National News

100,000 children face homeless Christmas

MORE THAN 100,000 children in Britain will wake up in temporary or emergency accommodation at Christmas because they and their family do not have a home of their own, according to a report released last week by the housing charity Shelter.

Fortunately they will not be sleeping on the streets because councils have a duty to find children that have nowhere to live somewhere to sleep.

But as the number of homeless families steadily rises and council budgets are cut, councils are forced to place more and more homeless families into the most insecure and inappropriate emergency accommodation.

This can be anything from cramped bed and breakfasts to hostels; places where families might have no cooking facilities. They could be squashed into a single room and sharing a bathroom with dozens of strangers. This is no place for a child.

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‘Victorian diseases’ return

FOOD poverty and the austerity cuts are the main cause of the return of “Victorian diseases”, which are now soaring in England according to the Trussell Trust.

NHS statistics show that 7,366 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between August 2014 and July this year, compared with 4,883 cases in the same period from 2010 to 2011 — a rise of more than 50 per cent in just four years.

Cases of other diseases rife in the Victorian era including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have also increased since 2010, although cases of TB, measles, typhoid and rickets have fallen.

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Manchester mental health services in crisis

MANCHESTER’S mental health trust is to be axed as it faces a catastrophic £7 million funding gap. A new round of £1.5 million worth of cuts will hit more than 650 patients, sparking a warning that people could be driven to suicide.

Manchester Health and Social Care Trust’s finances are now so bad that the trust is to be abolished. NHS bosses will decide in the coming days what to replace it with.

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DLR staff stage two-day strike

WORKERS on east London’s Docklands Light Railway last Tuesday staged a successful 48-hour strike in protest at changing conditions, including the use of agency staff.

The RMT union says last ditch talks aimed at preventing the industrial action have broken down. RMT negotiators made every effort to resolve the dispute through negotiation but due to the sheer intransigence of the management the workers were forced to go ahead with the strike.

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84-year-old dies in chains

ALOIS Dvorzac, a former engineer diagnosed with dementia and a heart condition, was travelling from Canada for a last visit to his native Slovenia, a journey that involved a flight change at Gatwick.

But at Gatwick UK immigration officials detained him because he was unable to explain his future travel plans in full, and because of regulations they kept him in shackles for five hours

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Fire service cuts claim London pensioner

THE FIRE Brigades Union last week said London Mayor Boris Johnson may have been responsible for the death of a pensioner following the closure of the nearest fire station to his home.

On Monday 26th October a fire broke out at a property in Camden Road but firefighters from Kentish Town fire station, the nearest to the scene, were unavailable as they were tackling another large fire on Finchley Road.

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Scottish Political news

by our Scottish political news correspondent

SCOTLAND’S local authority workers are the most immediate victims of the Scottish National Party government’s long running council tax freeze. Thanks to SNP policy £126 million has been lost to Scottish councils since 2008.

Left Labour MSP Neil Findlay has denounced the SNP for its pride in the freeze “as jobs and services bite the dust”. Across the country budget cuts are putting jobs and services at risk. In North Lanarkshire, recently hit by the news of the impending closure of the last steel works in the area, 1,094 council jobs are at risk over the next few years where a £68 million budget gap is forecast for the next few years.

Worst affected will be 600 home care workers who are under threat of privatisation. In all 10 per cent of the council workforce are under threat.

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Scottish Labour Party votes to ditch Trident

by our Scottish political news correspondent LAST WEEKEND’S Scottish Labour Party Autumn conference voted to both ditch Trident and support its renewal. Early in the conference a motion from the union Community, (which incorporates the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation) that supported for Scotland’s last two steel plants was passed.

It included a clause declaring: “Conference believes the new ferries to be built at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, the Vanguard submarine successor programme to be built at BAE in Barrow- in-Furness and the UK government’s flood defence programme all present significant opportunities to use steel plate produced at Dalzell and Clydebridge.”

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Ada Lovelace Day at Science in the Pub

By Kate Viscardi

ADA LOVELACE Day is celebrated on the second Tuesday of October every year, while Science in the Pub (Pub- Sci) meets on the third Wednesday of every month. Starting in 2009 Ada Lovelace Day was originally a day of blogging about female role models in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but quickly grew into events organised around the country. PubSci sticks to its usual date, but has an Ada Lovelace event in October.

This year the speaker was Dr Charlie Lea, who a few years ago used a PubSci audience as guinea pigs in her PhD research. Charlie is now a Psychology lecturer at the University of Brighton and returned to PubSci to take a different approach to commemorate Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace.

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International News

Israeli terror against Palestinians

by Ivan Martínez

AT LEAST 2,617 Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli forces using live and rubber bullets during the month of October, Red Crescent officials say.

On Sunday the Palestinian news agency Ma’an released a report quoting a Red Crescent spokesperson as saying that at least 760 Palestinians were shot with live rounds across the occupied Palestinian territory, while another 1,857 were hit with rubber- coated steel bullets. At least 5,645 Palestinians sustained injuries, including burns from tear gas canisters an excessive tear gas inhalation.

The report shows that 72 Palestinians were also killed in Palestinian territories by Israeli soldiers in October.

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Mr Soft Heart or brutal tyrant? Anti-Assad story falls apart at seams


THE WESTERN media narrative about brutal “dictator” Bashar al-Assad is falling apart at the seams, Australian academic Tim Anderson maintains, adding that the leader still enjoys high public support in Syria.

There is a huge gap between the western ugly “caricature” of the Syrian President and the real political figure of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s popular secular leader says Anderson who is a senior lecturer in political economy at the University of Sydney.

“When I met President Assad with a group of Australians, his manner was entirely consistent with the pre-2011 image of the mild-mannered eye doctor. He expressed deep concern with the impact on children of witnessing terrorist atrocities while fanatics shout ‘God is Great.’ The man is certainly no brute, in the manner of Saddam Hussein or George W Bush,” Anderson said in his article for Global Research.

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Heat detected around Russian plane before crash


UNITED States satellite systems detected heat around the Russian aircraft before it crashed over Egypt and killed all 224 people aboard, according to reports on Tuesday, citing two US officials.

One of the officials said on condition of anonymity that they ruled out a missile striking the Metrojet Airbus A321-200 because neither a launch nor an engine burn had been detected.

Analysts said it might indicate there was an explosion or disintegration of the plane, but it’s still unclear what caused it.

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Romania Factory to disco: Reflections on the recent fire in Bucharest

by Jose Luis Forneo

THE FIRE at Club Colectiv in Bucharest on 30th October has become international news as this type of disaster is very popular with a media propaganda system aimed at selling easy tears rather than denouncing the deep social causes of such disasters.

At bottom the nearly 30 deaths and 100 injuries on Friday night are only a story if we contextualise them in the social genocide suffered by Romanians over the last 25 years, a genocide that, unlike random catastrophe, divine punishment or bad luck, the media don’t want to sell.

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Mick Jagger: A living legend in Havana

by Michel Hernández

THE ICONIC lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, arrived in Havana on the weekend of 4th October where he visited historic sites and the Santa Isabel Hotel, in the city’s historic centre, which has also welcomed other international figures from the world of music and rock and roll. According to a hotel employee, 72-year-old Jagger arrived in the capital with one of his children and visited various evening establishments such as the Sangri La club, in the municipality of Playa.

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United States Debtors’ prisons fill up in Deep South

by Minnie Bruce Pratt

ACROSS the United States local jails have turned into “debtors’ prisons” as cities and counties imprison poor people who can’t pay fines for traffic violations, minor offences or “court costs”. Nowhere is this more dramatic than in the Deep South, where imprisoned people are disproportionately young Black people, immigrants, people of colour and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people.

In Alabama, Perry County Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins told a courtroom full of people at an unpaid fines hearing on 17th September: “If you do not have any money and don’t want to go to jail, consider giving blood today and bring your receipt back, or the sheriff has enough handcuffs for those who do not have money.”

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India: Holy Cows, Unholy People

by Prabir Purkayastha

A SENIOR retired Air Force officer, in a meeting that I attended recently, talked about the protest by writers as a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak landscape. He was referring to writers returning their awards in protest against Mohammad Akhlaq’s lynching in Dadri.

Two more incidents of extreme right-wing formations killing Muslim youths in cow-related incidents have occurred, even after the furore over Aklaq’s death. Panchajanya, the RSS Hindu nationalist mouthpiece, and the chief minister of Haryana, M L Khattar, they have both justified Aklaq’s murder. Panchajanya has quoted, or more correctly, misquoted the vedas to justify Akhlaq’s murder, claiming that he had killed a cow. Khattar repeated Mahesh Sharma, the minister of state for culture, on the Dadri killing, calling the murder “an accident”. He also proceeded to suggest: “If they want to stay Muslims, they will have to stop eating beef”. Clearly, there is an unsaid “or else” after it.

Why are cows made the major symbol of a campaign on hurt sentiment? The answer is quite simple: the primary agenda in any campaign in the Hindutva nationalist camp is for creating “the other” as a hate object. It is not that the cow is sacred to “us” that is important; but it is sacred to “us” and the Muslims eat it. This makes the Muslims “our” enemy.

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Russia reviving pioneer and Komsomol movements?


A NEW national children and youth movement to assist in the socialisation of children and adolescents will soon be established in the Russian Federation while Russian communists work to restore the old Komsomol.

President Putin has signed the decree to create the “The Russian Movement of School-Children”, the purpose of which is to improve the state policy in the field of education of young people, as well as develop citizenship on the basis of Russian values. The founder of the organisation on behalf of the Russian Federation is the Federal Agency for Affairs of the Youth.

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