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Todays FOIA: Police FGM failure; industrial tribunal payouts; FOIA Bostwana and dangerous American vitamins

FGM: Police Stand Accused Of Failing To Protect Girls From Child Abuse As Fresh Evidence Emerges.

British police are facing questions over why there have been no convictions for female genital mutilation in the UK, after it emerged senior officers have not discussed how to enforce the law and protect children over the past year.

London Assembly member Jenny Jones has written to Met police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe after The Huffington Post UK revealed the results of a freedom of information request on the issue and shared fresh evidence from campaigners.

The request showed senior officers in the Met Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Command have no record of correspondence about enforcing the law in the last year, despite securing no convictions.

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Dina Rickman | The Huffington Post | August 8th 2012

£110,000 paid out Birmingham City Council to teachers and school staff following tribunals.

A total of £110,000 has been paid to teachers and school staff by Birmingham City Council following industrial tribunals, new figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) have revealed.

More than 70 cases were brought against the local authority by employees between autumn 2009 and April this year.

The tribunals included claims of discrimination on grounds of disability, age, race and religion. The council successfully defended 18 cases, but payments to staff over lost or settled claims totalled £110,057.

The largest single payout was £30,000 when a settlement was reached ahead of an employment tribunal over a constructive dismissal claim.

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Alun Thorne | Birmingham Post | August 9th 2012

Botswana: A critical time for freedom

This week is a critical time for democracy in Botswana as a Freedom of Information bill comes before Parliament. American journalist, *AL CROSS, who acquainted himself with the climate while on a visit here two years ago, ponders the serious implications

A Freedom of Information Act is pending in Parliament, and this week may be a critical time for it. Some voices in the government oppose the bill, which is no surprise. Governments everywhere love secrecy. Too often, public officials regard their offices as private possessions and forget they merely hold those offices in trust for the public.The same is true of government information.

Some officials treat it as personal information, but it should be available to the public, with few exceptions. The exceptions in freedom-of-information laws are critical to their passage, enforcement and effectiveness. Some critics of Botswana’s proposed law want absolute exceptions, to prohibit any release of certain categories of information, or to exempt entire parts of the government from the law.

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Tshireletso Motlogelwa | Mmegi Online | August 7th 2012

USA: 10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements

More than half of American adults take vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other nutritional supplements. Some of those products aren’t especially helpful, readers told us in a recent survey, but that aside, don’t assume they’re safe because they’re “all natural.” They may be neither. Here are 10 hazards that we’ve distilled from interviews with experts, published research, and our own analysis of reports of serious adverse events submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, which we obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Read and be warned.

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Consumer Reports Magazine | September 2012

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