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REGIONAL PRESS NEWS ROUNDUP - UPDATED 3:37PM

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OPPOSITION TO SCOTS REPLACEMENT FOR S28 ...
OPPOSITION TO SCOTS REPLACEMENT FOR S28
The Church of Scotland and The Roman Catholic Church have lodged objections to the proposed wording of the document which is intended to replace section 28, the clause repealed last year which prohibited the 'promotion' of homosexuality. The Church of Scotland's response to the Scottish executive's consultation on the matter, states: 'In terms of aims and content much of what is here is good and helpful, but we believe that this document as it stands is inadequate if it is to achieve the desired ends.' But the Catholic Church in Scotland described the document as 'entirely inadequte', reports The Herald.
NORTH LANARKS AWARDS£325M CONTRACT
North Lanarkshire Council has awarded the Morrison property group a£325m contract for the repair and maintenance of its housing and public buildings. The 10-year contract is the first to be awarded to Morrison since it was taken over by AWG, formerly Anglican Water Group, in September. The public-private partnership will mean that the council's direct labour organisation will be replaced, although most staff will be retained, reports The Scotsman
SCOTS CITIES JOIN FORCES TO RAISE PROFILE
The councils of Scotland's four main cities are uniting in a campaign to highlight the vital role they play in the national economy, reports The Aberdeen Press and Journal. The four councils, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, are seeking talks with the Scottish executive to argue their case. The move follows the executive's announcemen t of a review of the economic, social and environmental issues affecting the cities.
SPECIALIST SCHOOLS 'WOULD BE A DISASTER' IN WALES
Wales should not follow England's lead in introducing specialist state schools, says the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers Cymru. The Western Mailreports that Geraint Davies, NASUWTC regional officer, believed that although the schools worked for England, they would be a disaster for Wales. 'Wales does not have the same huge urban areas as England and to introduce these kinds of specialist schools here would not work as they just do not have the same amount of pupils and would prove to be divisive,' he said.
DONCASTER MEMBERS CALL FOR INQUIRY INTO MINERS' COMPENSATION SCHEME
The new chief executive of Doncaster MBC ran into a political storm on his first day in office after it emerged that the council is blocking calls fromits own councillors for an inquiry into a miners' compensation scheme. David Marlow, who took over from Alf Taylor yesterday, was unavailable for comment on the call by councillors for an inquiry into the authority's involvement with the Yorkshire Compensation Recovery Service, reports The Yorkshire Post.
ANGER AT WEST MIDLANDS POLICE GRANT
West Midlands police yesterday accused the government of 'punishing' the force by witholding millions of pounds, reports The Birmingham Post(p1). A new formula has been used by the home office and the DETR to allocate this year's grants, but under the new system, the West Midlands force is to lose out on the equivalent of 80 officers. The West Midlands' force has a projected budget for 2001/02 of£409m, compared with£395.1m last year, which will only be achieved by an increase in the money it raises from the seven local authorities, the paper says.
SANDWELL SCHOOL MEALS CONTRACTOR HOPES TO END DISPUTE
Unison officials and managers are meeting in a last ditch bid to end a dispute threatening the Sandwell MBC's school meals service, reports The Birmingham Post. More than 200 Unison members employed by Chartwells, the company which provides meals for pupils in the council's schools, voted to take industrial action before Christmas in a row over plans to reduce working hours. A spokesman for the firm said: 'Negotiations are continuing and our objective is to reach a fair deal for everybody.'
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