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Issue number 30Monday the 18th of August 1997


At Rusholme's "Curry Mile", Indian and Pakistani shops and restaurants occupy Victorian red brick terraced buildings
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There has been some improvement during the past seven days on last week's negative stories, though good news is still a bit thin on the ground, so this week's report will be short.

Following the murder Dillon Hull 10 days ago, police acted quickly, and arrested three men on Wednesday, one of whom, 26 year old Paul Seddon, was charged with the murder of the child. Seddon was also charged with the attempted murder of the boy's stepfather John Bates. The family have since moved out of their home in Jauncey Street, Bolton, and are now reported to be staying at a secret location.

On the same day that a man was arrested in connection with child murder, convicted child molester Graham Seddon (no relation, as far as I know) agreed to be tagged with an electronic device as part of an ongoing protection and monitoring plan for sex offenders. He is staying at a hostel somewhere in Greater Manchester, and is now wearing the small black radio transmitter strapped to his leg. Probation officers will be able to check on his whereabouts at regular intervals.

Many local people have less technically sophisticated solutions for dealing with the problem of child sex offenders, but in Britain in 1997, such measures just aren't acceptable. It's debatable whether a return to traditional punishments as meted out 50 years ago, including the birch, would reduce crime. One Manchester mother was very upset that the authorities didn't birch her son after he was found guilty of stealing. Read about it in Manchester Eyewitness.

The government is to announce a new plan to restrict traffic access to the centre of Manchester. It will be unveiled later this week, and is reported to involve charging motorists money to come into the city, as well as improving public transport links. As a regular commuter, the number of vehicles you see speeding into the city centre is astounding, and I often wonder where they all go. Buses can seem like an endangered species as all those cars whizz by. On some bus routes you're kept waiting fifteen, twenty minutes until finally three of them turn up at once. Something certainly needs to be done, but I know of several people who will continue to use their cars to get into the city centre because their journey time would be doubled if they switched to public transport. Details of the new plan will be summarised in Eyewitness in Manchester next week.
How the new Salford Quays Metrolink line will look, as seen on a billboard in Salford Quays

The tree protesters are back again, this time in Longsight, where there is a plan to build a new university residence on land currently covered in trees. Protesters say the building, which will house 500 rooms and have parking space for 100 cars, will involve the cutting down of the majority of the trees on the site.

The independence of India and Pakistan, which happened just over 50 years ago, has been celebrated this weekend by local communities from the Asian subcontinent. Since their arrival in large numbers in recent decades, they have changed the face of Manchester. Traditional English working class areas such as Rusholme and Cheetham Hill have been transformed into centres of Indian and Pakistani cuisine, culture and trading. Manchester Central Mosque, situated in Victoria Park, is an important meeting point for Islamic religious activity in the city, and the streets surrounding it are often jammed with cars and people going to and from religous events.

A new generation of Asian youngsters have grown up here, often very fashion and culture conscious, and speaking with an infectious style of Asian-Mancunian youth slang. They're at home here in Manchester, but still cling to the traditions of the country of their parents. It all goes to make up the multi-cultural spectrum of people here, who mostly, but not always, get along well together.

The week has been hot and sultry more or less every day, and I know a lot of people are wishing for the cooler weather to return. Brief showers haven't done much to break the sweltering heat and humidity. Tonight, temperatures won't fall below 61 degrees fahrenheit, and tomorrow, early mist patches will clear to be followed by sunshine and temperatures reaching 82 degrees (28 celsius).

We have a visitor from the south of England, who I hope will be impressed with what Manchester has to offer. We're trying to steer him clear of any drunks, beggars, feuding drug gangs and football hooligans, so far with success! I'm off now to eat at one of those superb Asian restaurants on Manchester's "Curry Mile" on Wilmslow Road, so have a good week wherever you are.



Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke
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