Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Exciting News - Cluster Munitions

There has recently been an upsurge in international attention to Cluster Munitions and the need to prohibit them. Earlier postings explain my interest in this subject. I have now created a dossier which seen here. This is devoted to links related to this subject. I have just begun it and so far it is mainly confined the the recent international conference held in Oslo to campaign against Cluster Munitions. 46 Governments were represented and that is surely good news. I would very much welcome any contributions to my dossier. You can e-mail me or leave a comment on this blog.

News Items you might have missed

BBC radio has given little or no coverage to these items. 1. Denmark has announced that it is withdrawing its troops from Iraq by August 2007. The 500 Danish troops currently serve under British command. The bad news is apparently Denmark is sending troops to Afghanistan. 2. Lithuania has also made noises about withdrawing its troops from Iraq. It is difficult to get hard news about this. Link to above stories at Democracy Now here. 3. Poland and the Czech Republic have been earmarked by the US as countries to 'host' new installations for the so called 'Anti-Ballistic Weapons Defence System' (Son of Star Wars). Two major parties in the Czech Republic, the Communists and the Social democrats are supporting the Anti Bases Movement. Opinion polls show that the majority of Czechs are against this installation. I have no more news at present about opposition within Poland. Link to Radio Prague report here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Latest news on 'cure' for Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

Those of us with RP know that from time to time we hear about cures for it. I remind readers that Usher Syndrome is a variant of RP whereby the retinal problem is associated with a hearing loss which may be very serious (Type 1) or less serious (Type 2). Sooner or later RP will be defeated but probably not in my lifetime. The latest advance seems to be taking place at the University of Southern California in the USA. This was covered by the BBC News website on Friday, 16 February 2007 which can be seen here. Links: Read more about RP at Wikipedia click here The British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society (BRPS)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Useful Day in London

I have been involved with DisabledGo for some years and I am well acquainted with its Chief Executive Dr Gregory Burke. DisabledGo is an organisation that seeks to improve access for disabled people to all kinds of premises; shops, restaurants, theatres, leisure centres etc. It is is now expanding its work into the area of jobs as was explained yesterday morning on the BBC Radio Today Programme (audio link). It wants to encourage employers to take on disabled people and points out that disabled people have a good record as employees in such areas as punctuality and commitment. DisabledGo launched its DisabledGo-Jobs website yesterday at the CBI in London. I was pleased to accept an invitation to attend. It was considered a success and I was pleased to have a few minutes exchanging jokes with Gregory. Afterwards I was accompanied by two burly DisabledGo employees on a trip to the nearby Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. I had a reason to do this in connection with a current legal action in Brighton County Court. This revolved around my commitment and understanding of infra-red systems which assist dealing with hearing problems. We barged in unannounced and asked the Management if they could show us the equipment connected with the infra-red system. They were happy to do so and willingly provided this letter (link to pdf) to state that I had visited. They also gave me two audio cassetttes explaining their provision for disabled people. Altogether a pleasant and satisfactory day. And a rare day out for me. A link to the Royal Opera house website Disability Access page is here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

DisabledGo Returns

There is now a fairly satisfactory outcome with the DisbledGo/Brighton & Hove City Council saga (see recent posts below). On 9 February this article was published in the Brighton local newspaper (The Argus). Obviously I know more about the background. If any more hard news emerges, I will make another posting.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Development St James' Place in Brighton

The phenomenon of 'Stopping-Up' Orders on public rights of way causes many of us great concern. When an application to 'stop up' St James' Place in Brighton a couple of years ago was mooted, I reacted. St James' Place has been a public thoroughfare for at least two centuries. The residents wanted it stopped up and it seemed to some of us that this was merely to turn their attractive houses into a 'gated community'. I objected and the matter went to a Public Enquiry. I lost there although I was supported by the Ramblers' Association and the Open Spaces Society. I then took the matter to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg where it now sits. As with other initiatives I have launched including my successful DDA claim against Brighton & Hove City Council, I decided to put all the documents (all 113) in this case online. There are two main reasons for this :
  1. I am an advocate of greater transparency in legal processes and these documents are now available to all.
  2. I wish to show these documents to likely Barristers in pursuit of Pro Bono help: this seems an easy way to provide access to the documents instead of moving large quantities of paper around.
These documents are part of my collection of dossiers which can be seen here.

Access Issues

Readers might remember that I am a member of the Brighton & Hove Local Access Forum (LAF). These LAFs were set up under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW). Arguably that Act was one of the most life enhancing Acts of recent years. You can read about our local LAF here. Our LAF works in full co-operation with the neighbouring LAFs in East Sussex and West Sussex and with the Authorities charged with running the prospective South Downs National Park It is gratifying that more and more people are becoming aware of the opportunities for getting to know our interesting City and its environs. An example of the interest shown by our elected representatives is demonstrated by Councillor Dee Simson's comments here (Item 'Rights of Way' dated 31 January 2007). She draws attention to the draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan and 'missing links'.