National News

Pensioners defend the triple lock

MEMBERS and supporters of the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) from all over Britain descended on the House of Commons in Westminster last Wednesday, 2nd November, to lobby their MPs to protect the “triple lock” on pensions.

This follows claims by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee that continuing with it was “unsustainable” and “unfair” on younger families. MPs said that the rising cost of the state pension — £98 billion in the last tax year — was now unsustainable.

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Tory Minister filibusters Bill for cheap cancer drugs

TORY MP Alistair Burt last week killed off a Bill that would have made vital anti-cancer drugs available to the NHS at low prices, once the original licences had run out, by deliberately talking in the House of Commons for so long that the Bill ran out of time.

Burt was described as “absolutely shameful” after filibustering for half an hour in order to block a new law that would have ensured that “patients can get hold of old — and therefore cheap — drugs which are shown to be effective in new ways, even if there is no financial incentive for a pharmaceutical company to take them through the licensing process.”

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Poor turnout for racists

LOW NUMBERS turning out for marches organised by the Islamophobic EDL and some of its splinters in Darlington and Telford last weekend showed up the current weaknesses in these groups.

The English Defence League (EDL), which once was able to mobilise three or four thousand followers for a march, was reduced to a pathetic rump again. No more than 90 racists joined their short “march”, in Telford last Saturday.

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Deeper in debt

HOUSEHOLD debts in Britain have now soared to a record £1.5 trillion according to figures released last week by the Money Charity. Debt is rising at the fastest rate since the credit crunch of 2008, according to the charity.

Adults in Britain owe an average of nearly £30,000 each — mostly in mortgages, but also in loans and credit cards — 83 per cent of the country’s annual economic output. Some 87 per cent of this debt is in the form of mortgages, secured by property.

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School strike in Durham

AROUND 100 primary schools in Durham closed for two days this week due to strike action by teaching assistants in a long-running dispute over their pay.

School support staff protested at dozens of picket lines, organised by their union Unison, across the county over the two days. On Wednesday morning the teaching assistants lobbied a meeting of the county council. The strike action follows a ballot over Durham County Council plans to move teaching assistants to term-time pay only.

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Charity shop sold Nazi clothing

A REGISTERED charity known as 1st Knight sold Islamophobic and Nazi-themed clothing according to a report from BBC undercover investigators.

The charity raises funds to provide respite breaks abroad for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It is registered with the Charity Commission and has signed the industry Code of Fundraising Practice.

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SNP Split

by our Scottish political correspondent

AN INTERNAL Scottish National Party (SNP) feud is presently causing gaiety in Scotland. Sacked former health minister Alex Neil, who is also Airdrie-and-Shotts Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) has confessed to a mortal sin. He admits to voting Leave in the recent European referendum and has compounded his terrible crime by stating that other MSPs voted the same way.

Former Deputy Leader Jim Sillars, who was unique in being the only leading nationalist to openly question the leadership’s devotion to Brussels, has now claimed that as many as six Nationalist MSPs secretly voted to leave the EU, adding that they would not be making their views known because life would become very difficult “if you go against the leadership”.

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Military Matters

by our Scottish political correspondent

THE SNP often complain about the British government spending too much money on military matters. So for a change on Monday they spent the day complaining about the Tory Government not spending enough money on military establishments.

The cause of their complaint was that Defence Minister Sir Michael Fallon announced the closure of 56 military bases, including eight in Scotland. On cue Brendan O’Hara, the SNP defence spokesperson at Westminster, said that Scotland’s defence facilities had been “hollowed out and sold out” because of the British government’s “obsession” with nuclear weapons.

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Charity Begins in the Boardroom

by our Scottish political correspondent

THE ELITE of Scotland’s charitable sector are licking their lips at the prospect of taking over the reins of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

An opening has emerged with the departure of Chief Executive Stuart Earley after a nine-year reign following controversy over his basic salary which had been boosted to £190,000 a few weeks earlier.

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RAF out of Korea!

by New Worker correspondent

NEW COMMUNIST Party leader Andy Brooks and other comrades joined demonstrators outside the Ministry of Defence in London last week to protest at the deployment of the RAF in south Korea. The picket, opposite Downing Street, was called by the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) to protest against the participation of British armed forces in war exercises currently taking place in south Korea.

KFA Chair Dermot Hudson said: “We are shocked and outraged by the decision of the British government to send four Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets, Voyager tanker aircraft and C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to take part in the so-called ‘Invincible Shield’ military exercises of the US imperialists and south Korean puppets against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Korean solidarity in Dublin

by New Worker correspondent

FOUR MEMBERS of the British Korean Friendship Association (KFA) went to Ireland to attend the 16th KFA International Meeting in Dublin last weekend. The meeting, at the Teachers Club in Parnell Square, was attended by KFA officials and delegates from Europe and the United States.

Andreas Engstrom, the head of KFA Ireland, opened the conference and pointed out that as both Ireland and Korea had been victims of imperialism it was highly significant that that this KFA International Meeting was being held here in Ireland.

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Action in Bath for peace

by New Worker correspondent

PEACE campaigners were out last weekend for their regular vigil outside the doors of Bath Abbey in the centre of the Somerset city known for its ancient Roman baths, impeGeorgian buildings and formidable rugby team.

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International News

Ortega wins third term in Nicaraguan elections

by Pavel Jacomino

NICARAGUA’S incumbent President, Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, the FSLN, won a third consecutive term in Sunday’s election.

The president of the Supreme Electoral Council, Roberto Rivas, said on Sunday that Daniel Ortega had an irreversible lead of more than 72 per cent with two-thirds of votes counted. Ortega, who ran with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his vice presidential candidate, faced five other lesser-known candidates in the election.

Rivas said 65 per cent of Nicaragua’s 3.8 million registered voters participated in the election. The opposition, which had urged people to boycott the election, disputed that, contending that turnout was low.

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Clashes during Athens protest against cuts

Radio Havana

GREEK riot police and students fought pitched battles in the capital, Athens, during protests against government plans to cut funding for education. Police fired tear gas to disperse students who threw petrol bombs and rocks on Monday. The protesters also set fire to garbage bins, closing a central Athens avenue to motorists for hours.

Authorities said that about 1,000 protesters took part in the demonstration, which was joined by teachers dissatisfied with education cuts as part of the EU-imposed austerity programme. The cutbacks have seen classroom hours reduced and fewer teachers hired despite a shortage of “teaching gaps” at schools.

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Iraqi Kurds ask for Russian aid


FALAH BAKIR, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (in Iraq) Department of Foreign Relations, has asked for military and humanitarian aid while meeting with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

“We asked for humanitarian aid to render support to refugees that have come to Iraqi Kurdistan from other regions of the country as well as from Syria,” Bakir said. The situation in the Kurdish area of Iraq has reached its critical point. Have they appealed to others or is it just Russia?

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Communist youth in Lugansk today

October 29th was the 98th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Young Communist League, or Komsomol. To mark the occasion, Anna Brekhova (AB), leader of the Lugansk Komsomol, spoke about their work today in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). Along with Donetsk, Lugansk broke away from Ukraine after the US-backed coup in Kiev in 2014. The Ukrainian government has waged war and imposed an economic blockade against them ever since.

Anna, for many people the word “Komsomol” is associated with Soviet youth. But no matter how bright the memories of that time are, it’s gone. No Soviet Union, no Komsomol. Or is there?

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The free press — hurrah!

by Rob Gowland

THE PUBLICISTS employed by capitalism are fond of trumpeting the virtues of a “free press” that capitalist countries supposedly enjoy. Journalists employed by capitalist media, however, know that their much vaunted freedom depends on the goodwill of media proprietors, the political tolerance of advertisers (who control the purse strings) and just what the capitalist state will let them get away with.

The capitalist country that makes the biggest song and dance about having a “free press” is, predictably, the United States (US). Yes, I know it’s ludicrous, but they have been brainwashed on this for so long that they actually accept the idea that privately-owned media are somehow “free” whereas publicly-owned media are not!

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Suez Crisis: Ten rules that shook the world order

by Nikolai Gorshkov

SIXTY YEARS ago Britain and France colluded with Israel in invading Egypt to reclaim the Suez Canal, nationalised by Egypt. The adventure finished Britain and France as global powers and cleared the way for a new player — the United States (US).

But the rules of the game remain the same. It’s become an oft-repeated mantra by politicians in the West that they have built a rules-based international order that is under attack and needs protecting. One of the biggest building blocks was put into this western “rules-based” international order exactly 60 years ago by Britain and France, with a little bit of help from US and Israel. So what are those “rules” now applied to Syria and those who support her?

Rule 1: Confuse Public Opinion

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