National News

Concern over increasing cancer test delays

HEALTH charities have raised the alarm over increasing delays in access to diagnostic tests for cancer in England and called for urgent action.

The latest figures show that in April, nearly 17,000 patients had been waiting more than six weeks for scans and investigations — including for cancer.

NHS England says most patients are investigated promptly, despite a big rise in demand for tests. The NHS constitution says no one should have to wait more than six weeks for a diagnostic test. But the proportion of patients missing the deadline — including potentially some with cancer — has doubled in 12 months to more than two per cent.

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said: “Every day, yet more evidence emerges showing an NHS heading seriously downhill.

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RMT slams ISS bullying

TRANSPORT union RMT last week slammed moves by underground cleaning contractor ISS to send home any staff who follow a union instruction not to book on for shifts using Biometric Fingerprinting Machines.

RMT has been involved in a long-running dispute over the use of fingerprinting for booking on which the union believes is a fundamental attack on civil liberties and designed to completely dehumanise the workplace, while threatening jobs through automation in the drive for increased profits.

Members at ISS were balloted for action on this issue and voted overwhelmingly yes. Cleaners have now been instructed to book on in the usual way and refuse to use the fingerprinting machines.

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UAF conference Anti-fascists prepare to combat open Nazism

by New Worker correspondent

HUNDREDS of anti-fascists and anti-racists packed the main meeting hall at TUC headquarters in London last Saturday for the annual conference of Unite Against Fascism.

Dozens of first class speakers led debates on the threat of rising fascism in Europe, on rebutting media myths about immigration and Muslims, institutional racism and deaths in custody, involving immigrant communities in the fight against racism and standing up to Ukip (United Kingdom Independence Party).

There were also debates in the effects of austerity and the scapegoating of immigrants, opposing racism and Islamophobia in education and the growing menace and attacks by fascists on the Roma community.

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Harry Potter and the Constitution

From our Scottish Political Correspondent

ONE OF the great things about the Scottish referendum campaign is that anyone can join in regardless of where they live.

Alistair Darling, the Labour head of the anti-independence “Better Together” campaign called on London Scots to rally behind the Union Jack in an article in the Evening Standard last week in which he managed to invoke the names of the famous Scots of yesteryear who created Peter Pan, discovered penicillin and designed King’s Cross station as well as John Donne the 17th century poet who told us that “no man is an island”. Donne was a Londoner, but as one of his patrons was James Stuart, the first Scottish king to unite both kingdoms, perhaps that counts.

President Obama, his former rival and would-be successor Hillary Clinton and the latest Pope have all joined in the fun to warn against the consequences of division.

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Teachers strike over pay

MEMBERS of the NASUWT took strike action on Tuesday over the Government’s refusal to honour an agreed pay rise of just one per cent.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “It is completely unacceptable that the college has refused to give teachers the nationally agreed one per cent uplift to their salaries. “No reasonable rationale or explanation has been provided by the college for denying hard-working teachers their rightful pay award.

“This action is particularly shameful at a time then teachers are continuing to face increasing hardship as a result of the rising cost of living and increased pensions contributions.

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NHS trust gains by buying out PFI deal

C AMPA I G N E R S against the controversial private-finance initiative (PFI) programme have called for a full independent inquiry after Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust saved nearly £67 million by buying one of its hospitals out of its expensive private-sector deal.

In the first such arrangement of its kind, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is borrowing £114 million from the local council to pay off private contractors who built and ran Hexham General Hospital, leading to savings of about £3.5 million every year over the next 19 years.

The sheer size of those savings in what was a relatively small contract was seen as yet more evidence that many of the deals signed under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Labour government often represented poor value for money.

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Passport office in denial

MARK Serwotka, general secretary of the civil service union PCS, last week commented on the latest revelations about passports, including news security checks were reportedly relaxed without minsters’ knowledge, prompting a U-turn.

“Ministers and senior officials have some very serious questions to answer,” he said. “They are going to extraordinary lengths to try to deny the reality that crude political decisions to cut staff have caused this crisis.

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Striking firefighters to the rescue

STRIKING firefighters last Friday morning attended the scene of a serious fire in Hackney after scab crews failed to properly extinguish the blaze when they tackled it on Thursday.

Local residents took dramatic pictures of the fire as it swept through a house in Malpas Road at around 7.00pm. A private strikebreaking force employed by the London Fire Brigade was sent to the scene, and the brigade confirmed that the fire was extinguished soon after.

But professional firefighters returning from a 24-hour strike visited the scene at around 11.30am on Friday to discover the roof and other parts of the building had reignited. It took them 90 minutes to bring the situation under control.

FBU members were striking in protest at Government attacks to their pensions.

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Tube caterers fight victimisation

STAFF working for London Underground caterers Sodexo are to be balloted for both strike action and action short of a strike over the victimisation and dismissal of union activist Petrit Mihaj.

Petrit has been a major force in building union organisation on the LUL Sodexo depot catering contract and has been instrumental in securing union recognition and delivering improvements in pay and conditions and effective representation of staff.

RMT is in no doubt that it is as a result of his high-profile union activities that Petrit has now been singled out, victimised and dismissed. RMT is pursuing Petrit’s case through the employment tribunal and will be balloting members from this week to send out the clearest possible message to the company that we are united in defence of both Petrit Mihaj and strong and effective trade unionism at contractors like Sodexo.

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Anti-fascists hold the line in Cricklewood

by New Worker correspondent

A GROUP of around 200 anti-fascists last Saturday succeeded in preventing a march by the fascist organisation, the “South East Alliance” (SEA), from marching through Cricklewood Broadway, north London.

The anti-fascists included members of Antifa, Brent Unite Against Fascism, trade unionists from the RMT and other unions, Brent Trades Council and the Labour Representation Committee. Democratic Korea — a beacon of progress

correspondent FRIENDS of Korea met at the John Buckle Centre in south London on Monday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the commencement of Kim Jong Il’s work at the Central Committee of the WPK on 19th June 1964 and hear a top DPRK diplomat talk about the Korean leader’s revolutionary work in the service of the Korean people.

The meeting opened with the screening of a new documentary about the Korean People’s Army. NCP leader Andy Brooks then opened the formal part of the celebrations which started with talks from Thae Yongho from the London embassy of the DPRK and Michael Chant from the RCPB (ML).

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International News

Russia cuts off gas to Ukraine

by our European Affairs correspondent

THE NAZI-oligarch regime in Kiev moved closer to open conflict with Russia as the people’s militias battle to drive the fascist forces out of their self-proclaimed Novorussian Union in the east. A fascist mob stoned the Russian embassy in Kiev last weekend and Russia has cut off all gas supplies to Ukraine following the Kiev regime’s refusal to settle its huge debt. Last week 49 Kiev regime servicemen were killed when anti-fascist forces shot down a military transport plane over Lugansk airport while the people’s militia seized the regional treasury, central bank and revenue collection offices in the eastern city of Donetsk, which is at the heart of the anti-fascist uprising.

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Venezuela hails cooperation with China in housing

by Raimundo Urrechaga

VENEZUELAN Minister of Housing Ricardo Molina has hailed the country’s housing cooperation with China. Molina said Venezuela’s cooperation with China had significantly boosted the development of housing and construction sectors in the country.

“We’ve managed to establish joint management schemes and have shown that it is possible to build low-cost and high quality homes in a small amount of time with raw materials produced in our country thanks to the cooperation with China,” the minister said.

Molina said major industrial companies from the two countries would soon forge a partnership in a bid to promote the production of raw materials and components for housing construction.

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Will the IMF move to Beijing?

by Bu Xiaoming

THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund’s headquarters may one day move from Washington to Beijing, aligning with China’s growing influence in the world economy, the fund’s managing director Christine Lagarde said early this month.

Christine Lagarde made the statement at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), saying that the IMF rules require that the institution should be headquartered in the country that is the biggest shareholder. This has always been the US since the fund was formed.

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Ukraine: Guns are deciding everything

by Sergei Kirichuk

In this article, Sergei Kirichuk evaluates the current situation in Ukraine as new President Peter Poroshenko continues a bloody “anti-terrorist operation” against the people of the Donbass mining and industrial region. Kirichuk is national coordinator of Union Borotba (Struggle), a revolutionary socialist movement in Ukraine that helped organise the anti-fascist movement in the south-east against the US-backed Kiev junta. He is currently in exile in Germany. Kirichuk also discusses the junta’s roots in the “Maidan,” an anti-government protest movement in Kiev taken over by neo-Nazi and other far-right elements. The new “Berkut,” or political police, is the fascist Right Sector itself.

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The weirdest alliance: US and Iran

by Valentin Mândrăşescu

THE NEW Iraqi crisis has created a strange situation in which Washington tacitly approves the growth of Iran’s influence in the region, hoping that the Ayatollahs will be able to contain the spread of sectarian violence and save America from a new public humiliation in the global arena.

According to the [Wall Street Journal], after Sunni jihadists from ISIL managed to take over several cities in Iraq, Iran decided to send special troops from the National Guard to bolster the defence of the key Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf. It is also speculated that Iranian National Guard units will defend Baghdad from a possible assault.

Iranians officials have also warned the jihadists to stay clear of a 60-mile wide “protection zone” along the border between Iraq and Iran, stressing that Iran will use military force against any trespassers.

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Australian Government spin: flying in the face of common sense

by Rob Gowland

INTRIGUING contrast: outside, the rain is falling steadily; inside, extracts from Handel (Water Music, Messiah and so on) are playing on a CD in the lounge-room; and before me is a glossy piece of pure spin from our local Liberal Party MP, Karen Mc- Namara. Headed: Australia’s ECONOMIC ACTION STRATEGY, this document is an unashamed hard-sell for the government’s 2014 budget. Yeah, I know — not an easy task, which is what makes the document such a grisly read.

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The Dangerous Myth of Football

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

THE SOCIO--economic structure of world football is controlled by the vicious bourgeois institution of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), and the regional Football Associations it has spawned.

The exploitative tentacles of FIFA spread far and wide into all poor and working class areas of the world. It spreads the myth that all poor people, if they can kick a ball, can become multi-millionaires overnight, if only they tried hard enough!

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