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British news brief 

Monday, July 22nd


Murder suspect hurt in prison incident

THE Prison Officer´s Association in Britain is concerned that the Ministry of Justice may have over-reacted after Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolago lost two of his teeth while being restrained by prison officers.

A spokesman raised the concern after five members of prison staff were suspended. Adebolago was injured last week at Belmarsh Prison in South-East London.

The association said approved techniques had been used to restrain him and members strenuously denied any wrong-doing.

Michael Adebolago is accused of murdering soldier Lee Rigby in May and officer´s association chairman Peter McParlin told the BBC: “We are concerned that the Ministry of Justice have over-reacted due to the notoriety of this prisoner.

On the basis of what our members have told us they have done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Adebolago’s family have complained about his treatment.


Bus travel to be free for children?

CHILDREN in Britain could travel on buses free under plans being considered by the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister and party leader Nick Clegg is keen on the idea.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported that child bus passes could be announced later this year as part of a package of measures. But the party says it is too early to say whether the idea can be delivered.

Norman Baker, the Transport Minister, has argued that bus fares for young people vary across Britain and he wants to make bus travel more accessible.

Children and young people under 18 in full-time education can travel free on London buses and Mr Baker is concerned that similar arrangements are not in place throughout the country.


Comic Mel Smith dies aged 60

THE death has occurred at the age of 60 of comic actor and director Mel Smith who is understood to have been ill for some time. He died of a heart attack at the home he shared with his wife Pam in North West London.

Fellow comedian Griff Rhys Jones, with whom he starred in the sketch show Alas Smith and Jones for over ten years, described him as “a force for life.”

The pair had first worked together from 1979 to 1982 on the television comedy show Not the Nine O’Clock News with Rowan Atkinson and Pamela Stephenson.


Man who killed organist sentenced

A MAN who battered a church organist to death last Christmas as he walked to Midnight Mass has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years at Sheffield Crown Court.

Jonathan Bowling, 22, attacked devout Christian Alan Greaves, 68, with a pick-axe handle as he walked to St Saviour’s Church in High Green, Sheffield. The father of four died three days later in hospital.

The court heard that Bowling, who had a number of previous convictions for violence, chose his victim at random. A second man was found guilty of Mr Greaves’ manslaughter and was jailed for nine years.


Images of rape may be banned

THE debate on online pornography continues in Britain and it has been revealed that Government Ministers are now actively considering changes to the law.

Concern has already been expressed on child pornography and more recently images depicting rape have come under the spotlight.

A loophole in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 allows the possession of images of rape in England but it is illegal in Scotland.

Pressure groups are now pressing the Government to amend the law in England.

Google, Microsoft and BT have been in talks with Culture Secretary Maria Miller and four main internet providers have now agreed to provide an extra £1 million to help the work of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.


We must listen to hospital patients’

PATIENTS should own their own medical records and have more say in how much medical professionals earn, according to the former Chief Executive of Britain’s National Health Scheme.

Lord Crisp told the Sunday People newspaper that giving more power to patient should be a top priority and the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal had shown the importance of listening to patients.

Under the plan, patient representatives would organise satisfaction surveys on the performance of GPs’ surgeries and hospitals. Those who performed well would get more money and those who do badly would get less.

“Patients need to be at the top of the power pyramid, not at the bottom,” said Lord Crisp.


Britain feels heat!

THE heatwave in Britain looks set to continue this week although thunder storms are likely to bring some respite from the dry conditions that have resulted in grass fires in the countryside.

The conditions are believed to have caused many premature deaths and there are ongoing concerns for elderly and vulnerable people. The good news is that the end of the week is likely to be cooler.


Protestors close bank branches

A NUMBER of branches of the HSBC bank were closed in Britain on Saturday when the direct action group UK Uncut staged protests.

The campaigners were highlighting research which shows that 50,000 people now rely on food banks in Britain. They suggested tax cuts and tax dodging by large multi-national corporations were in part responsible.

An HSBC spokesman emphasised that the bank paid £1.1 billion in tax in the UK last year. UK Uncut apologised to customers who were inconvenienced.