National News

Cuts close adoption charity

THE BRITISH Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) last week shocked and angered staff by announcing the sudden closure of the charity.

A number of BAAF’s roles relating to adoption have been transferred to Coram. A statement issued by the charity on Friday afternoon said that, in the face of “significant changes and prevailing economic conditions”, it has “not been possible to sustain the organisation”.

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Protests at Vedanta human rights abuses

A LARGE and colourful protest group assembled on Monday outside the London headquarters of the giant London-listed Indian mining company Vedanta, at the Ironmongers’ Hall near the Barbican where the company’s annual general meeting was happening.

The protest was organised by Foil Vedanta to coincide with protests in Hyderabad, Udaipur and Korba in India and in the Zambian capital of Lusaka to call for the company to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange for human rights and corporate governance abuses.

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Pizza Express steals tips from staff

THE RESTAURANT chain Pizza Express is accused of taking an estimated £1 million cut from tips given for staff.

The staff are paid the minimum wage of just £6.50-an-hour, which is not enough to live on. Tips are an essential part of their income. But Pizza Express deducts an eight per cent “admin fee” from customer credit card tips to process them through the payroll. Transferring tips paid on cards into staff pockets should cost a fraction of that.

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DWP minister calls NHS protesters thugs

EMPLOYMENT Minister Priti Patel was alarmed when a small, peaceful demonstration of mainly elderly and disabled people assembled outside her constituency office in Witham Essex as part of a campaign to protect the NHS. She called the police and described them as a “thuggish gang”.

The campaigners, from “People’s NHS” had come to urge her to protect the NHS against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships, which is likely to lead to the health service being privatised.

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Essex firefighters strike

FIREFIGHTERS in Essex took strike action on Thursday 6th August in protest at further cuts to firefighter jobs which the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says are set to decimate the county’s fire and rescue services.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) have already suffered some extremely severe budget cuts. These new proposed cuts will mean that another 187 jobs could go, shrinking the number of firefighters overall from 656 to 477, a 25 per cent reduction.

Alan Chinn-Shaw, secretary of the FBU in Essex, said: “Our service has suffered cut after cut. These attacks are nothing less than a dismantling of the fire and rescue service in Essex.”

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Welsh museum staff strike against pay cuts

MUSEUM staff in Wales who belong to the civil service union PCS walked out last weekend in protest at plans to stop premium rates of pay for weekend and bank holiday working. These payments make up as much as 15 per cent of front-of-house staff.

More than 100 people gathered for a PCS rally at Cathays Park, Cardiff and members travelled from as far as North Wales to attend. Support for the rally was given by PCS Assembly Cross-Party Group chair and Labour assembly member Julie Morgan and Plaid Cymru assembly member Bethan Jenkins.

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New action on First Great Western dispute

RAIL UNION RMT last week confirmed further strike dates and action short of a strike in the dispute with First Great Western as the company continues to fail to meet the core issues impacting on staff and passengers from the introduction of the new fleet of Hitachi inter-city trains.

The action will include strikes on Sunday 23rd August, Saturday 29th August and Monday 31st August. Maintenance staff will work to rule.

The action follows a rock solid 48-hour strike last month which led to widespread disruption to services.

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YMCA protests at youth benefit cuts

HOMELESSNESS housing benefit cuts “could make thousands of vulnerable young people homeless” according to the YMCA charity.

It says plans to scrap housing benefit payments for jobless 18-21-yearolds could cause a steep rise in the number of young people homeless hungry and begging in London.

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Unite members reject changes to shift rotas

by our Scottish Political Correspondent

MEANWHILE the class struggle continues. In the North Sea oil industry Unite members have strongly voted to reject proposed changes to their shift rotas.

Offshore contractors are taking advantage of the collapse in oil prices seeking to impose longer shifts on workers. At present most spend two weeks on the rigs followed by three on shore leave.

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International News

Mounting anger over burning of Palestinian baby

by Ivan Martínez

THE NEWS about the death of a Palestinian baby roasted alive when his home was torched by Zionist extremists has sparked widespread anger throughout the world at this new expression of hatred sponsored by the Israeli rulers of the Palestinian territories.

Although Israeli officials have condemned this horrendous crime and, in an official statement, incredibly described it as a “terrorist act”, none of the perpetrators have been arrested despite the fact that they left a Star of David and the Word “revenge!” written in Hebrew at the crime scene.

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US training new monsters in Ukraine


WASHINGTON is perpetually creating new foreign monsters which provide the excuse for America’s endless global crusade, according to American author and editorial director Justin Raimondo.

Yes, Americans’ tax dollars are going to arm, train, and feed neo-Nazis in Ukraine Raimondo said.

“That’s what we bought into when Washington decided to launch a regime change operation in that bedraggled corner of south-eastern Europe. Your (Americans’) money is also going to prop up the country’s war-stricken economy — albeit not before corrupt government officials rake their cut off the top,” Raimondo said.

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Gaddafi’s son condemned to death


A LIBYAN court sentenced Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, to death last week. The Tripoli-based court also ruled on eight other senior figures of the former government, including the former security chief, Abdullah al-Senussi.

Saif has been held by the militia of the western city of Zintan since the downfall of Gaddafi. The Zintan militia has refused to hand him over to the Libyan government and it is unclear whether the sentence could be carried out.

Some of the Libyan media also called the ruling controversial, saying the court was under pressure from the Islamist forces that have expelled the elected Libyan government and are currently occupying the capital city of Tripoli.

Libya’s Ministry of Justice earlier denounced the trials set by the Tripoli court on Saif as well as 37 other prominent members of the Gaddafi government.

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A golden year for China-UK relations

by Yamei and Han Yang

IT IS a golden year for China-UK relations, Amber Rudd, Britain’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said in an interview with Chinese media in Beijing last week.

China is a great partner and there are a lot of opportunities for China and the UK to work closely together: on low carbon, nuclear issue and plans going forward for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Rudd said.

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Are We Too Late? Astronomers look for ruins of ancient space civilizations


BRITISH astronomers have given an answer as to why humanity has been unable to find traces of other, extra-terrestrial, civilisations: what if they simply self-annihilated long before we started looking for them? Fortunately, even given such a scenario, traces of their destruction could still be observable.

Over half a century ago Dr Frank Drake, a radio astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, developed an approach to estimating the number of technologically advanced civilisations that exist in our galaxy.

Back in 1961 he came up with a formula which has become known as Drake Equation, which allows one to calculate the number of extra-terrestrial civilisations in the Milky Way galaxy by looking at the probability of specific factors arising which are thought to play a role in the development of such civilisations.

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Ukraine, demonic possession and movies

by Rob Gowland

DID YOU see the reports of the news conference given by the Ukrainian Major-General who defected to the Donetsk People’s Republic in Donbas? Hardly surprising if you didn’t — as far as I can tell, it was essentially blanked out of the regular news bulletins. But you can be sure that if a Major-General from the breakaway regime in Donetsk had defected to Kiev he would have featured on every news bulletin — and at length.

Unfortunately Major- General Alexander Kolomiyets, a former aide to the Ukrainian Defence Minister, chose to side with the anti-fascists in Donetsk rather than the fascists who are doing the USA’s bidding in Kiev.

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Russia must revive Soviet Union to beat the West

WHAT IS the main problem of the Russian authorities? How should Russia resist the ongoing pressure from the West? What future can Russia expect? Pravda.Ru editor- in-chief Inna Novikova asked these and other questions to deputy of the State Duma, coordinator of the National Liberation Movement, Yevgeny Fyodorov.

“Our country was betrayed in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when many people succeeded in their career growth even if they did not live in the Russian Federation. Look at Maria Gaidar — she is not even a citizen of Ukraine but she was offered the post of deputy mayor of Odessa. Could the Ukrainian authorities do that without the approval from the United States? Look at Mikhail Saakashvili: he is working where the Americans want him to.

The US Secretary of Defence said a couple of weeks ago that the sanctions against Russia would not be lifted until the Russian administration changed and the Russian Federation was liquidated.”

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Donbas needs international solidarity

by Greg Butterfield

WORKERS WORLD interviewed Maxim Chalenko, Secretary of the Communist Party, Lugansk Regional Committee in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). Chalenko is a founder of the Forum of Communist, Socialist, Workers’, Environmental and Anti-Fascist Forces. He helped to organise the Donbas International Forum titled “Anti-Fascism, Internationalism, Solidarity” held on 8th May in Alchevsk.

Workers World: Where did you grow up and go to school? How did you become involved in the communist movement?

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