Friday 13 December 2002

By Amy Taylor, Shona Main and Alex Dobson.

Councils threaten rankings challenge

The Audit Commission is facing a legal challenge from three
local authorities over its league tables ranking Britain’s
best and worst councils.

Both Torbay and Salford councils are seeking a judicial review
of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment which they believe gave
them a lower rating than they deserved.

Ealing Council is in the process of challenging its position and
if the ranking is not improved, will also take legal action.

The league tables rank councils as excellent, good, fair, weak
and poor. If the legal action is successful the government may have
to introduce new legislation giving it powers to enforce

Source:- The Times  Friday 13 December page 2

Fears for fresher who vanished on mission to talk to the

A mother gave an emotional appeal last night for her daughter to
come home for Christmas after the 19-year-old disappeared after
going to interview homeless people.

Victoria Stephenson was last seen on Tuesday lunchtime when she
told friends she was taking a bus to the city centre to talk to the
homeless for her community studies coursework.

Last night police, who are passing photographs round soup
kitchens, said they were extremely concerned about the first-year
student at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Source:- The Times  Friday 13 December page 1

Call for TB and HIV tests on all immigrants

All immigrants should be given a medical test before they are
allowed into the country, according to the former head of the
government agency responsible for controlling diseases in

Lord Turnberg, who retired as chairperson of the Public Health
Laboratory Service in July, said that measures were needed to
combat the spread of tuberculosis and HIV, where the recent surge
in cases is largely the result of increased immigration from
countries with high levels of the infections.

Source:- The Times  Friday 13 December page 6

Hauliers have £12m asylum fines waived

Lorry drivers will be let off fines totalling £12m imposed
for bringing illegal immigrants into Britain.

The home office will no longer collect the outstanding penalties
handed out as a result of a scheme aimed at curbing the number of
asylum seekers entering the country. But it is not to refund the
£2m of fines already paid.

Source:- The Times  Friday 13 December
page 6

Caning at school ‘not a human

A group of independent schools failed yesterday to have the cane
brought back into use.

The Christian Schools Trust representing 40 schools argued that
parents’ human rights were being infringed because they could
not sanction staff to beat their children.

Lord Justice Buxton at London’s appeal court rejected
claims that the ban conflicted with the European Convention on
Human Rights.

Source:- The Times  Friday 13 December page 14

Parents of truants face fines from heads

Parents of persistent truants could be given “fixed
penalty” fines by headteachers as part of a new package of
measures to improve bad behaviour and attendance in schools, the
government announced yesterday.

Teachers leaders and education experts said the proposals were
dangerous and inappropriate and would make it even more difficult
for schools to build more positive relations with the parents of
unruly youngsters.

Source:- The Guardian  Friday 13 December page 10

Councils give refugees cheap leisure passes

Asylum seekers in Birmingham are to be given discounts at the
city’s Premiership football grounds, fitness centres and golf

Refugees are to be offered a special pass that allows them a
range of discounted leisure activities in an extension of
“The Passport to Leisure” scheme.

This is usually free to those aged over 70 but is being
introduced because Birmingham believes the city’s 6,000
asylum seekers have little to do during the day.

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Friday 13 December page 8

FA issues rules on videos of children

Parents will have to sign a form from the Football Association
if they want to take photographs or video footage of their children
playing football.

The form will say that the images will not be used for
inappropriate purposes such as pornography.

The move, which the FA describes as “commonsense”
comes after headmistress Sue Stokes from Luton banned parents from
filming the school nativity play in case images ended up in the
hands of paedophiles.

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Friday 13 December page

Scottish newspapers

Plan to cut student suicides as study finds one in five
is depressed

Universities across Scotland have been issued with guidelines on
how to tackle the risk of suicide among students.

A report by Universities UK claims that one in five first-year
students are depressed.

Diana Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, said,
“I hope this document will help to raise awareness of the
issues, build on existing good practice and help the sector to take
appropriate steps to reduce the risks.”

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 13th December page 6

Big rise in Britain’s ethnic population

Britain’s ethnic minority population has risen by almost
1.5 million in the last decade, according to the Office of National

Nearly 4.5 million people from ethnic minorities were living in
Britain in 2001–2.

In England ethnic minorities make up 9 per cent of the
population, while in Wales and Scotland, only 2 per cent of the
population are ethnic minorities.

Source: The Herald Friday 13th December page 10

Welsh newspapers

Evicted family spend winter nights in car

A single mother claims she has spent several nights sleeping in
a car with her four children following eviction from her home.

Toni Gale was evicted from her Cardiff council house after it
was claimed that she had caused serious damage to the property and
harassed neighbours.

But since she was evicted, she says that she and her four
children, the youngest of whom is only 18 months old, have been
sleeping in the family car.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 12 December page

Interpol joins hunt for lovestruck girl, 14

Interpol were last night helping search for a teenage girl from
north Wales who has run away to Turkey to marry a man she met on

It is believed that Rachel Lloyd from Wrexham may have forged
documents to wed 24-year-old Mehmet Ocack, despite being under

Wrexham social services are working closely with the police and
Rachel’s family to ensure her safe return.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 13 December page 1

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