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Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to require people convicted of sex offences overseas to register automatically as such on their return to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: I announced a review of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 in a written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Mr. Hope), Official Report, 26 June 2000, column 395W. Whether and how sex offenders who are convicted abroad can be required to register is an issue which is being considered as part of that review.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have escaped from open prisons during (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000, broken down into offences for which they were sentenced; and if he will make a statement. 
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Religious organisations are currently disqualified by provision of Paragraph 2 (1) of Part II of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Act 1990 from holding national radio licences. We will publish a White Paper later this year setting out the Government's proposals for reform of broadcasting and telecommunications regulation to ensure a framework is in place which recognises the developments in those industries. The ownership of radio licences for religious broadcasting is one of the issues being considered in that context.
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Mr. Mandelson: I support the Chief Constable's decision to deploy troops to give additional support to the police in dealing with the recent upsurge in violence in North and West Belfast, which has seen four men killed as a result of feuding between loyalist paramilitary organisations and which I strongly condemn. I know from my own visit to the Shankill just how much pain has been suffered and the Government will maintain a proper security presence in these areas to contain the treat.
I also condemn the bomb attack on Castlewellan RUC station last week. This points up the risks taken by the RUC in carrying out their duties and the thoughts of the whole House will be with the severely injured Constable David Fegan and his family at this time.
Mr. George Howarth: A stable and improving economy in Northern Ireland is contributing greatly to the peace process in Northern Ireland, helping to build confidence and demonstrating that Northern Ireland is moving into a brighter and more prosperous future. The peace process has in return benefited the Northern Ireland economy. The Belfast agreement gave a tremendous boost to economic activity in Northern Ireland and the transfer of responsibility for economic matters to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 2 December gave back to locally elected representatives the power to take vital economic decisions for the benefit of the people of Northern Ireland.
Mr. George Howarth: Terrorist violence over the summer and more recently has caused great suffering for many people in Northern Ireland. I hope the whole House will join me in condemning without reservation all of the recent violence and intimidation, which we all hoped had been left behind. I do not believe that it will prevent the achievement of a peaceful and prosperous society in Northern Ireland--that is what the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland want and voted for in the Referendum.
Mr. Mandelson: We continue to make steady progress in the implementation of the Belfast agreement. The Northern Ireland Executive recently published its first Programme for Government, an impressive range of measures to be taken by the devolved Administration over the coming year. Decommissioning and building confidence remain important priorities. The independent arms inspectors recently carried out a further inspection of IRA arms dumps: they also met the Northern Ireland political parties last week. The security forces continue to take action to deal with dissident republican and loyalist violence. However, I am confident that recent violence
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11. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent reports he has received of intimidation against recruits to, and members of, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Northern Ireland Prison Service. 
Mr. Ingram: During the period 1 January to 27 October 2000, there were 155 recorded reports of intimidation/ threats against current and former members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Over the same period, three general threats and 26 specific threats were recorded against members of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
Mr. Ingram: Mr. Ramaphosa and Mr. Ahtisaari have reported that they have completed their second inspection of several IRA arms dumps. We welcome this development--it represents further progress and an honouring of commitments given at the beginning of May. I am confident the inspectors will report any further progress that has been made when they deem it appropriate to do so.
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independent body to resolve the decommissioning issue. The Commission has provided written reports on progress on a number of occasions.
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