National News

Bedroom tax ‘unworkable’

AROUND two thirds of housing association tenants affected by benefit cuts for those with extra bedrooms were behind with rent after six months, according to a survey by the National Housing Federation (NHF).

The survey found that 38 per cent were in debt because of the “unfair, unworkable” policy change — known as the “bedroom tax”.

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Climate change effects severe

THE EFFECTS of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible”, according to a major report issued by the United Nations last week.

Scientists and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world.

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Fit-to-work tests: Atos quits contract

ATOS, the notorious Frenchowned private company hired by the Department of Work and Pensions to carry out Work Capability Assessments, is to quit its contract, the Government announced last week.

The company attracted fear and loathing from genuinely disabled people for its computer- led, mechanistic assessments that saw very seriously disabled people, people dying of cancer, the seriously mentally ill and others declared fit for work and so deprived of their long-term benefits and driven on to the lower Job Seekers’ Allowance and forced into training or seeking work.

Thousands of deaths have been linked to Atos decisions, either through suicide or the fatal exacerbation of claimants’ conditions through stress and being forced to try to do what they were unable to do.

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Domestic slaves demand justice — and visas

CAMPAIGNERS from the giant union Unite, Justice for Domestic Workers, The Showroom and Kalayaan last Tuesday handed in hundreds of signed postcards to 10 Downing Street demanding that the Prime Minister reinstate basic visa rights for migrant domestic workers (MDW) and end to this modern day form of slavery.

Despite strong opposition from charities and unions, the Government, in April 2012, abolished the rights of MDWs to change employer once they are in Britain.

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Probation staff and solicitors strike

PROBATION workers and solicitors took strike action on Monday as part of a series of strikes by workers throughout the legal system against cuts in legal aid and the impact this has on access to justice for those on low incomes — and on jobs and wages for staff.

Around 14,000 people took part in the strike, with magistrates’ courts in major urban centres like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds affected.

Members of the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) were taking industrial action from midday over plans to outsource 70 per cent of the service to private and voluntary providers.

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GMB calls for pay strike

THE GMB general union, which represents thousands of local government workers, has called for strike action over the low level of pay in that sector.

The union held a national meeting last week of senior shop stewards and workplace reps to consider the one per cent pay offer, with delegates voting to reject the offer and opt instead for industrial action.

Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary for public services, said: “The meeting unanimously agreed to consult our 220,000 GMB members on the offer. The meeting agreed to recommend that members reject this offer and that they be asked if they will support industrial action.

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Down with US war-games in Korea!

by New Worker correspondent

ANDY BROOKS joined other friends of the Korean revolution demonstrating outside the American embassy in London last week to protest against the latest US provocations on the Korean peninsula.

The NCP leader, along with other comrades and friends, picketed the US embassy in Grosvenor Square to call for an immediate halt to the “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” exercises of the US imperialists in occupied south Korea and the hostile policy against the DPR Korea including the “human rights” racket.

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Red Salute to Kim Il Sung!

by New Worker correspondent FRIENDS of Korea met at the John Buckle Centre in London last Saturday to celebrate the birth of great leader Kim Il Sung with a panel of speakers who have all visited Democratic Korea over the years.

Kim Il Sung advanced and developed Marxist philosophy throughout his long and active life — a theme taken up by the panel, which included Michael Chant of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), NCP leader Andy Brooks, John McLeod of the Socialist Labour Party and John Rainsborough from the UK Korean Friendship Association.

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International News

Turkish police attack protesters in Ankara

Xinhua news agency

TURKISH riot police on Tuesday used water cannon to disperse thousands of protesters who gathered outside the Higher Election Board (YSK) in the capital Ankara against alleged fraud in the local elections held two days ago.

The protests started on Monday after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) filed a complaint with the district electoral boards for alleged irregularities in the election results for Ankara.

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DPRK leader vows to crush US hostile policy

Xinhua news agency

KIM JONG UN, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has vowed to crush the US hostile policy toward Pyongyang amid tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Kim made the comments on Tuesday in a speech to officers at Mount Paektu, the highest peak on the peninsula. He described the current situation as “grave” and said his military will “thoroughly crush the hostile US policy”.

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Egypt resumes talks about Russia’s customs union

Syria Times

EGYPT has resumed negotiations on the establishment of a free trade zone with the new Russian-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Egyptian Industry and Investment Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said this was one of the most important achievements of the talks in Moscow last week.

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Big pay rise for Cuban health workers

by Juan Leandro IMPROVED personnel stability and an increase in the quality of services are expected in Cuba following the announcement of substantial pay raises to over 440,000 health workers, all of whom have received the news joyfully.

The raise, effective in June, rewards those physicians, nurses and dentists of higher qualifications, those who attend evening and night shifts and personnel working at overseas posts.

The Government of Cuba has reaffirmed the extraordinary importance it attaches to the work of its medical teams in other countries, significant because of their size in Venezuela and Brazil, just to mention two of the recipient nations.

Since 1963, when Cuban medical teams began helping other nations, slightly over 130,000 Cuban physicians and nurses have worked in 103 countries, some of them as far away as Pakistan

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Behind right-wing gains in French election

by G Dunkel

The New York Times and Washington Post in the United States and the Guardian in Britain presented France’s local elections on 30th March as a breakthrough for the French far right, along with substantial gains for the centre-right.

But the real key to understanding developments in France is the record level of abstentions. Nearly 40 per cent of the electorate withheld their vote in the 30th March second round. This abstention shows the “centre-left” has lost working-class voters and is a massive rebuff to the current government of President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, whose policies have been as anti- working class as that of their centre-right opponents.

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Escalation terrorism in Syria is the US main goal

by Ahmad Orabi Ba’aj

UNDOUBTEDLY it clearly seems that current international issues are related to each other in one way or another, especially the recent events concerning Crimea. For the issue of joining Crimea to Russia has become the most interactive issue in the international scene.

Despite of its preoccupation with the hot issue of Crimea, the US is still continuing its intervention in Syria through its increasing support for terrorism, with the help of its regional and Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

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WC Diplomacy: Western Corporatist Diplomacy

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE ACRONYM WC Diplomacy is as accurate as it is sad, a perfect description of the type of approach adopted by the West for crisis management and which sees them get it wrong time and time again and which might explain why supposedly intelligent, educated and cultured people leading their country’s foreign affairs fall prey to such policies.

The question why the West gets it wrong time and time again in approaching international affairs is answered by the decisions of the leaders of the western countries’ diplomacy. It is an approach that panders to the whims of the corporations that control internal and external policy; it is an approach which, tied together in a neat little media package, pulls the strings of public opinion shaping it while appealing to emotions which in turn have been set in place in a cynical exercise of manipulation.

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Lifelong reading encouraged in Cuba

by Adalys Pilar

IT HAS become traditional for the International Book Fair to ensure that streets and plazas across Cuba overflow with a wide variety of books which may be complimented by an offering of other artistic items.

It is dedicated each year to a guest country and prominent writers and the 2013 fair paid tribute to the National Literature Prize laureate Nersys Felipe, and to the historian and essayist Rolando Rodríguez.

After its official opening at the historical complex Morro- Cabañá, a defensive colonial fort with a Unesco World Heritage Site designation, the fair enjoys a warm welcome as it travels the length and breadth of the country.

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Libya faces further imperialist intervention

by Abayomi Azikiwe

THREE years after the massive eight-month bombing campaign against Libya was carried out by the Pentagon and Nato, divisions within the rebel forces that served as ground troops for the imperialist war of regime change are prompting greater foreign intervention.

The seizure of an oil tanker, the Morning Glory, off the coast of Cyprus, by United States commandos and naval forces illustrates what is at stake for Washington in its efforts to remake the North African state.

The Mediterranean waters around Libya are heavily patrolled by Pentagon and Nato warships.

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The Financial Ombudsman Service and the protection of capitalism

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

THE PIVOTAL fallacy of the bourgeois capitalist state is that the institution of the “law” is fair, equal, and accessible to all. This is an obvious and blatant untruth.

The institution of law is a historical expression of class domination, whereby the working masses are excluded from the supposed “equality” the law offers by the sheer expense of accessing its guidance and support.

Furthermore the institute of law is represented in society by solicitors, lawyers, barristers and so on, who form a distinct middle class entity whose primary purpose is to maintain the class privilege that they enjoy at the expense of the oppressed working class.

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