No welcome for academy plan
Teachers and parents got an excellent response from the public when they petitioned last weekend against plans to introduce city academies into Islington, north London.
A public meeting on Tuesday of this week was to hear parents, governors, academics and the NUT union outline further moves in the campaign against academies, including lobbies of the local council and the private sponsors, ARK.
Hope for man in Guantanamo
Supporters of former Huddersfield University law student Omar Deghayes, are increasingly hopeful about securing his release following his shocking testimony about torture in Guantanamo Bay.
The British government has finally been forced to intervene in the cases of Omar and the other four British residents still held at the camp.
Last week 80 Huddersfield people gathered to hear Omar’s sister, Amani, and the journalist and playwright Victoria Brittain explain the case.
Amani demonstrated, using slides, how video footage alleged to show Omar as a guerrilla in Chechnya was clearly of a different person.
Vanunu belongs to Glasgow Uni
Over 100 students and staff attended the inauguration of Mordechai Vanunu last week as rector of Glasgow University.
Vanunu was jailed for 18 years for revealing Israel’s nuclear weapons project. Poet Tom Leonard said during the ceremony that the students of Glasgow had brought honour on the university by electing Vanunu with a huge majority in a cross campus ballot last term.
Vanunu, who is under arrest in Israel, sent a message thanking everyone who had elected him and saying, “My message is to be very sure and confident that each one of you has the spirit of freedom and humanity.”
At a press conference after the inauguration Bill Speirs, general secretary of the Scottish TUC, reaffirmed his commitment to the campaign to free Vanunu and for his right to come to Glasgow.
Sandra White, an Scottish National Party MSP, and Colin Fox, convenor of the Scottish Socialist Party, also attended. Colin recently raised Vanunu’s case in the Scottish parliament.
Drawing a line over drivers’ pay
Midland Mainline train drivers were to hold a 24-hour strike over pay from noon on Friday this week and on the next two Fridays.
The firm runs services from London St Pancras to Sheffield, via Bedfordshire, Northants, and the East Midlands.
Workers have rejected a 4.5 percent pay offer because their bosses previously pledged more.
Midland Mainline’s parent company is National Express.
Election day strike vote at Record
Journalists at the Daily Record in Scotland have voted for a 24-hour strike on the day of the general election.
The members of the NUJ union are also to hold a work to rule for the two days leading up to polling day.
They are angry at a 2.5 percent pay offer and a compulsory redundancy notice served on Sam Mairs, who works in the paper’s picture department.
Stanley verdict under threat
The two policemen who shot dead unarmed Harry Stanley yards from his front door in Hackney, east London, in 1999 were this week trying to overturn the inquest verdict of unlawful killing in the case.
The high court was due to hear the judicial review applied for by Kevin Fagin and Neil Sharman on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
Harry, a 46 year old grandfather, was gunned down while carrying a coffee table leg in a plastic bag, which the policemen said they thought was a gun.
His wife, Irene, battled for five years to win the verdict of unlawful killing at a second inquest last year, after the coroner in the first inquest refused to allow the jury to reach such a verdict.
She said, “I got the unlawful verdict, but they want to take it away. Since I’ve got it, I’ve had nothing but trouble.”
The two policemen were allowed to go back to work at the end of last year, just two months after they were finally suspended from duty.
Workers aim to cut down hours
Council grass cutters in Carlisle are threatening strike action after they were told to work longer hours due to climate change.
Last year their hours were increased to 44 a week during spring and summer because the grass was growing faster.