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Wild Mallard

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Figures on the mortality of mallard were derived from Mudge G. P. 1983. The incidence and significance of ingested lead pellet poisoning in British wildfowl, Biological Conservation, 27, 333-372. The work was carried out in the late 1970s in a number of locations in Great Britain. The findings were based on a sample of 2,683 birds from 24 species of which mallard formed a significant number.

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Mortality figures of 2-3 per cent. for the United States, were based on a research paper by G. C. Sanderson, Lead poisoning mortality published in 1992.

Benefit Take-up

Lord Rix asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The department has not looked at the relationship between levels of education and take-up directly but qualitative research has indicated that many customers have difficulty completing claim forms. In addition, analysis of the 1996 British Adult Literacy survey shows that a large number of benefit recipients have low literacy skills (see DSS research yearbook 1997-98--Chapter 4).

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Diplomatic Immunity

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the statement by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 6 July that, "It is well known that the possession of a diplomatic passport is not proof in itself of immunity." (H.L. Deb., col. 809), whether they will outline those requirements necessary to provide proof of diplomatic immunity.[HL3572]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The principal requirement is evidence that the claimant is a member of a diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom. In case of doubt, it is for the courts to decide whether the claimant is entitled to immunity.

East Timor

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they will take with regard to the future of East Timor if a positive security assessment cannot be made ahead of next month's United Nations consultation process.[HL3653]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The security situation in East Timor remains a cause for concern. Our focus now is on working with all involved to help secure real improvements so that a positive assessment can be made and so that UNAMET, whose work we have been actively supporting, can conduct a free and fair consultation of the East Timorese people.

British Council: Chairmanship Terms and Conditions

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the terms and conditions of service, including remuneration, of the past two chairmen of the British Council and the present holder of that office.[HL3657]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The terms and conditions offered for the Chairmanship of the British Council when it was advertised in December 1997 were as follows:

"The British Council offers an honorarium of c. £35,000 per annum for an average time commitment of two days per week, involving UK based work and overseas travel in equal measure.

The appointment, which is only open to British citizens, will be for three years, with the possibility of extension or renewal. Board Members do not normally serve beyond the age of 70."

The present chair was appointed after national advertisement and selection from over 150 applicants. This procedure was instituted to comply with Nolan principles. The honorarium offered was to attract a person of the highest professional standing and was

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based on comparable remuneration in the public sector. So far the honorarium has not been paid because a question on the payment of any honorarium to a trustee of a body with charity status has been raised by the Charity Commissioners.

In 1992 Sir Martin Jacomb was appointed on the payment of an honorarium of £9,215. Details of the terms and conditions of previous chairmen are not readily available. The new arrangement of public appointment and published honorarium was to comply with the Nolan principles.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What help is being given to Uganda to prevent armed incursions and the abduction of children from the northern region by the so-called Lord's Resistance Army; and whether they have any evidence that this organisation is assisted by the Government of Sudan.[HL3660]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are appalled at the reports of atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. With our partners at the UN we have strongly condemned their tactics. We believe there cannot be a purely military solution to the problems of Northern Uganda. We continue to urge the Ugandan Government and all other parties involved in the conflict to pursue all opportunities for a peaceful settlement, and are encouraging conflict resolution activities. This message was reinforced most recently by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development when she visited Uganda in May. She also reaffirmed that Britain would substantially increase its development assistance to the region if sustainable peace were achieved. We welcome President Museveni's offer of an amnesty to the LRA. An amnesty will be a key element to an eventual resolution of the conflict. There are persistent reports that the LRA receives assistance from the Government of Sudan. We will continue to raise this issue with the Sudanese authorities.

Balkan Stability Pact

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether contributions to the reconstruction envisaged in the Security Pact for the Balkans should be roughly proportional to the quantity of ordinance expended by each state which participated in the recent NATO action in and around the Former Yugoslavia.[HL3723]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Stability Pact will be a forum for discussing and co-ordinating on a wide range of issues with countries of the region. It will not be a spending organisation running reconstruction programmes.

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Human Rights: Second Annual Report

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the Annual Report on Human Rights.[HL3814]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The second Annual Report on Human Rights has been laid before the House as Command Paper 4404 today. Copies of the report have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

European Union: Forthcoming Council Business

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for August and the major European Union events for the next six months.[HL3816]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: EUROPEAN CALENDAR: AUGUST 1999-JANUARY 2000.

This calendar is primarily concerned with European Union matters, but certain other relevant events are also included. Events and dates quoted are based on the information available on the date of issue. August 1999

    No Council Business September 1999

    4-5 Saariselka Foreign Ministers (Informal)

    10-12 Turku ECOFIN (Informal)

    12-14 Tampere Agriculture Ministers (Informal)

    13-14 Brussels General Affairs Council

    13-17 Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary

    16-17 Turku Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (Informal)

    24-25 Tampere Education Ministers (Informal)

    27-28 Kuopio Ministers of Housing

    27-28 Brussels Agriculture Council

    30 September-1 October Helsinki Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men October 1999

    1 Florence Trade Ministers (Informal)

    4-5 Luxembourg Justice and Home Affairs Council

    4-5 Tampere Regional Policy Ministers

    4-8 Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary

    6 Luxembourg Transport Council

    7 Luxembourg Internal Market

    8 Luxembourg ECOFIN

    11-12 Luxembourg General Affairs Council

    12 Luxembourg Environment Council

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    15-16 Tampere Special European Council

    18-19 Luxembourg Agriculture Council

    22 Luxembourg Labour & Social Affairs Council

    24-25 Helsinki Energy Ministers Task Force Meeting

    25-29 Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary

    26 Luxembourg Fisheries Council

    28 Luxembourg Research Council

    29 Luxembourg Justice and Home Affairs Council November 1999

    3-4 Brussels European Parliament Plenary

    8 Brussels ECOFIN

    8 Brussels Consumer Affairs Council

    9 Brussels Industry Council

    11 Brussels Development Council

    12 Brussels Labour & Social Affairs Council (possible)

    11-12 Helsinki Ministerial Conference on the Northern Dimension

    15-16 Brussels Agriculture Council

    15-16 Brussels General Affairs Council

    15-19 Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary

    18 Brussels Health Council

    19 Brussels Youth Council

    22 Brussels Fisheries Council (possible)

    22-23 Brussels EU-ACP Ministerial Meeting (possible)

    23 Brussels Culture/Audiovisual Council

    23 Brussels Youth Council

    25-26 Brussels Budget Council

    26 Brussels Education Council

    29 Brussels ECOFIN

    29 Brussels Labour & Social Affairs Council

    30 Brussels Telecommunications Council December 1999

    1-2 Brussels European Parliament Plenary

    2 Brussels Energy Council

    2 Brussels Research Council

    2-3 Brussels Justice and Home Affairs Council

    6-7 Brussels General Affairs Council

    7 Brussels Internal Market Council

    9-10 Brussels Transport Council

    10-11 Helsinki European Council

    13 Brussels ECOFIN

    13-14 Brussels Environment Council

    13-17 Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary

    14-15 Brussels Agriculture Council

    16-17 Brussels Fisheries Council

    16-17 Brussels EU-ACP Council (possible)

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    January 2000

    14 Brussels Fisheries Council

    18 Brussels Budget Council

    24-25 Brussels General Affairs Council

    24-25 Brussels Agriculture Council

    28-29 Brussels Development Council (Informal)

    31 Brussels ECOFIN

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