Secrecy in family courts to be lifted
The curtain of secrecy hiding what goes on in the family courts of England and Wales is to be lifted, after concerns from senior judges and MPs that it damages public confidence in the administration of justice. The move follows claims by parents accused of child abuse and by divorced fathers denied the right to see their children that the courts are unaccountable and have mishandled their cases behind closed doors.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 5 December 2005, page 12

Call for stronger action on sex traffic
Ministers are under growing pressure to crack down on sex traffickers. A number of MPs and charities are calling for tougher laws to stop the traffickers and for men who have sex with the victims to face rape charges.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 4 December 2005, page 2

Smoking ban for under-18s
The minimum age for buying tobacco is to be raised from 16 to 18 in effort to cut the number of teenage smokers, according to government plans.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday, Sunday 4 December 2005, page 1

Body in canal
The body of a 93-year-old man who went missing from his care home on Friday has been found in a nearby canal by police. Ernest Smith, of the Hazelwood care home in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, went missing in a “distressed state” at 11am on Friday.
Source:- The Times,  Monday 5 December 2005, page 4

Brain circuit link to autism
A brain circuit that helps people to observe and imitate the emotions of others is almost completely switched off in children with autism, according to new research from the University of Californian, Los Angeles, that could shed light on the origins of the developmental disorder.
Source:- The Times,  Monday 5 December 2005, page 12

Free paper for homeless may close as editor quits
The Willow Walker, a free paper for homeless people which has become a feature of life in Cambridge is facing closure with the departure of its editor.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 5 December 2005, page 10

Secret amnesty on immigration
Immigration officers have been ordered not to detain any suspected illegal entrants they find, according to a secret Home Office memo.
Source:- The Daily Mail, Monday 5 December 2005, page 1

Too many women are jailed, says top judge
Baroness Hale, Britain’s senior female judge will make an impassioned plea today for fewer women to be jailed.
Source:- The Independent, Monday 5 December 2005, page 11

Unison to challenge retiring age move
Unison is to mount a legal challenge against a decision to stop local authority workers retiring early on full pension. Yesterday, local government minister Phil Woolas announced plans to scrap the 85-year-rule, which allows council employees to retire on full pension at 60 provided their age and years of service add up to 85.
Source:- Financial Times Saturday 3 December  2005 page 2

Big council tax rises could lead to budget cap
Local authorities will face the threat of budgetary capping next week then they are told to keep council tax rises below 5 per cent in return for better than expected funding.
Source:- Financial Times Saturday 3 December  2005 page 4

Town halls to go public over cuts
Town hall chiefs have been urged to publicise planned cuts in services as part of a national campaign to highlight the financial crisis facing local councils. In a leaked letter the Local Government Association calls on chief executives to spell out how government underfunding will affect services next year.
Source:- The Times Saturday 3 December  2005 page 14

In Britain’s courts, does it matter if you’re black or white?
Two Asian men who murdered a 30-year-old white man at a London bus stop were given significantly lower sentences than the murderers of Anthony Walker in Liverpool. The similarities between the two cases and difference in their outcome has left the family of the man feeling it was treated unequally.Source:- The Times Saturday 3 December  2005 page 37

Operations go-slow forced by NHS crisis
Hospitals are being forced to delay operations and introduce a go-slow in treatment because of the NHS’s overspending crisis.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 3 December  2005 page 1

Accused father tells how terminally ill son died
Andrew Wragg, 38, told a court how he looked into his terminally-ill son’s eyes and asked: “Have you had enough son?” before suffocating him with a pillow.Wragg, from Worthing, West Sussex, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 3 December  2005 page 5

Pathologist in Sally Clark case loses accreditation
Alan Williams, the forensic pathologist in the Sally Clark case who failed to disclose microbiology test results on her second son, was yesterday struck off the list of pathologists accredited to carry out postmortems for the Home Office.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 3 December  2005 page 10

Carers “fail to claim £746m in benefits”
Carers who look after elderly or sick relatives are missing out on an estimated £746m in unclaimed benefits, according to Carers UK, which said 68 per cent of carers were saving on heating and clothing to make ends meet.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Saturday 3 December  2005 page 10                            

Elderly face cuts in care to stop big increases in council tax
Elderly people face cuts in their care because of town hall efforts to keep down next year’s council tax rises.
Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 3 December  2005 page 6

Government rejects advisers’ call for primary sex lessons
The government has distanced itself from a report by its own advisers recommending compulsory sex education in primary schools.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 5 December, page 2

Women’s pay blow
Women’s minister Tessa Jowell has confessed that the gap between male and female pay may never be closed. But she insisted that the Blair administration is the “most feminist government in our history.”
Source:- Daily Mirror, Monday 5 December, page 18

Tsunami record
The tsunami raised a record £160m for Oxfam, the charity says.
Source:- Daily Mirror, Monday 5 December, page 22

New law protects ill from discrimination
At least a quarter of a million seriously ill people will have new legal rights from today, protecting them from being treated unfairly at work.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 5 December, page 9

Minimum age for buying cigarettes may rise to 18
The government is considering raising the legal age for buying cigarettes from 16 to 18, but legislation is unlikely until well into next year.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 5 December, page 11

Cannabis: the final word
A risk to mental health or a boon for people with MS? Both.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 5 December, page 24

Contracts help charities balance books

Charities face slowing growth in income from donations and are becoming increasingly reliant on providing public services to balance their books, says credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
Source:- Financial Times, Monday 5 December, page 4

Welfare payments could be hit by job cuts strike
Welfare payments could be seriously disrupted next year if civil servants vote to strike over job cuts.
Source:- Financial Times, Monday 5 December, page 4

Public sector workers unhappy
The government may have poured billions of pounds into public sector pay but workers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied, research by the Work Foundation shows.
Source:- Financial Times, Monday 5 December, page 4

Welsh news

Binge-drink link to sex diseases
The extension of the licensing laws will increase the levels of sexually transmitted diseases in Wales, it has been claimed by experts. The Public Health Association Cymru says that the year on year increase in sexually transmitted diseases amongst young people is linked to the trend for binge drinking. The warnings come after new official figures showed that the rates for all types of sexually transmitted diseases were going up in the UK.
Source:- Western Mail, Monday, 5 December

Mums’ pervert row anger
Parents attempting to get a sex offender removed from their community have reacted with disbelief after learning that a man involved in similar offences in their town had been outlawed from going near schools.The mums have been campaigning to get flasher Gareth Davies to leave his home in Dafen which is opposite a primary school.
They hit the roof after learning that Wyndham Gethin Roberts from Trimsaran, Llanelli, was banned from going near any school after admitting two charges of flashing.
Source: – Wales on Sunday, 4 December

More sex offenders sent back to jail
There was a 25 per cent increase in the number of sex offenders sent back to prison in Wales last year compared to 2003-4 according to new official figures.The area had the third highest rate of returning serious offenders to prison.
Source:- Western Mail,  Saturday 3 December

Scottish news

New police centre unites battle against “booze and blade culture”
A national police centre of excellence to tackle Scotland’s “booze and blade culture” is to be created under a fresh Scottish executive campaign aimed at ridding the country of its violent repuation.
Source:-The Scotsman, 5 December

Poverty for disabled adults
One in three disabled adults of workign age in Scotland is living in poverty, new research claims.
Source:- The Scotsman, 5 December

One million Scots still living in poverty
About 200,000 Scots have escaped poverty since 1997 but almost one million others remain trapped in the situation, according to a new study. Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found nearly one fifth of the population is living off less than 60 per cent of the national average income, and singled out disabled people as benefiting least from anti-poverty policies. Another report by Save the Children warned the government would miss its target to eradicate childhood poverty by 2020, unless it introduced a raft of measures to target the most impoverished youngsters.
Source:- The Herald, 5 December

Neds stay away in village of banned Peace returned to Scotland’s Asbo village on the first weekend since gangs of young people were banned. Last week, police were given power to ban youths from the streets of Mid Calder, West Lothian.
Source:- The Record, 5 December





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