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December 15, 2005

Former IRA Inmates In Job Discrimination Row

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 12/15/05 Former IRA Inmates In Job Discrimination Row
IA 12/15/05 Hain Reveals Major Infrastructure Inv In North
BT 12/15/05 Orde: It's Time For Sinn Fein To Wise Up
BB 12/15/05 NIO 'Could Change Fugitive Law'
EX 12/15/05 Ford: New Legislation 'Remains A Perversion'
DI 12/15/05 DUP Shun Dalai Lama
BT 12/15/05 Special Payments For RIR Men
DI 12/15/05 Call For Tattered Union Jacks To Go
BT 12/15/05 Calls For Overhaul Of PSNI Forensic Policies
BB 12/15/05 Cameron Visiting Northern Ireland
UT 12/15/05 Concern Over Drinking Water
BT 12/15/05 Opin: Government Sways In Legal Minefield
US 12/15/05 Opin: McCain, Victim Of Torture, Case For A Ban
BT 12/15/05 Andrea Corr In Running For Elegance Award


Former IRA Inmates In Job Discrimination Row

Pair in court battle after Simon Community refusal

By Marie Foy
15 December 2005

An IRA lifer was turned down for a job with a homeless
charity because of his past convictions, a Fair Employment
Tribunal has heard.

Ex-prisoner John McConkey (50), from west Belfast, is
claiming political discrimination against the charity after
it withdrew an offer to employ him as a residential support
worker at its Falls Road hostel in 2000.

In a dual action, another former IRA prisoner Jervis Marks
(38), from Forkhill, Co Armagh, is also alleging he was
discriminated against after he lost out on the post of
night worker at a Simon hostel in Newry in July, 2002.

The Simon Community is denying unlawful discrimination in
both cases, arguing it took the decision not to employ both
men because of their serious criminal convictions.

The pair are claiming that they were rejected because of
their republican sympathies.

The applicants' case was heard in October.

Dawne Anderson, former director of projects for the Simon
Community, was giving evidence at a hearing in Belfast

Yesterday, Karen Quinliven, counsel for the applicants, put
it to Ms Anderson that she said she had not given Mr
McConkey the job because of concerns he might seek to
influence vulnerable residents that the use of violence for
political ends was acceptable.

Ms Anderson replied "yes". She added that her decision was
based on the serious nature of the applicant's convictions.

The witness was asked if she accepted that there were
republicans who did not support violence.

Ms Anderson answered that she had had a 'black and white'
record of an individual who had a violent record.

Ms Quinliven suggested that at no stage had the charity
claimed that Mr McConkey posed a direct threat of physical
risk to the residents, apart from the concern that
paramilitaries might try to gain access to the hostel.

Mr McConkey was sentenced to life for murder after a
supergrass trial in 1983. He lost an appeal in 1986 and was
later released by the Life Sentence Review Commission.

Mr Marks was convicted of conspiracy to murder and
explosives offences. He was released in 1998.


Hain Reveals Major Infrastructure Investment In North

12/14/05 19:22 EST

A major Sterling £16 billion ($23.6 billion) 10-year
infrastructural investment programme for Northern Ireland,
with a huge portion of it to be spent on health and
education, was yesterday announced by Britain's Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain.

Mr Hain, in also publishing his budget for the year 2005-
06, revealed plans to cut almost 9 per cent of civil
service jobs in the North over the next three years.

The budget figures reveal that, excluding over GBP£1
billion spent on policing and the British army, it costs
£16 billion to run Northern Ireland annually. Of this, £11
billion is raised mainly through local taxation while the
British exchequer must subvent Northern Ireland to the
yearly tune of £5 billion.

Of the £16 billion annual budget, about £8 billion is
accounted for in non-discretionary payments, mainly
covering social security, pension payments and special
European Union payments.

Mr Hain and his ministers have no control over these
figures but were in a position to shape how the remaining
£7.826 billion should be spent.

The budget is up by £357 million or 4.8 per cent on the
previous year. The biggest spenders as usual are health,
which receives a 7.5 per cent increase, and education, up
4.2 per cent. The two departments will cost over £5.2
billion next year.

An additional £687 million will be spent on further and
higher education next year.

Mr Hain also announced that new rates increases of 19 per
cent to meet some of the budget costs will come into effect
from April. There will be a further 6 per cent rates rise
in 2007 when water charges based on house valuation will be

The budget document also discloses that by 2008 the
Northern Ireland Office plans to shed 2,303 civil service
jobs, about one in 11 of the 26,000 employed by the NIO.
The biggest job losses will be in the department of social
development (down 730 jobs), agriculture (down 373),
finance and personnel (down 351) and regional development
(down 336).

There was a big focus at the new Lisburn City Library,
where the announcements were made yesterday, on the capital
programme investment strategy for Northern Ireland for the
next 10 years. Mr Hain's officials described the investment
plan as "unprecedented".

The total infrastructural investment will be £16 billion up
to 2015, with £6.72 billion of it spent on education and
health. Primary and second-level education will receive £3
billion to finance the building of new schools and
extending and refurbishing scores of others. Further and
higher education will receive £820 million for similar

Health will receive £2.9 billion to cover the cost of
several new developments, including a new acute hospital
for the Enniskillen area, a new maternity hospital in
Belfast, and the introduction of local hospitals in Omagh,
Downpatrick, mid-Ulster and Whiteabbey. A new cancer center
will also be opened in Belfast.

Almost £2 billion will be spent improving the North's roads
network, while just over £500 million will be provided to
create better rail and bus services. Over the next 10
years, £2 billion will be spent on social housing while
£1.6 billion is allocated for water and sewerage.

Mr Hain said the 10-year plan was the "most significant
regeneration initiative" in decades.

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Orde: It's Time For Sinn Fein To Wise Up

By Sean O'Driscoll
15 December 2005

Senior republicans need to "wise up" and stop thanking the
police behind closed doors for stopping loyalist riots
while refusing to endorse the police in public, according
to Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde.

Speaking at the National Committee on American Foreign
Policy in New York on Tuesday, Sir Hugh said that his force
never gets public praise from republicans, even though
senior republicans thank him in private for defending their
communities against loyalist attacks.

"I think republicans need to move on and wise up," he said.

He said the situation emphasised the need for Sinn Fein to
publicly support the Police Service of Northern Ireland and
join the policing board.

"I don't think its tenable for them to stay outside any
longer," he said, before adding that Northern Ireland was
still in a position where republicans will not acknowledge
that the police have made very significant changes.

He said that republicans were very grateful that loyalists
were unable to penetrate police lines during mass loyalist
rioting on September 10 and accepted that police held the
line even thought they were being shot at by loyalists.

"I got feedback from senior republicans behind the scenes
saying: 'We understand what you did, we take no pleasure in
the fact that you were shot at and we recognise that you
protected our communities but we are incapable or unwilling
to say that publicly.'

"I don't think that's acceptable. I think they need to move
on and wise up in that regard" he said.

Sir Hugh said that republicans are not enrolling as police
officers but said that a decision by Sinn Fein to join the
policing board would "open the floodgates", he said.

"There are people out there who are just waiting for that
positive endorsement on policing. It seems to me to be the
way to change policing," he said.

And he added that there were already more people joining
the policing from the nationalist areas west of the Bann
river than from the loyalist Shankill Road in Belfast.

Sir Hugh was stopping off in New York after briefing senior
police officers in San Diego on Northern Ireland policing

He said senior San Diego officers could not believe the
restraint shown by Northern Ireland officers during the
loyalist riots.

He said that his officers were shot at 150 times during the
riot and only fired six live rounds back, and joked that
they only hit two people because his officers were not very
good shots.


NIO 'Could Change Fugitive Law'

The government is considering changes to its controversial
paramilitary 'on-the-runs' legislation, DUP deputy leader
Peter Robinson has said.

They are reassessing the clause absolving applicants from
appearing in person before a tribunal, said the MP.

NIO Justice Minister David Hanson said the government was
reflecting on the strength of opposition to the move.

However, government sources told the BBC he was not
committed to changing the original legislation.

The plan covers up to 150 people wanted for crimes in
Northern Ireland committed before 1998.

Mr Robinson said the government was facing an uphill
struggle to get the legislation passed into law.

"Even if they were to change this, it doesn't make the Bill
acceptable - it just makes it less unacceptable," he told
BBC News on Thursday.

"Change is going to be necessary to get it through the
House of Lords.

"I think they are now reckoning that there are some
elements of it where change is going to be necessary to get
it through the Commons, where they have a massive

In the Commons, Mr Hanson asked Mr Robinson to withdraw a
DUP amendment and the government would then consider
bringing its own amendment on the issue at the report stage
of the Bill.

Mr Robinson said non-appearance of the accused was
"contrary to natural justice" and a further insult to
victims and their families.

Without an accused in court, the trial would be "a massive
farce and fraud", he said.

Several Labour back-bench members also indicated they
believed the government should revise its position on the

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UUP MP Lady Hermon
also supported the DUP amendment.


Meanwhile, Alliance leader David Ford said: "One of the
central reasons for our opposition to the legislation has
been that the beneficiaries would not have to face the
court in person.

"If the government is considering addressing this issue,
then that is a small step in the right direction," he said.

Those covered under the legislation would have their cases
heard by a special tribunal, and if found guilty, would be
freed on licence without having to go to jail.

The government and Sinn Fein argue that it clears up "an
anomaly" left by the release of those already in jail after
the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The proposed law would set up a two-stage process. First a
"certification officer" would decide if someone was
eligible for the scheme.

This could be a paramilitary on-the-run, someone living in
Northern Ireland who is charged with an offence before 1998
or a member of the security forces accused of an offence
committed when they were combating terrorism.

The case would then go to a special tribunal, consisting of
a retired judge sitting without a jury. The tribunal would
have all the normal powers of the Crown Court but the
accused would not have to appear for their trial.

If found guilty they would have a criminal record but would
be freed on licence. They would have to provide
fingerprints and DNA samples to be granted their licence.

The scheme will be temporary but a precise cut-off period
is not specified in the bill - instead its expiry is linked
to the lifetime of the chief constable's historic cases
review team, which is looking at unsolved murders during
the Troubles.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/15 08:48:51 GMT


Ford: New Legislation 'Remains A Perversion'

The British government's Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill
will remain a perverse piece of legislation if ministers
fail to link it to the return of individuals exiled by
paramilitaries, it was claimed today.

As speculation mounted that the British government is
preparing to amend the controversial bill in a bid to avoid
an embarrassing defeat in the House of Lords, the leader of
the cross-community Alliance Party, David Ford, claimed the
legislation would still be flawed if it did not enable
people forced out of republican and loyalist neighbourhoods
to return home safely.

The South Antrim Assembly member said: "One of the central
reasons for our opposition to the legislation has been that
the beneficiaries would not have to face the court in

"If the government is considering addressing this issue,
then that is a small step in the right direction.

"However, the legislation remains a perversion. The
government continues to place the fortunes of those guilty
of appalling terrorist atrocities ahead of those of
innocent people exiled from Northern Ireland by

"This morally bankrupt process is causing a dangerous

"My party did not take risks to support the agreement for
the terrorist to be placed before the victim.

"If the democrat and the victim are not central to the
political process, there can be no process."

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Democratic Unionists,
SDLP, Ulster Unionists, victims groups and human rights
organisations have all been fiercely critical of the
legislation, which is currently going through its committee
stage in the House of Commons.

Under the British government's plan, people suspected of
offences before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement can apply
for a special licence that will ensure they will not be
arrested or sent to jail in the North.

They must apply to a certification commissioner, who will
ask the police if the individual is suspected of a crime
during the Troubles.

If they are, applicants will be issued with a certificate
listing the offence they are suspected of and guaranteeing
they will not be arrested if they set foot in the North.

The certificate will also set in train a special tribunal,
with its own judge and legal team, which will hold public
hearings to consider whether the applicant is guilty or

However, there is currently no obligation on the suspect to
appear at the tribunal.

If the suspect is found guilty, he or she will be issued
with a licence similar to that given to prisoners released
early from jail under the Good Friday Agreement, which will
guarantee they will not have to serve time behind bars
unless they become involved again in terrorist activity.

A bitter war of words has erupted between nationalists over
the legislation, with the SDLP accusing Sinn Féin of
negotiating a scheme that would not just allow on-the-run
IRA members to return to the North but also enable members
of the security forces who colluded in loyalist murders
during the Troubles to avoid jail.

Sinn Féin has insisted it never approved or discussed the
inclusion of rogue Royal Ulster Constabulary or British
Army members in the scheme with the Irish and British

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson yesterday claimed the
British government, in the face of strong opposition, was
preparing to change the legislation.

After being asked by Northern Ireland Office minister David
Hanson to withdraw an amendment that would force suspects
to appear at the tribunal, the East Belfast MP said they
were thinking again about the issue.

"This is the first chink of light," Mr Robinson claimed.

"However, even if it were changed, unionists would not find
the bill acceptable. It would merely be less unacceptable."


DUP Shun Dalai Lama

by Kathleen Mullin

Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama was shunned by the
DUP during his visit here in November, it has emerged.

One of the world's leading mean of peace last visited
Britain in 2004, when he met with Prince Charles, and the
foreign secretary Jack Straw. His three-day visit here was
due to an invitation from Mediation Northern Ireland to
open their new offices. He also took part in an inter-faith
ceremony in St Anne's Cathedral.

All the leaders of political parties received invitations
from Mediation Northern Ireland to meet with the Dalai Lama
individually. There is still no clear indication from the
DUP why they refused.

UUP politician Danny Kennedy, who met the Dalai Lama with
his party leader Reg Empey said: "The Dalai Lama is a man
of strong conviction, the main thrust of his message is
non-violence, he is against violence in all its forms."

Alban McGuiness of the SDLP said: "He has a significant
message to us in Northern Ireland. He is a very sincere man
of peace. I can't understand anyone not meeting him."

A representative for the DUP confirmed that the party had
declined to meet the Dalai Lama for discussion, but no-one
was available for comment on the reasons the decision had
been made.


Special Payments For RIR Men

By Noel McAdam
14 December 2005

Full-time Royal Irish Regiment soldiers and personnel are
likely to get special payments on top of their standard
redundancies, it emerged today.

But the level of the extra pay-out is thought to fall well
short of the DUPs' demands to the Government.

The DUP was today holding another meeting with Defence
Minister John Reid ahead of an anticipated formal
Government announcement next month.

DUP leader Ian Paisley was meeting the former Northern
Ireland Secretary of State with his deputy Peter Robinson
and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson.


Call For Tattered Union Jacks To Go

By Connla Young

Nationalists in a quiet County Down village have called on
the Orange Order to use its influence to have a string of
tattered union jacks removed from lamp-posts in the

The call came after Castlereagh borough councillor Brian
Hanvey said the flags, which were erected ahead of Twelfth
of July demonstrations in the summer, should be taken down
as a mark of respect for the birth of Christ.

The SDLP man says the flags, which have been left tattered
and torn by several months of winter wind and rain, are
disrespectful to one of the most important events in the
Christian calendar.

"I think it proves that the erection of these flags in the
summer as part of a celebration of culture is a myth.

"These flags are still flying at Christmas but perhaps
those who put them up will tell us they are part of a
celebration into the birth of Christ.

"We are heading towards the festive season and these flags
make the place look like its in disarray.

"The Orange Order should intervene and use its influence
with those who put these flags up. Afterall, they are
supposed to be a Christian organisation.

No one from the Orange Order was available for comment.


Watchdog Calls For Overhaul Of PSNI Forensic Policies

Concern at how evidence is stored

By Jonathan McCambridge
15 December 2005

A new report has recommended that the PSNI urgently review
its policies on how forensic evidence is stored and

The Criminal Justice Inspectorate (CJI) and Her Majesty's
Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have jointly produced
reports into the PSNI's scientific support services and
Northern Ireland's forensic science agency.

The PSNI has its own scientific support branch carrying out
crime scene duties such as fingerprint bureau, photography
and mapping. There are a number of civilians working within
this department.

More specialised support is provided by Forensic Science
Northern Ireland, which employs 171 staff at its
headquarters in Carrickfergus.

The reports acknowledge that there is an increasing
reliance on forensic techniques in policing to solve

However, after the watchdog visited a number of stations to
examine how they store and monitor forensic items they have
expressed concern over practices.

They found that a number of vehicle examination garages
were untidy, insecure and often used to store other

The watchdog also reported: "There is some concern that a
lack of forensic awareness at some crime scenes may be
compromising the integrity and preservation of evidence."

It states: "Policies and processes for the storage,
retention, management, weeding and destruction of forensic
property should be urgently reviewed and implemented".

"Joint planning with PSNI and Forensic Science Northern
Ireland should address concerns around crime scene
attendance including serious road traffic collisions,
better co-ordination of fingerprints expertise and revised
arrangements for the submission of exhibits to the

Inspectors also said that the investigation of volume crime
such as domestic burglary and theft, as opposed to serious
crime such as rape and murder, requires a higher priority
within the Police Service and recommend the nomination of a
'champion' for volume crime.

Kit Chivers, the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice and
Ken Williams, HM Inspector of Constabulary said: "We are
pleased that PSNI are already acting upon the
recommendations of this report and continue to strengthen
their scientific support capacity."


Cameron Visiting Northern Ireland

New Conservative Party leader David Cameron is visiting
Belfast as part of his tour of UK regions.

Mr Cameron's first stop will be a visit to Lagan College,
Northern Ireland's first integrated school.

He will also visit Impact Training, a community-based
training project near the Shankill Road peaceline.

Mr Cameron also has a number of private engagements. It is
believed a meeting with Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is
one of the meetings on his itinerary.

No talks with the NI party leaders are planned for this
visit, but he is expected to meet some Northern Ireland-
based Conservatives.

The new leader will be accompanied on his visit by David
Lidington, the party's spokesman on Northern Ireland.

Mr Lidington retained his position as shadow Northern
Ireland secretary despite a front-bench reshuffle by Mr
Cameron, who was elected as the new Conservative leader
earlier this month.

The 39-year-old fought off the challenge of David Davis by
a margin of more than two to one votes in a postal ballot
of party members across the UK.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/15 07:27:50 GMT


Concern Over Drinking Water

Local authorities in Ireland are being urged to carefully
monitor drinking water supplies.

The Environmental Protection Agency is issuing the warning
after a potentially lethal parasite was found during tests
on water supplies for over half the population.

Cryptosporidium can cause symptoms such as fever and
stomach upsets, and may be fatal to the elderly and very

While the quality of water supplied to 84 per cent of the
population is satisfactory, the EPA says it is still
concerned at some private group water schemes.


Opin: Government Sways In Legal Minefield

14 December 2005

The whole point of the government agreeing to hold
inquiries into a series of controversial killings, like the
murder of Billy Wright at the Maze, was to uncover the
truth. Sadly, the introduction of the Inquiries Act,
enabling Ministers to decide whether evidence should be
made public, threatens to render two of the inquiries

David Wright, father of the notorious LVF leader, boycotted
yesterday's hearing, where the new rules were receiving
their first test, and he will be mounting a legal challenge
in the New Year. Like the family of solicitor Pat Finucane,
murdered by the UFF in 1989, he refuses to take part in an
inquiry where evidence can be suppressed and is seeking
public support.

The new law, rushed through Parliament before the General
Election, will affect all future inquiries. Out of four
cases being investigated, two will be held under older
legislation, whereas the Wright and Finucane inquiries will
apparently be subject to what amounts to government

Whatever reservations there may be about the value of such
investigations, recommended by an independent Canadian
judge who opposes the Inquiries Act, they were intended to
bring closure for the victims' relatives. If they are set
up in a way that antagonises these families and keeps
evidence secret, what purpose do they serve?

The Government's defence would be that lives could be put
at risk by some disclosures, or that national security
could be involved. Lord MacLean, at the Wright inquiry,
contends that he will have greater scope, under the Act, to
question the role of state agencies - although Mr Wright's
lawyers have no complaints about the powers available under
the Prisons Act.

To the watching public, which will be paying dearly for all
these inquiries, the Government appears to be obsessed with
secrecy. Already collusion has been found between
intelligence agents and the loyalist killers of Pat
Finucane, which has proved highly damaging, and there could
be further embarrassment if the full background to the
Wright murder is revealed.

It is understandable that in some cases the Government
should want to protect individuals and intelligence methods
from scrutiny. But if there were genuine fears that the
disclosure of documents would be against the public
interest, why did Ministers agree to hold inquiries?

The Government has stumbled into a legal minefield and is
in danger of undermining the credibility of the inquiry
process, as well as that of chairmen who should be regarded
as independent. If Tony Blair wants to avoid further
allegations of "control freakery", he should lift the
restrictions or provide better explanations for them.


Opin: McCain, Victim Of Torture, Makes Case For A Ban

The United States isn't the first civilized nation faced
with a terrorist threat to resort to what the Bush
administration refers to as "enhanced interrogation
methods" and what others call torture. (Related: Opposing

The French tried it against the Algerians. The British
tried it against the Irish Republican Army. The Israelis
tried it against the Palestinians.

In each case, the results were similar. In the short term,
intelligence gains appeared to justify the harsh
techniques. Over time, however, the barbarism became
difficult to regulate and backfired on the torturers. The
means compromised the ends.

That's now happening with the United States. After the 9/11
attacks, the Bush administration authorized a "gloves off"
approach to al-Qaeda suspects. To Americans reeling from
Osama bin Laden's atrocities, the appeal of heeding the
Geneva Conventions was no match for the lure of tough

Four years later, reports of secret CIA prisons,
"renditions" of terror suspects to other countries for
torture by proxy, and prisoner abuse in Iraq, in
Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have undercut
America's moral standing in the world and its progress in
the war on terror.

In an effort to repair the damage, Sen. John McCain, R-
Ariz. — who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam —
has offered a commendably simple amendment to a military
spending bill that would outlaw "cruel, inhuman and
degrading" interrogations. Led by Vice President Cheney,
the White House has been seeking ways to water down
McCain's amendment. That's regrettable. The amendment might
not be perfection itself, but it's a necessary
reaffirmation of core American values.

The United States' disastrous foray into abusive
interrogations has failed on both practical and moral

Practically, torture appears to produce intelligence that
is questionable at best. Far superior intelligence has come
from traditional and acceptable techniques such as
intercepting messages and seizing laptops.

With enough pressure, almost every prisoner will talk
eventually. The problem is, he's most likely to tell his
interrogators what he thinks they want to hear, which might
or might not have any relation to the truth. That appears
to have happened with former al-Qaeda leader Ibn al-Shaykh

Captured by U.S. forces in Pakistan in 2001, al-Libi was
handed over to the Egyptians. Under duress, according to a
New York Times report, he made up stories about receiving
chemical weapons training in Iraq, which the Bush
administration used to justify the war.

On a moral level, the United States learned that world
opinion regards torture as evidence that America repudiates
its own values. It's particularly unforgivable when
authorities grab the wrong suspect, as appears to have
happened when U.S. agents snatched German citizen Khaled
al-Masri and had him held for five months.

All of that said, much of the debate over torture and the
McCain amendment has been overly simplistic. It is not
logical to believe that no useful intelligence has ever
been extracted through torture. And anti-torture
absolutists tend to discount the "ticking bomb" scenario,
in which an active plotter is grabbed days or even hours
before an attack. In such exceedingly rare and improbable
cases, it seems to us, authorities have an obligation do
what it takes to save lives.

But should that need arise, it can be addressed as a
forgivable violation of law, much in the way juries handle
aberrant criminal cases. To endorse torture instead invites
the excesses that have undermined the war on terrorism.

McCain's standard is anything but extreme. It is simply the
world's standard, defined by the Convention Against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment, which the United States ratified in 1994.

McCain is the ideal voice to restate the U.S. opposition to
torture. He understands that how the United States treats
prisoners affects the treatment of Americans captured
abroad. The Senate is already on record, 90-9, for his
amendment. Wednesday night, the House of Representatives
voted 308-122 to express support for it. For the sake of
the United States' standing in the world and the well-being
of future POWs, it should become law.


Andrea Corr In Running For Elegance Award

By Maureen Coleman
15 December 2005

Irish beauty Andrea Corr is in the running for the Most
Elegant Woman of 2005.

The Dundalk singer is nominated in the category in's interactive poll.

Andrea, lead signer with The Corrs, was the overall winner
in last year's Most Attractive Woman category.

This year, the raven-haired star is vying for Most Elegant
Woman of 2005 against Hollywood actresses Gwyneth Paltrow
and Sandra Bullock, Princess Mary of Denmark and Princess
Madeleine of Sweden.

Nominated for Most Attractive Woman of 2005 are Angelina
Jolie, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Nicole Kidman and

Up for Most Attractive Man of 2005 are actors Ewan
McGregor, Johnny Depp, Sean Bean, Hugh Jackman and pop
heart-throb Enrique Inglesias.

Last year's Most Attractive Man was The Lord of the Rings
star Orlando Bloom, while Princess Mary of Denmark was Most
Elegant Woman.

Every year the competition generates masses of online votes
and e-mails from readers keen to make their opinion felt
during a fortnight of finals.

Last year the three categories garnered over 100,000 votes
from the magazine's fans.

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