Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cameroonians Demonstrate Against Attacks by Boko Haram
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FEB. 28, 2015, 8:52 A.M. E.S.T.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon — Thousands of Cameroonian youths marched through the capital Saturday to show support for the military's battle against attacks by neighboring Nigeria's Islamic extremists.

Boko Haram rebels have crossed over from Nigeria to attack towns in northern Cameroon. About 200 Cameroonian soldiers have been killed in the fighting, according to the demonstration's organizers, Cameroonian journalists who have reported on the fighting.

The demonstrators marched through Yaounde's streets, carrying the flags of Cameroon and Chad, two of the African countries that have deployed troops to help the Nigerian army to fight Boko Haram.

The march was a sign of solidarity for the millions of people suffering in Nigeria and neighboring countries as a result of Boko Haram's violence, Guibal Gatama, a journalist and the event's main organizer, told The Associated Press.

"It was very important for Cameroonians to come out as a sign of solidarity for the 150,000 internally displaced people, for the 200,000 Nigerian refugees and the 170 schools that have been closed," said Gatama. "I am optimistic that the military will be galvanized and I am sure Boko Haram has got the message that the people are united against them."

The solidarity march was also to discourage Cameroonian youths from joining the extremist group, said journalist Ndi Eugene Ndi.

Buma Yvonne who lost his younger brother in the battle against Boko Haram said the march showed how much Cameroonians stand by those who are sacrificing their lives: "Our children, our brothers, our parents giving their lives up there (in northern Cameroon), giving their lives for our sake, it is important, very, very important to come out to show our support for them."
Eye on Africa: US and China Tussle for Economic Influence
Yvan Yenda Ilunga
Visiting Scholar in The Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University

Yvan Yenda Ilunga does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation is funded by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alfred P Sloan Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Our global publishing platform is funded by Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The US and China are increasingly rivals on the world stage, competing over resources, policy and influence. One region where China has spent years establishing a foothold is Africa. Now the US is also keen to reassert itself after years of economic neglect.

The US fired the latest salvo late last year when it pledged to provide at least US$14 billion in public and private assistance in areas such as clean energy, energy, aviation and banking. President Barack Obama told leaders of 50 African countries attending the US-Africa Leaders Summit that Coca-Cola will provide clean water, General Electric will assist with infrastructure development, and Marriott will build more hotels.

But there was a catch, as always. The governments who receive the investments must do more to bolster the rule of law, reform regulations and root out corruption.

That’s a key difference between the US and China in their approaches to Africa and elsewhere. The US likes to attach strings, the Chinese just want to do business. And that’s why China’s economic footprint in Africa dwarfs that of the US. Indeed, it surpassed the US as the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.

About $200 billion of goods and services flowed between China and Africa in 2013, double the $85 billion in trade the US had with the continent.

Africa still offers promise to both superpowers, one waxing, one waning, as a region not yet fully developed but boasting many fast-growing economies. In their pursuit of economic gain, the US and China eye Africa as a fertile land of opportunity. As they race to establish economic control on the continent, it is important to carefully examine the strategies they’re employing.

While their economic goals are similar, their terms of engagement are diametrically opposed.

China’s model: investment without meddling

China’s strategy in Africa diverges from the traditional model exemplified by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. That model, which has regulated the principles underlying international investment and trade for decades, aims to establish accountability and ethics at the center of economic cooperation. Critics contend this model is too Western-centric.

China utilizes a “doing business” model that ostensibly treats African states as equal partners and steers clear of their internal affairs – a strategy that appeals to countries used to Western colonies and dictates.

It’s built on three strategies that China has used successfully to achieve its African trade goals: flexibility, focusing on infrastructure and cementing partnerships with small businesses.

Flexibility. China invests in Africa with a high degree of flexibility and pays little heed to the existence (or nonexistence) of credible financial institutions, contrary to the norm of American and European investment. Instead, its sole focus is on gaining access to natural resources such as copper and gold, with no interest in building up African institutions.

While this approach draws criticism for its lack of accountability, China has managed to seduce many African governments such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the notion of an equal partnership without internal meddling.

Infrastructure. China has long been Africa’s top infrastructure partner. New roads, bridges, hydroelectric dams, schools and hospitals are going up across the country as a result, bolstering economic growth. This hasn’t been without criticism: many question the long-term viability of the structures being built and the fact that Chinese workers are imported to do most of the work. Thus while buildings and bridges may rise, few jobs are directly created.

Small business. Lastly, small business owners in Africa and their Chinese counterparts have established strong ties, particularly in clothing and construction. Trade in these sectors has exploded. Yet again, the rapidity with which these partnerships have developed has created some unease among consumers and analysts. The quality of the Chinese products being imported is often low and comes with no warranty or other guarantee.

Despite the problems and criticisms, these three strategies exemplify why the Chinese model has been successful in Africa.

The US model: building strong institutions

The US has a long history of engagement in Africa, particularly in terms of aid and political and military influence – the case of Rwanda since 1994 exemplifies this. In recent years the USA has been shifting toward building economic ties with the continent.

That’s now accelerating as developing countries such as China and Brazil dominate growth in the global economy, prompting the Obama administration to launch the US-Africa partnership. Previous efforts were bilateral, this new framework has truly continental ambitions.

The US strategy boils down to building strong institutions and focusing on macro projects.

State building. The main thrust of US investment has long been made through development agencies and financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, following the traditional model promoted through structural adjustment mechanisms which focuses on poverty reduction, institutional reforms and free market with highly macro-economic focus in its implementation.

With many countries on the continent still in the process of state-building such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic, the US focus on institutional reforms and accountability as a precondition of aid should be encouraged. This approach not only facilitates monitoring and management of the funds distributed. It also helps establish a less corrupt economic space for private enterprise. That, in turn, attracts other foreign investors and makes the state more sustainable.

Based on my personal experience, however, this strategy isn’t well received by Africans, who regard it as another symbol of an unequal partnership, with the US imposing its conditions. This inflexible and sometimes overbearing approach sometimes brings more frustration than interest in cooperation.

Big projects. The second US strategy of targeting macro projects in energy, mining and other sectors also often falls flat. The rationale behind making such investments is valid but the idea that the benefits will trickle down has failed to bear fruit. The promotion of economic growth in Africa requires the creation of a stronger middle class, which in turn requires more small- and medium-sized businesses.

On this, China gets it right. The US will need to reconsider this focus and do more to deal with Africans at the micro level if it wants to establish a long and lasting presence there.

Additionally, the US tendency to interfere in the political affairs of many countries in Africa – such as Libya – gets in the way of cooperation.

Economic cooperation needs to be based on mutual trust, and this is only be possible if the US is less forceful in its terms of partnership. Unless the US becomes more flexible, it is unlikely to rival China as Africa’s top partner.

Everyone can win

Both the Chinese and the American terms of engagement in Africa may be strategically and ideologically valid and justifiable. There are strengths and weaknesses to both approaches.

China’s flexibility in contracts and everything else creates a fast win—win situation but does not promote good governance or state building, both of which are sorely needed in Africa.

The US focus on the need for institutional reforms is important, but without a more flexible and adaptive approach this will not work.

As the US shows a growing economic interest in Africa, a key question will be whether the Obama administration can establish a stronger partnership that focuses on business ties and not military force.

Just as China can learn from the US emphasis on state building, the Americans should take a page from the Chinese playbook. The end result would be truly a win-win for everyone.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Newsletter of the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA): Bottom Line
Issue 5, Vol 12: 26 February 2015

In this issue:
YCLSA Reaction to the Budget Speech
A crisis of "de-politicization" and the plight of the working class youth
Red card to corruption

Viewpoint by Khaya XabaYCLSA
Reaction to the Budget Speech

26 February 2015

The Young Communist League of South Africa [uFasimba] welcomes the first budget of our fifth democratic parliament as presented by the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene.

We appreciate that the budgets notes the strides made by the African National Congress [ANC] administration in building houses, delivering services like water and electricity, opening the doors of both health and education. More is still to be done to deal with the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

The budget speech notes that we still have people still living in shacks, schools without sanitation, and patients who are without healthcare. The ANC government has delivered on its promises; however, more can still be done to better the quality of lives of South Africans. As the YCLSA we still have faith in the ANC government and we hold a strong view that it is on the right track to move South Africa forward.

As the YCLSA we note the following from the budget speech:

Nine Point Plan

The Nine Point Plan which was mentioned by the President in his State of the Nation address again found expression in the budget speech. We would like to emphasize that we welcome the nine point plan by our government to push our economy forward. We are still impressed by the intention to resolve the energy crisis, revitalising agriculture, advancing beneficiation of mineral wealth and unlocking the potential of cooperatives.

We will intensify our call for a bottom-up approach of youth enterprise and cooperatives to deal with the issue of youth unemployment. Our government must look into the nationalisation of SASOL and ARCELLO-Mittal. The possibility of creating a national steel company must be looked into as well. We need to ensure that we have enough production capacity to meet the 70% local procurement commitment.

Energy

The recent re-emergence of power cuts and electricity constraints does not only have the potential to further perpetrate service delivery protests but it also has the potential to hold back growth in both manufacturing and mining. Both businesses and households stand the risks of raises costs.

It is for these reasons that our government must focus on stabilizing our energy supply and ensure that the recent blackouts do not destabilize our economy. The process of building new power station should be speeded up and prioritize the maintenance of power generation infrastructure. We welcome the R18 billion in electrification fund that is aimed at providing electricity to more than 875 000 households.

Local government

We welcome the review of local government infrastructure grants, we agree with the minister that this lead to simplification and consolidation of the financing arrangements. We welcome the prioritisation and special focus on local government. This level of government is very critical in that it is the closest to the people.

We hope the focus will results in better performance and the speeding up of service delivery. Most of the service delivery protests are as a result of the inefficiency by government to supply communities with services. We continue to call for the Detenderisation of the state; tenders breed corruption. Government must build capacity to undertake service delivery.

Unemployment

The scourge of unemployment continues to plague young people especially those between the ages of 18 to 35. The Youth Wage Subsidy that has been disguised by our government as the Employment Tax Incentive is not helping in any way whatsoever in eradicating unemployment. Instead capitalists seem to benefit more from this than young people.

The YCLSA will convene a Jobs for Youth Summit that will come up with alternative ways to deal with the scourge of unemployment and ensure that young people are active participants in the economy. We call for a review of the Youth Employment Accord.

Health

We call for the speeding up of the process of looking at funding models of the National Health Insurance. As the YCLSA we hold a strong view that the NHI will ensure that more of our people have access to decent healthcare and that healthcare is not only for those who have money.

While we applaud government`s efforts in fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS including its work in limiting mother to child transmission we feel strongly that more should be done in educating our people about the benefits of practicing safe sex. We should be a nation that focuses more on the prevention of new infections than trying to cure those infected. We should work in unison as a country to limit new infections and ensure the practise of safe sex.

Education

We welcome government`s intention to increase NSFAS allocation to be at R11.9 Billion in 2017/8. We however still hold a strong view that this amount is not enough to supply the demand of students who want to access institutions of higher learning. The National Students Financial Aid Scheme pays different fees for students studying one and the same degree in different universities due to different price structures.
The fight against academic exclusion must include the principle, entailed in the YCLSA 2nd National Council resolution, that college and university fees must be standardised and that the government must consider regulating university fees.

We are against the narrative that institutions of higher learning do not have money, they do as a matter of fact, but they do not use that money to expand access to poor students. What they do is just to shove off the problem to NSFAS.

Issued by YCLSA Media

For more information contact:
Khaya Xaba
YCLSA National Spokesperson
Cell: 074 5 204 204
Tel: 011 339 3621
Twitter: @chedetachment


Viewpoint by Molaodi wa Sekake
Crisis of "de-politicization" and the plight of the working class youth

By Molaodi wa Sekake

YLCSA in the Moses Mabhida Province, in the context of its ideological, political and programmatic work will develop a systematic analysis of and develop recommendations on how to overcome problems facing the working class youth in the Province, this will include a specific critique and contribution on several youth documents that have been developed overtime as an attempt to respond to the plight of the youth. Such an endeavor will seek to outline our position on Youth Development, and as such inform a particular Programme of Action and commensurate institutional make-up for youth development, respectively.

In light of this however, we cannot abscond from our constant revolutionary responsibility of providing what we deem to be an adequate analysis of the current problems facing young people in the Province. We believe such a responsibility rests squarely at the door-step of the Young Communist League of South Africa, and such, we ought to assume it with the diligence and decorum it deserves, because failure to do so will undoubtedly plunge the whole agenda of youth development into "reactionary" hands of (neo) liberal, and conservative forces.

This task is very important given the prevalence of what the vanguard of the working class, the SACP has correctly characterized as an "anti-majoritarian liberal offensive", and what the ANC refer to as "Sins of Incumbency" on the other hand; the convergence of these two tendencies, coupled with unsavory "narrow nationalist-populist politics" paralyzes the agenda of working class youth emancipation and as a result stall youth development in particular. Some may ask: "But how can this be the case?" Our answer as the YCLSA in the Moses Mabhida Province is derived out of a particular "class narrative".

At the time when the national liberation movement seeks to fast-track and radicalize the process of social and economic transformation there are forces that run counter to such a liberaroty programme; the irony of such a reality is not that it is challenged by outside forces (their attitude is always predictable, and therefore nothing amazing) but the fact is that it is faces internal resistance by those who clam to be members of the ANC. While all of us in the MDM structures are committed to the programme of social and economic freedom as far as youth development is concerned, there are people internally wearing the same regalia as ours, chanting the same songs, spewing same revolutionary phrases but who are part of part reproducing youth unemployment, poverty and thus entrench inequalities, by taking advantage of the plight of the youth and using them as political pawns to fight their political battles, this not only requires a scathing criticism, but also disciplinary measures. The working class youth cannot be held at ransom by a self-serving `political elite` - both young and old.

The simple `hierarchy` of leadership-membership was not meant to assume exploitative dimensions but rather to give organizational shape as far as political functions and responsibilities are concerned, but what we witness is a situation in which the poor membership, the poor youth in particular, is used as a "political bank" to fulfill the insatiable appetites of self-serving politicians, who cannot argue their case through organizational processes and subject themselves to organizational discipline however difficult things could be. The case in point is the "march" to ANC offices in the Province "allegedly" by "members of the ANC from the branches".

This is not merely a betrayal of revolutionary consciousness, but a crime. People who are brought into such "grievance marches" to offices of the movement are young people who are suppose to be in class during weekdays not marching under the behest of the interests of political figure(s); if you deny that young person a chance to attend school, how will they make it in life? Is a march against the movement imparting any skill in that person, other than creating of a sense of "entitlement" on the part of the youth? Is this not a reproduction of social ills when such individuals no longer qualify and make it in life, and thus become part of the poverty-unemployment statistics? Is this not a crime that is prosecutable?

The unemployed working class youth simply because it is not in the labour market, is conscripted into a fictitious "political market" that has nothing to do with their material conditions, but rather to be "hewers of wood and drawers of water" at the behest of some individuals who are monied, and thus can command money-based respect however counter-revolutionary such might be, and issue commands to the poor troop that expects meager rewards at the end to the day in the political market at the helm of which is the political elite - young and old. To the elite unemployment is beneficial, because it offers them a ready made troop of young people from which to recruit to fight political battles, this runs counter to the professed revolutionary task of " creating employment ", and therefore it qualifies to be declared "counter-revolutionary" and punishable, and be nipped in the bud once and for all.

The intention of some in the movement is to go against the very sacrosanct tenets of the movement and amass as much wealth as possible, and to do that they must capture political power and as a result the organizational machinery. This normally occurs through `buying` of votes from the helpless and hopeless members during Congresses. Therefore, those who want power at all cost always seek to create a pool of "dependent" young people who will neither reason nor respect the organization, whose goal is not self-development but "recipients" of meager monetary hand-outs gotten from the "political elite" on the basis of being sheepish foot-soldiers for a particular "faction". We believe that NEITHER revolutionary cadreship NOR transformative consciousness can be cultivated out of such situation. In the same breadth, there are young people who get elected on the ticket of youth development, yet inversely create a pool of dependent young people so that they become the ever-ready exploitable "political property" of the `nascent` political elite - young and old.

Often perpetrators are not concerned about the ideological and policy direction of the movement but rather constitute a parasitic core that - literally and figuratively - `milks the udder` of a developmental political machinery until it oozes blood, and as a result voraciously feed and fulfill their insatiable personal political appetites, with a simultaneous disavowal of any semblance of revolutionary morality, and sensitivity. While the politically used and exploited poor youth goes back to conditions where there is no food on the table, the political elite assumes a celebratory limelight of decadence in "cosy" places, and spend thousands and thousands of rands on sparkling, if not bubbly wine, as they dine to the latter, and yes, with the so called "masses of our people" away in "candlelight" shanty places, not to cause traffic on `reserved` seats, and dampen the celebratory mood of the `monied` elite.

We therefore call upon all progressive and revolutionary forces and structures to be sensitive to the plight of the youth, and prevent any abuse of the working class youth. Instead of squandering its energies on futile activities and being used as pawns in political battles, the youth must go to school, start co-operatives, and businesses; be part of art programmes - poetry, music, performance, as well as sporting activities, such as netball, soccer. Where there are no such facilities [for some of these activities] the youth must organize itself, work with the local leadership of the YCL and engage their local authorities [municipalities] and demand that which is developmental, and productive.

The YCLSA in the Moses Mabhida Province, along with other PYA structures in the province, have a very huge task, and that task is to advance a massive politicization of the youth, because it is as a result of massive de-politicization that the working class youth is susceptible and gullible to poisonous politics, and reactionary activities; the crisis of "de-politicization" was stressed by our SACP Provincial Secretary political report in the last Provincial Congress of the Party, and it is upon us to combat it aggressively.

Every YCLSA cadre in the Moses Mabhida Province will at all times demonstrate selflessness, sensitivity and humility in the deepening of the NDR towards a socialist society, because we are the ones we have been waiting for, and dare [we] lose sight of the revolutionary task ahead, we are our own liberators.

"Away with the privatization of the movement away, forward with organizational discipline forward".

SOCIALISM IS THE FUTURE, BUILD IT NOW!

Amandla, Matla, Matimba!

Molaodi wa sekake is the Moses Mabhida Provincial Spokesperson


Viewpoint by Thabang Maseko
Red card to corruption

By Thabang Maseko

The South African Communist Party, Skenjana Roji district in Buffalo City Municipality will hold anti-corruption march on 27 February 2015. Combating corruption must not be seen as an end itself. This must be viewed as insurable from the broader goals of socio-economic development. It must also be viewed as a goal effort involving the government, the private sector and society as a whole. It cannot be the responsibility of government alone. Also we are observing that the corruption is entrenched in local government and perpetuated by senior officials of the municipalities, and these scandals reflects bad to the ruling party because of greed individuals.

Effective anti-corruption strategies must be intricately and intimately linked to sustained development. We must resist the worship of the capitalist value-system that defies individualism and the material possession as the pinnacle of human success. Only through broad and sustained efforts to a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can we succeed to defeat and eradicate the value system that justifies such naked selfishness represented by act of corruption.

Clearly, we need a new cadre of public servant who shares the vision of our government and people, who can manage their inherent conflict of interest between public and private interest and between satisfaction with what you earn and have and desire for more. This new cadre must subordinate the private interest to the public interest and must accordingly be committed to serve the public with the integrity. In this way we must succeed to create a harmonious relationship between private and public interest and treat these two as not mutually exclusive. But such a situation would not create itself or be arrived at automatically. It be enforced through of ethics informed by the ethical informed by the ethical values of society , we are trying to create as well other enforcement measures. Combating corruption in the public sector requires both internal and external measures.

Clean governance is a fundamental to the creation of developmental state. This responsibility of good governance is as important for public sector as it is for the private sector and civil society. Usually where corruption occurs, it involves both or all these parties.

There is a need for establishment of professionals` meritocratic public service that is able to uphold the value and principle of democracy, good governance, and Ubuntu whilst sharing the ideology of development. To succeed in combating is not enough that people should fear the law and punishment they must also be ethical and possess the ethos that makes corruption fail to thrive. In this regards, we need to prevent and punish what is morally wrong and to encourage and reward all that is morally right. We must inculcate of hard work in society as a whole and the broader leadership must lead by the force example. At some time, we strive to achieve a balance and harmony both material and spiritual needs.

The allegation that corruption is necessary caused by poverty must equally be rejected contemptuously. Even where they participate in corrupt activities, the poor are often the victims rather than the propellers of corruption. A strong and robust democracy is essential to ensure that all sectors of society including the media and organization of civil of society, private sectors, trade union and faith based organization jointly share the collective responsibility to promote the value opposite to developmentalism. What South Africa needs is a robust and very public campaign to mobilize communities both to report incidents of corruption where they are aware of it and themselves to refrain from knowingly being involved.

Furthermore as we celebrate 60 years of Freedom Charter, we should root out the corruption for better life for all.

Thabang Maseko is the EC Young Communist League SA Spokesperson
Preparations For the 6th National Conference of the African National Congress Women's League
24 February 2015
African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL)

In August 2014, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANCWL adopted and presented a road map towards the organisation`s 6th National Congress.

The roadmap was instructive on inter alia, the need to follow proper and stringent organizational processes in the lead up to the Conference.

To this end, structures of the organisation had to be built where there were none and those whose mandates had expired were revived. A thorough branch auditing process has been underway to determine the 70% branches quota required to convene a National Conference. To consider policy proposals in the lead up to the National Conference, a Policy Conference was convened.

An audit process of all the League`s branches, initiated in September 2014, has been completed. The National Policy Conference was convened at the Birchwood Conference Centre on the 12th to the 14th December 2014.

The ANCWL`s National Conference will take place on the 16th to the 19th April 2015 in Gauteng. Preparations for the 6th National Conference are well underway. The ANCWL`s structures, including branches countrywide - anticipate a robust and productive conference that will chart the course for the organization in the years to come.

The National Conference will be attended by 3000 delegates, with 90% of delegates representing branches of the League. We are currently in the process of finalizing the provincial delegations.

Remaining delegates will be drawn from the ranks of the African National Congress (ANC), the alliance partners, the Progressive Women`s Movement (PWM), business and the media.

Regional General Councils and Provincial General Councils will be convened around the country to consolidate our policy positions, elect delegates to Conference and their preferences on leadership to these forward.

As we continue to Work Together to Move South Africa Forward in this, the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter and the 21st year of our democracy, the National Conference is both timely and relevant.

Our aim as the ANCWL is to develop policies that will change the lives of our people for the better: and in particular, to deliberate on the conditions facing South African women.

Last year`s National Policy Conference included women from all walks of life and was convened under the theme "Radical Transformation of Women`s Socio-Economic Rights".

The reality is that despite impressive strides made by the ANC in accelerating women`s empowerment: the majority of the country`s women continue to face economic marginalization and impoverishment.

Women continue to bear the brunt of poverty, and are generally excluded from meaningful, stable employment and business opportunities.

The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) reports that despite successes in broadening women`s access to the formal economy through employment equity policies and BBBEE, there has since been stagnation in some areas and regression in others.

A large number of South African women are concentrated in low-skilled and low-paying jobs, as well as in unpaid work. Poverty, access to resources and land, cultural stereotypes and entrenched patriarchy continue impede the advancement of women.

Recommendations from the National Policy Conference emphasized the need to accelerate the advancement of the women`s agenda.

In addition to this, to work towards the advancement of a truly non-sexist society, codified in both the South African Constitution and the ANC`s Strategy and Tactics.

It is our expectation that our branches will enrich the recommendations from the National Policy Conference and take forward bold and radical resolutions to the ANCWL National Conference, and later to the ANC Policy Conference in June this year.

The National Conference will engage sectoral discussions around the following broad thematic areas:

Organizational Renewal
Women and Education
Women and the Economy
Gender Based Violence
Women and Health

Once adopted by the National Conference, the resolutions will be lobbied for within the structures of the ANCWL and the ANC- in preparation for the ANC National General Council (NGC) in June 2015.

Key recommendations of the National Policy Conference that will be deliberated on ahead of the National Conference include:

On Women and the Economy

A call for legislation, policies, plans and programmes to promote the economic empowerment of women
Exploring the establishment of a Women`s Bank, drawing on international best practice, such as the founding of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh
The establishment of a Women`s Development Agency/ Empowerment Fund, located in the Ministry of Women

Engaging government and the private sector to develop strategies and programmes that will ensure a shift from consumption to productive economic policies, effectively using SMMEs to create employment, growth and an inclusive economy for the benefit of women in particular;
Lobbying for the amendment of existing BBBEE legislation, with a greater emphasis on women beneficiaries;
Special interventions for women and young girls from rural communities, so that they stay in school longer, take advantage of training, and gain meaningful access to technology, training and assets for employment and economic transformation
Encouraging women to manage and own their farms and play an active role in stimulating agriculture and agro-processing for rural development and the creation of jobs, with women being the main beneficiaries;
Engaging government to ensure that women who are involved in farming and have access to agricultural education

On Women and Poverty

We have acknowledged the great strides made by the governing party in alleviating poverty through its progressive policies. However, the skewed impact of poverty on black women necessitates bold, radical and decisive action.

The land question remains an emotive one, and plays a decisive role in the struggle for the political, economic and social emancipation of the people of South Africa, and of women, in particular.

To this end, Conference will have to consider the following recommendations:

On Land

The review process of the impact of the 1913 Land Act should ensure that women access productive agricultural land that will sustain their livelihoods, and that adequate mentoring programmes are provided to women who were given land by government
Government must develop and implement programmes that will ensure that women utilize the accessed land for their economic development; and should be encouraged to create markets for produce and goods manufactured by women cooperatives and companies, working with the private sector

On Social Grants

Noting the rate of misuse of social grants and other government poverty relief initiatives by some of the beneficiaries; the ANCWL National Policy Conference recommended that 50% of child support grants should be in the form of non-transferable food vouchers
Assisting women to register companies, and lobby for a certain percentage of tenders related to poverty relief programmes to be ring-fenced for women in both the public and private sectors

On Women and Education

Greater emphasis must be placed on skills development for women and girls, including advocacy for greater access to Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and strengthening the Quality Learning and Training Campaign (QLTC), ABET and Kha Ri Gude
More women should be targeted for training in technical subjects, including, if necessary, the retraining of some teachers to offer technical subjects
Active and visible support for teenage and single mothers to return to school, and ensuring education institutions in the country provide safe and secure physical and emotional environments for our children

On Gender Based Violence

The cultural practice of ukuthwala constitutes an injustice to women and girl-children and must be abolished
The custom of virginity testing of young girls exposes the girl-child to rape, incest, abuse and sexual violence; and must be abolished
Strict measures must be implemented to punish perpetrators who are responsible for deaths and amputations of initiates during the initiation of boys into manhood as a result of ill-treatment and lack of care
More stringent monitoring and evaluation of the turn-around time taken on gender-based violence cases
Mobilization of society to campaign and picket outside courts to raise awareness about the prevailing weaknesses in the Justice system in relation to gender-based violence cases
Prioritization of criminal cases relating to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI), and that harsh sentences should be imposed on those found guilty of violating their rights
Harsh sentences must be imposed on perpetrators of witchcraft murders, in order to protect the rights of all elderly women
The Thuthuzela integrated strategy for prevention, reaction and support for rape victims is an effective strategy that improved prosecution, particularly in the areas of sexual offences, maintenance, child justice and domestic violence, and therefore needs to be re-prioritized.

We look forward to the National Conference, confident that the ANC Women`s League will emerge from it with decisive and bold policies that will give further impetus to the fight for gender equality and a truly non-sexist society.

As we celebrate our gains as women in the 21st year since the birth of our democracy: we are also looking ahead, to the further advancement of the status of women. It is an ideal on which the ANCWL has founded: and continues to sustain. And in this we are grateful to the African National Congress for its support of the objectives of the National Conference. May we all continue to Work Together to Move South Africa Forward: and in particular, to move the women of South Africa Forward.

Issued by
Angie Motshekga
President
African National Congress Women`s League

Enquiries
Edna Molewa
Head of Communications
076 462 5529
Communist Party of Swaziland Calls on Swazi Workers to Defend TUCOSWA Against Pro-Mswati Bogus Union
23 February 2015

The Mswati regime is stepping up its attacks on the labour movement and the working class of Swaziland, in particular through its repression of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA).

In its latest assault, the Mswati regime is sponsoring a rival “union”, the Swaziland Economic Improvement Workers Union (SEIWU). This is a totally spurious association. Its sole purpose is to confound the efforts of TUCOSWA to act as a progressive federation that upholds the interests of the organised working class.

SEIWU is aggressively recruiting from TUCOSWA strongholds. It claims to have 6 000 members, and vows to concentrate on recruiting from the sugar belt and the rest of the agricultural sector.

SEIWU’s message to the Swazi working class is ‘don’t rock the boat’. Its avowed aim is to further “economic stability and harmonious relations in the workplace”. This is Mswati-speak for supporting the regime and ensuring that workers are docile and pliant to the will of employers and government.

SEIWU is our enemy. It is a threat to worker unity and is a threat to the ability of the working class to develop its militancy against one of the most anti-democratic and exploitative regimes in the world.

SEIWU must be stopped at all costs. We must expose and end its campaign of winning over members from unions affiliated to TUCOSWA. Its aim is to drain support from TUCOSWA and to ensure that trade unions are Mswati’s toothless lapdogs, when they should be the vigilant anti-regime guard dogs of the working class.

The regime has waged continual campaigns to eradicate TUCOSWA as the voice of progressive trade unionism. First, it deregistered the union, a move that provoked widespread international condemnation. Then it waged a dirty tricks campaign to emasculate TUCOSWA’s finances. More recently, it ‘banned’ TUCOSWA by putting an end to all employer and employee federations. This last move also sought to centralize all tripartite collective bargaining through the state. But TUCOSWA lives and is undeterred.

Trade union issues in Swaziland have little relevance or meaning unless they address the need to end autocratic rule and institute a democratic dispensation where all political parties and movements are free to operate. Trade Unions exist to wage and win the class struggle against class exploitation.

The Communist Party of Swaziland urges all trade union affiliates to TUCOSWA to protect the federation, and for those members of unions that have signed up to SEIWU to leave the organization. SEIWU does not have your interests at heart, only Mswati’s interests.

Long live TUCOSWA long live!
Viva workers unity viva!
Down with bogus unions down!

Contacts
Kenneth Kunene
General Secretary
Mobile: +27 72 594 3971
Email: cpswa.org@gmail.com
Libya Without Peace
23.02.2015 00:24
pravda.ru

At the roar of the cannon we had to wave our flag in a foreign land, not for the success of the Italian genius that to look good is nothing else except the inventiveness of the poor. And against a defenseless nation whose army could not even compete with the Italian.

Tripoli, beautiful land of love, sweet comes to you this my song! The flag be flown in your towers at the roar of the cannon!

So sang Italy in the early twentieth century, when she imagined herself being something of important and instead she picked up only the crumbs that others had left on the street. So she illuded herself and carefree ran toward the carnage of World War I that a little later would burst.

At the roar of the cannon we had to wave our flag in a foreign land, not for the success of the Italian genius that to look good is nothing else except the inventiveness of the poor. And against a defenseless nation whose army could not even compete with the Italian.

In more recent times and after being closed the historical parenthesis of Colonel Gaddafi and the Jamahiriyya he had founded without firing a shot, Italy thought she could cash in for the betrayal that it had achieved once again. This forgetting that the traitors never have a real say in the harmful actions to which they lend themselves, especially when they are only poor bullies.

It's of these days the news appeared that ISIS is rampant in Libya. Killing dozens of Christians. Sentencing to death and slaughtering anyone who opposes its distorted view of Islam. There have even have been addressed to Italy threats of bombing with Scud missiles. According to some rumors, the members of ISIS are already in our area, not far from Rome.

Aside from the dead with their throats cut for their religious diversity, we can say that some are hotshot propaganda. It is not clear by whom, however.

Our Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the man with an ice cream in hand, immediately offered to send a contingent of troops to defend freedom, poetry and all the beautiful things that make life worth living in the West. Not least that slice of booty oil that Italy is so determined to get for herself by law for the role she has played in the bombing campaign. But shortly after Renzi backtracked: someone has explained to him that it was not the case, that would not be a victorious short ride and that in fact to Italy was not for nothing.

There is no peace in Libya but it was natural to finish so. Only fools could and can still believe that more than eight months of fierce bombardments have been put in place to defend a who knows what freedom and democracy in the post-Gaddafi Libya.

Libya found herself slaughtered and fallen into a Somalia condition and used as a forerunner for the war against Syria and Iran. And yet, perhaps for an example of historical justice, not only the Green Jamahiriyya disappeared but Italian democracy too.

Sure, it was not a thing blatant and flashy as for Libya. Of course, the process was already in place by many and too many years and therefore no one has noticed it, let alone the Italian people, but the fact remains that the disappearance there has been.

The point that interest us directly is that the Italian Prime Minister in those days, Silvio Berlusconi, literally fell from the clouds when began the facts which led to the destruction of Libya and the assassination of brother leader Muhammad Gaddafi.

It became apparent that Silvio Berlusconi knew nothing of what was brewing against Tripoli. But Italy had hosted Gaddafi in Rome a year before signing on that occasion a treaty of friendship and non-interference, as well as numerous other trade agreements.

Italian oil company ENI, founded by Enrico Mattei bemoaned and died in circumstances that someone goes back to a murder done by the Italian mafia but commissioned by the CIA, was at home in Libya. His presence was so important that almost excluded other foreign companies. And there was an entire galaxy of small and medium-sized Italian companies that traded with the Libyans and many of these companies had factories on Libyan soil too. We can not forget the great business in the Libyan public constructions, including all the major Italian manufacturers. And finally how to ignore the rescue of Italian bank Unicredit? Twenty million euro paid ready cash by Gaddafi thanks to which his failure and a dangerous domino effect on the entire Italian banking system was avoided.

So a lot of money run and yet the old Berlusconi was still surprised and shocked by the outbreak of hostilities.

You cannot think that there were no Italian intelligence agents in Libya, given the number and nature of the business that our country had with Tripoli. But our intelligence services apparently have not seen or heard anything that was worth reporting to our government.

Similarly our diplomats in the United States, France, England and other chancelleries of Europe have not been able to grasp even the slightest clue, even something of indirect that would put our leaders on notice.

Our generals and colonels have never heard any rumor during their meetings with NATO colleagues, no whisper, no allusive sentences dropped without conclusion. Nothing at all.

The reality is different: the Italian rulers have always been perfunctory, some less than others but all subjected to the command of the US. With Silvio Berlusconi the situation has reached a higher level, however. Always obsessively dominated by those his sexual instincts that so filled with ridiculous our country in the eyes of the world. Always on the run from a huge number of judicial investigations, for crimes that in another country, even just a little more civilized of contemporary Italy, would have cost the political career for even a mere suspicion.

And is natural that to such a person is given only enough rope to hang himself and not be allowed instead of governing a Nation with dignity. Notwithstanding that, it is hard to believe that the word "dignity" find place in the personal vocabulary of Berlusconi and in general in that of the Italian politicians.

The Italian Democratic Party and the remnants offal of the Italian left urged the government to go to war in the name of democracy and freedom mantra, loyalty to the Atlantic ally and NATO. Retaliation came when Berlusconi and his puppets did the same in reversed roles during the ignoble war against Serbia of Milosevic and the Balkan tragedy. Berlusconi managed to withstand a week and then capitulated, as expected.

Once again to pay for the filth of the Italian domestic politics were a foreign country and a foreign people who had not done anything against Italy but that on the contrary we Italians had already tormented much in the past.

And yet you should remember one thing well: i.e. a Nation that does not know how to express a government worthy of this name nor control her army and her secret police, is a Nation without a future. Therefore I wonder when History will make a pair with us and Italy will end up dismembered and removed, to the political games of foreign States that they said our friends until a few moments before. Maybe soon.

Costantino Ceoldo
Is Fascist America Ready for Total War Against Russia and China?
26.02.2015 17:03
pravda.ru

Is USA ready for war?

The debate to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over fascism and the adoption of the UN Charter has recently taken part in New York. Yet, fascism as the destruction of a certain category of humans for the sake of exceptionalism of another category of humans has become the state ideology of the United States. To make matters worse, the UN does not fulfill its functions of a peacemaker.

"Before our eyes, we can see numerous examples of violations of fundamental principles of the UN Charter, - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a recent meeting in New York. - It goes about such principles as independent and sovereign equality of states. Non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes. Suffice it to recall the bombings of Serbia, the occupation of Iraq and gross manipulations with the Security Council mandate that turned to chaos in Libya. All this is the result of attempts to ensure dominance in world affairs, the wish to govern all and everywhere, use military force unilaterally to promote one's own interests," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Fascism reborn in USA

Unfortunately, 70 years after the defeat of fascism in World War II, one can say that fascism was reborn in the United States. A clear sign of it is when US leaders speak about their exceptionalism and enslavement of other nations.

Another feature is about the discrimination of society on racial, national or religious grounds. This, too, is a part of American life. Suffice it to recall the recent events in Ferguson or the activities of neo-Nazi organizations, such as the Aryan Nation, White American Knights and National Socialist Movement. They can work in the USA legally.

American fascism ensures its global reign through the dollar globalization of economy, military presence in 144 countries, the military budget worth half a trillion dollars, a huge administrative resource and the participation in multiple military conflicts globally.

The primary goal of this regime is to preserve the petrodollar as the only currency in the energy market. For this purpose, one should control not only manufacturing countries, but also the countries, through which gas and oil pipelines run. Therefore, the United States was keeping an eye on disloyal regimes in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine.

The above-mentioned speech from Sergei Lavrov is indicative. For the first time, a Russian official voiced  accusations against the American quasi fascism. It is no coincidence that many American experts say that the US is preparing for war with two enemies at once - Russia and China. The situation started to get worse after neoconservatives and "hawks" came to power in the US. Republicans who do not conceal their goal to bring Russia back to where it was under Boris Yeltsin.

USA spends billions to suppress dissent

Therefore, a new world war, even a nuclear war, is objectively possible. Barack Obama is not a dove of peace at all. The American president said at West Point that US foreign policy would be based on deterring Russia's "aggression" and China's "expansion." Immediately after Obama's statement, Defense Secretary  Chuck Hagel, while visiting Singapore, accused China of destabilizing the situation in the South China Sea.

The United States spends billions of dollars for the suppression of dissent around the world. The Americans finance NGOs that orchestrate color revolutions, sponsor opposition movements and the fifth column. To preserve the financial domination, they use the dollar peg for national currencies through loyal central banks. Should the latter disobey, the US resorts to a mechanism of sanctions.

The Americans use a powerful propaganda machine for intimidation. This machine can to turn allies in evil tyrants without reason or evidence in weeks. And then the real aggressor (try to recall how many times the US invaded other countries without a UN mandate) begins to blame its victims of aggression.

"Russia Invades Ukraine" - this is a typical headline for American media outlets. Again, there is nothing new here. Nazi Germany and its propagandists used the same technique in the past.

As for China, most American media outlets describe the country as a "communist" regime. A common American citizen, who was raised on hatred of the Soviets, needs no other explanation.

Would a common American citizen be ready for the total war at their doorstep? Do American people understand that in the era of globalization, they can not hide on the island of exceptionalism that has not seen war on its territory since the Civil War?

Let's try to look into methods and consequences.

China and Russia at war with the US dollar

First of all, China and Russia will attack the US dollar. How? They already take efforts to get rid of US treasury bills, which China has saved in large quantities, being the largest creditor of the United States. When Washington started printing dollars and set record low interest rates on treasuries, China realized that keeping them for a long period of time was unprofitable.

A publication at the International Business Times shocked the United States by saying that China was acting in concert with Russia. This is a union to "attack" the United States to destroy the ultimate source for global reign in the last 40 years - the petrodollar," the paper wrote.

Having the weakened US army and the bloated public debt, China has an excellent opportunity to bankrupt the USA. "If you think that this will not affect you, you are wrong," Richard Clark, an expert in the field of security and counter-terrorism wrote. According to him, the fall of the petrodollar will devastate all those who live, work and invest in America.

Secondly, Russia and China will continue buying gold, as they do now. The Russian Central Bank actively buys physical gold. Russia has left China behind in terms of  gold purchases in October and November of 2014. The goal of this activity is to ensure a new world currency with gold. This is not a question of weeks or months - this is a question of years, but it can be solved.

Thirdly, Russia and China will build alliances that will use BRICS currency funds, provide diplomatic and military support to the countries in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. In a nutshell, Russia and China will go hand in hand in the areas, where the United States pursues its national interests. China can act single-handedly too, by giving billions of dollars from its Export-Import Bank as large investment projects everywhere from Russia to Latin America, thus buys world's loyalty.

Fourthly, Russia and China will move away from the dollar as an exchange currency. For example, Iran has signed several major agreements to waive the US dollar in oil deals with China, Russia and India. Latin America is switching to such settlement with Russia and China. If Saudi Arabia decide it must also abandon the dollar in favor of its largest consumer - China - then nothing will be able to save America. Why not - the Saudis are already at shale war with the United States.

China and Russia on the way to crush the US petrodollar

Economic wars will aggravate the situation inside the United States. The dollar will be good as candy wrapper. Dollar bubbles will burst in the public sector, such as health care. The crisis of 2008 will seem a childish game.

Economist Martin Armstrong predicts the growth of discontent against economic inequality that is likely to cause serious political uprising in 2015-2016. Ron Holland wrote an article for Market Oracle recommending the Americans should withdraw the dollar from their savings and invest it in real estate, gold and other assets, better outside the United States.

"Americans should take advantage of recent dollar strength to diversify into gold, investments, real estate and safe haven locations outside the US dollar and the United States. Better to be early than too late because eventually the consequences of aggressive military actions, central banking manipulation and uncontrolled government debt and unfunded liabilities will come home to the American people. Neither the guilt of our political and banking leadership nor the innocence of our citizenry will protect you, your assets or your family," Ron Holland wrote.

The total war of Russia and China against the United States has already begun in the field of economy, in Ukraine and Syria, as well as in the information field. No one can say what form it will take in a year, but Obama's emergency decrees will not protect the population from what his administration implants in other countries: insolvency, bankruptcy, hunger, and perhaps even death.

Lyuba Lulko

Pravda.Ru 
Russia Wants to Ensure Peace in Ukraine, Not to Indulge Western Leaders — Lavrov
February 26, 13:25 UTC+3

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said observers, including those from the OSCE mission, report a significant decline in shelling in eastern Ukraine

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe report that the intensity of attacks in east Ukraine has significantly declined, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday, adding that the ceasefire is still producing results.

"Impartial observers, including those from the OSCE mission, report a significant decline in shelling, which means that the truce still produces results," Lavrov said, noting that contrary to expectations of those who "want to frustrate the Minsk agreements" and "claim that the truce doesn’t work", there was ample evidence confirming that the ceasefire deal reached in the Belarusian capital had delivered "tangible results".

"For us, it is most important not to indulge these or those Western countries or leaders, who threaten us with sanctions, but the key thing is to ensure peace and sustainable political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis," Lavrov said.
Police Disperse Protesters at Ukraine National Bank
February 27, 2:43 UTC+3

"The police have brought down the tent where we were trying to hide from rain and have driven a bulldozer towards us," protesters told reporters

KIEV, February 27. /TASS/. Several people have been injured when the police were dispersing the rally at the building of Ukraine’s National bank, an unnamed protester told TASS by phone on Friday.

"When the National Guard servicemen were dispersing the rally, many got clobbered, with broken arms and head injuries," he said. "Ambulances were taking the victims from the site."

Earlier, media reports said that police used riot batons to disperse a rally at the building of the National Bank of Ukraine while the protesters’ tents were pulled down with bulldozers, some of the protesters were injured.

"The police have brought down the tent where we were trying to hide from rain and have driven a bulldozer towards us," protesters told reporters. "A fight erupted between the activists and law enforcers. Several people were hurt - with visible blood and traumas."

No criminal case against National Bank governor — Kiev prosecutor’s office

The protesters have been demanding resignation of Ukraine’s National Bank Governor Valeria Gontareva and her first deputy Alexander Pisarchuk for several days.

On Tuesday the protesters said they would participate in an indefinite and round-the-clock action at the National Bank.

On February 19 and 23 related demonstrations organised by the Public Control of Banks public movement took place at the National Bank building.

On Wednesday, February 18, deceived investors were holding a protest action at the building of Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, and even blocked the traffic on Institutskaya Street for some time.

On December 1, 2014 Kiev’s Pechersky district court bound prosecutors to launch a criminal case against Gontareva on charges referred to the National Bank's currency interventions in August 2014.
Ukraine Military Has Begun Heavy Weapons Withdrawal – Military Spokesman
February 26, 2015 12:25
Rt.com

Kiev troops have started the long-promised withdrawal of heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine, a step required by the fragile ceasefire agreement signed earlier this month. The rebels have been criticizing their opponents for stalling the disengagement.

“In accordance with the agreement reached in Minsk on February 12, today Ukraine begins withdrawal of 100mm artillery from the disengagement line. It's the first step towards withdrawal of heavy weapons, which will only be carried out under OSCE monitoring and verification,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The movement of artillery pieces is already underway and should take about a day, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said. The hardware will be pulled back 25km from the disengagement line.

The order to withdraw heavy weapons was given on Thursday after the Ukrainian military confirmed that they had not been shot at for a day. No combat casualties have been reported for a second day in a row.

“If there are any attempts to launch an offensive, the withdrawal schedule will be changed. The Ukrainian troops are fully prepared to defend the country,” the statement added.

Meanwhile rebel forces are continuing to pull back their heavy weapons, as they have been doing for days.

“Today at 10am, an OSCE-monitored movement of our columns commenced. They recorded this movement,” rebel spokesman Eduard Basurin said.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said it wants to withdraw 180 artillery pieces and 17 rocket launchers on Thursday. Previously it withdrew 400 artillery pieces, including some 320 captured from the Ukrainian troops after their retreat from Debaltsevo.

The rebels have already withdrawn 90 percent of heavy weaponry from the disengagement line, their leader, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, said Thursday.

The rebels voiced concerns over lack of similar moves by Kiev, suspecting it of foul play. Kiev insisted that it would keep its weapons in their positions until at least two days are spent without a single shot.

Moscow criticized Kiev's stubbornness, saying the condition it voiced was unrealistic.

Under the Minsk agreement both sides must pull their heavy weapons back from the disengagement line to form a buffer zone of 50 to 140km, depending on the type of weapon. The process is expected to be complete by March 1. OSCE is tasked with verifying the withdrawal.

Alexander Hug, deputy chief monitor of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, told RT on Thursday that both sides of the Ukrainian conflict are finally withdrawing their heavy weaponry from the frontline, stressing the move is “something that they have not done before.”

“We see now mutual actions towards compliance within the Minsk arrangements. The OSCE special monitoring mission knows that both sides have announced that they will be moving hardware away from the frontline,” Hug said. “This afternoon, the government of Ukraine has done that as well. We welcome this mutual step now from both sides to start working towards utterance to their commitments.”
Russia Secures Military Deal to Use Cyprus' Ports Despite EU Concerns
February 26, 2015 17:38
Rt.com

Russian navy ships will keep having access to stop off at Cyprus' ports in Mediterranean as the two countries have agreed to prolong the pre-existing deal on military cooperation.

The agreement, which applies to Russian vessels involved in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts, was signed by President Vladimir Putin and his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in Moscow.

The signing came aimed heightened tensions and sanctions between Russia and the EU over the military conflict in Ukraine.

President Putin, however, stressed that the agreement, as well as Russia-Cypriot ''friendly ties aren't aimed against anyone."

"I don't think it should cause worries anywhere," he said.

During his press conference at Tass news agency’s headquarters, Anastasiades stressed that Moscow and Nicosia haven’t signed any new agreements, but only prolonged those that were in place before.

"The updated agreement envisages the right of Russian warships to visit the ports of Cyprus…for humanitarian purposes such as supply and refueling a swell as saving the lives and evacuation of Russian citizens from neighboring states,” he said.

He called the prolongation of a military deal with Russia “a sensitive issue,” adding that Vladimir Putin discussed this matter in a very delicate manner, not putting Cyprus in an uncomfortable position before its EU partners.

Despite the permission to enter Cyprus port for Russian ships, the sides also agreed that Moscow will restructure its €2.5 billion bailout loan it gave Nicosia in 2011.

In return for being granted permission for Russian navy ships to stop off in Cypriot ports, Moscow has agreed to restructure its €2.5 billion (£1.8 billion) bailout loan it gave Cyprus in 2011.

Russia isn’t only country to have military ties with Cyprus as the Mediterranean island state also planning to host British military bases.

The cool down in relations with EU and the US saw Moscow working to maintain good relations with its long-time time European partners, including Greece, Hungary and Cyprus.

READ MORE: US armor paraded 300m from Russian border (VIDEO)

Anastasiades spoke out against the implementation of further European sanctions against Russia as “they impact other countries [and] members of the EU, which include my motherland."

He also reminded that “most of the Cyprus military’s weaponry is Russian made. Apart From France, only Russia supplies weapons to Cyprus.”
Oil Strikers March on Marathon Petroleum As Strike Expands
By Martha Grevatt
Workers World  
February 26, 2015
Findlay, Ohio

Over 200 oil strikers and supporters demonstrated on Feb. 24 in Findlay, Ohio, where the Marathon Petroleum Company has its international headquarters. Despite harsh winds and near-zero temperatures, the crowd waited to begin the rally until a busload of Marathon strikers from Kentucky arrived. The delegation was delayed when one of two buses broke down.

The strike began Feb. 1 after negotiations between the United Steelworkers and oil industry representatives, led by Shell, broke down. The USW represents 30,000 oil workers in 230 facilities across the country. Initially, workers at nine refineries in Texas, California, Kentucky and Washington state walked out. On Feb. 7, the strike was expanded to two refineries in Indiana and Ohio.

Steelworkers District One Director Dave McCall, whose district represents all of Ohio, announced that workers at four more refineries — one in Texas and three in Louisiana — had joined the strike.

Representing the union’s National Oil Bargaining Policy Committee, which negotiates with the oil companies, Jim Savage explained the number one issue behind the strike: safety on the job. Staffing cuts and excessive overtime are putting workers and the community at risk, as evidenced by a horrific explosion at a refinery near Los Angeles and the fatalities of 27 USW oil workers in four years. Another issue is the high out-of-pocket health care costs that workers — in the most profitable industry in the U.S. economy — are saddled with. Savage spoke for the five members of the national negotiating team who had traveled to Findlay to attend the solidarity rally.

USW Local 719 President Dave Martin, who represents the Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery, thanked all of the supporters and reported that solidarity remains high on the picket line as the strike heads into its second month.

A large number of strikers from the BP refinery near Toledo, Ohio, attended the rally, along with Steelworkers and UAW members from Detroit and various parts of Ohio.

After the rally, a boisterous march circled Marathon’s corporate offices several times.
PFLP Endorses First Annual Malcolm X Film Festival
Feb 25 2015

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine joins dozens of organizations in endorsing the Malcolm X Film Festival, which will take place from March 16 to April 12 in seven events, six in  different places in England and one in Ireland. More details are below, or see the Facebook page for the film festival, organized by the Malcolm X Movement: https://www.facebook.com/events/373869066125833. Comrade Leila Khaled, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, will speak at events during the Festival.

speakers include*:
ILYASAH SHABAZZ (writer and daughter of Malcolm X)
LEILA KHALED (PFLP / PLO)
BERNADETTE McALISKEY
Dr MOUSSA IBRAHIM (Libyan Resistance)
GERRY McLOCHLAINN (former Irish POW / Sinn Fein)
GEORGE SHIRE (ZANU-PF Liberation War veteran)
GAMAL NKRUMAH (Kwame Nkrumah’s Son)
GARIKAI CHENGU (ZANU-PF Youth)
DARCUS HOWE
TAIMUR RAHMAN (Communist Workers Peasants Party of Pakistan)
MINKAH ODOFO (APLO)
AAMER RAHMAN
ARZU MERALI (IHRC)
SWISS (So Solid Crew)
BROTHER OMOWALE
DR LEZ HENRY
SUKANT CHANDAN (Malcolm X Movement)
SARA MYERS (Exhibit B protest)
MALIA BOUATTIA (NUS Black Students)
SAQIB DESHMUKH (Justice for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah Family Campaign)

Suggested donation £5

All seven events are being filmed for publication

1. Sat 14 March – 1-630pm Culturlann, Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6AH

2. Sat 21 March – 2-8pm, Ruskin College, Steve Biko room, OX3 9BZ

3. Sun 22 March – 2-8pm, The Drum, Aston, Birmingham, B6 4UU

4. Sat 28th March – 2-9pm, Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY

5. Mon 06 April (Bank Holiday) – 230-8pm, Rich Mix, Bethnal Green, London, E1 6LA

6. Sat 11 April – 5-8pm, Black Cultural Archives, Brixton, London, SW2 1 EF

7. Sun 12 April – 230-830pm – Malcolm X Centre, St Pauls, Bristol, BS2 8YH

The Malcolm X Movement is a Black & Asian led decolonial anti-imperialist organisation that seeks to unite Global South peoples and diaspora. The Malcolm X Movement (MXM) and supporting organisations is immensely proud to bring to our peoples the first annual Malcolm X Film Festival taking place in SEVEN cities across England including one in Belfast, (occupied) Ireland.

The First Annual Malcolm X Film Festival will feature three panels/themes with related speeches and interviews from Malcolm X, especially the last few years of his life. The three panels/themes are:

1. CIVIL RIGHTS & BLACK POWER

2. GLOBAL UNITY & INTERNATIONALISM

3. LEGACY, CONTINUITIES & CHALLENGES

This is the biggest Black & Asian radical event of its kind to take place in England and perhaps western Europe for for the last generation since the mid 1990s. Never before in this time has such an event with such a inspiring amount of speakers and Global support (including from Ilyasah Shabazz, the Black Panther Alumni, the revolutionary Palestinian group the PFLP, the Black Panther Alumni, the Communist Workers & Peasants Party of Pakistan amongst others) taken place in the last 20 years or so.

With the steady but sure increasing power of the Global South against neo-colonialism and the ‘colonial matrix of power’, with the ‘west’ increasing its covert and overt global war in an attempt to maintain its hegemonic position and with the directly related microcosm of this global war reflected in the increasing oppression and exploitation of Black and Asian and working class peoples in the west, never has there been a more necessary time for the MXM to contribute to the building of communities of resistance in unity with the Global South.

The MXM has already delivered a free one year liberation school under the initiative of its ‘Assata Tupac Liberation School’, and has held one public conference entitled ‘Strike the Empire Back’ in June 2014, see here: http://tinyurl.com/nhhuezf

The MXM is not launching until August this year (2015) when it will organise with supporting organisations the first annual Malcolm X Summer Festival.

We in the MXM take inspiration and leadership from Malcolm X who made it plain himself, advocate uniting all peoples against the ‘greatest purveyors of violence in the world’ (Dr King Jr) today which is the neo-colonialism: “We have a common enemy. We have this in common: We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator. But once we all realize that we have this common enemy, then we unite on the basis of what we have in common”***

Supporting organisations**:

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Libyan Peoples National Movement
Black Panther Almuni
Communist Workers Peasants Party of Pakistan
Respect Party
Kurdish Students Union
DayMer
Global Afrikan Congress
Hansib Publications
African Peoples Liberation Organisation
Islamic Human Rights Commission
‘Rice N Peas’ Films
Nu Beyond
Black History Studies
NUS Black Students
Black British Islamic Bureau
Intifada Street
Pan-African Society Community Forum
Justice for Habib Ullah Campaign
Media Diversified
International Institute for Scientific Research
Muslim Vibe
Global Studies School, University of Sussex
Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform
Migrant Media
Ujima FM
GlobalFaction
I am Hip-Hop
Voice Over Productions
South Bristol Workers Forum
Bristol Ukraine Antifascist Solidarity
5Pillars
Oomk Magazine

*Please note: Not all speakers are speaking at every event of the Malcolm X Film Festival, and at some events some speakers may speak either in person or via live video link. Please check the individual events to see which speakers are speaking

** More organisations can apply to be a supporting organisation to the MX Film Festival, please get in touch if you would like to do so.

***All enquiries, including getting involved in the Malcolm X Movement, should be emailed to 2015mxm@gmail.com
PFLP Leadership Meets With US Delegation Headed by Ramsey Clark in Damascus
Feb 25 2015

Comrade Abu Ahmad Fuad, deputy General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Comrade Abu Sami Marwan, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, met with a US delegation to Syria, which arrived in Damascus on Tuesday. The delegation was headed by Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General, and included US leftist activists and leaders, including former member of Congress Cynthia McKinnery and Sara Flounders, director of the International Action Center in New York City.

The meeting was convened at the request of the US delegation, which was eager to meet with the leadership of the Front and exchange political positions regarding the ongoing developments in Palestine and the region. The PFLP leaders discussed the nature of the US/Zionist aggression against the people of the region, their intervention in Syria and the attempts of colonial powers to impose their hegemony by force and military aggression, through division of the land and people, and by pushing the region into sectarian or religious conflict.

This US policy is nothing new, noted the Front’s leaders, but is the ongoing manifestation of US imperialism in the interests of the Zionist state, the US and European corporations. The Front noted that the colonial powers have waged an ongoing war against the Arab people to prevent any real progress for the region on the road to liberation, self-determination and an end to Zionist occupation. The daily crimes committed by the Zionist enemy against our people in occupied Palestine are one of the main aspects of this Zionist/imperialist campaign that must be confronted on an international level, they said.

The US delegation discussed the urgent need for building ongoing solidarity with Palestine in the United States and internationally, in particular to confront the deep involvement of the United States – militarily, politically and financially – in the crimes of the occupier, and to end its attacks on Syria, Iraq and the people of the entire region.

The delegates noted that there is a colonial scheme to divide and re-partition the region according to the interests of major corporations and imperial powers, targeting the resources of the people, sometimes through blatant political interference in the affairs of the region and other times through wars and military attacks on states and peoples.

Ramsey Clark thanked the leadership of the PFLP for meeting with the delegation, emphasizing the delegates’ political agreement with the vision and analysis presented by the Front’s leaders in the meeting. The two sides emphasized the importance of communication between the Palestinian Arab left and progressive and democratic forces in the United States to confront Zionism and imperialism in the US and in Palestine alike.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Delivers Statement to Press TV: 'US Government Does Nothing About Human Rights Violations by Police’
Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:19AM
presstv.ir

To listen to this statement delivered by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/02/26/399230/US-govt-does-nothing-about-violations

Police departments across the US are perpetuating “gross human rights violations” against minorities.
Police departments across the United States are perpetuating “gross human rights violations” against African-Americans and Latinos and the White House does nothing about it, a journalist in Detroit says.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, says a new report about a secretive facility used for interrogations by Chicago police follows “a decades-long series of human rights abuses and civil rights abuses against mainly African-Americans and Latinos in Chicago.”

“The revelation that the Chicago police department has operated a so-called black site is not surprising to those of us who have followed the affairs of the Chicago police for many years,” Azikiwe told Press TV during a phone interview on Wednesday.

“This is further proof that there are gross human rights violations in the United States that are being perpetuated by the police and the US Justice Department, the White House are virtually doing nothing about it,” he said.

“This requires action on the part of civil society groups to rally further and to demand an end to police repression,” the journalist added.

According to a new investigation by the Guardian, the Chicago police department operates a secret interrogation compound, what civil rights lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The site, known as Homan Square facility on Chicago’s west side, is used to isolate suspects from family members or proper legal counsel while they are interrogated, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

Those familiar with the site list a range of abuses which have taken place, including police beatings and prolonged shackling. Because suspects taken to Homan Square are not officially booked, there is no record of their location.
Kabul Attack Targets Turkish Embassy Vehicle
A suicide bomber in an explosive-packed car targeted a Turkish embassy car during Kabul's morning rush, officials said

February 26, 2015 1:21AM ET
Al Jazeera

A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives targeted a Turkish Embassy vehicle near the Iranian Embassy in Kabul during the Thursday morning rush hour, Afghan officials said.

One Turkish national and an Afghan passerby were killed in the attack, a police spokesman said.

"The target was a Turkish Embassy vehicle. One person is wounded and the driver possibly killed," Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi told media outside the Iranian Embassy.

The blast took place outside the gate of the embassy, which is adjacent to the Turkish mission in the center of Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast in a text message to media, saying the target was a "convoy of foreigners' vehicles." The group often inflates claims.

It is the first known attack on a Turkish target in the Afghan capital. The last similar suicide car bomb attack in Kabul took place near the airport in January.

It was the second time an embassy vehicle has been targeted by insurgents in the capital in recent months, after a British embassy car was attacked by a suicide bomber in November.

One Turkish official reached by phone confirmed the location of the incident, but said he could not provide further details.
Baltimore Police Shoot, Taser a Man in Front of Trayvon Martin Mural
February 23, 2015 19:05

A man was left in critical condition on Sunday after Baltimore police shot and Tasered him in front of a mural commemorating Trayvon Martin – the Florida teenager killed by self-styled neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in 2012.

The Baltimore Police Department said the encounter began when two officers attempted to stop a vehicle in the midst of the city's Upton and Sandtown-Winchester neighborhoods, according to the Baltimore Sun. Law enforcement did not elaborate on how incident unfolded, but Col. Garnell Green said police did attempt to use a Taser on the man before a gun was used.

"One of our officers initiated a car stop. During that car stop, the suspect got out of his vehicle," said Green. "What happens after that is still under investigation. What I can tell you right now is this: One of our officers did tase the suspect and another officer shot the suspect."

Green would not say if the man was armed, how many times he was shot, or why officers tried to stop his Nissan Altima.

The man was taken to a local hospital in critical but stable condition, according to reports.

"This investigation is early on," Green said. "We're still canvassing for witnesses, checking cameras and we're asking anyone who has witnessed it to come forward."

No officers were injured in the incident.

Crowds gathered at the scene of the shooting, in the shadow of a large mural of Trayvon Martin pulling a hoodie over his head.

Martin’s murder gained national attention in 2012. The unarmed black teenager was gunned down in Sanford, Florida, by Zimmerman – a white neighborhood watch volunteer who was later acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the summer of 2013 based in part on the state’s “stand your ground” law.

Zimmerman, who was involved in a physical altercation with Martin at the time of the shooting, claimed he had acted in self-defense. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman had racially profiled the unarmed teen and instigated the fight that led to the shooting.

The controversial stand your ground law – which Florida pioneered before similar legislation spread across the United States – allows someone in a place they are legally allowed to be to use deadly force if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death.

Zimmerman has had several run-ins with the law since his acquittal.

In September 2013, Zimmerman was detained after his estranged wife called the police, claiming he had threatened her and her father with a gun and punched her father in the face. In both cases, the alleged victims declined to press charges.

In November 2013, Zimmerman was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic violence battery, and criminal mischief following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.

In September 2014, police said Zimmerman threatened to kill a driver during a road rage incident in Lake Mary, and later showed up at the man’s workplace. The man claimed that Zimmerman, who was carrying a gun, asked: "Do you know who I am?" before threatening "I'll f***ing kill you," Orlando's Channel 6 reported. The unidentified driver also opted not to press charges.

In January, the 31-year-old was again arrested in Florida on an aggravated assault charge.
Trayvon Martin's Father: Hate Crime 'Bar Is Too High' For Prosecution, Report Says
By  Morgan Winsor @MorganWinsor
February 25 2015 11:01 PM EST

The father of Trayvon Martin reportedly said Wednesday “the bar is too high” to meet the standard for a federal hate crime prosecution, one day after the U.S. Department of Justice announced there wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges against his son’s killer, George Zimmerman. “We knew that to get sufficient enough of evidence, Trayvon would have to be here to tell his story,” Tracy Martin told BuzzFeed News. “The state tried and failed.”

Justice Department officials met with Trayvon Martin’s family Tuesday, after concluding a nearly three-year-long independent investigation into the death of the unarmed black teen, who was shot and killed by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida on Feb. 26, 2012. Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged the “high” criteria for a federal hate-crime prosecution and said the investigation found insufficient evidence to support charges against Zimmerman.

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy,” Holder said in a statement Tuesday. “This young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.”

Trayvon Martin’s family said in a statement Tuesday they were “disappointed” but thanked the Justice Department for “their extensive and thorough investigation into the killing of our son,” as well as “the millions of people around the world who have supported us through prayer and vigilance.”

The mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, told the Associated Press that she believes Zimmerman got away with murder. “He took a life, carelessly and recklessly, and he shouldn't deserve to have his entire life walking around on the street free. I just believe that he should be held accountable for what he's done," Fulton reportedly said Wednesday, one day before the third anniversary of her 17-year-old son’s death.

Tracy Martin told BuzzFeed News that officials did determine the state of Florida failed to ask Zimmerman certain questions during their investigation of the fatal shooting. The Justice Department also determined that some of Zimmerman’s statements were fabricated. “They knew that [Zimmerman’s] account of the situation, that the way that he said it, it wasn’t true,” Tracy Martin reportedly said Wednesday, adding that the family will not bring a civil suit against Zimmerman. “There’s nothing left to do but continue to fight for kids like Trayvon.”