National News

Hinkley nuclear power too expensive

JIM RATCLIFFE, the boss of energy company Ineos, has warned that Government plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset will be too expensive to be viable.

Ratcliffe is the man who just a month ago forced workers at his plant at Grangemouth in Scotland to accept a big cut in wages, conditions and pensions under the threat of closing the plant.

Last week he told the BBC that manufacturers in Britain would find the energy from Hinkley Point too expensive at £92.50 per megawatt hour (Mwh), which is the price the Government has guaranteed.

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A clash of bigots in the East End

by New Worker correspondent

ANJEM Choudary is the self-appointed leaders of a small group of right-wing fundamentalist Muslims who dream of imposing Sharia law on Britain. His views are strongly rejected by the vast majority of Muslims in this country.

Last week he advertised that he and his followers would hold a protest march against alcohol in Brick Lane in the heart of London’s East End.

Recently some young members of this group were sent to prison for assaulting non-Muslims who they claimed were drinking in what they described as a Muslim area of London in Tower Hamlets.

But they are not part of mainstream Muslim life in the area where a couple of months ago Muslims turned out in a massive show of solidarity with thousands of Londoners of all races and faiths and none to stop the Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL) in their tracks yet again.

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Barton Moss fracking protest

ANTI-FRACKING campaigners last week used a wind turbine blade to blockade a shale gas drilling site at Barton Moss, Irlam, in Greater Manchester on Monday.

Around 50 campaigners from the No Dash for Gas group started blockading the entrance to the site from 5.30am to stop lorries carrying equipment, machinery and supplies entering the site.

And they brought a 17-metre, 1.5-tonne wind turbine blade as “Christmas gift” for fracking company IGas Fifty. It was assembled from three component segments then left across the entrance to the site, wrapped with a red Christmas bow.

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Boro fans organise anti-racism march

SUPPORTERS of Middlesbrough Football Club supporters’ group Red Faction organised an anti-racist march last Saturday before their home game against Brighton.

This was in “direct response to the incident”, where it was alleged that a minority of fans ripped up copies of the Qur’an during their previous match against Birmingham City.

The Red Faction organised the march to the Ayresome Gates on Saturday to get across the message that Middlesbrough football supporters are [not] racist.

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Boris’s blackleg army plans war on Tube workers

THE RMT transport union last week reacted angrily to plans by Transport for London to recruit a scab army of unpaid volunteers to replace nearly 1,000 safety-critical London Underground station staff jobs.

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Two peers set to be suspended

THE HOUSE of Lords Conduct Committee is set to suspend two peers after they were caught offering to do secret paid work for fake companies.

The committee wants the Labour peer Lord Mackenzie banned and the former Ulster Unionist Lord Laird to be banned for four months.

They were both filmed by undercover reporters from the Sunday Times and the BBC’s Panorama.

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IDS denies DWP sanction targets

THE WORK Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, faced with more accusations of sanction targets when he was questioned by MPs last week.

Appearing before the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Smith denied that sanction targets existed, despite being presented with evidence to the contrary.

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Private prison makes woman clean up after she miscarries

A WOMAN detained in Her Majesty’s Prison Peterborough, which is privately run, was made to clean up after she had just miscarried and while the dead foetus was still in the cell, according to a report from her lawyer.

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25 years on Clapham disaster ‘could happen again’

THE CLAPHAM rail disaster, which killed 35 and injured hundreds, happened exactly 25 years ago. But it could happen again due to the re-introduction of long working hours.

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No living wage for university staff

DURHAM University recently paid its vice chancellor £232,000 and published a report calling on Universities to lead by example on the Living Wage.

But it has failed to pay this wage to its own staff, despite spending less than its allotted budget on staffing.

The public sector union Unison has accused the university of hypocrisy after a Freedom of Information request showed that 597 staff earn less than the Living Wage of £7.65 an hour — while the institution “saved” £4.5 million on its staffing budget.

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Work fitness test ‘should be scrapped’ says PCS

THE DEMEANING “fitness for work” work test for disabled people should be scrapped, says the civil service union PCS following publication of an independent review.

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is not designed to support people into employment, but to cut their benefit entitlement, the union says.

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Colchester TC community initiative

by New Worker correspondent

THE COLCHESTER trades council has formed a community branch, in which members will be trained in welfare rights for unemployed people, those on zero- hours contracts and bullying in the workplace.

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Solidarity with Greek anti-fascists

by New Worker correspondent

ANTI-Fascist activists gathered outside the Greek embassy in Holland Park on Wednesday 11th December to show their solidarity and support for three Greek journalists about to go on trial in Athens charged with defaming members of the fascist Golden Dawn party.

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Marking the passing of Kim Jong Il

by New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS of Democratic Korea returned to the John Buckle Centre in south London last weekend to mark the 2nd anniversary of the passing of dear leader Kim Jong Il and show their solidarity following the purge of the hidden traitor Jang Song Thaek.

The event, at the south London headquarters of the RCPB (ML), was chaired by New Communist Party leader Andy Brooks and it opened with a powerful baritone rendition of the Song of General Kim Jong Il by one of the DPRK London diplomats accompanied by the violinist Leslie Larkum.

This was followed by Changing Sorrow Into Strength, a short film about Koreans’ grief at the loss of their leader. But the highlight of the evening was the opening by the DPRK ambassador, Hyong Hak Bong, on the life of Kim Jong Il and the crimes and punishment of Jang and his counter-revolutionary faction.

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Birthday vigil for Chelsea Manning

by New Worker correspondent

ACTIVISTS gathered on the steps of St Martin in the Fields, in the corner of Trafalgar Square, on Tuesday 17th December for a solidarity vigil for Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) on her 26th birthday.

She is the former US soldier sentenced to 35 years in jail for leaking thousands of documents to Wikileaks exposing US and other governments’

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International News

Traitor Jang shot

by our Asian Affairs correspondent

A leading member of the Workers Party of Korea, who was dismissed from all posts and expelled from the party last week, has been found guilty of treason and executed.

Jang Song Thaek, the vice-chair of the National Defence Commission, was arrested at an enlarged meeting of the Politburo on 8th December after being exposed as a double-dealer who had used his position to line his own pockets and attempting to overthrow the leadership of the party and government of the DPR Korea.

On 12th December he appeared before a special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security to answer charges of treason, economic sabotage and gross corruption. All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of the hearing and were admitted by him.

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Obama lied about Syrian nerve gas

by David Sole

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour M Hersh has written a detailed and devastating exposure of the US government’s manipulation of military intelligence to create a pretext for the war it very nearly unleashed against Syria last September.

Hersh’s main conclusion is that “President Barack Obama and many in his administration omitted important intelligence ... presented assumptions as facts ... [and] failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the ... war with access to sarin.”

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US agent trapped by White House intransigence

by Emile Schepers

THERE may be a shift in the thinking of people who are working for the release of Alan Gross, a US government sub-contractor serving a 15-year jail sentence in Cuba for working to subvert the Cuban government on behalf of Washington.

Though earlier pressure campaigns focused on the Cuban government, and involved demonstrations in front of the Cuban Interests Section (diplomatic mission) in Washington, Gross’s wife, Judy, has now declared that the Obama administration holds the keys to her husband’s release, and is calling for demonstrations at the White House.

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What’s the point of lunar exploration?

by Kong Defang and Yao Chun

IN CHINESE mythology Chang’e is the fairy who lives on the moon holding a Yutu (Jade rabbit) in her arms. Now the myth has come true. The Chang’e lunar probe has landed on the Moon and the Yutu rover is now walking on the surface. “Made in China” has left its footprints on the Moon.

Several decades ago, when Chinese Chemist Ouyang Ziyuan received a 0.5g sample of moon rock as a present from the US, he was so excited and so careful with it, as if he was holding an invaluable treasure in his hand. Now, the whole of the Moon has opened itself to China.

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Granma — the yacht that launched the Cuban revolution

by Marta Cabrales

WHEN the 82 members of the expeditionary force aboard the yacht Granma landed at Playa Las Coloradas beach on 2nd December 1956, this city was still witnessing the repercussions of the uprising that two days earlier was meant to provide backup for the arrival of the group led by Fidel Castro.

Due to a turn of fate, the audacious action did not coincide with the day that the Granma landed. However, it showed the strength of the revolutionary movement in the city of Santiago, whose inhabitants became ever more involved in the actions that day, in different ways.

The two events became intertwined after the period of insurrectional actions that followed the attack on the Moncada Barracks on 26th July 1953, the imprisonment of several of its participants and main leaders, and their release in May 1955.

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Plastic films, plastic patriotism and plastic feelings

by Nadezhda Alexeeva

IT SEEMS the Russian authorities are seriously set to revive the genre of Russian military patriotic films. Impressive amounts of money and best directors are always available, but for some reason, when these motion pictures finally hit cinemas, people do not experience patriotic euphoria. Why is this happening? Maybe it’s just not the right time?

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IWA-GB Conference enters new era

People’s Democracy

THE INDIAN Workers’ Association Great Britain (IWA-GB) concluded its national conference at Leicester on 23rd November. The conference celebrated the 75th anniversary of IWA-GB and marked the launch of a new era in the organisation. One may note that the new central executive committee of the organisation has Joginder Kaur Bains as its national general secretary, the first woman in this position.

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