National News

John MacLean commemorated in Glasgow

MEMBERS and supporters of the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement took part in a commemoration of the life of John MacLean on Saturday 24th November in Glasgow.

The graveside oration was given by Alan Stewart, who told the assembly: “I welcome you to this John MacLean commemoration. John MacLean is talked of as Scotland’s favourite Socialist Saint.

“But why is he so important? Why did we commemorate him? Why do we remember him?

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Steep rise in homelessness

CUTS TO housing benefits are causing a steep rise in young people and families with children losing their homes and becoming officially homeless, according to a report from the charity Crisis, published last Tuesday.

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Scots march against racism and fascism

THE SCOTTISH TUC issued a powerful call for an end to complacency in the face of rising hate crime from its annual St Andrew’s Day rally against racism and fascism on Saturday 24th November.

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Cameron passes the buck on Leveson

PRIME Minister David Cameron last week summoned the editors of all the major newspapers and charged them with the task of drawing up proposals for a new, voluntary, regulatory body to oversee the ethics of newspaper reporting.

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Hospitals at bursting point

NHS HOSPITALS in Britain are full and having to turn away new admissions, according to the monitoring agency “Dr Foster”.

This creates a potentially dangerous environment for patients. Hospitals should run at around 85 per cent capacity to allow for surges in emergency admissions, which are common in midwinter.

Official figures show most hospitals operating at about this capacity but Dr Foster’s analysis says the figures are skewed by taking into account quiet periods.

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New debt trap for benefit claimants

THE DEPARTMENT of Work and Pensions is preparing new “financial products” to “assist” claimants who struggle to manage when the Universal Credit system is introduced next year.

New private agencies will “help” claimants to budget as the system goes over to monthly payments. For the first year this “service” will be free but after that claimants will be expected to pay for it.

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Remploy workers on workfare

NEW BENEFIT rules came into force last week that will compel unemployed workers with disabilities — including workers made redundant by closing Remploy factories — will be obliged to work for no wages or lose their benefits. Union leaders have described it as slavery.

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International News

Egypt: protest outside presidential palace

by Ed Newman

EGYPT’S opposition staged mass protests on Tuesday against the Islamist-led government's drive to hold a referendum on a new constitution after sweeping aside judicial obstacles.

Riot police gathered around the presidential palace after activists announced they would march on the building in a "last warning" to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist narrowly elected by popular vote in June.

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Georgia: the heavy burden of independence

by Nikita Sorokin

LAST WEEKEND saw a tentative exchange of views between Moscow and Tbilisi on the prospects of Russian- Georgian relations.

Georgia is obviously expecting Russia to take some steps to restore bilateral trade and economic ties. But Moscow does not see any reason why it should make goodwill gestures towards Tbilisi.

True, Georgia now has a new government and a new parliament, but they belong to the same ruling elites.

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Bangladesh fire kills 120 workers

by Kathy Durkin

WHAT’S the Walmart connection?

What is the value of workers’ lives under global capitalism? Once again, Bangladeshi garment workers have been sacrificed on the altar of capitalist profits.

A blazing inferno swept the Tazrin Fashion plant in Ashulia Savar, outside Dhaka, the capital, on 24th November, in possibly the country’s worst industrial fire. Local media reported that at least 120 died, mostly women.

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Pentagon to create new army of spies

THE UNITED States Defence Department plans to increase the number of American spies abroad by 1,600.

According to the Washington Post, this newly established network of agents will not yield to the one that the CIA presently has and these new measures are designed to improve the data collection in combat zones.

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The Paper Trail to Murder

Part one

by Neil Harris

THE BIGGEST empires, the most warlike imperialist powers, all have a lot of administration to deal with; there are wages to pay and pensions to calculate. The more powerful the imperialism the more complex it gets and America’s is the most complicated of all. Mass murder leaves a paper trail of invoices and receipts.

Diplomats have a lifestyle to maintain and there is, after all, a big difference between postings to Kabul and Paris. Over the years this has led to many arguments over the cost of accommodation, schooling and relocations as well as danger rates in war zones. The US State Department even has an Office of Allowances to deal with the paperwork.

The New Worker has tracked down a table of these allowances but, of course, if we were just following the activities of diplomats, this would make pretty dull reading. However this expertise determines the payments for all US personnel posted abroad and the State Department also provides diplomatic cover to others who stand in the shadows: agencies that are unwilling to advertise their activities and want their people to have diplomatic immunity when things go wrong.

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