National News

May Day in Glasgow

by our Scottish affairs correspondent

ALMOST 1,000 marchers in Glasgow on May Day last Sunday, led by a pipe band, marched from George Square to Glasgow Trade Union Council’s (TUC’s) rally at the Old Fruit Market in the trendy Merchant City.

Taking the lead on the march was the Justice for Jannies banner carried by striking janitors. The largest trade union contingents were the teachers, along with rail and ferry workers. But GMB, UCATT and PCS also had their banners out, as did the Labour Party’s Campaign for Socialism and its Young Socialist groups.

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May Day in London

by New Worker correspondent

TENS of thousands of people gathered in Clerkenwell Green in east London on Sunday for the annual workers’ May Day march and rally — the numbers greatly swelled this year because 1st May fell on a Sunday and the weather was the best so far this year.

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Appeal Court rules against workfare

THE GOVERNMENT last week lost its appeal against a High Court ruling that emergency changes it made to its conditions on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) were incompatible with human rights law.

Three judges in the Appeal Court upheld the High Court ruling that emergency measures that the Government introduced in 2013 after the Poundland case were contrary to human rights laws.

The case began in February 2013 when Cait Reilly, a geology graduate, won her claim that it was unlawful to force her to work at a branch of Poundland as a condition of her qualifying for JSA. This prevented her from doing work experience in a different job more closely connected to her career plans.

After the case the Government rushed to change the law retrospectively to prevent thousands of jobseekers potentially claiming back millions of pounds in benefit payments that had been stopped when they refused unpaid work placements.

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Pupils and parents strike against over-testing

THOUSANDS of families throughout England withheld their children from school in protest against the Government’s testing regime for primary school pupils.

They were boycotting the Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) assessments for sevenyear- old and 11-year-old pupils, claiming that the tests put too much stress on children at a very young age, making education an unhappy experience for them and getting in the way of normal teaching.

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TTIP leak may sink the deal

THE PROPOSED Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) may have been sabotaged fatally by a leak that has exposed its full measures, which have hitherto been kept secret.

The deal would bring no benefit to Britain or most European countries, but it would allow United States companies to help change European laws to weaken protection for the general population and the environment.

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Cameron’s race to sell off NHS

THERE has been a huge increase in the number of NHS contracts handed out to private companies as David Cameron is speeding up the process to dismantle the service before he finishes his term of office.

Many campaigners now fear we are heading towards an expensive insurance- based healthcare system like the system that operates in the United States.

The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 completely changed the English NHS system by removing ultimate responsibility to provide healthcare from the Government Minister to the commissioning groups; and they are accountable only to an unelected national quango.

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Google given 1,6 million patients’ data

THE NHS has given the medical records of 1.6 million patients to the giant tech company Google, it has been revealed. The records have been shared with Google as part of a data-sharing agreement between the technology giant and the NHS, revealed by the New Scientist.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent


AMONGST the marchers taking part in Sunday’s Glasgow May Day march were two different groups of Unison members. The most numerous were Glasgow primary school janitors whose banner, Justice4Jannies, led the march. The other group were police civilian workers.

First the Glasgow janitors: since the 14th January they have been taking industrial action by boycotting a number of duties and having three-day all-out strikes in March and April.

The 130 janitors voted by 99 per cent for action. They are seeking “Working Context and Demand Payment” (WCD), which is the Sunday name for dirt money for particularly heavy and unpleasant duties.

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International News

Gaza market a temporary escape from unemployment

by Osama Rady

THE POPULAR Yarmuk weekly market in the Gaza Strip has been a temporary refuge for the unemployed, some of whom turn to being hawkers at the renowned market.

“I do not earn much money, but it is much better than being fully unemployed,” said 36-year-old Mahmoud Bilbeisi, who sells hats and sunglasses.

The man, who started his work at the market two years ago after losing his job as a construction worker, said he never worked in business before, but the harsh living conditions in poverty have forced him to think of being a seller.

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Cuban food prices slashed


CUBANS welcomed the announcement on 22nd April of a reduction of up to 20 per cent in the price of certain products, the majority foodstuffs. Cubans welcomed the measure designed to increase the population’s purchasing power over the short term.

The Ministry of Finance and Prices stressed that the Central Report to the 7th Party Congress in April states: “Salaries and pensions are still insufficient to meet the needs of the Cuban family.”

The note adds that although the definitive solution to this complex situation will only be reached through an increase in the productivity and efficiency of the national economy: “The political will of the Party and government leadership to do everything possible to improve the situation of the population in the context of existing limitations, as well as a drop in food prices on the world market,” has led to the adoption of such measures, which aim to gradually increase the population’s purchasing power over the short term.

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Chinese leader warns of cabals and cliques


CHINESE President Xi Jinping has warned of “cabals and cliques” in the Communist Party of China (CPC), while also denying that the ousting of officials on corruption charges indicated a “House of Cards power struggle”.

“There are careerists and conspirators existing in our Party and undermining the Party’s governance. We should not bury our heads in the sand and spare these members but must make a resolute response to eliminate the problem and deter further violations,” said Xi in a speech published in full in the People’sDaily on Tuesday.

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May 2nd in Odessa

The massacre which sparked the civil war in East Ukraine


TWO YEARS ago pro-Kiev nationalist activists blocked anti-Maidan protesters inside Odessa’s House of Trade Unions building and set it on fire, killing nearly 50 and injuring hundreds more. The event, which has yet to receive a proper investigation, marked the point of no return in the escalation of the civil war in eastern Ukraine.

On Monday Odessa was on lock-down. Regional governor Mikheil Saakashvili deployed nearly 3,000 police officers and National Guard members in the city, ostensibly in order to “maintain order” on the 2nd anniversary of the massacre of anti-Maidan activists. The deployed National Guard units include 300 members of the notorious neo-Nazi Azov Regiment, which has been accused of war crimes in eastern Ukraine.

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Buying the presidency

by Rob Gowland

WHEN Bill Clinton originally ran for the US presidency his wife Hillary made some progressive speeches on his behalf, attacking his “right-wing” opponents. But speaking and doing are two different things, a fact that was made very clear when she later became Secretary of State, responsible for implementing the USA’s extremely aggressive foreign policy. When the US followed up NATO’s bombing of Libya by organising terrorist groups to attack the Libyan government’s forces, murdering President Muammar Gaddafi and sinking the country into its present state of constant civil warfare, Hillary Clinton was content to cynically quip: “We came, we saw, he died.”

Now she is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for President of the US, putting herself forward as the progressive choice (as opposed to the ultra-reactionaries of the Republican Party). Unfortunately her campaign has been badly shaken by another Democrat. Bernie Sanders is a social democrat and in the context of mainstream US politics he is perceived as being far to the left of Hillary Clinton. It is largely an illusion but his campaign has struck a chord with ordinary Americans. A succession of Sanders victories over Clinton in primary ballots has all but derailed her campaign.

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Report of visit t o People’s Korea Let’s hope more of you will visit Peoples Korea!

by Dermot Hudson

A DELEGATION from the Association for the Study of Songun Politics UK (ASSPUK) and Juche Idea Study Group of England (JISGE) visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the land of Songun, between the 7th and 19th April this year.

We were there at the kind invitation of the Korean Association of Social Scientists (KASS) and were impressed by the generous hospitality of our hosts. Our delegation consisted of myself, David Munoz de Castro and his partner Ms Raluca Mariou. It was their first time in People’s Korea but my 11th visit since 1992.

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