National News

St Mungo charity workers on strike

WORKERS at the St Mungo’s Broadway charity are taking seven days’ strike action, which started on Friday 17th October, in protest against pay cuts and changes to contracts.

The workers are furious at changes imposed by the new management team imported from Broadway, the junior partner in the recent merger.

More than 600 members of staff from St Mungo’s Broadway are taking part in the action organised by the giant union Unite because of changes which increase a £5,000 pay difference for new workers.

The changes were made without any consultation with the workers or the union.

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Police fail to evict Occupy protest

POLICE attempts to remove an encampment by Occupy protesters in Parliament Square on Sunday night failed, leaving between 50 and 100 protesters still there, determined to complete their planned 10-day sit-in opposite the Houses of Parliament.

The occupation began on Saturday afternoon immediately after the 100,000-strong joint trade union protest at low wage levels in Britain.

According to its website, the goal of the Occupy Democracy campaign is to “direct the energy from current single-issue struggles into a critical mass that can radically challenge the corrupt and unrepresentative system”.

On Sunday night hundreds of police moved on to the Square determined to clear the protesters. They gave the protesters 30 minutes to pack up and leave or face arrest.

Possessing items that could be used for sleeping in Parliament Square was made illegal under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

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Council wrong to evict refugee

A HIGH Court judge last week severely criticised Southwark Council for evicting a Sudanese tenant and seizing and destroying all his possessions.

Judge Anthony Thornton QC ruled that housing officers had “entered into a conspiracy to harm” the refugee, to unlawfully evict him from his council flat and destroy his possessions, including memory sticks holding thousands of hours of work, before then covering up their wrongdoing.

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Liverpool dockers demand talks

THE GIANT union Unite is demanding that the pay, and terms and conditions, of the 300 workers at the Port of Liverpool should be protected now that Blue Arrow has won the contract to supply labour to the thriving port.

Unite is concerned that Drake Port Distribution Services has lost the contract that it has held since 1995 to Blue Arrow.

At a mass meeting on Thursday 16th October the workforce called for urgent talks to take place between Unite and Blue Arrow as soon as possible.

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Scottish News

by our Scottish political correspondent

ON SATURDAY about 4,000 trade unionists took part in the Scottish Trades Union Congress’s “Decent Work, Dignified Lives — Scotland Needs A Pay Rise” march and rally in Glasgow. The star speaker was author of the recent book on The Establishment Owen Jones, late of University College, Oxford and Guardian columnist.

He said that demands for more power to Holyrood must be won by direct political action from below and called upon people “down south to stand with you to ensure the politicians give the Scottish parliament powers it needs to make Scotland a fairer, more just and more equal society.”

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith denounced the “Cabinet full of Tory millionaires that refuses to sanction a one per cent pay increase for NHS workers in England” and condemned the SNP government for sticking to George Osborne’s policies in the recent Scottish budget.

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Tommy Robinson back in jail

STEPHEN Yaxley Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson, the founder and former leader of the Islamophobic English Defence League will not be able to keep a speaking appointment at the Oxford Union because he is back in jail.

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International News

Key battle in Brazil

by Juan Manuel Karg

THE SECOND electoral round in Brazil, scheduled to take place on 26th October, is possibly one of the most decisive moments faced by post-neoliberal governments in the region in recent years.

Although over the last two decades political polarisation in the country has resulted in the battle between the Workers Party (PT) and the Brazilian Social Democrat Party (PSDB), this election presents unique characteristics given the dominant role the corporate press — the majority of which oppose Dilma Rousseff’s government — has played since August.

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Network attacks — what is the next US gimmick?

by Zhang Junshe

DOCUMENTS leaked by Edward Snowden show that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has tried to gain access to sensitive data in the global communications industry. The documents describe a range of clandestine field activities that are among the agency’s “core secrets” when it comes to computer network attacks. This clearly reveals the true colours of the US for all its posturing as the world’s policeman.

The documents suggest that the US has had agents in China, Germany, and south Korea engaging in programmes that use “physical subversion” to infiltrate networks and devices.

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‘Occupy Central’ is far from democracy

by Kong Shiping

THE WESTERN media has dressed up the “Occupy Central” movement as democracy. But a careful examination shows that their chants of “democracy” are nothing but the fictional Emperor’s New Clothes — the movement is a street riot that goes against rationality, damages the rule of the law and opposes the government.

That the western media interprets the movement as democracy is far fetched and unacceptable; it also reflects the West’s hollow and utilitarian understanding of democratic ideals and the decline of its democratic values.

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Turkey’s sinister role in supporting terrorism

Syria Times

THE TURKISH parliament has voted in favour of a motion that would provide the legal ground for Ankara to deploy forces into Iraq and Syria. In reality this is just another act of aggression against a member state of the United Nations. It is a blatant violation of the United Nations charter, which stipulates respect for the national sovereignty of states and non-interference in their domestic affairs.

It is ironic for a government that supports armed terrorist groups financially and militarily to claim that it will now join the so-called international coalition against terrorism.

Ankara has been a major supporter of foreign-backed Islamic fundamentalist terrorists operating to topple the Syrian state since March 2011. Over the past four years, Turkey has provided political, military and logistic support to terrorists and helped foreign terrorists cross into Syria. The international community and, in particular, the Security Council, should act to put an end to these acts which represent a threat to world security and peace. This escalation is part of the aggressive policies of Erdogan’s government and its openly-provided support to the armed terrorist groups who use Turkey as a shelter, springboard and supply centre to kill innocent Syrians and destroy the infrastructure of the country.

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There are no worse traitors than former compatriots


ANOTHER European country is trying to bar Russian pop singers from entering its territory. This time, it’s Britain. Two Russian singers — Joseph Kobzon and Valeriya — are expected to perform in London this week.

But according to the Guardian, a campaign has been launched by “anti-Putin activist Andrei Sidelnikov” to stop them. Last week he sent a petition to Downing Street in which he urged the British government to follow Latvia’s example and deny entry to Joseph Kobzon and Alla Perfilova, who is known under her stage name as Valeriya.

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Havana Ballet Festival celebrates Shakespeare

by Martha Sánchez

“DANCE for Shakespeare” is the theme for the 24th Havana International Ballet Festival running from 28th October to 7th November, with the participation of companies from the United States, France, Switzerland, Argentina and Cuba.

The festival will pay tribute to the famous English playwright William Shakespeare with certain of his works successfully translated into choreography.

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British action star cast in Vietnamese film


HOLLYWOOD action star Gary Daniels (the retired British kick-boxer who starred in the Expendables) has been cast in the Vietnamese film Quyen, which is expected to be released next year.

Produced by BHD Co Ltd, Quyen is based on writer Nguyen Van Tho’s story of the same name that won second prize in the 2006-09 fiction contest held by Vietnam Writers’ Association.

The film takes place during the turbulent period prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It features Quyen and the man who loves her.

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Black History Month Buffalo Soldiers

by Caroline Colebrook

THE BUFFALO Soldiers were Black Afro-American men, and one woman, who served in the United States army after the end of the American civil war (1861-65).

Afro-American soldiers — many of them escaped slaves — had already distinguished themselves during the civil war, showing great courage and being less likely to desert than their white counterparts. Because a policy established in 1820 barred Blacks from serving in the regular army, many of them fought for the Union Army in volunteer regiments such as the 73rd Regiment of US Colored Troops, Hunter’s Regiment, the First Kansas Colored, and the 54th and 55th Regiments of Massachusetts.

Around 186,000 Black soldiers served on the Union and 38,000 were killed in action. They faced a lot of prejudice and mistrust and all the Black regiments and groups had to have white officers.

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The fight for higher wages

by Alex Kempshall

Part two of two

The decline in the social wage

Directly paid wages aren’t the complete picture in terms of remuneration of the working class. The state did provide a comprehensive and free at the point of delivery health service, a full and for life free education system and provided financially for the retired and for those not able to work through unemployment or health issues — this had become known as the welfare state.

The British labour movement comprising the trade unions and the Labour Party, during the 30 years from 1945, increased wages and also built a system of social services and monetary benefits which represented the social wage.

This was achieved by the collective strength of the working class organised through their trade unions pushing successive Labour Governments to legislate in favour of the working class and establishing a progressive tax system to pay it. This was a means of recovering, for the working class, part of the unpaid wages (profits) that the capitalists had usurped from workers.

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