National News

Cameron wants to cut benefits for obese and addicted

DAVID Cameron last week tried to divert public attention from the super-rich tax avoidance scandal with yet another attack on benefit claimants.

This time he promised that a re-elected Tory party would cut benefits to people who cannot work because they are obese and to those addicted to alcohol or drugs, if they refuse treatment. The sick joke is that his austerity cuts have virtually wiped out access to treatment for such problems.

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National parks now open for fracking

CONTROVERSIAL rules that allow fracking to happen in National Parks came into force last week as the Infrastructure Bill became an Act.

The new act will see national parks and groundwater protection zones at risk from fracking as the Government backtracked on amendments agreed only weeks ago to increase the safety of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Amber Rudd, energy minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said: “In the case of areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, given their size and dispersion, it might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them in all cases without unduly constraining the industry.”

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New Met rally policy may breach rights

THE METROPOLITAN Police Force last week told the organisers of the Million Women Rise March on 7th March they must pay for a private security company to manage traffic during their march because the police would not do this. Such measures would cost at least £10,000, MWR says.

This is the second time in two weeks the Met has done this. The previous week the Met gave the same notice to the organisers of the Climate Change march planned for next month. The motive behind the Met’s new policy is clearly driven by budget cuts.

But MPs have warned the Met may be in breach of human rights legislation because imposing conditions that would be unaffordable is effectively a ban on demonstrations.

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Council tax strains on family budgets

THE DECLINE in the value of wages has left families struggling to meet rising council tax costs, which are now a more common debt problem than credit cards, according to a report published last week by Citizens Advice.

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Union anger at new trains to banish guards and buffet cars

THE RMT transport union staged a Day of Action last week to demand clear assurances from First Great Western (FGW) on future of buffet cars, guards, station and engineering jobs on FGW services that are threatened by the introduction of Hitachi Super Express Trains under the new Inter-city Express Programme (IEP).

Union members held protests at Paddington, Bath Spa and Reading stations on Saturday as the RMT set out a list of key points on IEP with a clear warning that a failure to secure a satisfactory response will lead to a dispute and a move towards a ballot for industrial action.

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MP fights cuts to cancer nurses’ pay

IAN WRIGHT, the Labour MP for Hartlepool is raising questions over a decision by his local hospital to cut the pay of nurses who administer chemo therapy to cancer patients.

He first wrote to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust to voice his “disgust” and “astonishment” at the move by the health bosses. A written reply from the trust said that the decision to lower the job grade, and therefore the pay, was made as a result of a “national consultation” by the Government. But when he asked a question to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the decision, the minister’s answer contradicted that of the trust.

Wright told the press: “I wrote to the trust around Christmas time because I was astonished at the news about the chemotherapy nurses.

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Protest wins reinstatement of Crossrail worker

A PROTEST by angry construction workers last Monday won the reinstatement of a worker who had been sacked for the crime of raising health and safety issues.

His employer, Costain, claimed he had been laid off because of lack of work, yet he had only been employed four days earlier on a job that has four years left!

Monday’s protest was organised by rank and file Unite members who are part of the Blacklist Support Group in the building industry. By 8am they had stopped Oxford Street with traffic backed up either side of the Bond Street site.

Soon after, the protesters got word that the sacked worker had been put on full pay with a promise that he will get his job back.

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Cameron attacks young unemployed

AFTER attacking benefit claimants for obesity and addictions David Cameron last week launched a new attack on the young unemployed, threatening that if the Tories win power in May’s election he will force them to do unpaid work or starve.

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Scottish News

from our Scottish Political Correspondent

THE SCOTTISH National Party publicly proclaim that they will never enter into a coalition with the Tories and would support a minority Labour Government in exchange for wide ranging concessions.

But there can be no doubt that despite what they say to win Labour votes that they are privately desperate for a Tory victory in the May General Election.

Many English Tories are hoping for the SNP to make gains (but obviously not too many) at the expense of Labour to keep Miliband out of Number Ten.

The Nats like to have Tories in power at Westminster as they are a popular target to slag off, largely because they are English, rather than for any other reason.

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Korea’s Shining Star

by New Worker Correspondent

IN DEMOCRATIC Korea Kim Jong Il’s birthday has long been known as the Day of the Shining Star and throughout the world overseas Koreans, progressives and communists held their own events in honour of Kim Jong Il, who was born on 16th February 1942 and died at his post on 17th December 2011. In London a number of events were held over the past two weeks to commemorate the life and times of Kim Jong Il, culminating at a reception at the DPRK embassy last week.

New Communist Party leader Andy Brooks joined others in laying floral tributes in front of the portraits of the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the opening of the reception, which brought together communists, diplomats and many of those actively involved in solidarity with Democratic Korea in London and across the country.

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Great moments in the struggle for social justice

THREE years ago professional photographer Red Saunders created a series of tableaux depicting great moments in the long struggle for rights and representation in Britain. The aim of the Hidden Project, through reimaging those events, is to portray important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history.

Tony Benn, the original Patron of the Hidden Project, said: “ Those who see these photographic representations will then be able to identify with past generations and gain confidence from the knowledge that they are part of a world-wide movement that has always existed and must be sustained.”

From the Peasants’ Revolt to the Swing Riots, Red’s photographs are on an epic scale and they were acclaimed by critics at exhibitions at Bradford’s Impressions Gallery, the People’s History Museum in Manchester and the Museum of London.

Individual posters are £8.00 and each card costs £2.00 from independent booksellers or directly from Past Pixels. Check out their website for online sales or write directly to Past Pixels, P O Box 798, Worcester, WR4 4BW for the Hidden Project brochure.

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Hundreds celebrate release of the Miami Five

by New Worker correspondent

Over 200 special guests celebrated the 56th year of the Cuban Revolution and the freedom of the Miami Five at a packed Bolivar Hall in London last week. NCP leader Andy Brooks and Daphne Liddle from the Central Committee joined trade unionists, campaigners, actors and artists at the event called by the Cuban embassy and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC), which had campaigned for 16 years for the release of the five anti-terrorist heroes who returned home to Cuba on 17th December 2014.

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Revolutionary Democracy

Review by by Theo Russell

Revolutionary Democracy, Vol XX, No. 2, September 2014, is available from the New Communist Party for £5 plus £1 P&P. It is also stocked at Housmans Bookshop in London and News From Nowhere in Liverpool

THE LATEST issue of the Indian Marxist journal Revolutionary Democracy, which only recently arrived in Britain, has the usual valuable selection of articles from around the world, this time with more focus on India.

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International News

Coup plot in Venezuela thwarted


A COUP plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled and a number of civilians and members of the military have been arrested, President Nicolas Maduro revealed in a televised address last week.

Those involved were paid in US dollars and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

Venezuela’s president stated that the coup plotters already had a “transitional” government and programme lined up once the plan, which included bombings on the Miraflores Palace and the teleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as assassinations of Maduro, members of the opposition and others, was carried out.

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Chinese-built deep sea port boosts Cameroon’s growth

by Huang Yanan

THE DEEP sea port built by the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) in the African city of Kribi will accelerate Cameroon’s economic growth after it is put into operation, a Cameroonian official has said.

The first phase of the Kribi deep sea port, which sits over 300 kilometres south-west of the capital Yaounde, concluded last year and is waiting to be handed over to the Cameroonian government. Two berths have been built for the first phase, one container berth, the other bulk a cargo berth.

Hand Bahiol Magloire, deputy coordinator in charge of technical side for the Kribi Port project, said that the Kribi Port will play a significant role in the economic development of Cameroon, as it will solve a bottleneck problem for its progress.

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US: antiterror leader or terrorist breeder?

by Luo Jun

ON THE world stage, the United States has assumed anti-terror leadership since the deadly 11th September attack in 2001, yet underneath its glossy surface Uncle Sam seemed to have a secret identity as a terrorist breeder.

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Viva la radio!

by Lena Valverde Jordi

LAST WEEK Radio Havana Cuba joined the celebration of World Radio Day, proclaimed four years ago by Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, which on this occasion is dedicated to the youth of the world.

The initiative to proclaim World Radio Day surfaced seven years ago at Madrid’s Spanish Radio Academy but it wasn’t until the Sixth Unesco conference, led by its Director General, Irina Bokova, that it was approved.

Since then World Radio Day is feted each 13th February to coincide with the date of the creation of UN Radio in 1946, one year after the foundation of the United Nations itself. For many countries in the world, especially in Africa, radio remains of paramount importance.

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The unsung muslim heroes of the Ghadar Movement

People’s Voice (Canada)

THIS FEBRUARY marks 100 years since a mutiny in the British army that took place under the influence of the Ghadar Party.

The majority of those who participated in the rebellion that rocked Singapore were Muslim soldiers. The uprising took place on 15th February 1915. Two Muslim platoons: the Fifth Light Infantry and the Malay States Guides were posted in Singapore around that time.

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SYRIZA: the new pole of social-democracy in Greece

Interview with Elisseos Vagenas, a member of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). How do you interpret the results of Sunday’s elections?

The change in government, with the coalition between Syriza and the Independent Greeks (ANEL), reflects the discontent and the anger of the people against New Democracy and PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party), the parties that plunged the people into poverty and unemployment during the capitalist crisis as well as the false hope that the new government of Syriza might follow a political line in favour of the people.

The KKE assesses that the coalition between Syriza and Anel will follow the beaten track: the line of retreat and compromise, the commitments to big capital, monopolies, the European Union and Nato with all the negative implications for the people and our country.

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What’s going on among the filthy rich

by Deirdre Griswold THE PERCENTAGE of households in the United States feeling the pangs of real hunger — euphemistically referred to as “food insecurity” — remains at high levels more than six years after the economic crash of 2008. Wages are stagnant at best, and real unemployment, if you include those who have given up looking for work and probably can’t afford the transportation and clothing required for job interviews, remains high.

But business has never been better for those companies that sell high-end luxury goods to the very, very, very rich.

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