"A Sikh schoolboy, who prompted an inter-faith vigil to promote peace, respect and tolerance after claiming his hair was chopped off by racist thugs, invented the story.
The 15-year-old, in tears, gave a graphic description of a vicious verbal and physical attack by four white males who struck as he walked near his home in Edinburgh. His story was widely reported because of its unusually aggressive nature. It is the Sikh tradition for males to keep their hair uncut and not to shave their beard or moustache.....
But it has emerged that he cut off his own hair, punched himself in the face and concocted the story. It is understood he was experiencing personal problems. Sources say that he felt torn between his Sikh values and more westernised ones. They said he had wanted to get his hair cut for some time, but was afraid of the reaction of some members of his family and the Sikh community...."
Interesting how the liars are always immediately believed. It is such a great excuse for an orgy of self-righteousness. Hat tip to Gerald Hartup, who also has previous reports of similar incidents.
BRITAIN'S FREEDOM FROM INFORMATION LAWS
More Leftist hypocrisy. They make laws that sound good then do their best to thwart them
Labour's flagship freedom of information laws are being blocked by ministers who are increasingly refusing to answer routine inquiries about government policy, new figures show. Seven government departments, including the department in charge of monitoring the new powers, are identified in a Whitehall report as refusing to give answers to more than half of all requests made by the public.
The Foreign Office has the worst record by claiming exemptions for 70 per cent of all requests it has received. In total, of the 62,852 requests made to central government since 1 January 2005, 26,083 have not been granted. And of those questions the Government considers properly resolved many have not been answered to the questioner's satisfaction.
The report also shows that public requests for information have fallen to the lowest number since the laws were implemented. The Department for Constitutional Affairs, which has responsibility for implementing the "right to know" laws, has the second worst record, by only providing full answers to 39 per cent of all requests.
Next month the Government is to go to court to try to prevent the public using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain even innocuous information about "the formulation" of policy after the Information Commissioner, the legislation's watchdog, ruled that ministers must reveal material that does not harm policy-making. Government lawyers are to appear before the Information Tribunal in an attempt to have the commissioner's decision overturned by arguing that all policy-related information must be withheld.
The legal challenge will be followed by the introduction of regulations designed to stop the media from making full use of the new powers. These regulations represent a direct attack on the spirit of the law, once heralded by Labour as the end of the culture of Whitehall secrecy. The media and other organisations will be restricted to a handful of requests a year, while the time taken by officials and ministers to consult and consider requests will now be counted when calculating whether people should be charged for any disclosure.
Figures released by the Department for Constitutional Affairs reveal requests to central government fell to a low of 7,641 between July and September, compared with 13,603 in the first three months after the law came into force. Freedom of information campaigners warn that this might be evidence that the public have become frustrated with their failure to get answers. Overall, the success rate for requests across all departments has fallen by 2 per cent to 60 per cent in the past six months.
While Labour has been happy to release documents embarrassing the previous Tory administration over its handling of "Black Wednesday" - Britain's forced withdrawal from the ERM - ministers have been less willing to let the public use the Act to shed light on Labour's own political controversies. For example, ministers are still refusing to release earlier drafts of the Attorney General's advice on the legality of the war with Iraq. At the heart of its strategy is the Orwellian-sounding Central Clearing House where all sensitive or difficult requests are sent. Set up by ministers before the introduction of the laws, the unit employs 12 staff to monitor the public's use of the legislation.
Maurice Frankel, the director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, says the Government's approach "strikes at the very heart" of the legislation. Michael Smyth, the head of public policy at the law firm Clifford Chance, said that while he acknowledged the Freedom of Information Act had opened up government, the regulations, due to come into force in April, will "emasculate" the media. "The Government dined out on the mantra that the FoI Act was to be motive-blind ... but these bizarre proposals will turn FoI requests into something where motive will become relevant," Mr Smyth said.
UK: 1,000 pound fine for failing to update ID card: "A draconian regime of fines, which would hit families at times of marriage and death, is being drawn up by ministers to enforce the Identity Card scheme. Millions of people, from struggling students to newly-wed women and bereaved relatives, will face a system of penalties, netting more than 40 million for the Treasury. People would be fined up to 1,000 pounds for failing to return a dead relative's ID card, while women who marry will have to pay at least 30 pounds for a new card if they want to use their married name, risking a 1,000 pound fine if they do not comply."