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Object that fell through roof of New Jersey home not a meteorite

Saturday, May 12, 2007

An object that fell through the roof of a New Jersey home in January was not a meteorite, according to Jeremy Delaney, a geologist at Rutgers University. Instead, it appears the object was space junk or orbital debris.

“Basically, it’s a piece of stainless steel. There’s huge amounts of material that have been left by the various space programs of the world,” said Delaney.

The meteorite shaped object was not from a naturally occurring substance and had a silver like reflection. It weighed about the same as a small can of soup, 13 ounces (about 370 grams), but was no bigger than a golf ball.

Earlier during the incident, scientists from Rutgers examined the object visually along with police who were at the scene, and determined it was a meteorite. But further tests by geologists confirmed that it was not a meteorite, but probably a metal piece from a rocket or satellite. They had earlier thought it was made of iron.

“That’s the nature of science. If the conclusion from the test says it’s not a meteorite, then it’s not a meteorite. We have to move forward,” said Srinivasan Nageswaran, a member of the family that found the object.

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Aug
25

Category:June 8, 2010

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Category:June 8, 2010

? June 7, 2010
June 9, 2010 ?
June 8

Pages in category “June 8, 2010”

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Aug
24

A leak at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility on Cumbrian coast, England">
A leak at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility on Cumbrian coast, England

Monday, May 9, 2005

At the Sellafield reprocessing plant, a leak in the process was spotted on April 19. The leak did not cause danger to people or the environment but it disturbed the normal operation of the plant.

Workers at the plant noticed a discrepancy in the amount of material being reprocessed that enters pipes that lead to a set of centrifuges and the amount of material actually arriving at the centrifuges. They used remote cameras to find the crack where the material was escaping; over twenty tonnes have leaked into a steel lined chamber.

The material, consisting of mostly uranium and some plutonium dissolved in nitric acid, would have been reprocessed in the centrifuges. The large stainless steel chamber that now contains the spilled material is too dangerous to enter due to radioactivity, though it poses no danger to those inside or outside the plant.

The plant has been shut down pending repairs.

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Aug
18

Skin Care Products By Jan Marini For All Your Skin Care Needs}

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Submitted by: Chris Andrews

Jan Marini has been in the skin care industry for more than 30 years. Researching and testing products continually to ensure the effectiveness and safety of everything that is offered. Jan Marini products have created a wonderful wide range of solutions for all skin types and problem areas. Whether you are looking for just a daily cleansing regimen, or a more vigorous anti-aging system Jan Marini has something for you.

Aging and skin imperfections have troubled men and women alike for centuries and is part of life. But, with Jan Marini skin care products you can combat these problems and even erase some of the signs. With so many things out there, the idea of what to do for your skin can be very confusing. People have tried many things from natural care to abrasive procedures, sometimes ending up with unwanted results at a hefty price. Jan Marini products have been produced with tested specific ingredients to ensure optimal results with the proper daily use. Affordability makes this an option for nearly everyone.

Common skin problems:

1. sensitive skin

2 .sun or light spots/damage

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3. normal aging

4. dry skin

5. oily skin

6. combination skin

7. difference in skin pigments

8. acne and scarring (both from acne and other scarring)

9. Rosacea

10. Eczema

Good ingredients make for good results

For years we have heard of the good effects of vitamin C for your skin and body. Jan Marini has included topical vitamin C in a lot of their products resulting in the optimal result for your skin. Topical vitamin C has been proven to give the appearance of tighter firmer skin showing less wrinkles and aging. Vitamin A, retinol, and retinolA helps with texture and skin tone which is also included in a number of Jan Marini skin care products. Phytoamine biocomplex and hyaluronic acid in moisturizers are key ingredients to lock in hydration. Many of the products contain SPF for extra protection or you can get SPF moisturizer by itself. A lot of people like a tan and overlook the need for SPF. A light SPF for UVA, UVB and UVC rays should always be used to avoid sun damage.

Have a system and a routine.

Have a system and doing it routinely and regularly is one of the most important steps in skin care. Cleansing, resurfacing, rejuvenating, preventing and hydrating are some of the best things that you can do for your skin. You are never too young or too old to start doing this for yourself. Cleansing, preventing and hydration should be done daily. Resurfacing and rejuvenating a two to three times a week. Always follow the packaged instructions closely. Doing these routinely will show small signs of improvement immediately and as time goes on you will see more and more results. Jan Marini skin care products offers solutions for all of these skin care needs. When used together the results are unbeatable.

Your skin is an often over looked important part of your health. It is one of the things that people see first so, take the best care for your skin that you can. Aging is something that everyone has to do, but you dont have to show your age by your skin. Jan Marini products are here to help, you will see and feel the difference quality and care can make.

About the Author: Chris Andrews contributes articles about skin care and the numerous skin care treatments available which includes Jan Marini products. Please visit http://www.lccskin.com/ for information on a range of skincare products like

Jan Marini

Skin Care Range.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=962199&ca=Aging }

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Aug
18

Entrepreneur’s RFID chip implant to open doors, start car">
Entrepreneur’s RFID chip implant to open doors, start car

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A technology entrepreneur in northeastern Washington asked a doctor to implant an RFID chip into his hand in order to experiment with the technology. Amal Graafstra, who runs a technology company in Bellingham, WA, asked a doctor to place the chip under the skin of his left hand, and posted pictures of the procedure to the photo-sharing site, Flickr. Graafstra plans to use the chip for keyless entry to his car, home, or as a login for computer systems.

Implanting RFID chips is a relatively old technology. Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading, UK implanted a 23mm RFID chip into his left arm in August 1998. It allowed him to open doors and turn on the lights in a room as he entered. Further European research in the area was recently dealt a blow when the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies made a presentation to the European Union raising privacy concerns over the potential for such chips to be used to track members of the public.

In mid-2004, about 160 Mexican officials received RFID implants for security purposes, and scientists in the past have implanted themselves with such chips for research purposes. In October 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the implantation of Verichip technology for medical purposes.

An implantable RFID chip is a minuscule capsule containing a microchip and an antenna, all enclosed in glass. The chip that Mr. Graafstra had implanted was 12mm long and 2mm in diameter — about the size of a grain of rice. RFID chips work by storing a unique identification number in the microchip. This number can be retrieved by a special RFID reader that is held within close proximity. Graafstra notes that his chip can be read from a distance of about 2 inches (5cm), and only provides the single identifying number.

Describing himself as a long-time tinkerer, Graafstra’s comments do not show much of a hesitation to perform this process. “I like to mod things, and I guess it was only natural that it extended to my own body,” he wrote in an email to Wikinews.

Graafstra appears to have been impressed by the process, too. “It was odd feeling it [the chip] being pushed under the surface of my skin… without feeling pain, I was able to really get a feel for just how utilitarian our bodies actually are and how… separate the skin layer really is from the muscle layer under it,” he told Wikinews. He was able to use his hand to perform technical computer maintenance just an hour after the procedure.

RFID is a controversial technology. Privacy advocates fear that the technology might be abused by governments and used to track people. Microchip implants have been used for years for tracking lost pets.

The pictures that Graafstra posted spurred commentary in the blogosphere, with some assuming that the pictures — or the process — were faked. Graafstra denies this, and posted a short video of himself triggering the RFID reader with a swipe of his hand.

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Aug
18

Gene therapy trial for skin cancer cures two terminal patients">
Gene therapy trial for skin cancer cures two terminal patients

Friday, September 1, 2006

Results of gene therapy trials at the US National Cancer Institute, Bethesda to fight cancer published online yesterday by the scientific journal Science show some levels of success. However experts have warned that despite the promise more work is needed for this to become a viable cure.

Dr Stephen Rosenberg, who lead the research team, said “It’s important to emphasize this is a highly experimental treatment that’s still in the course of development.”

The team treated 17 terminal skin cancer patients with modified cells from their immune systems. The technique uses genetically modified white blood cells (more specifically T cells) to attack and kill the cancer cells. Of the 17 subjects only 2 were cured of the disease (an aggressive form of skin cancer called a melanoma which is usually fatal in advanced stages). Before the treatment, which lasted 18 months, the patients were only expected to live for up to 6 months. The remaining 15 patients were not affected by the treatment.

One of the successful patients was Mark Origer (53) from Wisconsin. He has been fighting cancer since first being diagnosed in 1999. After finding out about the new trial on the internet he applied and, after interviews, was accepted along with 16 other candidates. The treatment removed Origer’s melanoma and also shrunk another tumor in his liver – to the extent it could be removed surgically. Doctors confirmed he was free of the disease last week, nearly 2 years after treatment began. A second man (39) was cleared of his cancer which had spread to the lungs, liver and lymph nodes. Cancer that progresses to the lymph nodes is usually untreatable and fatal.

T cells can attack and destroy bacteria and other harmful cells like cancer cells. However cancer cells sometimes reduce the signals on their outer surface by which they are recognised, so the immune system cannot affect them. Gene therapy involves modifying some of a patients T cells to contain a new receptor. (Receptors are what enable the immune cell to identify harmful cells, like those corrupted by viruses. The new receptor is inserted with the use of a viral vector, i.e. a virus made safe to insert the receptor in the cell.

In the trial, T Cells were removed from each patient and modified in the laboratory. Patients underwent chemotherapy to kill most of their current immune system, which was replaced by the mutated cells. The modified cells successfully survived after injection into the body – making up 10% of the subject’s T cell count during the first 2 months. The team is now looking for ways to enable the cells to survive longer and in greater numbers.

Experts have called this a significant technical advance but warn that more patients need testing and the technique refining before any conclusive results can be drawn. Dr Edel O’Toole, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesman, said: “I think that the success of this approach in two patients shows promise, however 15 patients did not respond to the treatment suggesting that further work is needed to optimise this approach for all patients, which could take many years.”

Rosenberg now hopes to run a new trial with possibly stronger gene therapy treatments, he is currently awaiting FDA approval.

Gene therapy was much hyped after it’s first successful application in so called “bubble boys” (patients with severe combined immunodeficiency). After follow-up, these trials were stopped when it was discovered that three of eleven patients in one trial had developed leukemia.

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Aug
18

Potential Wikia mass exodus">
Potential Wikia mass exodus

Friday, August 1, 2008

Recently Wikia, a commercial company co-founded by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley, announced that it would be making changes in the appearances of its wikis, specifically making advertising more prominent. This change to mix advertising directly into the content has led many Wikia hosted sites to begin discussions regarding leaving Wikia hosting for their own. As Wikia’s business model hinges entirely upon user-generated content, large numbers of sites leaving could leave Wikia in financial trouble. Wikia has lost editors and volunteer “janitors” as a result of this.

Some changes were made to make sure Wikia doesn’t lose its community; one of them being the ability for logged-in users to turn off advertisements in their personal preferences, which would eliminate the ads from all other pages except the main pages of different Wikia wikis. However, this didn’t help much and several wikis, most notably the Transformers Wiki advised their users to switch to Firefox browser and install the AdBlock plugin to remove advertisements. The problem was the excessive advertisements on every content pages which most of the Wikia communities didn’t agree with.

Since the new Monaco skin version 3.1. was rolled out across all Wikia-hosted wikis, Wikia introduced a set of “main page column tags” meant to aid in main page designing while minding Wikia’s new advertisements. Most, if not all Wikia’s English-language wikis, such as Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki, Wiki 24 and WoWWiki have converted their main pages to use these new main page column tags. Wikia’s “helpers”, people working as interns for Wikia, have helped to convert wikis to the new main page layout. However, some wikis, such as the Transformers Wiki opposed the change to their main pages and thus refused to convert their main page to use the main page column tags. Newly-created Wikia wikis will have a main page that has the main page column tags by default.

Certain Wikia-hosted communities have criticized their host for trying to make Wikia look like one big website to please the advertisers when the communities would prefer to stay independent from other Wikia’s wikis.

During the rollout of the new Monaco skin, the phrase “Wikia will never host pop-up adverts.” was removed from Wikia’s terms of use and later reinstated into the terms. Several users thought that this might hint of upcoming pop-up ads at Wikia.

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Aug
09

Cherry Hope Chest}

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Cherry Hope Chest

by

Charity Crouch

Cherry is one of the most sought after wood types to create hope chests. When America was first settled by European immigrants, trees were in great abundance. Cherry wood was easily found in the Eastern forests of America which helped to make it a preferential wood type for blanket chests. Cherry is a dense hardwood that carpenters enjoy working with since it has an enduring quality, fairly even wood grain patterns and holds stain very nicely. The dark coloration of the stain was also a desirable color since many people liked to enhance the outside of their cherry blanket chests with decorative floral designs. The dark shading enhanced the lighter colored designs that were either painted on or carved, such as the inlay designs which were filled with sulfur.

One of the most favored design styles of cherry hope chests to be copied in America from European styles was the Queen Anne style. What was interesting was that even though people here called it ‘Queen Anne’, the design elements were very different than the ‘Queen Anne’ style furniture being made in Europe, most especially in England. American carpenters took this style and made it their own. All along the Eastern seaboard, every city had its own version of the queen Anne style. So, of course , all of the cherry hope chests would have been made in each of these distinctive styles. All of these blanket chest had beautiful flowing design elements and a wonderful assortment of leg patterns.

The Shakers and the Amish people of Pennsylvania made cherry hope chests with a very high degree of skill since it was part of their work ethic to do so. These blanket chests are the ones which have made it through the centuries in better shape than most due to the dovetail joinery and mortise and tenon joinery which the wood crofters of these communities chose to use. These cherry hope chests are highly prized by collectors also because of the beautiful designs that these German immigrants painted on the outside areas. These blanket chests usually had the name of the person who received the hope chest inscribed somewhere on the outside or on the inside of the lid. This has allowed historians to place where these blanket chests were created and also has helped to find the name of the original wood artisan.

Many of the blanket chests made today are replicas of the cherry hope chests handcrafted by the early settlers of America. These antique reproductions are extremely popular with most furniture buyers since their styling has never really gone out of style. Even if the hope chest is not the same design pattern as the rest of the furniture in the home, these blanket chests have a way of fitting right in and creating a warm addition to a homes decor. Hope chest furniture can be used as end tables, buffet tables,coffee tables, side boards,as an extra cozy seating area and as entryway sideboards .The extra storage that they provide is also something that many people are looking for in furniture since they reside in smaller living areas than what they would prefer.

There are so many great choices of blanket chest furniture to choose from today. When looking for the wood storage chest which will fit right into your homes decor, handcrafted cherry hope chests made by skilled carpenters will give you a piece of furniture of lasting quality that can be enjoyed now and by your future generations. Blanket Chest Heirlooms.com has beautiful examples of cherry hope chests handcrafted by the Amish.

Charity Crouch is an Art History major.

I recommend Blanket Chest Heirlooms.com

which offers a great selection of handcrafted

cherry hope chests

and reproduction hope chests constructed from beautiful hardwoods. These distinctive blanket chests add warmth to your furnishing decor.

Article Source:

eArticlesOnline.com

}

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Aug
09

G20 protests: Inside a labour march">
G20 protests: Inside a labour march

Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

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Aug
09

G20 protests: Inside a labour march">
G20 protests: Inside a labour march

Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

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