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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Cameroon's voting list was opened on 1st January and remains open until 31st July, in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 96/097 of 7th May 1996.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The United States has given public assurances that the train and equip programme will be fully transparent to the international community. We have been briefed regularly on the details of the programme.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The equip and train programme will be managed by the private, US-based firm MPRI, who will be under contract to the Bosnian Federation. We have been assured that no serving military personnel will be involved.
We shall continue to examine various methods of getting books to needy students, which will enable us to target books and information provision more effectively than under the former Educational Low-Priced Books Scheme.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Baroness Denton of Wakefield): Responsibility for compensation in Northern Ireland has been delegated to the Compensation Agency under its chief executive, Mr. Dennis Stanley. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given, a copy of which is attached. There is no comparable scheme for Great Britain.
I have been asked, as Chief Executive of the Compensation Agency in Northern Ireland, to reply to your Question about the amount of financial compensation so far paid in respect of terrorist activities in Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately, information does not exist on the specific cost of criminal injuries compensation resulting form terrorist activities. However, as part of the process of validating an individual criminal damage claim, the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary may issue a certificate indicating that in his opinion the damage was "committed maliciously by a person acting on behalf of or in connection with an unlawful association". Using this as a basis, the agency has calculated the value of criminal damage compensation claims as a result of terrorism which were paid in the financial years 1978-79 to 1995-96 to total £507 million. Unfortunately, records prior to 1978-79 are no longer available.
Lord Lucas: Epidemiological studies in Switzerland have identified meat and bone meal imported directly or indirectly from Great Britain as the most likely source of infection. Similarly meat and bone meal imported into Ireland accounts for a proportion of cases. Detailed studies have not been carried out in France but imported meat and bone meal has been suggested as the source.
Exports of meat and bone meal from the UK were small relative to UK consumption and, as in Great Britain, the majority of exports would have been incorporated in pig and poultry rations. We would therefore expect to see a lower incidence of BSE outside UK, reflecting this low potential exposure, but we do not have the data necessary for us to offer an opinion as to the number of exported feed-borne cases that should have been expected.
What research they are conducting to establish whether there is a genetic predisposition for susceptibility or resistance to BSE among cattle; and
Whether they have investigated any possible links between the sires of cattle infected by BSE and the incidence of BSE infections, and if not whether they will do so.
Lord Lucas: Our best hypothesis to account for the fact that some calves in a year cohort become infected while others do not is that feedstuffs were not homogeneously infected. This is consistent with the low weight of tissues containing the infectivity relative to the total weight of tissues used for the production of meat and bone meal.
Lord Lucas: There have been about 150 cases of BSE reported in homebred animals on organic farms that qualified as "organic" on the date the disease occurred (but not necessarily for the life of the animal concerned). We do not have the resources to investigate the entire past lives for each of these animals to determine what they were fed and treated with.
Lord Lucas: It is difficult to quantify the exact number of strains identified in Great Britain as they will not all have been characterised contemporaneously in the same mouse models, but an approximate answer would be 20. This may however be an over-estimate because of the tendency for scrapie agents to adapt to the experimental host species, giving rise to new strains in the laboratory. There have been too few field isolations and characterisations to be able to associate specific strains with geographical areas.
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