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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Greece: The Problem of Smoking; Health Risks; Passive Smoking

From Greek Reporter - "In Greece’s Smoking-Obsessed Culture, Passive Smokers Suffer" - by Philip Chrysopoulos

"Nearly two in three Greeks are inhaling someone else’s tobacco smoke on a daily basis, making Greece the worst nation in the European Union for exposing people to the health risks of passive smoking".

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Sir Oliver Letwin - What Brexit Means

From Euro-Guido - BBC Newsnight

Oliver Letwin (Member of Parliament for West Dorset): “We’re leaving. We’re leaving the single market and the customs union. We’re going to have control over our own migration. If you want that it implies that you’re leaving the single market. We’re going to be able to negotiate our own free trade deals with the rest of the world. If you want that you have to leave the customs union. That’s all pretty clear.”


"I saw recently a report in one newspaper suggesting that my friend, George Osborne, has begun to write a book about ‘The Age of Unreason’. I haven’t yet had a chance to ask George whether this report is accurate – but various events recently have made me think that he may be on to something.

I was really quite horrified to see, a couple of weeks ago, some newspapers attacking very senior judges of the judgement they had given about whether the triggering of Article 50 to initiate formal talks on Brexit requires an Act of Parliament.

Not myself being a lawyer, I don’t have any competence to take a view on whether the judges were, as a matter of law, right or wrong about this. And, to tell the truth, I don’t think it has any practical significance either way – since I am absolutely convinced that Parliament will very quickly pass the necessary Act if the Government brings a Bill to it.

One way or the other, Article 50 is going to be triggered on schedule".

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Greece: Successful Hydrocarbon Block Bidders for The Ionian Sea, West of Corfu, and Epirus Onshore Block

Ionian Sea Block 10 goes to Hellenic Petroleum, eKathimerini

"The consortium of Total-Edison-Hellenic Petroleum was recently chosen as the preferred bidder for Block 2 in the Ionian Sea, west of Corfu. The ministry announced that the contract for this will be signed soon. It follows the selection of Hellenic Petroleum for onshore blocks at Arta-Preveza in Epirus and in the northwestern Peloponnese".

Stones R'n'B Video

Ride 'em on down - back in the early 60s?

Hate to see you go


Wild Horses, for good measure

Weymouth Harbour Peninsula Leisure Plan - two hotels, restaurants, housing, watersports area

From Dorset Echo - Unveiled: peninsula leisure plan includes two hotels, restaurants, housing and watersports area

UK - "The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration"

The Casey Review (pdf)

"I know that for some, the content of this review will be hard to read" - December 2016,
 Dame Louise Casey DBE CB

"This chapter sets out our initial recommendations to Government for a new programme to help improve integration and opportunity. Building local communities’ resilience in the towns and cities where the greatest challenges exist: 

Recommendation 1: Central government should support a new programme to help improve community cohesion. This could back area-based plans and projects addressing the key priorities identified in this review. It would see targeted support provided for projects, ideally evidence-based, that would help build more resilient communities. The Government should agree a final list of project criteria but these should include:  The promotion of English language;  Emancipating marginalised groups of women;  Raising employment outcomes among the most marginalised groups;  Increasing participation of women in the labour market;  Improving IT literacy among parents in segregated areas;  Boosting out of school mixing between young people – including through sporting activity;  Other programmes with a clear focus on reducing segregation identified with local areas. 

Recommendation 2: It is also vital that all local authorities are able to pick up and act upon signs that integration is breaking down at the earliest stage. Central and local government should develop a list of indicators of a potential breakdown in integration. These might include incidences of hate crime or deficiencies in English language. Local authorities should collect this information regularly. 

Recommendation 3: Drawing on the most effective approaches, central government should work with local government to bring together and disseminate a toolkit of approaches which have seen success. 168 Improving the integration of communities in Britain and establishing a set of values around which people from different backgrounds can unite. 

Recommendation 4: The promotion of British laws, history and values within the core curriculum in all schools would help build integration, tolerance, citizenship and resilience in our children. More weight should be attached to a British Values focus and syllabus in developing teaching skills and assessing schools performance. 

Recommendation 5: The Government should review how those on the visa routes most likely to settle permanently in the UK are given support on arrival. The Government should consider whether additional integration support should be provided immediately post arrival, and how clearer expectations on integration could be set, potentially in advance on application for a visa, so that those moving to the UK get off to the best start, and know their rights and obligations. 

Recommendation 6: The Government should also review the route to full British Citizenship, which is of huge national, cultural and symbolic value. The Government should look at what is required for British citizenship, as opposed to leave to remain, and separately consider an Oath of Integration with British Values and Society on arrival, rather than awaiting a final citizenship test. Reducing economic exclusion, inequality and segregation in our most isolated and deprived communities and schools: 

Recommendation 7: The report notes how isolation can begin at a young age, with some children’s experience of school marked by segregation from wider British communities. The Government has included a social need criterion in the allocation of free schools funding and should now move to work with schools providers and local communities to encourage a range of school provision and projects to ensure that children from different communities learn alongside those from different backgrounds, perhaps purchasing sites in the areas of highest segregation in advance and encouraging Multi-Academy Trusts to have a diverse range of provision.

Recommendation 8: The introduction of Universal Credit will bring a much wider range of people into contact with support in finding work for the first time. The Government should build on classes to tackle English language deficiencies with the development of classes 169 to tackle cultural barriers born out of segregation which are identified as a barrier to work, supporting both employment and integration goals.

Recommendation 9: A shared language is fundamental to integrated societies. The Government should supporting further targeted English Language provision by making sufficient funding available for community-based English language classes, and through the adult skills budget for local authorities to prioritise English language where there is a need. It should also review whether community based and skills funded programmes are consistently reaching those who need them most, and whether they are sufficiently coordinated. 

Recommendation 10: Where we live can be both a cause and effect of isolation and segregation. The Government should work with local government to understand how housing and regeneration policies could improve or inhibit integration locally, and promote best practice approaches. 

Recommendation 11: It is extremely concerning that children can be excluded from mainstream education without sufficient checks on their wellbeing and integration. The Government should step up the safeguarding arrangements for children who are removed from mainstream education, and in particular those who do not commence mainstream schooling at all. All children outside mainstream education should be required to register with local authorities and local authorities duties’ to know where children are being educated should be increased. It should also consider the standards against which home education is judged to be clear that divisive practices are not acceptable in any setting. While every parent has the right to choose what is best for their child, local authorities must be satisfied that children are not put at risk. Ofsted and the Charity Commission should be resourced to support additional central and local government action to ensure the safeguarding of all children in mainstream and supplementary educational environments. Increasing standards of leadership and integrity in public office. 

Recommendation 12: We expect the highest standards in all civic leaders in selflessness and integrity, so too we should expect all in public office to uphold the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. The Government should work with the Committee for Standards in Public life to ensure these values are enshrined in the principles of public life, including a new oath for holders of public office".

The report concludes with "A rapid review of integration in a selection of European nations", which includes Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain and Germany, and policy responses from Belgium, France, Denmark and Spain.