Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Media Roundup

ICSouthLondon 29th April - Council keeps grip on travel expenses
"OVERSEAS trips by Croydon councillors and officials in the last financial year cost the taxpayer just under £2,700.The figure provided to the Advertiser under the Freedom of Information Act comes after officers in other parts of the country were accused of junketing at the expense of council tax-payers."

Daily Telegraph 3rd May - Snail porridge restaurant acts swiftly over food bug menace
"Visitors to Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant delight in finding unusual dishes on the menu, including bacon and egg ice cream and snail porridge. Food and safety officers, however, were not so impressed when they discovered less palatable ingredients during an inspection of the three Michelin stars establishment in Bray, Berks. Mr Blumenthal: ‘We are fastidious about hygiene standards’ Documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that they tested ballotine of foie gras, braised belly of pork and an ice cream mixture and found that three out of four samples were "unsatisfactory"."

Sunday Herald - Executive ‘compromised by big business secondments’
"Ministers have been accused of “corrupting the proper administration of government” by allowing staff from eight private companies to work within the Scottish Executive.....As a result there is an “unhealthy relationship” bet-ween business and government, the critics claim. The Executive was forced to reveal its close links with private firms in response to a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act from the Green MSP, Chris Ballance."

The Herald 29th April - University warned it is losing reputation
"GLASGOW University must take urgent action to remedy recent damage to its reputation both at home and abroad, consultants have warned. Their report, commissioned by the university but made public under the Freedom of Information Act, also found complacency on campus over the problem, and said Glasgow could begin to fall behind its competitors."

Spy.org.uk - Home Office FOIA request for meeting diaries, agenda etc. of the Identity Cards Programme team - "further consideration is requred" after 20 working days

Medical News Today - BMA encourages GP practices to be open about quality data
"New guidance from the BMA's GPs Committee on the Freedom of Information Act advises practices to be open about data from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) introduced with the new national contract. Withholding QOF data could be seen as detrimental to the profession"

Alton today - "FACED with a massive hike in parish precept, a Wield resident has asked for a public debate on the parish council’s tax-raising policies. But according to Andrew Marshall, his request for openness has been met by a closed door....But when pressed, under the Freedom of Information Act, about the link between the two bodies, the council, he said, refused to divulge any information which Mr Marshall found “surprising”.

Farnham today - Public passes no confidence vote on East St
"Drawing on records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, he attempted to show that councillors’ suggestions for rephrasing some of the questions were brushed aside."

North Shropshire Chronicle - UFO was 'Russian rocket'
"A leading academic believes he has done something that top investigators at the Ministry of Defence couldn’t – explain the 1993 Shawbury UFO sighting. Since then the Freedom of Information Act MoD files on UFO sightings have been made public. And in an interview with the Chronicle earlier this year, the ministry’s officer responsible for the sightings Nick Pope, revealed an unexplained sighting in Shawbury was ‘one of the most sensational cases I ever investigated’. Now, Dr David Clarke, lecturer at Sheffield University’s school of English, believes he can prove the sightings were simply a Russian rocket re-entering the earth’s atmosphere."


LA Times - Photos of dead released
"Reversing a policy under fire, the Pentagon released photographs Thursday of flag-draped caskets bearing American soldiers killed in combat. The pictures, taken by military photographers, were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Ralph J. Begleiter, a University of Delaware professor and former CNN correspondent, who sought all photos of the caskets of soldiers who died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001."

fcw.com - Proponent of open government: McDermott: Feds closing the door to information
"Besides producing her newsletters, she will be busy on Capitol Hill promoting access to government information. She will be watching two bills dealing with government secrecy. One is the Open Government Act, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The bill would require federal agencies to create electronic databases for tracking the status of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act. The other is a bill to repeal an executive order that President Bush issued in November 2001 that substantially undercut the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has said he will introduce such a bill this year."

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