Cicero Yearly Archives

Cicero Lounge News

This category contains 238 posts

Una Cooze activist and secretary


0106This is Una Cooze, (b. 1929 – d. 2001) a woman I had the pleasure of meeting and working closely with as she briefly worked for Ken Livingstone during 1991-1992 when his own secretary was on maternity leave. Una was the constituency secretary for Michael Foot for many years dealing with the correspondence on behalf of both MPs — writing to local authorities, government departments such as the home office, foreign office, department for work and pensions (the benefits agency as it was then known) and always writing diligently to each and every constituent that met both MPs initially having discussed their individual situations.

I  met her in the offices of Norman Shaw South, which along with the Norman Shaw North Building is part of UK Parliament buildings and were, of course, more famously the seat of the Metropolitan Police as Old Scotland Yard. norman-shaw-building-south

She was a long-standing member of the Labour Party and an active T.U.C  member and a lifelong socialist, this is probably why she remained an asset to the late great Michael Foot.

800px-Michael_Foot_(1981)

KenLivingstone

I have fond memories of talking with her and was amazed at her ability to recall each and every constituent in the Willesden (London Borough of Brent) area.

 

Advertisements

Cameron accepted for Role in First Data appointment


David_Cameron_officialDavid Cameron is taking on a new job with US electronic payments firm First Data that will see him work as a “brand ambassador” for the technology business, the company has announced.

The former prime-minister’s part-time role with the Georgia-headquartered business was cleared by anti-corruption watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments in July, according to a just-published decision letter.

Like other former ministers and senior civil servants, Cameron was required to notify ACOBA of his plans so it could offer an opinion on the job’s suitability. Last month the body voiced concern after former GCHQ director Robert Hannigan’s appointment to a role with US cybersecurity firm BluteamGlobal was publicised before it had considered his request.

ACOBA said Cameron’s request to work for First Data was acceptable, provided that he did not seek to use the privileged information he had access to as prime minister for his work with the firm, or lobby the UK government on its behalf until July next year – two years after he left office.

Committee chair Baroness Angela Browning said she had consulted Cabinet Office perm sec John Manzoni on Cameron’s appointment, which is the sixth he has successfully sought clearance for since he stood down as prime minister after failing to secure a “remain” victory in 2016’s EU referendum.

“He confirmed that the government has no links with First Data in its procurement frameworks and has no concerns about you taking up this appointment,” she said.

Source: Civil Service World 

Monarch Airlines have ceased trading


downloadMonarch Airlines has ceased trading and all its future flights and holidays have been cancelled, affecting hundreds of thousands of customers.

About 860,000 people have lost bookings and more than 30 planes will be sent by the Civil Aviation Authority to return 110,000 holidaymakers who are overseas.

Monarch employs about 2,100 people and reported a £291m loss last year.

Terror attacks in Tunisia and Egypt, increased competition, and the weak pound have been blamed for its demise.

Theresa May’s official spokesman said the prime minister “feels hugely sorry” for those affected by a “very distressing situation”.

Monarch – the UK’s fifth biggest and the country’s largest ever to collapse – was placed in administration at 04:00 BST – a time when the airline had no planes in the air.

Passengers were then sent text messages informing them flights had been cancelled – but some customers were already at airports.

Who has been affected?

Alan Jee was due to get married in Gran Canaria on Saturday and arrived at Gatwick airport with 30 members of his family.

“I have spent £12,000 on my wedding and now I can’t even go and get married,” he said. “I am gutted, absolutely gutted, and my missus is in tears, an emotional wreck.”

Meanwhile, Mike Olley had been due to fly back to Birmingham from Malaga, in Spain, on Monday.

Las Vegas Shooting one of the worst in US history


las-vegas-shooting-crowd-gty-ps-171002_4x3_992A lone gunman released a rapid-fire barrage of bullets on an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 others, police said, in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

From his room on the 32nd floor of a glitzy hotel, the shooter, identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, fired shot after shot down on the crowd of about 22,000, sending terrified concertgoers running for their lives.

“We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off. Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit… When we started running out, there were probably a couple hundred [people] on the ground,” witness Meghan Kearney told MSNBC.

John Nettleton – Sir Arnold.


John Nettleton (born 5 February 1929) is an English actor best known for playing Sir Arnold RobinsonCabinet Secretary in Yes Minister (1980–84) and President of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in the follow-up Yes, Prime Minister (1985–88). Another political role for Nettleton was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (Sir Stephen Baxter) in the sitcom The New Statesman. A veteran actor with a career spanning many decades, Nettleton is easily at home playing troubled or flawed aristocratic gentlemen or can be seen amongst a comic ensemble.

Other TV roles included a Ministry of Defence department chief in The Avengers (episode “The See-Through Man“, 1967), a police sergeant in Please Sir! (1969), Froggett in the office comedy series If It Moves File It (1970), Francis Bacon in Elizabeth R (1971), a Detective Superintendent in Doctor at Large in 1971, Upstairs, Downstairs (1972), The Country Wife (1977), Brideshead Revisited (1981), The Flame Trees of Thika (1981), The Citadel (1983), Martin Luther, Heretic (1983), Brass (1983), East of Ipswich (1987), Reverend Ernest Matthews in the Doctor Who serial Ghost Light (1989), Longitude (2000), Midsomer Murders (2005) and Kingdom (2008).

On stage, he has appeared in the Lyttelton Theatre of the National Theatre in the 2006 productions of Harley Granville Barker’s The Voysey Inheritance, directed by Peter Gill. He also voices Grandpa in the PC Game The Scruffs.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Nettleton was the reader of various illustrated stories on children’s television programme Blue Peter. Often these were about historical figures, such as Florence Nightingale.

He is married to actress Deirdre Doone.

 

India 99 the Force in the Skies


3421370200_a3b0a1317b_o (1)Police aviation in United Kingdom provides the British police with an aerial support unit to assist them in pursuit, surveillance and tracking. The most common air support aircraft is the Eurocopter EC 135T, which is equipped with daytime and night vision video equipment, instrument flight rules systems and radio equipment to track suspects and liaise with officers on the ground.

While most aerial units operate helicopters, some forces also use of aeroplanes such as the Britten-Norman Defender. An aeroplane allows higher and quieter surveillance, making it less likely that suspects will become aware they are being watched. A light aircraft also allows for longer flying time and lower running costs.

Police aviation in England and Wales was once a force-by-force organisation, however, from April 2012 it became centralised as a National Police Air Service.

The Police act as pilots, drivers, social workers, lawyers, scientist – in fact, the UK police is one of the most outstanding forces originally formed in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel.

Nato on Bosnia & Herzegovina


NATO and partners exercise disaster response in Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Disaster response personnel from 34 NATO and partner countries gathered in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Monday (25 September) for this year’s exercise of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).

The exercise was opened by NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Mr. Sorin Ducaru, and the Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Dragan Mektić.

This exercise will help improve international cooperation in countries ranging from Spain to Serbia, from Bulgaria to Belarus and from Croatia to Pakistan“, said Mr. Ducaru. “It will give responders the opportunity to test state-of-the-art technologies in relief operations.

In the next five days, around 1200 participants from NATO and partner countries will test international cooperation and interoperability in disaster response, including water rescue and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) detection, protection and decontamination.

The exercise will provide the opportunity to test and employ projects supported by the NATO Science for Peace (SPS) Programme. These include a capacity building project in the field of emergency response in the Western Balkans, the “Next Generation Incident Command System,” and a telemedicine system to increase medical support in disaster-affected areas by remotely engaging medical experts from assisting nations.

Several international organisations and NGOs will also be involved in the exercise, including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the European Union, the NGO Save the Children and the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In short, this exercise will demonstrate the real value of NATO’s network of partnerships“, said Mr. Ducaru.

This is the 17th international field exercise organised by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and the first one hosted by Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Angela wins 4th term


Angela_Merkel_(2008)Angela Dorothea Merkel (/ˈæŋɡələ ˈmɜːrkəl/German: [aŋˈɡeːla ˈmɛʶkl̩];[a] née Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician and the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She has also been the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, and the leader of the Free World.

Merkel was born in Hamburg to parents of Polish and German descent, and moved to East Germany as an infant when her father, a Lutheran priest, received a pastorate in Perleberg. She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and worked as a research scientist until 1989. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, and briefly served as a deputy spokesperson for the first democratically elected East German Government headed by Lothar de Maizière in 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and has been reelected ever since. As the protégée of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Merkel was appointed as the Federal Minister for Women and Youth in Kohl’s government in 1991, and became the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After her party lost the federal election in 1998, Merkel was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before becoming the party’s first female leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.

Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany’s first female Chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the support of the Free Democratic Party (FDP).[7] At the 2013 federal election, Merkel’s CDU won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag.[8]

I have a dream


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

Prince – the Legend


princePrince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He was a musical innovator who was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funkrockR&Bnew wavesoulpsychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[2] He won seven Grammy Awards,[3] an American Music Award,[4] a Golden Globe Award,[5] and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain.[6] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.[7

 

 

Asima Chatterjee the Chemist


Asima_ChatterjeeAsima Chatterjee (23 September 1917–22 November 2006) was an Indian organic chemist noted for her work in the fields of organic chemistry and phytomedicine.[1] Her most notable work includes research on vinca alkaloids, and the development of anti-epileptic and anti-malarial drugs. She also authored a considerable volume of work on medicinal plants of the Indian subcontinent.
Early life[edit]
Asima Chatterjee (née)[2] was born on September 23rd, 1917 in Bengal. Chatterjee grew up in Calcutta and graduated with honors in chemistry from the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta in 1936.[3][4]

Academic work[edit]
Asima Chatterjee received a master’s degree (1938) and a doctoral degree (1944) in organic chemistry from the University of Calcutta. Her doctoral research focused on the chemistry of plant products and synthetic organic chemistry.[5] Among her notable instructors at the time were Prafulla Chandra Roy and Prof S.N. Bose. Additionally, she had research experience from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Caltech.

Chatterjee’s research concentrated on natural products chemistry and resulted in anti-convulsive, anti-malarial, and chemotherapy drugs.[5]She was also successful in developing the anti-epileptic drug, ‘Ayush-56’ from Marsilia minuta and the anti-malarial drug from Alstonia scholaris, Swrrtia chirata, Picrorphiza kurroa and Ceasalpinna crista. The patented drugs have been marketed by several companies.

Amnesty: The Crisis of Rohingya refugees


Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest and most crowded nations, plans to go ahead with work to develop an isolated, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to temporarily house tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, officials say.

Dhaka says the Rohingya are not welcome, and has told border guards to push back those trying to enter the country illegally. But close to 125,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh in just 10 days, joining more than 400,000 others already living there in cramped makeshift camps.


The Rohingya are caught up in a deadly and desperate situation in the Rakhine State on the western coast of Myanmar (also known as Burma). Tens of thousands of people are at risk of serious rights violations and aid efforts have been shut down.


Long-standing discrimination
For decades, unrest has rocked northern Rakhine State because of a wider context of long-standing discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar.

The ethnic Muslim group are denied the right to a nationality, and face severe restrictions on their rights to freedom of movement, access to education, healthcare, and livelihoods, to practice their religion and participate in public life.

The situation has been coming to a head in recent days after Rohingya militants launched a series of coordinated attacks on security forces in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state in the early morning of 25 August.

Since then, clashes between Myanmar’s military and the Rohingya armed group have continued and security forces have engaged in a disproportionate campaign of violence against the Rohingya.

Villages burned down
We have received numerous reports of human rights violations and abuses, including security forces opening fire on civilians fleeing, and homes and villages being burned down.

According to the Myanmar government almost 400 people have been killed since the clashes as of 4 September.

Humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State has also been suspended, while in other parts of the state the Myanmar authorities are preventing humanitarian agencies from reaching communities in need. As a result, life-saving relief efforts have been halted, and vital supplies of medicine, food and water are not making their way to the tens of thousands of desperate civilians caught in the middle of this deadly feud.

According to the UN, an estimated 90,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, while the Myanmar government has evacuated over 11,000 people belonging to other ethnic minority communities. Despite the huge influx, the Bangladesh government has maintained a policy of sealing the border with Myanmar, and border guards have pushed back hundreds attempting to flee.

Dangerous escalation
The recent attacks mark a dangerous escalation in an already volatile area. Following similar (but smaller) attacks in northern Rakhine State in October 2016, the Myanmar authorities launched major security operations.

At the time we documented wide-ranging human rights violations against the Rohingya during these operations, including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, as well as destruction of homes and property.

People in Rakhine State, in particular the Muslim Rohingya minority, have suffered a horrific catalogue of rights abuses for decades. Through our own investigations we have concluded that the Myanmar security forces may have committed crimes against humanity.

A humanitarian disaster
Simply put, Rakhine State is now on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster.

Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response, said:

‘Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organisations, Burma’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life.’

Authorities in Myanmar must swiftly improve the human rights situation and end discrimination. In particular, they must urgently lift restrictions on movement, allow full access for humanitarian workers and media in affected regions, and review and amend the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws.

What  can be done to help the situation?
Put pressure on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Army, the person responsible for the ongoing security operations. Tweet the following at him now:

.@SGMinAungHlaing Shocking human rights violations by security forces in northern #Rakhine must end immediately. http://bit.ly/2gByLtV  

.@SGMinAungHlaing It’s time to allow unrestricted humanitarian access to all people in all areas of #Rakhine State. http://bit.ly/2gByLtV

Without concrete action by the authorities to address long-standing grievances and decades of human rights violations, people in the region will continue to be trapped in a bloody cycle of deprivation and abuse

Nurse arrested by Utah Police freed


Alex Wubbels, a nurse, was arrested because she followed hospital procedures in not providing the taking of a suspect’s blood without a warrant.

The nurse whose arrest for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient drew nationwide criticism said on Friday what hurt most wasn’t being manhandled by a detective, but rather that none of the other officers who watched the struggle intervened to stop the arrest and subsequent detainment.

“I was being bullied and nobody was willing to speak up for me,” she told reporters,  “That is one of the main points of this whole issue.”

This is policing Utah style – will the UK see this form of law enforcement one day – I wonder?

Spanish Terror attack victims rises to 16


The death toll from the terrorist attacks that took place on 17th August 2017 in Spain has risen to sixteen.

Spain’s civil defense agency has confirmed that a 51-year-old German woman has died following the recent terrorist attacks in Spain after being treated in a critical condition in hospital although it’s not yet known which of the twin terrorist attacks she was injured in.

Many people were injured in the first attack on 17 August, when a van drove into pedestrians crowds on the famous tourist boulevard of Las Ramblas. Nine hours later after the Barcelona attack there followed a similar attack in Cambrils, 70 miles southwest of Barcelona when  five men thought to be members of the same terrorist cell drove into pedestrians in nearby Cambrils, killing one woman and injuring six others

Authorities in Spain are continuing their investigations into the attacks, which saw 120 people sustaining serious injury, and six people currently remain in a critical condition with five other people being treated with serious injuries.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Barcelona on Saturday in an act of solidarity following the attacks last week.

In an unprecedented move, King Felipe VI also took part, along with the Spanish Prime Minister and the local mayor.

Those that assisted victims of the attack including the emergency services, taxi drivers, and shopkeepers, were at the head of the march, as the crowds stretched formed a procession that was a mile in length.

Roses of Red yellow and white the colors associated with the city of Barcelona were handed out to the crowds who also had Catalan flags that could be seen far into the distance. Banners sporting the words “we are not afraid” and “the best response is peace” were shown on banners showing the crowds defiance against the terrorist attacks.

The march in Barcelona also follows the shooting of the terrorist suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub seen fleeing the attack in Barcelona where he is believed to have hijacked a car, killing its owner, 34-year-old aid worker Pablo Perez, in order to make his getaway.

When authorities caught up with him Younes AbouyTaaqoub was shot dead and found to be wearing a suicide belt Spanish police later confirmed.

In the city of Marseilles in France, another similar incident took place and saw one woman killed and another injured, after a van crashed into two bus shelters.Police advised the public to avoid the Old Port area where the driver of the Renault Master, a 35-year-old man from Grenoble, was arrested following the attack. The man arrested has yet to be known but was known to police for minor crimes and is believed to have had psychological issues.

 

 

DWP announces cuts to 800 civil service jobs


The Department for Work and Pensions has announced plans to cut at least 800 jobs as part of its office closures programme, an increase from the 750 redundancies confirmed in July.

As part of its office closures programme – under which 130 Jobcentres and back-office sites were initially earmarked for closure – the department proposes to make 800 people redundant as soon as February 2017.

Staff will be offered voluntary redundancy at first, but the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union warned that compulsory redundancies are likely to follow.

RELATED CONTENT
•DWP unveils plans to shut 130-plus offices​
•DWP staff step up industrial action over Sheffield jobcentre closure​
•Compulsory redundancy warning as DWP confirms 750 jobs to go in Jobcentre closures

In July, DWP revealed its updated plans for rationalising its estate, which include merging 68 Jobcentres into nearby sites, co-locating 40 Jobcentres with local authorities, and relocating regional services to up to seven hubs around the country.

The department estimates that the reorganisation will save more than £140m a year for the next 10 years.

The July announcement said that the department expected to see 750 job losses, with most staff remaining in their current offices or moving to nearby DWP sites.

But PCS said on Friday that DWP had entered into formal consultation with the union on at least 800 potential redundancies.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said the government is forcing through “unprecedented cuts on the civil service”, and that the union will intensify its campaign against office closures and job cuts.

He said: “At a time when workloads in DWP are at record highs, DWP should be recruiting new staff, not forcing loyal and experienced staff onto the dole.

“PCS will continue to campaign against these redundancies using every means at our disposal.”

There have already been strikes against office closures in Whitley Bay and Sheffield – with a fourth week of industrial action starting today in Sheffield, where 70 staff members are affected – and other areas are considering action, the public sector union said.

Following a judicial review that ruled unlawful the changes made in 2016 to the civil service redundancy scheme, DWP has been forced to offer voluntary redundancy under 2010 terms, which are more generous.

HMRC halted its redundancy process earlier this month, while the government considers appealing the High Court ruling.

The 2010 scheme offers one month’s pay for every year of service, capped at 21 months for staff below pension age. The now-suspended 2016 scheme offered only three weeks’ pay for every year, capped at 18 months.

About the author

Tamsin Rutter is senior reporter for Civil Service World and tweets as @TamsinRutter

Debbie Abrahams re-examines Pensions in Corby


20882898_1569207366433820_7313971429905566976_nDEBBIE ABRAHAMS VISITS CORBY COUNCILS ‘CUBE’ BUILDING TO DISCUSS “DIGNITY AND SECURITY IN OLDER AGE: THE STATE PENSION” 

The event took place on 17th August 2017 hosted by the Constituency Labour Party with an introduction by Cllr Tom Beattie on the discussion of the increase of the pension age to 67 years to those born in the 1950’s and State Pension Age increase in years to come.

As Debbie Abrahams wrote recently

“Older people have been badly let down by the Tories. During this year’s General Election they failed to provide transitional protection to women born in the 1950s who have had the increase in their State Pension Age (SPa) accelerated; in addition, they failed to guarantee they would protect the State Pension ‘triple lock’ and Winter Fuel Allowance. Most recently the Government announced that they will be accelerating the increase in the SPa to 68 at the same time it was announced that increases in life expectancy had ‘ground to a halt’.

This contrasts to the Labour Party’s manifesto pledge to retain the triple lock and winter fuel allowance, as well as provide support for the 1950s born women through pensions credit and further transitional protections. Labour has also rejected the accelerated increase in the SPa to 68 and is examining options for a flexible retirement age.

As part of the Labour Party’s commitment to ensuring dignity and security in older age, we are launching a national conversation with communities across the country to discuss what this means in relation to the State Pension.”

The visit to Corby Cube was part of the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions national tour gaining public ideas and proposals in re-examining the State Pension and incentivising Private Pensions.

 

 

Uganda lead on South Sudan Crisis


19-07-16southsudanOn a visit to Uganda, author and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador pays tribute to the country’s “compassionate” refugee policy, as one millionth South Sudanese refugee crosses the border.  By Khaled Hosseini in Uganda   |  17 August 2017

 

When I arrived in Uganda earlier this year, to visit refugees fleeing the brutality of the spiraling South Sudanese civil war, I expected to find something familiar: sprawling tent cities, bordered by fencing, clogged with tens of thousands of refugees, isolated from local communities, police regulating traffic in and out. In most camps I’ve visited, refugees don’t have freedom of movement, let alone a plot of land, or reasonable prospects for self-sufficiency. Lives are spent in limbo, weighed down by the crushing boredom of camp life.

When I arrived in Uganda earlier this year, to visit refugees fleeing the brutality of the spiraling South Sudanese civil war, I expected to find something familiar: sprawling tent cities, bordered by fencing, clogged with tens of thousands of refugees, isolated from local communities, police regulating traffic in and out. In most camps I’ve visited, refugees don’t have freedom of movement, let alone a plot of land, or reasonable prospects for self-sufficiency. Lives are spent in limbo, weighed down by the crushing boredom of camp life. Yet there are no camps in Uganda. Instead, refugees settle in villages, living on land allocated to them by the local government within days of crossing the border. They move about without restriction. They are free to cultivate the land, access healthcare and schools, find employment, and start businesses.

Yet there are no camps in Uganda. Instead, refugees settle in villages, living on land allocated to them by the local government within days of crossing the border. They move about without restriction. They are free to cultivate the land, access healthcare and schools, find employment, and start businesses.

Last September, all 193 UN member states signed a commitment to include refugees in local systems and to share responsibility for refugees. Uganda is holding true to the spirit of the New York Declaration. Uganda is trailblazing.

The country’s startlingly compassionate and progressive refugee policy struck me as all the more remarkable considering nearly 7 million Ugandans live in absolute poverty and another 14.7 million are at risk of falling back into poverty. And yet, Uganda has not only kept its borders open, it has welcomed refugees with open arms and open hearts.

To be sure, there is an element of reciprocity inherent in this policy. Ugandans have not forgotten their own days as refugees. I sat under a tree with Yahaya, a 51-year-old Ugandan farmer who has donated a plot of land to the family of a South Sudanese refugee named Mike. Yahaya remembers when his own family fled to Sudan in the 1980s, and how warmly Mike’s father received and helped them. Now, more than thirty years later, Yahaya is returning the favor.  “I understand his situation. He is like a brother to me,” Yahaya says of Mike.

Uganda’s approach is also a smart vision for how to support refugees in a sustainable way. It doesn’t view refugees through a purely humanitarian lens. It treats them as empowered agents of growth and development that can benefit both refugee and local communities.

Yahaya told me, for instance, that before the refugee influx his youngest three children were missing out on an education because the nearest school was too many miles away. Now they attend a primary school built in the Bidibidi refugee settlement, home to some 272,000 refugees.

In a global climate of growing negativity toward refugees, we have a lot to learn from the Ugandan experience and to be inspired by, as individuals, as communities, as countries. But Uganda’s inspirational model is being severely challenged.

This week, the UN Refugee Agency has reported the sobering news. The number of South Sudanese refugees that have crossed the border into Uganda since war broke out has reached a depressing milestone –  one million. The well-being of those one million individuals – most of whom are women and children – hinges on funding that, unfortunately, has failed to keep pace with the growing scale of this crisis.

In June, a Solidarity Summit was held in Entebbe. Uganda showcased its forward looking refugee policy in an effort to inspire other nations to adopt a similar approach and to ask wealthier nations to give funds as part of that commitment to burden sharing made in New York last September. The pledges made fall far short of what is needed just to cover the emergency response in Uganda. Uganda’s ability to realize a model that allows refugees, and its own people, to thrive is now surely in jeopardy.

I think the millionth refugee arriving at the border: exhausted, bewildered, in shock. Statistically, it will most likely be a child. A child who has lost everything. I don’t believe that any of us want to turn our back on that child. I hope the world takes notice.

 

Malala Yousafzai – the advocate for worldwide education for Women


Malala_Yousafzai_2015Malala Yousafzai (Malālah Yūsafzay: Urdu: ملالہ یوسفزئی‎; Pashto: ملاله یوسفزۍ‎ [məˈlaːlə jusəf ˈzəj];[1] born 12 July 1997) is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement.

Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Her family came to run a chain of schools in the region. Considering Jinnah and Benazir Bhutto as her role-models, she was particularly inspired by her father’s thoughts and humanitarian work. In early 2009, when she was 11–12, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu.

In afternoon of 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was injured after a Taliban gunman attempted to murder her. Yousafzai remained unconscious, in critical condition at the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. The murder attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that she may have become “the most famous teenager in the world.” Weeks after her murder attempt, a group of fifty leading Muslim clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her.

Since recovering, Yousafzai became a prominent education activist. Based out of Birmingham, she founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization and in 2013 co-authored I am Malala, an international bestseller. In 2015, Yousafzai was a subject of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary “He Named Me Malala”. 2013; 2014 and 2015 issues of Time magazine featured her as one of the most Influential people globally.

What is the Council of Europe


Author: Arabella Lang on behalf of Commons Library Service.

COE NEWThis Commons Library briefing gives a short introduction to the 47-member Council of Europe, which is a human rights and democracy organisation, entirely separate from the EU. Its best-known products are the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights that oversees how the Convention is implemented.

 

The Council of Europe (CoE) is a human rights and democracy organisation, entirely separate from the EU. Its best-known products are the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights that oversees how the Convention is implemented. But the CoE also promotes human rights through many other international conventions, and its independent expert bodies monitor member states’ progress and make recommendations.

The CoE has 47 Member States, which include the 28 members of the European Union as well as Russia and Turkey, for instance. The UK was instrumental in establishing the Council of Europe in 1949 and drafting the European Convention on Human Rights.

The head of the CoE is its Secretary General, who leads and represents the organisation. The current Secretary General is Thorbjørn Jagland, a former Prime Minister of Norway.

The Committee of Ministers (CM) – made up of the foreign ministers of each of the Member States or their deputies – is the CoE’s decision-making body. It also supervises the execution of Court judgments.

The CoE’s parliamentary assembly (PACE) is one of the oldest international parliamentary assemblies in the world. It holds governments to account, provides a forum for debate and has wide powers of election – including the judges of the European Court of Human Rights. It’s 324 members (and 324 alternates) are elected or appointed by each Member State’s parliament from among its members as a ‘fair representation’ of the political parties or groups there. PACE meets four times a year in plenary, but much of its work is done through its nine general committees. It has recently changed its rules to allow for the dismissal of its President, following a recent motion of no confidence in the current President, Pedro Agramunt.

The CoE’s assembly for local politicians, the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities, has 648 members appointed for a two-year term and monitors compliance with its European Charter of Local Self-Government.

Civil society is also represented in the CoE’s Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg oversees Member States’ implementation of the CoE’s European Convention on Human Rights. Individuals may bring complaints that a public authority has violated their Convention Rights, and the Member States must abide by a final judgment against them. One judge is elected by PACE from each Member State, and judges sit in panels of up to 17.

The UK’s Human Rights Act 1998 allows anyone in the UK to rely on Convention rights before domestic courts, requires all public bodies to comply with the Convention, and requires UK courts to ‘take account’ of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (though those rulings cannot directly overrule or change national laws). The UK intends to derogate from the Convention in future armed conflicts.

The Convention rights are reflected in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which also includes more progressive social and economic rights and currently binds the UK as a matter EU law. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill would not bring the Charter or its case law into UK domestic law after Brexit. However, the UK courts will continue to be bound by Convention obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, and the Government will continue to be bound by the Convention itself, at least for the remainder of this Parliament.

The Council of Europe’s budget for 2017 is €454 million, financed by fixed amounts from the Member States as well as voluntary contributions. Around 15% of the budget funds the Court.

 

Facebook CEO Demands better pay for Women


Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has made a US Mother’s Day call for the government to do more for working women.

The social media giant’s chief operating officer called for a higher minimum wage, paid family leave and affordable childcare.

Some 40% of US households with children rely on a woman as the key breadwinner, she said in a Facebook post.

“It’s time for our public policies to catch up with what our families deserve and what our values demand,” she said.

Ms Sandberg, an influential voice in corporate America, is one of the wealthiest American women with a net worth estimated at $1.38bn.

She wrote on Sunday that the US government and employers must do more to help parents, especially single mothers, who are struggling to provide for their children while assuring their safety and well-being.

The widowed mother of two said: “We all have a responsibility to help mothers as well as fathers balance their responsibilities at work and home.”

One of the most important actions the government could take is to help millions of families living near the poverty line by raising the federal minimum wage, she said.

“Childcare for two children exceeds the median annual rent in all 50 states. How are parents supposed to work if they don’t have a safe and affordable place to leave their kids?”

Lean In

She continued: “We need paid leave. The United States is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid family leave – and we’re the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave.

“That means many moms are forced to return to work right after giving birth to keep their jobs.”

She concluded: “I hope we can also use this day to commit to do more for all the mothers who have given so much and deserve even more.”

Ms Sandberg’s message was accompanied by a picture of her with her mother and mother-in-law on the day of her wedding to former SurveyMonkey chief executive Dave Goldberg, who died in 2015.

In her book Lean In, she encouraged women to be more ambitious in the workplace. Following Mr Goldberg’s death, she co-wrote the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy that was published this year.

President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump has publicly stated her support for paid maternity leave. However, Republicans have resisted proposals to raise such benefits, including increasing the national minimum wage.

Welcome to Ciceros.org

Sky News

Professor Green “Living in Poverty” BBC documentary

Scotland Yard

Translate Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 223 other followers

Visitors to Cicero Lounge

Stats

Cicero Lounge on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: