Friday 25 February 2005

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

    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
    tax.

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

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

    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
    unions.

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

    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
    years.

    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
    8

    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
    Office.

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

    Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page
    2

    “Darkie Day” parade is investigated for
    racism

    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
    9

    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
    17

    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
    Index.

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

    Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 25 February 2005, page
    31

    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
    43

    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
    drip

    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
    was.

    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
    17

    Churches investigated for ‘beating devil’ out of child
    worshippers

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

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

    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
    26

    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
    31

    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
    11

    Scottish newspapers

    Urgent review ordered into the health
    hotline

    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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