National News

Fascists clash in Rotherham

RIVAL fascist, racist and Islamophobic groups were literally falling over each other on the streets of Rotherham last Saturday as they all tried to take advantage of the recent damning report of the failure to act by local councillors and police in the long-running child abuse scandal.

The fascists were united in trying to use this as an excuse to accuse all Muslims of being paedophiles but divided among themselves over who were the most outraged and angry.

The English Defence League, the National Front, the Infidels, Britain First and a myriad of splinter groups, fought it out with each other on the streets of Rotherham, all jockeying to get a slice of the child abuse misery pie and take advantage of the estimated 1,400 victims.

Three were arrested on their way to the event on charges of possessing offensive weapons. Before the march many of the fascists and racists were reported to have been taking cocaine — along with their usual doses of alcohol — and were seen smoking pot as they marched.

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TUC supports Ukraine anti-fascists

THE TRADES Union Congress annual conference in Liverpool last Wednesday 10th September, representing over six million organised workers in Britain, passed a motion on Ukraine moved by the RMT. The motion opposes the use of British forces in the conflict, calls for a ceasefire and supports those fighting against fascism in Ukraine.

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PSC mass lobby for Gaza

SUPPORTERS and friends of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign gathered in Westminster on Tuesday 9th September to urge their MPs to support Palestinian rights.

PSC thanked its supporters after the mass lobby for Gaza, which it described as “a huge success, creating a real impact on Parliament during the day”.

Hundreds of supporters for Palestine met with MPs from all political parties at the Emergency Mass Lobby for Gaza and MPs from all sides of the House supported the lobby.

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Reinstate Charlotte Monro

THE CAMPAIGN to reinstate NHS employee and campaigner against cuts Charlotte Monro has launched a new petition. Charlotte Monro is a well-respected, longstanding staff member and trade union representative at Whipps Cross Hospital, east London. In 2009 Charlotte received a special award from the Trust for her tireless efforts to defend services. The new Barts Health Trust has now dismissed her because she continued to do so!

Hundreds of staff are being down-graded and services across east London are being cut. As Unison Branch Chair, Charlotte raised concerns of staff over the impact of cuts on patient care with Waltham Forest Health Scrutiny Committee, and discussed the cuts with her union members.

For this she has been sacked! This is an attack on the right to speak out in the NHS, and on the rights of health staff to organise in trade unions and to campaign for services. We believe a climate of silencing staff through intimidation has no place in a caring service.

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Tribunal fees denying justice

NEW EMPLOYMENT tribunal statistics published last Thursday show that the new system of charging upfront fees is resulting in a major reduction in claims, says the TUC.

The statistics are the third quarterly set of figures since the new fees system was introduced and show that women, low-paid workers, disabled people, and black and Asian workers are the big losers.

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Multinational takes over from Atos

HEALTH Management Ltd, a subsidiary of American multinational, Maximus, which operates in the United States, Britain, Canada and Saudi Arabia — is to take over the assessment of eligibility for sickness-related benefits on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions.

The company will be able to order sick people back to work in England and Wales without a face-to-face examination under a new Government privatisation programme aimed to slash hundreds of millions of pounds off the sick pay bill.

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MPs back call for proper staffing in the Passport Office

MEMBERS of Parliament on the Home Affairs Select Committee have backed the civil service union PCS’s demand for proper staffing in the Passport Office.

The recent crisis was caused by understaffing, the union maintains, and a new report by the committee highlights the excessive overtime being worked this year.

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BBC bias

THE BBC last week faced accusations of anti-independence bias after its political editor, Nick Robinson, produced a report that wrongly claimed Alex Salmond had ignored his question during a heated press conference.

Calling into question the impartiality of the publicly-owned broadcaster, the veteran BBC correspondent edited out Salmond’s lengthy answer, in which the First Minister claimed the BBC had skewed facts and colluded with the Treasury to undermine the “Yes” campaign.

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Cardiff synagogue displays Muslims’ WW2 help for Jews

THE CARDIFF Reform Synagogue hosted an exhibition last Sunday, charting the role Muslims played in saving Jewish lives in the Holocaust.

Stanley Soffa, chair of Jewish Representative Council for South Wales who has brought it to Wales said it was a “heroic story”.

The exhibition is part of Open Doors 2014 the annual event offering free entry to many attractions throughout September.

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Free schools neglecting racial equality

FREE SCHOOLS are failing to address educational disadvantage and attainment gaps, according to a new report from the teaching union Nasuwt.

The report, Free Schools, Equality and Inclusion, researched and written by Race On The Agenda (ROTA), found that many free schools are not operating fair and inclusive admission policies and are failing to comply with their statutory obligations to equality.

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Channel Four anti-DPRK series slammed

A TELEVISION series that revolves around the DPR Korea’s illegal access to Britain’s nuclear technology to build its own nuclear arms has been denounced by a spokesperson of the Policy Department of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK as preposterous.

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International News

Iraq: Chaos, the legacy of the West

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

AS THE FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US) sets about tacking together an international force capable of attacking the forces of the Islamic State (outside the auspices of the United Nations Security Council, of course — the proper forum for discussion of crisis management), let us ask who is to blame for the situation?

Back in 2002, as the US-UK act of mass murder in Iraq was being planned, as always, outside the auspices of the UN Security Council, I warned that an attack on Iraq would be a monumental mistake in terms of strategy, security and international law.

In 2003 the United States and Britain became pariahs in the hearts and minds of the international community as they launched an illegal attack against a sovereign nation, deployed their military might against civilians and civilian structures, doled out contracts without public tender, destroyed a stable society and created the conditions for chaos to ensue once their troops were pulled out. As I said, let them never, ever again claim the high moral ground or dare to complain about the modus operandi of other states.

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Venezuelan opposition plans more violence

by Juan Leandro

A VIDEO of a conference surfaced on Monday showing Venezuelan opposition activists planning terrorist activities against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The video, released by Venezuelan state television, VTV, shows two activists talking while in Colombia to someone in Venezuela, apparently planning an attack on a bridge in the Venezuelan state of Táchira.

Táchira is a Venezuelan border state that has also been one of the main focal areas for the Venezuelan opposition, in which opposition activists terrorised neighbourhoods for several months earlier this year.

The two men have been identified as Gabriel Valles and Lorent Gómez Saleh. Valles is President of the Venezuelan opposition youth organisation “Operation Liberty”.

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Russia and Zimbabwe close ranks


ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday condemned the West-led sanctions on the two countries as the leaders launched a $4 billion joint venture to build the biggest platinum mine in Zimbabwe.

After their meeting at Mugabe’s birthplace in Kutama the veteran Zimbabwean leader told the media that the western sanctions were illegal as they lack the endorsement from the United Nations.

“They are the works of evil men of our world, who act in defiance of international law,” Mugabe said.

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The Workers’ Arch of Cienfuegos

by Francisco Navarro

NEITHER associated with famous battles nor distinguished leaders, and compared to such monumental structures in Rome or Paris, the Arc de Triomphe in Cienfuegos looks somewhat like their “little brother”.

However its peculiar elements also make it a unique structure: it is the only such commemorative construction of its type that still exists in Cuba, and given that this arch was built by local workers to welcome the establishment of a Republic on 20th May 1902, the local population refers to it as the Workers’ Arch.

Along with a statue of the Cuban national hero José Martí at the centre and a gazebo where the former Municipal Concert Band used to perform, the arch is located in the former Plaza de Armas of Cienfuegos — 250 km southeast of Havana — known today as the José Martí Park.

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Romance opens UK Film Week

VNS THE MUSICAL film, Sunshine on Leith, will open this year’s UK Film Week in Vietnam. With endless frames of Edinburgh’s scenic beauty, it’s a particularly telling introduction to this year’s chosen theme.

Organised by the British Council of Vietnam (BC), the 2014 calendar of films celebrates Scottish heritage and culture.

Based on the stage hit of the same name, Sunshine on Leith scores an impressive approval rating of 92 per cent on UK’s Rotten Tomatoes review website.

Its uplifting story and featured music by popfolk band The Proclaimers seem to have hit the mark with audiences.

Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the plot follows Davy and Ally, two discharged British Army ser- vicemen who return to the comfort of their families and their native city, Edinburgh, after a tour in Afghanistan.

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Lies and Russia

by Rob Gowland

ANYONE who watches the news on TV knows that the coverage never gives you perspective. It invariably presents the latest outbreak of war or violence or civil unrest as an isolated event, unrelated to events in the rest of the world or to history. In other words, the coverage on TV ignores the big picture. And yet seeing the big picture is vital to understanding what is going on.

That, of course, is the point. The movers and shakers of capitalism don’t want the ordinary people — the despised 99 per cent — to achieve an understanding of what is happening around them (and to them). So they give them “all the facts”, but disconnected, so their significance is obscured and their real meaning hidden.

This makes it a lot easier too to include amongst those “facts” whatever lies are deemed most useful to corporate interests, particularly US corporate interests. US strategic interests are presently bound up with its attempt to achieve what its policy-planners call, “full spectrum dominance”, a fancy term for “rule the world”.

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The pseudo-socialist utopia of Witney

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

BOURGEOIS conservatism is built upon a flimsy bedrock of hypocrisy, contradiction, systemic denial, and spite. Its essence functions through the physical world as pure greed for profit at any cost and manifests as the grasping, maintaining and squandering of all material resources. With everything exploitable in the material world firmly in its grasp, the bourgeoisie also try to possess the world of ideas as in academia, and the realm of imagined spirits, as in the theology of religion.

The city of Oxford is world renowned for the quality of education produced within the famous and ancient colleges that comprise its university. This university constitutes the dynamic city centre of Oxford and is a stark contrast to Oxfordshire — which can be described as a collection of sleepy villages that are monochrome, dormant, and highly conservative in its attitude and nature.

Students are not really welcome outside the city centre and its immediate environs, just as the inward looking and vigour lacking populace of Oxfordshire are not particularly welcomed by the university.

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Ukraine: ceasefire and class struggle

by Greg Butterfield A CEASEFIRE agreement signed in Minsk, Belarus, on 5th September, under the auspices of the Trilateral Contact Group, went into effect at 6 pm local time. The parties to the agreement were the governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation and the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The document was also signed by Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitskiy, heads of state of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, although they were not listed in the preamble among the parties that “reached an understanding with respect to the need to implement the steps”.

The 12-point agreement came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a seven-point peace plan following consultations with Ukraine’s President Peter Poroshenko on how to end the civil war in the Donbas region, formerly a part of south-eastern Ukraine.

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