By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.
Labour chief supports adoption by gay
Gay and unmarried couples should be allowed to adopt, according
to the Labour Party chairman.
Charles Clarke said it would be ‘unfair to discriminate
against a loving home purely on the basis of personal
orientation’, in a letter to a constituent.
The new Adoption Bill is intended to help over 60,000 children
trapped in the care system to find new homes.
The Adoption Bill is expected to return to the Commons after
Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 2 April page 36
Housing reform to tackle ‘neighbours from
Neighbours from hell will be swiftly evicted by landlords, under
new powers to be outlined by the government today.
Under the plans, tenants who abuse or terrorise neighbours will
lose their home more easily, and be banned from living in a whole
area of their town or city.
Stephen Byers, secretary of state for transport, local
government and the regions, will publish a consultation document
detailing the proposals to crack down on anti social behaviour on
Britain’s council estates.
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 2 April page
Irish bishop resigns over handling of sex abuse by
A bishop of the Catholic Church in Ireland was forced to resign
yesterday over his handling of sex abuse allegations against a
The Right Reverend Brendan Comiskey announced his resignation in
Wexford yesterday, and apologised to “all who had been abused by
priests in the diocese”.
He had been under pressure to resign following a BBC
documentary, which criticised the way he dealt with the case of the
late Father Sean Fortune.
Dr Comiskey said Father Fortune had committed “very grave wrongs
and hurt many people”.
But despite regularly confronting the priest and removing him
from the ministry, he admitted he had failed to resolve the
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 2 April page
MPs back plans for radical new drug laws
The Commons home affairs select committee is to back David
Blunkett’s plans to downgrade the classification of
The all-party committee of MPs has looked at a first draft of
the report, and is likely to call for radical measures to improve
the treatment of heroin users. The MPs report is also likely to
call for better treatment of crack cocaine users.
The home secretary has said he will only downgrade cannabis if
the committee backs the proposal. It has yet to vote on key
recommendations, but is lining up behind reclassification of
cannabis from class B to C.
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 2 April page 1
Internet chat site clue to missing girl, 13
Missing girl Amanda Dowler could have gone off with a boyfriend
or someone she met through the internet, according to
investigations by Surrey police.
Detectives have downloaded the files on her home computer and
are pursuing new leads.
“Milly, like most youngsters her age, is fairly active in the
computer world,” a police spokesperson said yesterday. “There are a
number of lines of inquiry which emanate from details recovered
from her home computer.”
The streets from which Amanada, also known as Milly, disappeared
from 12 days ago were checked again by specialist search officers
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 2 April page 2
Yarl’s Wood centre shut as insurers cut
The asylum centre which suffered nearly £40 million damage
in riots and fires earlier this year, has shut because adequate
insurance cover could not be found.
Yarl’s Wood’s 84 detainees were transferred as it
was temporarily closed.
The move follows riots at the centre near Heathrow airport in
A spokesperson for Group 4, the company that manages
Yarls’ Wood said: “The cover that the insurers were prepared
to pay was considerably reduced, and not considered adequate.”
“The contract that Group 4 has with the home office stipulates
that there must be adequate cover and Group 4 would not run an
operation without it.”
No staff cuts are planned and the company will hold talks with
the home office over the coming weeks to secure cover.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 2 April page 2
Teachers trained to deal with violent primary
Stirling council and Dumfries and Galloway council have called
in specialist trainers to help teachers deal with increasing
violence from primary school pupils.
The course – Positive Behaviour Approaches –
stresses that physical intervention is a last resort when other
strategies have failed such as calm words, diversions, jokes and
warnings of what will happen if the child does not stop.
The move follows a Scottish executive report in January that
violent and abusive behaviour against staff in schools had
increased by 46 per cent since last year to a new high of
Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 2 April page 4
Pensioner to sue council
North Lanarkshire council is to be sued over the leaking of
confidential computer files.
Mary Houston is set to sue the council after a CD-ROM was sent
to The Scotsman newspaper containing confidential
information about sick, elderly and disabled people in North
The anonymous sender of the CD-ROM said that the information was
discovered on the hard drives of two computers bought directly from
Newhouse Electronics in Motherwell. The council employs computer
firm Sx3 to dispose of computers when they are obsolete, and some
of this work is subcontracted to Newhouse Electronics. The council
is in the process of advising every person on the files that their
records have been leaked. Lawyers predict that many more
individuals will sue North Lanarkshire.
Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 2 April page 8
System’s failure causing deaths
Patients who need organ transplants are missing out because
fewer than 20 per
cent of people in Wales are on the organ donor register.
Charities have launched a concerted campaign to raise public
awareness of the
need to donate organs, but there were still three times the
number of kidney
patients in Wales last year than there were donors able to
According to the Lifeline Wales Organ Donation Register there
416,537 people on the register, but the number of new entries
between 1999 and
2000 slumped by half and it is thought this may be due to the
Alder Hey and
Bristol Royal Infirmary scandals.
A spokesperson for the BMA said that a process of continuing
needed, and that people needed to be reassured that organ
donation did not
make it impossible to bury loved ones or carry out a funeral in
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 2 April page 7
Youth jails at ‘crisis point’ as use of new punishment
rises by nearly a third
Youth jails are reaching crisis point as the number of young
receiving a new type of punishment has soared by nearly a
Courts in England and Wales are now using a hybrid sentence, the
and Training Order (DTO) for 12 to 15-year-olds. Figures show
estimated 5,500 orders were made in a nine month period last
with 4,200 over the same period in 2000, an increase of 31 per
Probation leaders are concerned that severe overcrowding at
institutions is likely to undermine rehabilitation work with
The chairman of the Youth Justice Board, Lord Warner has asked
the courts to consider using community sentences like intensive
surveillance programmes to help ease the pressure on
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 2 April page 8