Mentally-ill patients were ‘Tasered’ more than 50 times
Police have resorted to firing Tasers to subdue mentally-ill patients in hospital and care homes more than 50 times in three years, Freedom of Information requests have disclosed.
Charities have expressed alarm over the levels of Taser use and warned that it could aggravate the condition of people already suffering extreme distress.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health service watchdog, has said Tasers should be deployed only as a last resort in psychiatric wards. Read more
Nigel Morris & Gayan Samarasinghe | The Independent | 8th May 2013
University pay out £500k to silence staff
The University [of York] has spent nearly half a million pounds on controversial gagging orders, known in legal terms as agreements containing confidentiality clauses.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the University has issued 26 compromise agreements, all containing confidentiality clauses, since 2007.
The total cost of signing the orders was £479,464, and the highest amount paid out to any individual was £42,000. Under the terms of compromise agreements, the employee waives their right to legal action. This could be for many reasons such as unfair dismissal, or breach of contract. Read more
Neil Johnston | Nouse | 7th May 2013
The drinks are on US! MPs want cut-price booze in Parliament bars slashed even more – with the taxpayer footing the bill
MPs want taxpayers to subsidise the cost of their drinks in the bars of Parliament. Prices at the four Palace of Westminster bars are already cheap, especially for central London, as they are linked to those in a nearby Wetherspoons pub.
But some MPs, who have a salary of £65,738, feel the £2.60 they pay for a pint of John Smith’s bitter, or £3.20 for premium Becks lager, is too much. Senior MPs have even suggested prices should be tied to a cheaper venue outside of the centre of the capital.
The Sun claims to have seen a record of the Administration Committee’s meeting that states: ‘Several Members suggested that the House should not benchmark against central London pubs: those had to pay Central London rent, rates and utility charges, which House services did not pay.’ Read more
Sam Webb | The Daily Mail | 7th May 2013
CIA prevented scenes of torture appearing in Zero Dark Thirty according to classified memo
A newly declassified memo, detailing conversations between a screenwriter and the CIA, appears to show how the US intelligance agency shaped the narrative of Zero Dark Thirty – last year’s Oscar-nominated film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
The agency allegedly pressured the writer, Mark Boal, to alter or remove scenes of torture from the script. The memo was released after a freedom of information request by the Gawker website, and is part of a cache of documents regarding the relationship between the CIA, Mr Boal and the film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow.
It outlines five phone calls in late 2011 in which Mr Boal “verbally shared” his screenplay with the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA). “The purpose of these discussions was for OPA officers to help promote an appropriate portrayal of the agency and the Bin Ladin operation,” the memo says. Read more
Tim Walker | The Independent | 7th May 2013