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Government Schmooze-athon with Shell | Police Station Closures | US pursuit of Julian Assange | Cost Impact of Fly-tipping on Councils

Government officials accused of ‘schmooze-athon’ with Shell

Energy giant hosted officials from 10 departments at two-day ‘training course’, according to freedom of information papers.

Senior Whitehall officials from 10 government departments and agencies attended exclusive “training courses” laid on by Shell over two days at its London headquarters, according to documents released by the Department ofEnergy and Climate Change (Decc) following a freedom of information request.

The documents show that in June this year and last, “30-40 mid- to senior-level civil servants” attended the two-day “Shell energy course for Whitehall”, laid on at the energy giant’s expense at its UK head office on London’s South Bank.

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Leo Hickman | The Guardian | August 17th 2012

Fifth of police stations closed or opening hours cut say Conservatives

A fifth of Scotland’s police stations have either closed down or cut their opening hours in the past five years, the Conservatives claim.

Figures released to the party showed 56 stations across the country have shut since 2007.

This includes 26 stations in the Northern Constabulary area and 14 in the Strathclyde Police region.

Meanwhile a further 23 police stations across the country — 20 of which are in the Lothian and Borders area — have reduced the hours that they are open to the public.

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STV | August 19th 2012

US in pursuit of Assange, cables reveal

AUSTRALIAN diplomats have no doubt the United States is still gunning for Julian Assange, according to Foreign Affairs Department documents obtained by The Saturday Age.

The Australian embassy in Washington has been tracking a US espionage investigation targeting the WikiLeaks publisher for more than 18 months.

The declassified diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information laws, show Australia’s diplomatic service takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents.


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Brisbane Times | August 18th 2012

£100m Clean-Up Bill For Councils Hit By Fly-Tipping 

ONE in three councils is reporting a sharp increase in fly-tipping as cash-strapped town halls nationwide face an annual £100million clean-up bill.

Incidents have rocketed by more than 490 per cent in some cases, with nine councils recording increases in illegal rubbish dumping of more than 100 per cent.

The news has prompted calls for further research to determine whether the decision by half of all councils to turn their backs on weekly bin collections is leading to homeowners breaking the law.

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Kirsty Buchanan | The Express | August 19th 2012

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