National News

Close down Yarl’s Wood!

MORE THAN 400 protesters last weekend marched around the outside perimeter of the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire for asylum seekers and other immigrants to show their outrage at the shocking treatment that inmates face there.

The protest was organised by the charity, Women for Refugee Women and attracted supporters from as far away as Cornwall and Manchester.

“Detention centres will fall, brick by brick, wall by wall,” protesters chanted as they marched around the centre. Maimuna Jawo from Gambia told the crowd: “When I say to people I was detained for five months they say, ‘What! Why?’ But I say I’m lucky because there are some people who have been detained for more than two years. Yarl’s Wood is a prison but asylum seekers are not criminals.”

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Confronting a World at War

by New Worker correspondent

HUNDREDS of peace activists packed the main conference chamber of the TUC headquarters in Bloomsbury last Saturday for the Stop the War conference “Confronting a World at War”.

Topics debated included war and austerity, Palestine, civil liberties, Saudi Arabia, Latin America, the United States’ “Pivot to Asia”, Africa, scrapping Trident, Ukraine, imperialism and ISIS, the military industrial complex and migration and war.

A powerful array of speakers made presentations and led the debates. They included veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent, Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, Explo Nani-Kofi, a campaigner for African self-determination, leading US peace activist Medea Benjamin, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson, Andrew Murray, anti-racist activist Lee Jasper, Chris Nineham, writer David Edgar, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, journalist Seumas Milne, pro-Venezuela activist Matt Willgress, George Galloway and many more.

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Bromley council workers’ stand against privatisation

BROMLEY council workers who are members of the giant union Unite last week urged local residents to join them in a mass rally against privatisation plans this Saturday 13th June at Norman Park, Bromley in south-east London.

The Conservative-run council’s mission to farm out most of its services to private companies, reducing the number of council employees from 4,000 to 300 is also being challenged by Unite members with a third wave of strikes.

With 14 of the council’s libraries among the services earmarked for privatisation, Bromley-based children’s author Sam Gayton said: “Libraries have given me so much — my imagination, my love of books, and my future career.

“I am so grateful to them, and so angry that they might be taken away from future generations. That is why I will be marching on Saturday 13th June. That is why I am standing up for Bromley public services.”

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HSBC to cut 8,000 jobs

THE GIANT bank HSBC plans to cut 8,000 jobs in Britain as part of a global plan to shed 25,000 jobs. It will also rebrand its chain of high street banks here but has not yet settled on the new name. The restructuring plan is HSBC’s attempt to turn things around after one of the toughest years in its 150-year history HSBC.

The 8,000 jobs to go in Britain represent one sixth of the bank’s 48,000 workers here and the 25,000 to go globally represent one tenth of the total workforce.

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Government cuts ‘could see disabled people slide back to the bad old days’

NEW PLANNED Government cuts to social care, health and benefits risk plunging people with disabilities back to the “bad old days of dependency, isolation and poverty” according to the disabled peer Baroness Jane Campbell.

In a House of Lords debate on the Queen’s speech, Campbell urged the Government to work closely with disabled people “as Tory governments in the 1980s and 1990s had done” and said that cutting social care was “a false economy”.

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Rotherham rally for Phil Turner

MEMBERS of the National Union of Journalists and other supporters of Phil Turner took to the streets of Rotherham last Saturday to protest against the Father of the Chapel of the Rotherham Advertiser being singled out for redundancy.

Messages of support for Phil Turner have flooded in, including a letter from Sarah Champion, the town’s MP and Linda McAvan, MEP Yorkshire and the Humber.

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Newsquest workers set for 12-day strike

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists chapel representing journalists working on Newsquest titles in south London has called for a 12-day strike in its dispute over redundancies, staffing levels and pay. The strike will be followed by a work to rule.

Last month the company announced plans to restructure and cut staff in the region. Newsquest is one of Britain’s largest regional newspaper publishers with more than 200 newspapers, magazines and trade publications, including 17 dailies.

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Unite workers vote to join steel strike

MEMBERS of the giant union Unite employed by Tata steel last week voted overwhelmingly to join their colleagues in the Community Union, GMB and Ucatt in strike action to defend their pension rights.

The company plans to close the British Steel Pension Scheme, thus moving the retirement age from 60 to 65. Seventy per cent of workers backed the strike in a 66 per cent turnout.

Unite, along with Community, GMB and Ucatt, have already offered pension savings of £850 million to the company after five months of intensive negotiations.

Despite this, Tata Steel UK is seeking to plough ahead with changes forcing employees to work an extra five years until they are 65 to receive their full pension. At present, workers can retire at the age of 60 without an actuarial reduction.

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Scottish News Something fishy

by our Scottish Political correspondent

SCIENTISTS at the Oban-based Scottish Association for Marine Science, which has carried out award winning research on marine systems and climate change, are facing 15-20 “voluntary” redundancies following cuts to its funding.

Malcolm Currie, negotiator for the scientists’ union Prospect has said that the threatened redundancies will affect the SNP’s stated priority of encouraging research into biodiversity.

too closely

A cynic might think that the SNP government wants SAMS to stop looking too closely at the state of the Scottish coastline. The SNP Government is very keen on promoting the salmon farming industry which over the past forty years has expanded to occupy many sea lochs on the north-west highland and islands of Scotland and northern islands.

The unfortunate fish are kept in in cramped cages which make accommodation for battery hens feel like the Hilton. The fish are fed artificial foodstuffs and vast quantities of antibiotics to counteract the diseases caused by living in their own filth.

They are also fed chemicals to make their flabby flesh look pink like the real thing. At one farm one in seven salmon died. Among the foodstuffs fed to the salmon are pig products leftover from pork production, so most smoked salmon is now not kosher.

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Campaigning for Democratic Korea

by New Worker correspondent

THE UK Korean Friendship Association held a highly successful annual general meeting last Saturday in central London, at which UK KFA members, including a local councillor, were joined by members of the Spanish KFA and comrade Kwang Song Yu from the DPRK Embassy.

Messages of support were received from the worldwide KFA President, Alejandro Cao De Benos, and international KFA branches and sections including US, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Singapore and Spain.

In his message Cao De Benos recalled that the KFA-UK “is our very first international branch”, and said: “Each person helping, even a little, is worth 100 who just remain idle. I want to encourage you to assist and suggest projects and action, to reach the biggest awareness in the general population.”

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International News

Turkey in limbo as voters turn against Erdogan


TURKISH politics are facing their most uncertain period for more than a decade after recent elections results left no party capable of forming a majority government, following a backlash against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his plans to reform the country’s constitution.

The national election has resulted in the biggest swing against Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it first came to power in 2002. After 99 per cent of vote counting, Erdogan’s AKP was still the country’s largest party, winning 41 per cent of the vote but this was well short of what was needed to form a majority government.

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West only understands language of force

by Dimitri Sudakov BRITISH Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that London is considering deploying US cruise missiles in Britain as Russia’s actions could not be left unanswered.

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FIFA, corruption and western political terrorism

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

WHEN IS an election not an election? When is a free and fair election not valid? Why, when the winner is the person who is not supported by the USA and its sickening collection of poodles in Europe. Welcome to the new wave of western political terrorism — heads I win, tails you lose, the corporations rule the roost and devil take the hindmost.

An election takes place, the rules are respected, the winner is chosen, the vanquished loser graciously shakes her/his hand and falls back in line, contributing to the good functioning of the organisation until the next election takes place. Not any more, that was back in the 1950s.

Today the corporations eye up the contestants and often place them at the foot of the pedestal which one will occupy. Often the corporations only close ranks around the winner because there isn’t much difference between them anyway, other times they have one clear candidate. And in the recent FIFA election, the candidate they chose was not Joseph Sepp Blatter, but rather Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan.

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Painter brushes up memories

by Minh Thu

AUSTRALIAN painter George Burchett loves Vietnam. After many years working and living in Vietnam, Burchett even calls himself Vietnamese.

Burchett was born in Hanoi in 1955 and lived here until 1957. Then his family moved to Moscow. Some years later, they shifted to France.

His father, war correspondent Wilfred Burchett (1911-82) was also considered a friend of Vietnam, as he was one of the first journalists who raised their voice to oppose the war in Vietnam.Now Burchett, his wife and their son — all three of them artists — live in Vietnam. Burchett said proudly that every day his wife goes to the market and bargains as well as Vietnamese women.

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Ireland: Tory austerity crisis in North now threatens political institutions

by Declan Kearney

JOSEPH Stiglitz and Paul Krugman are both internationally-acclaimed and Nobel Prize-winning economists. Each has advanced robust critiques against austerity. Stiglitz was in London last week to promote his new book, The Great Divide. He said bluntly that austerity doesn’t work and had been bad for the Irish economy.

Both Stiglitz and Krugman (and other renowned economic thinkers, including Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister) are providing an important counter to the argument that austerity is the only way to repair economies in the aftermath of the financial crisis. They also dispute a narrative, camouflaged in the rhetoric of “realpolitik” that the economic pain is unavoidable and should be accepted.

Stiglitz describes austerity as a simplistic package. He said: “It’s said austerity works; I very strongly believe it doesn’t.”

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Abbott and arrogance

by Rob Gowland

HAVE YOU ever paused to notice how the extreme Right is absolutely steeped in arrogance? I don’t just mean Nazis, but all those ultra-rich capitalists and their wives and children. And the politicians and other hangers-on who act on their behalf and serve their interests. It’s an arrogance of power and privilege, buoyed up not only by wealth but by the firm conviction that they are superior to all the lesser mortals who do the work that provides them with all their needs and much more besides.

Australia’s ultra-reactionary Liberal Party government displays the same unfeeling arrogance that so typifies the extreme Right everywhere. This manifests itself in numerous decisions of the Australian government.

Take Aborigines for example. Australia’s Indigenous population was systematically forced off the land it had occupied for 40,000 years by European colonialism. After a prolonged struggle, they were granted partial land rights over severely restricted areas by the Whitlam Labour government in the 1970s. Today’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, on the other hand, clearly regards even those limited land-rights as an anomaly and an unnecessary impediment to the commercial exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth.

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Last Will and Testament of Ho Chi Minh

In the year that marks the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Vietnamese people, let us read the last will and testament of Ho Chi Minh. The great revolutionary leader died before victory was fully achieved. But history confirmed his unwavering confidence that it would come. Today, when the imperialist offensive advances in all continents, the heroic lesson of the Vietnamese people is more topical than ever. Even a small country joined and endowed with a firm revolutionary leadership, can not only face the greatest imperialist power but can also defeat it.

Democratic Republic of Vietnam: Independence Freedom Happiness

EVEN though our people’s struggle against US aggression, for national salvation, may have to go through more hardships and sacrifices we are bound to win total victory.

This is a certainty.

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