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1 Mar 2005 : Column 1049W—continued

South Africa

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what investigations there have been into the loss of decommissioned nuclear weapons and related material and equipment following South Africa's abandonment of its nuclear weapons programme; and if he will make a statement. [217710]

Mr. MacShane: Upon accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1991, South Africa submitted an initial report providing a full inventory of its nuclear materials. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted a number of inspections to verify the completeness of South Africa's report. They concluded that there was no evidence that the inventory was incomplete.

In 1993, however, the then South African Prime Minister F. W. de Klerk revealed that South Africa had been pursuing a nuclear weapons programme in the 1970s and 1980s, but that this programme had been abandoned in 1989. A team of IAEA technical experts travelled to South Africa in April 1993 to assess whether South Africa had indeed abandoned its programme. They found nothing that was inconsistent with South Africa's declaration.
 
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Subsequently, under South Africa's nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA, inspectors have carried out regular checks to ensure that there has been no diversion of nuclear materials. They have not reported any discrepancy to the IAEA Board of Governors. A further reassurance is provided by the adoption by South Africa of an Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement.

Togo

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the political situation in Togo; and if he will make a statement. [217988]

Mr. Rammell: We are concerned about the events following the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema. We have urged the Togolese authorities to hold early credible and democratic presidential elections. We support the stance taken by the African Union and Economic Community of West African States, who are pressing the Togolese authorities to adhere to their constitution.

Tsunami

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many bodies of British victims of the tsunami have been (a) identified and (b) repatriated. [216224]

Mr. Mullin: As at 16.00 on 23 February, we have confirmed that 65 British nationals died in the tsunami. Of those, 35 have been repatriated to the UK. The discrepancy is explained by the fact that some bodies await repatriation, others were either buried or cremated locally, and some were resident in third countries, to where they have been repatriated.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the time taken to identify the British victims of the tsunami; and what assessment he has made of the merits of using fingerprinting instead of DNA testing. [216225]

Mr. Mullin: We are aware that delays in identifying victims adds to the distress of the families concerned. But there can be no short cuts in the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process and, even when bodies are found, the process of formally identifying them can be difficult and lengthy. More details of the process can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, www.fco.gov.uk/tsunami.

The police have considered the merits of the three main ways in which bodies may be identified. Dental records, fingerprints and DNA may each be of value, either separately or in conjunction. The approach is decided on a case-by-case basis, because the precise value of each method depends on factors such as the condition of the body and the availability of ante mortem data. Most matches so far have been based on dental records.
 
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Uganda

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK was represented at the recent launch of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change in Uganda. [218266]

Mr. Mullin: The UK was represented at the launch of the Forum for Democratic Change's (FDC) new headquarters and its party platform by officials from our High Commission in Kampala.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in London and Kampala are in regular contact with the FDC leadership and have a productive working relationship.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of support by President Museveni for Robert Mugabe's land policies. [218269]

Mr. Mullin: Our High Commissioner in Uganda met with President Museveni on 16 November and made clear the Government's views on land reform in Zimbabwe. He also expressed our disappointment at the comments made by the Ugandan President while on his visit to Zimbabwe.

TREASURY

Babies (Mortality Rate)

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mortality rate was for babies born prematurely with a birth weight of (a) less than 1500g and (b) less than 2500g in each year since 1975. [218112]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Andrew Lansley, dated 1 March 2005:


Infant deaths by birthweight (a) less than 1,500g and (b) less than 2,500g in England and Wales, numbers and rates: 1978 to 2003

(a) Under 1,500 grams
(b) Under 2,500 grams
Number(4)RateNumber(4)Rate
19782,106474.03,68994.5
19792,226485.93,87595.0
19802,075427.33,63985.8
19811,633345.72,85072.1
19821,581331.32,69167.4
19831,763332.32,91969.4
19841,752315.42,84766.8
19851,783302.22,89964.9
19861,839302.42,98865.3
19871,900292.12,94463.3
19881,967302.13,04666.7
19891,744266.42,65058.9
19901,673257.42,47653.8
19911,608248.42,37851.3
19921,593239.82,23749.9
19931,590236.92,19149.3
19941,605220.32,15547.7
19951,680221.52,27748.1
19961,800227.32,38050.4
19971,787227.02,36849.6
19981,698219.42,23147.0
19991,714214.72,21246.9
20001,595211.72,09245.7
20011,517202.92,00444.4
20021,494200.41,96342.7
20031,580199.32,07343.6


(4)Rates per 1,000 live births
Source:
Monitor Series DH3 'Infant, childhood and perinatal mortality' (1978–1985) Series DH3 'Mortality statistics: Childhood, infant and perinatal' (1986–2002) Health Statistics Quarterly, No. 24, Winter 2004, pages 66–70 (2003)




 
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Cancer

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what policies his Department has in place for supporting employees with cancer. [218672]

Mr. Timms: The Treasury has in place formal policies for managing sickness absence, and has a positive policy on disability, which also applies to staff suffering from cancer. The Treasury provides for a wide range of alternative working patterns, temporary reduced working hours and amendment to working patterns, part-time working as a result of sickness, home working and other rehabilitation support including workload and role adjustments for staff with health problems.


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