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USA UK and Malta News
07/03/2008 - 22:46

UK today Editoweb, 07 march 2008

Queen, husband will not give evidence at Diana inquest: coroner - PM slams abusers behind uniform ban - Government warned over diploma plan - Brown pays tribute to Lord Pym - Tories plan to tax binge drinkers.

Queen, husband will not give evidence at Diana inquest: coroner
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip will not be called to give evidence at the inquest into the death of princess Diana, the coroner ruled Friday. The father of Diana's lover Dodi Fayed, who was killed in the 1997 Paris car crash, had particularly wanted the prince to be a witness as he maintains he was at the head of an establishment plot to murder the couple. But judge Scott Baker said: "In my judgment it is not expedient to call the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) to give evidence, nor do I think the Queen should be asked to answer the questions posed" by Mohamed Al-Fayed's lawyer.

PM slams abusers behind uniform ban
Gordon Brown has led a chorus of condemnation after British troops were banned from wearing uniform in a Cambridgeshire town for fear of attracting abuse. The Prime Minister spoke out angrily after senior officers at RAF Wittering ordered personnel to wear civilian dress when visiting nearby Peterborough. The decision was sparked by incidents where insults were directed at some of the airmen and women.

Government warned over diploma plan
The Government's flagship new diplomas are at risk of failing unless ministers scrap A-levels and GCSEs as free-standing qualifications, headteachers have warned. Ministers want diplomas, which combine practical skills with theory, to compete with A-levels to see which courses are the most popular in schools. But the Association of School and College Leaders said teenagers and their parents would be reluctant to make "a leap of faith" and sign up for diplomas that could prove a failure.

Brown pays tribute to Lord Pym
Gordon Brown has led tributes to former Tory foreign secretary Lord Pym, praising him as a "man of great decency and principle". The Prime Minister said the peer, who died aged 86 after a prolonged illness, was a "distinguished Parliamentarian". Lord Pym was also a former Northern Ireland and Defence Secretary and a government chief whip during the Thatcher government. He served as foreign secretary during the 1982 Falklands War after the resignation of Lord Carrington.

Tories plan to tax binge drinkers
The Conservatives have come under fire for their proposals to hike tax on alcopops and super strengh beers. The party said it wanted to increase the duty on the drinks most linked with anti-social behaviour. The money raised would then be used to cut the price of low-alcohol drinks. But the Government said the plans were illegal and unworkable. A spokeswoman for the chancellor said there was no provision in European law for a separate tax on alcopops. She added that their sales were going down.

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