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The day in FOIA: Asbestos in schools, TV licenses and the secret of happiness

Asbestos ‘likely to be in 70% of Gloucestershire schools’

More than 70% of schools in Gloucestershire are likely to contain asbestos, the BBC has learned.

Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveal more than 200 of the 302 state schools in the county could contain the material.

More than 140 teachers in the UK have died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in the past 10 years.

The county council said asbestos in schools is not dangerous “unless it is disturbed”.

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BBC News | August 20th 2012

£1bn of TV licence cash ‘overpaid’

Around £1bn of extra TV licence payments is earning interest in the government’s coffers from millions of UK households forced to keep their TV licence account six months in credit, Which? has uncovered.

New data obtained by Which? under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that people who pay for their TV licence by monthly direct debit are charged double for the first six months, and this additional money stays with the government after that.

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Which? | August 20th 2012

Study links press freedom to happiness

What’s the key to happiness? Apparently, press freedom contributes to happiness.

As the Philippine media push for the passage of the freedom of information (FOI) bill, a study by doctoral students in journalism has found that countries with a free press, especially those with FOI laws, have higher levels of happiness and living standards overall.

The “happiness study” by Fulbright scholar Edson Tandoc Jr. of  Missouri School of Journalism and his research partner, Bruno Takahashi of Michigan State University, found that press freedom contributed to people’s life satisfaction as it was a vital component in assuring effective governance.

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Tarra Quismundo | Philippine Daily Inquirer | August 20th 2012

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