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More than two million public sector workers took strike action yesterday

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TUC march in London 30 November

More than two million public sector workers took strike action yesterday. That amounted to a virtual general strike of the public sector. In terms of numbers, the action was bigger than the “Winter of Discontent” in 1979 - bigger even than the 1926 General Strike. Even The Financial Times, the organ of Big Business, surprisingly described Wednesday’s strike as “undoubtedly historic”.

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Sarkozy says Paris and Berlin to push for treaty changes to protect euro

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The leaders of France and Germany will meet next week and plan to push for fundamental changes to the European treaty governing the currency shared by 17 nations, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday.

Sarkozy said in a speech in the southern port city of Toulon that during their meeting in Paris on Monday he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will unveil proposals to try to lift Europe out of its debt crisis and "guarantee" its future.

"France will push with Germany for a new European treaty refounding and rethinking the organization of Europe," Sarkozy said. "The Maastricht Treaty has revealed itself to be imperfect," Sarkozy said, referring to the pact that led to the creation of the euro currency in 1999.

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Khrushchev Lied by Grover Furr

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Khrushchev Lied book cover

The historian J.A. Getty, one of the most respected authorities on Soviet history, remarked of the Stalin-era:

“For no other period or topic have historians been so eager to write and accept history-by-anecdote. Grand analytical generalizations have come from second-hand bits of overheard corridor gossip. Prison camp stories (‘My friend met Bukharin’s wife in a camp and she said…’) have become primary sources on central political decision making. The need to generalize from isolated and unverified particulars has transformed rumours into sources and has equated repetition of stories with confirmation. Indeed, the leading expert on the Great Purges has written that ‘truth can thus only percolate in the form of hearsay’ and that ‘basically the best though not infallible sources is rumour.’ As long as the unexplored classes of sources include archival and press material, it is neither safe nor necessary to rely on rumour or anecdote.”

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2011 11:08

Sea alert: Russian warships head for Syria

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Moscow is deploying warships at its base in the Syrian port of Tartus. The long-planned mission comes, providentially, at the very moment when it could help prevent a potential conflict in the strategically important Middle Eastern country.

The Russian battle group will consist of three vessels led by the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov.

Russian military officials insist that the move has no connection with the ongoing crisis in the region and was planned a year ago, the Izvestia newspaper reports. Apart from Syria, the aircraft carrier and its escort ships are set to visit the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Genoa in Italy and Cyprus, says the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko.

Nevertheless, he added that the presence of a military force other than NATO’s is very useful for this region, because“it will prevent the outbreak of an armed conflict,” Izvestia quoted Kravchenko as saying.

The Soviet Union, the Admiral recalled, created a special naval squadron to deter Western military forces in the Mediterranean Sea. To repair and supply its ships, Moscow needed its own maintenance base in the region, and that was how the base in Tartus came into being.

At present, the base is mostly used to support vessels of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Some 600 military and civilian personnel of the Defense Ministry serve there.

News of Russia’s naval deployment in Tartus came shortly after the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush anchored off Syria, along with additional naval vessels. The US battle group is to remain in the Mediterranean, allegedly to conduct maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. The US 6th Fleet is also patrolling the area, Interfax reports.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2011 11:06

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