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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government will be represented at 90th anniversary commemorations of the sinking of the Lusitania close to the Old Head of Kinsale or elsewhere; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the ministerial engagements (a) out of London and (b) in London that he has cancelled since 1 January 2004. 
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the potential for political instability in Nigeria following recent increased levels of civil unrest emanating from the national elections of 2003. 
Mr. Mullin: We do not believe the situation in Nigeria has worsened significantly since the April 2003 elections, although there have been some worrying outbreaks of violence, notably in Plateau State and the Niger Delta. We judge the principal cause of such incidents is over control of resources and political power. Officials from the British High Commission in Nigeria have been in close touch with the Federal and relevant State authorities on these events.
Mr. Straw: As at April 2004, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office employed 18 press officers within its main press office in London. This figure excludes press and public affairs officers posted to British overseas missions.
There are approximately 180 officers, both UK-based and locally engaged, employed within our missions overseas who spend a percentage of their time on press
24 Jan 2005 : Column 151W
and public affairs. Some of these are full time. An exact breakdown of these figures is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Canadian Government about the culling of seal pups in the forthcoming season; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 18 January 2005]: We last made formal representations to the Canadian Government in 1999 and the matter was raised again in May 2004. The Canadian authorities are fully aware of our views. We do not accept the need for any seal cull, but if one does take place it should be sustainable and based on a precautionary principle.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the UN on allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and whether he has discussed this matter with the governments of the countries concerned. 
Mr. Rammell: The recent reports of allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is disturbing. We have fully supported the actions of the UN Secretary-General in appointing Prince Zeid of Jordan as his special adviser on this issue. In addition, we have had detailed discussions with officials of other governments to decide how best to ensure that this issue is properly dealt with in the United Nations. We have agreed that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping during their meeting at the end of January will ask the UN Secretary-General to commission a full report and to come back to the Security Council with concrete recommendations and to ensure that any recommendations are implemented.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role the Government are playing in assisting peace talks between the Government of Sudan and rebel organisations in the Darfur region. 
Mr. Mullin: A UK observer attends the Abuja peace talks between the Government of Sudan and the rebel organisations in Darfur where he presses both sides to reach agreement on political issues. We are urging both sides to fully implement the provisions of the Security and Humanitarian protocols signed in Abuja as part of this process, and to participate constructively when the talks reconvene.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of his Department's resources have been dedicated to diplomatic representation in Yemen in the last 10 years. 
Mr. Mullin: The human rights situation in Zimbabwe remains bad. Zimbabweans are subject to political violence and intimidation. Attacks on what little is left of the independent media continue, and an NGO bill about to become law will restrict the freedom of civil society. There is no indication that parliamentary elections in March will be genuinely free and fair. We continue, with our international partners, to promote a return to democratic governance and the rule of law.
John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House what categories of information are available under Freedom of Information legislation that have not been provided in written parliamentary answers by his office in the last three years. 
Mr. Hain: There is no record kept of cancelled engagements in my diary. When engagements have had to be cancelled, wherever possible we try to reinstate them at a later date. All engagements are subject to ministerial and parliamentary business.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for how many deaths in (a) North Staffordshire and (b) Stoke on Trent, alcohol was the primary cause in each of the past five years. (209906)
The latest year for which figures are available is 2003. Figures in the attached table show number of deaths where the underlying cause of death indicated a condition directly related to alcohol use, in the years 1999 to 2003 among residents in the former Health Authority of North Staffordshire and the Unitary Authority of Stoke on Trent.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) definition of alcohol-related deaths only includes those causes regarded as being most directly due to alcohol consumption. Apart from deaths due to accidental poisoning with alcohol, this definition excludes external causes of death, such as road traffic deaths and other accidents, and alcohol-related suicides and homicides. Estimates of the annual total number of deaths in which alcohol has played a role can therefore vary widely depending on the criteria used. The definition used by ONS allows for consistent comparisons over time for those deaths where a clear association with alcohol consumption can generally be assumed.
|Former North Staffordshire health authority|
Stoke on Trent unitary authority
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