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USA UK and Malta News
02/03/2008 - 21:04

UK today Editoweb, 02 march 2008


Doubt over Harry's return to action - '88% back EU treaty referendum' - MPs warn against US attack on Iran - Johnson calls for 'personal' NHS - Pensions crisis 'worse than feared'.



Doubt over Harry's return to action
Prince Harry's hopes of returning to the frontline are in doubt after military chiefs voiced fears about the risks of deploying him again. The Household Cavalry officer flew back to Britain after his tour of duty in Afghanistan was abruptly ended when foreign websites broke a media blackout on reporting details of his service.
Although chastened by the presence of two horrifically injured soldiers on his flight, Harry, 23, said he had already told his commanding officer he wanted to go back out "very, very soon".

'88% back EU treaty referendum'
Campaigners for a referendum on the European Union's controversial Lisbon Treaty have claimed they have overwhelming public support as MPs prepared for this week's key Commons vote. The I Want a Referendum Campaign released the results of its own referendum across ten marginal Labour and Lib Dem constituencies showing 88% backing for putting the treaty to a vote of the public.
The Government dismissed the exercise as a "gimmick", saying that most supporters of the treaty had simply ignored the referendum.

MPs warn against US attack on Iran
A military strike against Iran is unlikely to succeed and could provoke a violent backlash across the region, MPs have warned. The Commons foreign affairs committee urged the Government to use its influence with Washington to persuade the US administration to "engage" diplomatically with the Iranians over their controversial nuclear programme.
In its report, the committee acknowledged that Tehran had suspended work on developing a nuclear weapon in 2003, making American military action less likely.

Johnson calls for 'personal' NHS
Doctors will be expected to give patients a more personal service as the Government announces the death of the "one size fits all" NHS. Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced plans for GPs to provide extra appointments at weekends and evenings and tailor services for individuals. In a keynote speech on the final day of Labour's spring conference in Birmingham, Mr Johnson told delegates: "People should have more choice over when they are able to see their GP. I hope that GPs will agree to provide extra appointments at weekends or evenings."

Pensions crisis 'worse than feared'
The scale of the UK's pensions crisis is worse than originally feared, with retirement provision facing a "perfect storm", a thinktank warned. The Policy Exchange also claimed that the Government lacked ambition in its pensions reforms, with serial changes to the state pension system having no real impact. It warned that over-regulation, rising life expectancy and higher costs had combined to produce a perfect storm in pensions.

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