National News

Justice for Mark Harding

THE RMT transport union, supported by other unions and MPs, is fighting for Mark Harding, an RMT London Underground branch secretary who faces imprisonment under this country’s anti- union laws for speaking to a strike breaker while on picket duty.

The MPs and union leaders have issued a statement calling for Mark Harding, the secretary of the Hammersmith & City RMT branch, to receive a fair trial when he appeared in court last Friday.

Dozens of supporters gathered outside the court hearing to be told that the case had been adjourned and there will be another hearing on Monday 2nd June.

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March against Monsanto around the world

MILLIONS of people around the world last Saturday took part in over 400 March Against Monsanto events in 52 countries around the world. And they included marches and rallies in London, Torquay, Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham and Southampton attended by hundreds of protesters.

In London several hundred people gathered in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street for a noisy and colourful rally.

“Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threaten their generation’s health, fertility and longevity,” said Tami Canal, founder of the movement March Against Monsanto (MAM).

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Justice for sale

THE SCALE of private sector involvement in Britain’s prisons and probation service has increased dramatically in the last four years and the overwhelming majority of contracts are held by just three companies, according to a new report published last Friday by the TUC.

Justice for Sale is the first in a series of reports from the TUC and its seven unions with members employed in the justice sector, and is the first activity of the Speak Up for Justice campaign.

The research was undertaken by the New Economics Foundation and looks at the growth of outsourcing — where work once carried out by the public sector is now being handled by private companies.

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Charging children for reading lessons

MICHAEL Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, has refused to intervene to prevent Tory-run Croydon Council from charging the parents of children in the borough thousands of pounds per year for what they are entitled to receive free-of-charge under the law: to be taught to read and write.

Croydon Council, as the local education authority, has been charging primary school-aged children for their remedial literacy lessons provided at the borough’s specialist centre based alongside Purley Oaks School.

Some parents in the borough are being told they have to pay more than £3,500 a year to the council for their children’s vitally important lessons. Croydon Council says that the charges are compulsory. If the fees are not paid, then the child does not get the lessons they need in the basics of reading and writing.

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£40 from everyone who loses their job

FROM THIS autumn anyone who loses their job will receive £40 less as a result of Government plans to make people wait for longer for any job support, according to a consultation published last Friday by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) — an official body that advises the Department of Work and Pensions on benefits issues.

The TUC believes that the new policy will make newly unemployed people easy prey for loan sharks, with even the Government admitting that the change may increase reliance on short-term loans.

The Government plans to make all new claimants for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) wait seven days before they are eligible for help (at the moment they have to wait three days).

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Wild cat strikes for direct employment

THE FIGHT for direct employment in the construction industry has begun with wildcat strikes spreading.

Since the introduction of legislation to outlaw bogus self-employment there have been unofficial walkouts by electricians at Three Bridges Crawley, Aldermaston Berkshire and Tottenham Court Road, London, demanding direct employment with full JIB terms and conditions.

Agency workers in construction would previously work under the construction industry scheme or CIS where a payroll company would deduct tax at 20 per cent and workers would claim a rebate for allowances at the end of the tax year.

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Support UK train building

RAIL UNION RMT is backing a major event in Derby this Friday — 30th May — in support of the on-going fight to secure the future of train building in the nation that gave the railways to the world and to reinforce the case for public ownership.

After a high-profile and sustained campaign, the Bombardier train manufacturing plant at Derby has been awarded the contract to build the new fleet for the Crossrail trans-London line.

This was an important victory both in terms of securing work for large numbers of skilled jobs, but also as a vote of confidence in British manufacturing.

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Tilbury dock strike against zero-hours contracts

A MOVE by the hardline management of SCA Logistics, based at Tilbury docks, to drive down wages by introducing zero-hours contracts, has provoked a two-day strike.

The dockers, members of the union Unite started a 48-hour stoppage on Tuesday in the dispute which the union fears could see the permanent workforce being replaced by lower paid agency/casual workers on zero hours contracts.

Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery said: “If this is allowed to happen, we will be turning the clock back 50 years to the bad old days when you had to rely on the tap on the shoulder to see if you had work for the day in the docks.

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German migrant accuses Russia of Nazism

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Monarchy of the UK is forbidden by law to interfere in the everyday political process carried out by the British Parliament through its elected representatives.

The feudal practice of absolute monarchy was abolished by the progressive governance of Oliver Cromwell after the English Revolution. But it was reinstated (in various guises) by the counter-revolutionary forces of conservativism until the religious bigotry between Protestant and Catholic Christianity eventually ensured that the British ruling house was reduced to a Constitutional Monarchy — a monarchy in name only — staffed primarily by immigrants drawn from a German royal family.

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International News

China slams Vietnamese claims to islands

CHINA described Vietnam’s claim to disputed South China Sea islands as “ridiculous” on Monday, as tension rises over competing claims of sovereignty in waters believed to be rich in oil and natural gas.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei in one of Asia’s most intractable disputes and a possible flashpoint. It also has a separate maritime dispute with Japan over islands in the East Sea.

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Syria’s Historical Moment

by H Mustafa

THE COUNTDOWN for the historical presidential elections in Syria has begun with the Syrians being hopeful that a poll on 3rd June will save the country from the ongoing war and establish a new national political era that perpetuates political pluralism in the country.

Syria’s sovereign decision to hold presidential elections on time reflects the Syrian people’s determination to uproot terrorism from their homeland, restore security and stability to the country, reconstruct what the armed terrorist groups have damaged and build Syria on stronger democratic bases; democratic bases that are absent in many countries, mainly the Gulf states, which have been conspiring and participating in shedding Syrian blood.

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Saying good-bye to English in China?

DEBATE still rages over the value of studying English, even after the Ministry of Education denied last week that English would be removed from the “gaokao”, the national college entrance examination.

Those in favour of its removal say English study should be optional to ease the burden on students, while opponents insist it is a necessary ability for Chinese to understand the world.

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Russian parliament condemns attempts to ban Ukraine communists

Statement of the State Duma in connection with the attempts to ban the activity of the Communist Party of Ukraine

ON 19TH MAY 2014 the acting President of Ukraine, A Turchinov, put forward a new initiative to ban the communist party of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as CPU) as bearing threat to national security.

The State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation considers that there are no grounds for banning one of the oldest political parties of Ukraine. In the programme of the CPU there are no provisions aimed at violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. The Communist party didn’t take part in attempts to cease power.

[ Russian parliament condemns attempts to ban Ukraine communists ]

Putin’s visit to China marks ‘new level of solidarity’

RUSSIA and China signed a major gas supply deal valued at over $400 billion last week. The deal was inked just before Russian President Vladimir Putin ended his two-day state visit to China. Voice of Russia spoke to the Moscow-based political analyst Yuri Tavrovsky for his take on Mr Putin’s visit.

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Venezuela stands up to US interference

by Berta Joubert-Ceci

WHILE the eyes of the world focus on the events in Ukraine, the US empire is using this opportunity to intensify its plan to overthrow governments in the Latin American and Caribbean region that are leading the process for change there — Cuba and Venezuela. The new war against these countries is not the invasion of Marines, as it was before. Now the plan is more sophisticated. It focuses on the youth and includes the use of new technologies, as demonstrated by the recent ZunZuneo attack on Cuba.

The imperialists know that without the impetus from these two revolutions, the rest of the Latin American process would collapse. It would shatter the unity and integration for which Latin Americans have fought and which to date have been gaining against the empire. The area has already won some independence from the giant in the North.

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Iran complies with its obligation under nuclear deal: IAEA report

Xinhua news agency

IRAN continues to cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by more than 80 per cent in implementing a milestone nuclear deal with six world powers, and is cooperating with the United Nations nuclear agency to provide greater transparency of its nuclear plan, a UN confidential report showed on Friday.

A monthly updating confidential report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), obtained by Xinhua, showed Tehran has been curbing its disputed nuclear activities under the landmark Geneva deal agreed in last November since the pact came into force on 20th January.

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