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Don't blame us for ignoring you.

How naive is the man who wrote into the Evening Chronicle (Tuesday, January 6).

How did he ever pass the exam to be a fireman, and why should he think he should have preferential treatment because of his occupation? Wake up, Mr Fireman, this is the year 2004.

Firstly, everyone knows you must book a taxi days, if not weeks, in advance for New Year's Eve. Secondly, how idiotic to set off walking home in what you describe as deplorable conditions.

And finally, how dare you criticise the public, stating not one single person stopped to give you a lift home. Most people, including myself, would feel frightened if someone tried to flag them down while driving (unless there had been an accident).

So can I suggest next year, Mr Fireman, you wear your red nose, and we'll all look out for you on New Year's Eve and give you a lift home. You're paid to serve the public, we're not paid to taxi you home.

E WALLS, Cramlington.

Fury over day with no Pink

SATURDAY, January 3, was one of the biggest days in the football calendar - FA Cup third round - yet there was no Football Pink for the second week running - why?

The Evening Chronicle is supposed to be the best for local and national sport - hardly true at the moment.

Let us hope there is no repeat of this dreadful blunder in the years to come.

R BEWICK.

NThe reason we did not publish was simply the fact that because of the time of the year some of our normal outlets closed early on this day and we would have been unable to supply the product on time. Indeed, especially on the 27th, some were not open at all.

Meanwhile, January 3 saw Newcastle United's kick-off time delayed until 5.35pm. This would have meant printing The Pink even later when no outlets were open.

The costs of production meant it was simply not viable to produce The Pink on this day.

Many sports papers throughout the country have either ceased publishing altogether, stopped printing in the summer or print on a Sunday.

I can assure you it is our intention to continue publishing on a Saturday, despite the switching of kick-off times due to TV.

So, despite the fact that Newcastle played Manchester United on Sunday and Fulham on Monday January 19, there will be a Pink this Saturday. We will publish the Pink at normal time on Saturday 24 which means we will not be able to carry a report of Newcastle's match at Liverpool but we will, of course, give you our usual unrivalled service in Monday night's Chronicle.

We have listened and taken your views on board.

Wake up to disability law

WHEN will businesses and employees wake up to the fact disabled people have rights too?

There are shops in Eldon Square that are limited for disabled people and they are not able to use parts of the shop. This could affect potential trade.

Are bus companies who advertise `easy access' services breaking the law when they do not provide this service? Both Arriva and Go-North East service 308 is part of the `super route' and should be easy access for all users.

When the new disabled rights come into force, I for one will not hesitate to report such offenders to the relevant authorities..

MR J R HAILES, Heaton.

Victims need protecting

SOME newspaper reports have inaccurately blamed the internet for an increase in child pornography, whereas it has actually created an opportunity for increased detection of this crime. The problem is that generally detection of sexual abuse of children is so low.

In the case of Ian Huntley, the Soham murderer, numerous complaints had been brought to the police by parents, but the police were unable to act because the child victims were too scared to make a statement or press charges.

It is likely that many more victims remained silent and the assaults on them were never admitted to anyone. The modus operandi of paedophiles is to silence their victims with death threats, which are very credible since the victims have already suffered unimaginable sexual assault.

Ian Huntley's child victims were referred by police to social services for investigation - but did they investigate? Not meaningfully.

We had consoled ourselves with the thought that at least murder was the one crime that Ian Huntley could not get away with. However, since his conviction for murder, and re-opening of old cases, it now seems he may have committed murder and escaped detection. Huntley also nearly escaped detection for the Soham murders, due to an incompetent investigation.

Society still has not investigated the implications of the Fred West case, where one individual was able to carry out serial murders despite an outrageous personal profile that should have attracted attention.

We have yet to come to terms with what paedophiles are. They are sadists, who enjoy inflicting pain and humiliation on other people because of the sexual satisfaction they derive from the feeling of power over others. They particularly enjoy inflicting this on children because they are weak and vulnerable, so giving their attackers a greater feeling of power.

We have to come to terms with the fact they generally escape with their crimes undetected because our society does not protect the weak and vulnerable.

What happens goes unnoticed.

With thousands of internet porn photos showing children being raped, tortured or even murdered, how many of the child victims have been identified and placed under protection? Very few.

We need to face up to what protecting children really means. Too many children are unloved. We cannot expect a remote bureaucracy to notice what we do not. Criminalising loving parents for smacking their children creates confusion about the issues. The guilt, fear and circumspection that will result amongst ordinary people will only make things easier for abusers.

NATHAN ALLONBY, Cullercoats

Strikes cause untold chaos

ON behalf of all members of the Passenger Transport Authority, nominated councillors from five district councils in Tyne and Wear, I am writing to express our concern at the proposals from two Metro unions to strike next Monday. Not only will this cause considerable disruption for Metro passengers, but it will also be damaging to businesses and the North East economy.

It is difficult for me to understand why the strike is going ahead when negotiations between Nexus and the trade unions resulted in a deal just before Christmas which, to all intents and purposes, was a productivity agreement, ie, a reduction in hours paid for by improved working practices.

The Passenger Transport Authority will be approving the budget for Nexus (and hence Metro) for the next financial year later this month. In determining the subsidy for Metro, we will be considering increasing that subsidy and we will be asking councils to increase council tax in part to pay for that increased subsidy.

I am writing to assure your readers, many of whom are both council tax payers and Metro fare payers, that we will not authorise any future increase in fares or council tax which would inevitably be necessary if hours of work were reduced without the productivity improvements.

We are pleased that, over the last 10 years, people working for the Metro have had significant improvements in their terms and conditions - now among the top 5% of manual workers in the North East. We will be concerned, however, if making these conditions even better it would be at the detriment of our council tax payers, the majority of whom have currently far worse conditions at their places of work.

COUN TD MARSHALL, Chairman, Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 15, 2004
Words:1281
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