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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Iraqi Ministry of Transport and the Coalition Provisional Authority are considering reconstruction and investment at a number of airports in Iraq, including Basra. Basra Airport will open to commercial aviation as soon as it is practical to do so.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Mentoring and peer support have an important part to play in improving offenders' learning and skills. The Prison Service runs a range of peer support schemes in literacy and numeracy. In addition to the approach favoured by the Shannon Trust, other initiatives include the Link Up project (funded by the DfES and delivered by the Basic Skills Agency) which trains prisoners, prison officers and staff from other agencies to become adult learner supporters and the Reading Champions scheme (run by the National Literacy Trust) which has also been extremely popular among prisoners.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There is no rule or policy which prevents a prisoner who denies his or her guilt from progressing through the system, or being released on parole licence. Nor is there a requirement to participate in a rehabilitation course. Such prisoners may be granted parole if their risk is assessed as having been reduced to a level that is compatible with the protection of public safety.
Information on the number of prisoners applying for parole and who deny their guilt is not centrally recorded by the Prison Service and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. However, as from January 2003, the Parole Board began to collate such data and for the period January to June 2003, in 34 per cent of cases, where prisoners maintained their innocence, parole was granted. Information is not held centrally on how many of these prisoners undertook interventions to address their offending behaviour.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): Unexploded ordnance in Iraq includes munitions from the Iran-Iraq war as well as mines laid by Iraqi forces, ordnance fired or dropped by both sides during recent hostilities and stores of ammunition and other ordnance left by Iraqi military and paramilitary forces.
United Kingdom forces have suffered one fatality from unexploded ordnance. We are not in a position to comment on casualties suffered by other members of the coalition. We have no reliable means of ascertaining the number of civilians killed or injured by unexploded ordnance since the end of the conflict.
Lord Bach: The United Kingdom and United States forces exchange a wide range of training techniques on a regular basis as part of their close operational relationship. Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism skills are included in this exchange. Recent examples have included search training, techniques to support operations in built up areas and maritime interdiction/boarding techniques.
Lord Bach: It is not necessary to give additional training to the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) as MDP officers fully understood the law in relation to aggravated trespass. The question of prosecution is, of course, a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service.
Lord Bach: Yes. Parliamentary Questions (PQs) have been tabled on Khamisiyah since at least 1996, and I have asked officials to ensure that a copy of all letters written pursuant to these PQs have been deposited in the Library of the House as soon as possible.
Lord Bach: In 1996, based on information provided by the United States authorities, it was initially concluded that no British units would have been affected by the demolition of chemical agents at Khamisiyah. From July 1997, following more detailed analysis by the US authorities, it became clear that British forces could have been exposed to low levels of chemical agents. As a result, the Ministry of Defence reviewed the US modelling work and published a paper in December 1999 titled, Review of Events Concerning 32 Field Hospital and the Release of Nerve Agent Arising From US Demolition of Iraqi Munitions at the Khamisiyah Depot In March 1991 which can be found at: www.mod.uk/issues/gulfwar/info/medical/khamisiyah.htm. The paper concluded that up to 9,000 British troops could have been within the modelled plume but that the possible level of nerve agent exposure would have no detectable effect on human health, in either the short or long term.
Further modelling work has been carried out in the US and was published in 2002. The US General Accounting Office is publishing a report on the modelling work later this year and once the US Department of Defence has responded to this, the MoD will undertake a further assessment and make the results public.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The information requested is not collected centrally. Allocations of funding for particular treatments are matters for the local primary care trust.
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