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First Tuesday Current Affairs Forum
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News Reviews from 2013

Cyprus Bank Crisis

European 'Support' for Banks in Cyprus

by Simon Belt

 

Many in the UK will be familiar with some aspects of Cyprus - from family holidays there, or maybe from links through the presence of the British Forces still being stationed there. A bit of Britain in the Mediterranean may be stretching it, but the EU bailout of the failing banking system in Cyprus is something that will touch many Britons, and those with longer standing connections to Spain or Greece for example will be keeping a keen eye on how things play out. The consequences though stretch beyond southern Europe and represent important trends in politics.

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News Reviews from 2013

The Budget: Death of Welfare?

Where’s the benefit?

by Denis Joe

 

This week sees the next stage of welfare reform, to be known as the Universal Credit Scheme, that are going to leave claimants financially worse off. Reading the headlines and listening to announcers on TV news, one would have thought that the day of the Apocalypse was seriously upon us. Church leaders met with Members of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland stating that the reforms have created an 'absolute fear' amongst congregations. A £1m Foodbank appeal has been launched by the Trussell Trust with claims that nearly 5 million people already live 'in food poverty in the UK'. Whilst exaggeration has been a major feature of welfare reform in the past there does seem to be something different.

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News Reviews from 2013

Eastleigh by-election

Eastleigh by-election

by Denis Joe

 

Political hacks like nothing more than a by-election and especially when that by-election is called because of a resignation – in this case the resignation of former Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne and the sordid issue of his lying to the courts over his speeding offence in 2003.

 

The Eastleigh by-election was bound to prove more exciting than most much of the outcome of Eastleigh was predictable. Deputy political editor of the BBC, James Landale listed thoughts on the outcome which proved entirely accurate (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21591603). Two points that are worthy of looking at are “The Conservatives will take the flak for being in government.” and “All sides expect UKIP to do better than initially thought.”

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News Reviews from 2013

Watch out! Watch out! There is a MOOC about.

Watch out watch out, there's a MOOC about!

by John Hutchinson

 

Do you fancy learning about astronomy, genetics, the ancient Greeks, climate change or how to program? Now you don’t need to enrol at your local college or university, work out if you have the requisite qualifications to access a degree or Masters or even pay for the course at all. A revolution in distance learning is hitting the cloistered world of research and learning and moving the ivory tower next to the remote village in Africa or shanty town in the Philippines - provided they have access to the internet. Not only that, it is some of the world’s top rated and most expensive American universities that are putting their resources at the disposal of the planet free of charge along with their elite educational brands.
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News Reviews from 2013

Immigration: Eric Pickles isn’t the only one without a clue

By Len Gibbs


2013 started out with the hardy perennial of tabloids and broadsheets – immigration. There were three aspects of the usual stories that lit the touchpaper this time: the first was the 2011 census releases showing the huge change in the complexion of London (amongst other cities); the second was Eric Pickles’ admission that nobody had a clue about the potential extent of inward migration from Romania and Bulgaria and the third was the increased reporting of the links between the benefits system and migration. Underlying all the reporting was a significant change of tack by Ed Miliband with his admission that Labour had made mistakes and his floating of the concepts of benefits restrictions on migrants and tighter border controls. No doubt there is also a link between this issue and the Conservatives pledge to hold a referendum on the future of Britain in the European Union.

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