Sunday, March 19, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 8

In the news this week:

£10m on foreign wind- "THE government is raiding £10m of lottery money intended for good causes to subsidise the construction of a wind farm by a foreign energy company, Elsam, a Danish energy giant. It will help to pay for a wind farm four miles offshore in Liverpool Bay. The manager of the project admitted it would have gone ahead with or without the lottery cash. A former vice-president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: "I’m not sure lottery money was ever intended to subsidise electrical supply. It sounds like a bit of a cheat." The £10m is part of £50m awarded by the lottery to renewable energy schemes. It has granted £18m to the British subsidiary of the German firm E.ON to construct a biomass-fuelled power station in Lockerbie." (Sunday Times 19.3.06)

£4bn BSE bill unwarranted- "Wednesday will mark the 10th anniversary of our costliest-ever food scare, unleashed by Stephen Dorrell's claim that there might be a link between eating beef and the brain disease CJD. The Observer predicted a million dead by 2016. The Government's top BSE scientist thought that deaths could reach half a million and that it would be a catastrophe "worse than Aids". A decade on, having wasted £4 billion on slaughtering millions of healthy cattle, we still do not know the causes of BSE or CJD. But the total of vCJD cases is still only 150. The incidence curve has declined virtually to zero. It was the epidemic that never was." (Sunday Telegraph 19.3.06)

£5m Diana fountain still useless- "AFTER being plagued by accidents, floods and mud, the Princess Diana memorial fountain has developed a new problem — it is starting to crack. The £5m structure will need further repairs to help it withstand the effects of weathering and subsidence. So far it has cost over £2m more than originally estimated. About 16ft of grouting will need to be replaced every year because of the “natural movement” in the earth." (Sunday Times 19.3.06)

£425m on failing City Academies- "A THIRD of Tony Blair’s flagship city academies have failed to produce better results than the poorly performing comprehensives they replaced. The results, released in a Commons answer, show that, overall, the academies are trailing behind national improvements. At Unity City in Middlesbrough only 12 of the school’s 200 16-year-olds last year got at least a grade C in maths and English GCSE, compared with 17 at its two predecessor schools. When Unity opened in 2002 the new head promised a revolution in learning that would “discard the Victorian-style chalk and talk” and put in place “learning sessions” taken by “learning facilitators”. Old-style history and science were to be replaced by “concepts”, and teachers were told to adjust their styles to cater for whether children were “kinesthetic, visual or auditory” learners. Since then, Unity has been identified as a “failing school” by the Ofsted; the government has had to bail out its £1.5m debts and the education department has had to appoint and pay for a “trouble-shooter” to deal with the academy’s problems. The 27 academies that have already opened have cost £425m to build, ranging from £18m to £37m each." (Sunday Times 19.3.06)

Total for the week- £4.44 billion.

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