Suicide rate rises sharply in Northern Ireland
The number of suicides in Northern Ireland has risen by 50 per cent in two years, prompting a government initiative to train GPs to recognise potential suicide cases and the launch of a telephone helpline.
Source:-  The Daily Telegraph, Friday 31 March 2006, page 14

More strikes planned in council pensions battle
Council workers are to stage a fresh series of strikes in their row over pensions, union leaders decided last night.
Source:- The Times, Friday 31 March 2006, page 9

Tories attack poor record on Asbos
The number of Asbos issued in courts in England and Wales continues to grow – but the Tories said the total had fallen short of the predicted target and four in 10 orders were breached.
Source:-  The Daily Telegraph, Friday 31 March 2006, page 11

When we turn the current on, the patients report the emptiness suddenly disappears
Sufferers from depression who do not respond to existing treatments could soon benefit from a new procedure in which electrodes are inserted in the core of the brain and used to alter the patients’ mood.
Source:-  The Guardian, Friday 31 March 2006, page 3

Blair camp: Brown axed benefit to damage PM in local elections
Blair loyalists believe Gordon Brown withdrew a £200 council tax discount for pensioners to damage the prime minister in the May local elections.
Source:-  The Guardian, Friday 31 March 2006, page 1

Amnesty on illegal immigrants is worth £6 billion to UK
Giving the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Britain a promise they will not be deported would raise at least £1 billionn a year in taxes, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research. The cost of deporting them could reach £4.7 billion.
Source:-  The Independent, Friday 31 March 2006, page 2

Refugee’s counter to political correctness
Johannes Shanmugam, a Sri Lankan businessman who came to Europe as a refugee has started an “anti-political correctness party” to fight for the right to discuss race and immigration without fear of persecution. It so far has only one member– himself.
Source:- The Times, Friday 31 March 2006, page 25

Equality body’s funding cut
Funding for the Equal Opportunities Commission is understood to have been cut by about 10 per cent by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Source:- The Financial Times, Friday 31 March 2006, page 3

Scottish news

McConnell accused of breach of trust over personal care
Jack McConnell has been accused of presiding over a breach of public trust, as opposition politicians rounded on the first minister over free personal care.
Half of Scotland’s councils have instituted waiting lists because of confused guidance from the executive even though the law states people should receive free personal care “immediately from the day they are assessed as needing it”.
The SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon said new figures showed councils were £20 million underfunded with the result that some people are waiting up to 90 days for free care.
Source:- The Herald, Friday 31 March 2006

Young asylum seekers ‘given little support or protection’
More than 100 young asylum seekers who fled to Scotland with no family or support received inadequate protection, according to a new report.
Researchers at Glasgow University found children escaping from war zones and persecution had been placed temporarily in hostels for the homeless and encountered racism among staff while others were placed in hotels or bed and breakfasts for long periods because of a lack of suitable accommodation.
The Scottish Refugee Council, which commissioned the research, is calling for independent advisers or guardians to be appointed to help asylum seekers who arrive in Scotland as unaccompanied minors.
Source:- The Herald, Friday 31 March 2006

Drug courts pilot extended for three years
Two specialist courts created to deal with crimes committed by drug addicts are to continue for another three years.
The drug courts, set up in Glasgow in 2001 and Fife in 2002, will undergo further monitoring by the Scottish executive.
Hugh Henry, the deputy justice minister, made the announcement as a report on the pioneering scheme was released that found “no significant” difference in re-conviction rates between offenders processed by the drug courts and the probation system.
Source:- The Scotsman, Friday 31 March 2006

A Dumfries woman admitted engaging in a sexual activity with a minor she was looking after. Married mother Diana Adams stripped off and carried out sex acts on both herself and the 15-year-old school boy. Adams was given probation and community service after admitting the offence, and her name will be placed on the sex offenders’ register.
Source:- The Record, Friday 31 March 2006

Welsh news

£28k rise for council boss after strike
There was outrage yesterday when a local authority chief executive was given a £28,000 pay rise days after low paid council workers went on strike. The new deal means that Bryn Parry Jones will receive £169,000 a year, one of the higest salaries for a local authority chief in Wales.
Source:- Western Mail, Friday 31 March 2006

No defence offered by accused teenagers
The barristers for three teenagers accused of murdering a sixth former offered no defence in court yesterday. This means that the teenagers, Swansea 18-year-olds Joel Taylor and Andrew Rafferty, and another 16-year-old boy, will not give their opinion of what happened in the witness box. The body of Ben Bellamy was found on a Swansea beach last September.
Source:- Western Mail, Friday 31 March 2006

Communities First ‘not job creation’ programme
Social justice minister Edwina Hart has left opposition AMs flabbergasted by asserting that the Communities First programme is not a scheme designed to create jobs. The £131 million programme is designed to regenerate Wales’ poorest communities and when it was launched in 2000 one of its stated aims was to “create jobs”. Hart made the comments in her response to a question from Plaid Cymru’s shadow social justice minister Leanne Wood who asked how many jobs had been created by the scheme. Her questioning comes after a report published last June found that “no substantial regeneration outcomes” had been produced by the scheme in its first three years.
Source:- Western Mail, Friday 31 March 2006





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