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Housing Act passed

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The Housing and Planning Act was passed in parliament last month, threatening to make the housing crisis much worse for millions of people. The government pushed ahead despite objections from tenant, housing and homeless groups, local authorities, academics, trade unions, faith leaders and community organisations.

Hypocrite Trump saves himself

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Donald Trump, now almost sure to be the only candidate with enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination, is well known for his climate change denial.

It seems his claims that climate change is a hoax and his opposition to “so-called green energy” don’t apply when it comes to his own interests. Trump has applied for permission to erect “coastal protection works” — that is, a wall — to protect one of his golf resorts in County Clare, Ireland.

Germany stands up to racism

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The success of the far right anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) in regional elections in March sent shockwaves across Germany, as we reported last month.

Socialists and anti-racists organised an emergency national conference in Frankfurt-am-Main on 23-24 April to discuss their response to the growth of the right. It was a real success, with around 600 activists attending from across Germany. The conference was organised by members of Die Linke (the Left Party) and other forces on the left.

We must fight racism with solidarity

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As we go to press the Labour left is coming under attack from a coalition of the Tories and the Labour right throwing accusations of anti-Semitism. Jeremy Corbyn has come under increasing pressure to suspend members, including ex London mayor Ken Livingstone. While it is crucial that the Labour Party takes any claim of anti-Semitism or any form of racism seriously, there is clearly a concerted effort to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Austrian Nazi makes a mark

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Last month’s first round presidential election in Austria showed a dangerous shift to the right. Norbert Hofer of the fascist Freedom Party came top with 36 percent of the vote. In second place was the Green Party candidate with 20 percent.

There will be a run-off election between the two to decide the presidency on 22 May. Although the president is mainly a ceremonial role, Hofer has already claimed that he would dissolve parliament before the next parliamentary elections in 2018.

#Lexit campaign launch

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With the referendum campaign on Britain’s membership of the EU now underway, left forces have officially launched a campaign for a left wing British exit. The organisations backing #Lexit — the Left Leave Campaign include the RMT rail workers’ union, the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, Counterfire, the Indian Workers Association, the Bangladeshi Workers Council of Britain and Scottish Left Leave.

Syria: signs of hope

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The Syrian regime’s capture of Palmyra, the historic Syrian city taken by ISIS last summer, has been hailed as a significant victory and a vindication of Russia’s intervention in Syria. In a deft manoeuvre Putin, a key ally of Assad, announced that he would scale back Russian military forces in Syria — a move designed to reduce tensions with Turkey and the West.

There's a change in the air

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The Tory party meltdown over the past few weeks has been an edifying sight. Not since John Major’s ill-fated premiership in the 1990s have the Conservatives in power been so divided. And the funniest part is that they have largely brought it on themselves.

George Osborne’s budget lies in tatters following work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith’s shock resignation and the subsequent scrapping of plans to cut disability benefits, as Ellen Clifford spells out in this issue. This followed retreats on the “tampon tax” and tax credits.

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