June 12th, 2010

AD . Self-Portrait

Toddler Rescued, Suspect Shot To Death After 56-hour Standoff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A 16-month-old boy was rescued and a man accused of holding the tot hostage in a Sacramento apartment since Wednesday was shot to death Friday evening to end a drama that gripped the attention of the capital region.

The toddler was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, but Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said the child appeared uninjured. The boy was later released from the hospital.

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tired of discussing my bisexuality

[USA] So who will represent the B in LGBT at the 2010 White House Pride Reception?

It will be on the evening of Tuesday June 22nd beginning at 5 PM and invitations, which were mailed last week should already have been received.

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So please tell us. Don't keep us in suspense. I'm sure we are all anxious to know. Who has been invited to represent all of US at the White House this year?

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coffee by overrule

Gaza flotilla attack: activist releases new footage

Documentary maker Iara Lee smuggles out video despite Israeli attempt to confiscate all recordings

Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo. Warning: contains graphic scenes

New footage has emerged of the Israeli assault on a convoy of aid ships headed to Gaza in which nine activists were killed.

The high-quality film was reportedly recorded by New York-based documentary maker Iara Lee aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that bore the brunt of the Israeli attacks.

Israel attempted to confiscate all footage recorded by participants in the Gaza Freedom flotilla – including taking away mobile phones – but Lee managed to smuggle one hour of video out of the country by hiding it in her underwear, it was reported.

The 15 minutes of film posted online shows the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos' assault on the Mavi Marmara.

At one stage, the captain of the boat can be heard over the public address system saying: "Do not show resistance … They are using live ammunition … Be calm, be very calm." Gunshots can be heard.

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comedy | I'm Into Weird Shit

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 11, 2010.


A chair made of dildos by Dutch design group "Orange Light District" is on display during the International Design Festival (DMY) on June 11, 2010 in Berlin. More than 400 international designers present their prototypes and new products during the event running until June 13. The festival's main venue is Berlin's former Tempelhof airport.

AFP/Getty Images | BARBARA SAX
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N. Korea threatens 'sea of fire' in 16 years

North Korea Saturday warned of a "sea of fire" on Seoul against the South Korean move of installing propaganda speakers along the tension-charged inter-Korean border.

It was a rhetoric the North used for the first time after it did so 16 years ago.

"The South's carrying out psychological warfare amounts to the declaration of war. Our military response wouldn't be one to one-to-one response, but will be a merciless military attack that will even anticipate making Seoul a sea of fire," the North's General Staff of the Korean People's Army said, the Hankook Ilbo newspaper said.

North Korea last time used the rare rhetoric in 1994 during an inter-Korean negotiation.

In response, South Korea designated North Korea as its "main enemy" the following year.

The South Korean military so far has installed propaganda speakers at 11 locations along the Demilitarized Zone and also at checkpoints in the often disputed West Sea.



Source: Korea Times
franklin sherman

Debtors prison comes to America: In Jail For Being In Debt

You committed no crime, but an officer is knocking on your door. More Minnesotans are surprised to find themselves being locked up over debts.

As a sheriff's deputy dumped the contents of Joy Uhlmeyer's purse into a sealed bag, she begged to know why she had just been arrested while driving home to Richfield after an Easter visit with her elderly mother.

No one had an answer. Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense -- missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt. "They have no right to do this to me," said the 57-year-old patient care advocate, her voice as soft as a whisper. "Not for a stupid credit card."

It's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

Not every warrant results in an arrest, but in Minnesota many debtors spend up to 48 hours in cells with criminals. Consumer attorneys say such arrests are increasing in many states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Washington, driven by a bad economy, high consumer debt and a growing industry that buys bad debts and employs every means available to collect.

Whether a debtor is locked up depends largely on where the person lives, because enforcement is inconsistent from state to state, and even county to county.

In Illinois and southwest Indiana, some judges jail debtors for missing court-ordered debt payments. In extreme cases, people stay in jail until they raise a minimum payment. In January, a judge sentenced a Kenney, Ill., man "to indefinite incarceration" until he came up with $300 toward a lumber yard debt.

http://www.startribune.com/local/95692619.html?page=1&c=y

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Va. inmate: 'Only way to stop me' is death row

POUND, Va. — For seven days, Robert Gleason Jr. begged correctional officers and counselors at Wallens Ridge State Prison to move his new cellmate. The constant singing, screaming and obnoxious behavior were too much, and Gleason knew he was ready to snap.

On the eighth day — May 8, 2009 — correctional officers found 63-year-old Harvey Gray Watson Jr. bound, gagged, beaten and strangled. His death went unnoticed for 15 hours because correctional officers had falsified inmate counts at the high-security prison in southwestern Virginia.

Now, Gleason says he'll kill again if he isn't put to death for killing Watson, who had a history of mental illness. And he says his next victim won't be an inmate.

"I murdered that man cold-bloodedly. I planned it, and I'm gonna do it again," the 40-year-old Gleason told The Associated Press. "Someone needs to stop it. The only way to stop me is put me on death row."

Gleason already is serving a life sentence for killing another man. He fired his lawyers last month — they were trying to work out a deal to keep him from getting the death penalty — so he could plead guilty to capital murder. He's vowed not to appeal his sentence if the judge sentences him to death Aug. 31.

 

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Anniversary of disputed Iran vote passes quietly

TEHRAN, Iran — The one-year anniversary of Iran's disputed election passed quietly Saturday with little more than a subdued Internet appeal by opposition leaders for supporters to speak out on the Web against government repression.

Fearing bloodshed and calculating that it would gain them nothing, the movement's leaders called off a day of mass protests, reflecting their increasing powerlessness against the government's military muscle.


"We have to expand social networks, websites, these are our best means," said Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who maintains he was robbed of the presidency through fraud in the June 12, 2009, election.

"These work like an army. This is our army against their military force," he said on his website, Kaleme.com.

The retreat from Iran's streets and university campuses to the Web is certain to be seen as a victory for the ruling hard-liners and for the armed forces that preserved their grip on power with a harsh crackdown on postelection protesters.

The anniversary passed with no signs of major disturbances or sizable gatherings.

Witnesses reported sporadic but minor clashes at Tehran's Azadi Square between a few dozen protesters and anti-riot police swinging batons. Security forces were seen taking one person away near the entrance of Tehran University, where no gatherings were allowed to form, another witness said.

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panda bear

(no subject)

Africans trying to get to Israel



Motorised rickshaws wind their way through the crowded alleyways of Ard al-Lawa as street vendors call out their wares.

This poor Cairo neighbourhood is home to an increasing number of African migrants and refugees, but many do not want to stay.

In his sparsely decorated apartment, Yahya Mohamed, a refugee from Darfur in Sudan, explains how he risked everything trying to move to Israel.

"I decided to go to Israel because people who went before told me the situation was much better over there," he says.

"I left my country looking for safety and security but in Egypt I found harassment and more problems. Work here is difficult and they throw stones and tomatoes at me on the street. They curse at me and call me 'the black'."

Like hundreds of others each month, Yahya, 31, paid Bedouin people-smugglers to take him and his family on the risky journey to the Egypt-Israel border.

It costs more than $600 (£414) travelling by bus and then hidden on a lorry. Finally, they were left in the Sinai desert late at night.

Egyptian forces quickly spotted them.

"While we were crossing the border they opened fire," Yahya recalls.

"We surrendered and sat on the ground and they started beating us and shooting all around. My wife fainted and the kids were screaming."

Idris was arrested and imprisoned for a year. Since his release several months ago, he has been unable to find his wife and two children.

For others, the situation is even worse.

At least 16 sub-Saharan African refugees and migrants have been shot dead at the border this year. Many others suffered injuries.

"This is a common problem. When people try to cross the border to Israel, the Egyptian security shoot and kill them," comments Abdalla Hanzal, who works with a refugee support group.

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UPDATED Saudi Arabia WILL NOT give Israel air corridor to bomb Iran

UPDATE: Saudi Arabia would not allow Israeli bombers to pass through its airspace en route to a possible strike of Iran's nuclear facilities, a member of the Saudi royal family said Saturday, denying an earlier Times of London report.

Saudi Arabia has practiced standing down its anti-aircraft systems to allow Israeli warplanes passage on their way to attack Iran's nuclear installations, a British newspaper reported on Saturday.

 

The Saudis have allocated a narrow corridor of airspace in the north of the country that would cut flying time from Israel to Iran, the London Times reported.

Israel and the West accuse of designs on a nuclear bomb, a charge it denies.

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” the Times quoted an unnamed U.S. defense source in the area as saying. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [U.S.] State Department.”

Once the Israelis had passed, the kingdom’s air defenses would return to full alert, the Times said.

Despite tensions between them, Israel and Saudi Arabia share a mutual hostility to Iran.

“We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” the Times quoted a Saudi government source as saying.

According to the report, the four main targets for an Israeli raid on Iran would be uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom, a gas storage development at Isfahan and a heavy-water reactor at Arak.

Secondary targets may include a Russian-built light water reactor at Bushehr, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium when complete.

Even with midair refueling, the targets would be as the far edge of Israeli bombers' range at a distance of some 2,250km. An attack would likely involve several waves of aircraft, possibly crossing Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Aircraft attacking Bushehr, on the Gulf coast, could swing beneath Kuwait to strike from the southwest, the Times said.

Passing over Iraq would require at least tacit consent to the raid from the United States, whose troops are occupying the country. So far, the Obama Administration has refused this.

On Wednesday the United Nations passed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in an attempt to force it to stop enriching uranium. But immediately after the UN vote, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed the nuclear program would continue.

Israel hailed the vote – but said sanctions were not enough and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to rule out a raid.

Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert, is believed to have held secret meetings with high-ranking Saudi officials over Iran.

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More than anything this is just a subtle hint from Saudi Arabia to Iran.

Israel obeyed international law: Legally, the Gaza flotilla conflict is an open-and-shut case

Although the wisdom of Israel's actions in stopping the Gaza flotilla is open to question, the legality of its actions is not. What Israel did was entirely consistent with both international and domestic law. In order to understand why, the complex events at sea must be deconstructed.

First, there is the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Recall that when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, it did not impose a blockade. Indeed, it left behind agricultural facilities in the hope that the newly liberated Gaza Strip would become a peaceful and productive area.

Instead, Hamas seized control over Gaza and engaged in acts of warfare against Israel. These acts of warfare featured anti-personnel rockets, nearly 10,000 of them, directed at Israeli civilians. This was not only an act of warfare, it was a war crime. Israel responded to the rockets by declaring a blockade, the purpose of which was to assure that no rockets or other material that could be used for making war against Israeli civilians were permitted into Gaza.

Israel allowed humanitarian aid through its checkpoints. Egypt as well participated in the blockade. There was never a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, merely a shortage of certain goods that would end if the rocket attacks ended.

The legality of blockades as a response to acts of war is not subject to serious doubt. When the United States blockaded Cuba during the missile crisis, the State Department issued an opinion declaring the blockade to be lawful. This despite the fact that Cuba had not engaged in any act of belligerence against the United States. Other nations have similarly enforced naval blockades to assure their own security.


Read more here - http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/06/02/2010-06-02_israel_obeyed_international_law_legally_the_gaza_flotilla_conflict_is_an_openand.html
Reporting

We Hate When You Defend Yourself

Liberals hate Jews even more when they defend themselves and they blame that defense for their hatred . You can't win for losing with liberal bigots.

The underlying narrative of just about every liberal attack on Israel has been this. Defending yourself only makes us hate you more.

This cynical sleight of hand is of course an old trick used by bigots to inhibit their targets from daring to fight back. And liberals have made it their weapon of choice when going after Jews and Israel.

The tactic works by criminalizing any attempt at a defense by the target, and making the defense itself part of the indictment. The goal is to impose a Catch 22 framework on Jews with the only way out being to agree and participate in the indictment of Israel. The defense itself is then incorporated into the bigot's narrative. 

A hundred years ago, Jews would be charged with being "Pushy" and any defense against pushiness would itself be construed as pushy. Thus attempting to defend yourself would itself be an indictment proving the case already made against you. Similarly Israel is charged with defending itself too strongly. Anytime Israel defends itself in any way, it is automatically then proven guilty of defending itself. Liberal bigotry against Israel is not simply a charge immune to any defense, it is a charge which incorporates any defense as proof of the truth of the original accusation. Self-defense itself becomes the crime.

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Got this sent to me and felt it'd be cathartic to send it here.

War on Drugs as doomed as Prohibition?

Johann Hari: How can America's 'War on Drugs' succeed if their Prohibition laws failed?

America's Prohibition laws were meant to cut crime and boost morality – they failed on both fronts. So how can the 'War on Drugs' ever succeed? It can't.


Since we first prowled the savannahs of Africa, human beings have displayed a few overpowering and ineradicable impulses—for food, for sex, and for drugs. Every human society has hunted for its short cuts to an altered state: The hunger for a chemical high, low, or pleasingly new shuffle sideways is universal. Peer back through history, and it's everywhere. Ovid said drug-induced ecstasy was a divine gift. The Chinese were brewing alcohol in prehistory and cultivating opium by 700 A.D. Cocaine was found in clay-pipe fragments from William Shakespeare's house. George Washington insisted American soldiers be given whiskey every day as part of their rations. Human history is filled with chemicals, come-downs, and hangovers.

Yet in every generation, there are moralists why try to douse this natural impulse in moral condemnation and burn it away. They believe that humans, stripped of their intoxicants, will become more rational or ethical or good. They point to the addicts and the overdoses and believe they reveal the true face - and the logical endpoint - of your order at the bar or your roll-up. And they believe it can be ended, if only we choose to do it. Their vision holds an intoxicating promise of its own.

Their most famous achievement - the criminalisation of alcohol in the United States between 1921 and 1933 - is one of the great parables of modern history. Daniel Okrent's superb new history, 'Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition', shows how a coalition of mostly well-meaning, big-hearted people came together and changed the Constitution to ban booze. On the day it began, one of the movement's leaders, the former baseball hero turned evangelical preacher Billy Sunday, told his ecstatic congregation what the Dry New World would look like: "The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be only a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses. Men will walk upright now, women will smile, and the children will laugh. Hell will be forever rent."

The story of the War on Alcohol has never needed to be told more urgently - because its grandchild, the War on Drugs, shares the same DNA. Collapse )

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Chomsky, Zizek, and Wallerstein go on hunger-strike to free Kurdish imprisoned children

According to Firat News Agency the Human rights group Justice for Children is organizing a series of initiatives under the slogan: “Children have no patience left for waiting! The Turkish government has to keep the promise that they gave to the children victimized by the Law on Struggle against Terrorism!”

The human rights group Justice for Children had said last Monday that the press conference they held in Istanbul was their last warning to the Turkish Government and the Parliament about the children victimised by the Law on Struggle Against Terrorism. The group declared that unless the Parliament decides on a definite and dependable agenda for solving the problem before the summer holiday which starts the following week, they are going to take harder measures.

Tulin Ozen - a Golden Orange International Film Festival award winning actress - Mehmet Atak, Berfin Zenderlioglu and Ismail Yildiz stated that Turkey’s and the World’s agenda could change any time, but this could not be an excuse for destroying the lives of the children victimized by the Law on Struggle Against Terrorism that are now more than 4 thousand in number and asked “Is this the only subject that the Turkish Parliament finds no time to work on? Is the Parliament so weak and little? Then, why it is named as the Grand National Assembly?”

The members of Justice for Children underlined that the Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, had also agreed that the previous draft law was insufficient for solving the problem, and therefore had assigned Bekir Bozdag – a deputy from the ruling party- to prepare a sufficient new draft regarding the issue. Likely, Erdogan had assigned Bulent Arinc, the vice prime minister, for managing the process and putting the new draft law into effect. It is also reminded that although on April 22, 2010 Bekir Bozdag had announced “a new, sufficient draft law will definitely be put into effect by the end of May”, nothing had changed, and the problem of the children victimised by the Law on Struggle Against Terrorism was not scheduled in the Government’s agenda for June 2010, and following Bozdag’s announcement this time Beshir Atalay, the Minister of Internal Affairs, declared that the draft law would be in effect before June.

The human rights group Justice for Children declared that unless the Parliament decides on a definite agenda for solving the problem during the following week, they will have to take much harder measures. It is stated that in such a case the group will directly apply to international organisations and file a complain about the Turkish Parliament and certain governmental institutions. It is also mentioned that starting a hunger strike at Taksim Square is in the possible agenda of Justice for Children, and it will be supported by certain ministers and deputies of European and Latin American countries, certain representatives of international institutions, and activists like Noam Chomsky, Slovaj Zizek, Immanuel Wallerstein, Ingrid Newkirk, Guillermo Farinas, Shirin Ebadi, Glenda Jackson, Carlos Latuff.

The group warned the Government that, if needed, they will also start a simultaneous marching from 32 cities to Ankara, the capital city of Turkey.

Following the initial comment of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that ‘'whether men, women or children, the security forces will react with disproportionate force’', several amendments were made to the country's anti-terror law, it is possible to charges children as terrorists and put them away for up to 50 years in jail. There are currently 2,622 minors serving time in Turkish prisons on the charge of terrorism.

In 23 of April 2009, an anti-terror police attacked and beat one of our children to death, the policeman was not punished:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEMuwkETXuU

In 2008, a policeman broke the arm of a Kurdish child in front of the cameras during the Kurdish festival Newroz:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT9Gk3tkGsk

Related Link: http://english.rojhelat.info/index.php?option=com_conte...helat

Source: Anarkismo

Poland holds alleged Israeli spy

Polish authorities have arrested a suspected Mossad agent wanted by Germany over the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai, German prosecuters say.

Germany is now seeking the extradition of the Israeli intelligence agent, who was said to have been arrested in Warsaw in early June.

"He was arrested in Warsaw and is suspected of being involved in illegally obtaining a [German] passport," a spokesman for German federal prosecution said on Saturday, confirming a report by German magazine Der Spiegel.

"It's now up to the Poles to decide if they are going to hand him over to Germany."

According to an article to be published on Monday in Der Spiegel, the suspect, identified as Uri Brodsky, was arrested on arrival at Warsaw's airport on suspicions that he helped a member of the hit squad get a German passport in June 2009.

Mahmud al-Mabhouh, a founder of the military wing of the Palestinian group Hamas, was found dead in his hotel room near Dubai airport on January 20.

Dubai is the commercial hub of the federation of seven Arab emirates called the UAE.

Dubai police have released extensive surveillance camera footage they say shows the team of suspects from the hit squad they have linked to the Mossad. Al-Mabhouh had been drugged and then suffocated, Dubai police said.

Twelve British, six Irish, four French, one German and three Australian passports were used by 26 people believed linked to the murder, according to Dubai police.

In many cases, the documents appeared either to have been faked or obtained illegally.


The issue caused a diplomatic row in which the five countries whose passports were used, called in Israeli envoys for explanations.

Source: Al Jazeera

Advice to college graduates from Obama, McCain, and Souter

by Amanda Paulson

It's the time of year for advice, inspiration, calls to service, and more than a few clichés. At colleges and universities across America, politicians, actors, writers, activists, and scholars have drawn from their experiences as they speak to college graduates. Here are a few of their words of wisdom.

Michelle Obama
First lady
The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

You remind me of something President Wilson once said. He said, "Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that's the way I know I'm an American."

Even so, you've probably also run up against people who love your idealism, but warn you to lower your sights, to scale back your ambitions a bit, to settle for something less.

And you know their hearts may be in the right place. They may be worried that you're in for a letdown once you realize that it can take years and even decades for your best efforts to bear fruit. See, we live in a culture, after all, that tells us that our lives should be easy; that we can have everything we want without a whole lot of effort.

But the truth is – and you know this – creating anything meaningful takes time.

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Тося

Kyrgyzstan requests Russia’s assistance due to ongoing violence


The Kyrgyz interim government has asked Russia to send peacekeeping forces to help quell the unrest in the south of the country. Ethnic clashes in the city of Osh have now left more than 60 dead and hundreds wounded.

800 who have asked for medical assistance, approximately 50 are in a grave condition.

“The situation is spinning out of control. We need foreign military help and we have asked Russia to send it. We must do our utmost to save people's lives. There are reports that armaments and weapons have fallen into the hands of raging gangs in Osh. The security forces in the capital Bishkek are on high alert following the events of yesterday, when mobs demanded guns and buses to go to the south,” head of the interim government Roza Otunbayeva said.

 

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Not going to happen, IMO. The last thing Russia needs right now to get involved in internal conflict outside of our borders. But situation in Kyrgyzia  is awful, more and more people are getting killed. And the world community must do something about it.
Also just heard on the radio that the situation with food in Osh is also critical and Russia will send some humanitarian aid there.


Royal Mail faces death sentence

100 first-class stamps

Image by Roo Reynolds via Flickr

The Con-Dem government has been urged not to pass a death sentence on the Royal Mail by flogging it off to the highest bidder.

Postal union CWU accused Liberal Democrat Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey of going against his own party's policy by suggesting that an option for the Royal Mail would be to float it on the London Stock Exchange to raise £9 billion for the company.

In his first interview since taking office Mr Davey also called for an end to big payouts to Royal Mail executives and warned that "the pensions of past employees, current employees and their families would be at risk" if action was not taken.

Mr Davey said: "The truth is that Royal Mail's situation, if nothing is done, will become increasingly dire.

"If we don't transform Royal Mail it will be dragged down by a lethal combination of falling mail volumes, low investment and potentially one of the worst pension crises for employees in British history."

However the Post Office, which runs Britain's 12,000 branches, would remain in public hands under his plans.

But the union has argued that privatising a national treasure like the Royal Mail is more Thatcherite than Lib Dem and would be against the interests of customers and deeply unpopular with the public.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "This is clearly a major retreat from Lib Dem policy. Mr Davey and Business Secretary Vince Cable have given in to Chancellor George Osborne's Thatcherite economics.

"The proposals to split the post office network from the Royal Mail as outlined by Mr Davey will threaten the viability of the network, will wreck the service and will wreck rural and deprived communities which rely on the Post Office.

"We all know that privatisation leads to higher prices as private companies maximise their own profit ahead of any sense of public service. We're saying to the government: 'Don't privatise this successful public company'."

The union will also be seeking assurances from both Royal Mail and the government on a resolution to pension issues.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: "We welcome Mr Davey's comments about restricting executive pay, but that can only happen if Royal Mail remains public.

"Royal Mail is being successfully transformed in the public sector and this will continue to gather pace as new machinery and the business transformation plan is fully rolled out.

"In addition, industrial relations are transforming from confrontation to co-operation and we are looking forward to working with the newly appointed chief executive Moya Greene - someone with significant experience in the industry."

He said that, far from being a drain on the public purse, the Royal Mail is a profitable asset making over £400 million last year - a jump of 26 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail declined to comment.

Source: Morning Star
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