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Fine dodgers.

It is in all our interests that the court system works and getting back money owed in fines and compensation is a major part of that.

The new powers that allow court officials to get tough with the "can't pay/won't pay" brigade certainly get a warm welcome from honest citizens who have been reduced to fury by the way that over the years some criminals have been able to cock a snook at the system.

But in three years the collection of fines has risen from 55% to 83% (or in purely Yorkshire terms 59% to 85%). It is an impressive improvement, for which the Government should be given much credit, although most will feel that the number should be much nearer 100% than that before we really start cheering.

We are all winning now that the system is working more efficiently - victims are more likely to get compensation, the perpetrators learn that the rules really have to be obeyed, and the courts are freed to provide a swifter and therefore better kind of justice.

Italian job

THE Italian election result is not a good advertisement for proportional representation. Italian election results rarely are!

The centre-left under Romano Prodi claims victory over sitting Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives on the strength of a 49.8% to 49.7% share out of the vote.

But a new government will need to control both houses of parliament and Berlusconi still seems to control the upper house.

The outsider is torn between the stability represented by Berlusconi - Italy's longest serving premier since the Second World War - and the allegations of corruption against him.

Hell of a planet

WHY would anyone in their right mind want to go to Earth's twin planet of Venus?

A temperature that can melt lead, a super-greenhouse effect, a crushing atmospheric pressure and burning sulphuric acid rain that falls from noxious chemical clouds.

Yet that hell is where Europe's Venus Express arrived today.

The scientist in us says that we need to know about the likes of Venus, the humanist element fears that the money could have been spent to better effect elsewhere. It's a long-running battle and a hard choice.

One thing we do know. If women really are from Venus they must have been glad to get away.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 11, 2006
Words:381
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