Monday, December 12, 2005

Media update

National News

The Guardian - Papers reveal UK's nuclear aid to Israel
"Fresh and apparently incriminating documents have come to light under the Freedom of Information Act on the way Britain helped Israel obtain its nuclear bomb 40 years ago, by selling it 20 tonnes of heavy water."

The Guardian (media) - The truth behind Real Lives
"Newly-released documents reveal the secrecy, political pressure and damaging splits over the BBC's decision to screen a pioneering documentary about Northern Ireland."

The Independent - How black gold was hijacked: North sea oil and the betrayal of Scotland
"It was a document that could have changed the course of Scottish history. Nineteen pages long, Written in an elegant, understated academic hand by the leading Scottish economist Gavin McCrone, presented to the Cabinet office in April 1975 and subsequently buried in a Westminster vault for thirty years. It revealed how North Sea oil could have made an independent Scotland as prosperous as Switzerland. The Freedom of Information Act has yielded many insights and revelations into the working of the British government, but none so vivid as the contents of Professor McCrone's paper, written on request in the dog days of Ted Heath's Tory government and only just unearthed under the FOI rules."

BBC news - Surgeon death rates in spotlight
"Scotland's information commissioner has called on the NHS to publish details of the death rates of individual surgeons."

Accountancy Age - Non-doms £1bn dodge
"Non-domiciled people avoid £1bn of tax through their privileged tax status, according to the former Inland Revenue’s internal research. According to documents released to Accountancy Age under the Freedom of Information Act, 77,000 individuals pay £5bn in UK taxes. The issue of non-domiciliaries – who pay tax on UK income, but not foreign income if it is not remitted to the UK – has long troubled anti-avoidance campaigners, including Gordon Brown."

Local news

This is Lanrkshire- Authorities 'less open under Act'
"Less Scots believe the country's authorities have become more open since the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act a year ago. However, public awareness of the rights provided under the new law has risen. And a growing number of Scots are likely to request information from public authorities under the act, according to a new survey carried out on behalf of the Scottish Information Commissioner."

Norwich Evening News - Top-level probe into chemical tests
"The Government has caved into pressure for a full inquiry into controversial germ warfare tests carried out over Norwich in the 1960s. The announcement is a major breakthrough for campaigners, including the Evening News, who have demanded answers about the tests, which have been linked with high rates of oesophageal cancer in the county....Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb put questions about the possible link to the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt under the new Freedom of Information Act."

Luton and Dunstable - Ambulancemen behaving badly
"THE number of staff disciplinaries at Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic Service has more than trebled in the last year. Following a Freedom of Information request from Luton/Dunstable on Sunday to the service, we can reveal between September 2004 and September 2005 there were ten disciplinaries. Five members of staff where handed first written warnings, while the other five were given a final written warning."

Western Mail - We're not telling you because you'll laugh
"THE Welsh Assembly Government has refused to release details of correspondence to an opposition politician - on the grounds that the Cabinet could be exposing itself to ridicule. The astonishing admission came in a letter from an official to Liberal Democrat AM Jenny Randerson, who had sought information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act."

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