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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the timetable is for the replacement of worn-out buildings at the Defence Nuclear Biological and Chemical Centre at Winterbourne Gunner. 
Mr. Caplin: Site preparation has begun for the replacement of some accommodation and mess blocks dating back to the First World War. Construction is expected to begin in August and complete by December 2005.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilians and (b) military staff with experience of medal issuing were involved in the decision to centralise medal issuing at RAF Innsworth. 
Mr. Caplin: The decision to form the new Ministry of Defence Medal Office was agreed by all major stakeholders including the senior single Service Principal Personnel Officers currently responsible for medals administration.
The decision to locate at RAF Innsworth was taken by the Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency, endorsed by Ministers, and was influenced by a range of factors such as business benefits, risks and cost and included consultation of medals staff via their trade unions.
The Prime Minister: The Government use the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) where it delivers value for money for the taxpayer. It is an important part of our overall strategy to provide investment to deliver world-class public services.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Prime Minister when the Government first received reports of the activities of (a) Osama Bin Laden and (b) Al-Qaeda; what the nature of the reports was in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: The Government have been aware of the activities of Osama Bin Laden and Islamic terrorist networks including Al-Qaeda since the mid-1990s. In relation to the nature of the reports, it has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.
Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to promote conservation of the flora, fauna and mineral resources of Antarctica. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The protection of the Antarctic environment is provided through the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, adopted in 1991. This includes a prohibition on all activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research, and establishes a permitting regime for any activities that may involve taking or harmful interference with the native fauna and flora of Antarctica. 31 states, including the United Kingdom, are parties to the Protocol.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the work done by the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture in Chile; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government welcome any efforts to address abuses of human rights. The National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture in Chile is an important step forward in addressing past human rights abuses and fulfils one of the requirements of State parties to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the number of people not able to participate in the work of the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture in Chile owing to insufficient advertisement; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The number of people responding to the Commission has been lower than expected. It is not possible to establish precise reasons for this, although one contributory factor could be people's reluctance to re-live past traumatic experiences. The work of the Commission has been widely reported in the Chilean media. We have not been able to assess the extent to which lack of awareness of the Commission's existence is a significant factor in the lower than expected response.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department (a) offered and (b) has given to the Government in Chile to facilitate the work of the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not worked with the Chilean Government on this specific issue, nor have we received any request for help. However, the Government have supported various human rights projects in related fields.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) UK and (b) Chilean nationals now residing in the UK contacted his Department about (i) information on and (ii) assisting the work of the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture in Chile; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The European Council on 12 December 2003 invited the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) to re-examine the EU arms embargo on China. The GAERC met on 26 January 2004 and decided to remit the issue to the relevant working groups for detailed examination. The issue will revert to a future GAERC.
Mr. MacShane: Foreign engagements for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers are kept under constant review. It is not our practice to announce such visits until they are firm. Because of the unpredictable nature of world events, final decisions on overseas visits are often not possible until very shortly before the day of travel.
Mr. MacShane: We continue to seek a permanent solution to the cruise ship issue. Although there have been no incidents over the last month, we regard Spanish interference with cruise-liner traffic en route from Gibraltar to Spain as unacceptable and illegal. To this end our Permanent Representation to the European Union has asked the Commission to investigate. We understand that the Commission has since taken this issue up with Spain.
In addition, officials from the UK Permanent Representation in Brussels have been in close and frequent contact with officials from EU Competition Director General in recent weeks, regarding the
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compatibility of Gibraltar's proposed corporate tax reforms with EC rules on State Aid. The Government of Gibraltar has played a full part in these discussions.
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