Council performance league tables to be scrapped
Performance league tables for local councils based on external inspections are to be scrapped, David Miliband will announce today. The system will be replaced by a scheme that will include public and self assessments.
Source:- The Times, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 28

Sofa danger for sleeping babies
Parents are urged to avoid sleeping with their babies on sofas after a fourfold increase in the number of cases of sudden infant death syndrome involving sofas.
Source:- The Times, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 28

Miliband plans power shift to communities
Neighbourhoods can be revived by giving them their own improvement budgets, powers to put inadequate services out to tender and councillors £10,000 to spend on local needs, David Miliband will say today.
Source:- The Guardian, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 13  

Mini-brothel plan to take sex off the streets and into the suburbs
Prostitutes are to be allowed to work together in mini-brothels in an attempt to reduce the risks. Up to three women will be allowed to operate legally from premises.
Source:- The Times, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 6

Classroom blacklist job given to doctors who lack training
Responsibility for blacklisting teachers who are dangerous to children has been given to doctors who have no specialist training or qualifications for the role. Medical work for List 99 was moved five years ago from an in-house doctor at the education department to a private healthcare multinational.
Source:- The Times, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 4

Four out of five absent fathers pay nothing for children
Four out of five fathers have avoided paying a penny towards their former partners and children, according to Child Support Agency figures.
Source:- The Guardian, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 5

Cannabis rethink
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has called on the government to reverse the decision to reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug, saying evidence linked it to psychosis and violence.
Source:- The Times, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 4

Euthanasia: doctors aid 3,000 deaths
UK doctors were responsible for 3,000 euthanasia deaths last year, according to Brunel University research. More than 170,000 patients had treatment withdrawn or withheld, which would have hastened their demise.
Source:- The Guardian, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 1         

NHS crisis
We’re spending £94bn on the health service this year, compared with £52bn six years ago. So why are wards shut down, operations cancelled and trusts in turmoil?
Source:- The Independent, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 1         

Children miss out on trusts
The government’s child trust funds are being claimed by rich families while poor parents are failing to apply, says the Halifax.
Source:- Daily Mirror, Wednesday 18 Jnauary 2006, page 4

Asbo boy of 12 put on posters
Posters of a 12 year old boy who received a three year Asbo for a reign of terror have been put up by police in the neighbourhood he targeted in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
Source:- Daily Mirror, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 7

Kidnap girl tells of sex ordeal
The girl of six snatched from her bath has told police that she was sexually assaulted several times.
Source:- Daily Mirror, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 7

1.4m Britons cut up credit cards
Annual spending on Visa credit cards has fallen for the first time. There has been a surge in the use of debit cards.
Source:- Daily Mail, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 30

Single parent families soar under Blair
The number of lone parent families has soared by almost 250,000 since Tony Blair came to power, according to government figures.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 18 January 2006, page 4

Scottish news

Council staff to work extra five years for pension
Nearly 250,000 public-sector workers are to lose the right to retire at 60, the Scottish executive has confirmed.  Tom McCabe, the finance minister, was accused of “betraying” local government workers after he said that ministers would heed legal advice from Westminster to scrap the early retirement concession.
Unison, the public-sector union, warned of possible strike action, while councils threatened to take ministers to court.
Source:- The Herald, Wednesday 18 January 2006

Executive fights to halt £8.5m claim from abused former pupils
Scottish ministers want to get a potential £8.5 million compensation claim from scores of abused former school pupils thrown out, despite a public apology for their suffering from the first minister, Jack McConnell.
The executive is appealing against a judge’s ruling that appeared to pave the way for legal actions from 170 ex-pupils of three residential schools run by monks from the Catholic order De La Salle.
Last year the judge, Lady Paton – ruling on a £50,000 test claim by 52-year-old Arthur McEwan, of Clackmannanshire, who says he was abused at St Ninian’s school in Gartmore, Stirlingshire – concluded there was sufficient evidence to show the government failed to protect victims of the De La Salle schools who were abused in the 1960s and 1970s.
Source:- The Scotsman, Wednesday 18 January 2006

Welsh news

Child abuse findings need to be carried out
Plaid Cymru has called for key recommendations from a child abuse inquiry to be carried out as the sex offenders working in schools concerns rumbled on yesterday.
The party said it wanted to see a timetable for when recommendations from the Clywch report were going to be implemented. The report was written by Welsh children’s commissioner Peter Clarke in 2004 after allegations of sexual abuse against drama teacher John Owen.
Source:- Western Mail, Wednesday 18 January 2006

Police arrest husband of alcoholic found dead at bottom of stairs
A man has been arrested in connection with his alcoholic wife’s death. Janice Glover, 73, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs at the couple’s home in Lon-y-Wern, near Pontardawe, last week.
Village residents have spoken out in support of her husband Albert. They said he had struggled to look after his wife for years.
Source:- Western Mail, Wednesday 18 January 2006


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