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News brief for week 

Welfare hand-outs slashed in four London boroughs


PEOPLE living in some parts of the City of London are this week feeling the force of the Government’s determination to clamp down on the amount people can receive in benefits.

A cap is being introduced in four boroughs. Couples and single parents will receive no more than £500 a week – around $US750 – and the limit for single people is £350. The cap will be fully implemented nationwide by the end of September.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith described the cap as a strong incentive for people to move into work. He said: “We have a clear message – we will provide support to those who need it, but the days of outrageous claims giving people incomes far above those of working families are over.”

The move is designed to cut welfare spending and bring benefits into line with average income and already there appears to be movement with 20 per cent of claimants finding work, according to Government figures.


Political opponents of Thatcher legacy


AS PREPARATIONS were made for the funeral of former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher – the most high profile since that of the Queen Mother eleven years’ ago – there were some political opponents who wished to take the opportunity to protest at the Thatcher legacy.

There were 16 arrests for assault on the police, and drunken and disorderly behaviour, in London’s Trafalgar Square. And a song from the Wizard of Oz was used in a distasteful attempt tarnish the memory of the former Prime Minister.

Never one to miss an opportunity, controversial Left Wing MP George Galloway even tried to frustrate plans for the cancellation of the Wednesday Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, necessary to allow MPs to attend the funeral.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband became the acceptable face of the opposition when he paid tribute to Lady Thatcher’s achievements while acknowledging their political differences.

And it all made little difference to the arrangements for the military procession leading to the service at St Paul’s Cathedral involving over 700 servicemen. The last Prime Minister to have such a send-off was Winston Churchill in 1965.


Clinics opened in bid to beat measles epidemic


A SCARE over measles vaccination 15 years ago has resulted in many children in Britain being unprotected and a serious measles epidemic has now hit South Wales.

To date over 2,000 people have been vaccinated at clinics set up to meet demand, people turning up early and queues forming. In Swansea around 700 people have been infected with the disease.

The Department of Health says: “Measles is a highly infectious and harmful disease.”  Unvaccinated people, including 6,000 children, are being urged to attend special drop-in sessions for free jabs.


Badger killing on increase in Britain


POOR old Brock the badger is at the centre of controversy in Britain yet again amid claims that incidents of illegal badger killing have almost doubled over the past five years.

There is some confusion between cruelty to badgers using dogs, known as badger baiting, and the illegal killing of badgers by farmers and others trying to protect cattle from bovine TB, which they believe is spread by badgers.

Labour MP Diane Abbott obtained the figures and said the rise in the number of people being prosecuted has almost doubled in five years and was alarming.

Her party opposes Government moves to press ahead with a ‘science-led’ cull, suggesting it will do more harm than good, but the Government says the disease is devastating to farmers and must be tackled.


Fire kills animals at Scottish zoo


A FIRE in the tropical house at a Scottish zoo in the early hours of Sunday morning killed every creature in the building.

Around 50 fire fighters fought the blaze and prevented it from spreading to other enclosures at the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian.

An otter and a number of meerkats also died, but two dwarf West African crocodiles and a female otter were saved.


 Millwall fans fight each other in cup!


MILLWALL fans have been condemned after they began fighting with each other during the second half of the 2-0 defeat by Wigan in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Wigan now meet Manchester City in the FA Cup Final. City beat Chelsea 2-1 in the other semifinal.

In English soccer’s Premier League, Manchester United went 15 points clear at the top with a 2-0 victory over Stoke, leaving Stoke on shaky ground and giving manager Tony Pulis cause for concern..

The other notable result was Sunderland’s 3-0 local derby win over Newcastle, which eases Sunderland’s relegation fears but leaves Newcastle in free-fall.