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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): There are seven academies in London with sports as the main specialism. These are:Capital City Academy;Evelyn Grace Academy;Harefield Academy;Harris Academy, Merton;Harris Girls Academy, East Dulwich;St Paul's Academy; and the West London Academy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 23 February (WA 29), what are the names of the 17 academies in London with new or refurbished buildings. [HL2378]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the Government of Sudan about the closure of the Sudan Social Development Organization, the Amel Centre for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development; and, if so, with what results. [HL2445]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are gravely concerned about the expulsion of 13 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the closure of Sudan Social Development Organisation, the Amel Centre for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development. The EU statement issued on 10 March 2009 specifically mentions the local NGOs and calls on the Government of Sudan to reconsider their decision.
Our embassy in Khartoum is working closely with other embassies and the UN to ensure the situation of the local NGOs continues to be raised. A working group, including the UN Mission in Sudan, African Union/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is currently being set up in Khartoum to monitor the situation. To date, there has been no indication that the Government of Sudan will reverse their decision and allow the three local organisations to continue operating in Sudan.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK has recently stepped up engagement with Syria, culminating with my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary's visit to Syria in November 2008. This has aimed to encourage Syria to be a force for stability in the region, in particular through working with Lebanon for stability; having indirect talks with Israel; backing the Arab peace initiative; improving relationships with Arab partners; tackling foreign fighters on its border with Iraq; working with Iran to stop finance and arms supply to Hezbollah; and working to counterterrorism.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): I refer the noble Lord to the Statement about the Turks and Caicos Islands that my honourable friend Gillian Merron, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, made to the House of Commons on 16 March 2009, Official Report, col. 39WS. The interim report from the commission of inquiry (www.tci-inquiry.org) addresses systems and institutions. No evidence in respect of any individual has yet been presented by the commission recommending action. We do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation, and have taken steps to establish the asset recovery structures recommended by the commissioner in the interim report.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands played in the creation of the situation which led to the suspension of the constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands. [HL2427]
Lord Malloch-Brown: In July 2008 the then Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands appointed a commission of inquiry in the light of the allegations and other indications of possible corruption or other serious dishonesty in relation to elected members of the House of Assembly which he had received and which had been brought to his attention over a period of time both in oral and in written form. He concluded that there existed a matter of public importance requiring the appointment of this commission of inquiry.
The commission of inquirys interim report (available at www.tci-inquiry.org), received by the governor on 28 February 2009, supports the view that the governors decision to appoint a commission of inquiry was well founded.
I refer the noble Lord to the Statement about the Turks and Caicos Islands that my honourable friend Gillian Merron, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, made to the House of Commons on 16 March 2009, Official Report, col. 39WS.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider the early reintroduction of an elected Government in the Turks and Caicos Islands, on the conditions that an independent commission would determine the terms and conditions of service, mechanisms for disciplining legislators and the scope of legislation to ensure integrity and standards in public office. [HL2428]
Lord Malloch-Brown: I refer the noble Lord to the Statement about the Turks and Caicos Islands made by my honourable friend Gillian Merron, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, to the House of Commons on 16 March 2009, Official Report, Commons, col. 39WS.
The Order in Council, as drafted, provides for a two-year interim period, which can be shortened or lengthened as necessary, but would last no longer than it takes for the necessary reforms to be implemented. We hope it would be possible to hold elections in early 2011 as currently scheduled, if not before.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering suspending the constitution of any British Overseas Territory other than the Turks and Caicos Islands; and, if so, whether they would only suspend a constitution following an independent commission of inquiry or consultation with the government and people of the Overseas Territory. [HL2429]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data for 2007-08, the most recent year for which data are available, indicate that there were 615 students from Israel studying at higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. Comprehensive data are not available on the nationality of students. Data are collected on student domicile but are not broken down below country level, so it not possible to identify the numbers of students from Gaza and the West Bank studying in the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have offered any scholarships for Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank to study in British universities; and, if so, how many for (a) Gaza, and (b) the West Bank. [HL2331]
Lord Young of Norwood Green: Her Majesty's Government awards scholarships to Palestinian students mainly through the Chevening Scholarship programme and the Chevening Fellowship programme, which is
30 Mar 2009 : Column WA214
One Palestinian student also participated in the Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards (DHPA) scheme in 2008 and two scholars from West Bank universities participated in a Research Council-funded visiting fellowship programme in 2006-07. Data are not available on whether the DHPA student was from Gaza or the West Bank.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are any twinning or collaboration arrangements between British universities and Palestinian universities; and, if so, which universities from (a) Gaza, and (b) the West Bank, are involved. [HL2332]
Lord Young of Norwood Green: The Government do not have comprehensive information on the collaborative activities of British universities with partner organisations overseas. They are free to develop such arrangements as they see fit and many do so without any kind of publicity. However, I am aware that a number of British universities are working with their counterparts in Gaza and the West Bank, including:University of Cambridge and Al Quds University and University of Berzeit;the University of Glasgow and the University of Berzeit and the University of Hebron; and the University of Nottingham and the Islamic University in Gaza.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 12 February (WA 248), in what circumstances a road traffic or pedestrian accident caused by the positioning of a household waste bin in accordance with instructions from an agent of the local council would be the liability of the householder. [HL2292]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The placement of a household waste bin would depend on all the circumstances. Liability would be decided according to the common-law rules of negligence and/or nuisance
30 Mar 2009 : Column WA215
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they require all water bodies in England and Wales to achieve the ecology status targets set by the European Union Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) by 2015, for all inland, estuarial and coastal waters. [HL2299]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Environment Agency published draft river basin management plans for a six-month consultation on 22 December 2008. These draft plans contain programmes of measures to protect and improve the quality of all water bodies (inland, estuarial and coastal) in England and Wales by 2015. The measures in the draft plans will take 28 per cent of water bodies in England and Wales to good ecological status by 2015.
The water framework directive allows member states to extend deadlines to meet good ecological status, or to set a less stringent objective if it is disproportionately costly or technically infeasible to meet the targets by 2015. The directive prescribes two further six-year planning cycles, ending in 2021 and 2027.
The Environment Agency is using the consultation period to increase the ambition of the plans and is calling on stakeholders to help do more, and to help define the evidence base for further action. We and the agency wish this to result, by the time the plans are finalised in December 2009, in a higher level of ambition
30 Mar 2009 : Column WA216
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