Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Go home or face arrest: billboard crackdown on illegal immigration

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Large billboards carrying the warning “Go home or face arrest” will be driven round London on the back on advertising vans this week in a new Home Office bid to reduce illegal immigration.

The billboards will also display the number of illegal migrants arrested recently in the relevant part of the capital.

Ministers say that the hardline message is intended to encourage visa overstayers or others here unlawfully to return voluntarily.

A phone number offering help – including potential free flights and other travel assistance – will also be shown on the adverts along with the promise that those who come forward voluntarily will not be detained while they arrange their departure.

The use of the advertising vans, which will be deployed initially to six London boroughs including Ealing, Barnet and Hounslow, forms the latest stage in a renewed Home Office drive against illegal migrants in recent months.

Some critics are likely to see the move as evidence of an excessively hostile attitude to migrants.

But immigration minister Mark Harper said that the new tactic would help to prevent unlawful working and reduce the burden on public services caused by illegal migration.

“We are making it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally,” he said.

“But there is an alternative to being led away in handcuffs. Help and advice can be provided to those who cooperate and return home voluntarily.

The new advert will also be displayed on posters and on leaflets distributed to money transfer shops, internet cafes and other places where migrants congregate.

It will offer illegal migrants the chance to obtain free advice and travel assistance if they text “HOME” to the number 78070. The help available could include flights. Ministers say that the cost of any tickets provided will be outweighed by savings on the cost of deporting the migrants forcibly.

The other boroughs in which the advertising vans will operate are Barking and Dagenham, Brent and Redbridge. All six boroughs have been chosen because they currently have either high or low numbers of voluntary returns.


Britain may bring in plain packaging for cigarettes

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Ministers could announce plans to introduce plain packets for cigarettes later this year, reports suggest. The legislation will be announced during the Queen’s Speech in May, the Guardian said.

The newspaper said the Government also plans to ban smoking in cars carrying children. However, senior Department of Health officials insisted that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is yet to make a decision about the move.

In December, Australia became the first country in the world to put all tobacco products in standardised packs. Cigarettes and other products are all sold in packaging of a standardised colour, with only the brand name and graphic warnings visible.

“We are going to follow what they have done in Australia,” a senior Whitehall source told the Guardian. “The evidence suggests it is going to deter young smokers. There is going to be legislation.”

In April last year, the Government launched a consultation on plans to introduce mandatory standardised packaging for tobacco products.

Health campaigners have welcomed the proposal, saying that brightly coloured packages are one of the last marketing ploys tobacco companies use to lure people to their products, but opponents claim it would lead to increased smuggling and job losses.

Information generated by the consultation, which closed in August, is still being analysed by health officials.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We have received many thousands of responses to the tobacco packaging consultation. We are currently in the process of carefully collating and analysing all the responses received. The Government has an open mind on this issue and any decisions to take further action will be taken only after full consideration of the consultation responses, evidence and other relevant information.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Introducing standardised packaging would be a huge public health achievement for the Government. And despite strong lobbying from the tobacco industry, we know the majority of the public backs plain packs. We urge the Government to move forward with this measure and give it our full backing.”


Public Hearings Will Start in Russia on Anti-Tobacco Law

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The Ministry of health of the Russian Federation introduced for public hearings a draft law on the protection of the health of the population from the tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco consumption.

(Russian) Ученые: малоподвижность смертельно опасна

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Russian.

(Russian) Великобритания: больше доверяют только врачам и полиции

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Russian.

Film censors under fire for failure to stub out smoking on screen

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Tobacco researchers have attacked “incompetent” film regulators and “insouciant” politicians for failing to act upon evidence suggesting that teenagers are being lured into smoking by seeing it in movies.

The call by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies for a “complete overhaul” of film regulation to protect young people “from pervasive and highly damaging imagery” has been rejected despite compelling evidence.

“Smoking in films remains a major and persistent driver of smoking uptake among children and young people, which the actions of irresponsible film makers, incompetent regulators and insouciant politicians are abjectly failing to control,” wrote Alison Lyons and John Britton from the centre.

Uma Thurman Mia Wallace

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that 15-year-olds most exposed to films in which characters smoked were 73 per cent more likely to have tried a cigarette, and nearly 50 per cent more likely to be a current smoker, than those who watched the fewest films featuring smoking.

The links are even starker when analysed alongside comparable international studies: viewing smoked-filled films more than doubles the risk of a teenager experimenting with cigarettes and increases the risk of current smoking by two-thirds.

This latest research, published in Thorax, has triggered calls for films that feature smoking to be automatically classified as 18 and to be regarded as dangerous as illicit drugs and violence. Stricter regulations over the past decade have limited tobacco advertising on TV, in shops and magazines but this does not extend to smoking imagery in films.

Smoking has played a symbolic role in films: think James Dean in Easy Rider and John Travolta and his T-Birds in Grease. But health experts say most smoking is unnecessary to the plot and characters, yet glamorises a health hazard to impressionable youngsters.

A Department of Culture, Sports and Media spokesman said: “The Government believes the current arrangements provide sufficient control on the depiction of smoking in films and a total ban would be a disproportionate interference. This action would undermine the credibility, and therefore the quality, of domestically produced films.”

Read the full article at

Not Ever – campaign on women-blaming attitudes towards rape

Friday, July 8th, 2011

With “Not Ever, Rape Crisis Scotland has launched Scotlands first ever TV campaign aimed at tackling women-blaming attitudes to rape. The advert was launched on Monday 28 June, and was broadcast for the first time that night during coverage of Brazil’s World Cup match. It will continue to be shown over the next 9 weeks on STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

“Not Ever” addresses women-blaming attitudes towards rape such as claims that dressing provocatively, being drunk or flirting with men are contributory factors. Its hard-hitting approach is intended to make people stop in their tracks, and to shake out and challenge ingrained prejudices many people have towards women who have been raped.

Recent research reveals that almost one in five Scots believe a woman is partially to blame for being raped if she is wearing revealing clothing -- a survey of 1,040 Scots carried out by Cello MRUK in February 2010 for the Scottish Government found that:
• 23 per cent think a woman can be at least partly responsible if she is drunk at the time of the attack
• 17 per cent thought that a woman bore some responsibility if she wore revealing clothing
• 15 per cent say there should be some burden of responsibility for rape if the women is flirting
• 8 per cent think rape can be the woman’s fault if she is known to have had many sexual partners

These attitudes can make it difficult for women to speak out about being raped, because of fear of being blamed for what has happened. There are also significant concerns about the impact these attitudes might have on rape survivors’ ability to access justice, in terms of attitudes which jury members might hold.

Although many people genuinely believe they wouldn’t judge a rape victim by what they wear, how drunk they were, or if they had been flirting all night, they often actually do; particularly when sitting as a juror in court. Not Ever wants to prompt people to keep their judgments in check and to remember that there’s only one person who is responsible for rape and it’s not the victim. It doesn’t matter what you wear, how many sexual partners you’ve had, or if you’re out getting drunk with friends -- no one deserves to be raped -- ever.

A new campaign website has been set up to allow people to share their thoughts and seek support at , and people can also show support for Not Ever on the campaign’s Facebook page at .
There is also a Not Ever Twitter stream: @Not_Ever to keep people updated with the progress of the campaign.

New York’s outdoor smoking ban: Will the world follow?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

New York is introducing an outdoor smoking ban. But could the UK and other countries follow suit, asks Tom de Castella.

It is a city heralded for attracting incomers from around the world, but New York has just become less hospitable to one group -- smokers.

Under measures approved by local authorities, swathes of outdoor public places including beaches, municipal parks and even Times Square have become tobacco-free.

And with smoking legislations, as with so much else, where New York leads, the rest of the world can find itself following.

After the city banned smoking in restaurants, bars and clubs in 2003 -- itself following Los Angeles, which introduced similar curbs a decade earlier -- it helped drive a global trend.

France, India, Ireland and Italy were among the nations which introduced bans after New York. Scotland prohibited smoking in enclosed public spaces in 2006 and the rest of the UK followed the year after.

So it is not surprising that the latest development in New York is attracting global interest.

The city’s latest anti-smoking measures cover public golf courses and sports grounds as well as plazas like Herald Square.

Smoking will be allowed on pavements outside parks, and car parks in public parks. One area the ban does not cover is “median strips” -- known as the central reservation in the UK -- the sliver of land in the middle of a large road.

City authorities say they hope the new law will be enforced by New Yorkers themselves. But if someone refuses to stop, the public is advised to inform park wardens, and should someone refuse to stop smoking they could be fined.

The New York ban itself comes after Spain outlawed smoking near hospitals or in school playgrounds from January 2011. But whether other countries follow suit largely depends, of course, on whether the move proves effective.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office has cited studies suggesting that sitting three feet away from a smoker outdoors can expose people to the same passive smoking risk as would occur indoors.

Not all those who oppose smoking believe the ban is justified, however.

Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at Boston University, wrote in the New York Times that the ban was “pointless” from a public health perspective and could, in fact, increase the risk of passive smoking by creating “smoke-filled areas” near park entrances.

Whichever way the debate in New York is resolved, it will be watched closely abroad. Prof John Britton, chair of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, says the very existence of the ban could have an impact on countries like the UK.

He says the risks of second-hand smoke outdoors are “quite small unless you’re right next to the smoker”.

However, Prof Britton believes that seeing such a system in operation would convince those who might otherwise argue that such legislation would be unworkable.

“They did it when smoking on the London Underground was banned [in the 1980s],” he says. “Then they did it with the smoking ban in July 2007. But once it comes in, not only do people accept it, they say ‘Why didn’t we do it before?’”

Indeed, smoking bans are coming into effect in countries where observers would not have easily imagined citizens giving up their cigarettes.

China -- home to one-third of the world’s smokers -- outlawed smoking in bars, restaurants and buses from 1 May 2011 and Russia plans to implement similar legislation from 2015.

This July will be the fourth anniversary of the ban on smoking in public places having reached all parts of the UK.

In the year following its introduction, more than two billion fewer cigarettes were smoked and 400,000 people quit, according to researchers at University College London.

As a result, the UK smoking lobby is watching developments across the Atlantic with trepidation.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, which campaigns against smoking bans, believes the New York initiative is “ludicrous” and that there is no evidence that anyone is at risk as a result of someone else smoking in the open air.

Some political leaders in the British Isles have already begun looking at tightening the law further.

In March 2011, the public health department in Jersey said it was considering whether to ban smoking in all motor vehicles on the island.

Martin Dockrell, director of research and policy at the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), acknowledges that there is no clear evidence of a significant harm to health from second-hand outdoor tobacco smoke.

But he says there are compelling reasons for banning smoking in some outdoor areas, such as children’s play parks, as a means of shifting long-term attitudes.

And he argues that if such a ban is put into place, it will not be due to the influence of New York -- but because the tide of UK public opinion has hardened against smoking.

“It already has happened in the UK,” he says. “Glasgow has smoke-free parks. In the north-west of England there are a number of parks that have gone smoke-free.

“We’ll see more of this incrementally as more and more communities become non-smoking.”

Smokers and non-smokers alike will make up their own minds in the months ahead.

What remains to be seen is not just whether the new ban can make it in New York, but whether it can make it anywhere.

Around the world

Australia -- Smoking banned in airports, workplaces, government offices, health clinics

India -- Ban on smoking in public places introduced in October 2008. Direct and indirect advertising of tobacco is also forbidden

Russia -- Plans to outlaw advertising and promotion of cigarettes in 2011 and smoking in enclosed spaces by 2015

Spain -- Already had tough anti-smoking restrictions, but in 2011 these were extended to open areas near hospitals, schools and children’s playgrounds

Syria -- In 2010, became the first Arab country state to ban smoking in public places including restaurants, cinemas, theatres and on public transport. The restrictions apply to the nargile, or hubble-bubble pipe

(Russian) В Великобритании считают пакеты с мусором

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

(Russian) Креативные мусорные пакеты

Friday, January 28th, 2011