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Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many employees in (a) her Department and (b) related agencies and non-departmental public bodies were affected by the increase in the minimum wage on 1 October. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of stocks of separated plutonium in the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: Following the answer my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Clegg) on 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 310W, our assessment remains the same: the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) claims to have reprocessed the 8,000 spent fuel rods removed from the 25 megawatt reactor at Yongbyon in 1994. If these claims are true, the DPRK could have extracted sufficient plutonium for up to five nuclear warheads from this spent fuel.
We continue to believe the DPRK is pursuing efforts towards production of highly enriched uranium (HEU), based on centrifuge enrichment technology which the Pakistani scientist AQ Khan has admitted supplying to the DPRK. But we have no information on how successfully these attempts to produce HEU have been.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Chinese Foreign Minister on (a) sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, (b) restrictions on fuel supply and (c) a UN chapter seven inspections programme for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors at nuclear facilities. 
Mr. McCartney: Last week, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had discussions with several Foreign Ministers about the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), including Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on 9 and 13 October. During these discussions, both agreed that the test carried out by the DPRK was a clear example of a threat to international peace and security and of the need for a robust response from the UN Security Council. They did not discuss the detail of that response.
On 14 October, UN Security Council Resolution 1718 was adopted unanimously. This is a tough resolution, aimed at clamping down on the regime and its programmes of concern. The sanctions are carefully targeted. They prohibit the export to the DPRK of sensitive goods and technology related to its nuclear and missile programmes. The resolution also bans luxury goods being exported to the DPRK and provides for the freezing of assets belonging to the regime and a ban on travel by regime figures to other countries.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether formal media training is provided for Governors of the Overseas Territories before they take up their posts. 
Mr. Hoon: There is no formal media training specifically for Governors of the Overseas Territories, but all current Governors have received media training either before taking-up their current posts, or as part of general career development, or in connection with their previous appointments.
Margaret Beckett: There are currently no plans for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to visit India after the successful visit there in March this year. As announced by Clarence House on 5 October, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will undertake an official visit to Pakistan at the end of this month at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many security passes have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen by staff in her Department in each year since February 2004. 
|(1) Up to October 2006|
Mr. McCartney: We do not recognise Somaliland as an independent state, neither does the rest of the international community. The UK has signed up to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia. Nevertheless, the UK is aware of the position of the Somaliland authorities and of opinion within Somaliland. We hope that Somaliland will engage in early dialogue with the Transitional Federal Authorities in Somalia and that a mutually acceptable solution for their future relationship can be agreed. We readily acknowledge Somalilands achievements over the last decade and continue to support progress and stability in Somaliland.
Margaret Beckett: The African Union (AU) mission to Darfur (AMIS) has played a vital role in efforts to resolve this appalling conflict. It urgently needs additional funding to carry on its critical work and the AU therefore convened a Donors' Conference in Brussels on 18 July. The UK reaffirmed its pledge of £20 million for AMIS for this financial year, in addition to pressing others to follow suit. The AU are still finalising the final figure on total pledges received at the conference, but the EU estimate it was at least US$186 million. This is welcome, enabling AMIS to continue to operate until the end of the year (the AU Peace and Security Council have extended AMIS' operations until then). We are urging those who have pledged funding to deliver the funds and will intervene again with others to contribute more should this be required.
Mr. McCartney: There are credible reports of increased incidents of sexual violence and rape committed by all sides in Darfur. These attacks occur most frequently where there is an increased presence of armed militia and a suspension of patrols by the African Union (AU) monitoring mission.
We utterly condemn these appalling acts of violence, and have made this abundantly clear to the Government of Sudan and also to the rebel movements. Together with our international partners, we are pressing all sides to stop the fighting; to agree to the deployment of a UN force in Darfur; to co-operate in bolstering the AU in the interim; to commit to and implement the Darfur Peace Agreement; and to ensure full humanitarian access for the UN and non-governmental organisations in Darfur.
Women are particularly vulnerable to attack when they leave the camps to collect firewood. So we are strongly urging the AU to resume its firewood patrols for women leaving the camps. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised this with the AU Force Commander when he visited Darfur on 16 October. We hope that increased UN assistance to the AU mission will enhance its capacity to carry out these regular patrols.
The solution to this terrible conflict is the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). We are pressing
all parties to implement it. During his visit to Khartoum on 16 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development urged the Government of Sudan to stop the fighting, to resume dialogue and to commit to a political process which ends the conflict permanently. We will maintain this pressure on the Government and rebels.
The second vital component in a solution is the international capacity to help keep and maintain the peace. It is widely agreed a UN force is required. The Sudanese Government now need to accept their deployment. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised this with President Bashir and we are in constant contact with our international partners to ensure unified pressure.
In the meantime the African Union's Mission in Sudan (AMIS) force is playing a critical role. It needs to be strengthened with further funding and other support including financial and logistical support by the UN as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1706; support to AMIS' DPA Implementation Cell; and support to the AU's Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation Process. We have provided AMIS with £32 million and pledged a further £20 million for this financial year. We are working with EU partners to ensure increased support.
John Mann: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many care cases were issued in England and Wales in each of the last three years, broken down by local authority area. 
Ms Harman [holding answer 19 October 2006]: My Department records the number of care and supervision applications received but does not record the breakdown by local authority. The figures provided in the following table show the totals of care applications made for each of the last two calendar years. Care applications for 2003 are not available in a comparable format.
|Number of applications|
Joan Walley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how long all forms of court recordings, tapes and transcripts are held by her Department or outsourced companies; and if she will make a statement. 
The time periods for the retention of all forms of court recordings, tapes and transcripts are different depending on whether they relate to county court, RCJ (High Court and Appeal Court) or Crown
Court proceedings. There is no legislative requirement for proceedings in the magistrates' courts to be recorded.
To comply with public records legislation, record retention and disposition schedules [RRDS] are held by Record Management Services, DCA. These detail individual types of record that are created in the specific area to each of the schedules relate. Hearing tapes relating to county court proceedings may be wiped and re-used after three years and are destroyed after six years. The related tape logs are destroyed once the tape to which they refer is wiped or destroyed. Recordings relating to RCJ hearings are retained for six years. Transcripts of county court and RCJ hearings are retained for six years.
Recordings and logs relating to criminal court proceedings are retained for five years. Contractors who are responsible for preparing and retaining transcripts are bound by the terms of specific contracts to comply with these retention periods.
Ms Harman [holding answer 19 October 2006]: In the family courts, children involved in public law proceedings (care/supervision) are almost always represented by a CAFCASS guardian and a solicitor. In private law proceedings (contact/residence) the children involved are not represented by a solicitor/guardian unless Rule 9.5 of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 is applied, which makes the child party to proceedings. In all other family proceedings there is an option of legal aid to be granted to the parties involved to be represented.
We are currently consulting on the need for solicitors to attend all section 8 Children Act 1989 hearings in cases where there is separate representation under Rule 9.5 and the closing date is 8 December 2006.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent consideration she has given to permitting parallel juries to be established as an aid to research into jury behaviour. 
Ms Harman: I have given no recent consideration to permitting parallel juries to be established as an aid to research into jury behaviour. Researchers could use a jury of their own to investigate the ways in which jurors might assess evidence or for any other reason, although they could take no part in the formal proceedings or deliberations.
Ms Harman: Individuals are disqualified from jury service by virtue of a range of sentences, both community and imprisonment depending on how long ago they received them. The jury summons asks potential jurors if they are disqualified as a result of any sentence and so it is not possible to differentiate between imprisonment and community sentences. The information requested is not, therefore, available.
Ms Harman: My Department does not hold information on the number of magistrates courts clerks who were solicitors or barristers prior to the creation of Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) on 1 April 2005. The responsibility for collecting this information would have rested with the former 42 independent magistrates courts committees. HMCS is in the process of developing a national Legal Adviser database which will provide this information. From the data currently available, I can confirm that of the magistrates court clerks employed by HMCS, approximately 65 per cent. are qualified solicitors, 30 per cent. are qualified barristers and 5 per cent. hold a national diploma in Magisterial Law.
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