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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PAPERS

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BNP TARGETS MIDDLE CLASS VOTERS IN BID FOR LONDON COUNCIL SEATS...
BNP TARGETS MIDDLE CLASS VOTERS IN BID FOR LONDON COUNCIL SEATS

British National Party (BNP) activists are using false names, encrypted software and counter surveillance techniques in order to avoid being identified as BNP members and to protect the party's secret membership lists, in a bid to boost support.

The BNP believes it is on the brink of electoral breakthrough and will win many more council seats. It hopes to win seats on the Greater London Assembly, under the proportional representation system to be used in the 2008 elections for the assembly.

Guardian reporter Ian Cobain joined the BNP under cover and became the party's central London organiser. He found party activists were using a range of secret techniques. Activists were also under orders from BNP leader Nick Griffin to avoid racist language and extreme views in public, in order to appeal to more middle class voters.

The Guardian, page 1

PORTSMOUTH TAKES RIGHT-TO-LIFE CHILD INTO CARE

The three-year-old girl at the centre of a right-to-life High Court battle has been taken into care by Portsmouth City Council.

When severely disabled Charlotte Wyatt was born, doctors went to the High Court to win permission not to resuscitate her if her condition worsened. Her parents successfully contested this and the child has survived, with intensive medical treatment.

But her parents have now separated and are unable to care for her on their own. Portsmouth City Council said yesterday it had found a foster family for her and Charlotte will be spending Christmas there, after being discharged from hospital.

The Daily Telegraph, page 7

SHARP RISE IN UNEMPLOYMENT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

The New Deal for young people is not working, with more people under 24 unemployed now than there were in 1997, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The number of unemployed people aged 16 to 24 has risen from 665,000 in May 1997 to 702,000, despite Labour's spending on youth employment schemes. The increase has been particularly sharp in the past two years and has hit teenagers most, with one in four 16 to 17 year olds unemployed. Some Labour MPs believe the rise is due to the influx of Eastern European migrants since May 2004, who have taken low-paid jobs previously filled by young people.

The Times, page 4

76-YEAR-OLD VEGETABLE THIEF GIVEN ASBO

South Gloucestershire Council has successfully applied for an anti social behaviour order (ASBO) against a 76 year old man who was caught stealing from his neighbours' allotments.

The ASBO granted by North Avon magistrates bans Philip Powner from setting foot in allotments and gardens in the village of Iron Acton. The retired accountant was seen stealing vegetables, hanging baskets and garden ornaments.

Philippa Isbell, anti-social behaviour co-ordinator for South Gloucestershire Council, said Powner had taken advantage of innocent residents and had caused much misery in the community.

The Times, page 5

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