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Friday, September 29th 2006 - 21:00 UTC
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40 years on Remembering the 1966 DC4 hijacking; Falklands at PM
Blair's last conference; FLH directors: ?we're not trying to buy land'; Further education: criteria could grow; New FIDC boss chosen; Peat Cutting public holiday.

40 years on Remembering the 1966 DC4 hijacking

ON September 28, 1966 an Aerolineas Argentinas DC4 made a forced landing at Stanley Racecourse after being hijacked by 19 extremists intending to carry out a symbolic invasion of the Islands. A number of Royal Marines and civilians were taken hostage and held onboard the aircraft along with 26 passengers. Although the hostages were released late on the first day, the siege continued until just before dark on the second. The 40th anniversary of the incident is being marked by a display at the Falklands Museum. Turn to page 4 to read former Falklands resident Ted Clapp's recollection of events. Picture: R Rowlands collection.

Falklands at PM Blair's last conference

HAVING been lucky enough to hear speeches from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the man tipped to be his successor, Gordon Brown, and even former US president, Bill Clinton, Councillors Janet Robertson and Andrea Clausen say they have had a "fascinating" time at the Labour Party Conference. Held in Manchester this week, this was both councillors' first party conference. They were accompanied by Falkland Islands Government Representative, Sukey Cameron and met a number of influential members of the Labour party including Chancellor Gordon Brown and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Councillor Robertson spoke with Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. She reported, "I managed to convey our gratitude for the British Government's support for us and to highlight the issue of the Falklands with regard to Argentina's stance." There is great value for the Falklands in attending party conferences, Councillor Robertson said, "Benefits are definitely that we reach a lot of influential people in government and that cannot be underestimated." She added, "Sukey's knowledge of everybody is great because it means we get access to press and to MPs and that's invaluable in terms of trying to maintain support...." Both councillors were able to hear the final conference speeches of Mr Blair and his deputy John Prescott. Councillor Robertson commented, "This was both mine and Andrea's first party conference and it was a fascinating one to attend because of the change that is going on in the Labour Party. "Now we want to see what the Conservatives are going to say, and whether they can electrify us to the same extent." More next week.

FLH directors: ?we're not trying to buy land'

RUMOURS that Falklands Landholdings are in the process of selling off land in the Pleasant Point area and that Directors of the company are among prospective purchasers have upset some members of the farming community. However, General Manager Owen Summers and Chairman of the Board Councillor Ian Hansen have categorically stated that this is not the case. Some farmers were adamant that Andrez and Ali Short from Swan Inlet, working in conjunction with Board members Ben Berntsen and Councillor Mike Rendell, were about to acquire a large chunk of land near Swan Inlet. Mr and Mrs Short confirmed they have recently asked FLH to consider renting some land to them, and added that, to their knowledge, no FLH board members have made similar enquiries. Mr and Mrs Short said they have been asked to provide more information before an application can be put before a full board meeting and they are in the process of putting some ideas together for consideration. Councillor Rendell confirmed he has "no plans to acquire FLH land" while Mr Berntsen suggested that those making such accusations should move on and "get a life." So where did the rumours come from? Mr Rendell explained that his farm, Bleaker Island, has joined a sheep group breeding scheme with a number of others including the Shorts. He said that the initial plan was for Swan Inlet to run the group on behalf of the other members. However it was realised by Swan Inlet that they needed more land to do this and wrote to FLH asking for consideration that land be made available. Mr Rendell said that if, or when, the FLH board considers this request, he will declare an interest and leave the meeting. Meanwhile, because members are keen to get the group breeding scheme underway now, another farm is taking on responsibility for running the group, "for at least one season." More news from FLH on page 5.

Further education: criteria could grow

THE eligibility criteria for government sponsorship of further education may change to include assessments on students' commitment to study, attendance records, and attitude. These changes could come, " order to instill greater incentives to achieve on the part of pupils", His Excellency the Governor said. The Director of Education has been asked to present a revised system for this to Executive Council early next year. Councillor Richard Stevens, who holds the education portfolio, says the points criteria currently required for students to reach in order to qualify for further education will still stand and the additional criteria could, "...hone people's skills such as in turning up on time and handing in work." He said "nothing is set in stone yet," adding, "when we take it to the Education Board another group will probably be set up to look at it more closely." Executive Council also approved in principle restructuring proposals for the education services announced two weeks ago and a revised plan for the Training Unit, submitted by the Director of Education, subject to further public consultation including consultation with teachers and the Board of Education.

New FIDC boss chosen

THE new boss of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation has been appointed. Subject to the completion of the usual pre-contract formalities, Mark Brunet (52) and his wife, Ursula, are expected to arrive in the Falklands towards the end of January 2007. Mr Brunet is currently director of a flagship business enterprise support service covering West Sussex, eastern Surrey and parts of East Sussex and Kent which is operated by the Sussex Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise under a contract with the South East England Development Agency. Chair of the Falklands Development Board, Councillor Andrea Clausen commented, "I'm very pleased that we have been able to secure Mark's services and am confident that his skills and experience will add another dimension to the first class team that we now have in place at FIDC. "I look forward to welcoming him here and to working with him to further improve the success of our economy." Former General Manager of FIDC, Julian Morris, left the Islands last Saturday. PN/MP

Peat Cutting public holiday

THE Falklands can look forward to a long weekend as Monday is a public holiday. All Government Departments other than those providing essential services will be closed for Peat Cutting Monday.

Inside Penguin News this week:Full colour coverage of the Conservation Ball, courtesy of The Print Shop, a subsidiary of Stanley Electrical. Turn to centre pages.

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Categories: Falkland Islands.

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