Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Yesterday I joined in a Question on the latest massacres at three villages near Jos, in Nigeria. There communal killings in Plateau State have been recurrent over the years, but 2010 has been the first to be stained with two such incidents, in January and March respectively. The reports estimate that 300 people were murdered in the March bloodbath, which seemed to be a revenge attack on Christians for the alleged killings of Muslims in January. I asked whether, considering that internet traffic beforehand had indicated what was about to happen, the Nigerian authorities had considered establishing an early warning system and rapid reaction force, to prevent future massacres.

In the afternoon, a blood test at King's after another long wait, to see what is the concentration of iron in the bloodstream, Dr B said on Monday. The normal spread is 13.5 - 16.0 g/cl according to her, but 11.1 - 15.0 on the Medic8 website Mine is 10.3 in the last test, which for some reason didn't look at anything except haemoglobin. According to Medic8 I'm suffering fro anaemia, the major symptom of which is fatigue, but another one listed is cold hands and feet which I certainly do have. I had been prescribed iron tablets, but they made me constipated so I stopped them.

Today I issued the preliminary report of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group mission to Pakistan, which spent an intensive 10 days there inquiring into the treatment of the Shi'a, Ahmadiyya Muslim and Christian religious minorities. The main report, with all the evidence, will be issued when Parliament returns after the election. In the meanwhile the Mission has produced its conclusions and recommendations on a deplorable situation. There is endemic persecution and harassment of the minorities, depriving them of all opportunities of making a positive contribution to Pakistani society.

Did some preliminary work on the debate I'm initiating on April 6 on changes in the Immigration Rules for Tier 2 migrants, ie those coming to the UK for education. In spite of tightening up the requirements for institutions that offer education at lower than degree level, the Government believe that bogus students are using this route to gain entry to the UK Since the colleges already have to report students who don't turn up, and they can be struck off the approved list if they accept too many no-shows, the answer may not be to put up the amount of money an applicant has to produce, stop him or her bringing in a spouse of other dependent, and cut the number of hours the applicant can work. The bogus migrant is still likely to find the money, as a cheaper and safer way in than paying the people-smugglers.

Its been a horrible weather day with dark skies, lots of rain and bitter winds, and the forecast is that its not going to get better until, maybe, there will be sunny spells on Sunday.

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