Friday 28 January 2005

    By Maria Ahmed, Derren Hayes and Amy Taylor

    Council staff to vote on strike action

    Almost 800,000 government workers represented by Unison are to vote
    on strike action against changes to their pension scheme, including
    an increase in the retirement age from 60 to 65. The result will be
    known on 9 March, according to Unison.

    Source:- The Financial Times Friday 28 January 2005 page

    Howard claims asylum seekers cost town halls £400m a

    Michael Howard will say today that refugees land town halls with a
    £400 million bill every year.

    Source:- The Financial Times Friday 28 January 2005 page

    ‘Violent culture’ at murder case school

    A “culture of fighting” among boys at a comprehensive
    school led to the murder of a 14-year-old pupil in November 2003,
    an inquiry has ruled.

    Alan Pennell, the killer of Luke Walmsley, a pupil at Birkbeck
    School, Lincolnshire, felt pressured by his peers to fight, the
    inquiry team said.

    Source:- The Independent Friday 28 January 2005 page

    Teenagers for Parliament

    Teenagers are to be allowed to stand for parliament at 18-years-old
    to revive the interest of the young in voting, the government
    announced last night.

    Source:- The Daily Mail Friday 28 January 2005 page

    Youth jailed over court photo

    A teenager was jailed yesterday for taking a picture of a
    judge with a camera mobile phone at Tower Bridge Magistrate’s
    court in one of the first cases of its kind.

    The 19-year old was sent to Feltham Young Offender Institution for
    21 days after being convicted of contempt of court.

    Source:- The Daily Telegraph Friday 28 January 2005 page

    Gipsy sites rule change

    Councils will be forced to do more to find proper sites for gypsies
    and travellers, the government said yesterday.

    Yvette Cooper, a minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime
    Minister, said new planning guidance for local authorities would
    reduce the chance of people setting up camp in
    “inappropriate” places.

    Source:- The Daily Telegraph Friday 28 January 2005 page

    Minister threatens budget cap

    The government prepared the ground yesterday for tougher action to
    curb council tax rises in the run-up to the general election by
    warning 17 local authorities that their budgets could be capped.
    With provisional figures showing that this year’s rises will
    average around 4.8 per cent, the local government minister Nick
    Raynsford, said he was poised to take harsher measures than last

    Source:- The Guardian Friday 28 January 2005 page 8

    Child victims one in six rapes

    One in six rapes in London was committed against girls under 16 in
    two-year period, according to official figures. A total of 850
    girls under 16 were raped in the capital between 2001 and 2003, the
    Metropolitan Police said.

    Source:- The Times Friday 28 January 2005 page 2

    Steep rise in homes found

    The number of children adopted has risen by 37 per cent in the past
    five years, in response to a government effort to find permanent
    homes for more children in care. Official figures published today
    show that 3,700 children were adopted in 2003-4 – 1,000 more
    than 1999-2000.

    Source:- The Times Friday 28 January 2005 page 33

    Scottish newspapers

    Council loses £5m due to poor housekeeping

    Edinburgh Council is blaming problems with a new computer system
    for failing to collect 16 per cent of the rent due from its tenants
    costing it £5 million.

    The Audit Scotland report also found one in 10 tenants was 13 weeks
    behind in rent payments while almost £2.3 million in potential
    rent was lost because council homes lay empty.

    Source:- The Scotsman Friday 28 January

    ‘Say no until you’re ready’ is sex health message to

    The Scottish executive’s new sexual health strategy places
    abstinence as the solution to unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

    Health minister Andy Kerr said abstinence was the starting point
    for all sex education in schools but said contraception services
    must be more readily available to all.

    Source:- The Scotsman Friday 28 January

    Asperger’s man seeks damages for sacking

    A civil servant with Asperger’s syndrome has launched a six-figure
    compensation claim against the government alleging it was guilty of
    disability discrimination when it sacked him after a 25-year

    Patrick Roberts, who suffers from the rare form of autism, is
    taking HM Customs and Excise to an employment tribunal claiming
    unfair dismissal.

    Source:- The Herald Friday 28 January

    Drug addicted babies crisis

    There is an indication Scotland’s drugs problem is improving
    after new figures showed the number of babies born to drug addicted
    mothers in the north-east of the country has dropped from 101 in
    2002 to 72 in 2003.

    Thirteen in every 1000 babies are still born addicted though.

    Source:- Daily Record Friday 28 January

    Welsh newspapers

    Donors warned of fake charity

    Trading Standards officers in the Vale of Glamorgan warned people
    to beware of a fake charity last night.

    Ecotex Collection Ltd had been distributing leaflets in Barry
    asking for people to donate unwanted clothing to help people in the
    Third World but the Vale council said that it appeared that the
    clothing was being sold for profit.

    Source:- Western Mail Friday 28 January



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