Monday 2 December 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Amy Taylor, Shona Main and Alex

Battle to cope with record asylum claims

It is likely that more than 10,000 asylum seekers will enter
Britain this year after record numbers arrived in the third
quarter, the latest statistics show.

A total of 22,560 applicants, 29,100 including dependants,
applied for asylum in the three months to the end of September. The
figure was 11 per cent up on the previous quarter, and 20 per cent
higher than the same quarter last year.

Yet while asylum applications have risen in each of the three
quarters of this year, fewer than 1,000 failed applicants are being
removed a month. Home secretary David Blunkett has abandoned a
target to remove 30,000 asylum seekers a year replacing it with
“removing a greater proportion” of failed applicants.

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes said the figures were not
satisfactory, but said it would take time for measures in
Labour’s second attempt to deal with asylum to take

Source:- The Times Saturday 30 November page 1

£4m campaign urges safe sex

A new £4 million safe sex campaign is to target young
adults to try to halt the rising trend of sexually transmitted

“Don’t Play the Sex Lottery. Use a Condom” will appear on
advertisements in lifestyle magazines from next month.

The campaign is aimed at the over 18s, in particular, those in
lower income groups, who are at the greatest risk of infection.

Source:- The Times Saturday 30 November page 4

Courts uphold rights of jailed youngsters

Children in jail have the same rights to benefit from laws
designed to protect young people from harm as other children, the
high court ruled yesterday.

Local authorities will be placed under a statutory duty to take
action to safeguard the welfare of young offenders under the ruling
that the Children Act should apply to children in prisons and young
offenders’ institutions.

Home secretary David Blunkett argued the Children Act 1989 did
not apply to children in prison. But judge Mr Justice Munby said
the policy, which was challenged by the Howard League for Penal
Reform was “wrong in law”.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 30 November page 12

Boys, 15, wins fight to get names off sex offenders

Two boys who admitted touching girls’ bottoms have had
their names removed from the sex offenders’ register, in a
landmark case yesterday.

One teenager admitted to “pinging bra straps and touching girls
on the bottom playfully” at school, while the other confessed to
putting his hand up a girl’s skirt and pinching her while
standing at a railway station.

But the 15-year-olds said they had no idea their admissions
could result in them being placed on the sex offenders’

Two judges sitting at the high court in London ruled that their
names should be removed from the sex offenders’ register
because they did not know the “consequences” of their

Their human rights had been breached, the judge said, because
police had failed to warn them that they would have to be placed on
the register.

The boys are too young to be identified.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 30 November page

Cash hoarded by lottery bodies swells to

New figures show that over £3.5 billion of national lottery
cash is being hoarded by civil servants despite ministers’ pledges
that it must be given out to good causes.

It is eight months since Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary,
asked distributors to release half of their reserves but to no
avail. Her predecessor Chris Smith had promised that the saved
funds would be reduced to £500 million.

Despite this a report by the Lottery Promotion Company (LPC),
pressure group shows that the reserves, which are earning large
sums of interest for the 15 bodies which distribute the cash, have
risen from £2.7 billion when Labour came to power to £3.5
billion last month.

Source:- The Sunday Times 1 December page 2

FBI nets 7,000 more British users of child porn

The names of 7,000 suspected paedophiles are to be passed to
British police by the FBI after they smashed a second internet
child pornography ring.

The new names will bring the total of Britons under
investigation for downloading child pornography to 14,000 after the
Americans uncovered a similar internet ring earlier this year.

The operation has also identified 25,000 suspects in

Source:- The Sunday Times 1 December page 7

Home Office hid asylum figures

The government has been accused of omitting politically
embarrassing information on immigration from a press release issued
on Friday.

The four-page document, including a statement from Beverley
Hughes, the immigration minister, accompanying the latest asylum
statistics and was presented as an accurate summary of a more
detailed home office document that was only made available on the

Critics say it omitted material that would be embarrassing for
David Blunkett, the home secretary. Omissions included the fact
that the new figures were the highest quarterly level on record, at
29,100 for the three months to September.

Source:- The Sunday Times 1 December page 14

Jail Threat to parents over girl

Parents who take their daughters abroad to undergo female
circumcision could face a jail sentence in a move to stop the
practice inflicted on Muslim girls in Britain.

Although the operation is banned in the UK it still remains
popular among some ethnic minority communities. Currently, if a
girl is found to have been undergone the procedure there is little
the authorities can do.

A new backbench Bill, piloted by Labour MP Ann Clwyd and backed
by the Home Secretary David Blunkett, will allow parents to be
prosecuted if they if they aim what is know as female genital
mutilation (FGM).

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 December page 2

Onward march of lobby against immigration

Concern has been raised over controversial claims by the
influential research group Migration Watch UK.

The group’s message is direct: Britain is over-populated and
does not need anymore immigrants. It claims to be independent, but
critics disagree, saying that instead it aims to deliberately fuel
the ill-informed public debate on immigration.

Source:- The Observer 1 December page 5

‘No one leaves this place with her sanity in

Jail suicides are at an all-time high. Bullying and devastating
mental health problems are rife.Amelia Hill reports on the crisis
in women’s prisons.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 December page 10

Benefits cut for truancy shelved

The government has dismissed plans to cut child benefit from
parents of truants.

Instead every parent in Britain will receive a warning not to
let their children skip school in the same envelope as letters
telling of an increase in child benefit next spring. Critics have
said the move is a waste of time and money.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 December page 15

England has worse crime rate than US

A new United Nations report claims that England and Wales have
the highest crime rate amongst the world’s leading economies.

The survey shows that people are more likely to be mugged,
burgled, robbed or assaulted here than in America, Germany, Russia,
South Africa or any other of the world’s 20 largest nations.

Only the Dominican Republic, New Zealand and Finland have higher
crime rates than England and Wales.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 1 December page 2

Family sues over ‘horrific sex abuse’ of disabled

A family has issued a court writ for damages and an apology from
a council after claims that a care home supervisor preyed on Down’s
Syndrome resident.

Wiltshire council has been taken to court by the family of a man
with Down’s syndrome who was allegedly subjected to sexual and
physical abuse at Rutland House, Trowbridge, a council-run care

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 1 December page 15

‘Let me out of Broadmoor for Christmas’

Janet Cresswell, the poet and playwright who has spent more that
25 years in Broadmoor, has written to The Independent on
to ask the government to let her home for

The plight of Ms Cresswell, aged 71, was one of the catalysts
for the paper’s mental health campaign. She is one of the estimated
400 people being held in Britain’s high-security hospitals. Many of
which, the paper claims, should have been released years ago, but
are not due to a lack of beds for them outside the hospitals.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 1 December page

The village that’s just too English for a Lottery

Villagers from Westbury-on-Severn have made four costly
applications to the National Lottery for funds to renovate their
village hall only to be told they’re too ordinary.

There are no refugees, special groups for disabled people or
ethnic minority groups in the village, all of whom are classed as
priority groups for grants.

Even though two pensioners’ groups, the Scouts, Brownies, junior
rugby and football teams use the hall every week, officials at the
Lottery’s Community Fund still say they don’t count as significant
numbers of older people and young people.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 1 December page 15

Pensioners may lose free ride on the buses

Older and disabled people may lose their free bus passes as a
government commission calls for them to be abolished and the money
saved going on discount travel for the unemployed.

The Commission for Integrated Transport recommends pensioners
should forfeit £42 million in public subsidy and pay half the
normal adult fare instead, in a report today.

The commission’s chairperson David Begg said it made no
sense for local authorities to hand a free bus pass to everyone of
retirement age regardless of their means. Free travel for disabled
people also failed to take account of income, he added.

Instead the pot of money should be spread around socially
excluded groups, he said.

Source:- The Times Monday 2 December page 1

Detention power

Community support officers who can issue fixed penalty notices
for offences such as causing damage or dropping litter, have been
given the power to detain a suspect for 30 minutes until a police
officer arrives, if the suspect refuses to give them a name and
address or the details appear to be false.

Source:- The Times Monday 2 December page 4

Deported Afghan family faces cut in legal

Government lawyers are trying to prevent an Afghan from
continuing their fight against David Blunkett’s decision to
deport them by attempting to cut their legal aid.

Farid and Feriba Ahmadi and their two children were removed to
Germany in August and are waiting for their adjourned appeal
hearing to restart. It will determine whether the deportation
violates their human rights.

The treasury solicitor has written to the Legal Services
Commission saying that Farid Ahmadi had “misled” the UK authorities
in his evidence to the adjudicator.

Campaigners are questioning the motivation and timing of the
home office intervention.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 2 December page 9

Trade pact ‘may force councils to privatise

Huge swaths of public services could be privatised under plans
to liberalise world trade, local authority leaders have warned.

A global deal to open up markets could “enforce a strongly
deregulatory interpretation in favour of business interests”,
according to a memorandum.

The leak coincided with a protest group’s claim that a
range of public services could be thrown open to global competition
if the government signed up to the package being negotiated through
the World Trade Organisation.

But the department of trade and industry insisted the government
had complete freedom to protect core health and education services
from competition.

Source:- The
Independent Monday 2 December
page 2

The real price for closing Sangatte

Britain should accept thousands more asylum seekers in return
for closing the Sangatte refugee camp, France demanded last

Both countries are locked in talks over the fate of the
estimated 1,800 people still living at the Red Cross camp.

But just hours before an Anglo-French summit in London, French
ministers insisted that 5,000 other illegal immigrants living in
France should be included in the negotiations.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 2 December page 1

Boy shut in padded room by teachers

Controversy has erupted after it emerged a five-year-old boy was
shut in a padded room for misbehaving.

Sonny Proctor was put in a 9ft by 9 ft chamber for five minutes.
Teachers at Bradley Rowe First School in Exeter call it a “time-out
room”, and use it regularly to deal with violent pupils.

Headteacher Clare Wesson said the room was used to ensure that
Sonny did not harm himself, staff or other pupils.

But last night Sonny’s mother Rose said that no-one of
that age should be shut in a room, and said her son was

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 2 December page 28

More youngsters than ever own up to using

One in 10 young teenagers are using illegal drugs, it will be
revealed this week.

Department of health figures will show 11 per cent of 11 to
15-year-olds admitted taking drugs in the previous month, up from
nine per cent a year ago.

Some 26 per cent also admitted drinking alcohol, an increase
from 19 per cent in 2001.

The figures will be released as home secretary David Blunkett
formalises his plan to downgrade cannabis from a Class B to a Class
C drug.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 2 December page 36

Scottish newspapers

No safe haven as gang attacks asylum-seeker

Strathclyde Police are investigating another attack on an asylum
seeker in Glasgow’s Sighthill housing scheme.

Masood Gomroki, an Iranian refugee, was brutally stabbed by a
gang of white youths as he visited a local shop.

The attack comes two years after Firsat Dag a Kurdish
asylum-seeker was stabbed to death in the same scheme, creating
major fears about the integration and safety of asylum seekers in

Source:- The Sunday Herald 1 December page 7

HIV cases hit 3,000 high in Scotland

More than 3,000 Scots are carrying the Aids virus, but over
1,000 of those are unaware they are HIV positive.

Furthermore, the number of diagnoses is set to rise by 25 per
cent in the UK in 2002. The disease has already been identified in
nearly 6,000 people during 2002.

The Public Health Laboratory Service has reported that this
year’s total of new confirmed cases is the highest in
Scotland for 15 years. There are now 2,119 HIV sufferers living in
Scotland with the availability of new drugs meaning they are now
living longer.

Source:- The Sunday Times 1 December page

Fat camp plan for Scottish children

Scotland’s own American style fat camp is being planned to
tackle increasing levels of obesity in young people.

Carnegie International Camp, the company behind the private
venture, said that NHS trusts could fund obese youngsters from poor

In Scotland, 8 per cent of boys and 7 per cent of girls are
considered obese. Among adults this rises to 19 per cent of men and
22 per cent of women.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 2nd December page 7

Real Gone Kid

A five-year-old Glasgow boy is back home after boarding a train
and travelling 230 miles.

Shabaaz Iqbal jumped on the 4.06pm Virgin service from Glasgow
Central Station to Reading hoping it would take him home.
Strathclyde police started a major search for Shabazz. He was
discovered four hours later when he got off the train at

Virgin Trains said the youngster may have escaped detection on
the train as children aged five or under travel free and do not
require a ticket. However, police and politicians have expressed
concern that passengers or Virgin Trains staff did nothing to
assist a small child so clearly on his own.

Source:- The Daily Record Monday 2 December page 5

Welsh newspapers

MP urges Cardinal to resign over paedophile

A Labour MP has called on the leader of the Catholic Church in
England and Wales to resign over his handling the issue of
paedophile priests.

Debra Shipley has criticised Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O’Connor for failing to protect children from abuse
and has questioned his “moral fibre”.

Shipley is meeting with prime minister Tony Blair today to
demand an urgent legal crackdown on abuse by clergy.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 2 December page 3

Influx of patients to new hospital at Baglan Moors going

The first hospital in Wales to be built with private finance
welcomed its first patients at the weekend.

The Baglan Moors project at Port Talbot in west Wales has cost
£64 million and has taken 18 months to complete. The new unit
has the latest medical equipment including MRI scanners and a
computerised X-ray system. Other facilities include a day surgery
centre, mental health unit and local accident centre.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 2 December page 5

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