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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

Union Learn scrapped

ON TUESDAY Education Minister Gavin Williamson confirmed, after press speculation, that the Union Learning Fund (ULF) will be scrapped next March. Union Learn is managed by the TUC and supports 250,000 students a year. It offers hundreds of lifelong learning courses on a whole range of subjects to thousands of workers, union members and non-members alike. It has been in existence for over 20 years and currently receives £11 million a year in government funding.

Kevin Rowan, the head of organisation, services and skills at the TUC, said that the news of the cut “has come completely out of the blue and is, in my view, completely unjustifiable”.

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The thin red line

by New Worker correspondent

ONE OF catering company Compass Group’s subsidiaries, Eurest Support Services (ESS) has been condemned as Britain’s most “heartless employer” for the manner in which it has been treating staff working on Ministry of Defence bases. They have been forced to sign new contracts making them hundreds of pounds worse off with the alternative of immediately losing their jobs.

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Rubbing workers’ noses in it

by New Worker correspondent

LOSING your job is bad enough at the best of times. These days it is increasingly common for the news to be transmitted by email or text messages rather than the boss calling people into their office with a box of paper hankies ready on the desk. When the delays to the latest James Bond film resulted in the moth-balling of the entire 127 strong Cineworld and Picturehouse chain the workers only discovered the news from the social media (but at least the bosses apologised for that).

The staff, however, left feeling even sourer when shortly before the announcement they were invited to purchase surplus stocks of near sell-by date Pick N Mix sweets – a sure sign that the closure had been planned well in advance.

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A house divided

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE Scottish National Party’s internal war between the present and former First Ministers is getting increasingly complex with some ill-wishers saying that Ms Sturgeon and her husband, Peter Murrell, should resign their respective posts of Leader and Chief Executive of the SNP.

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by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Move evidence that the SNP civil war is getting nastier comes in the aftermath of the Margaret Ferrier affair when she gave her side of the story to the Scottish Sun, on the advice of the Salmond camp which saw the interview as a means of discrediting the incumbent leadership. This refutes the official view of how the SNP handled the affair.

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Call to lift secrecy over lockdown advice

by Svetlana Ekimenko

SENIOR MPs and scientists are rallying behind demands that advice issued to ministers by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), set up earlier this year to deal with the country’s coronavirus response, be made public, writes the Telegraph. The Centre’s advice to ministers is said to be governing moves to enforce the recent controversial local lockdowns.

In May, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) seemed to have been side-lined, with an expanded JBC taking on a prominent role in co-ordinating the coronavirus response. Sitting hours of SAGE, led by the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, were dramatically reduced, ostensibly to “reduce the burden”.

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Call to safeguard Beatles landmarks in Liverpool


HERITAGE campaigners are calling for tourist landmarks in Liverpool linked to the world’s most famous band, the Beatles, to be better protected.

The London-based SAVE Britain’s Heritage campaign says fears are growing for a series of locations associated with the group in the city of their birthplace.

“The city’s Cavern Club, where the band played almost 300 times, has announced its closure until further notice, saying COVID-19 restrictions currently make opening impossible,” SAVE said last week.

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International News

Caucasus ceasefire after Moscow talks

by Daria Bedenko

AFTER 10 hours of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to end the fighting the unrecognised republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“A ceasefire has been announced, beginning 12:00 on 10th October, 2020, for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees, and bodies of the dead, to be mediated in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross the statement said. Both sides have agreed to start talks on the Karabakh conflict.

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Syrian rebels plan new poison gas provocation

by Morgan Artyukhina

ACCORDING to Russian military officials in Syria, Islamic terrorists in Idlib Governorate have delivered several barrels of chlorine to the White Helmets in preparation for a new provocation.

On Tuesday, Rear-Admiral Alexander Grinkevich, deputy head of the Russian Defence Ministry’s Centre for Syrian Reconciliation, reported in a daily briefing that the centre had evidence Islamist rebels in Idlib were preparing a new provocation using chlorine in Sfuhon, a village in southern Idlib Governorate.

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Black History Month

Remember Antietam!

An American Civil War battle contains lessons for today

by Chris Mahin

IT WAS the bloodiest single day of fighting ever to take place in North America. On that day, more than 2,000 men gave their lives to halt a slaveholders’ army. Within days of their sacrifice, the first step was taken to abolish slavery in the United States. The Civil War’s Battle of Antietam deserves to be commemorated by all those fighting to transform society today.

In a sense, the process of abolishing unjust property relations in this country began on 17th September 1862, on a battlefield near Antietam Creek in western Maryland. Twelve hours of hard fighting by brave soldiers that day gave the Union Army a victory of sorts. That gave Abraham Lincoln the political protection he needed to begin steps that would transform the Civil War from a defensive war to save the Union into a revolutionary war to abolish slavery.

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China’s immense achievements

by Dilip Barua

General Secretary, Communist Party of Bangladesh (ML)

THE Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded on 23rd July 1921, in Shanghai. The birth of the Chinese communist party has now given a message to the world community that the historical mission of the founding of the CPC has succeeded for humanity. Following the ceaseless struggles and sacrifices of the Chinese people, the New China stood up on the 1st October 1949, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China led by Comrade Mao Zedong.

History shows us that the CPC had a deep-rooted connection with the people, and the leaders were firm and committed to their causes and objectives. The party made some mistakes during the struggle but today’s leaders, having taken lessons from the mistakes of the past, have moved forward in a determined way.

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Barbados to ditch the Queen - Maybe New Zealand’s time as well?

by Kato Buissink

THE Caribbean island of Barbados, a British colony until 1966, officially plans to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state and become a republic by November 2021, on the 55th anniversary of its independence.

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New Korean War thriller from China

by Huang Lanlan

RENOWNED Chinese director Zhang Yimou is going to direct a film about the story of a Chinese sniper defeating American enemies in the Korean War, which is known in China as the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950–53).

The film will have high expectations from industry insiders and filmgoers, who suggest it could boost Chinese people’s courage and determination in response to the USA’s increasing aggression against China’s trade and tech companies today.

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