25/11/2008

Other NI News In Brief

Protect Local Broadcasting, Says Assembly

The Assembly has called for the protection of public service broadcasting and for UTV to suspend its restructuring and redundancy programme. Yesterday, Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of the Culture Arts and Leisure Committee, Barry McElduff welcomed the Assembly passing - with all party support - the Sinn Féin motion calling on the regulator to "protect diverse, quality broadcasting through the promotion of local news and programming; extend Ofcom's Public Service Broadcasting Review consultation period for a further three months and call on UTV to suspend its restructuring and redundancy programme pending the outcome of this consultation process. Mr McElduff said afterwards: "I will be asking the First and Deputy First Minister to investigate this in conjunction with the Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, Gregory Campbell."

VAT Bonanza

The cutting of VAT from 17.5% to 15% will have a "massive impact" on the level of cross-border shopping, a leading economist has said. Professor Mike Smith said it will result in record number of shoppers travelling north this Christmas. Professor Smith said the savings to be made on a large shop could justify a family travelling from as south as Dublin to Newry. See: North' Is The Place To 'Spend' Christmas

Bowl 'Em Over, Says Campbell
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There was a warm welcome last night for the 16 Commonwealth teams that have just arrived in Northern Ireland for the fourth Ten Pin Bowling championships. Speaking at a reception at Parliament Buildings last night, Stormont Minister Gregroy Campbell said: "It is an honour for Northern Ireland to host this Tenpin Bowling Championship and it is the first time that our own team will have played this competition in front of a home crowd. International events, such as this help to raise the profile of Northern Ireland and place us on a world stage, for all the right reasons."

Forced Marriage Law Welcomed

Finance Minister Nigel Dodds has welcomed new laws to protect against forced marriage which have now been extended to Northern Ireland: "This allows a court to intervene to protect a person who is faced with forced marriage or has been forced into marriage. It marks a further expansion of the civil justice protective regime and will ensure that the courts have the necessary powers to provide effective, well targeted relief," he said. From today, 25 November, the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 will allow for the making of a court order to protect those faced with forced marriage or those who have been forced into a marriage.

Tourism Looks East

The tourism potential of east Belfast is being showcased at an event in Belfast's historic Titanic Quarter today. The East Belfast Partnership has been running a pilot programme to promote the area, for the last three months and the organisation's Chief Executive, Elma Newberry, said Tuesday's event was about "opening the treasure chest of tourism in east Belfast". "We have the famous people we have CS Lewis, Van Morrison and George Best," she said. "Iconic places we have are Stormont and Titanic Quarter obviously. But there is a lot more to east Belfast, a lot of natural heritage, and we are currently developing the Connswater Community Greenway which will enhance that even further," she said.

(BMcC)

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