Wednesday 12 November 2003

By Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Hodge tried to gag Today over ‘abuse’

Children, young people and families minister Margaret Hodge has
attempted to stop the BBC from reporting allegations of abuse in an
Islington children’s home.

In a letter to the BBC chairman Gavyn Davies, Hodge made a
veiled threat of legal action if Today programme reporter Angus
Stickler continued with what she considered to be a “concerted
campaign” to link her to allegations of abuse in homes run by
Islington Council when she was leader of the council from 1982 to

She went on to say that Demetrious Panton, an alleged former
abuse victim who told Today that he had tried to inform Hodge about
the abuse, was an “extremely disturbed person”.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 12 November page 6

Jury sees ditch where bodies were found

The Soham trial jury examined the ditch where murdered school
girls Jessica Chapman and Holly Well’s bodies were found

The spot, off a small road just north of the Suffolk village of
Lakenheath, is around 19 minutes away from Soham, Cambridgshire,
home to both girls and to Ian Huntley, the man accused of their

Huntley denies the charges.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 12 November page 7

Asylum seeker on HIV charges

An asylum seeker was remanded in custody yesterday by Teeside
magistrates on charges of grievous bodily harm by knowingly giving
three women HIV.

Feston Konzani is appealing against repatriation to Malawi.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 12 November page 9

Arrests for burning of ‘Gypsy caravan’

Six people have been arrested for allegedly inciting racial
hatred after a caravan with pictures of gypsies in the window was
set alight in a village bonfire celebration.

Some families expressed concerns about the burning, which took
place at Firle, near Lewes, East Sussex.

The six people arrested have been released on bail and police
anticipate that more will be arrested in connection with the

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday November 12 page 11

Prison Service admits teenager’s cell death was

A 16-year-old who killed himself after being sent to a young
offenders’ institution should have instead gone into secure local
authority care, an official panel has concluded.

Joseph Scholes, was found dead at Stoke Heath Young Offenders’
Institution in Shropshire in March last year.

Campaigners have called for a public inquiry into his death
after he was moved from a special unit for vulnerable inmates and
placed in a cell with bars from which he hung himself using a torn
bed sheet.

Scholes had a history of mental problems triggered by sexual

He was put in custody for being part of a gang that stole mobile

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 12 November page 11

Miburn’s plan to give teenagers lessons in

Former health secretary Alan Milburn will call for all teenagers
to do compulsory charitable work as a part of the national
curriculum today.

In his first major policy speech since his resignation, Milburn
will argue that there is strong evidence that young people who do
charitable work during childhood are likely to continue with
charitable activity in adult life.

Milburn has come up with the proposal after being asked by prime
minister Tony Blair to provide new ideas for Labour’s next General
Election manifesto.

Source:- The Daily Mail Wednesday 12 November page

Guardian Society

The seeds of an uprising

Record-breaking council tax rises mean New Labour could face a
grassroots revolt to rival the poll tax protests of the 1990s.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

Samaritans to the rescue

The 50th birthday of The Samaritans, the suicide prevention and
emotional health charity, has been surrounded by a range of
activity this week.

Dismayed by its direction, founder Rev Chad Varah unsuccessfully
tried to get its charitable registration cancelled, and staff have
complained of bullying to the head office in Surrey.

It now faces further disruption following the collapse of
Befrienders International, the charity that coordinated suicide
prevention centres worldwide.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

Justice over prejudice

Disability specialist David Ruebain is the modest but
high-achieving nominee for the Law Society’s lifetime achievement
award in human rights

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

A trip down memory lane

A project that helps older people with learning difficulties to
keep their minds active by reminiscing

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

Guilty until proven innocent

An investigation by the Charity Commission has rocked the
fundraising world, but has its intervention caused more harm than

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

Seeing stars

Do social services star ratings work?

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

What else can I do?

John, a psychiatric nurse based in a general hospital who wants
to move into community-based care, considers the options.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 12 November page

Scottish news

Threat of jail lifted for fine defaulters

Offenders who default on their fines will no longer be
imprisoned under new proposals by the Scottish executive aimed at
reducing Scotland’s spiralling prison population.

Hugh Henry, deputy justice minister, will tell Parliament today
that imposing community sentences is a far more effective way of
tackling the problem than short-term jail sentences.

Jailing fine defaulters has no real punitive value and costs the
taxpayer far more than the original fine.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 12 November

Scots child poverty alarm

One in three children in Scotland live below the poverty line,
according to the children’s charity, Barnardo’s, which is launching
an advertising campaign today to highlight the issue.

According to the charity, these children are more likely to grow
up addicted to alcohol and drugs, become the victims and
perpetrators of crime and to be homeless.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 12 November

OAPs died after drinking toxic fluid

A Glasgow-born man was one of four older residents at a care
home who died after being given dishwasher cleaning fluid to drink
instead of blackcurrant cordial, an inquest heard yesterday.

A coroners court heard that no one at the Lady Astor Home in
Berkshire had yet admitted to mistakenly serving the pensioners the
fluid instead of their usual Ribena drink. The incident occurred
almost two years ago.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 12 November

Operations cancelled in early winter rush for

Preparations for the winter rush of hospital beds are being
reviewed by Glasgow health managers, after the scrabble for beds
began two months early.

Patients were left on trolleys on Monday night after some
operations were cancelled in the city following a surge in hospital

NHS Greater Glasgow admitted the demand on hospitals during
recent days was more typical of the height of winter than a mild

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 12 November

Welsh News

‘Snatched’ Welsh twins in Galapagos

A Welsh mother is fighting to regain custody of her
seven-year-old twins.

Jane Davies has not her seen her children for almost two years
and they are now living with their father on the Galapagos Islands
in the Pacific Ocean.

She claims that her ex-husband snatched the twins and, despite
court rulings in her favour, she has not been able to re-establish
contact with them. She also claims that the British Embassy and the
Foreign Office have not done enough to help her in her fight to
regain her children.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 12 November page 1

Teenager from Kosovo wins leave to appeal

A Kosovan teenager who fled to Wales in 1999 has been given
leave to appeal against a decision to deport him.

Edmond Pone was only 14 when he arrived in the principality in
the back of a lorry. He was subsequently fostered by a couple from
Ebbw Vale and is studying construction at a local college.

Following an Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA) hearing in
June he received notice that he would have to return to Kosovo but
with the support of his family he appealed against the decision.
The IAA has now decided to allow to launch a further appeal.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 12 November page 5

Capital’s social services in firing line

Just over a year after Cardiff social services was found to be
failing vulnerable people, a new report to be published today is
expected to say that little has improved.

It is anticipated that the Social Services Inspectorate for
Wales will say that, despite some changes, the department is still
failing to provide an adequate service. If the report finds that
not enough has changed following last years damming joint review,
then it is possible that the Welsh assembly could take action to
speed up improvements.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 12 November page


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