National News

Justice needed for hate crime victims

DISABILITY rights campaigners were alarmed last week when three thugs who had carried out vicious attacks on young disabled men have avoided being sentenced for hate crime for the second time.

The campaigners say this raises fresh questions about the criminal justice system’s commitment to addressing targeted offences.

One prominent disabled campaigner said the case showed the treatment of disability hate crime by the criminal justice system was “a joke” and a “toothless weapon”.

Last week, Ben Dean, Keian Heap and Jack Clark, all from Bury, were convicted by a court of offences relating to a “merciless, sadistic and bloodthirsty attack” last October on a young man with bipolar disorder.

The trio had already been convicted of a separate attack on a young man with Asperger’s syndrome in a Bury park, in 2013.

Neither of the attacks appears to have been treated by the courts as a disability hate crime, which would have seen the three young men handed stricter sentences.

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Standing up to racism

by New Worker correspondent

MORE THAN 10,000 anti-racists and anti-fascists from a very broad range of trade unions, community groups and political groups came together in London last Saturday to take part in the Stand up to Racism demonstration, which marched from Portland Place to a rally in Trafalgar Square.

Stand up to Racism (SUR), an umbrella group of 12 organisations including Unite Against Fascism, the Muslim Council of Britain, and Stop the War, organised the event it London as part of a worldwide United Nations Day of Action Against Racism.

The main themes of the march were: “Stand up to Racism”, “No to Islamophobia”, “No to Anti-Semitism”, “Black lives Matter”, “Muslim Lives Matter” and “No Human Being is Illegal”. Teaching unions were out in force along with branches of Unite, Unison, GMB, PCS, RMT and others. The ubiquitous RMT Paddington Number One banner was there. And many unions helped by providing volunteer stewards. But there was a sad absence of national leadership banners from the unions.

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Disabled losing Motability

MORE THAN 100 disabled people are losing their Motability vehicles, after being assessed for the Government’s new disability benefit, the personal independence payment (PIP), which replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA), according to the Disability News Service.

The figures appear to confirm fears that the replacement of working-age DLA with (PIP) would see at least 100,000 disabled people lose their Motability car.

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NATO and the crisis in Ukraine

by New Worker correspondent

ANTI-FASCISTS and peace campaigners packed the Baptist Central Church in Bloomsbury last Thursday for a meeting organised by Stop the War to examine the role of Nato in the current crisis in Ukraine.

Speakers included Jonathan Steele former Guardian journalist, Andrew Murray chief of staff Unite the Union, Kate Hudson CND general secretary and Alex Gordon RMT and leader of Solidarity with Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine. All the speakers emphasised that Nato interventions were behind the coup a year ago in Ukraine that brought to power a government that included open Nazis who now dominate that government, not but numbers but by aggression and terror.

They all agreed this was part of a long-term US strategy to surround Russia with a hostile military presence and destabilise Russia in order to achieve US global hegemony.

Jonathan Steele rather naïvely claimed that the fall of the Soviet Union had brought an end to the threat of nuclear war, which he said, has now been resurrected by Nato.

None of the speakers was pro Putin but they did point out that all the measures the Russian government has taken have been justifiable self-defence actions.

Alex Gordon made a very strong speech, detailing the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine and other European countries, for example Golden Dawn in Greece, Pegida in Germany and the legalisation of pro-Nazi symbols and public events in the Baltic States.

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Defend Peoples Korea!

by New Worker correspondent

“NO OTHER country is attacked and abused like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” said Dermot Hudson of the Korea Friendship Association at a public meeting in Liverpool. He described the relentless propaganda against the DPRK as being at an intensity and ferocity that outstrips the worst days of the cold war.

The meeting was held on the 17th March at the Quakers Meeting House in Central Liverpool. Peter Hendy, who chaired the meeting, opened it by identifying the United States as the major imperialist power provoking war and conflict around the world.

hatred

For over 60 years the US has promoted international hatred towards the DPRK through disinformation, fabrication and counterfeit arguments — the objective being to isolate, provoke confrontation and to subjugate the DPRK.

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Dolce and Gabbana accused of homophobia

by New Worker correspondent

THE OUT and Proud Diamond Group and the Peter Tatchell Foundation last week led a protest outside London’s West End Dolce and Gabbana in Bond Street after Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce described the children of gay couples and those born from IVF treatment as “synthetic children”.

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SOAS cleaners in new battle with ISS

by New Worker correspondent

CLEANERS at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) last year won a long battle for decent wages and terms and conditions.

Last week they were out on strike again, supported by their union Unison, as ISS broke the terms of that agreement by announcing that new vacancies will not be given to cleaning staff already employed in Soas.

ISS also demands that new staff must be fluent in English. Most of the Soas cleaners are immigrants and are not fluent in English but have worked there for many years, some for 18 years.

The cleaners are calling for lessons in English and insisting that new workers should not be employed on worse terms and conditions than those agreed by ISS last year.

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LSE occupiers call for free education

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 300 people took part in a march through the campus of London School of Economics (LSE) last Thursday, in support of a student occupation there of a room in the LSE’s Old Building.

The students are campaigning for free higher education and lobbying the Government to scrap tuition fees.

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International News

Black flag over Netanyahu’s re-election

By Odeh Bisharat

PRIME Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “greatness” derives from how he has managed to break the Jewish Israeli public’s internal code, namely fear. In racist Europe, the fear threatening the Jewish minority was painfully justified in the face of innumerable pogroms, and above all, the shock of the Holocaust. Netanyahu has known how to use this fear and get elected as a result.

In last week’s Israeli elections, the Kahanist Yahad list, a party headed by Eli Yishai and Baruch Marzel, a disciple of the late racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, didn’t garner the 3.25 per cent minimum threshold to make it into parliament, the Knesset, and lost its four seats.

But what does it matter, if Kahane’s spirit has wafted across the country’s length and breadth? Who needs four more Kahanist Knesset members if Kahane’s spirit is diffused in every speech delivered by Netanyahu and outgoing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman?

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America the Kibitzer on the South China Sea

Xinhua

UNCLE SAM has long been in the grip of many addictions, such as muscle-flexing, preaching and borrowing, but there has turned out to be one more: kibitzing or back-seat driving.

The latest symptom of the obsession with unwanted counselling emerged into plain sight earlier this week, when Robert Thomas, commander of the US Navy Seventh Fleet, whose country is not a party in the South China Sea disputes, advised ASEAN countries to form a combined maritime force for joint South China Sea patrols and even called for more Japanese involvement.

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Ukraine: Town rebels after occupation troops kill child

by Greg Butterfield

THE TOWN of Kostiantynivkain north-eastern Donetsk exploded in rebellion on 16th March after Ukrainian occupation troops driving a tank veered into oncoming traffic, smashed a traffic light and hit pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Polina, eight years old, was killed instantly. Her mother was hospitalised in critical condition, while her younger sister escaped serious injury, shielded by the push-chair she was riding in. Witnesses at the scene said the Ukrainian troops were drunk.

As news of the tragedy spread, hundreds of residents poured into the streets, demanding the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the city.

Kostiantynivka is part of the independent Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and participated in the 11th May 2014, independence referendum. It has been occupied by forces loyal to the far-right junta in Kiev since last summer.

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Features

World Water Day: The ticking time bomb

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

GROWING demand means that water withdrawal is set to increase by around 55 per cent by 2050, while today already 20 per cent of aquifers are being over-exploited, some at a critical level.

Groundwater supplies, the primary source of drinking water, are decreasing. At this rate, we can speculate when the first water war will break out.

Many of the main arteries of transportation in cities were once waterways. People travelled along these in boats and canoes and businesses were set up on either side. London’s Fleet Street was once the River Fleet. We are not speaking only of London. In Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, Sete Rios, now a transportation hub, was once a convergence of seven rivers; many of the canals flowing into the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq have long since dried up, the Los Angeles River no longer exists. The list goes on and on. We all know what happened to the water on Mars: it dried up.

Manufacturing is causing a 400-per-cent increase in demand for water resources, while domestic use is projected to rise 130 per cent over the next 35 years, while abstraction of groundwater is increasing by between one and two per cent per year. Thirty per cent of this groundwater is immediately available in liquid form while the remaining 70 per cent is frozen in glaciers and ice caps.

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US farmers favour lifting blockade

Havana Reporter

THE UNITED States Agriculture Coalition for Cuba is working intensely for the lifting of the blockade against the island, according to the coalition’s president, Devry Boughner. She stressed that her organisation is working very hard to convince Congress to put an end to restrictions that impede commercial exchanges between the two countries, adding that they consider that this should not be just a one-sided issue as Cuban enterprises should also have access to US markets for their products.

Boughner, who is also an executive with the transnational Cargill, recently led a fact finding delegation of almost 100 key members of the agribusiness community, representing around 20 US states, to Cuba.

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Four years of Syrian resistance to imperialist takeover

by Sara Flounders and Lamont Lilly

AMERICAN efforts to overturn the government of Syria have now extended into a fifth year. It is increasingly clear that thousands of predictions reported in the corporate media by western politicians, think tanks, diplomats and generals of a quick overturn and easy destruction of Syrian sovereignty have been overly optimistic, imperialist dreams. But four years of sabotage, bombings, assassinations and a mercenary invasion of more than 20,000 fighters recruited from over 60 countries have spread great ruin and loss of life.

The US State Department has once again made its arrogant demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down. This demand confirms US imperialism’s determination to overthrow the elected Syrian government. Washington intends to impose the chaos of feuding mercenaries and fanatical militias as seen today in Libya and Iraq.

A delegation from the International Action Centre headed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark travelled to Syria in late February to present a different message.

Visits to hospitals, centres for displaced families and meetings with religious leaders, community organisations and government officials conveyed the IAC’s determination to resist the orchestrated efforts of US imperialism acting through its proxies in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Israel.

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