National News

British troops to be exempt from human rights laws

DEFENCE Secretary Michael Fallon last Monday told the Tory party conference in Birmingham that the Government is to make British troops serving abroad exempt from human rights legislation.

This follows a number of court claims against serving British troops in various engagements abroad, but particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fallon describes these as “vexatious”. A series of court judgements has extended the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to the battlefield.

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PCS recruits Concentrix staff

CONCENTRIX, the United States-based company hired by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check on tax credit claimants, last month lost its contract after making errors that left thousands of desperate low-paid workers destitute. The company has now decided to make redundant one third of the workforce at its Belfast office and call centre — laying off 150 staff.

The workers were told this week that their short-term contracts were to end immediately, following the decision by HMRC not to renew the firm’s £75 million contract from next year.

The civil service union PCS called for the work to be brought back in-house and for Concentrix staff to be transferred across if they wish, and PCS is busy recruiting them to the union.

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Good news for Bromley libraries

THE LONDON borough of Bromley council has been dealt a double blow to its plans to sell-off the borough’s treasured libraries.

Bexley council has informed Bromley council that it will no longer be looking to privatise its libraries in the joint tendering process with Bromley and will instead “take the library forward through continued in-house management.”

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250,000 more children in poverty

THE NUMBER of children living in poverty has soared by 250,000 under the Tory government, according to figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) last week.

The figures show that the number of children in low-income families rose from 2.5 million to 2.75 million between 2013 and 2014. It means the overall proportion of children in struggling households has now hit 20 per cent.

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Young workers in poverty

THE GMB general union last week commented on a new Government report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showing workers in their early 30s are likely to be £10,000 per year worse off than those over 34.

Craig Dawson, GMB youth representative, said: “What the Institution for Fiscal Studies report shows is that young workers have not just borne the brunt of the most recent financial crisis but have seen deterioration in their income and wealth over the last 30 years.

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NHS needs £280 million injection to pay minimum wages

THE GOVERNMENT will need to inject £280 million into the NHS by the end of the decade, or ministers will find themselves in breach of their own minimum wage laws, according to unions representing health service employees in the Britain.

In their annual submission to the NHS pay review body, delivered last Friday, the unions say that because the pay of health workers has failed to keep pace with inflation, within five years the lowest paid employees will be earning less than the minimum wage.

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Warehouse Woes

by our Scottish political correspondent

ON Saturday trade unionists from the Unite, Unison and GMB unions picketed the huge Amazon distribution centre at Dunfermline in Fife as part of their campaign for better working conditions.

Fife People’s Assembly secretary Tam Kirby claimed that “Dickensian work practices” were the norm at the online retailer’s warehouse, which resulted in a high turnover of staff.

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Thomas de Stoomlocomotief

by our Scottish political correspondent

THE SNP Government is helping to invest millions towards improving nationalised railway services. This would be a good thing because statistics published in August show that 24 of 75 services were more often late than on time, at some stations 90 per cent of trains arrive late.

The only problem is the commuters on the overcrowded, dirty and delayed 07.45 into Glasgow Central are not going to see any benefit from this investment. Instead commuters on the Amsterdam to Utrecht train might find their journeys made more agreeable.

Abellio — the Dutch national railway company secured the franchise last year — has been caught out boasting that it is squeezing Scottish services for the benefit of its Dutch services. Documents discovered by the Daily Record show that Abellio’s parent company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), is making £1 million per month profit.

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Down with the Kiev puppet regime!

by New Worker correspondent

PICKETERS returned to Whitehall last week to protest against British imperialism’s continuing support for the fascist, puppet regime in Ukraine, which includes Nazis and has outlawed left-wing movements including the Ukrainian communist party and the Marxist Borotba movement. The picketers attracted a lot of attention from home-bound early evening commuters and tourists walking to Trafalgar Square, and hundreds of leaflets were given out.

London comrades, including NCP leader Andy Brooks, took part in the picket near the Ministry of Defence building opposite Downing Street in Whitehall on Thursday 29th September called by the New Communist Party with the support of the Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine (SARU) movement and Socialist Fight.

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Farewell to a good friend!

by New Worker correspondent

KOREA solidarity activists met last weekend to hear an eye-witness report from Democratic Korea (DPRK) and to say goodbye to the DPRK ambassador who is returning home in the next few weeks.

The meeting, at the Korean Friendship Association’s (KFA’s) regular venue at the Chadswell Centre in central London, heard a number of comrades commemorating the 71st anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), the 90th anniversary of the Down with Imperialism Union and the successful nuclear test of the DPRK.

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Peace for Yellow River in London

by New Worker correspondent

MUSIC lovers heard a selection of classic Chinese music to mark China’s national day in London last weekend. The Chopsticks choral choir performed the Yellow River Cantata along with other classical Chinese pieces at a concert at the Cadogan Hall last Saturday.

This will be only the second performance of the Yellow River Cantata in London. But every choir in China knows this flagship work and everyone in China knows at least one of the tunes.

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International News

Colombians vote down Peace Accord


THE Colombian referendum on whether to move forward with the peace accord reached between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) has been rejected by voters. The “No” vote won by a half of one percentage point, meaning the peace accord was not ratified by the Colombian population.

The “No” won by a narrow margin, with 50.21 per cent to 49.78 per cent for the “Yes” vote. The “No” had 6,431,376 votes to 6,377,482 votes for the “Yes.”

Voter turnout was very low, under 40 per cent, with only 13 million of the 35 million eligible voters making it to the polls.

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New Russian missile system in Syria


Syria has received the state-of-the-art S300V4 super-long-range missile system from Russia. The system is capable of intercepting cruise missiles. The missiles were delivered to the Russian naval base in Tartous last weekend.

This is the first time that the SC-300V4 batteries have been deployed outside Russia.

Analysts believe that the deployment of the S-300V4 in Syria may mean that Russia is making efforts to defend itself against potential attacks from the United States and its allies, because ISIS and Jabhat en-Nusra don’t have any aircraft or cruise missiles to intercept.

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Remember Moscow’s Black October 1993!

by Greg Butterfield

THE 3rd October marks the anniversary of the heroic 1993 uprising against Boris Yeltsin’s imperialist-backed attack on the Supreme Soviet in Moscow. The uprising’s defeat represented the final overturn of socialist relations and the restoration of capitalism in Russia and the USSR.

Several years of counter-revolutionary developments within and without had seriously demoralised the Soviet working class. Generations of non-combative, revisionist leadership left the Soviet people unprepared to fight back to defend socialism.

Yet for several weeks in September 1993, as the crisis deepened, demonstrations had been growing in defence of the Supreme Soviet and for the restoration of the USSR in accord with the referendum of 17th May 1991, when 70 per cent of Soviet voters supported the continuation of the Union, which was later dissolved illegally by Yeltsin & Co in December 1991.

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Americans hit UN Convoy as a diversion


THE CIA is behind the targeting of the United Nations (UN) humanitarian convoy near Aleppo — Syria’s Defence Ministry believes the recent attack on the UN humanitarian convoy near the city of Aleppo was planned by the United States to divert attention from the deadly strike on Syrian forces by the US-led coalition’s aircraft, its press office told the media last week.

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US court protects ‘School of the Assassins’

THE WESTERN Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), is an American camp set up in 1946 for “anti-communist counterinsurgency training”. Since then the school has provided counter-insurgency training for a number of Latin American dictators and death squad members.

A US court has now sided with the Pentagon ruling that it does not have to release publicly the names of attendees from the training school.

The infamous military school was a training ground for dictators, death squad members and torturers, fuelling human rights abuses and coups across Latin America, earning it the moniker “the School of the Assassins.”

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US Trotskyism: Behind the Socialist Masquerade

by Zoltan Zigedy

ASHLEY SMITH recently wrote an essay, Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution, ostensibly about Syria and imperialism but more properly understood as a rekindling and re-statement of anti-Communist “leftism”.

Smith, an ideologue of the International Socialist Organisation, unveils his true target when he inveighs against the “Stalinists”: “Stalinist groups like the Workers World Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization...”

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