Chinese Visa Changes – Not Going to Happen

China citizens are able to obtain a single visa for the European Union, so they can visit any of the 25 Schengen nations, however in order to visit the United Kingdom they need a separate one. The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt proposed measures on how to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Britain, especially for the Olympic Games, as it has been calculated that a Chinese visitor will spend about £1,700 on average in the UK, which will have a positive effect on the UK`s economy. However the Home Secretary Theresa May has some security concerns and for this reason she is reluctant to make additional moves on making it easier for Chinese tourists to obtain a UK visa.

This was made clear by a leaked letter sent by May`s secretary to Downing Street, which reveals that the Home Secretary has rejected the proposals to extend the EU visas to the UK. In the letter Katharine Hammond says: “The proposal… is not acceptable to the Home Secretary for national security reasons. At Cabinet the issue of asylum claims was discussed. We also face significant challenges with Foreign National Offenders and organised crime including drugs, money laundering, fraud, criminal finances, intellectual property, immigration and cyber crime.”

It has been also pointed out that there are 400 Chinese criminals to be deported and over 1000 asylum seeking applications from Chinese citizens. Many people blame the complexity of visa obtaining to be the reason for the low level of Chinese tourists. Last year only 142,000 Chinese citizens have visited Britain, compared to over 1,2 million, who visited France. May denied these accusations and put the blame on VisitBritain for not taking enough marketing measures to promote Britain as an attractive tourist destination.

The Home Office argues that the visa process is “insignificant compared to the price and availability of hotels” and says “the cost of the visa is not a barrier”

 

Plastic Surgery Industry Under Review

Plastic surgery industry to be subject of detailed review which will check for any “grubby practices”. Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS is concerned about the safety of cosmetic surgery, because of the scandal related to the PIP breast implants. The results of the upcoming review will help determine whether tighter regulation is required for the industry.

In order to make sure all the necessary precautions are taken he is asking the public to share their views and let him know their suggestions on how it could be improved.

It is not a secret that more than 50.000 women in the UK are affected by the scandal of the PIP implants and it is not surprising that this case has raised some serious questions related to the way plastic surgery industry operates.

The good news is that most clinics do keep a record of the patients who has been fitted with the PIP implants, so these women  can be informed of the potential risks and kept under control with regular checks.

“The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry,” said Professor Keogh. ”Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong. I am concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the life-long implications – and potential complications – it can have.”

Another concern that has been raised is that many people put price over quality, which mean that patients are endangering themselves. A recent research by the Department of Health revealed that two thirds of the 1762 participants who took part in the research consider as a main factor the cost of the intervention. The qualifications of the doctor and the quality of aftercare are taken into consideration as well, however only half of the people find it more important than the cost.

The forthcoming review of the cosmetic surgery industry aims at dealing with a wide range of issues related to the respective industry – from the qualifications of the practitioners to the level of information provided to the prospective patients. After the review is over, the UK will probably have a kind of “Health and Safety Policy” related to the plastic surgery industry.

Rail Fare Increase in January

From next January the train fares are expected to rise, in some cases by over twice the rate of inflation. This announcement created lots of outrage in the society, as the cost expected after the fare rise is about 5-6% higher, which is 3% more than the anticipated Retail Price Index measure of inflation. Of course this led to criticism by many organizations and unions. In addition to this it was made clear that the Rail firms will keep the right to increase some fares with up to 11%, with the only condition of being balanced out with reduced costs elsewhere.

The coalition has sought to reduce the burden on taxpayers and cut the deficit by reducing rail subsidies and allowing additional costs to be imposed on passengers instead, but some see it as a step too far.  One of the greatest concerns for all passengers is that this increase is three times the rate of the average UK salary. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Commuters could see the price of their season ticket going up three times faster than their pay rise.

A campaign group called Action for Rail organised  protests at Waterloo and some other stations today, targeting the increase in fare prices and the cuts to services and staff which are recently being made.

Frances O’Grady, the deputy general secretary of the TUC – which supports the Action for Rail campaign – complained that “Passengers are being asked to pay more to get less. We want cuts to rail fares, not rail staff.”
Shadow Treasury minister Rachel Reeves is against the measures: “These fare rises are unacceptable at a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet and wages are stagnant at best.”-she said.

Justine Greening, Transport Secretary thinks  that the criticism being levelled at the government could lead to a change of policy. She hinted that by saying: “I am keen to see what we can do to keep rail fares down to something affordable. I shall be looking at whether there is a way of doing that in the autumn but we have to stick with our deficit-reduction policy.”

Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers said that the fare increases were necessary in the short-term to achieve the government’s long-term goal of bringing down the cost of running railways, which means the extra money got from the fare rise will help funding huge investment across the network. She also said that in the longer term they are determined “to get rid of these above-inflation fare rises all together” .

While the rail fares might increase significantly, The Legal Stop will remain your reliable source of legal document templates.

Man Arrested for Painting a Post Box in Gold

The Olympic sailing champion – Ben Ainslie received a gold-painted post box painted as a tribute to his medal, however his outrageous fan has been later arrested for vandalism.

At 1:30on Saturday 54-year-old Rob Smith of Lymington decided to praise the gold-medal winner for his achievement by painting a local post box with a golden car paint. The reason for this appraisal is that Ben Ainslie lives and trains locally. Rob Smith has been arrested under accusations of vandalism and criminal damage, but he was released on bail later the same day. His actions were not provoked by alcohol or drugs, but from pure enthusiasm.

Actually, Ainslie was born and raised in Cornwall, that`s why he already has a golden post-box as a tribute there. However Rob Smith probably felt that  he is strongly attached to the area where he lives and trains as well, so he took the opportunity to become something like a “local hero”. He describes the choice not to paint a post-box in Lymington, but in Cornwall as “madness”. Although he was arrested, he still believes the Post Office has made the wrong choice – “all of Lymington believes that the Post Office made the wrong choice in painting one down in Cornwall”.

“I did it because I’m a passionate sportsman, I think the Olympics have been brilliant, Ben’s achievements have been outstanding,” said Smith. ”Everything about Ben is Lymington, he lives here, most of his sailing friends are based down here and for all of us that know him down here, we just wanted to say thank you for being the best sailor in Olympic history. We’ve got to recognise these people and say thank you.”

A spokesman for the Post Office made a statement in regard to the Smith`s deal by saying:
“We are extremely disappointed that someone has chosen to vandalise this particular post box.“It is illegal to tamper with any of our post boxes and we are liaising with our engineers to ensure that it is repainted red as soon as possible.”

In order to celebrate the achievements  of the GB Team, The Post Office vowed to paint local post boxes in a golden hue for every gold medal won. It is interesting that many people decided this scheme was enough and for that reason now Great Britain has quite a few post-boxes painted in silver and bronze as well.

Scandalising Court Law – To Be or Not To Be

Scandalising court Law will be reviewed and a decision on whether to scrap it or not will be made in a few weeks.

This law outlines an offence towards the judiciary, which includes publications and statements aimed to ridicule the justice in a way which might bring disrepute to the judicial system or undermine their trust among society.

The reason why this law is at the center of a dispute is because no such case has actually been prosecuted successfully since 1931. In order to deal quickly and efficiently with this matter the Law Commission will open a consultation on the law.

One might be prosecuted under the Scandalising Court Law  when acting in an extremely offensive way towards the judicial system or a certain judge, as well as accusing them of corruption. In a case from 1900, a journalist was sued, as he called a judge: “impudent little man in horsehair, a microcosm of conceit and empty-headedness”.

However, today when having in mind the right of free speech and the EU Convention on Human Rights, this law might not be applicable any more. The Law Commission says that if it is being scrapped, there are some other laws, which might work as a replacement, when it comes to offences of this kind. On the other hand some people believe that the judiciary should not receive special protection. For that reason the Law Commission is going to open the consultation and a decision should be made by the 10th of October.

The Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, was accused of this offence in May 2012. The accusations came because of his memoirs, where he wrote some controversial comments about a judge. However the case was quickly resolved, as Mr. Hain wrote to the Northern Irish Attorney general to clarify the remarks.

 

 

Man Arrested For Not Showing Enough Enthusiasm

54-year-old Mark Worsfold has been arrested during an Olympics cycling event for not showing enthusiasm.

Mark Worsfold is an ex-soldier and martial arts instructor who suffers Parkinson`s disease. This terrible condition causes rigidity of the facial muscles and for that reason he was not seem to be excited about the race. The police was suspicious because of his manner, dress code and his proximity to the course, as well as being “positioned close to a small group of protesters” which resulted in arresting and questioning him at the Reigate police station for two hours.

Mark Worsfold commented on the case by saying that the arrest “could have been done better”. He also asked for official exoneration as due to his condition the arrest was completely unreasonable.

Surrey Police said in a statement: “There were a number of factors which led officers to make this arrest, including the fact that the race was rapidly approaching, the heightened level of security due to the high-profile nature of the event and the sheer number of spectators in attendance”.

“These factors were fully explained to the individual concerned. He was given words of advice and released with no further action.”

The police also said that Mark Worsfold had several knives with him, which turned out to be made of rubber and used only as display items. In any case the UK authorities are trying to ensure a safe as possible atmosphere, however it is still controversial whether some draconian approach is required or it is just an annoying factor derived from over-concern.

As far as the Mark Worsfold is concerned, what do you think-can we call this a version of disability discrimination or just a coincidence?

Birmingham Play Centre for “Ladies and Children” Investigated

A Birmingham play center Kids Go Wild  is currently under investigation by the The Equality and Human Right Commission. They are checking the legality of its policy which allows only “ladies and children” to enter the premises and excludes males over nine years old. The center promotes itself as ” the UK’s first ladies and children’s only soft play center”, however this approach provoked some public controversy.

The Equality and Human Right Commission is the UK`s body for investigating equality cases. Now they are looking at the “Kids Go Wild’s” case – “the Equality Act does allow for services to be just for women or men only, but this is the exception not the norm and must pass a strict test to be justifiable”.

In order to prevent any penalties, the play center is required to provide a reasonable and objective explanation for banning males above the age of nine.

Kids Go Wild`s manager made a statement, where she claims the main reason for promoting the center as a “men-free” area was just for cultural reasons, as the visitors are mainly from the Asian community, where women feel more comfortable around women. It did not mean that men are an issue.

The manager also said that many of the mothers who bring their children to the play center actually asked for such a policy. Now outside the premises of the play center one can read a sign saying: ‘Ladies and children only. No boys over nine allowed.”

Local councilor Mohammed Fazal expressed his surprise and concerns, as he thought that fathers should also be allowed to bring their children to the play center. Both parents should be welcomed equally.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission advises organisations of any kind to seek a professional legal advice before implementing controversial policies, in this way they can be sure they will not be in trouble of breaching Equality laws.

High Court Dismisses Forced Labour Claim

Unemployed Cait Reilly has been assigned to undertake some unpaid work under a government scheme in order not to lose her benefits. She was given a job in Poundland, where she was required to stack the shelves. however the girl submitted a claim, as she considered  this job  to be “forced labour” which was in breach with her human rights.

Mr Justice Foskett , a High Cour Judge rejected her claims and described them as “a long way from contemporary thinking”.

After dismissing Ms. Reilly`s claims and a similar one by an unemployed lorry driver , Jamieson Willson, he said that their schemes both included unpaid work violate article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws slavery.

However, he said that the governement schemes were”a very long way removed from the kind of colonial exploitation of labour that led to the formulation of Article 4″.

The Department of Work and Pensions said: “We are delighted, although not surprised, that the judge agrees our schemes are not forced labour. Comparing our initiatives to slave labour is not only ridiculous but insulting to people around the world facing real oppression.”

The government is constantly seeking for ways to improve the employment situation in the UK, however some new back-to-work scemes were accepted sceptically by some employers as they feared they might be seen as exploiting workers.

Ms. Reilly`s lawyers said she actually signed up to the Sector Based Work Academy scheme (SBWA), whereas she did not assume this might include stacking shelves in Poundland without any wage.

The judge agrees that the details of the scheme were not very clearly explained, so it is not surprising, it often leads to confusions for both employees and employers. Mr. Foskett decreed that Ms. Reilly was entitled to a declaration that there had been breaches of the 2011 jobseeker’s allowance regulations. Mr Wilson, who was signed up to the Community Action Programme (CAP) was also granted a similar declarations.

It is very important to form all the legal and business documents correctly in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

Less Fake Passports Collected by the UKBA in 2011

During the years many people have been trying to come to the UK by using fake travel documents to enter the country. Recent researches show that the number of fake documents spotted by the UK border guards has almost halved in the last 5 years. In 2007 for example there were about 3, 300  fake passports collected by the UK border Agency, while last year they were 1, 858. This information has been obtained by BBC through a Freedom of Information request

UKBA states that this decrease is due to the strict measurements taken and improved security, however some critics do not agree the level of fraudsters trying to enter the UK with fake documents is down. They say it is possible that the statistics is wrong, as the Border Agency has been cut, which means there are 4, 000 fewer people to be looking for fake documents, when compared to the number of staff two years ago.

According to UKBA biometric data on the passports and the detailed checks before entering the UK played a very good role in preventing fraudsters from entering the UK.

Rob Whiteman, The UKBA chief executive said: “Overall we’re doing a good job in that we’re constantly finding more forgeries overseas. The amount, therefore, that we detect at the border, there is a long-term trend of that falling but that’s because we’re so successful in finding it overseas and stopping forged documents getting to the UK in the first place.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee said the drop in numbers of fake passports should not lead to complacency and that the Border Agency should prepare itself to deal with more determined attempts at illegal entry.

He said: “These are very, very sophisticated people. We’re not dealing with some granny somewhere in the world who says ‘I want to get in’. We’re dealing with gangs of people who are making billions of pounds out of forged passports and that’s why our system has to be very secure.”

Riots 2011 – One Year Later

 A year ago London was in a terrible mess, on 06.08 the riots started and spread around different parts of the UK. Fortunately now they are over, however the justice system is still dealing with many cases related to the riots.

Resent statements from the Ministry of Justice reveal that 1, 292 people have been arrested and jailed , because of their actions during the riots. If all the sentences that have been given are  added up this will equal 1, 800 years.

Any involvement into the riots is judged very strictly, and any crimes committed in relation to the riots have been looked over with great attention. The judges say that the sentences given for the riot crimes are over four times the average for a certain type of criminal action, when committed in other situation.

There are over 1200 sentenced people, however the Crown Prosecution Service is still working on about 10 cases related to the riots per week. There are 308 cases waiting for a final decision, but it is expected that all the riot cases will be completed by the end of 2012.

Some people were suspected in violent actions during that time, however they were not sentenced. About half of them were caught in relation to committing other offences later.

The Freedom of Information Act  showed that 44% of the people suspected to be involved in riot crimes are under suspicion for committing a variety of other offences as well.

A year later, London is back to its normal daily routine, but there are some concerns that this could happen again. Many people stated the youth unemployment and poverty to be the root of this aggression and according to them neither severe sentencing, nor harsher policing will be able to do much to stop this.

The Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, warned that conditions are not improving and said: “These issues are profound and unfortunately, in a double-dip recession, we will see an age of unrest unless these issues are dealt with.”