Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ofsted says 700 nurseries are inadequate

By Nick Allen Last Updated: 12:11AM BST 29/05/2008

Thousands of children are being left in independent nurseries that have been deemed inadequate by inspectors.
Almost 700 establishments failed to meet the standards required by Ofsted, the education watchdog, last year, prompting fears that children could be at risk of injury or neglect.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: Radical Islam is filling void left by collapse of Christianity in UK

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 1:47AM BST 29/05/2008

The decline of Christian values is destroying Britishness and has created a "moral vacuum" which radical Islam is filling, one of the Church of England's leading bishops has warned.
Dr Nazir-Ali faced death threats earlier this year after he said some parts of Britain had become "no-go areas" for non-Muslims.
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, claimed the "social and sexual" revolution of the 1960s had led to a steep decline in the influence of Christianity over society which church leaders had failed to resist.

Britain endures vicious Bank Holiday

From Times Online May 27, 2008

Amar Aslam’s horrifically beaten body was found in a walled garden in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Six people were in custody today after the death of Amar Aslam, 17, in a "sustained and brutal attack" in the walled garden of a park in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Two of those being held were aged 12 and 13, and three were aged 15.
The upsurge in violence prompted Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, to call on parents to ask their teenage children if they were carrying a knife. In this month alone London has also seen the fatal stabbings of Jimmy Mizen, 16, in Lee, and Lyle Tulloch, 15, in Peckham. The 14 young deaths in the capital since the start of the year is the worst toll on record.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Millions of BT internet users 'open to hackers'

By John Bingham Last Updated: 12:15AM BST 26/05/2008

Millions of internet users with a BT system may be vulnerable due to a security flaw well known to hackers, it has been claimed.
Criminals could use software easily downloaded from the internet to crack passwords and change settings on the company's popular Home Hub system in as little as five seconds, experts warned. One specialist stated that customers could be living in a "false paradise".

West Country plots prompt calls for redrawing terror map

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 1:29AM BST 26/05/2008

Counter terrorism investigators say a map of terrorism "hot spots" must be redrawn following the discovery of plots in the West Country.
The attempted attack on a shopping centre restaurant in Devon last week and the raid on an alleged "bomb factory" in Bristol have forced investigators to admit that their net needs to be spread more widely.

Murdered actor's family call for end to knife crime epidemic

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent Last Updated: 11:03PM BST 25/05/2008

The family of Robert Knox, the murdered young actor, has called for an end to the knife crime epidemic as they paid tribute to a teenager they had thought was "invincible".
The family of a teenager stabbed to death is Sidcup have urged people to stop knife violence.
His father, Colin, told how the last conversation he had with his 18-year-old son was about the danger of knives. He said: "There's a lot of fear out there and someone has to change the way we think."

Cocaine overdose cases quadruple at hospitals

By Richard Edwards Last Updated: 11:27PM BST 25/05/2008

The number of cocaine users being admitted to hospital has quadrupled in eight years, it has emerged as concerns grow that it has become the drug of choice for middle-class men.
An average of more than two people a day are admitted to accident and emergency units for "cocaine-induced health emergencies", official Government data showed.
There were 740 incidents in 2006-07 compared with 161 in 1998-99.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails

Richard Ford The Times May 20, 2008

A massive government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public is being planned as part of the fight against crime and terrorism. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies would hand over the records to the Home Office under plans put forward by officials.

School standards stalling, says Ofsted

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor Last Updated: 2:31AM BST 20/05/2008

Education standards in England have "stalled" as too many pupils leave school with a poor grasp of the three Rs, the chief inspector of schools has said.
Despite government claims that classroom performance was improving year on year, Ofsted said England's state schools would not be able to compete with the best in the world without radical reform.
Christine Gilbert, the chief inspector of schools, said it was "unacceptable" that one in five children aged 11 was "not fully functional" in literacy and numeracy.

Labour Lord Ahmed faces police probe over death crash on motorway

John Bingham Last Updated: 2:24AM BST 20/05/2008

Britain's first Muslim peer, Lord Ahmed, is being investigated over a motorway crash in which a man was killed.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it was examining a police file following an investigation into the accident on the M1 in South Yorkshire on Christmas Day last year.
The 50-year-old Labour peer was at the wheel of his gold-coloured X-Type Jaguar when he hit a stationary red Audi A4 in the fast lane of the motorway at Thorpe Hesley, near Rotherham.

Two million Britons emigrate in 10 years

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 12:59AM BST 20/05/2008

Two million British citizens have left the UK in a decade, the greatest exodus from this country in almost a century, new figures will show.
Some historians say the departure of two million Britons in a decade is almost unparalleled in the country's history
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release figures showing that more than 200,000 Britons emigrated during 2006. That will take the total number who left the country between 1997 and 2006 to 1.97 million. Another 1.58 million foreign nationals resident in Britain left during the same period.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Glum Gordon Brown's power is slowly ebbing

By Andrew Gimson at the Prime Minister's press briefing Last Updated: 8:40PM BST 15/05/2008

Gordon Brown cannot abide gossip, by which he means speculation about his own future.
Asked at yesterday's press conference whether he will imitate John Major and tell his critics to "put up or shut up", the Prime Minister replied: "I think I was elected unopposed and I'm not going to be disturbed by this gossip."

Housing crisis: Mortgage rates at 8-year high

By Harry Wallop and Edmund Conway Last Updated: 12:57AM BST 16/05/2008

Fixed-rate mortgage rates for new customers have hit the highest level since the start of the decade, figures have showed.
The average rate for a two-year loan, the most popular mortgage, have reached 6.64 per cent. This is the highest rate since 2000 and compares to an average rate of 4.34per cent two years ago.
This means people who took a typical home loan of £150,000 on this rate two years ago would be faced with the shock of seeing their average repayment climbing by £206 a month to £1,025 when they take out a new deal.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Food and fuel prices rising faster than ever

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 1:14PM BST 12/05/2008

Food and fuel prices are rising at their fastest pace ever, official figures confirmed today.
The cost of all goods leaving factories jumped by 7.5 per cent in the year to April, the Office for National Statistics said. Month-on-month, prices jumped 1.4 per cent.

Gordon Brown dismisses Labour critics

By Robert Winnett and Rosa Prince Last Updated: 12:31PM BST 12/05/2008

Gordon Brown insists he will not be distracted by the ongoing speculation over his leadership following criticism over his personality and behaviour by people close to Tony Blair.
The Prime Minister has faced an onslaught from three different memoirs released over the past few weeks written by Cherie Blair, John Prescott and Lord Levy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Home repossessions expected to hit 45,000

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 2:34AM BST 09/05/2008

The number of home owners who have had their properties repossessed has increased substantially since last year, figures are expected to show.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has estimated that repossessions will reach 45,000 this year against 8,000 four years ago.
Statistics recording the number of court repossession orders issued in the first quarter of 2008 will give the first proper indication of the impact of the global credit crisis on mortgage holders.

Labour hits lowest ever rating

By Andrew Porter, Political Editor Last Updated: 2:57AM BST 09/05/2008

Labour has slumped to its lowest rating since opinion polls began.
The poll, which put the Tories 26 points ahead, added to the pressure on Gordon Brown a week after Labour suffered a devastating set of local election results and saw Boris Johnson become Mayor of London.
A YouGov survey put the Tories on 49 per cent and Labour on 23. The Liberal Democrats are on 17.

Islamic preacher Abu Qatada is bailed

By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Editor Last Updated: 1:13AM BST 09/05/2008

A firebrand preacher once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe” is due to be freed within days after being granted bail by an immigration tribunal.
Abu Qatada, who last month defeated the Government’s efforts to deport him to Jordan on terror charges, will be subject to a 22-hour curfew when he is released from Long Lartin high-security prison.

NHS shake-up to axe hospital services

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor Last Updated: 1:47AM BST 09/05/2008

Scores of hospital departments such as maternity units and cancer clinics will be closed or merged across the country under plans for a radical shake-up of the NHS.
Ministers are preparing for a summer of protest as residents campaign against proposals that could mean local hospitals losing specialist services to large regional centres.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Boris Johnson's Tory revolution plan revealed

By Melissa Kite and Patrick Hennessy Last Updated: 3:51PM BST 04/05/2008

Boris Johnson will launch a Conservative revolution in London this week, introducing a series of reforms as a test-bed for a future Tory government.
Boris Johnson's victory has given the Conservatives the first chance to wield real political power for 16 years.
The new Mayor, who defeated Labour's Ken Livingstone, will within days pour more police on to the capital's crime-hit streets, and plans to introduce hand-held weapon scanners and knife-detecting "arches" at Tube and railway stations.

Gordon Brown faces up to election losses

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 2:27PM BST 04/05/2008

Gordon Brown today took personal responsibility for Labour’s disastrous election losses, but rejected reports that a leadership challenge is in the offing.
Gordon Brown has been undertaking his first interviews since Labour's losses in the local elections, with the PM promising he felt voters hurt.
The Prime Minister used a string of broadcast interviews to argue that Labour can recover from last week's elections, which saw the party score its lowest share of the vote for 40 years and lose control of London to Boris Johnson, the new Conservative mayor.