action has been taken.

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Tube workers ballot on strike

LONDON Underground workers started voting this week on whether to launch New Year strikes in protest at job cuts and Tube ticket office closures.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are being balloted, with the result due on 10th January.

This follows a recent announcement by London Mayor Boris Johnson of big changes, including a new 24-hour service at weekends and staff based in ticket halls and on platforms rather than in ticket offices.

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Five in court over attack on James Larkin march

FIVE PEOPLE appeared in Liverpool magistrates’ court last week charged with a public order offence relating to an Irish and trade unionist march in Liverpool.

They were all charged with failing to comply with a notice which required counter-protesters at the James Larkin march last July to assemble in a designated spot. All five deny the charge.

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Refuges turn women away

MORE than 150 women a day are being turned away from domestic violence refuges as successive budget cuts push the system into “a state of crisis”, according to the Women’s Aid annual survey.

Increasing numbers of women fleeing violence in the home may be forced to return to their abusive partners or be pushed into homelessness because they cannot find shelters, the study suggests.

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International News

The moment for stronger China-UK collaboration

Xinhua news agency

CHINESE President Xi Jinping says now is the right time for China and the United Kingdom to seek stronger cooperation.

“We are transforming the mode of economic development, restructuring the economy and encouraging companies to go abroad quickly, while the UK is boosting reform and welcomes foreign investment. This is the moment for stronger cooperation,” Xi told visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.

Xi briefed Cameron on the decision on deepening reforms approved at the third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee earlier in November.

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Opposition defeated in Ukrainian parliament

Xinhua news agency

THE UKRAINIAN parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s government on Tuesday. The opposition collected only 186 votes of the 226 needed to oust the government.

Before the vote, Azarov apologised for police action against some demonstrators, promising personnel changes in the government. The government urged demonstrators to abide by the law during mass protests, promising to further the country’s European Union (EU) integration efforts.

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Ireland: British agent ‘mentally and emotionally unstable’

by Peadar Whelan

BRIAN NELSON was kicked out of the British Army because he was “mentally and emotionally unstable”, according to British military documents uncovered by McGurk’s Bar justice campaigner Ciarán Mac Airt.

The documents also reveal that Nelson had a long list of “military misdemeanours” when he was discharged from the Black Watch regiment in February 1970.

Ciarán Mac Airt is investigating suspected British Army involvement in the 4th December 1971 McGurk’s Bar bombing in which his grandmother, Kitty Irvine, died.

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Geneva Accord: A Breakthrough

People’s Democracy (India)

THE agreement reached in Geneva between the P5+1 powers and Iran on the nuclear issue represents a diplomatic breakthrough. This interim agreement for six months has the potential for a comprehensive settlement to be worked out. The agreement has come after repeated rounds of negotiations between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, plus Germany on the one hand and Iran on the other.

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China launches probe and rover to Moon

Xinhua news agency

CHINA launched the Chang’e-3 lunar probe with the country’s first moon-rover aboard early on Monday, marking a significant step toward deep space exploration.

The probe’s carrier, an enhanced Long March-3B rocket, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China at 1:30 am.

Chang’e-3 is expected to land on the moon in mid-December to become China’s first spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extra-terrestrial body. It is also the first moon lander launched in the 21st century.

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CIA recruited double-agents in Guantanamo

THE CIA recruited prisoners from Guantanamo during the Bush administration. After the 11th September attacks in 2001 the CIA recruited members of al-Qaida prisoners in the concentration camp in the illegal US base in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to convert them into double agents and send them to their respective countries to help United States to “ hunt down “ terrorists.

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KKE: 95 years of tireless struggle


COMMUNISTS are holding events in many Greek cities in honour of the 95th anniversary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which was founded on 17th November 1918 as the mature product of the development of the labour movement in the country, and also under the impact of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in Russia.

The KKE is guided by the revolutionary worldview of Marxism-Leninism and from the time of its foundation the KKE has been faithful to the principle of proletarian internationalism. It defended the socialist construction in the USSR, in the other countries of Europe, Asia and in Cuba. It participated in the Communist International. It expressed its solidarity with the struggles of the world’s working class, with the peoples who were fighting for their national liberation, for socialism.

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Cold War and global technology

by Rob Gowland

UNITED States propagandists are fond of telling us that the Cold War is over. It is something in the past, something we have happily moved on from. But every now and then they do something that makes it glaringly clear that the Cold War never ended. It is alive and well and being waged vigorously right now.

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Oops! Error reveals US plans to overthrow the Cuban government

THE AGENCY for International Development (USAID) has revealed the existence of a subversive six-million- dollar programme against Cuba. This information became known due to an error when using an unprotected line to send documents to US diplomats in Havana. The plan was part of the semi-clandestine ploy to overthrow the communist government.

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Cuba supports Palestinian rights

by Juan Leandro

Over 85 per cent of all the countries in the world support the Palestinian cause.

This was seen once again during the recent debates at the United Nations where Cuba again defended the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to hold a seat at the world organisation as a full member, which was the core of request presented by Palestine in 2011 but not yet addressed by the Security Council due to US pressure.

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