Thursday, March 20, 2008

Evil British bureaucracy again

The wife of a soldier faces deportation as her husband prepares to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. Canadian-born Samantha Crozier, 23, has been given notice by the Home Office to leave the country by April 30, when her temporary visa expires after her application for British citizenship was refused. Mrs Crozier, who has a British mother, Antoinette, claims their children, Ethan, two, and Celeb, one, will have to be put into care while her husband, Lance Corporal Andrew Crozier, is sent on a tour of duty after he completes training. Mrs Crozier says she has spoken to 15 other Army wives facing deportation.

Mrs Crozier moved to England with her husband, also 23, in October last year. She said MoD officials failed to tell her of the complicated procedure to become a British citizen. Ethan and Celeb, who were born while her husband was posted to Osnabruck, Germany, were awarded full British citizenship and Mrs Crozier applied for a Status Stamp at the British embassy in Dusseldorf. The stamp allowed her to stay in Germany at the UK base for five years. She was stopped at Newcastle ferry port by Customs and Excise and advised to apply for citizenship. She said she was told that because she her husband was born in Northumberland her application would be successful.

However, Mrs Crozier received a letter last month, the day after her birthday, from the Home Office rejecting her application. It read: "You have applied for leave to remain in the United Kingdom on the basis of your marriage to Andrew Douglas Crozier. "However, the immigration rules direct that a person seeking such leave is to be refused if they do not meet the requirements set out in the immigration rules. "This includes that the applicant has limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom other than where that leave is of six months duration or less. On 30 October 2007 you were granted limited leave to enter as a visitor for a period of six months from 30 October 2007 until 30 April 2008 therefore you do not meet the requirements. "You are not entitled to appeal this decision."

Mrs Crozier, living in Bordon, near Petersfield, Hants, said: "We rang the MoD to tell them we were coming over and they gave us no advice other then to tell us to have a nice journey. "I think it is disgraceful. I came here to start a new life with my husband and my two wonderful little boys. My husband is very patriotic and would gladly fight for his country but it seems his country won't fight for him."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Overseas nationals wishing to come to the UK on the basis of marriage should apply for entry clearance from abroad. They will be given leave to enter the UK for two years, after which they can apply for settlement."


British white working-class boys 'consigned to educational scrapheap by Labour and liberal establishment'

White working-class boys are being consigned to the educational scrapheap because politically-correct ministers and officials are ignoring their poor performance, members of the ATL claimed yesterday. They said boys from low-income homes do significantly worse in exams than any other group of pupils but their plight is being "overlooked" by Labour and the liberal establishment. Initiatives to tackle under-achievement often centre on improving the performance of ethnic minorities, said London-based member John Puckrin. Fears of playing into the hands of the National Front and BNP are fuelling a widespread reluctance to speak up for the plight of the white working-classes, he claimed.

Figures showed recently that only 15 per cent of white boys qualifying for free school meals leave school having mastered the three Rs. For black boys from similar backgrounds, the figure is 22 per cent while for Asians it is 29 per cent and Chinese 52 per cent.

"All too often diversity is only thought of in terms of ethnicity or faith," Mr Puckrin told the conference. "I believe we need to restate and recognise the diversity of class. "The lowest attaining section in education today are white working-class boys; in some of our cities they are also the largest single ethnic minority. "Why have the needs of this group been overlooked? I suspect it is the law of unexpected consequences. "The Labour party has ceased to talk the language of class in order to win general elections.

"Liberal-minded people and the media ceased to highlight the particular problems of this group for fear of lending weight to the arguments of the National Front and BNP. This is a self-defeating position to my mind." He said action plans had been put in place to tackle race and gender divides but "silence then ensued on class".

Mr Puckrin's proposal for a probe into the effects of white working-class underachievement on the economy in specific regions was backed by the union. He also said schools should be given freedom to set lessons in subjects that could assist community cohesion, such as history. He added: "It is historical fact that most of the jobs lost in communities destroyed by Britain's de-industralisation have involved male workers. "It is easy to forget that we once had docks in London and Liverpool, shipyards in Belfast and Newcastle, coalmines in Nottingham and Kent, steelworkers in Sheffield and South Wales. "Investment capital may have moved on to hedge funds, but the people remain."

Studies have previously identified parental indifference and family break-ups as reasons poor white boys have slipped behind other groups. Mr Puckrin's claims underline research last year from Manchester University which found that money was being targeted at pupils with English as an additional language. "White learners from highly disadvantaged backgrounds were reportedly often overlooked," their report said



One estimate of the cost of the 18 new green taxes announced by Alistair Darling to save the planet was 3 billion pounds a year. But this is only the start of it. We already pay out 3 billion a year through our electricity bills, for the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme and the "renewables obligation", which obliges us to pay a 100 per cent subsidy to wind turbine companies for the derisory amount of electricity they produce (and all to save not a milligram of CO2 emissions, which continue to rise EU-wide almost as fast as our taxes).

This 6 billion may seem peanuts compared with Mr Darling's terrifying 43 billion budget deficit, but it still amounts to 255 for every household in the country.

Throw in such other items as airline taxes and those fatuous Home Information Packs (required by yet another EU directive aimed at global warming), and the price we are to pay for "fighting climate change" seems set to rise as exponentially as talk about CO2 emissions. It is just as well that the last two months have shown one of the sharpest drops in global temperatures ever recorded.

But if the warming panic does turn out to be no more than a colossal scare, what justification will Darling and Co find for hoicking our taxes still higher in the future - just as the global economy seems about to plunge into its deepest recession for 70 years?



An email from Jeremy Nicholson [], Director - Energy Intensive Users Group

Readers might be interested to see this consultant's report, comissioned by the UK government, which estimates the cost of attempting to meet the EU target for 20% of energy consumption to be met by renewables by 2020. Their conclusions are sobering:

"The Central Case least cost scenario estimates the efficient annual incremental cost of meeting the target in 2020 to be EUR18.8bn, with the lifetime cost of the policy (the 'lifetime costs') being EUR259bn."

"The incremental abatement cost in 2020 is EUR49/tCO2 and EUR82/tCO2 in the UK, with the incremental cost in the transport sector being an order of magnitude higher (EUR276/tCO2 for the EU and EUR259/tCO2)"


BRITAIN'S greenhouse gas emissions are 12% higher than claimed by Labour, according to an investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO). The report could undermine Gordon Brown's claims to be creating a low-carbon economy.

The NAO analysis, published this weekend, says Labour's figures exclude aviation, shipping, British businesses operating abroad and emissions caused by Britons holidaying overseas. This makes Britain's emission figures seem artificially low. It also warns taxpayers face a 5 billion pound bill from 2010 to 2020 because government failures in meeting greenhouse emissions reduction targets mean it will have to buy carbon credits from overseas.

The government has claimed that in 2005 Britain generated greenhouse gases equivalent to 656m tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). The NAO report suggests the real figure is closer to 733m tonnes. It also contradicts Labour's claims that CO2 emissions have fallen 6.4% since 1990.

This weekend Peter Ainsworth, the Conservative shadow environment secretary, accused the government of "Enron-style accounting" and said he would raise the issue during debates on the Climate Change Bill in parliament this week.

The NAO conducted the probe following concern over the way in which the government maintains two sets of accounts to measure changes in greenhouse gas emissions. The figures quoted publicly by Brown and other ministers are all drawn from the so-called Kyoto accounting system, allowing the government to claim the lower emissions figure. The term "equivalent" is used because the figure include CO2 plus five other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. They are all added together and expressed in terms of CO2 equivalents for the sake of convenience.

Since CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas, the government often focuses on it alone. The NAO report points out, however, that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) maintains its own environmental accounts which measure the same gases but use stricter Treasury accounting rules. The NAO report states: "For 2005 the environmental accounts reported total greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 733m tonnes of CO2." Referring to CO2 alone, it added: "Our figures demonstrate that there have been no reductions in UK CO2 emissions if measured on the basis of the environmental accounts."

Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, said: "It makes no sense to exclude shipping and aviation from the figures for Britain's emissions. They are vital parts of the British economy which are growing fast."

The NAO is particularly concerned about the government's decision to abandon targets for cutting domestic emissions and to rely instead on carbon credits purchased from overseas.

Last week the House of Lords passed an amendment to the Climate Change Bill to prevent the government using carbon credits to meet more than 30% of its carbon reduction targets. The government plans to reverse this amendment.


Gene therapy advancing

A new way of turning genes on and off, pioneered by a Nobel prize-winning British scientist, is promising to transform treatment of conditions such as HIV/Aids, heart disease and diabetes. The technique, devised by Sir Aaron Klug, of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, allows scientists to act with unprecedented precision against genes that affect a wide range of diseases, switching them on or off permanently.

The first drugs designed to target the genes have begun clinical trials in the United States on patients with arterial disease and diabetes-induced nerve damage. A third trial, for HIV, is due to begin within months. If they are successful, scientists predict that the technique could change the way many diseases are treated, making genetic therapies a routine part of medicine for the first time. In some cases, the method will be used to switch off rogue genes that promote conditions such as heart failure or cancer. In others, it will help to activate genes that protect against nerve damage or encourage blood vessel growth.

In treating HIV, the aim is to modify T-cells from patients' immune systems so that they become immune to infection with the virus. This would leave them with some working T-cells with which to fight off other infections, which are the chief cause of Aids deaths. The technique relies on a natural process by which the activity of genes is raised or lowered by proteins called transcription factors.

In 1985 Sir Aaron discovered a new class of proteins that mimic this function and can recognise specific stretches of DNA and bind to them, boosting the activity of genes or damping them down. He named them zinc-finger proteins, after the metal that holds them together and the way in which they grasp DNA. Sangamo BioSciences, a company in California, has already developed several drugs based on the principle. A zinc-finger protein specific to a gene is loaded with an enzyme called a nuclease, which will bind to the gene and turn it on or off. Sir Aaron told The Times: "We are taking nature's own method of regulating gene activity and exploiting it for our own purposes. We can use this technique to change the function of a single gene permanently. "The beauty of zinc-finger nucleases lies in their simplicity. Where other methods are long, arduous and often messy, it is relatively easy to switch off genes using this method. The zinc-finger design allows us to target a single gene, while the nuclease disrupts the gene." Details of the technique are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The most advanced of Sangamo's drugs uses a zinc-finger nuclease to treat diabetic neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes that causes nerve damage and pain. The drug binds to a gene called VEGF-A, which is known to protect the nervous system, and switches it on to prevent nerve damage. Phase 2 trials of the drug are under way. The same gene is also being targeted to treat peripheral arterial disease which causes blocked arteries in the limbs. A zinc-finger drug that has started safety trials aims to stimulate VEGF-A activity, which can promote the growth of new arteries. In the longer term, a similar approach might be used to grow new blood vessels in the heart, Sir Aaron said.

Sangamo is applying for regulatory permission to start testing a zinc-finger nuclease on HIV patients as well as developing drugs to treat glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, and single-gene disorders such as sickle-cell anaemia.


Must not speak ill of Germans

We read:

"The captain of the Oceana had enough. "We don't want that kind of Germanic behavior," Christopher Wells joked to his mostly British passengers about the squabbling over deck chairs on his cruise ship. In today's politically ber-correct days, such staples of British humor are verboten. Mr. Wells now stands accused of racism.

The two-week Caribbean cruise almost ended in a brawl last month. Some holidaymakers infuriated other guests by using towels to reserve deck chairs, otherwise empty, for hours. Such behavior is, in the British holiday imagination, firmly associated with Germans, who are reputed (fairly or not) to have pioneered this use of the towel to hog prime suntanning spots....

The Oceana's captain must by now regret what he probably considered an innocent jest but for which he was forced to apologize. Some of the passengers reported the skipper (who has a German wife) to the U.K. Human Rights Commission.


More dangerous NHS hospitals

High death rates at a Staffordshire hospital trust are to be investigated by the Healthcare Commission. The watchdog said that data showed the death rates at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust were “out of normal range”. The inquiry will focus on what appear to be higher than normal death rates for emergency admissions. The commission will also investigate the quality of care provided across the trust, in particular to older people.

The trust, which serves 300,000 people, said yesterday that it believed its death rates were normal for a trust of its size. Martin Yeates, the chief executive, said that the trust and the Strategic Health Authority had investigated the trust’s higher than average standardised mortality rate and concluded that it was due to “problems in recording and coding information about patients”. He said this had improved in the past year.

Nigel Ellis, of the Healthcare Commission, said that it was important to “bring clarity” to the situation. “If we thought the trust was unsafe we would have already taken action,” he said.


More Muslim garbage: "An Arab billionaire's son listed as a Facebook friend of a murdered socialite has been named by police as a prime suspect in the blonde's death. Yemen born Farooq Abdulhak, 26, was allegedly the last person to see Martine Vik Magnussen alive after leaving the exclusive Maddox Club with her early Friday morning. The Norwegian socialite's body was found two days later, partially buried under a pile of rubble in the basement of an exclusive London apartment building where Mr Abdulhak was reportedly living. The Daily Mail reported that Magnussen was believed to have been strangled, although investigators told the newspaper that further scientific analysis was being carried out on her body. Mr Abdulhak and the 23-year-old blonde studied business together at the prestigious Regent's College in London. They were listed as friends on Magnussen's Facebook page, but Mr Abdulhak has since deleted his online profile. Associates of Mr Abdulhak tried to contact him over the weekend but he did not reply to calls or texts. Mr Abdulhak's father Shaher, a Yemeni billionaire, is a major hotelier and Pepsi-Cola executive. Farooq was born in Yemen, but has lived in London since he was a child. The Sun reported that flight records show Farooq left Britain "shortly after the time of Martine's death". Police now believe the billionaire's son has fled to Yemen - which has no extradition treaty with Britain".

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