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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

Sick Pay is Sick

by New Worker correspondents

The same day, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), an association for personnel managers, announced that Britain’s Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) system “is broken and needs urgent reform”.

It also reported on a survey of 1,000 employers, which perhaps surprisingly found that nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) thought that SSP is too low and should be increased. At present it is £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks, a low figure compared with most other European countries.

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Poverty Makes You Sad

by New Worker correspondents

To complete the trinity, a team of University of Bristol academics published a report with the suitably Dickensian title of Bleak expectations. This warned that the vast majority of the 3.4 million household on Universal Credit (UC) are in deep financial trouble and that it will be getting worse.

Readers will doubtless be shocked to learn that life on benefits is no picnic. They observe that for every household that saw its financial situation improve since the start of the pandemic, a surprisingly high 21 per cent, for another 38 per cent their financial situation got a little or a lot worse.

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Underserved Pat on the Back

by New Worker correspondents

Earlier the Government gave itself a pat on the back by proudly announcing it was exposing over 208 employers for not paying staff the minimum wage to about 12,000, a figure which is surely the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

They were ordered to repay workers £1.2 million and face penalties of nearly £2 million, according to Business Minister Paul Scully who piously announced that: “We want workers to know that we’re on their side and they must be treated fairly by their employers, which is why paying the legal minimum wage should be non-negotiable for businesses.” It was not recorded how long his nose grew after making that statement.

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Direct Action

by New Worker correspondent

RATHER than wait for favours from rich do-gooders, restaurant workers at Harrods, the posh department store, have won a huge pay rise of almost 25 per cent for the hundreds of waiting and kitchen staff at the Knightsbridge venue on whom the rich depend for their lunches when they need a break from a hard day choosing chandeliers.

They took the old-fashioned route of threatening to strike at the busiest time of the year. Their union, United Voices of the World (UVW), has raised basic wages from £9.00 an hour to £11.50 per hour, with chefs earning upwards of £12.50, comfortably above the London Living Wage of £11.05.

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That Was the Year That Was

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Scottish politics in 2021 were naturally dominated by the belated Holyrood election and the continuing COVID‑19 crisis. For many, however, the highlight of the year was the continuing warfare between the incumbent and former First Ministers, which took place in throughout the year and is plainly not finished yet as we await Salmond’s long-promised book on the subject.

Alex Salmond was found not guilty in early 2020 of 13 charges of sexual offences by convincing a High Court jury that his admitted actions were simply “high jinks”.

He later explicitly accused his successor Nicola Sturgeon, the Head of the Civil Service in Scotland and ‘Mr Sturgeon’, the CEO of the SNP, of organising a plot to destroy him and put him behind bars by organising the complaints against him. He had previously collected £500,000 legal fees as a result of the Government’s botched investigation.

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Hundreds queue for Banksy Bristol protest T-shirts

by Sofia Chegodaeva

SCORES of people queued up in Bristol on Saturday to buy T-shirts designed by Banksy in support of the four people charged with pulling down a statue of a slave trader in Bristol during a Black Lives Matter protest in June last year.

Four people are facing trial for pulling down a statue of the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston last year. But earlier the secretive British artist announced that he had designed a souvenir T-shirt in support of Jake Skuse, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford and Sage Willoughby, who are facing trial next week for pulling down a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston during a BLM protest and throwing it into Bristol Harbour in June 2020. All of them deny criminal damage. This week queues grew outside an outlet in Bristol to buy the T-shirts – with people only allowed to buy one each. They are priced at £25 for kids and £30 for adults.

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The last gig of the ‘red’ Punk Rocker

by Andrija Filipović

THOMAS “MENSI” MENSFORTH, the singer and frontman of the famous British Punk Rock band Angelic Upstarts, died after a losing battle with Covid on Friday 10th December at the age of 65.

Back in 1977, Mensi, a former miner from South Shields, with his friends Ray Cowie (Mond) on guitar, Steve Forsten on bass guitar and Derek “Decca” Wade on drums, founded the Angelic Upstarts. They released 12 studio albums from 1979–2015 and their frontman was the only original member of the band left standing.

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International News

A day of reflection

by Guillermo Alvarado

FRIDAY 10th December was World Human Rights Day, an appropriate day to remember the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people deprived of their fundamental guarantees, forced to live far below the threshold of decency and dignity.

Much can be written and spoken about the subject but, as always, examples are more graphic than theories and I am going to refer to two cases, not by chance involving the world’s leading power, the USA, of unpleasant memories for many peoples of the planet.

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Nicaragua cuts ties with Taiwan

by Morgan Artyukhina

NICARAGUA is ending its policy of recognising Taiwan, which calls itself the “Republic of China”, and will now solely recognise the People’s Republic of China in Beijing as the representative of all of China.

“The government of the Republic of Nicaragua declares that it recognises there is only one China existing in the world,” Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said last week.

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Cuba remembers the heroes who died in Africa

by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

LAST WEEK Cubans remembered the return to the homeland of the remains of more than two thousand combatants who fell in internationalist missions in Africa, known as Operation Tribute.

The mausoleum to General Antonio Maceo in El Cacahual hosted the symbolic ceremony on 7th December, in front of the remains of 16 internationalist combatants from all provinces and the special municipality of Isle of Youth.

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Dirty tricks behind US Olympic boycott

by Guo Yage

WASHINGTON’S announcement of a so-called “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in the name of protecting human rights in Xinjiang is another example of the USA’s lying diplomacy.

Whenever the White House feels the need to sugar-coat its geopolitical intentions, it resorts to distortion and fabrication. Think of the faked videos about Syria by US-funded White Helmets, or the small vial of “washing powder” that the Americans claimed was evidence of weapons of mass destruction to pave their way to invading Iraq.

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Bishop chastised for saying Santa’s not real

by Ed Newman

THE CATHOLIC Church has apologised to parents after a bishop in Sicily told a congregation packed with children that “Santa Claus does not exist” and that the Coca-Cola company invented the modern Father Christmas.

“First of all, in the name of the bishop, I express my regret for this declaration which has generated disappointment in the smallest children,” said Don Alessandro Paolino of the Diocese of Noto.

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Assange: A travesty of justice

by Ekaterina Blinova

THE USA has won an appeal in London’s High Court to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange extradited on spying charges. In January, district judge Vanessa Baraitser had ruled against extraditing Assange to the USA, but the US Department of Justice appealed against her decision to the High Court.

On Human Rights Day, a British court has ruled that Julian Assange can be extradited to the USA where he might face a decades-long prison term. The ruling indicates that the USA and UK are just paying lip service to human rights and democratic principles, says retired UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order Alfred-Maurice de Zayas.

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Israel’s ‘sick society’

by Ramzy Baroud

FOR WHATEVER reason, some mistakenly perceive the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (The Land) as liberal, progressive and even ‘pro-Palestinian’. None of this is true of course. This misconstrued depiction of an essentially Zionist and anti-Palestinian newspaper tells of a much bigger story of how confusing Israeli politics is, and how equally confused many of us are in understanding the Israeli political discourse.

On 28th November newly elected Israeli President Isaac Herzog stormed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) with hundreds of soldiers and many illegal Jewish settlers, including the Who’s Who of Israel’s extremists.

The scene was reminiscent of a similar occurrence where late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had stormed, along with thousands of soldiers and police officers, the Haram Sharif Compound in occupied East Jerusalem in September 2000. It was this particular event that unleashed the second Palestinian uprising, Intifada (2000–05), which led to the killing of thousands.

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Rohingyas: An historic decision

by Guillermo Alvarado

ARGENTINA’S federal justice system has taken an historic step by accepting a lawsuit to punish, under the principle of universal prosecution of crimes against humanity, the perpetrators of the genocide against the Rohingya community, perpetrated in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The Rohingya community, four per cent of Myanmar’s population, is the subject of an ongoing hate campaign.

This ethnic group is considered by the United Nations as the most persecuted in the world, but also suffers from generalised oblivion and silence because the international community ignores all the atrocities of which its members are victims.

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