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Film Chiefs Reject Embassy Money 06/08/2006

Bosses at the Edinburgh International Film Festival have refused money from the Israeli embassy because of their offensive in Lebanon. They had agreed to accept a £300 travel grant to bring over Israeli director Yoav Shamir. His film Five Days, which chronicles Israel’s violent withdrawral from Gaza last year is to be shown at the Festival this month. Pensioners lose out on £50 a week 06/08/2006

Today’s pensioners would be more than £50 a week better off if the Government had not scrapped the link between the basic state pension and average earnings. The decision in 1980 to link increases in the state pension to inflation (measured by the Retail Price Index) rather than to the amount workers earned has condemned millions of older people to a retirement in poverty.

For the coming tax year the basic state pension will be £84.25 a week, compared with the £136.75 it would have been under the earnings-based system.

Third Way Executive member, Graham Williamson, commented: “We should restore the link with earnings and raise the standard of living for the 2 million pensioners living below the poverty line. I am very concerned for the welfare of pensioners struggling to cope with rising utility and council tax bills.” Blair’s plans for Iraq ‘doomed’ 06/08/2006

Tony Blair has been warned that his plans for Iraq are doomed. Two senior figures have warned that a civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims looks increasingly likely. America’s chief military leader in the Middle East, Gen John Abizaid, said sectarian violence in Iraq was “as bad as I have seen it”. And Britain’s ambassador to Baghdad suggested any prospect for democracy was unlikely. William Patey said: “A low-intensity civil war is more likely than a successful transition to a stable democracy.” 1m Fear Debt Ruin 06/08/2006

Up to 1 million people are on the brink of declaring themselves bankrupt as they struggle to cope with thousands of pounds of debt. They are among 8 million people – one in five of the adult population – who owe more than £10,000 through credit cards, overdrafts and loans. The figures were revealed by debt consultancy firm Thomas Charles.


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