Friday 25 February 2005

By Maria Ahmed, Derren Hayes, Amy Taylor, and Simeon

Brown warned of big rise in council tax

Councils have told Gordon Brown they will need an extra
£1.5 billion next year to prevent large increases in council

The Local Government Association said more money will need to be
found by the Treasury to prevent double-digit council tax

Source:- Financial Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Blair to announce rise in minimum wage

Prime Minister Tony Balir is expected to announce an increase in
the minimum wage to £5.05 from October, rising to £5.30 a
year later, in a bid to enthuse low paid workers and trade

Source:- Financial Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Superbug death toll doubles in four years

Almost 1,000 people died from MRSA in 2003, according to the
Office of National Statistics, a figure that has doubled in four

The Government said the rise was party due to stricter reporting
of MRSA but patients representatives said the real toll could be
much higher.

Source:- The Independent, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Rape convictions at all-time low

The number of rape allegations which end in a conviction has
fallen to an all-time low of 5.6 per cent, according to the Home

Researchers found there was a “culture of scepticism” towards
rape victims among police and prosecutors.

Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page

“Darkie Day” parade is investigated for

The so-called Darkie Day processions in the Cornish fishing port
of Padstow, in which locals black up their faces and perform
traditional ballads while collecting for charity is to be
investigated by the police for racism.

The procession is thought to be a tribute to slaves who sang and
danced on the quayside in the 18th century.

Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Ethnic pupils go top of the class

GCSE exam results are improving at a faster rate among children
from ethnic minorities, according to official figures.

Despite the improving pass rates, black children are still the
poorest performers and white pupils were outperformed by Indian and
Chinese children.

Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Most  social workers don’t like their job

Only 2 per cent of social workers feel very happy with their
job, putting the profession bottom of the City and Guilds Happiness

Social workers share bottom spot with architects while
hairdressers topped the table.

Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page

The desperate plea of an unwilling bride

A British woman forced into an arranged marriage in Pakistan
begged immigration officials not to let the husband who eventually
murdered her back into the UK, a court heard yesterday.

Amir Shazad, 30, was jailed for life after pleading guilty to
murder at Teesside Crown Court.

Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Refugee danger

Including Bangladesh on the list of countries to which the State
deems it safe to return refugees and asylum seekers is unlawful,
the High Court ruled.

Mr Justice Wilson said: “No rational decision-maker could have
been satisfied…there was no serious risk.” The Home Secretary was
given leave to appeal.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page 2

Boy faces murder charges

A boy aged 14 and two adults were charged with shooting a woman
and her adopted daughter, heard Luton Magistrate’s court.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page 2

Witnesses will get better care

Witnesses in criminal trials will get better care from the
justice system thanks to a network of units to be launched by the
government later this year

The 160 units, costing £36 million over three years, will
provide a point of contact for victims and witnesses and assess any
special needs such as disabilities.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page 7

Lords reject corporal punishment appeal

An attempt by teachers and parents at four independent Christian
schools to bring back corporal punishment was rejected by the House
of Lords.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page 7

Mother killed boy by adding salt to his hospital

A woman was jailed yesterday for killing her nine-year-old son
by spiking his drip with 18 spoonfuls of salt as he lay in hospital

Petrina Stocker, 42, fooled doctors for months as they struggled
to find the cause of her son’s abdominal pain and lethargy.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Churches investigated for ‘beating devil’ out of child

Child abuse detectives are investigating evangelical churches
for alleged incidents of “beating demons” out of young

Children accused of being possessed by evil spirits have been
assaulted or forced to submit to terrifying exorcism

At least one prosecution is underway as a result of work with
African communities and churches in London.

The findings come on the fifth anniversary of the death of
Victoria Climbie, who attended a church where the preacher said she
was possessed by evil spirits.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page 22

Labour ‘failed poorest children’

Labour admitted yesterday that it had failed to transform the
life chances of Britain’s poorest children, despite a succession of
initiatives costing billions of pounds.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Teenage pregnancies lowest for a decade

Teenage pregnancies in England have fallen to their lowest rate
in a decade, with about 42,000 girls under 18 becoming pregnant in
a year.

Source:- The Times, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Doubts on single equality body

One of the biggest reviews into equality is to be launched by
the government following attempts by ministers to set up a single
equalities body.

The plans ran into trouble after the Commission for Racial
Equality (CRE) said it did not want to join, and were also
condemned by the Disability Rights Commission.

The review will be chaired by CRE head Trevor Phillips.

Source:- The Guardian, Friday 25 February 2005, page

Scottish newspapers

Urgent review ordered into the health

An independent review of NHS 24 telephone helpline has been
ordered by the Scottish executive.

The health advice line has been at the centre of disputes over
staffing numbers and operating practices.

First minister Jack McConnell announced the review in response
to a question from one of his back benchers.

He said it needed to deliver higher quality performance.

Source:- The Herald, Friday 25 February 2005

School told to vet all parent helpers

All parents in Scotland who help out at school events such as
discos, fetes, sports days or cycling proficiency tests have been
advised to have police checks.

Critics of the checks have expressed concern that this could
reduce the numbers volunteer parents.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) has argued that only
parents having unsupervised access to children would be subject to
the legislation but it has now written to its members urging them
to have all volunteers checked.

Source:- The Herald, Friday 25 February 2005

Number claiming incapacity falls

The number of Scots claiming incapacity benefit dropped slightly
last year to 286,000. The figure is still four times
Scotland’s official unemployment count.

Glasgow remains Scotland’s benefits blackspot, where two
in five receive council tax and housing benefits.

Source:- The Scotsman, Friday 25 February 2005

One in four kids on benefits

Almost a quarter of Scots children are brought up in families
who live on benefit, a report has revealed.

The worst area is Glasgow, where 40 per cent of children live in
benefit-dependent families, according to a new benefits map of
Scotland, which showed wide differences in poverty levels across
the country.

Source:- The Record, Friday 25 February 2005

Welsh newspapers

‘Matron pulled man’s hair’

A matron of a nursing home pulled a 86-year-old man’s hair to
stop him from getting up off the floor, Caernarfon Crown Court
heard yesterday.

Avola Humphrey’s has also denied a charge of killing another
elderly resident.

The court was told that she pulled Eric Cartwright’s hair every
time he tried to get up after falling off a chair while getting up
to go to the toilet.

Elizabeth Watson, an ex-colleague at Bodawen nursing home in
Porthmadog, added that Humphreys then dragged Cartwright’s along
the floor by his dressing gown.

Source:- Western Mail, Friday 25 February 2005

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