National News

Ambulances queuing outside A&E units

AS THE NUMBER of accident and emergency (A&E) units is reduced while numbers of patients are rising, ambulances are being faced to wait hours to deliver their patients to A&E units.

This is preventing the ambulances responding to other urgent calls.

Statistics for ambulance services in England and Wales were obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act. They show that some patients taken by ambulance to A&E departments are waiting in the vehicle for much longer than the recommended 15 minutes, with one case involving a six-hour delay. Another ambulance in eastern England waited for more than five hours.

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Tax the rich says Kinnock

FORMER Labour leader Lord Neil Kinnock last week called for the reinstatement of the 50 per cent income tax rate.

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Amnesty to sue spooks

THE HUMAN rights organisation Amnesty International last week declared it will take legal action against British security services. Amnesty claims its calls have been intercepted by British intelligence agencies.

“As a global organisation working on many sensitive issues that would be of particular interest to security services in the US and UK, we are deeply troubled by the prospect that the communications of our staff may have been intercepted,” Michael Bochenek, Amnesty’s director of law and policy told the Guardian.

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Criminalising student dissent

BRITAIN’S colleges and universities are changing under the Con-Dem Coalition from centres of learning “into loathsome institutions where they are told what to think,” according to a report published last week by Tony Gosling, a BBC-trained journalist, land rights activist, historian and investigative radio journalist.

And he quotes Noam Chomsky: ““Education is a system of imposed ignorance,” which, Gosling says, describes admirably the machinations of the Cameron government in Britain’s education sector.

As the private sector is invited in to manage education the purpose of every university is changing. The very idea of an independent student building where young people can socialise, organise and call their own, on the utilitarian model, will be surplus to requirements.

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Unions denounce controllers. Birmingham City council cuts

PUBLIC sector unions GMB and Unite last week condemned a new £460 million round of cuts by Birmingham City Council that will affect 9,906 workers.

Joe Morgan, Regional Secretary of GMB said, “Today announcement from Birmingham City Council that they need to make a further £460m worth of cuts by 2017/18 is devastating.

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Mandela remembered in London

by New Worker correspondent

WHILE world leaders flew to South Africa to salute the passing of Nelson Mandela Londoners gathered to pay their own last respects to the man who led the struggle against apartheid to become the first president of free South Africa.

Some lit candles, sang or laid garlands to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday 5th December at the age of 95. Others brought flowers to lay at the Mandela statue in Parliament Square or by the gates of the nearby South African embassy.

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And in Cardiff too...

by New Worker correspondent NELSON Mandela came to Wales in June 1998 when he accepted the Freedom of the City of Cardiff. Thousands of people turned out to greet the South African leader on his one and only trip to Wales. He thanked the people of Wales for their solidarity.

“When the call for the international isolation of apartheid went out to the world, the people of Wales responded magnificently,” Mandela said.

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A Miner’s Life

reviewed by Andy Brooks RAY DAVIES needs little introduction to New Worker readers. Seldom does a week go by without a letter from the veteran Labour councillor and peace campaigner or a report about the Côr Cochion Caerdydd (Cardiff Reds Choir) in which Ray has played a major part for many years.

But older readers will also remember his tremendous efforts in the anti-poll tax campaign and the epic miners’ strike from the New Worker reports from the late Denis Martin, the New Communist Party comrade who worked closely with Ray on the Rhymney Valley Miners’ Support Group during the 12-month strike that tragically ended in defeat in 1985.

Ray was persuaded by fellow members of the support group A Miner’s Life to write this memoir about how the rock-solid miners and the local community closed ranks around the pickets to raise the money and food that sustained the strike through the bitter times of the Thatcher era.

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International News

Cuban voices to speak out

by Javier Macías Ortiz

THE Cuban delegation to the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students in Ecuador 2013, including 200 members representing diverse sectors of society, was presented with the Cuban flag on 2nd December, Day of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the anniversary of the landing of the Granma yacht expedition in 1956.

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Russia cancels most of Cuba’s debt

by Juan Leandro

The governments of Russia and Cuba agreed on Monday to cancel 90 per cent of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt with Moscow, which amounts to some $29 billion. Havana committed itself to pay off the remaining 10 per cent within a 10-year period.

Monday’s agreement was in the framework of a meeting of the Russia-Cuba Intergovernmental Commission, in keeping with a previous deal reached between Cuban President Raul Castro and Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev during Medvedev’s visit to Havana last February. Cuban Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz is heading the island’s delegation to the important meeting.

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Confucius classroom hubs opened in northern Ireland

Eight Confucius Classroom Hubs under the Confucius Institute at Ulster University opened last month in the north of Ireland to meet children’s needs in learning the Chinese language and culture.

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Syria will vote for Assad in 2014

by Lyuba Lulko

“THE EUROPEAN Union is shamelessly advertising its assistance to the children of Syria, but is in fact denying them the essentials,” a cochair of the Committee for Solidarity with the Peoples of Syria and Libya, Oleg Fomin, said in Moscow. As an eyewitness he spoke about a Convent of St Thecla captured by the Islamists for the second time and attitudes in the Syrian society.

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Nelson Mandela


South African Commununist Party Statement

“...the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love”:

LAST NIGHT the millions of the people of South Africa, majority of whom the working class and poor, and the billions of the rest of the people the world over, lost a true revolutionary, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Tata Madiba.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) joins the people of South Africa and the world in expressing its most sincere condolences to Ms Graca Machel and the entire Mandela family on the loss of what President Zuma correctly described as South Africa’s greatest son, Comrade Mandela. We also wish to use this opportunity to express our solidarity with the African National Congress, an organisation that produced him and that he also served with distinction, as well as all his colleagues and comrades in our broader liberation movement. As Tata Madiba said: “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants...”

[ Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013 ]

A nation mourns

ANC Statement

Comrades and friends, The Mandela family, Fellow South Africans,

“IN THE life of every nation, there arise men who leave an indelible and eternal stamp on the history of their peoples; men who are both products and makers of history. And when they pass they leave a vision of a new and better life and the tools with which to win and build it.”

With deep sorrow and a profound sense of loss, the African National Congress received the sad news of the passing of our Isithwalandwe and former President: Comrade Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

[ Nelson Mandela: A nation mourns ]