National News

Four-day strike over sacked shop stewards

A FOUR-day strike at corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa in Northampton will start on this Friday, 17th April over the sacking of two senior stewards, members of the giant union Unite. The strike will last from 5.50am on Friday until 6am on Tuesday.

Unite’s 108 members have already taken two days of strike action on 1st and 2nd April in support of their two dismissed colleagues who stood up to the company over “race to the bottom” contracts and alleged incorrect bonus payments.

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Roma celebration in Glasgow

AROUND 300 people took to the streets of Govanhill last week to celebrate Roma people and cultural activities in Scotland with a march from Govanhill Park to Albert Road. The celebrations continued with a party in Victoria Halls on Coplaw Street, with traditional food and music.

Friends of Romano Lav Manager Marcela Adamova said: “Roma used to hide their ethnicity and culture in the public because of the racism and discrimination against them that has lasted for centuries.

“So let’s come together and support Roma people in Glasgow to speak up, show their Roma pride and make sure they know they are welcome in Scotland.

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Hands off Yemen

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 100 people gathered in Curzon Street, London, opposite the Saudi Arabian embassy, to protest at the Saudi bombing of Yemen, resulting in deaths and horrific injuries to hundreds of innocent men, women and children.

The rally included many Yemeni nationals who condemned the Saudis loudly and the imperialist leaders behind Saudi Arabia’s unprovoked and aggressive action. They also attacked United Nations general secretary Ban Ki Moon for his failure to condemn the attacks.

Speakers at the rally included Andrew Murray and John Rees from Stop the War, Maz Saleem and STW student organiser Shadia Edwards-Dashti.

The Saudi-led attack on Yemen has killed more than 540 people, of which at least 74 are children, and has left 1,700 wounded.

Supported and directed by the United States, using arms supplied by Britain, Saudi Arabia is waging a war that can bring nothing but more death and destruction for the people of Yemen.

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Housing associations may sue over right-to-buy

HOUSING associations are considering suing the Government if the right-to-buy legislation announced by the Tories last Tuesday in implemented

The Tories said they will force housing associations to sell off homes at a discount of up to £100,000 to sitting tenants, which would bankrupt the not-for-profit housing associations and remove one of the few sources of affordable housing that still exists.

Tony Stacey, chair of a group of 100 housing associations and chief executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, told trade publication Inside Housing when the policy was first mooted in March that he would “definitely” launch a challenge.

“I would definitely challenge it legally. This is so fundamentally critical to us. It would shoot up to the top of our risk map if it was confirmed. We are duty bound morally to fight it in any way we possibly can,” the Placeshapers chair told the publication.

Other housing association chief executives are quoted as saying they “would be surprised” if a legal challenge did not happen because the policy would risk the viability of the entire social housing sector.

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RMT fights to defend train guards

THE RMT transport union last week declared a dispute and began preparing a ballot for industrial action on First Great Western Rail Services over the introduction of new Hitachi Inter City Express trains that will lead to the axing of train guards and catering services.

First Group confirmed in a letter to the union that it is laying out the ground to axe guards and catering services on the new Inter City Express trains being supplied by Hitachi.

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Reclaim Brixton rally

HOUSING campaigners in Brixton, south London, are planning a mass rally in Windrush Square on Saturday 25th April.

Organisers Reclaim Brixton say that nearly 3,000 people have already said they will attend to take part in the protest at the “gentrification” of the area — demolishing local estates and communities to be replaced by luxury housing that will be totally unaffordable to the people who are being displaced.

The new housing will attract speculators and investors who will buy the properties just to sell again at a higher price as house prices are driven upwards.

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Scottish News

from our Scottish Political Correspondent

THE ROYAL wedding in Dunblane was the major talking point in Scotland last weekend, but the general election campaign still manages to attract attention. Leaders’ debates have are taking place, with the novelty of only one leader, Labour’s Jim Murphy is actually standing in the election.

All the candidates are in now place. Every seat has a Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem and SNP candidate. Most also have a Ukip candidate and just over half have a Green candidate for those who want to go back to the 1950s or Neolithic Age respectively.

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The Day of the Sun in London

by New Worker correspondent

MILLIONS of Koreans recalled the life and times of great leader Kim Il Sung this week. Kim Il Sung was born on 15th April 1912 and his birthday has long been celebrated as the Day of the Sun in the DPR Korea and by everyone who stands by the DPRK .

The Day of the Sun is the biggest public holiday of the year in the DPRK, the culmination of a series of sporting events and arts festivals that are held annually to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the founder of the Korean communist movement. Democratic Korean leader Kim Jong Un headed the tributes at the great leader’s mausoleum in Pyongyang and across the country millions of workers took part in cultural and sports events held to mark the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung.

Across the world communists and friends of the Korean revolution took part in similar events or held their own commemorations of the Day of the Sun and London was no exception.

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International News

Raúl Castro and Barack Obama meet

by Leticia Martínez Hernández

PRESIDENTS Raúl Castro and Barack Obama finally met last Saturday during a break in the sessions of the last day of the 7th Summit of the Americas, a meeting highly anticipated by everyone here.

After each had made his speech and moments after posing for the usual official photo, the two leaders gathered for the meeting in a small room at the ATLAPA Convention Centre.

There, Raúl said that the key aspect is that we are willing to discuss everything, including human rights and press freedom. These and other issues relating to Cuba and also the United States. I think everything can be discussed, if done so with mutual respect, the Cuban President considered. “It may be that we convince each other of certain things, but not others.”

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Glorification of Ukrainian Nazis insults Poland

by Ayre Vende

REPRESENTATIVES of Poland’s Democratic Left Alliance have condemned the Ukrainian parliament’s decision to recognise Nazi collaborators as “fighters for independence”.

The Polish social democratic Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) considers the Ukrainian Rada’s recent recognition of the “Ukrainian Insurgent Army” (UPA) as fighters for independence to be an insult to Poland and its president, Bronislaw Komorowski, an SLD representative stated at a press conference on Sunday.

“The Ukrainian Insurgent Army is being glorified, and a law has been passed recognising the special role played by the UPA in Ukrainian history, designating that on its basis anyone who raises questions about the fact that the UPA is a criminal organisation involved in the genocide (of Poles) can be punished. This is a disgrace. It is a slap in the face to the Polish people and to President Komorowski,” SLD deputy Tomasz Kalita said.

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Pakistan keeps out of Yemen conflict

by Muhammad Tahir

PAKISTAN’S parliament has voted to stay out of the war in Yemen. A unanimously passed resolution last week has now put an end to opposition fears who that the country could jump into an Arab conflict. The parliamentary stance has also been endorsed by Pakistan’s top military commanders.

The 12-point resolution, jointly drafted by the government and opposition benches, says: “The parliament desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a pro-active diplomatic role to end the crisis.”

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Nimrud: Islamic State commits another outrage

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

TO ADD to the wanton destruction of world heritage in the museums of Mosul, the “Islamic State” (ISIS) now proudly shows a video of the total and complete destruction of the ancient city of Nimrud, including its unique archaeological treasures dating back to the 13th century BC. But what about the rumours that the USA is supporting Islamic State?

After Kosovo, after Afghanistan, after Iraq, after Libya and after Syria, the high moral card linked to Washington’s foreign policy and that of its poodles in Europe unfortunately does not exist. There is no moral card and if there is a card at all, it is a very low one without any value. Zero credibility after Iraq

True, the United States of America and its poodle-in-chief, Britain, led the charge into Iraq based upon lies, after a decade of sanctions had caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children, destroyed the state and created the conditions for ISIS, later Islamic State, to appear, and watched as it spread throughout central and northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Watched, and more some say, because it was a useful tool to deploy against President Assad. They watched as terrorists in Syria used chemical weapons against Bashar al-Assad’s forces and civilians, then lied again blaming President Assad as a pretext to go to war, until Moscow saved the day with the D-word, diplomacy.

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Richard III, or how to be an anthropologist in your own country

by Steve Hanson

AMERICAN friends often comment on British culture, particularly its weirder manifestations. I usually respond by explaining that it is often no less weird for the island’s inhabitants. It comes and goes, but recently the weirdness has spiked, with the live, televised re-burial of the remains of Richard III, which were found in a car park in Leicester. Here we had a resurgence of what many academics call the “invented tradition”.

“Invented traditions” are no longer a radical proposal. The historian Eric Hobsbawm first used the term when writing about the televised Investiture of Prince Charles at Carmarthen in 1969, commenting that the “imagined communities” of the country suddenly seemed more real than their inhabited spaces.

Benedict Anderson wrote about the historical rise of these “imagined communities”, emerging from newspaper coverage of geographically distant, but suddenly imaginable places. The Investiture in 1969 presented a kind of televised, imaginary medievalism, but in the re-burial of Richard III, we perhaps had a much more real, authentic, 2015 medievalism, to go with the very real poor on the streets in Britain.

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150 years after US Civil War, anti-racist struggle continues

by Abayomi Azikiwe

CONFEDERATE Army forces retreated from Richmond, Virginia, in early April 1865 in the face of advancing Union troops, many of whom were Africans.

Soon the Union forces reached the last capital city of the secessionists. The Confederates had set fire to large areas of the city, but the African troops helped to restore order in those areas.

This historic anniversary in United States history is being recognised this year. Nonetheless, the conclusion of the Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, represents the beginning of efforts to reconstruct the US without slavery and national oppression — a quest that has still not been realised in 2015.

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Novorossiya Unity Statement of Left Forces of the Lugansk People’s Republic

The communist, socialist, workers’, environmental and anti-fascist forces of Lugansk adopted the following statement at the conclusion of a unity forum last week.

WE, THE participants in the Forum, note that the outbreak of war a year ago pushed the residents of Lugansk to the brink of survival and plunged the region into chaos and destruction.

Many of our compatriots have died or lost loved ones, some lost their homes, and some were forced to emigrate. Because of the military aggression and economic blockade by Ukraine, the economy is destroyed: the leading production facilities and enterprises are paralysed. Thousands of people lost their jobs and opportunities to earn a living, the most vulnerable people — the elderly, children and the disabled — were left without pensions and benefits, and hunger and poverty knocked on the doors of tens of thousands of families.

Today the hope for peace, represented by the international agreements Lugansk is party to, puts social and economic survival at the top of the agenda: it is clear that humanitarian assistance cannot solve a hundredth part of the problems. We need to focus on how to rebuild the war-ravaged economy and bring life back to the region in a peaceful way.

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