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Year 2001 No. 133, July 31- August 1, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

London Political Forum
Condemn State Violence and Terror

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

London Political Forum: Condemn State Violence and Terror

UNISON Post-Genoa Public Meeting

Tony Blair’s Business Trip to the Caribbean and Latin America:
Protest against Tony Blair in Brazil

Meeting against the Terrorism Act

NEC to Make 600 Workers Redundant at Scottish Plant

Rise in Workplace Fatalities

Answers Given by Kim Jong Il to Questions Raised by Itar-Tass

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London Political Forum

Condemn State Violence and Terror

A special meeting of the London Political Forum is being convened by London Region RCPB(ML) to condemn the state violence and terror against the protesters against imperialist globalisation, in Genoa, in Britain and world-wide. The LPF will invite all those concerned to end this violence, stop the criminalisation of political protest and discuss the way forward for the movement against imperialist globalisation to come to the meeting and give their views.

All comers are welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2001 - 7.30pm

Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R

(nearest tube: Holborn)

Speakers include: Indymedia, University College London UNISON Branch delegate to Genoa

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UNISON Post-Genoa Public Meeting

University College London Branch of UNISON sent a delegation of 15 members to the Genoa protests. Bill Lehm of the UCL Branch reports that the Branch still has one of its members in prison in Gothenburg following the EU Summit (Paul Robinson: sentenced to one year in prison for rolling a stone two metres along the ground) and another still in hospital in Italy (not one of the official figures – the police don't know who he is or where he is).

The UCL UNISON is holding a public meeting to hear eyewitness reports from Genoa, and to discuss what happened and the way forward.

Its aim is to form a permanent support group for those who are left behind in prison or hospital after Gothenburg, Genoa and similar demonstrations elsewhere. The Branch points out the need to make contact with similar groups every where, especially in Sweden, Denmark and Germany whose nationals also have people left behind in Gothenburg and with all those who have people left behind in Genoa.

1-2pm

Biochemistry Lecture Theatre
Basement Darwin Building
Gower St
LONDON WC1E 6BT
Thursday, August 2

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Tony Blair’s Business Trip to the Caribbean and Latin America:

Protest against Tony Blair in Brazil

Tony Blair is engaged on an official visit to the Caribbean and Latin America.

At the weekend, he flew into Jamaica, where he met Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson, for the start of the six-day tour. Tony Blair is also visiting Brazil and Mexico, accompanied by a 13-strong business delegation, to promote trade links. The delegation of businessmen travelling with Tony Blair is said to include representatives from Rolls Royce, British Aerospace, British Petroleum, NM Rothschild and Enterprise Oil.

On Wednesday, he is set to become the first serving British Prime Minister to set foot on Argentine soil, when he briefly crosses the border from Brazil at the Iguazú falls on the Iguaçu river for a short meeting with the Argentinean President Fernando De la Rua.

On Tuesday, demonstrators burst through security lines and got within feet of Tony Blair as he visited the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo. The protesters, from Greenpeace, were pulled away from the Prime Minister by security guards as they unfurled a banner calling on him to end British importation of wood from the Amazon rainforest. Greenpeace had earlier handed Tony Blair a letter calling on him to keep a promise made at the G8 summit last year to import wood only from sustainable sources.

David Logie, a Scottish Greenpeace activist working for the group in the Amazon, told PA News: "We handed the letter to Tony Blair, and he seemed happy to accept it. A little later, two Greenpeace activists broke through the cordon with a big banner and were unveiling it a couple of feet from him when they were forcibly and very quickly removed by security guards."

Tony Blair had arrived in Brasilia on Monday for a three-day official visit, the first ever by a British head of government to Brazil. He is having talks with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. On Tuesday, he went to the factory of regional jetmaker Embraer, Brazil's top exporter.

The three-party talks on the border with Argentina are expected to focus on improving commercial ties between the European Union and Mercosur, the South American trade bloc in which the two main economies are Argentina and Brazil. The EU is pressing for a quick end to negotiations on a trade deal between the two blocs, mindful of the proposed Free Trade Association of the Americas, the US-dominated "free trade" zone due to come into effect by 2005. Senior Downing Street sources have warned that the economic turmoil in Latin America could "spill over" into the rest of the world. There are fears that Argentina is about to default on its $130 billion debt, triggering a new crisis in the region. Brazil is the world's ninth-largest economy and Britain's biggest trading partner in the region. Its government has just announced a $400 million package of spending cuts in an attempt to insulate itself if Argentina does default. Downing Street has said that Tony Blair wants to signal his "strong support" for the austerity measures which have been taken to try and avert a crisis.

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Meeting against the Terrorism Act

A public meeting is being held against the Terrorism Act on Tuesday, July 31, at Camden Town Hall. It has been organised by the Campaign against Criminalising Communities. Speakers include Tony Benn and John Wadham, director of Liberty.

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NEC to Make 600 Workers Redundant at Scottish Plant

NEC has confirmed that 600 jobs will be axed at its Livingston plant in West Lothian as it withdraws from making dynamic random-access memory chips by 2004.

The Japanese firm, which has invested more than £1 billion at the Livingston factory since it was set up in 1983, says it will reduce its world-wide workforce by 4,000 in the year to March, 2002, by subcontracting chipmaking business. It will cut semiconductor output at its British plant to 15,000 wafers, from 28,000, in the second half of its financial year.

These cuts will result in 600 workers losing their jobs in an area already coping with 3,100 job losses due to Motorola's decision to close its plant at Bathgate.

Danny Carrigan, regional secretary for the engineering union the AEEU, said that he hoped the blow would not be as bad as first feared at the start of the month – when it was rumoured up to half of the 1,600 workers at the plant could lose their jobs – and that many of those affected by the cuts would be found work elsewhere. Danny Carrigan said, "We are expecting it to be another jobs blow for Silicon Glen, but we are expecting the factory to remain open."

NEC has said that compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out. Production focus is to be shifted to cope with the high-growth potential in areas such as broadband communications, mobile phones and optical storage devices. As part of this plan, NEC will spin off its optical and microwave chip businesses into a new unit called NEC Compound Device in October. Last week, NEC warned that the electronic devices market remained sluggish and said it would cut jobs world-wide after posting a 72% fall in net profit to 800 million yen (or £4.5 million) in the first quarter to June and halving its forecast for first-half operating profit to 30 billion yen (£170 million).

Once again, the "benefits" of inward investment and imperialist globalisation for workers and for the national economy as a whole are being exposed as illusory.

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Rise in Workplace Fatalities

Provisional statistics for the year 2000/01, released by the HSE on Monday, indicate an increase of 34 per cent increase in fatalities among Britain's workers, with 295 deaths compared to 220 in 1999/2000. This represents an increase in the rate of fatal injuries from 0.8 to 1.1 per 100,000 workers.

The figures show that of the 295 fatalities, 106 occurred in the construction industry and 46 in agriculture. In terms of types of fatality, 73 deaths were caused by falls from heights, 64 from moving vehicles, 52 from falling and moving objects, and 37 by objects collapsing or overturning.

Commenting on the figures, Health and Safety Commission (HSC) Chairman Bill Callaghan said:

"We are greatly concerned at the increase in fatalities during 2000/01 - which goes against the downward trend of recent years - and are taking firm action to encourage sustainable improvement. Last year the Deputy Prime Minister and I set national improvement targets for health and safety at work. Building on this, the HSC has already targeted the HSE's work programme for the next three years to tackle the main causes of fatalities and the worst-offending sectors of industry. We have identified the priorities correctly - and action is now needed.
"The fact remains that most of these fatalities were preventable. Every work-related death is one too many and each represents a personal tragedy. The primary responsibility for the health and safety of workers remains with employers. There is absolutely no excuse for them to ignore their fundamental duty to take all reasonable steps to safeguard workers' lives."

Bill Callaghan continued: "Of particular note is the construction industry, where on average there are two deaths every week - and the fatality rate of six per every 100,000 workers is now the highest for 10 years."

Commenting on the HSE’s statistics, TUC General Secretary John Monks said: "The need for a new Health and Safety Act to revitalise health and safety, with more Inspectors for the HSE and a new law against corporate killing, couldn’t be starker."

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Answers Given by Kim Jong Il to Questions Raised by Itar-Tass

Comrade Kim Jong Il, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, answered questions raised by Russia’s state central information agency Itar-Tass (The Information Telegraph Agency of Russia) on July 24. The full text of the remarks reads as follows:

I am grateful that Itar-Tass has asked for an interview with me. I would like to answer your questions.

First, I would like to mention about the relationship between Korea and Russia and the prospect of its development.

Korea and Russia are neighbours and they have maintained traditional friendly relations for a long time. The development of these relations fully accords with the interests of the peoples of the two countries and is of great significance in ensuring peace and security in Asia and the rest of the world. We set great store by friendship between Korea and Russia and pay deep attention to the development of the relations between the two countries.

The Pyongyang summit of the leaders of the two countries held in July last year was a landmark event in developing the friendly relations between the two countries onto a new, higher stage.

The visit to Pyongyang by President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the first of its kind by the Russian head of state, proved a great contribution to the development of the relations between the two countries, and we highly appreciate it. Proceeding from our common will and stand with regard to the fresh development of our friendly and co-operative relations, President Putin and I had candid talks and deepened our mutual understanding and confidence. At the summit meeting and talks we had an open-hearted exchange of opinions concerning the bilateral relations and a series of international issues of mutual concern, and in accordance with the results of the talks signed the DPRK-Russia Joint Declaration in which we made public the common will and desire of the governments and peoples of our two countries to develop the bilateral friendly and co-operative relations onto a new, higher stage and clarified our unanimous view and stand with regard to important international issues. The Joint Declaration as well as the DPRK-Russia Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighbourliness and Co-operation signed in February last year are historic documents that provide a guarantee for promoting the friendly relations between Korea and Russia. Clearly defining the principle and orientation of development of the friendly and co-operative relations between the two countries, the declaration and the treaty deal comprehensively with the political, foreign relations, national defence and security, mutual economic co-operation and trade issues and all other issues arising in developing the bilateral relations. The declaration and the treaty have opened a road for developing the friendly and co-operative relations between the two countries in all fields on the principle of complete equality, mutual benefit, mutual confidence and non-interference in each other's affairs.

The future of the friendly relations between Korea and Russia is very bright. After the Pyongyang summit wide sections of public circles and peoples of the two countries have displayed an unprecedented zeal for developing the friendly relations between the two countries.

In accordance with the spirit of the declaration and the treaty, practical measures have been taken between the two countries concerning co-operation in the fields of the economy, military affairs, science, technology, education and culture. Since the two countries' will to develop the relations of friendship and co-operation is unshakeable, guaranteed by the declaration and the treaty, and they have decades-long tradition of close co-operation, they can develop their relations comprehensively if they take positive measures for action. We believe that the Korea-Russia relations of friendship and co-operation will be promoted remarkably in the new century, the 21st century, by the joint efforts of the governments and peoples of the two countries.

Dialogue between the leaders of the states plays an important role in developing relations between countries. If the leaders maintain close relations with one another, their countries and peoples will inevitably establish friendly ties.

I am going to visit Russia soon at the invitation of President Putin. I am pleased that I will be visiting Russia and meeting President Putin again in Moscow. Meeting the friendly people of Russia will give me a deep emotion. I am sure that the upcoming Moscow summit will be an important occasion for cementing the relations between the leaders of the two countries, which were established in Pyongyang last year, and for further promoting the Korea-Russia friendship.

Next, as for the question of the United States' establishment of its missile defence system, I shall touch upon the question since the United States is provoking us in connection with the attempt.

The United States is now coming out with the so-called missile threat from our country and some others in an attempt to set up the missile defence system. We are informed that for this purpose the United States is trying to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty which was concluded with Russia.

The United States' attempt to establish the missile defence system has now become the target of world-wide denunciation because it may renew the arms race.

We support the Russian standpoint for maintaining strategic stability through the ABM treaty.

The United States' clamour about the "missile threat" from our country is totally unfounded. It is nothing but a lie to hide its intention to dominate other countries. No matter how they fuss, saying, "North Korea is threatening the United States by means of missiles," and therefore "the United States is trembling with anxiety and fear", nobody will believe it. Worse still, the new US administration is now talking about the "threat" of our conventional armed forces, not satisfied with the hullabaloo about "North Korea's missile threat". That is preposterous. That is another outrageous challenge to us. Our missile programme is of purely peaceful nature. It threatens nobody. Implementing the peaceful missile programme is an exercise of our legitimate sovereign right. The world knows that we are not threatening the United States, but that the United States is constantly threatening us by occupying a half of our country by force of arms.

You have also asked about the prospect of normalising relations between our country and the United States and Japan. That depends entirely on the standpoints and attitudes of the United States and Japan.

The new US administration has resumed the policy of isolating and stifling the DPRK in the new century, the policy that already went bankrupt in the 20th century, and is obstructing the improvement of DPRK-US relations and aggravating the situation. The hard-line policy pursued by the United States to bring pressure to bear on us is a futile attempt that failed yesterday and will fail today as well. Our invariable standpoint is to approach good will with good will and respond to a hard line with a super hard line.

Our independent politics, our independent foreign policy is consistent and unshakeable. No matter how the situation may change, and no matter what challenge we may encounter, we will keep the sovereignty and dignity of our country and confidently advance along the road we have chosen. We will develop good-neighbourly, friendly relations with all countries on the basis of mutual respect for independence, and make efforts to improve relations with the countries which have been hostile towards us, if they respect our sovereignty and discard their hostile policy towards us.

A prerequisite for improving our relations with Japan is that Japan should atone for the crimes it committed against our country and nation. To improve the relations ignoring its criminal past does not stand to reason. However, the present reactionary rulers of Japan are manoeuvring recklessly to beautify and justify their shameful past and bury it for ever. If Japan takes a sincere attitude towards the question of redressing its past considering the general trend of the world and gives up its policy and acts hostile to our country, the relationship between Korea and Japan can be improved.

Last, you have asked me how I spend my leisure and what my hobbies are. Frankly speaking, I have a lot of work to do. Following the lifetime will of the great leader comrade Kim Il Sung, we must build a powerful socialist state on our land and achieve national reunification as soon as possible. Our reality does not allow me to waste time before having built a powerful state and achieved national reunification.

As for my hobbies, I am fond of going among the people and soldiers and spending time among them. I find my life worth living and feel my best pleasure when I learn how they live and work and take care of them, talking with them and sharing their feelings. I also like reading and music.

Reading and music are a part of my life and the mental food of my work.

I would like to take this opportunity to convey my friendly greetings to the Russian people and wish them a success in their struggle to build a powerful Russia and a better life.

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