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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 November 2007

News in brief

Unfair pack

THE GOVERNMENT has underwritten Northern Rock by billions of pounds. But up to 150,000 low income people who are owed money after last year's collapse of Christmas savings club Farepak, may not be paid until next spring. That is 18 months after the collapse.

Savers lost an average 400 each last year. But the compensation will only pay back 5p for every 1 lost, roughly 20! Low-paid women in particular were forced into a "cycle of debt" by Farepak's collapse, many being forced to borrow from relatives or take out expensive loans.

Water rip-off

SOUTHERN WATER, a private company supplying 1.8 million households with water and sewerage services, has been fined 20.3 million, the biggest fine ever imposed by 'regulator' OFWAT. Southern Water overcharged its customers by an average of 10.50 per household.

The fine is supposed to be met from dividends. But Southern's customers will need to keep an eye on them. Most fines for big companies just get passed on to customers or to workers in some way or other.

Profit or lives?

DRUGS multinationals could receive mark-ups of 700% under a plan, spearheaded by Gordon Brown, to fund the development of a vaccine for pneumococcal disease, which causes pneumonia, Africa's worst child-killer. 750 million was donated for the scheme, but 80% will go in profits to the companies.

Governments in the advanced capitalist world pay production costs, plus an agreed margin, to help provide 'incentives' for the pharmaceuticals industry to develop such drugs instead of more profitable drugs for the Western market.

US drugs giant Wyeth already manufactures the vaccine for Europe and America, so their costs will be negligible. Experts say millions more children could be treated even if the industry just accepted a lower profit margin.

Nigeria

THE CAMPAIGN continues to defend the detained Nigerian student activists and Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) members, Olatunde Dairo, Taiwo Hassan Soweto and Akinola Sakuri. They are all facing trumped-up charges, including conspiracy and attempted murder.

  • More information is available on the CWI website www.socialistworld.net where details of where to send protests can also be found.
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    In The Socialist 22 November 2007:

    Profit system wrecks climate


    Socialist Party NHS campaign

    Defend Karen Reissman: Defend free speech and trade union rights


    Banking Crisis

    Nationalise Northern Rock permanently to safeguard workers' interests


    International socialist news and analysis

    SOLIDARITY APPEAL: Defend Tukwila Teachers Threatened with Termination for Antiwar Student Walkout

    France: massive public sector workers' strike


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    SNP budget will not satisfy expectations

    Detention without trial: Defend civil rights

    New attacks on incapacity benefits

    'Cheap and nasty' Camden council to shut deaf school

    News in brief


    Socialism 2007

    Socialism 2007: Inspired by past victories, preparing for future struggles


    Education

    Support the Northern Ireland classroom assistants

    Cardiff schools: Parents march against closure threats


    Socialist Party features

    Rail transport: Overpriced, overcrowded, underinvested

    Train drivers strike in Germany

    Labour's pensions - a social time-bomb


    International socialist news and analysis

    Denmark general election: Socialist People's Party doubles its MPs

    2008 US presidential election

    GM, Chrysler, and Ford's 'race to the bottom'


    Workplace news and analysis

    Postal workers campaign against "MacMail"

    Doncaster Hospital workers on strike for 9,000 back pay

    National Union of Journalists: Standing up against the robber barons


     

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