80 foreign murderers welcomed to Britain: Albanian killers allowed to stay despite being on Interpol 'wanted' list
Eighty foreign killers are exploiting the chaotic asylum system to set up home in Britain, it was revealed yesterday. The convicted murderers from Albania have been given British passports despite being officially listed as 'wanted' by Interpol. Most slipped across the Channel from Calais to Dover hidden in the back of lorries on ferries. They used bogus names and false papers to claim asylum, often pretending to be from the war-torn Balkan republic of Kosovo.
The scandal came to light when Albania's chief of police complained that 100 criminals from his country have been granted British citizenship and now live here. The police chief said the criminals have been allowed to stay even though the Albanian government has informed the Home Office of the true identities of the men and their crimes, which also include rape and robbery.
Many of the convicted criminals have been living in the UK for up to ten years and have started new families here. As the revelations exposed the shambles within the asylum system yet again, campaigners expressed their outrage. Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatch, said: 'It is a real concern that people accused of, or even convicted of, very serious crimes should apparently find it so easy to gain asylum in Britain.'
Rose Dixon, of victim group Support After Murder and Manslaughter, added: 'I'm astounded. If this is correct, I'm appalled that these people are walking the streets of Britain. I think we should be told a lot more about this.'
After the Home Office was informed about the true identity of the asylum seekers, extradition proceedings against them were lodged by the Albanian Government. But complex legal arguments and the need to find interpreters and psychologists has led to lengthy delays.
Albanian criminals use myriad loopholes in the extradition laws to avoid being sent home. Their lawyers often claim they will suffer human rights abuse on their return, or that trials in their absence were unfair because they could not give their side. The situation is even more complicated if they have become British citizens. Under the Human Rights Act 1988, this gives them further protection against being removed because their family life would be disrupted. Even when a case does finally go through a British court, it is the Home Secretary who decides the fate of the asylum seeker.
Meanwhile, many continue to live off state hand-outs while others have gone on to commit crimes in Britain. Ahmet Prenci, the Albanian chief of police, said he felt as if all his force's hard work in tracking down the culprits had been in vain. 'We have made a list of our people who are hiding in the UK,' he said. 'There are 100 criminals, and more than 80 per cent are wanted for murder and have been convicted in absentia. 'They have been given British citizenship despite our efforts to extradite them to serve prison sentences in our country. 'We are working intensively to identify, locate, and then to arrest wanted Albanian people in Britain. Unfortunately, many have British passports obtained after they claimed asylum by pretending to be Kosovans. 'We are unhappy that the courts repeatedly refuse extradition of these criminals. There is no reason for an Albanian citizen who has been involved in a crime not to be punished.'
Mr Prenci spoke out as a report by the National Audit Office revealed that Britain is struggling to cope with the growing numbers of asylum seekers. The UK Border Agency is overwhelmed with cases. More than 300,000 asylum claims have not been processed and nine out of ten foreigners refused asylum are not sent home.
Chris Grayling, Shadow Home Secretary, said: 'The Home Office has consistently been warned about undesirables entering our country both legally and illegally, yet they seem not to have a grip on it. While the Home Office is prepared to do nothing about this, we will introduce a dedicated UK police force to secure our borders.'
A Home Office spokesman last night refused to respond to the Albanian police chief's allegations that criminals from his country were being given British citizenship even though their past was known. He said: 'We cannot comment on individual extradition cases.'
150,000 foreigners swell UK workforce: Record number get permits as Britons lose jobs
Ministers were criticised last night for issuing a record 151,635 work permits to foreigners as Britain slid into recession. The document lets non-EU workers take or keep jobs here, even though hundreds of thousands of Britons are losing theirs. Unemployment rose by 290,000 in the same period, from December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008, to reach 1.92m - the most since September 1997. Up to 2,500 workers a day are losing their jobs. MPs said it made a mockery of Gordon Brown's promise in 2007 to deliver 'British jobs for British workers'.
The number of permits given to non-EU citizens is crucial to protecting British jobs as ministers have no control over the movement of EU nationals. But rather than cutting the permits in 2008, the total increased. In 2007, when the economy was growing, 129,700 were approved. In 1997, the year Labour came to power, only 42,800 were handed out.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: ' This further undermines Gordon Brown's crass and unwise boast that he would deliver "British jobs for British workers" and is more evidence why Labour are not capable of guiding us through recession. 'This Government has run out of ideas and is taking Britain in the wrong direction.'
Tory MP Nicholas Soames and his Labour counterpart Frank Field, who jointly chair the cross-party group on Balanced Migration, said the Government had to ensure British workers got the 'first chance' to apply for any new vacancy. The Home Office can turn down applications for permits on the grounds that the job could be filled by a Briton or an EU citizen.
Some 43,880 of the work permits last year were for between 48 and 60 months, giving permission to stay even if the recession turns into a long-term depression. Of those who received them last year, the major beneficiaries were Americans (28,835), Indians ( 49,950), Chinese (8,090) and Australians (6,245).
Ministers are likely to be concerned by the impact the latest figures will have on public opinion. In a controversial interview last year, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said strict limits would be imposed on immigration amid fears that rising unemployment would fuel racial tension. Last Sunday, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith sought to calm public fears by promising that vacancies for skilled workers will in future be initially advertised only in a Jobcentre for two weeks - where a non-EU national cannot apply.
Ministers have promised to bring non-EU migration under control with the points-based system that was introduced last year. But the policy will reduce an estimated population growth of ten million by just 250,000 over the next two decades.
A Government spokesman said: 'In difficult economic times we need a tough system that offers British workers the first crack of the whip for British jobs. 'The points system means only those with the skills Britain needs can come and no more.'
More BBC deception
What should the BBC do if the new US President's references to global warming in his inaugural speech don't quite come up to expectations? Last night I was reading through the full text of Barak Obama's speech just before the BBC's daily current affairs magazine, Newsnight, came on television. So his words were fresh in my mind when Susan Watts, Newsnight's science editor, presented a piece on the implications of the speech for science in general and global warming in particular. I was surprised when it started with this sound bite from the inaugural speech: We will restore science to its rightful place, [and] roll back the spectre of a warming planet. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.
I didn't seem to remember him saying that at all. When the program was over, I went back to the text and this is what I found. It would seem that someone at the BBC had taken the trouble to splice the tape so that half a sentence from paragraph 16 of the inauguration speech was joined on to half a sentence from paragraph 22, and this apparently continuous sound bite was completed by returning to paragraph 16 again to lift another complete sentence. Susan Watts then started her report by saying: President Obama couldn't have been clearer today. And for most scientists his vote of confidence would not have come a moment too soon. In the eight years of the Bush presidency, the world saw Arctic ice caps shrink to a record summer low, the relentless rise of greenhouse gas emissions, and warnings from scientists shift from urgent to panicky.
But the `quotation' that she was referring to only exists in a digital file concocted by a sound engineer. (It would be kind draw a veil over evidence that Newsnight's science editor seems not to know the difference between sea ice and an ice cap, but that's another story.)
British A-levels 'destroyed' by Government interference
A leading independent school is axing A-levels amid claims the exam has been "destroyed by Government interference".
Charterhouse is introducing two new qualifications to replace traditional courses following fears they fail to prepare students for university. The Rev John Witheridge, the headmaster, said schools had been left with a "dumbed down exam" as the Government aims to to increase the number of students gaining top grades as part of a drive to get more school-leavers into university.
Last September, sixth-formers at the school started Cambridge University's new Pre-U qualification - developed as a tough alternative to A-levels. The school is believed to be doing more Pre-U subjects than most other state or fee-paying schools. Now Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey, has also announced it will offer the International Baccalaureate - the Swiss-based course set up for academic all-rounders - by September 2011.
It comes as the school prepares to stage a conference next week on the future shape of sixth-form education. Mr Witheridge said: "Government interference has destroyed the A-level as an exam for bright sixth-formers. They have reduced the overall level in order to increase the school-leavers passing the exam and going on to university. We are quite certain that the A-level has had its day."
Fifteen state schools and 35 from the private sector offered the Pre-U for the first time in September. Another 100 schools have confirmed they will run the courses in the next three years. It is seen as a return to traditional A-level study before the course was divided into six modules that students can re-sit multiple times to inflate their marks. Pupils take Pre-U exams at the end of the two-year course and answer mainly essay-based questions.
Ministers introduced reforms to A-levels last September, cutting the number of modules and introducing an elite A* to pick out the brightest. But Mr Witheridge said: "We felt that was a minimal change and we were still left with a dumbed down exam."
The school will join names such as North London Collegiate School, Sevenoaks, King's College School and Cheltenham Ladies' College in offering the IB. King Edward's School in Surrey has announced it will offer the IB exclusively from 2010 after running it alongside A-levels for the last four years, while Wellington College is proposing an IB qualification for under-16s. As part of the course, students study six subjects - three at higher and three at a standard level. They also complete a 4,000-word essay, a theory of knowledge module, extracurricular activities and community service.
"Almost every subject department here does the Pre-U and we want to offer the IB as well by 2011," said Mr Witheridge. "We think the Pre-U will be attractive for those students who want to specialist in particular areas, while most generalists among our sixth-form will go for the IB. It means all our students will be able to follow qualifications that are valued by universities, free of Government interference."
Tribunal: Homosexual rights trump Christianity
Counselor wins reinstatement, but on procedural grounds
A British employment tribunal has ruled that a Christian counselor was wrongfully dismissed after he expressed reservations about offering sexual advice to homosexuals, but the judges rejected his claim of religious discrimination.
The ruling by the Bristol Employment Tribunal in the United Kingdom on Gary McFarlane, a relationship counselor with the company Relate Avon, is a disorganized precedent that should be addressed, according to Andrea Minichiello Williams of the Christian Legal Center, which worked on McFarlane's case.
"The law is in a confused state; in the case of Lillian Ladele, the Islington registrar, the court held that Christian belief must give way to the rights of same sex couples; but in the case of Gary McFarlane there is a finding of wrongful dismissal," Williams said. "The courts and public are confused; we call on the government to recognize the legitimate expression of conscience by Christians in the area of sexual orientation and provide protection where necessary."
The legal center said McFarlane had worked at Relate since 2003 and had encountered "hostility" at the organization. "Although Mr.McFarlane had never had to provide sex therapy to a same-sex couple, he thought that if the situation did arise, he would be able to discuss his Christian views with his supervisors so that his position could be discussed and if necessary accommodated," according to the legal center report. Instead, after a letter circulated at Relate that accused McFarlane of being a "homophobe," he was suspended in January 2008 and dismissed two months later.
"If I were a Muslim, this would not have happened. But Christians seem to have fewer and fewer rights," McFarlane said.
The legal center cited a recent court opinion that found Muslims imprisoned for sex offenses may opt out of therapy. "It is important to note that Mr. McFarlane has never refused to counsel a same-sex couple; he merely raised the potential conflict between his Christian faith and homosexual conduct," Williams said. "It is deeply disturbing that the mere expression of religious belief with an inability to give unqualified support to sexual orientation issues means that a Christian can be dismissed with no attempt to provide suitable accommodation for his or her beliefs. The law preventing religious discrimination against Christians is in danger of becoming a dead letter," Williams said.
The tribunal, however, said, "The claimant was not treated as he was because of his Christian faith, but because (Relate) believed that he would not comply with its policies." Mike Judge of the Christian Institute said the conclusion means the laws "are not being applied equally." Relate had stated in support of its decision, "His religious faith is not relevant; it is the application of it to the equal opportunities policy."
Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up
A deeply flawed new report will be cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore
By Christopher Booker in Britain
The measures being proposed to meet what President Obama last week called the need to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet" threaten to land us with the most colossal bill mankind has ever faced. It might therefore seem peculiarly important that we can trust the science on which all the alarm over global warming is based, But nothing has been more disconcerting in this respect than the methods used by promoters of the warming cause over the years to plug some of the glaring holes in their scientific argument.
Another example last week was the much-publicised claim, contradicting all previous evidence, that Antarctica, the world's coldest continent, is in fact warming up, Antarctica has long been a major embarrassment to the warmists. Al Gore and co may have wanted to scare us that the continent which contains 90 per cent of all the ice on the planet is heating up, because that would be the source of all the meltwater which they claim will raise sea levels by 20 feet.
However, to provide all their pictures of ice-shelves "the size of Texas" calving off into the sea, they have had to draw on one tiny region of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula - the only part that has been warming. The vast mass of Antarctica, all satellite evidence has shown, has been getting colder over the past 30 years. Last year's sea-ice cover was 30 per cent above average.
So it predictably made headlines across the world last week when a new study, from a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. As on similar occasions in the past, all the usual supporters of the cause were called in to whoop up its historic importance. The paper was published in Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the "deniers" and "contrarians".
But then a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding. It turned out that it was produced by a computer model based on combining the satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations.
The problem with Antarctica, though, is that has so few weather stations. So what the computer had been programmed to do, by a formula not yet revealed, was to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed. In other words, while confirming that the satellite data have indeed shown the Antarctic as cooling since 1979, the study relied ultimately on pure guesswork, to show that in the past 50 years the continent has warmed - by just one degree Fahrenheit.
One of the first to express astonishment was Dr Kenneth Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed "it is hard to make data where none exists". A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has often visited the Antarctic for Nasa, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: "with statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage."
But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig's team was Michael Mann, author of the "hockey stick", the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest of all embarrassments for the believers in man-made global warming was the well-established fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than it is now. "We must get rid of the Mediaeval Warm Period," as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like hockey stick, eliminating the mediaeval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.
This instantly became the warmists' chief icon, made the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report. But Mann's selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most comprehensively discredited artefact in the history of science.
The fact that Dr Mann is again behind the new study on Antarctica is, alas, all part of an ongoing pattern. But this will not prevent the paper being cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore, when he shortly addresses the US Senate and carries on advising President Obama behind the scenes on how to roll back that "spectre of a warming planet". So, regardless of the science, and until the politicians finally wake up to how they have been duped, what threatens to become the most costly flight from reality in history will continue to roll remorselessly on its way.
Not the least shocking news of the week was the revelation by that admirable body the Taxpayers Alliance that last year the number of "middle managers" in Britain's local authorities rose by a staggering 22 percent. Birmingham City Council alone has more than 1,000 officials earning over œ50,000 a year. All over Britain senior council officials are now earning salaries which 10 years ago would have seemed unthinkable.
Future historians will doubtless find it highly significant that just when Britain's economy was about to collapse, an already hopelessly bloated public sector was expanding faster than ever. One of the more dramatic changes in British life over the past two decades has been how, aided by their counterparts in Whitehall and Brussels, the officials who run our local authorities have become separated from the communities they used to serve. Floating free of political control, they have become a new privileged class, able to dictate their own salaries and extend their own empires, paid for by a public to whom they are no longer accountable.
But if this gulf has already become wide enough, how much more glaring is it going to become now that the private sector is shrinking so fast? Already last year an astonishing 2.5 million people were in court for failing or being unable to pay ever soaring council taxes. Tellingly, the only response of the Local Government Association to these latest revelations was plaintively to point out that as many as "2,700" council jobs have already been lost in the economic downturn. But outside those walls three millon may soon be out of work. Who will then be left to pay for those salaries and pensions that our new privilegentsia have arranged for themselves?
How appropriate that Kenneth Clarke should become "shadow" to Business Secretary Peter Mandelson. As fervent "Europeans", both men know that almost all the policies of the ministry laughably renamed the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform are now decided at "European level". There is therefore hardly any job left for them to do. Mr Clarke will be free to continue advising Centaurus, one of the largest hedge funds in Europe. Lord Mandelson can carry on running the Labour Party, But the last thing either will want to admit is that all the powers they claim or seek to exercise have been handed over to Brussels.
The Government last week announced that in March it is to sell off 25 million "carbon credits". These European Union Allowances permit industry and electricity companies to continue emitting CO2, ultimately paid for by all of us through our electricity bills. Last summer, when these permits were trading at 31 euros each, this sale might have raised more than œ500 million pounds, Today, however, thanks to the economic meltdown creating a surplus of credits no longer needed, their value is dropping so fast that Mr Darling will be lucky to get œ100 million. That should help reduce our electricity bills - even though Mr Darling will merely have to extract the cash from us in other ways.
Britain plunges into recession: "Britain's economy shrank at its fastest pace in nearly three decades at the end of last year, sending the economy into recession for the first time since 1991 as the financial crisis hit even harder than expected. Friday's bleak data piles pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown, under fire after massive job losses, banking sector turmoil and a plummeting currency knocked Britons' faith in his ability to deal with the global economic downturn. "The economy entered recession with an almighty bang in the fourth quarter of 2008," said Howard Archer of Global Insight. The Office for National Statistics said the economy shrank by 1.5% in the fourth quarter of last year, the biggest drop since 1980. That followed a 0.6% fall in the third quarter, fulfilling the technical definition of recession."