National News

Cancer patients to lose up to £120-a-month

THE GOVERNMENT’S proposed welfare cuts could deprive cancer patients who are too ill to work of up to £120-a-month according to a warning from the cancer support charity Macmillan.

Thousands of cancer patients could lose support payments used to pay for daily living costs like heating, transport and special dietary needs.

Macmillan said the reforms could push vulnerable people “over the edge financially”.

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DLR vote for strike

RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that over 300 staff across all grades on London’s Keolis/Amey Docklands Light Railway have voted by massive majorities for both strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over a range of serious unresolved issues that are wrecking industrial relations.

More than 92 per cent voted to strike with an even larger majority for action short of a strike.

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Government tries sneak changes to fracking rules

ANTI-FRACKING campaigners and Labour leaders have accused Government Ministers of trying to introduce new rules on fracking by stealth and without a full parliamentary debate. The new rules, first tabled in July, would make it easier to get permission for fracking beneath protected areas.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd previously committed to an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Instead of a full parliamentary debate, the controversial measures were instead discussed and voted on by a small committee of MPs on Tuesday this week. All MPs will get to vote on the regulations at some point next week but will be denied the chance of a debate.

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The Government’s nuclear motive

THE BRITISH government’s determination to forge ahead with a new generation of nuclear power plants makes little sense either environmentally or economically but is driven by the need for materials to build nuclear weapons, according to a recent report by Oliver Tickell in the Ecologist.

He says: “On the face of it, the UK government’s obsession with nuclear power defies reason. It’s very expensive, inflexible, creates ‘existential’ threats and imposes enormous ‘long tail’ liabilities tens of thousands of years into the future. “But there is a simple explanation: it’s all to maintain the UK’s status as a nuclear WMD state. The UK’s civil nuclear programme is almost entirely motivated by the UK’s wish to maintain its status as a nuclear WMD state.

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Women can be firefighters!

THE FIRE Brigades Union reacted angrily last week to an outrageously sexist remark by former Tory Cabinet Minister Norman Tebbit who said that women should not serve in the fire and rescue service.

In an exchange between firefighters Carina Peel and Sean McCallum, who were both in Westminster campaigning against cuts to the fire and rescue service, Tebbit said “women shouldn’t be firefighters” and they should accept this, as he has accepted he “cannot be a mother” because of his gender.

Samantha Rye, secretary of the FBU’s National Women’s Committee, called for Lord Tebbit to apologise for his comments.

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Duggan family to appeal against High Court ruling

THE FAMILY of Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police while unarmed, have been granted permission to appeal against a High Court decision that the jury at the inquest into his death were right to rule that he was lawfully killed.

Lord Justice Sales ruled that an appeal had a chance of success. He said although the earlier court decision had been “cogent”, the questions for the jury at the inquest had been “framed too narrowly”.

The outcome of the appeal rests to a large extent on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot dead by police in 2005. That case will decide whether the principle of self-defence, used by the officer who shot Duggan, must include an element of objective justification for the subjective belief that the victim posed a threat.

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A very modern scandal

CAMBRIDGE County Council is contemplating “colossal and cruel” cuts that would close libraries, raise parking charges and impose draconian cuts to children’s centres and other services to vulnerable children and older people.

Lollipop ladies and rural bus routes could also be scrapped, while the number of roads the county council grits is also due to be slashed.

Even Cambridge’s rising bollards are under threat, and are set to be replaced with CCTV in a desperate bid to try and save £50,000.

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Nurses may strike over sacking

NURSES at the Ashworth secure psychiatric hospital on Merseyside have voted for strike action over the sacking of two nurses after a violent struggle with a patient.

The two nurses, who are represented by the Prison Officers’ Association, were defending themselves from a violent attack for which the patient has been found guilty in court and ordered to pay them compensation.

Ashworth hospital treats some of Britain’s most dangerous and disturbed criminals. Kevin Gregson and Peter Hilton were sacked despite using “reasonable force” against the unidentified patient, said the Prison Officers’ Association (POA).

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

SUPPORTERS of Glasgow Celtic Football Club were amongst the more lively supporters of a Yes vote in the Referendum. But they are beginning to show disenchantment with Scottish National Party rule in Scotland.

Last weekend a group of Celtic fans, known as the Green Brigade, enlivened a match against Dundee United with a huge banner display showing a policeman using a video camera and other banners reading; “Police State Brought to You by the SNP”.

This is just one example of opposition from football fans to SNP’s Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, (OBFA) passed in 2012. Aiming to prohibit offensive behaviour it is so badly drafted that it can include just about anything the police dislike. It could include singing the national anthem as a criminal offence.

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International News

Pentagon used missionaries as spies to penetrate DPRK


A HIGHLY classified Pentagon intelligence operation ran a network of spies in north Korea from 2004 to 2012 under the cover of a US-based Korean Christian missionary group, US media reports revealed on Monday.

Kay Hiramine was the Colorado-based founder of a multimillion-dollar humanitarian movement and non-governmental organisation called the Humanitarian International Services Group (HISG). Hiramine “was a Pentagon spy whose NGO (non-governmental organisation) was funded through a highly classified Defence Department programme,” according to a report published in the Intercept, an online news magazine.

But the group really operated under a secret Defence Department programme that began in December 2004 and lasted through most of President Barack Obama’s first term, the report said.

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Overwhelming vote at UN against US blockade of Cuba

by Ed Newman

CUBA achieved an overwhelming victory at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday with the vote in favour of ending the US blockade: 191 votes in favour, two against — the United States and Israel — and no abstentions.

Before the vote, which marked the 24th time in a row that the UN General Assembly approved a similar resolution, urging the lifting the US blockade of Cuba, over 30 speakers, representing countries and regional blocks, took the floor to express their support for Cuba and against the US policy.

While all speakers hailed the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, they described the US blockade as the main impediment to Cuba’s economic and social development, as well as to achieve fully normalised relations between the two neighbouring countries.

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Portugal: Where Nato rules OK

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey ANÍBAL SILVA, the President of Portugal, leaves little room for doubt after his speech last week appointing the incumbent Prime Minister, Pedro Coelho, to form a government after the general election on 4th October. He confirmed that Nato is a supra-national organisation with unconstitutional powers which interfere directly in the internal affairs of its member states.

Political scenario

The legislative election on 4th October resulted in the ruling coalition of PSD (right-wing Social Democratic Party) and PP (Popular Party, conservative) winning more seats than any one of the four opposition parties but fewer than those four combined, with members of Parliament, PS (Socialist Party, centre-right), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Block, Leftist), CDU (Communist Party and Greens) and PAN (People, Animals, Nature).

This means that a government formed by PSDPP can be blocked by a motion of no confidence presented by the opposition but a new election cannot take place until at least six months after the election of the new president in January 2016. In Portugal this coincides with a torrid summer (and an ensuing beach culture), so in real terms an election would take a full year to happen.

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Seumas Milne: and the wrath of Britain’s new McCarthyites

by Neil Clark


THE NEWS that Seumas Milne, anti-war journalist and Guardian columnist, has been appointed the new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s executive director of strategy and communications has caused uproar among Britain’s McCarthyite pro-imperialist faux-left. Milne, we’re told is a “terrorism apologist”, a “Stalinist” an “extremist”, ‘’apologist for dictators”, “apologist for murderous dictators”, “Kremlin/Putin apologist” and “facism (sic) apologist”.

His appointment wasn’t just “morally and ethically wrong”, it’s “insane” (as is Milne himself).

You’d think from reading these attacks that Milne was some kind of wildeyed, foaming at the mouth madman who needs to be tethered on a leash for public safety. Just about the only very bad thing he hasn’t been accused of is being an “apologist” for Jack the Ripper — though no doubt Cyril Waugh-Monger is working on that article right now. Anyone who knows Seumas in person — as I do, can only laugh out loud at these ludicrous portrayals of a thoroughly decent and very thoughtful man.

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The rule of the rich

by Rob Gowland

IT IS a feature of modern life much remarked upon that “democratic elections” now cost a small (or more commonly not so small) fortune: so much so that candidates are increasingly drawn from the ranks of the very rich, who, once in office, are naturally keen to advance their own class interests.

From the US to Australia to Ukraine, millionaires (or even billionaires) are making a play for the job of being the country’s leader, with the backing of big business, especially military- industrial complexes, media corporations and the top financial institutions.

Australia’s new Prime Minister, put in the top job by a party room coup, not an election, we should remember, is a filthy-rich merchant banker. His harbour-side mansion in Sydney is so posh that he has no qualms about deciding to use it in preference to the official PM’s residence Kirribili House.

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What example can Canada show the world without Harper?

by Lyuba Lulko

DURING parliamentary elections last week Canadians brought the political Trudeau dynasty back to power. The conservative and anti-Russian era of Stephen Harper has thus ended. The new Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, whose father was loyal to the Soviet Union, promised that Canada would return to international politics as a “compassionate and constructive” state.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is the son of Pierre Trudeau, who chaired the Canadian government from 1968 to 1984. Under Trudeau, Canada obtained full independence from Great Britain. In 2013 he headed the Liberal Party of Canada.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won the absolute majority in the vote —185 of 338 seats in the parliament. The Conservatives came second with 97 seats, having lost nearly a half of the seats. Stephen Harper immediately resigned. The third and fourth places went to the New Democratic Party and Quebec Block with 28 and nine mandates respectively.

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