National News

Tories kill NHS rescue bill with a filibuster

TORY MPs last Friday 11th March talked for hours about very little in order to prevent a bill, sponsored by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, designed to rescue the NHS from creeping privatisation getting its second reading in the House of Commons.

The NHS Reinstatement Bill would have rolled back the health service’s “internal market”, ended contracting, and returned the NHS to purely public provision.

The Bill was backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell in a private capacity, as well as by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

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Sixth-form teachers on strike

SIXTH-FORM teachers took strike action last Tuesday for one day in protest at “inadequate funding” for sixth-form colleges.

Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, tried to get a High Court injunction against the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to prevent the strike but the court ruled that the strike was lawful.

The Government argued the strike was “based on political grounds and not a trade dispute about the terms and conditions of its members”.

In a ballot last month 86 per cent of members at 92 colleges across England voted in favour of strike action on a 44 per cent turnout.

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Hostile reception for BF thugs

AROUND 20 thugs from the neo-Nazi Britain First (BF) movement last Saturday tried to stage an Islamophobic demonstration outside the big East London Mosque in Whitechapel.

The racist thugs carried union jack flags and carried crosses but quickly found themselves surrounded by police, who were defending them from angry Muslims who were leaving the mosque and anti-fascist protesters. It was the second BF attempt to demonstrate aggressively outside the mosque in a fortnight.

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Disabled people to lose £3,000-a-year

CHANCELLOR George Osborne has decided that people with disabilities do not need so much help to buy special aids such as wheelchairs and walking sticks “because most of the have already got them”.

So he is re-jigging the points system by which they are awarded their Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), leaving many with only half the sum they had been getting.

As a result 200,000 disabled people will each lose almost £3,000 per year according to Labour analysis.

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Mental health hospital closed on five days’ notice

RACHEL MASKELL, the Labour MP for York Central, warned that lives could be put at risk after Bootham Park mental hospital was closed suddenly in October, following a critical report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The closures forced 30 inpatients to be discharged or relocated without warning and 400 outpatients suffered the removal of their services.

Maskell said that patients had been badly let down by the health service and that Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health, had failed to address a crisis in which vulnerable mental health patients had been left for months without local services.

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Topshop told to pay the living wage

IT TAKES the average Topshop cleaner about a week to earn enough money to buy a Topshop Boutique trench coat.

Low-wage workers and their supporters staged a protest last Saturday outside Topshop’s flagship Oxford Street store in London, against being paid what they consider to be poverty wages.

Their goal is to pressure Arcadia Group — the company that owns Topshop and recently reported an annual profit of over £250million — into paying cleaners and shopfloor staff the living wage: £9.40 in London and £8.25 elsewhere in the Britain.

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RBS cuts 550 jobs

THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) last week announced that it is planning to cut 550 jobs and replace some face-to-face advisors with an automated system in order to cut costs.

The high street bank said 220 staff would be shed from its investment advice team as part of a shake-up, which will see face-to-face advice only offered to customers investing £250,000 or more.

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SNP councillor quits over ‘bullying’

MARIE Penman, a councillor for the Scottish National Party (SNP), has left the party, accusing her erstwhile colleagues of bullying.

Penman, who was convenor of the Kirkcaldy SNP branch and ran the YES campaign in the town before the independence referendum, said she had been the victim of a “campaign of hate” waged against her by another senior branch member.

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Honouring Karl Marx — and Ray Jones

by New Worker correspondent

THE NEW Communist Party last Saturday held its annual homage to Karl Marx on the anniversary of his death — and honoured Ray Jones, printer for the New Worker from 1982 to 2015, with a short gap.

And he still does the lay-out of the paper by remote control from his new home in North Wales. Ray was presented with a bust of Lenin.

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Hail Caesar! reviewed by Caroline Colebrook

Hail Caesar! Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. Writers: Joel Coen , Ethan Coen. Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum. 106 minutes PG-13

HAIL CAESAR! is a great comedy film for lefties and film buffs alike, set in a giant Hollywood film studio in the early 1950s. It follows a day in the life of the studio problem fixer, Eddie Mannix (played by Josh Brolin). He is clearly a man under serious stress — concerned over whether the studio’s biblical sword-andsandals epic, [Hail Caesar!], and its restrained portrayal of the “Supreme being” is going to upset any religious community, he consults with Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and Greek Orthodox leaders.

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International News

Russian military pulls out of Syria

RUSSIA has pulled most of its military presence out of Syria, by mutual agreement with the government of Bashar al-Assad, timed to coincide with a new round of peace talks in Geneva and to strengthen the fragile ceasefire in the war in Syria.

The move has been welcomed universally, especially by all bodies involved in the peace negotiations, though it seems to have taken the United States completely by surprise. The idea of pulling troops out of a country, once the military objectives have been achieved, is something they cannot grasp.

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Chicago youth block Trump

YOUTHFUL protesters in Chicago succeeded in forcing a ban on Donald Trump’s planned campaign rally at the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion last Friday.

Many of his rallies had been disrupted by hecklers and by civil disobedience, following exhortations from Trump to his followers to deal with opposition violently and throw out anyone who disagreed with his increasingly right-wing and racist views.

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Ukrainian conscripts take their officers hostage

DONi News Agency

UKRAINIAN army AFU soldiers took their commanders hostage, said the Vice Commander of the Donbas People’s Republic (DPR) Defence Ministry Eduard Basurin. “According to our intelligence, soldiers of the 3rd airmobile battalion of the 79th separate airmobile brigade took hostage the command staff of the battalion in the area of Rozovka.

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People in the south of Ireland are looking for change

Interview with Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey

by Theo Russell

THE REPUBLIC of Ireland election on 26th February saw a major breakthrough for Sinn Féin, which increased its seats in the Dáil (parliament) from 14 in 2011 to 23, to become the third largest party. The two main parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, saw their seats fall from 95 in 2011 to 63 between them, while the Irish Labour Party, which was in coalition with Fine Gael after taking 37 seats in 2011, collapsed to just seven TDs (Teachtaí Dála: members of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament — NW). The Anti-Austerity Alliance—People Before Profit (an electoral alliance of two left-wing Irish political parties) won six seats, two more than in 2011.

NW: What are the main factors behind Sinn Féin’s success?

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Palestinian teacher awarded

HANAN AL-HROUB, a teacher working in the occupied West Bank, last week won a prestigious award for her work educating children in Palestine.

She works in the Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem and was announced the winner of the competition during the award ceremony in Dubai.

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Disinformation — you think?

Rob Gowland

TO STATE the bleeding obvious, the basis of capitalism is exploitation. Workers are paid less than the actual value of their labour, their working conditions are constantly under attack, they live under conditions of perennial insecurity afflicted by gross inequality, graft and corruption flourish and war has become the norm.

Considered objectively, the great majority of people receive little or no benefit from such a system. It is designed to favour a privileged few and that is precisely what it does. From the point of view of the privileged minority, it is a very successful system. But for everybody else, it basically sucks.

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No Zika virus but US falls behind in health

by Sara Flounders

WITH MUCH attention being paid to the recent birth of more than 4,000 babies with microcephaly “abnormally small heads” in Brazil, an underdeveloped country with a history of colonial oppression and deep poverty, it is time to also turn a spotlight on infant mortality, maternal deaths and longevity in the United States, one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world, but one with a large number of very poor people and a history of virulent racism.

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2016: the nightmare world we bequeath

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

THE YEAR 2016, the 16th of the third millennium after the beginning of the Christian era, 2,000 years after Roman Civilisation. Let us take a look around us. The seas are full of plastic, by the time you finish this piece two species will have become extinct and if you are by chance born a female, you do not have equal universal rights.

Can we feel proud?

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