National News

Deaths in prison

THE RATE of murders and suicides in British prisons has risen sharply according to figures released on Monday by the Ministry of Justice.

There were four alleged murders in 2013, which is the highest rate since 1998, and 70 apparent suicides the highest number since 2008.

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Twitter storm saves union badge

THE SCOTTISH government was caught out last week by a keen-eyed union official trying to outlaw the wearing of union badges on staff uniforms with a clause in the invitation to tender for ScotRail.

Kevin Lindsay, an Aslef official, raised the alarm after spotting the clause in the draft invitation to tender, which said: “The franchisee will be required to procure, issue uniforms and ensure compliance in wearing the ScotRail brand, to all relevant uniformed staff within six months of the start of the new ScotRail franchise.

“This includes ensuring that supplementary badges or insignia are not worn with the uniform.”

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Cold reception for visiting Hungarian neo-Nazi

by New Worker correspondent

HUNDREDS of anti-fascists turned out in the cold and rain last Saturday outside Holborn Tube Station in London to protest at the visit to Britain of Gabor Vona, leader of the racist and fascist Jobbik party in Hungary.

He had come, he claimed, to address Jobbik supporters among the Hungarian expat community in London, as part of his election campaign. But there were rumours that meeting members of the fascist British National Party and the Greek Golden Dawn might also be on his agenda.

Jobbik is accused of promoting strong anti-Semitic views and fuelling hatred against Jewish and Roma communities. It has been described as the most powerful openly fascist group in Europe.

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Ford workers voting on strike

THE GIANT union Unite is currently balloting over 5,000 Ford production workers at the company’s six sites in Britain in a dispute over job security and pensions.

The union is balloting Ford’s hourly paid workforce, who work mainly on the production line at Bridgend, Daventry, Halewood, Dunton and two sites in Dagenham.

The workers are demanding commitments to job security in line with their counterparts in other EU countries and improvements in the pension scheme.

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Children held in police cells

HUNDREDS of children and vulnerable young people are being detained in police cells because the police have no other safe place to put them, according to a report by BBC Radio Four’s Weekend World.

The report said that more than 300 child detained in each of the last three years under the Mental Health Act and locked in police cells because officers did not have anywhere else to take them.

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Royal Mail engineers vote for strike

ENGINEERS who employed by the company Romec, which provides services for the Royal Mail, last week voted by 94 per cent to take strike action against attacks on their job security.

They are members of the Communication Workers’ Union.

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NHS failure to treat cancer in the elderly

MANY elderly people with cancer could benefit and live longer if their cancers were treated according to new research published by the charities MacMillan Cancer and the National Cancer Intelligence Network.

They say too many doctors are writing off the elderly too soon, making decisions based purely on age and not on general fitness.

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Gove angers Ofsted chief

SIR MICHAEL Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools in England, last week declared that Education Secretary Michael Gove had him “spitting blood” after attacks on Ofsted from Gove’s allies.

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International News

Snowden told a German television network: “These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket, and then watch as I die in the shower.”

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Rebellion against banks rocks Spain

by John Catalinotto

A MID-JANUARY mass rebellion in one neighbourhood of a mid-sized city in north-central Spain beat back a rightist City Hall government and sparked solidarity protests in nearly 50 other cities.

This first working- class victory since the capitalist crisis exploded in 2008 has turned the name of the area — Gamonal — into a cry of resistance that could reverberate from Athens to Detroit.

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Pete Seeger 1919-2014 Folk singer and political activist

THE LEGENDARY folk singer Pete Seeger, has died in New York from natural causes at the age of 94.

The veteran musician sang classic protest songs like This land is your land, Where have all the flowers gone and We shall overcome that became icons for a whole generation of peace and civil rights campaigners.

[ Pete Seeger 1919-2014 Folk singer and political activist ]

Italian rock band remembers the Holocaust and Nanjing Massacre

by Marzia De Giuli and Song Jian

ITALIAN rock band 7Grani on the Holocaust Remembrance Day called on young people in the world to reflect on genocides in history, from the Nazi Holocaust to the Nanjing Massacre.

The band featuring three brothers living near Lake Como in northern Italy, namely Mauro, Flavio and Fabrizio Settegrani, held a concert in Milan on Monday to remind people on how fundamental is the knowledge of the past to prevent unacceptable crimes being repeated.

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Leningrad’s liberation from Nazi siege

Voice of Russia

ON 27th January Russia marked a memorable date — the 70th anniversary of the end of Leningrad siege, which lasted for nearly 900 days. The Road of Life marathon kicked off in St Petersburg (formerly known as Leningrad) on 26th January, and a historical re-enactment of the events, entitled “On the Line of a Breakthrough”, was held at the January Thunder Memorial Complex.

For 872 days the residents of the besieged city of Leningrad, having overcome hunger, cold and bombings, heroically defended their city. The siege of Leningrad by the Nazi troops started on 8th September 1941, and on 27th January 1944 it was completely liberated.

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The pointlessness of C S Lewis

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

CS LEWIS is famous for his fantasy stories regarding the magical land of Narnia accessed by children through a wardrobe. Although this content probably represents a deep and profound set of inherited psychological issues, nevertheless, these books have made C S Lewis a household name.

What many do not realise is that CS Lewis spent his life up until 39 as a staunch atheist, and after this time as a Christian zealot. During the Second World War he was even hired by the British government to broadcast over the radio a constant stream of pro-Christian propaganda.

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Carry on spying

by Rob Gowland

HAVE YOU noticed how the brouhaha over the revelations that America’s spy agencies eavesdropped on everybody’s phone calls, correspondence, conversations and so on, with the willing co-operation of so-called “social media” companies, have quietly been allowed to fade away?

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South Africa struggles continue in platinum mines

by Abayomi Azikiwe

AN ELEVEN-week strike by 7,000 members of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has resulted in a settlement granting them a raise of 9.5 per cent. The strike against Northam Platinum facilities at Zondereinde was a major challenge for the NUM in the face of intransigence by the bosses and competition from the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

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