Dated: 05 Jan 2002
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THE RESULT of the hysteria whipped up around paedophiles by papers like the News of the World was shown just before Christmas. George Crawford was due to appear in court in January.
BOSSES GAVE thousands of workers the sack for Christmas. Former newsagent John Menzies announced around 1,200 job cuts. Menzies has recently become an airport services operator, and plans to axe some 200 jobs at Heathrow airport.
THE DISGRACED New Labour cabinet minister Peter Mandelson topped the recent list of parliament's top earners. Among the lucrative concerns Mandelson registered were a directorship with Clemow Hornby Inge.
AN ASYLUM seeker deported by the British government has been beaten and tortured in Zimbabwe. Gerald Muketiwa, who supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was deported from Britain on 16 December last year after his plea for asylum was turned down.
NEW LABOUR looks set to bail out Britain's air traffic control network less than six months after it was privatised. The government sold off 46 percent of the National Air Traffic Service for £750 million to a consortium of airline companies last July.
MORE THAN 20,000 elderly people died from cold-related illnesses in England and Wales last winter, despite the government's claims to be helping the poorest elderly people. Mervyn Kohler of Help the Aged says the number of winter deaths among old people is a "peculiarly British problem.
THE government quietly gave the go-ahead to the Sellafield mixed oxide (mox) nuclear plant in Cumbria just before Christmas. British Nuclear Fuels Limited opened the plant just hours after gaining an operating licence from the government.
AFTER PASSING its draconian Terrorism Act at the end of last year, the government is set to clamp down even more on our civil liberties. Ministers plan further restrictions on a defendant's right to choose trial by jury. They want to bring in a new criminal court which could slash the number of jury trials by 70 percent. The government also plans a new youth court with a judge and two magistrates. The move could mean the end of public jury trials for all 16 and 17 year olds.
A SPONTANEOUS uprising. That was what followed when demonstrators took to the streets of Argentina five days before Christmas. At least 23 people were killed in a vain attempt to break up the demonstrations. But the hated economics minister, Domingo Cavallo, and the president, De la Rua, were forced to resign.
THE PUBLIC funds the luxury lodgings of judges to the tune of £5.6 million a year. That is £900 for each night a judge spends away from home. These lodgings have servants, smoking rooms, wine cellars and even a tennis court.
US BOMBS, missiles and cannon fire slaughtered at least 207 Afghan people in the village of Niazi Qalaye in Afghanistan last Sunday. Villager Janat Gul was distraught after the US bombs killed 24 members of his family. "People are very upset," he said. "There are no Al Qaida or Taliban people here."
THE GOVERNMENTS of India and Pakistan brought their countries to the brink of war at the beginning of this week. Such a war, between states armed with nuclear weapons, would directly involve over one billion people and could affect many more.
PRINTERS AT a key national newspaper plant have won an important victory after voting to strike. The victory represents a turning point in an industry where workers have lived for 15 years under the shadow of the catastrophic Wapping defeat. Management at West Ferry Printers on east London's Isle of Dogs wanted between 90 and 100 job cuts and a pay freeze.
THOUSANDS OF bank workers at Scottish- based branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland were due to strike on Wednesday over having to work on a public holiday and not being paid premium rates.
THE NATIONAL strike by tens of thousands of Benefits Agency and job centre workers in the PCS civil servants' union has taken a major blow. This dispute saw 40,000 people strike for two days in mid-December against government plans to remove safety screens from the newly merged Jobcentre Plus offices.
CHALLENGING New Labour in 2002 was the theme of the first meeting of the new Socialist Alliance national executive, which took place in the run-up to Christmas.
PRESSURE IS growing among Scottish Power workers to make their strike all out. An important shop stewards' meeting was scheduled for this Saturday in Penrith, where the progress of the dispute will be discussed and tactics debated. A series of three two-day strikes have seen very solid support from around 1,500 workers in North Wales, Merseyside and Scotland. There have been some localised power cuts.
THE US establishment and its toadies have been engaging in an orgy of self congratulation since the military collapse of the Taliban. It's hardly a surprise that the richest country in the world can conquer one of the poorest. But has the US brought greater peace in its wake?
SO SOLID Crew have been hailed in the media as "the new Sex Pistols". Their glorification of gang violence has set cash registers ringing. In the last six months the band have had a number one single and album. Violence and controversy have stalked them from the outset.
KASHMIR IS at the centre of the conflict between India and Pakistan. Its total population is 12 million. Roughly nine million are in Indian- administered Jammu and Kashmir, and three million are in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.
ARGENTINA'S CAPITALIST class is split down the middle on how to deal with the economic impact of the crisis that has brought dire poverty to millions across Argentina. The capitalists know this crisis is behind the uprising that toppled two presidents.
WAR, RECESSION, resistance. The three notes which marked last year will ring through the coming 12 months too. In Britain, 2001 began with job cuts and resistance, as 10,000 people marched in defence of Vauxhall workers' jobs, threatened by multinational General Motors.
THE EVENTS of 11 September in the US changed the world. George Bush used the tragic deaths of over 3,000 people killed in the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon to "rally the world against international terrorism" by announcing that "you are either with us or you are with the terrorists".
THE RAIL network stands on the brink of yet another fatal disaster, despite reassurances from rail bosses and the government following the Hatfield crash in November 1999. The entire system is in an even worse state than it was before that crash. That is the conclusion of one of the few top managers at Railtrack who has any great experience of the industry.
AT FIRST sight The Death Ship by B Traven seems nothing more than a Boys' Own style story of adventure on the high seas. However, in the pages of this book you will find no glamour or heroism. Instead The Death Ship is a wonderful indictment of the absurdities of capitalist society, and a gritty description of life as the lowest of the low, full of burning anger, black humour and razor sharp wit.
WHITE RIOT is the new book by co-editor of the anti-fascist Searchlight magazine Nick Lowles. It tells the terrifyingly true story of the assorted racist psychopaths and crackpots who make up the Nazi terrorist group Combat 18. Combat 18 was formed in the early 1990s out of the gangs of thugs who guarded the meetings of the Nazi British National Party (BNP).
THE NEW year has opened with two different sides of the world on show. The first is the horror and the barbarism seen in the US's continuing bombing of Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Taliban. US president George Bush declared there is more slaughter in store. "2002 will be a war year as well," Bush said last week.
THIS government's announcement that it is negotiating with private health providers to treat NHS patients doesn't just highlight the crisis in the NHS. It is a grotesque illustration of what the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) means to the NHS.
GEORGE W Bush tried to justify the search for Osama Bin Laden by saying that the US is committed to hunting down murderers and terrorists across the world. But, as anti-war journalist John Pilger remarked, if the US forces wanted to hunt down terrorists they would be going ashore in Florida.