National News

Tom Watson demands apology from Tories over miners’ strike lies

LEFT-WING Labour MP Tom Watson called on Tory politicians to apologise for the role Margaret Thatcher’s government played in the miners’ strike of 1984-85.

This follows the release of 30-year-old Government papers from the National Archives which show that Margaret Thatcher secretly considered calling out the troops at the height of the strike.

At the time the Government was denying any involvement in the strike which, in theory was a dispute between the National Union of Miners and the National Coal Board.

Furthermore the papers recently released vindicated the assertion by miners’ leader Arthur Scargill that the Government had a secret list of over 70 pits due for imminent closure. The documents reveal a list of 75 pits set to be closed, along with 64,000 jobs.

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Barristers fight to defend legal aid

BARRISTERS in England and Wales took strike action last Monday in protest at Government cuts to legal aid, which will deny justice to people who cannot afford huge court fees and reduce the lawyers’ earnings to as little as £20-a-day.

The “strike”, called by the Criminal Bar Association, which dates back to the 13th century and represents 4,000 lawyers, organised protests at 15 different courts on Monday morning, with the protesting lawyers out in force in their full regalia.

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Nick Griffin bankrupt

NICK Griffin, leader of the neo-Nazi British National Party and an elected MEP, was declared bankrupt last week.

The bankruptcy order was made last week in Welshpool County Court and was brought by Griffin’s former solicitors, Gilbert, Davies and Partner, after Griffin failed to pay them what he owed.

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Baldrick and Gove’s ‘silly mistake’

ACTOR and Labour supporter Sir Tony Robinson, famous for the character Baldrick in the historical comedy series Blackadder last week hit back at claims made by Education Secretary Michael Gove that Blackadder was used as a propaganda tool by "left-wing academics", saying his comments amount to "slagging off teachers".

Robinson said the comments were particularly "irresponsible" coming from the minister in charge of education.

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Environment Agency to cut more

AS LARGE parts of Britain are recovering from serious flooding with the threat of more storms and heavy rain to come, the Environment Agency last week confirmed that jobs in flood protection in England will be cut as part of a major restructuring of the organisation.

About 1,500 jobs are to be lost at the agency although it is not clear how many flood-related posts will go.

But Peter Fox, a spokesperson for the agency, told the BBC the cuts would have an impact on flood operations such as risk management, maintenance and modelling.

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Youth with ‘nothing to live for’

AROUND 750,000 young people in Britain may feel that they have nothing to live for, according to a study for the Prince’s Trust charity.

The trust says almost a third of long-term unemployed young people have contemplated taking their own lives. Urgent action must be taken to prevent the young jobless becoming the young hopeless, it says.

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Landlords making fortune from ex-council housing

A MILLIONAIRE elite own large number of the 40 per cent of ex-council dwellings in the London Borough of Wandsworth that are now owned by private landlords, according to an investigation by the general union GMB.

While ordinary London families are unable to find council house to rent rich farmers are scooping them up by the tractor load as Thatcher’s “right to buy” turns into rich harvest for greedy farmers and elite says GMB.

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Career landlord to evict benefit claimants

FERGUS WILSON, a business landlord who, with his wife Judith, has accumulated nearly 1,000 properties in Kent, has given notice of eviction to 200 tenants who are on housing benefit and instructed letting agents that he will not accept any more applicants who need housing benefit, according to a report in the [Guardian] by Emma Lunn.

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Antifascists outnumber EDL 5-1 in Bristol

MORE than 100 anti- fascists turned out in Bristol on Tuesday night to oppose an English Defence League “peaceful protest”, which attracted fewer than 20 supporters.

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Forward into the New Year!

by New Worker correspondent

THE TURN of the year was heralded in communist style when friends and comrades gathered to welcome the New Year at the London centre of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML). NCP leader Andy Brooks and other London comrades met friends old and new at the annual social organised by the London Region of the RCPB (ML) at the John Buckle Centre in south London last weekend, which included diplomats from the DPR Korea embassy and many active in solidarity work, the cultural front and anti- fascist struggle.

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International News

Iraqi clashes highlight sectarian divide

by Jamal Hashim and Liang Youchang

THE LATEST wave of fierce clashes in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated province of Anbar is a result of the profound Sunni-Shia sectarian division complicated by a resurgence of the Al-Qaida terror group in the country.

“In my opinion, the latest escalation of violence is affected by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s ambivalent attitude toward the year-long Sunni protests,” Sabah al-Sheikh, a professor of politics at Baghdad University declared.

Since December 2012, the Sunni Arabs have been carrying out wide-spread and regular protests, accusing the Shia-led government of marginalising them and its Shia-dominated security forces of indiscriminately arresting, torturing and killing their sons.

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Cubans have enough reasons to celebrate

by Juan Leandro

CUBANS celebrated the 55th anniversary of their Revolution on 1st January as they advance the social project they chose that same day in 1959 at the same time that they are involved in a progressive update of their country’s socio- economic model.

Socialism will continue to develop in Cuba, in a prosperous and sustainable manner as stipulated by the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party, which guides the ongoing changes on the island.

We are witnessing a new historic stage in the Cuban revolutionary process, which has been supported by the unity of this nation and by the resistance of its people to the hostility of successive US administrations.

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Israeli Foreign Minister says Britain right to let Irish Hunger Strikers die

by Mark Moloney

ISRAEL’S Foreign Minister has praised British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s callous and unyielding stance on the 1981 H-Blocks Hunger Strike in Long Kesh which saw 10 Irish republican prisoners die.

Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the comments as he criticised the recent release of Palestinian political prisoner Samer Issawi, who had spent 266 days on hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

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Vietnamese Following Hemingway’s footsteps writer wins LGBT prize


A PAGE-LONG short story on lesbians received first prize at a writing contest for short stories on lesbian, gay, bi-gender and transgender (LGBT) issues.

The story, titled Bi Mat Trong Can Buong (Secrets in the Room), written by Vu Thien Kieu from the southern province of Kien Giang, was among more than 350 entries by Vietnamese people around the world, delivered one month after the contest was launched.

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Following Hemingway’s footsteps

by Ana Laura Arbesú and Charly Morales

ERNEST Hemingway lived in Havana for more than two decades. During that time he produced much of his work and won the Pulitzer and Nobel literature prizes.

His home, known as Finca Vigía, in the town of San Francisco de Paula, is now a museum that holds many of his belongings, and the house itself still radiates the splendour of his era, when the author enjoyed his greatest creative exuberance.

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Mikhail Kalashnikov 1919-2013

by Svetlana Kalmykova

THE PROMINENT small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, who developed the most famous assault rifle in the world, passed away on 23rd December at the age of 94. Today his legendary AK-47 is used by more than 100 countries.

[ Mikhail Kalashnikov 1919-2013 ]


German union takes on Amazon

by G Dunkel

STARTING last March and again during the December holiday rush, the German service workers’ union Ver.di, which is organising the workers at Amazon’s German operation, has conducted a series of short strikes in the company’s warehouses demanding higher pay and union recognition. Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and Ver.di is the second largest German union, with 2.3 million workers.

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Khrushchev lied!

by R Arun Kumar

THE New York Times reporting on the birth anniversary of Stalin on 21st December wrote: “Georgians march with portraits of late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin through his native town of Gori marking his birthday in a controversial celebration.”

Stalin is one such personality who was/is always reported with adjectives and is discussed with equal passion by both his admirers and haters. In spite of all the propaganda against him, castigating him as a cruel dictator, he still has enough admirers around the world. As the Indian daily, Hindu, reported on 6th March 2013: “A poll conducted by the independent Levada Centre in the run-up to Stalin’s anniversary found that 49 per cent of Russians still see Stalin’s role in history as positive, even though they are aware of millions of innocent people who died in Stalin’s prisons and labour camps.

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Picasso’s update

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 had also been a separate report that states the floor manager was over-heard berating an employee for not “looking like the right kind of person” to work there — and then sacking her, all within earshot of customers. Due to news of these events spreading across the internet, a campaign has begun for all right-minded people to boycott this café in the name of solidarity and socialism.

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