National News

Tagging scheme ‘sets children up to fail’

CHILDREN who have been in trouble with the law are being made to wear electronic tags, given curfews and then sent back to prison because of failures in the system that is meant to support them, according to a report released last week by the Howard League for prison reform.

Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform shows how almost 1,000 children were put under “intensive supervision and surveillance” (ISS) last year after being released from prison at the midpoint of a Detention and Training Order (DTO).

Authorities claim that the measure is intended help change lives but the reality is that ISS conditions can be so lengthy and onerous that children find it almost impossible to comply.

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Trespass laws changed to aid fracking

THE GOVERNMENT has ignored nearly 50,000 responses to its own consultation and decided to go ahead with changes to trespass laws that will enable fracking companies access to carry out their dangerous methods of extracting gas and oil under land regardless of the wishes of the owner(s) of that land.

The Government fear that the current ability for people to block shale gas development under their property would lead to significant delays and that the legal process by which companies can force fracking plans through was costly, time-consuming and disproportionate.

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Doncaster anti-fascists march against UKIP

AROUND 1,000 anti-fascists, organised by the Stand Up to UKIP movement, last Saturday marched through the streets of Doncaster to protest at the presence of the extreme right-wing and xenophobic United Kingdom Independence Party annual conference there.

Roads were closed during the march, and South Yorkshire Police put on an extra 60 officers to police the march.

Stand Up to UKIP is an umbrella organisation which believes women, trade unions, anti-racists, black, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, other faith communities, LGBT, young people, students and all good people, must unite and stand up to UKIP.

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Midwives vote for strike

MIDWIVES and maternity support workers in England who are members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) last week voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay. This will be the first strike in the 133- year history of RCM.

In the ballot midwives and MSWs also voted yes to action short of a strike. Industrial action will start on the morning of Monday, 13th October with a four-hour stoppage. The RCM members will join Unite and Unison members in taking action on 13th October.

PCS members working in the civil service are taking action on 14th October while other public sector unions with members in local government are expected to strike on 14th October 14th.

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Homeless mothers occupy empty council home

A GROUP of single young mothers, who used to live together in a hostel in Stratford, east London, until the local authority evicted them so it could sell the land for luxury housing development, have occupied nearby empty council homes on an estate earmarked for demolition.

Support for this group, E15focus, in their fight against being forced to move out of the area — possibly hundreds of miles away to find homes they could afford to live in — is growing throughout the capital.

The action on Stratford’s Carpenters Estate marked the anniversary of the local campaign group E15Focus Mothers being set-up to fight for the right to stay in the borough after Newham Council proposed housing the group of single mums outside of London.

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Glasgow activists close drone maker

MEMBERS of the Glasgow Palestine Action Network last Tuesday succeeded in blockading the entrance to the Thales drone-making factory in Glasgow.

Ten activists were arrested after shutting down the Thales to protest at the company’s relationship with the Israeli military.

It was the first direct action by the Glasgow Palestine Action Network (GPAN), a newly formed group led by women, queer and trans activists with a history of supporting the Palestinian struggle.

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EDL thugs in ‘grotesque violence’

SIX MEMBERS of the Islamophobic English Defence League were found guilty last week at Warwick Crown Court of “grotesque violence” as they tried to get into a pub on their way back from a rally.

The clash between EDL supporters from Rugeley and Tamworth and drinkers at the pub in Nuneaton led to the six men being sentenced for their parts in the disorder.

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Celebrating the First International

by New Worker correspondent

LEFT-WING activists from a wide range of different groups came to the Rivoli Ballroom in Crofton Park, south London on Sunday afternoon to mark the 150th anniversary of the First International.

The International Working Men’s Association was founded on 28th September 1864 at St Martin’s Hall, Long Acre in central London. Among those attending was Karl Marx. He was one of many European revolutionaries of many shades in exile in London after the failure of the 1848 uprisings throughout the continent.

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International News

Illegal assembly in Hong Kong leads to clashes

by Kahon Chan in Hong Kong

THE OCCUPY Central protest spun out of control in Hong Kong on Sunday as the local government appealed to organisers to end the gathering in the interest of the city and the safety of participants.

“The HKSAR government is resolute in opposing the unlawful occupation actions by Occupy Central. The police shall continue to handle the situation in accordance with the law,” Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said at a news conference.

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Russia demands probe into Donetsk mass graves

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW will demand an independent international investigation to establish facts about mass graves recently discovered in eastern Ukraine’s war-torn Donetsk region, a senior Russian diplomat said last Friday.

“We will insist on a serious investigation, preferably independent and preferably international. Facts must be established, and these facts must be made public and investigated,” Russia’s envoy to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said.

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Education in Cuba

by Juan Leandro

CUBAN education was nationalised in 1959 at a time when fewer than half the children had access to education. Today the island has the highest literacy rate in the world. This privilege comes at a cost of loyalty to the state and an obligation to do community service and for males, military service. In other words, the Cuban educational ethos is built on giving back.

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Margaret Thatcher Square opens to makeovers in Madrid

by John Hedges

MADRID’S new Margaret Thatcher Square has been getting unofficial makeovers since its opening last week.

Within hours of the official opening, supporters of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign plastered the “Plaza Margaret Thatcher” signage with “Don’t Buy The Sun stickers in protest at the Sun’s support for Thatcher and the paper’s demonisation of the 96 Liverpool soccer fans who lost their lives in the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster.

After council officials rapidly sought to remove any trace of protests, unemployed Madrid youth moved in to “rename” the square “Plaza de la Juventud Exiliada” (“Square of the Exiled Youth”) in protest at the conservative Spanish Government’s austerity regime that has driven so many jobless young people to emigrate.

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Russian female cosmonaut arrives on ISS after 17 years


THE RUSSIAN spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14M successfully docked at the International Space Station on Friday 26th September. “The ship docked at the docking port of ‘Poisk’ module in an automatic mode. One of the solar panels did not open when required, although it did not prevent the docking. The panel opened several hours later,” the head of Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency Oleg Ostapenko told reporters.

The Soyuz delivered the crew of the next longterm mission of ISS- 41/42: Russian Space Agency cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, as well as NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore. “All three of them are doing well,” Roscosmos officials said.

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Obama’s ‘war on ISIS’ must be opposed

by John Catalinotto

PRESIDENT Barack Obama announced on 10th September that the US military would build an international coalition to make “war on the Islamic State”. He said there were already 10 countries in this coalition. Administration spokespersons on the 14th September Sunday morning talk shows said they were still building the coalition. The next morning a conference of 30 countries opened in Paris on this theme.

The electronic media and the pages of major newspapers — the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor, for example — were filled with debate on Obama’s new war policy. Active and retired Pentagon officers, State Department officials, policy strategists from the imperialist think tanks and op-ed writers all put out their critiques of Obama’s strategy of opening another long US war while promising no US “boots on the ground”.

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From the other USA

by Rob Gowland

BECAUSE of the power of the monopoly media, who despite their differences usually speak as one on important issues (especially those affecting their class power), we tend to think of the USA as a monolith that speaks with a uniform voice, the voice of imperialism. This view overlooks the vibrant and hardworking (if highly disunited) opposition in the US, an opposition much of which sees itself as Marxist despite decades of anti-Communist propaganda.

The articles from which I sourced last week’s article generated some interesting comments from people who read the original material on the Common Dreams website and made the essential links to other examples of US imperialism’s lies and propaganda. For instance, someone calling himself Kepler93, referring to ads on American TV showing US Navy warships breasting the waves accompanied by the superimposed slogan “A Force for Good”, noted: “They had to rebrand (the Navy) after blanketing Baghdad and its public utilities with Tomahawks in the shock and awe attack on Iraqi society. Never mind that the government that controls it is anything but a force for good, but a good propagandist sells the sizzle rather than the rancid steak.”

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The US cannot save the world

by Li Li


WHAT WE can conclude from most of the Hollywood movies is that the Americans have always wanted to play the role of the great saviour of the world. But they often seem to forget that such a mind-set does not hold water in real life.

Almost 13 years have passed since the United States waged a full-scale war against the al-Qaida terrorist group in Afghanistan right after the 9/11 attacks, and 11 years have gone since it set foot on Iraq.

Yet the two nations and the region as a whole are still struggling in the quagmire of wars and their people are living in nightmares, while the great horror brought by sprawling extreme terrorism remains and deepens.

Now, with the al-Qaida offshoot Islamic State (IS) wreaking havoc in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, Washington is apparently embarking an equally dangerous and futile path.

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