National News

Anger as N Yorkshire council backs fracking

PROTESTERS against fracking, who had assembled outside North Yorkshire’s County Hall building in Norhallerton, reacted angrily last Monday to the news that the council had voted for new fracking tests to go ahead. This will be the first fracking to take place in Britain for five years.

The vote was taken in spite of 4,375 objections sent by local residents to the council and it gives permission for the first fracking test in Britain since 2011. On that occasion tests on the Fylde coast were blamed for minor earthquakes in the area.

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Defending libraries

by New Worker correspondents

CAMPAIGNERS were out fighting to save local libraries in Gloucester and Lewisham last week. Unison organised a picket of South Gloucestershire Council last Wednesday in protest against the latest stage of the Council’s “savings plan”, which has moved on to attacking the Library service with plans for drastic cuts to jobs, terms and conditions, and level of service provided to the local community.

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Why we need train guards

ON THE DAY last week when the RMT transport union stepped up its fight to defend rail guards, a fire on a train at Twyford was dealt with under the direction of the guard.

The union is defending the vital role that train guards play in passenger safety and organised a protest at the Rail Industry Event in Westminster.

On the very same morning a potentially serious incident was averted at Ruscombe, just east of Twyford, when a fire on board a train was dealt with by the guard who put the emergency evacuation procedure in place and directed other rail staff travelling on the service to extinguish the fire before the emergency services arrived.

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Deaths linked to ambulance delays

THIRTY-FIVE patients have died in the past five years in London after ambulance delays of up to six hours.

The deaths — which included a nine-month-old baby, two other children, a student nurse, a mother-to-be and an 87-year-old woman with dementia — have exposed how NHS ambulance services, faced with sometimes chronic shortages of vehicles and staff, are struggling to cope with demand.

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Nazi thug jailed

PETER Atkinson, a Nazi thug who made a murderous attack on a photographer earlier this year, was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to seven years in jail for grievous bodily harm with intent.

The incident happened in Dover on 30th January when fascists had descended on Dover to protest about refugees from Calais being allowed into Britain and anti-fascists had gone to stage a counter protest that welcomed the refugees.

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Scotland's new cabinet

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE final shape of the Scottish National Party’s (SNP’s) new Cabinet has emerged. Sturgeon demoted Finance Minister John Swinney to take over education, although he remains Deputy First Minister. He replaces the discredited Angela Constance. The former Education Secretary had been expected to be sacked for her ungrammatical performances on TV but because of the dire shortage of able bodies she returns as “Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities”.

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CalMac wins ferries contract

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

SCOTLAND’S trade unions welcomed the SNP government’s decision to award the Clyde and Hebrides ferry contract to the existing state-owned CalMac, but were furious that the whole unnecessary tendering process had taken place. The Scottish Trades Union Congress’ (STUC’s) General Secretary deplored the fact that “this hugely wasteful, expensive and destabilising exercise was undertaken”, adding that “the two tender exercises undertaken have failed to generate a single compliant bid to compete with CalMac.”

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SNP scandals

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE Deputy Leader of the SNP has announced that he be standing down from the position as a result of getting involved in a fight with another SNP MP over his contacts with a female journalist. However the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that there is no need for him to quit as deputy leader of the party’s Westminster group. Clearly she has a dim view of the capabilities of her Westminster colleagues if she thinks that he ought to stay.

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Fighting the last ‘acceptable’ face of racism

by New Worker correspondent

A LARGE group of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers assembled in Parliament Square last Saturday to protest at a new law governing their rights that sets them in a “Catch 22” situation and threatens their continued existence as an ethnic group.

They brought with them several traditional decorative horse-drawn carts, banners, placards and a petition of around 4,000 signatures.

And as they marched around Parliament Square their slogan was: “Five hundred years and still no justice!”

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Eyewitness Korea!

by New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS of the Korean people met at the Chadswell Centre in central London last weekend to hear report-backs from two comrades who have recently returned from Democratic Korea and to express their solidarity with the Workers Party of Korea which has just successfully concluded its 7th Congress.

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International News

Traditional parties count their losses in Cyprus election

Xinhua

CYPRUS’ traditional political parties took a beating in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, losing ground to the benefit of new political parties, according to final election results on Monday.

“The electoral results herald a new political era for Cyprus. New small parties seem to be here to stay and will be exerting continuous pressure on traditional parties, which may find it difficult to win back their voters,” says Yiannis Mavris, an electoral expert hired by Cypriot state-run television to analyse results.

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Not by jets alone: the secret of Russia’s success in Syria

Sputnik

AT A TIME when perception is as important as achievements, Russia has accomplished both in Syria. Its engagement was instrumental in turning the tide of the war, and its “well-coordinated media campaign,” as the US National Interest journal put it, has effectively highlighted Moscow’s military and diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the crisis.

Some have called this holistic approach “hybrid warfare”, even though this term does not describe accurately Russian activities in the war-torn country.

“Although the future of the war in Syria is uncertain, what remains clear is that Russia is fighting a hybrid war, combining its military, diplomatic and media capabilities to achieve its goals using limited armed engagement,” Ari Heistein and Vera Michlin-Shapir wrote for the American international affairs magazine.

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Why Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated

by Stephen Millies

BARACK OBAMA is scheduled to visit Hiroshima on 27th May, the first sitting US president to do so. Obama’s visit to the Japanese city has revived the question of whether killing hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atom bombs was a military necessity.

Dwight Eisenhower didn’t think so. The former president and five-star general wrote in his autobiography Mandate for Change that dropping atom bombs on Japan “was completely unnecessary.” Ike claimed that he said this to War Secretary Henry Stimson.

General Curtis LeMay told a 20th September 1945 news conference: “The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.” Even President Truman declared that dropping the bombs “did not win the war”.

A big reason why Japan surrendered was that the Soviet Army and Mongolian, Korean and Chinese allies rolled through north-eastern China and all of Korea. This not only destroyed the biggest Japanese army but threatened a socialist revolution in Japan itself.

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Features

Climate change and the Great Barrier Reef

by Rob Gowland

THE Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world. It is the largest coral ecosystem on Earth. The tourists it draws to Queensland bring in $5 billion annually and account for close to 70,000 jobs. Climate change however, if it is not prevented, threatens to destroy all this.

“When corals are stressed by unusually high water temperatures... symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae, leave the corals’ bodies. (At high temperatures, the photosynthetic process that is carried out by corals’ symbiotic plankton becomes toxic for the corals. Because it becomes toxic, the corals spit out the plankton.) This changes their colour to white (hence the term “bleaching” for this condition) and can also in effect starve them of nutrients. If bleaching continues for too long, corals die,” says Chris Mooney, US science and environment reporter.

The Great Barrier Reef is actually a collection of contiguous individual reefs. “Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Task Force has surveyed 911 of its component coral reefs by air and found at least some bleaching on 93 per cent of them. The amount of damage varies from severe to light, but the bleaching was the worst in the reef’s remote northern sector — where virtually no reefs escaped it.”

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The rehabilitation of fascism in Ukraine

by Theo Russell

Part one of a two-part article.

THE modern rehabilitation of fascism in Ukraine began after Viktor Yushchenko took power after the 2004—5 ‘Orange Revolution’, with support and funding from the US and European Union (EU). This was one of a series of ‘colour revolutions’ in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, in which ‘pro-democracy’ groups were funded by western NGOs, iincluding George Soros’ Demos Foundation.

In 2010 Yushchenko posthumously awarded the title “Hero of Ukraine” to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, the leaders of the main faction of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists B (OUN-B) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

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