UK Set For First Coal-Free Work Day Since Pre-Industrial Times

Drax, the UK's biggest coal power station, has converted to partly run on biomass (Flickr/Jonathan Brennan)

By Megan Darby for Climate Home – Three old coal plants closed last year, while surging renewables, cheap gas and a carbon price make the remaining power stations less viable. A halving of coal use in 2016 was the main driver of a 5.8% fall in UK carbon dioxide emissions, according to Carbon Brief analysis of official data. The government has pledged to end coal burning by 2025, subject to consultation. Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said the day should be noted by politicians fighting over who will lead the UK through the next stage of its energy transition. “A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in ten years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again,” she said. “It is a clear message to any new government that they should prioritise making the UK a world leader in clean, green, technology. They will need to get on with the coal phase-out plan and recognise the economic potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency. We can meet the UK’s needs for skilled jobs and fair bills, whilst also meeting our climate targets.” Britain is phasing out coal faster than some European neighbours like Germany, helped by a surcharge of £18 a tonne of CO2 ($23) on top of the €5 ($5) EU market price.

Tear Gas, Bottles Fly As Paris Police & Anti-Brutality Protesters Clash For 3rd Night

Police, riot control, brutality, militarism

By Charlotte Dubenskij for Russia Today. Paris, France – Hundreds of protesters have gathered in front of police station in Paris for the 3rd consecutive night to vent their anger over the killing of a middle-aged Chinese man over the weekend. Tensions quickly escalated into clashes with police again firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd. RT’s correspondent at the scene, Charlotte Dubenskij, reports that police used tear gas to break pockets of protesters as the crowd continues to shout “Police assassins!” Paris, France – Hundreds of protesters have gathered in front of police station in Paris for the 3rd consecutive night to vent their anger over the killing of a middle-aged Chinese man over the weekend. Tensions quickly escalated into clashes with police again firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd. RT’s correspondent at the scene, Charlotte Dubenskij, reports that police used tear gas to break pockets of protesters as the crowd continues to shout “Police assassins!” “We’ve been seeing bottles thrown. We’ve got tear gas flown, pepper spray. I actually had it right in my face, we’ve been sort of with the crowd as it’s moving,” Dubenskij said.

UK Campuses Stifle Anti-War And Palestine Solidarity Activism

Protesters attend a rally supporting Palestinians following the recent Al-Aqsa mosque tensions on Place Chatelet in central Paris, France, Oct. 10 2015. | Photo: EFE

By Staff of Tele Sur – The U.K.’s often-criticized counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, has advised universities and colleges to counter extremism by stifling anti-war and Palestine solidarity activism. British university staff have been advised to watch out for students that may harbor “extremist views” such as vocal support for Palestine, opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza, criticism of wars in the Middle East and opposition to Prevent, according to the training materials provided. One campus has already felt the policy’s censoring effect. The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on Tuesday canceled an event organized by a Friends of Palestine society group, citing that it would be anti-Semitic and “unbalanced.” “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition (of anti-Semitism) and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events…

UK Labour Party Proposes A Maximum Wage Gap

Garry Knight / Flickr

By Sam Pizzigati for IPS – In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt advanced what may have been the most politically daring policy proposal of his entire presidency. FDR called for the equivalent of a maximum wage. No individual American after paying taxes, Roosevelt declared, should have an income over $25,000, about $370,000 today. A half-century later, in 1992, Bernie Sanders — then a relatively new member of the House of Representatives — marked the 50th anniversary of FDR’s maximum wage initiative. Sanders placed a commentary on FDR’s 1942 proposal in the Congressional Record. Last week, in the 75th anniversary year of Roosevelt’s 1942 proposal, British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave FDR’s income cap idea a considerably wider public airing.

Britain’s Largest Student Union Endorses BDS

Image of students celebrating after the University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted to pass a motion in support of BDS on 11th December 2016 [@IsraelWC/Facebook]

By Staff of MEMO – The largest student union in Britain has officially endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in a significant success for Palestine solidarity activists. The University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted last Thursday to pass a motion in support of BDS. The motion won the backing of 60 per cent of the SU Senate, following an impassioned debate. The motion was put forward by Huda Ammori, President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society, and was supported by Etisha Choudhury, President of Action Palestine, and the BDS Campaigns Committee. In the three weeks prior to last week’s Senate meeting…

The UK’s ‘National Security’ Plan? It’s A Blueprint For A Police State

Campaigners from Amnesty International carry model missiles in a protest against the export of UK arms to Saudi Arabia (AFP)

By Nafeez Ahmed for MEE – The report offers no insight on how Britain has destroyed the national security of other countries – and thereby threatened its own. In early December, the British government released its first annual report on the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. Despite the total media blackout, the document reveals in stark detail the Conservative government’s plans to expand Britain’s military activities around the world. In the name of defending “national security”, Britain is building a “permanent” military presence in the Gulf to defend Britain’s access to regional energy resources

UK Fracking Giant Fails To Imprison Grandmother

tina-louise-rothery-at-the-infrastructure-bill-demonstration

By Steve Rushton for Occupy – “Public support was paramount and I believe it made the judge acutely aware that this was not a simple case that I had wronged [U.K. fracking firm] Cuadrilla and owed them money,” Tina Rothery explains. “This was greater: it was about communities coming together. The huge public support showed the weight of my legal argument, and I think the judge could see that.” Rothery, a grandmother and resident of Blackpool in North England, was met by a jubilant crowd of hundreds outside Preston Court on Friday, December 9, when the verdict of her freedom was announced.

Parliament Passes Most Extreme Surveillance Law In UK History

(Illustration by Todd Detwiler)

By Staff of RSF – The UK Government has failed to respond to widespread public dismay over secret mass surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. The Bill will not only put into statute the capabilities revealed by Snowden but extend surveillance even further. This is not just of grave concern for UK citizens. The impact of the Bill will be felt around the world. Authoritarian leaders with poor human rights records can now point to the UK when justifying their own surveillance regimes.

U.K. Rent Strike Builds Toward Nov. 19 March As Students Say

From occupy.com

By Charlotte Dingle for Occupy.com. In January of this year, students at University College London held a rent strike over what they considered to be extortionate prices for substandard student accommodation. “UCL rent strikes were prompted by appalling conditions – mice, loud construction works going on in and near buildings that left students unable to do work – and rent hikes that left many students in poverty,” a spokesperson for Rent Strike, who preferred to remain unnamed, recently told Occupy.com. “Rents rose with no regard for the income of most students, leaving many students with around £12 a week for all expenses (including) food, clothes and books.” Nine months later, with student rent costs now increased by 18% in the last two years, the student rent strike movement has spread to 25 different universities.

Court: UK Mass Spying Was Unlawfully Conducted For Nearly Two Decades

A government legal panel said both the collection and holding of personal data breached the British people’s right to privacy. (Photograph: Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty Images)

By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – In what rights campaigners heralded as a “significant” reproach to government overreach, a British court which oversees the nation’s intelligence and clandestine services ruled Monday that mass surveillance by agencies—including the bulk collection of private data from unwitting citizens and residents—was unlawfully conducted for nearly two decades. Called the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the panel of judges which provides legal oversight and hears challenges submitted against the country’s Government Communications Headquarters

Students In The UK Prepare For A New Wave Of Rent Strikes

Flickr/ Alisdare Hickson

By Callum Cant for ROAR Magazine – The successful rent strike at University College London earlier this year broke the stale pattern of conflict between university managers and students. It showed how the rent strike tactic offers students in the UK opportunities to shut down higher education and how to gain the upper hand. Now a national network has been established with members from 25 campuses, and it’s calling for a co-ordinated wave of rent strikes in university halls.

Western-Backed Coalition Under Pressure Over Yemen Raid

Smoke rises from the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen on October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/File Photo

By William Maclean for Reuters – An air strike on a funeral gathering, widely blamed on Saudi-led warplanes, poses more trouble for a Western-backed Arab campaign against Yemen’s Houthis that has long been criticized for civilian losses. The White House announced an immediate review of Washington’s support for the 18-month-old military push after planes hit mourners at a community hall in the capital, Sanaa, on Saturday, killing 140 people, according to one U.N. estimate and 82 according to the Houthis.

Protest And Survive: Reclaiming William Morris From Britain’s Nuclear Fleet

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By David Mabb for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – The HMS Courageous is a 285-foot, nuclear-powered submarine that saw service in the British Royal Navy for about two decades starting in the early 1970s. Decommissioned in 1992 after, among other things, participating in the Falklands War of 1982, it now resides at the Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth, on the southwest coast of England, where visitors can tour its inner workings free of charge—provided they book in advance and bring their passports for “security” purposes.

Will UK Allow Taxpayers To Opt-Out Of Funding War?

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By Carlyn Harvey for The Canary – On 19th July an extraordinary bill was tabled in the UK parliament. The proposal,presented by Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury, seeks to allow citizens to divert the portion of their taxes that would ordinarily pay for military operations into a conflict prevention fund instead. The bill passed its first reading, is backed by the Green’s Caroline Lucas, and will receive its second reading on 2 December. If it succeeds the UK will set a historic precedent as the first country to allow citizens “to get the world you pay for” – with a chance to pay for peace not war.

British Hactavist Whistleblower Facing Extradition To US Faces Possible 99 Years

Lauri Love, 31, is accused of stealing 23,000 personal details of government employees from the US Federal Reserve, the US Army, the FBI and NASA

By Alex Matthews For Daily Mail – US authorities should be ‘thankful’ a British hacker targeted them instead of terrorists according to the man’s lawyer. Lauri Love, 31, from Stradishall in Suffolk, is accused of stealing 23,000 personal details of government employees from the US Federal Reserve, the US Army, the FBI and NASA. The Aspergers sufferer and vicar’s son is fighting extradition to the US where he faces 99 years in prison if convicted.