'Moderate drinking during pregnancy could cause serious childhood disorders'

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Moderate drinking during pregnancy could be the hidden cause of thousands of serious childhood disorders including autism, Scotland's leading...

Moderate drinking during pregnancy could be the hidden cause of thousands of serious childhood disorders including autism, Scotland's leading authority on alcohol and health warned last night. Dr Maggie Watts, vice chairman on alcohol for the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, fears that even low levels of drinking could be related to a range of behavioural problems in young children, the cause of which has previously been a mystery. - Scotland On Sunday

Broadcasters could lose over £250m a year if the government responds to pressure to impose a 9pm watershed on all alcohol and junk food advertising. Advertisers fear further crackdowns after Gordon Brown said last week that he wanted to meet with drinks companies "to look at what they are doing in relation to advertising". David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, which represents the alcohol manufacturers, has been summoned to a meeting at Downing Street on Wednesday to discuss the retailing and marketing of drink. - Sunday Telegraph

The Danish brewer Carlsberg has tried to gag directors of bid target Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) from talking publicly about the financial performance of Baltic Beverage Holdings, the East European beer company they jointly own. In the latest twist in what has become an increasingly acrimonious effort by Carlsberg and Heineken to bid jointly for S&N, it has emerged that lawyers for Pripps Ringnes, a Carlsberg subsidiary, sent letters at the end of October to the homes of S&N directors and employees who sit on the BBH board, saying they would be individually liable for damages arising from disclosures that breached the shareholders' agreement. S&N branded the letters as "unjustified, intimidatory and straightforward threatening". - Sunday Times

Scotland's pubs and beer industry is being saved from the adverse impact of the smoking ban by the good run of results from the country's top football clubs and the national side. Coors Brewers, the US company behind brands such as Carling and Maclachlan's ale, says it has seen a 12 per cent increase in demand for its beers in Scotland since July, thanks to football fans flocking to pubs to watch Uefa Champions League games and Scotland's qualifying matches for Euro 2008. - Scotland On Sunday

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