Monday, February 20, 2006

Media update

The Times - UK radiation jump blamed on Iraq shells
"Environmental scientists who uncovered the figures through freedom of information laws say it is evidence that depleted uranium from the shells was carried by wind currents to Britain."

The Guardian
- Dyke files to remain under wraps
"The minutes of the BBC governors' meeting that sealed the fate of former director general Greg Dyke will remain secret, the information commissioner has ruled."

The Guardian - Foreign Office denies advice claims
"The Foreign Office has denied being influenced by "commercial considerations" when it omitted to mention the number of Britons murdered in Thailand in a summary on travel advice to the country. Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the BBC, revealed officials considered revising guidelines to travellers in the wake of Katherine Horton's murder last month."

E-gov monitor - GMB claims Vertex Scottish move costs Westminster Council residents £179m
"GMB's investigations show that the £179 million will be the cost to Westminster borough residents following the disclosure of documentation via the Freedom of Information Act over the last three years. GMB has been tracking the use of Westminster Council money in getting Vertex into the provision of public services in the borough even though it would have been cheaper to have kept services within the borough boundaries, "in-house."

The Register
- £179m council outsourcing costs disputed
"The £179m figure is based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, from Westminster City Council in the past three years. The GMB said it had been tracking how Westminster had been spending taxpayers money in outsourcing services through Vertex, when it believes it would have been cheaper keeping them "inhouse".

BBC News
- Scots student nurses 'drop out'
"Data obtained by Nursing Standard magazine under the Freedom of Information Act, showed 29% dropped out between 2000 and 2004."

BBC News - Ministers 'have set Olympic goal'
"Mr Robertson told the BBC News website that he had asked Sports Minister Richard Caborn in the Commons whether there was a target and that this had been denied. He had then tried to find out whether there was any target under the Freedom of Information Act."

Belfast Telegraph - Prisoners collect almost £1m in compensation
"Almost £1m in compensation has been forked out to prisoners for complaints as wide ranging as stress, food poisoning or annoyance at cell searches, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today."

BBC News - Lab not guilty of animal cruelty
"Much of the information requested by ADI about the licences was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, because of the threat from radical groups."

Young People Now
- Antisocial Behaviour: Police send 500 young people home under dispersal powers
"The statistics, gained using the Freedom of Information Act, show that at least 809 zones were set up and 14,375 people moved on in the period."

IC Wales - Bourne probes nuclear energy talks
"NUCLEAR energy talks between Assembly ministers and Westminster must contain “deeply embarrassing” information that the government is trying to keep private, Conservative Assembly group leader Nick Bourne claimed today. Mr Bourne said that a request he made using Freedom of Information legislation for details of any discussions had been refused."

Surrey online - Council spent £712 on biscuits in eight months
"A BELLY-BUSTING £712.25 was spent on biscuits by Mole Valley District Council in the space of eight months, a Leatherhead Advertiser investigation has revealed."

Press Gazette - Post appeals £9,000 charge for FoI request
"The Birmingham Post has appealed to the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, after Birmingham City Council charged £9,000 to answer a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The council said the charge covered the cost of gathering data on how much it spent on first-class rail fares and taxis for employees last year, which the newspaper requested. The council admitted it had no central system for collating this information, which Birmingham Post acting editor Tony Lennox said was unacceptable."

International news

New Standard - Groups May Win Release of NSA Spying Documents
"Privacy watchdog groups may soon get some answers from the federal government about the controversial National Security Agency’s warrantless domestic surveillance program undertaken after the September 11 terror attacks. Responding to several consolidated lawsuits in federal court last week, the Department of Justice indicated that it could begin releasing documents relating to the presidential order in early March. In a joint action last week, the nonprofit National Security Archives and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit alleging that the Justice Department violated the Freedom of Information Act by not providing them with documents about the program requested in separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings last year."

Radio Cayman - Freedom Of Information Campaign Launched
"The Leader of Government Business Hon Kurt Tibbetts today made a nationwide call for people to help craft freedom of information legislation. Mr. Tibbetts says the goal is to have as much consultation and get as much feedback from the general public and various sectors of the community to have the draft bill ready for debate in the Legislative Assembly in June. Shortly after that, once everything is ready, the legislation would take effect."

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