The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 11th August 2017

National News

Tories trying to bury report on impact of benefit cuts

THE GOVERNMENT is going to court, using taxpayer’s money, to try to overturn an order from the Freedom of Information (FOI) watchdog — the Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) — to publish an official report on the effects of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) operated by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The WCA is used to assess the health and fitness of people who claim benefits for disabilities and long-term sickness.

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Hiroshima — a warning to warmongers

PEACE campaigners gathered in London’s Tavistock Square on Sunday 6th of August to mark Hiroshima Day, the anniversary of the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 causing destruction and horror that shocked the world.

On 6th August 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb called Little Boy on Hiroshima in Japan. Three days later a second atomic bomb (Fat Man) was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. These are the only times nuclear weapons have been used in war, though the threat of them has hung over the world ever since.

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Increase in young people dropping out

THE NUMBER of young people neither in work nor in education for long periods is steadily rising according to a think-tank report published last week in the Financial Times.

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UNISON victory at SOAS

THE PUBLIC sector union UNISON last week announced a major victory at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) after the school agreed to bring all core support services back in house by September next year.

The agreement will bring more than 120 staff back in house. The announcement by the university follows and expands on an agreement reached with UNISON last year after talks at Acas [The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service], where the employer had agreed to bring all cleaning services back in house by September 2019.

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Unions fight for the rate for the job on Teesside

THE CONSTRUCTION unions GMB and Unite are engaged in a prolonged battle for industry rate wages at the construction site for a giant £177 million energy from waste project at Port Clarence on Teesside.

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Redundancy pay win for PCS

THE CIVIL service union PCS last month won a High Court case that quashed Government attempts to cut the redundancy pay scheme.

The court quashed the cuts to the scheme, refused the Government a right to appeal and made a full costs award against the Government.

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Scottish Labour leads

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

EVERY CLOUD has a silver lining and Scottish Labour is making the most of an opinion poll that puts them ahead of the nationalists for the first time for many, many moons. The Scottish sub-sample from a Britain-wide YouGov poll put Labour in the lead with 33 per cent, the Scottish National Party (SNP) down at 29 per cent with the Tories just one per cent below, and the Liberal Democrats with the rest of the also-rans at seven per cent. But it may be a bit early to crack open the bubbly. The Scottish sub-sample consisted of just 151 people.

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Boys in Blue(s)

LAST Saturday the police reported that they had finally found the body of a man who had been reported missing a month ago. Public appeals and extensive searches, including one involving 59 volunteers, a helicopter and a dog unit were undertaken before he was discovered: at his very own home.

Police Scotland has rarely been out of the headlines since its creation in 2013 — for all the wrong reasons. The latest incident involves the present Chief Constable, Phil Gormley, who is facing an inquiry over allegations amounting to gross misconduct over allegations of bullying his top aide, Superintendent Graham McInarlin, former commander of Glasgow Southside who recently walked out saying that he had had enough.

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Back from the Dead

ONE OF the subjects of a recent Police Scotland investigation has reappeared in public view after a long absence. Michelle Thomson, the former Edinburgh West MP, was stripped of the SNP whip when she was accused of mortgage fraud over 17 properties purchased from distressed sellers at low prices for rapid resale by her business. In one case a house bought for £245,000 was sold the same day for £315,000. The firm in which she as a partner used a solicitor who had been struck off for professional misconduct. Prosecutors have said that they are dropping the investigation because of a lack of credible evidence, so she will not face charges.

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Beatles music with Chinese characteristics

by Mu Xuequan

BEATLES music with Chinese characteristics was the centrepiece of a concert in Liverpool on Sunday 30th July by Britain’s only Chinese youth orchestra.

The Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra, the oldest and largest Chinese youth ensemble in Europe, was presenting a ‘Summer of love’ festival, performing a range of music popular around the world in 1967, the year the Beatles’ classic album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band was released.

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International News

Venezuelans march to support the Constituent Assembly

Prensa Latina

THOUSANDS of peaceful protesters marched through the Venezuelan capital on Monday in support of the new National Constituent Assembly (ANC), which will begin to work in search of peace and against war this week.

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Zuma survives no confidence vote

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma survived a no confidence motion by secret ballot on Tuesday. Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that 198 MPs voted against the motion, 177 voted in favour and nine abstained. MPs of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) burst into applause when the result was announced. Opposition MPs walked out of the chamber, looking crestfallen. But opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has vowed to continue the struggle to remove Zuma from office.

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Secret Israeli, American and Russian talks on Syria


ISRAEL, Russia and the United States have held several rounds of secret talks to discuss the ceasefire in southern Syria and creation of de-escalation zones on the country’s borders with Israel and Jordan, the Ha’aretz (The Land) newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing Israeli and European politicians.

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Trump getting richer by the day

by Ed Newman

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says he’s received tens of millions of dollars in income from the golf courses and resorts whose profile he boosted during frequent visits since taking office, according to filings released by the US Office of Government Ethics.

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Francis Ledwidge centenary in Kilmainham Gaol

by John Hedges

THE Inchicore Francis Ledwidge Society hosted an evening of poetry and song in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin last week to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the poet Francis Ledwidge, who was killed in action in the Battle of Passchendaele in the First World War.

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Contemplating Guernica in all its greatness

by Mireya Castañeda

THIS extraordinary work continues to captivate 80 years after Picasso painted it. The piece features in a colossal exhibition at Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

The structure of the painting is similar to that of a triptych, whose central panel is occupied by the dying horse and the woman carrying the lamp. On the right, the house on fire with the woman screaming and on the left, the bull and the woman with her dead baby.

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When is the world going to impose sanctions on America?

by John Wight

ONLY WHEN we are living in a world in which sanctions are imposed ‘on’ the United States rather than ‘by’ the United States will we know justice reigns.

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How Facebook got super-rich

by Jeff Sorel

IN 2004, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his dormitory room. Facebook went public in early 2012. Zuckerberg was already a billionaire at the age of 23. Today, this social medium has a market capitalization of over $463 billion. Zuckerberg’s current net worth is over $63 billion, ranking him as the fifth richest person in the world. How could so much wealth and capital be so quickly accumulated in one person’s hands?

The short answer is monopoly. With more than two billion monthly active users, Facebook has a virtual monopoly of social media, messaging and networking traffic. It achieved that monopoly in large part thanks to a vital tool of capitalist accumulation: patents.

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