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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