The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 23rd December 2016

National News

Sheffield City defies NHS cuts plan

THE CITY of Sheffield Council last week voted to refuse to sign off the Government’s new Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

Called “Secret Theft Plans” or “Slash Trash and Plunder” by campaigners, STPs are the biggest attack on the NHS that the public — and most NHS staff — have never heard of. They aim to strip around £25.5 billion spending out of the NHS that would be needed to maintain the current level of provision up to 2020/21.

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Penguin Random House de-recognises NUJ

THE GIANT publishing company Penguin Random House, which published big sellers like The Girl on the Train, Fifty Shades of Grey and Jamie Oliver’s cookery books, has terminated its collective agreement with unions after talks aimed at protecting staff redundancy terms broke down.

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High Court sanctions fracking in North Yorkshire

A HIGH Court last Tuesday ruled that North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allow fracking to go ahead to extract shale gas at the village of Kirby Misperton in Ryedale was lawful.

This is a defeat for environmentalists from Friends of the Earth who brought the case, claiming that the county council had failed to consider properly the environmental impact of burning gas when it approved the fracking this year.

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Gangmasters settle to pay over £1 million

A PAIR of gangmasters from Kent last week agreed to pay more than £1 million plus legal costs in compensation to settle out of court after facing charges of modern slavery.

Jaqueline Judge and Darrell Houghton were charged in the High Court with paying Lithuanian employees less than the minimum wage and failing to provide adequate facilities.

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DWP staff told to focus on sanctions

STAFF working for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in Scotland have been told to focus on sanctions over the busy Christmas period rather than processing benefit appeals.

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Too many suicides

THE PARLIAMENTARY Health Select Committee last week issued a report saying that the number of people taking their own lives in England is unacceptably high.

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Schools funding faces £3 billion cut

THE GOVERNMENT is planning a new £3 billion cut in funding to schools in real terms, according to the National Audit Office (NAO), and is calling on schools to “use their staff more efficiently”.

The NAO report into the financial sustainability of schools has warned that mainstream schools will need to reduce spending by an average of eight per cent per pupil by 2019—2020 — a difference education leaders say is the biggest real-terms cut in a generation.

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International News

Americans march in solidarity with migrants

by Pavel Jacomino

THOUSANDS staged protests in cities across the United States on Sunday to express their solidarity with migrants on the occasion of International Migrants Day.

In Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and Denver, protesters reflecting various nationalities and social movements rallied in support of the large immigrant population in the country that Donald Trump has attacked and denigrated. In an interview with 60 Minutes last month, Trump pledged to deport approximately 2—3 million undocumented immigrants after taking office on 20th January.

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You can’t kill ambassadors

by Andrei Sokolov

THE BRUTAL killing of Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, in Ankara was committed the day when Russian President Putin was going to see Woe from Wit, the famous play by Alexander Griboyedov, at the Maly Theatre in Moscow.

Griboyedov was a writer, musician and diplomat of the highest rank, who was killed in Persia [Iran]. It happened on 30th January when Islamic fanatics attacked the Russian Embassy in Tehran, where ambassador Griboyedov was hiding several Armenians to save them from slaughter.

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Secret Files: The untold story of CIA covert operations in Tibet


THE PUBLICATION of the United States (US) secret intelligence documents on the CIA covert operations in Tibet back in 1998 came like a clap of thunder in a clear sky. The declassified memoranda shed light on Washington’s interference on China’s domestic affairs since the later 1950s and the Dalai Lama’s cooperation with the CIA.

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Strong commitment to golden China-Britain ties remains unchanged

by Gui Tao

While an array of Brexit uncertainties loom in Britain’s political landscape, one thing remaining as a certainty is confidence in and mutual commitment to a “golden era” of post-Brexit relations with China.

The 8th China-UK Strategic Dialogue on Tuesday is expected to be an extension of the commitment by Beijing and London at the high government level to ensure their relations are genuinely golden.

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Chinese Culture at the Southbank

by Bai Tianxing

LONDON’S Southbank Centre is hosting a new international festival inspired by the creativity and innovation of contemporary China. The China Changing festival was launched last Friday with a day of music, dance, theatre, film, comedy, and talks.

China Changing showcases the most interesting artistic work and contemporary thought from across China. In addition to welcoming international artists, the festival takes the lead in raising the profile of British-based Chinese and British-Southeast Asian artists.

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Assad speaks

Syrian President Bashar al Assad was interviewed by Portugal’s RTP TV last week.

Mr President, let’s start with Aleppo if you don’t mind. There are still thousands of civilians trapped, trying to survive in a sort of sub-human conditions in the middle of a deluge of bombs. Why do you think that they refused to get out?

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