National News

Five million paid less than living wage

IN SOME parts of Britain half the jobs are paying less than the living wage, according to a TUC report published last Monday at the start of the second week of the TUC’s Fair Pay Fortnight.

TUC analysis of official figures from the House of Commons Library shows that nationally one in five jobs pays under the living wage — currently set at £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the rest of Britain.

But in some parliamentary constituencies more than half of the people working there earn less than this.

Across Great Britain, more than five million people get paid less than the living wage. Birmingham Northfield tops the list of living wage blackspots with 53.4 per cent of people working there earning less than £7.85 an hour, followed by Kingswood near Bristol (51 per cent) and Dwyfor Meirionnydd in north Wales (50.9 per cent).

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Chelsea fans display anti-racism banner

CHELSEA fans have made an effort to distance themselves from the group of racist thugs, claiming to be Chelsea fans, who gained notoriety for themselves while in Paris by pushing a black man off a Metro train while shouting: “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it,” while being filmed on security cameras.

The film footage has been viewed on the internet all around the globe.

Real Chelsea fans at last week’s match in Burnley responded by unfurling a large banner proclaiming: “Black or white, we’re all blue.”

Meanwhile the victim of the racist incident in Paris is calling for his assailants to be prosecuted. In London police are investigating racist chanting at St Pancras station by men thought to be Chelsea fans returning from a Champions League match in Paris in their search for the thugs responsible for the attack.

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Campaigners refuse to “pay to protest

TWELVE major campaigning groups affected by the new Metropolitan Police force refusal to manage traffic around demonstrations in London have rejected police proposals that they should pay for private security companies to do this.

Hiring private firms would cost thousands of pounds and effectively ban political demonstrations by organisations that could not afford to pay.

In a statement on Thursday, the coalition of groups declared: “We believe any demand to pay to be able to demonstrate constitutes an unacceptable restriction on the right to protest.” “We reject proposals that protest organisers should have to pay private companies to plan or implement traffic management. We will therefore continue to organise and support public protests in the same manner that we have in the past, without paying for traffic management.”

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Support grows for PCS National Gallery action

SUPPORT is growing for the civil service union PCS campaign against privatisation at the National Gallery as the union’s latest strike entered day two last week.

Monday morning’s picket line was visited by bakers’ union general secretary Ronnie Draper and author Owen Jones.

There are picket lines outside the gallery between 9am and 11am every morning and there will be a rally and march from 1pm this Thursday.

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Big Six punishing customers Campaigners refuse to “pay to protest”

BRITAIN’S “Big Six” energy companies are overcharging loyal customers by between £158 to £234 a year according to a report published last week by Competition and Markets Authority.

Its investigation showed that more than 95 per cent of customers of British Gas, EDF, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE paid hundreds more than they need to for gas and electricity by sticking on standard tariffs rather than switching to lower fixed rate deals.

Meanwhile the Big Six firms — which control around 92 per cent of the Britain’s energy supply market — increased gas prices by 27 per cent and electricity by 24 per cent between 2009 and 2013.

In response to the report Fuel Poverty Action’s Laura Hill said: “Once again, we are completely outraged to hear that the Big Six have not only overcharged hard pressed households by as much as £234 per year, but have also exploited and misguided people in order to do so.

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Law chief attacks Cameron

TONY CROSS, who chairs the Criminal Bar Association, used a ceremony commemorating the signing of Magna Carta last week to attack Prime Minister David Cameron for undermining the principles of justice by cutting legal aid services.

Cross spoke at a lavish £1,750-a-ticket conference marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and tore into Cameron and past governments for treating public law “with contempt”.

He demanded that no prime minister ever again appoints a non-lawyer as Lord Chancellor. Three years ago, David Cameron made Chris Grayling the first Lord Chancellor without a legal background in four centuries of the role’s existence.

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Scottish News

by our Scottish political correspondent

A PERSISTENT theme of Scottish National Party propaganda is that the National Health Service is safe from privatisation under the SNP government.

But it has now been revealed that the Boston- based multinational Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has pocketed millions of pounds in public money to introduce sweeping reforms across Scottish hospitals.

Supported by American health insurers, IHI claims to be a not-for-profit company, largely because it paid its 140 staff £17 million out of £26 million of revenue.

One of its senior bosses is one Derek Feeley, a former career civil servant who resigned to join IHI two years ago with a special permission from Alex Salmond and a glowing reference from the then Health Secretary as a reward to attempting to distort embarrassing figures on hospital waiting times. He has now returned to more or less run the Scottish NHS, social services and early years education.

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No US arms for Ukrainian fascists!

by New Worker correspondent

ABOUT 50 people gathered outside the US embassy in London on Sunday to protest against the threat by the United States to send weapons to Ukraine and for peace for the Donbas.

The protest was organised by the Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine and backed by Stop the War Coalition.

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Snow White Korean-style!

by New Worker correspondent COMRADES and friends of Korea joined music lovers to see the Democratic Korean Youth Para Ensemble that is touring England for the first time with the support of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled.

Twelve disabled children and young adults along with five other helpers demonstrated their immense artistic skills at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre and the Royal College of Music in London this week.

The DPR Korea performers were assisted by London-based Korean resident Prof Kim So Ock of the Royal Academy of Music and the 90-minute performance included not only traditional Korean music but also some popular western pieces such as the Phantom of the Opera.

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Stonewall in Cardiff

by Ray Davies

ON 9th January this year my lovely son Mark died and a light in my life went out. I wondered how we could celebrate his life.

Bullied at school for being different — for being gay, Mark had spent his life campaigning against homophobia and winning around the bullies with his gentle arguments.

When he was taken seriously ill in December, on his hospital bed he took my hand and said: “Dad, working for peace is important but can we promise to make 2015 a year to fight against homophobia and racism?”

“Yes, son, we will do it together”, I promised.

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International News

ISIS: the secret American army in Middle East?

Syria Times

UNITED States historian Webster Tarpley says that the US created the Islamic State and uses jihadists as its secret army to destabilise the Middle East.

The Islamic State is a secret army of the United States and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a leader of the terrorist group, is a close friend of US Senator John McCain, says Tarpley.

The author, known for his book 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, said that all terrorism around the world is created and facilitated by the US government.

These are not the first of Tarpley’s comments in which he blames the United States for creating the Islamic State. Earlier Press TV interviewed Tarpley during which he explained his rationale and why he thinks the US was behind the creation of the terrorist group.

Tarpley began by saying that the money that supports the Islamic State and its operations comes from Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East. The main money donor of the Islamic State is allegedly Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal, the brother of Saud bin Faisal Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, and Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, the former Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

Having said that, Tarpley concludes that if the United States really wanted to get rid of the Islamic State, it would have easily issued an ultimatum to Saudi Arabia and told the Arab Kingdom to stop sending arms and money to the terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

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Cuba counters media lies about HIV

by Ivan Martínez

A CUBAN medical researcher has refuted claims that the appearance of a more aggressive type of HIV virus is associated with supposedly poor health care in the country. The smears spread by the Miami-based media were based on an international study on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) released earlier this month.

But Dr Vivian Kouri, professor and researcher in Microbiology from the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (ITS) laboratory, questioned the coverage of the study by El Nuevo Herald this week.

“The misleading manipulation did not occur in the majority of the media but in a very specific few that have tried to discredit the Cuban health system, taking advantage of whatever they find, even if what they say about it does not make much sense,” she explained.

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Kaspersky findings once again expose US hypocrisy on cyber security

by Tian Shaohuib

THE LATEST findings by the Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab have once again brought to light the hypocrisy of the United States when it comes to cyber security.

According to a report released by the leading security software giant, the so-called Equation Group, widely believed to be a veiled reference to the US National Security Agency (NSA), has mastered the technology know-how to implant spying softwares that are virtually impossible to wipe out.

Such surveillance and espionage tools were found in computers and networks in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other countries closely watched by US intelligence agencies, the report said.

The disclosure invokes memories of shocking revelations by former NSA employee Edward Snowden, who brought to light for the first time the massive scope of the US surveillance network that even includes eavesdropping on leaders of Washington’s allies.

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American lynching: a violent racist history

by Abayomi Azikiwe

THE EQUAL Justice Initiative (EJI) published a report entitled Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror on 10th February. It illustrates the need to re-examine a sordid period in US history, which has never been officially acknowledged.

Although this horrendous practice originated during slavery, after the Civil War concluded and the Reconstruction began, extra-judicial killings of African Americans became integral to the exploitation and social containment of formerly enslaved people. The Ku Klux Klan was formed in 1866 as a secret organisation led by former plantation owners and Confederate military officials.

This study places the rise of lynching within a historical context. After the Civil War and the legal abolition of slavery, reactionary whites sought to re-establish their dominance over African people. In the section “Second Slavery after the Civil War,” the authors emphasise that: “White southern identity was grounded in a belief that whites are inherently superior to African Americans.

“Following the war, whites reacted violently to the notion that they would now have to treat their former human property as equals and pay for their labour. Plantation owners attacked black people simply for claiming their freedom. In May 1866, in Memphis, Tennessee, 46 African Americans were killed; 91 houses, four churches, and 12 schools were burned to the ground; at least five women were raped and many black people fled the city permanently.”

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Put an end to anti-Sovietism, disarm Russia’s enemies!

Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov’s open letter to the citizens of Russia

My fellow citizens, comrades, friends,

OUR MOTHERLAND is facing a great challenge. A fratricidal military flame is blazing next to its borders. “The western partners,” taking advantage of the situation they have themselves created in Ukraine, are blaming everything on Russia and are building a common front against our country. Their heralds are openly talking about a new Cold War and the need to teach Russia obedience.

It is now clear that the experiment aimed at putting Russia in tow of American globalism has failed. Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok is not taking shape. A benevolent partnership is no longer discussed. The USA and the European Union increasingly challenge Russian Federation’s right to state sovereignty. Poland is again becoming a “corridor” by which threats are creeping towards our borders. The latest Munich conference was marked by an extraordinary degree of aggressiveness and rudeness from the Nato hawks.

Like seven decades ago, fascism is being used as a weapon against our country. However during the Second World War the Soviet Union and the bourgeois democracies managed to become allies in the fight against the “brown plague”. Today the leading western states are openly invoking Nazism in pursuit of their geopolitical goals. With their connivance the seeds of fascism are sprouting poisonous shoots on the land where Kievan Rus was formed 1,000 years ago and the common history of the Russians, Ukrainians and Belarussians began.

Put an end to anti-Sovietism, disarm Russia’s enemies!