Thursday 3 February 2005

    By Maria Ahmed, Derren Hayes and Amy Taylor

    Three unions set to start merger talks aimed at creating
    influential new body

    Three of Britain’s biggest trade unions are expected to begin
    exploratory merger talks on creating a “super-union”
    that would boast huge industrial and political clout.

    Amicus, Transport and General Worker’s Union and the GMB are
    in talks that are likely to last months.

    Source:- The Financial Times Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Benefit overhaul aims to put disadvantaged at work

    Millions of older and disabled people, women and lone parents are
    to be persuaded to find work under a radical welfare overhaul
    unveiled yesterday by Alan Johnson, the work and pensions

    Source:- The Financial Times Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Judges reject claims on witness coaching

    Three senior judges yesterday rejected claims that unlawful
    pre-trial coaching of witnesses had led to the wrongful conviction
    of two asylum seekers involved in the riot at the Yarl’s Wood
    detention centre three years ago.

    The Court of Appeal panel held that, although two key witnesses had
    attended a programme operated by Bond Solon, the legal training
    firm, the safety of the convictions had not been undermined.

    Source:- The Financial Times Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Identity cards plan might breach convention on human

    The government could find itself in breach of the European
    Convention on Human Rights over plans to introduce compulsory
    identity cards, a committee of MPs and peers warned

    According to the parliamentary joint committee on human rights,
    there is a potential incompatibility between the proposals and
    article eight of the convention, which guarantees the right to
    respect for private life.

    Source:- The Financial Times Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Tories outline education manifesto

    The Conservatives will announce proposals today including creating
    grants for 14-16-year-olds, allowing them to spend part of the
    school week on vocational studies, and restoring classroom

    Source:- The Financial Times Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Seven-year hell of the mother who was branded a baby

    A mother jailed for killing two of her babies was given new hope of
    freedom yesterday after winning the right to appeal.

    Donna Anthony was sentenced to life in 1998 for murdering her
    daughter, Jordan, 11 months, and son Michael, four months. But
    there are serious concerns that she was wrongly convicted because
    the prosecution relied on the evidence of Professor Roy Meadow,
    whose theories on cot deaths have since been discredited.

    Source:- The Daily Mail Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Blair faces revolt as ministers demand elections for

    Tony Blair is facing a revolt in Cabinet after refusing to bow
    to increasing pressure from ministers to reform the House of Lords
    so that between half and 80 per cent of peers are directly

    Source:- The Independent Thursday 3 February 2005 page

    Union leader accused of lying to council workers over pensions
    to provoke strike

    Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service union
    Unison,”wilfully” misled union members over plans to
    change their pension rights, according to a letter from Rob
    Pinkham, executive director of the Employer’s Organisation
    for Local Government.

    He accused Prentis of “deliberately” mixing up
    proposals which are coming into force in April 2005 with things
    which are being consulted that may be implemented in 2008. Prentis
    denied the claims.

    Source:- The Independent Thursday 3 February 2005 page 23

    Damning report on migrants delayed as government fears poll

    The publication of a ground-breaking report on forced labour and
    the exploitation of migrant workers in Britain has been delayed
    after attempts by the government to hold it back until after the
    general election.

    Forced Labour and Migration to the UK catalogues the coercive
    techniques used by private employers to force migrants to work for
    low wages and in poor conditions, from physical and sexual violence
    to debt bondage and blackmail.

    Source:- The Guardian Thursday 3 February 2005 page 1

     Unpopular hospitals could close – Reid

    The government is prepared to let NHS hospitals close if they
    cannot attract enough business under the tough new disciplines of
    patient choice, health secretary John Reid said yesterday.

    Source:- The Guardian Thursday 3 February 2005 page 7

    Teenagers’ parents ‘need help’

    All parents of teenagers should be offered help under an
    adolescent equivalent of the expanded Sure Start programme for
    young children, according to proposals intended to inform plans for
    a third Labour term published at a Fabian Society conference

    Family Fortunes – The New Politics of Childhood is edited by
    Patrick Diamond, adviser to Alan Milburn.

    Source:- The Guardian Thursday 3 February 2005 page 12

     Pledge on domestic violence

    Prosecutors pledged to deal more effectively with domestic
    violence cases with the publication yesterday of new guidelines,
    including advice on when to go to court even if the alleged victim
    wants the charges dropped.

    The Crown Prosecution Service booklet advises on how best to ensure
    the safety of victims and children and how to deal sensitively with
    victims from different cultural backgrounds and those in same-sex

    Source:- The Guardian Thursday 3 February 2005 page 12

    Navy chief on child porn charges

    Tom Henman, a Royal Navy commander, is due to appear in court
    today on charges relating to child pornography.

    Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 3 February 2005 page 3

    Schools crisis as discipline standards fall in classrooms

    A growing discipline crisis and thousands of persistently
    failing schools are undermining efforts to raise education
    standards, the head of Ofsted David Bell said yesterday.

    Source:- The Times Thursday 3 February 2005 page 1

    Scottish newspapers

    Hospital waiting times jump by 50%

    Waiting times for hospital treatment in Scotland have shot up by
    more than 50 per cent since 1999, new statistics released by the
    Scottish executive show.

    On average, people were forced to wait 81.3 days for inpatient or
    day-case treatment in the third quarter last year, compared to 53.5
    days in June 1999.

    In that time, average waiting times for outpatients also rose, from
    64 days to 89.8 days – up 40 per cent.

    Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 3 February

    Long-term heroin use “can be safe for

    Findings from a controversial study suggest heroin can be taken on
    a long-term basis without destroying users’ health, work or family

    Some users of the class-A drug held down jobs and achieved
    educational results comparable with non-drug users, researchers at
    Glasgow Caledonian University said. The study focused on 126
    long-term heroin users in the Glasgow area who were not receiving
    treatment over a four-year period.

    Source:- The Herald Thursday 3 February

    Special needs school shuts doors after pupils contact

    An independent special needs school has been closed after two
    pupils contracted E-coli.

    The New School at Butterstone, Perthshire, closed its doors last
    weekend after two boy boarders came down with the infection.

    Source:- The Herald Thursday 3 February

    Executive’s clash with agency revealed

    The Scottish executive has tried to interfere with a report by the
    Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration so that it gave
    a positive spin on youth offending.

    The executive and the SCRA have clashed over the actual numbers of
    persistent young offenders – the figure in its report of
    1,201 has been described by an executive official as failing to be
    “consistent and accurate”.

    However, the Herald alleges a draft of the report had other damning
    figures which have since been scrapped.

    Source:- The Herald Thursday 3 February

    I want a baby

    Bisexual Scottish actor Alan Cumming has revealed he wants to adopt
    a baby. The star of X2 and Goldeneye hopes an agency run by US chat
    show host Rosie O’Donnell can help him. After turning 40 at the end
    of January, the Aberfeldy-born actor is keen to become a

    Source:- Daily Record Thursday 3 February

    Welsh newspapers

    ‘His fists were clenched and he was grinding his

    A man accused of stabbing his partner to death was enraged because
    she had gone out in a short skirt and got home late, Cardiff Crown
    Court heard yesterday.

    Paul Viner called the police when Donna Brough didn’t return
    home from a night out to a club.

    PC Kenneth Dowling said that it was obvious that Viner was
    “absolutely seething” when he arrived at the

    Source:- Western Mail Thursday 3 February

    On the sick? 60,000 targeted

    Sixty-thousand people claiming incapacity benefit in Wales will be
    forced back to work under proposed government reforms.

    Problems such as stress and back pain have pushed up the number of
    claimants in Wales. Many of such ailments stem from the mining
    industry where many people in the country were employed.

    Source:- Western Mail Thursday 3 February


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