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News in brief
A REPORT by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the number of black and Asian people stopped and searched by police in England and Wales is 'disproportionately high'.
More than one in ten black people were stopped and searched by police in 2007/08. If black people were stopped and searched at the same rate as white people around 25,000 searches would be expected. Instead there were over 170,000.
'Ethnic targeting' by police forces has escalated as a result of the government's introduction of dubious anti-terrorist legislation.
Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives the police the power to stop and search on a "hunch". No reasonable suspicion is needed that an offence has been committed or that the person detained is carrying anything which might be used for terrorist purposes.
This power was used around 250,000 times in 2009, the highest on record and more than twice the level of 2008.
In January 2010 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that 'stop and search' powers given to the police by the Terrorism Act 2000 are unlawful.
Portugal strike wave
ON 4 MARCH, more than 300,000 public servants in Portugal struck for 24 hours, echoing recent workers' movements in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Britain.
It was backed by the public-sector trade unions, in opposition to the government's harsh austerity budget - an attempt by the ruling class to make the workers pay for the capitalist crisis.
Schools, hospitals and health centres, courts, municipal services, garbage collectors, transport, etc, were all brought to a standstill, with a significant layer of workers on strike for the first time.
The Partido Socialista government of Josť Socrates, tried to downplay the effectiveness of the walkout.
The government is about to announce to the EU Commission details of its mid-term 'stability' plan to tackle the country's record budget deficit. However, this plan will lead to a new downturn in economic activity.
Fundamentally, within the framework of capitalism, there is no way out of this crisis.
Report from Cedric Gerome, on www.socialistworld.net
Socialist Resistance Kazakhstan (CWI), is appealing for solidarity for the workers at the 'KazMunaiGaz' company (and its daughter company 'OzenMunaiGaz'), who are on strike and whose leaders are now facing repression.
10,000 oil refinery workers have been on strike since 4 March 2010, and 20 are prepared to declare an indefinite hunger strike.
They are fighting for an improvement in living conditions and wages, and for the nationalisation of the plant (which formerly was state owned), with the introduction of workers' control over production.
See www.socialistworld.net for protest details.
In The Socialist 17 March 2010:
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party inteview
Marxist analysis: history
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party feature