National News

National Gallery staff start indefinite strike

MEMBERS of the PCS civil service union at the National Gallery began an indefinite strike last week to coincide with the first day in charge of the gallery by new director Gabriele Finaldi.

The walk-out follows a series of strikes totalling 50 days of action since last February in a battle against privatisation.

The union remains opposed to the privatisation of all the gallery’s visitor services and is fighting for the reinstatement of its senior representative Candy Udwin, who an interim tribunal has found was likely to have been sacked unlawfully for trade union activity in relation to the dispute.

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Bromley bin dispute escalates

RESIDENTS of the London Borough of Bromley face the prospect of stinking dustbins from uncollected rubbish as about 100 refuse collection staff employed by waste disposal giant Veolia gear up for three days of strike action in a pay dispute.

About 100 workers, members of the giant union Unite voted 85 per cent in favour of striking on 24th August and 3rd and 4th September, after years of below inflation pay awards. The strikes will run from midnight to midnight.Veolia was awarded the contract by Bromley council and Unite said that this dispute was another example of the flawed nature of the controversial authority’s mass privatisation programme which relies on cutting services and slashing wages.

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Fascist marchers driven out of Liverpool

by New Worker correspondent

THE GROUP of assorted hard-core left-overs from various declining fascist and racist outfits that called itself National Action totally failed in its attempt to stage a “White Man March” through Liverpool last Saturday.

Hundreds of anti-fascists succeeded in besieging Lime Street Station and completely prevented the fascists emerging although there were some running battles inside the station as the small group of fascists was pelted with eggs, bananas and milk.

They were forced to take refuge behind closed shutters in a left-luggage office and opted to call off their own march in view of the small number of fascists who had arrived and the police informing them that they could not guarantee their safety.

There were two main anti- fascist counter protests organised against the proposed fascist march — but they progressed.

The Unite Against Fascism march attracted around 250 to a rally close to Lime Street that was backed by the local mayor and many trade unions.

There were banners from Unite, Unison, Ucatt, FBU and many others along with plenty of Irish Republican flags and one Spanish Republican

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Strike at BBC’s Asian Network

STAFF employed by the BBC’s Asian Network staged a one-day strike on Wednesday 19th August in protest at the corporation’s decision to cut one of its two Birmingham- based editor roles and to move the Bobby Friction Show to London.

They decided to take strike action following the management’s reaction to a symbolic silent protest on Wednesday 12th August. Bobby Friction’s awarding- winning show, a mix of entertainment, desi, Bollywood and bhangra, makes up a third of all daily live network radio programming broadcast from Birmingham.

Apart from the Archers, the Asian Network is the last remaining network radio output based in the city, leaving the Mailbox, the much-vaunted BBC facility, costing £2.14m a year, half-empty.

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Rail unions fight fare rises

RAIL UNIONS staged a protest on Tuesday to highlight their claim that rail fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages over the past five years.

Campaigners at Waterloo station handed out postcards highlighting the cost of rail privatisation and demanding a return of the railways to public ownership.

Ahead of the protest, the Action for Rail campaign, backed by the TUC and rail unions, released a study claiming that season tickets and other regulated fares have increased by 25 per cent since 2010, while average pay has gone up by nine per cent.

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No to benefits ‘boot camp’

THE CIVIL service union PCS has condemned the Government’s new plans for a “boot camp” for young jobseekers as vindictive and counterproductive.

Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock, who heads David Cameron’s earn or learn taskforce, is setting out plans today for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 to be placed on an intensive activity programme within the first 3 weeks of submitting a claim.

They will get an initial three week intensive course of practising job applications and interviews, which will then be regularly reviewed by a dedicated job coach.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish Political Correspondent

DF CONCERTS has a £167 million turnover and pre-tax profits of £9 million; it is 78 per cent owned by the London based company GNGaiety Ltd.

That does not seem like a deserving beneficiary of £150,000 grant from the SNP culture minister. But it nevertheless received the handout for holding the annual “T in the Park” music festival (the Scottish Glastonbury) last month.

But in retrospect it appears that the company was a deserving case because they had until a few weeks earlier, previously employed as a “Project Manager” one Jennifer Dempsie, who just happens to be the partner of SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson and a former special advisor to no less and exalted personage than Alex Salmond.

In line with SNP family traditions she is hoping to become a List MSP for the Highlands and Islands. Therefore it was inevitable that when Dempsie, as an employee went along to Fiona Hyslop, a failed Education Minister who was demoted to Culture Secretary there would be no problem in DF Concerts getting the readies for what is one of the most profitable cultural events in Scotland.

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Liberation Day in London

by New Worker correspondent

KOREA’S liberation day was marked in style last week by comrades and friends at a seminar in central London last week. NCP leader Andy Brooks joined other Korean solidarity workers in stressing the importance of the Workers Party of Korea and great leader Kim Il Sung’s guerrilla army in ending 35 years of Japanese enslavement in August 1945.

Other speakers included Dermot Hudson, Theo Russell and David Munoz from the Korean Friendship Association that organised the evening meeting at the Cock Tavern in Euston to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Korea.

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Echoes down the centuries

a review by by Dermot Hudson

PRESIDENT Kim Il Sung’s life spanned most of the 20th century and he led the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for nearly 50 years. He was giant of the international communist movement and also an international statesman of great renown. During his life he met Stalin. Mao Zedong, Ché Guevara, Tito, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Sukarno as well as western politicians including former US president Jimmy Carter.

This well written and lively book provides a fascinating set of memories of these meetings. They take on an additional significance in the year of the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule and the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

This short book is not only informative about the life of great leader President Kim Il Sung but also is full of information about the international policy of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which provides some valuable insights into the WPK’s relationship with the international communist movement and the other socialist countries.

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International News

China gives America the boot in Djibouti


THE CHINESE are about to give the Americans the boot in the tiny country of Djibouti — the strategically critical entrance from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea located in the Horn of Africa.

The United States is about to lose one of its military installations in the Republic of Djibouti, America’s largest permanent military base in Africa and the home to more than 4,000 US personnel.

The government of the tiny country has seemingly had a change of heart and now wants to host a Chinese military contingent of about 10,000 instead.

“The announcement, made the day after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Djibouti last May, is deeply worrying for Pax Americana, for it comes on top of a major package of economic investments by China that has Djiboutian President Guelleh openly talking about the importance of his new friends from Asia,” Eritrea-based journalist Thomas Mountain said.

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The long road to truly friendly relations

by Ivan Martínez

CUBA and the United States have begun the long and complex road towards the normalisation of relations with the creation of a joint commission that will select the specific issues to be discussed between both nations.

The decision to create this mechanism seems to be positive after the conclusion of the first stage of the re-establishment of relations, including the reopening of the respective embassies, in which both the agreements as well as the issues separating both sides came out in the open.

Even though Secretary of State John Kerry in his speech in Havana openly voiced the opinion of leaving behind the strategy of applying an illegal blockade to Cuba, he still resorted to the old habit of his country to give lessons on democracy and human rights.

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Laos committed to promoting tourism

Lao National TV News

UNDER Party leadership Laos is among many countries in the world that are working hard to promote tourism. The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the government are constantly boosting the development and promotion of the tourism sector. The work of this sector is one of the government’s 11 priority plans to help the country earn revenue and create jobs.

Under Party leadership the tourism sector believes it will become one of the main drivers of economic growth and a significant contributor to poverty reduction. Under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the tourism sector is moving forward and setting up a strategy plan for the period until 2020 in order to fulfil the directives of the Party and government.

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Moldovans protest price rises and right-wing violence

by Greg Butterfield

ON 31ST JULY armed police and private security guards carrying semi-automatic weapons attacked Liberty Township, a tent city set up by dozens of protesters in Chișinȃu, the capital of Moldova, outside the home of wealthy oligarch and political kingmaker Vladimir Plahotniuc. The private security forces were especially brutal, and many people were injured. Several activists were arrested.

Protest organisers have called for revoking the licenses of private security firms Argus S and GSS and for the resignation of Interior Minister Oleg Balan, who praised the police action.

The tent city, which included whole families, had been set up on 24th July to protest at steep price hikes for electricity and natural gas — austerity measures backed by Plahotniuc and the ruling “Alliance for European Integration”. Protests also spread to other towns and villages in the former Soviet republic of 3.5 million people, which is sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania.

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Do not vote for Jeremy Corbyn! Ten perfectly ‘reasonable’ reasons

by Neil Clark

THE BIG political story in the UK this summer is undoubtedly “Corbynmania”. How a 66-year-old anti-war activist and socialist has gone from being the rank 200-1 outsider in the Labour leadership contest election to be the red-hot favourite.

Jeremy Corbyn, a modest, unassuming man who wears an open necked shirt and slacks instead of the usual politician’s suit and tie, has really proved a big hit with the public, who have grown tired of slick politicians who are always “on message”, and who don’t seem at all sincere in what they’re saying.

Large crowds have turned out to hear Corbyn speak: last week he had to give his speech from the top of a fire engine as an election rally spilled out into the street.

Not everyone though has welcomed Corbyn’s advance. One man who has made repeated warnings about the “dangers” of Jeremy Corbyn is Cyril Waugh-Monger, a “Very Important” newspaper columnist for the NeoCon Daily, a patron of the Senator Joe McCarthy Appreciation Society and the author of Why the Iraq War was a Brilliant Idea, as well as The Humanitarian Case for Bombing Syria.

Below are Mr Waugh-Monger’s 10 commandments to Labour members to not, under any circumstances, vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Remember, we need to take what he has to say very seriously — as, after all, he did reveal to us that Iraq possessed WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in 2003.

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Transnistrian communists demand end to witch-hunts

Staement by the Transnistria Communist Party

Transnistria is an independent republic that broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It maintains many Soviet traditions, including the hammer and sickle flag. The right-wing junta in Ukraine, backed by Washington, has threatened military action against Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria and has been building up forces in neighbouring Odessa.

THE POLICY of the authorities of the Republic of Moldova (RM) continues to amaze with its inconsistency.

Just a few days after the formation of the new Parliamentary coalition with the hackneyed but nevertheless pretentious name “Alliance for European Integration,” the repressive state machine of the RM showed the price of its declared “European values”.

Read the the full statement here

Transnistrian communists demand end to witch-hunts