National News

Teachers to join forces for July strike?

THE NATIONAL Union of Teachers is considering delaying plans for a national strike so that support staff can join them in the action according to a report in the Times Educational Supplement (TES) . Teaching assistants and other school staff who are members of public sector unions Unison, Unite and GMB are to be balloted for strike action, after a one per cent pay offer was overwhelmingly rejected by their members.

After three consecutive pay freezes for local government employees, followed by two years of below-inflation pay rises, Unison has hit out at the latest offer as “effectively another pay freeze”. The ballot being held by the union, which has almost 250,000 members in schools, starts this week.

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Strike breaking firefighters set the roof alight!

UNTRAINED would-be firefighters recruited to become strike breakers lost control of a fire at a North Yorkshire fire training centre during an exercise and set the roof of the building on fire.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service had to call in professional firefighters to work alongside their training staff to extinguish the blaze, at Easingwold training centre with five fire engines and one aerial appliance attending.

At present, brigades across England and Wales are trying to find cover in the event of strikes called by the Fire Brigades Union over the Government’s attacks on firefighter pensions, which the union says are unworkable, unaffordable and unfair.

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Public far to the left of Labour Party

VOTERS support policies far to the left of those put forward by the Labour Party leadership according to a poll published last week.

According to the poll, by YouGov for the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) think tank, voters support state-imposed price controls on the utilities, re-nationalisation of the railways and Royal Mail, an end to private cash in the public sector and even state power to regulate rents.

But perhaps more worrying for the Tories is that, when asked, voters said they didn’t believe either party was on the side of working people, suggesting they want to see even more radical policies.

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Power workers’ strike to hit London Underground

THE LONDON Underground faces a complete closedown this bank holiday weekend, as the workers, who control the power to run the trains, prepare to strike in a dispute over pay differentials.

The 40 technicians, mostly members of the giant union Unite, are based at the power control room in Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ where they provide the power for the 270 station underground network.

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Lies, damned lies and statistics

by our Scottish Political Correspondent

HEALTH MATTERS have recently come to the fore in Scottish politics, revealing much of the calibre of Scotland’s ruling political class.

Playing a starring role is Scotland’s health minister, Alex Neil, who has managed to hang on to his job despite Labour leader Johann Lamont calling on him to resign for deceiving the Scottish Parliament.

He has been accused of reversing a decision made by his predecessor, now deputy First Minister to concentrate mental health services at a hospital a few miles away which involved the removal of facilities from a hospital in Neil’s constituency.

Emails show that he ordered his officials to reverse the decision on the very same day that he stated that he was stepping aside from the question on the grounds that as a constituency MSP he had a conflict of interest and handing the question over to a deputy minister.

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Britain First thugs ‘invade’ East London Mosque

A SMALL group of fascist thugs from the Britain First group — a breakaway from the British National Party — last week staged an “invasion” of London’s biggest mosque in Whitechapel, to give out leaflets and bibles.

Eyewitnesses described seeing a group of four men wearing matching uniforms, described as “green activist jackets” by Britain First, entering the building before handing out Bibles and asking to speak to the Imam.

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Newcastle antifascists defy EDL

THE ANTI-fascist group, Newcastle Unites, last Saturday turned out in force to counter a march of nearly 400 supporters of the Islamophobic English Defence League through Newcastle-upon- Tyne.

Unites, with a good selection of trade union banners on display, started their march at the City Hall before going along John Dobson Street, on to New Bridge Street, along Blackett Street and ended up at the Monument where they held speeches.

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On Palestine Nakba Day

Hundreds protest at Livni’s London visit

MORE THAN 500 supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign came out in London last Thursday to protest against the visit of Israeli war crimes suspect, Tzipi Livni, to London this week.

Tzipi Livni was one of the architects of the Israeli attack on Gaza 2008/09 which led to the deaths of 1,417 Palestinians — 313 of them children — and injured 5,303.

She was in London to speak at a fundraising dinner for the Jewish National Fund at the Jumeirah Hotel on the evening of Thursday 15th May.

Sarah Colborne, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Tzipi Livni’s visit to London has been cloaked in secrecy due to the serious war crimes she is accused of. Her sponsors won’t even reveal where and when she will be speaking, such is her notoriety.

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International News

Chinese and Russian summit in Shanghai

Xinhua news agency

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Shanghai on Tuesday.

At the start of the talks, Xi extended a warm welcome to Putin, his first China visit since Xi took office.

Recalling their last meeting in Sochi during the Winter Olympics in February, Xi said the meeting marked a good start for relations this year.

Various cooperation committees and departments of both countries have actively implemented the results of the Sochi meeting, Xi said, adding the efforts had laid a solid foundation for his Shanghai meeting with Putin.

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WFTU denounces the murderous policy in the mines of Turkey


THE SECRETARIAT of the World Federation of Trade Unions has received with great sorrow the information for the tragedy that cost the lives of at least 200 mineworkers and injured many more during a coal mine explosion in Soma, Turkey about 250km south of Istanbul owned by Soma Komur Isletmeleri AS on 13th May 2014.

The private-ownership over the mine and the profit-oriented policy that cuts down in up-todate technology and periodic maintenance, the criminal lack of proper safety measures and the intensification of labour are the true causes behind the blast that hit the power unit, caused a fire and ended with the carbon monoxide poisoning of hundreds of mineworkers.

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US imperialism’s dirty little secret

by Chris Fry

AS THE First World War broke out 100 years ago, Vladimir Lenin pointed to the root cause of that terrible social catastrophe as “the extreme intensification of the struggle for markets in the latest — the imperialist — stage of capitalist development”.

His words could have been written today, as the US-sponsored conflict in Ukraine and with the Russian Federation unfolds. Today, “the struggle for markets” is in fact the US billionaire class’ attempt to wrest the entire European energy market from Russia.

Behind the support for the Ukrainian fascist gangs and ultra-right Kiev “government,” behind vilification of the Russian leadership and the worker militias in eastern Ukraine, behind the US Navy manoeuvres in the Black Sea, behind Nato’s military exercises in the Baltic States is the furious effort by the US energy corporations, the banks, their government and their media to force the European countries to cut off their purchase of natural gas and oil from Russia and instead buy their energy from the US monopolies.

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Cameron’s unionist bias is a reminder of Major’s Irish policy

by Declan Kearney

HOWEVER Gerry Adams’s detention and release is viewed (and many have done so with either bewilderment or suspicion), it brought into stark relief for many citizens the fragility of the peace and political processes.

This and other recent events demonstrate that unless fresh momentum is reintroduced by the British and Irish governments to the management of the political situation (with support from the US administration), the legacy of our unresolved past will continue to damage the potential for political stability and progress in the future.

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Racist BJP elected in India!

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

THE RACIST and Hindu nationalist BJP Party has won last week’s general election in India by a landslide victory. It has campaigned solely upon a capitalist ticket, claiming that through stringent right-wing control of the country, the economy can be made strong. This is the usual right-wing nonsense that is nothing more than the rhetoric of the minority bourgeois, which is designed to give a false hope to the masses, whilst their exploitation intensifies.

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Scientology, Doctor Zhivago and other weirdness

by Rob Gowland

SCIENTOLOGY stopped being a science-fiction based cult and became a church when its founder, sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard, discovered that churches did not have to pay tax. Although Scientology’s status as a church no doubt helped its bottom line, it did nothing to increase anyone’s perception of it as scientific. It was and remained a cult.

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ANC big winner in South Africa elections despite worker unrest

by Abayomi Azikiwe

TWENTY years after Freedom Day in 1994, the African National Congress won overwhelmingly in South Africa’s fifth national democratic elections held on 7th May. The ANC, which has dominated South African politics for decades, even before coming to power in the first non-racial democratic elections, officially received 62.5 per cent of the vote.

Following way behind the ANC is the Democratic Alliance, headed by former Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille, which gained 22 per cent of the vote. While this represents an increase of five per cent since 2009, the DA received just one-third of the support earned by the ANC.

Perhaps the most significant development in the national poll was the performance of the newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters, led by Julius Malema, the ousted president of the ANC Youth League. The EFF won six per cent of the vote and is now the third party, behind the ANC and the DA.

The election outcome illustrated that the ANC retains the support of the majority of the South African electorate. Efforts by the DA as well as other political forces were largely unsuccessful in making a significant dent in the ANC’s margin of political authority within the national government or the National Assembly.

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US military option worst response to Nigeria crisis

by TJ Petrowski

THE “WAR on Terror” has provided western imperialism with too many benefits for it to end in the near future, and to continue to feed the terrorism industry to justify interventions abroad, the corporate media will exploit what are no doubt tragic events to further western imperialism’s militaristic ambitions around the world.

The 14th April abduction of girls by Boko Haram from a secondary school in Nigeria’s Borno state, a criminal mass violation of the rights of women and girls is an example of this.

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