Tagged: Europe

EU proposal that could ban snaps of landmarks

Sightseers could be banned from taking snaps of North landmarks and uploading them to social media sites if proposals in Europe get the go-ahead… or maybe not – UKIP circulating scare stories again.

The proposal in the European Parliament could, in theory,  change copyright law and force people to black out the famous works in their online photos to avoid breaching the copyright of architects and artists.

The law would change what is known in the UK as the ‘freedom of panorama’ exemption that lets people to take use photos of modern buildings and artworks such as Gateshead’s The Angel of the North or Bottle of Notes in Middlesbrough how they like.

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the North East, said the law would be an attack on the country’s freedoms but his opponents accuse him of scaremongering over EU proposals.

He said: “This would end up being another example of unintended consequences which so often happens when the EU passes laws.

“It is idiotic and would mean that visitors would not be able to snap views of the Angel of the North and other famous works and use them commercially if they so wanted.

“This attempt to restrict the freedom of panorama, by allies of the Lib Dems in Brussels, strikes at the root of our liberties. It will destroy an explicit British freedom guaranteed in our copyright legislation for over 100 years.

“Art and photography are valuable because of their intrinsic freedom. Freedom is constantly undermined by the European Union as we have seen time and time again.”

Lib Dem councillor Greg Stone said the amendment has no connection to his party in Europe and accused the MEP of creating “scare stories”.

He said: “This proposal has had nothing whatsoever to do with the Liberal Democrats or the ALDE bloc of EU Liberal parties and it is frankly pretty desperate stuff from a party that trades exclusively on Euro myths and scare stories.”

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Recession ‘led to 10,000 suicides’

The economic crisis in Europe and North America led to more than 10,000 extra suicides, according to figures from UK researchers.

A study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, showed “suicides have risen markedly“.

The research group said some deaths may have been avoidable as some countries showed no increase in suicide rate.

Campaign groups said the findings showed how important good mental health services were.

The study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed data from 24 EU countries, the US and Canada.

It said suicides had been declining in Europe until 2007. By 2009 there was a 6.5% increase, a level that was sustained until 2011.

It was the equivalent of 7,950 more suicides than would have been expected if previous trends continued, the research group said.

Deaths by suicide were also falling in Canada, but there was a marked increase when the recession took hold in 2008, leading to 240 more suicides.

The number of people taking their own life was already increasing in the US, but the rate “accelerated” with the economic crisis, leading to 4,750 additional deaths.

The report said losing a job, having a home repossessed and being in debt were the main risk factors.

However, some countries bucked the trend. Sweden, Finland and Austria all avoided increases in the suicide rate during the recession.

One of the researchers, Dr Aaron Reeves, of the University of Oxford, said: “A critical question for policy and psychiatric practice is whether suicide rises are inevitable.”

‘Policy potentially matters’

He told the BBC:There’s a lot of good evidence showing recessions lead to rising suicides, but what is surprising is this hasn’t happened everywhere – Austria, Sweden and Finland.

“It shows policy potentially matters. One of the features of these countries is they invest in schemes that help people return to work, such as training, advice and even subsidised wages.

“There are always hard choices to make in a recession, but for me one of the things government does is provide support and protection for vulnerable groups – these services help people who are bearing the brunt of an economic crisis.”

Andy Bell, of the Centre for Mental Health, said: “The study says what we feared for some time: that unemployment, job insecurity and many other factors associated with the recession are associated with poor mental health and suicide.

“It reminds us how important it is to respond to that need and take preventative action where we can, and that primary care is properly resourced and able to identify people who are at risk.”

Beth Murphy, of the charity Mind, said: “Since 2008, we’ve seen an increasing number of people contact the Mind Infoline concerned about the impact of money and unemployment on their mental health.

“Redundancy and other life circumstances brought about by the recession can trigger depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for anyone, whether they have previously experienced a mental health problem or not.

“For some people, these factors can become so difficult to cope with that suicide may feel like the only option.”

Source –  BBC News,  12 June 2014

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27796628

Number of pupils at independent schools in North East falls

Fewer pupils in the region are attending fee-paying schools, new figures show.

There are 69,847 pupils at private schools in the North belonging to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), compared with 70,577 pupils in 2013.

Across the country, 7% of schoolchildren are at independent schools. The underlying trend over the last year has been growth, but pupil numbers declined in the region, falling by 1% in the North.

Almost half of the country’s independent schools are located in London and the South East. According to the census, independent schools in different parts of the country have faced different sets of challenges.

Among those schools that participated in the census in both 2013 and 2014 there was a rise in pupils of 1% in London and of 0.5% in the rest of the South East.

Hilary French, headmistress at Newcastle High School for Girls, says the fall in pupil numbers has to be linked to the region’s struggling economy.

“People are doing really well in the South East but we are not feeling those effects yet,” she said. “The Government is trying to save money in public services, which is detrimental, because these services form a really large part of our economy.

“We have to be aware that some parents are struggling – the North East is the only part of the country that hasn’t seen a rise in house prices. We have to hope that the London ripple effect is all to come for us.

“But with the severity of the recession and what’s been happening to the economy here, a 1% fall is quite encouraging. All independent schools are businesses and any business has to look at its situation in the economy – how it needs to attract and retain customers. There are lots of excellent independent schools in the North East. Both Royal Grammar School and ourselves have waiting lists for pupils. Those schools which can move with the times and provide what the market wants are doing very well.”

School fees climbed by 3.9% last year, the lowest rise for almost 20 years. The overall average annual fee, excluding nursery fees, is almost £15,000.

The census said 166,268 pupils nationally – 33.4% of the total – received help with their fees. ISC schools provided more than £660m of help with fees in the academic year 2013/14, an increase of 5.1% on last year.

Schools gave more than twice as much help in the form of bursaries as they did in scholarships. The survey said means-tested bursaries were worth an average of £7,894 per pupil a year and were held by approximately 8% of all ISC pupils.

Pupils from overseas helped to buttress numbers during the recession, and last year their numbers rose 1.4% to a total of 25,912. The two regions supplying the largest number of overseas pupils are Europe (38%) and Hong Kong and China (37.2%).

Ms French added: “We are finding that overseas pupils, particularly from China, want to come to us as a day school and stay with either relatives or host families.”

Source – Newcastle Journal 30 April 2014

Osborne’s bid to end democracy by the back door

Vox Political

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The Coalition government has finally put its cards on the table, calling for the completion of a ‘free trade’ agreement with the United States of America that will end democracy as we know it today.

Do you think this statement is needlessly hyperbolic? In fact, it probably does not make the point strongly enough!

You will lose the ability to affect government policy – particularly on the National Health Service; after the Health and Social Care Act, the trade agreement would put every decision relating to its work on a commercial footing. The rights of transnational corporations would become the priority, health would become primarily a trade issue and your personal well-being would be of no consequence whatsoever.

Profit will rule.

Also threatened would be any other public service that has been privatised by this and previous governments, along with any that are privatised in the future; all would fall…

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