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Monthly Archives: January 2010

As Sodexo shareholders gathered for their annual meeting last Monday in Paris, a delegation of the company’s employees and their unions from the UK, France and the US, called for a global guarantee from Sodexo to improve pay and working conditions and guarantee the right of Sodexo workers to...
EX-PRIME Minister Blair yesterday, at the Chilcot Inquiry, revealed the imperialistic logic behind the war on Iraq. He said that after the attack on the Twin Towers it became obvious that a number of regimes would have to be dealt with, and these were Iran, North Korea and Iraq, Bush’s...
TONY Blair was unrepentant about invading Iraq when he appeared before the Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 war yesterday, and said repeatedly that he would do the same again. Blair added for good measure that today’s leaders had to deal with Iran, just as he had dealt with Iraq, and...
Psychologists and psychiatrists should not be expected to participate in torture as they do not have the expertise to assess individual pain or the long-term effects of interrogation, says an expert on bmj.com today. The authors, Derrick Silove and Susan Rees, from the University of New South Wales in Australia,...

No Obama Recovery Plan

A VERY hard pressed Obama, right at the start of his state of the Union message, was forced to summon the ‘God of Battles’ to his aid. He declared ‘Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union....
DRASTIC cuts to the NHS are being planned to meet a budget cut of £15-20 billion, with even bigger spending cuts expected in the future, says a leaked document obtained by Unison. Mike Jackson, senior national officer for Unison – the largest health service trade union – warned that the...
Heavily armed Sri Lankan forces have surrounded Wednesday Cinnamon Lake hotel in Colombo, where opposition presidential candidate and former Sri Lanka Army General (retd) Sarath Fonseka was residing with opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe and JVP leader Somawanse Amarasinghe, reported Tamilnet yesterday morning. Sarath Fonseka, who is trailing in the presidential...
THE 0.1 per cent ‘recovery’, the ‘work’ of Gordon Brown and Chancellor Darling has caused laughter and incredulity throughout the planet. It is a classic case of sowing a very expensive dragon and reaping a flea. The enormity of the capitalist crisis is breaking through all of the spin and...
Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith yesterday told the Iraq Inquiry, that he was not pressured into discarding his opposition to going to war without a second Security Council resolution. He said that he was unconcerned that the government would have fallen if he had not changes his line, or that...
RESEARCH by charity ‘Save the Children’ has found that between 2004 and 2008, an additional 260,000 children were pushed into severe poverty in the UK, raising the number of children in severe poverty to 1.7 million. The charity defined severe poverty as living on less than £12,220 per year for...
ELIZABETH Wilmshurst yesterday, appearing at the Chilcot inquiry, deplored the fact that Lord Goldsmith was asked formally about the legality of the Iraq war just a few days before the war began. She said that he could hardly have said no, without giving a propaganda coup to Saddam Hussein. The former...
The Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCMLF) and the All-Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (APLF) jointly held a manifestation on January 13 at the Quetta Press Club to protest at safety inaction by Balochistan provincial authorities in coal mining, international union federation ICEM reports. In the first half of January,...
The Unite union yesterday warned that British Airways’ passengers could be put at risk by inexperienced strike-breaking cabin crew. As BA began its conversion courses for staff who work elsewhere in the airline, Unite said public concern will grow over plans to fast-track strikebreakers as more emerges about the skills...
Hezbollah TV on Sunday commented on contradictory statements coming out of Israel on a possible new war against Lebanon. The TV said: ‘Israel is heading toward a “new confrontation” with Hezbollah in South Lebanon, an Israeli minister claimed on Saturday. . . ‘A few hours later, a top Israeli military commander...
ON the eve of the Afghan conference in London this week, UK and other Nato troops are to launch an offensive to take control of areas of southern Afghanistan, namely in Helmand province. UK General Carter said the operation would ‘assert the control’ of the Afghan government, whose president...
CHANCELLOR Darling yesterday warned Britain’s public sector workers that they must follow what he called the example of the private sector, and accept wage cuts, if they want to keep their jobs. He observed cynically in the Sunday Times that ‘What is being paid has sometimes lost the...
‘We reject public sector pay cuts,’ GMB national officer Sharon Holder told News Line yesterday. She was responding to remarks by chancellor Darling yesterday, where he suggested public sector workers should take pay cuts if they want to keep their jobs. Holder added: ‘Public sector workers in the main do not...
Exiled journalists have condemned state media abuse in the Sri Lanka presidential election campaign, reports TamilNet.| Journalists for Democracy (JDS), a Germany-based media advocacy group consisting of members exiled from Sri Lanka, on Saturday issued a statement titled: ‘Sri Lanka: Democracy and free expression in peril’. The JDS statement said:...

BLIX WARNED BLAIR ON WMDs

HANS BLIX, the former United Nations chief weapons inspector in Iraq told yesterday’s BBC Radio Today programme that he had warned Tony Blair the month before the 2003 invasion that there may well be no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) found in Iraq. Blix told the programme that his team...
In a 25-page memorandum submitted to the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, said: ‘My decision to support military action in respect of Iraq was the most difficult decision I have ever faced in my life.’ But he concluded that he stood by his choice. Straw wrote: ‘The...
General Motors plans to close the Opel plant in Antwerp, Belgium this winter, with the loss of more than 2,300 jobs. Workers in Antwerp occupied the factory’s parking lot yesterday in protest at the closure decision, telling the world that new Astras would be ‘kept hostage’, and prevented from...
Plans to allow patients to pay directly for services could undermine equality in the NHS in England, create a new layer of bureaucracy, divert funding to unproven treatments, and result in some patients not getting the care they need, the BMA warned yesterday. The Department of Health in England is...
PAKISTAN’S army has just announced that it will launch no new offensives on its territory in 2010. At the same time the US Defence Secretary Gates has arrived for talks with the Pakistan military and government to force them to organise these offensives. The Pakistan military has said that the...
THE United Nations on Wednesday said it was ‘deeply concerned’ about the deterioration of the health care system in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli closures of the territory. A year after Israel’s devastating offensive in Gaza the borders of the impoverished territory remain mostly sealed, preventing hundreds of patients...
JUST before Jack Straw appeared before the Chilcot Inquiry yesterday, he released a 25-page memorandum which explained that his decision to support the Iraq war was the hardest of his life. Straw added that he understood if he – then the Foreign Secretary – had refused to support the war,...
Hospital services in London will be closed and down-graded as healthcare in the capital heads towards ‘a major financial and organisational crisis’, a new BMA report said yesterday. The report, ‘London’s NHS ON THE BRINK’ says that it is expected that from 2011 there will be a freeze on...
SCOTT Brown’s victory for the Republican Party, in the Massachusetts election for the US Senate, does not mean that US workers can’t wait to return George Bush, or put Sarah Palin into the White House. The Republican victory in the stronghold of the Kennedy clan means that workers have been...
Staff, patients and visitors are determined to keep Chase Farm Hospital open. They welcomed the latest over twenty-strong monthly picket of the Enfield hospital site by the North East London Council of Action. Passing cars, buses and lorries hooted their horns in support throughout the 7am until 2pm picket,which was ...
THE Chilcot Inquiry yesterday published a previously classified letter from the Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, in which he refused to back a war against Iraq. The Attorney-General, the government’s legal adviser, wrote to Hoon on March 28, 2002 – a year before the war – after...
THE Central Electoral Commission (CEC) with less than 10 per cent of ballots to be counted has declared that the leader of the Party of the Regions, and opponent of the ‘Orange Revolution’, Viktor Yanukovych remains at the top of the presidential poll. The margin between him...
RECORD BREAKING UK inflation rate statistics were reported by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) yesterday. Inflation rose at its fastest annual pace for nine months in December when the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose 0.6% last month, with the annual rate up to 2.9% from 1.9% in November. That...
THE death toll in Haiti is mounting, with about 20,000 bodies driven out of the capital Port-au-Prince to be burned, according to the Haitian government. Survivors are unable to discover if their relatives are dead or alive. Power supplies were destroyed in the earthquake and Haitians have been driven into...
THE fact that Luxury cruise liners are still docking in Haitian ports, not very far from the epicentre of the earthquake, which has killed up to 200,000 people says it all about the relationship between capitalism and imperialism and the people of Haiti. It is the relationship between a deadly...
WHEN Tony Blair’s chief of staff from 1997-2007, Jonathan Powell, was questioned yesterday about the September 2002 dossier that took the UK to war on Iraq his memory seemed to fail. In his evidence to the Iraq Inquiry, he agreed that the foreword to the dossier by Blair was different...
OVER 100 workers and youth voted unanimously on Saturday for occupying hospitals against closure and to stop the smashing up and privatisation of the NHS, at a special conference called by the North-East London Council of Action in Enfield. Moving the main resolution, Council of Action Secretary Bill Rogers said...
ALASTAIR Campbell has had second thoughts about some of the evidence that he gave to the Chilcot inquiry last week when he said that he stood by every word of the September intelligence dossier. In the course of his questioning at the inquiry, it was established that while the...
ESTIMATES of the death toll in Haiti rose to more than 200,000 yesterday, with warnings of more people dying of hunger and disease following last Tuesday’s earthquake. Images of hundreds of corpses lying on the streets outside the mortuary in Port-au-Prince shocked people across the world, with the full scale...
Aircraft carrier USS Vincent arrived off the coast of earthquake-hit Haiti yesterday as Admiral Mike Mullen announced a huge US task force. Speaking at a Pentagon briefing, Mullen said that ‘coalition army and naval forces, disaster response teams, portable hospitals, canine search and rescue teams, and relief and medical supplies...
IRAQ’S election commission has barred almost 500 candidates and many parties from running in the ‘national’ elections on 7 March. A parliamentary committee says that some of those banned had ties to the Ba’ath party which ruled Iraq before 2003. Among those banned are prominent Sunni politicians, including the Defence Minister...
‘We must campaign for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel, and to also boycott goods and services to break the Israeli siege of Gaza,’ film director Ken Loach told the Gaza Conference of over 300 people in London on Wednesday. ‘Their behaviour is unacceptable is the message to them,’...
President Barack Obama tried to convince top union leaders to drop labour’s opposition to taxing workers’ health care benefits at a meeting at the White House Monday. But if remarks earlier in the day by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka are any indication, he did not get very far. Obama hosted Trumka...
SURVIVORS of Haiti’s biggest earthquake for 200 years yesterday appealed to the world for urgent food, water and medicines as the death toll continued to mount. The impoverished Caribbean state was still recovering from major storms in 2008 when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck on Tuesday afternoon, followed by powerful...
A US drone strike in northwest Pakistan’s tribal region killed at least 12 persons on Thursday. Drone aircraft fired two missiles on a religious seminary and a house, said to be a Taleban training camp, in South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border. The Pakistani Taleban have denied their leader...
EGYPT strongly condemned on Tuesday attacks on African farm workers in southern Italy and voiced concerns about the Muslim minority there, just days before Italy’s foreign minister is due in Cairo. ‘The foreign ministry deplores the violence that occurred in the Italian town of Rosarno,’ and ‘the massive campaign of...
EARLIER this week Chancellor Alistair Darling promised the most draconian cuts in public spending for 20 years as a result of the Labour government’s public spending review. He has pledged to halve the budget deficit in four years and bring under control the national debt, which is rocketing to...