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Humanity Will Continue to Live an Inferior Life Than What is Possible Until the Two Halves: All Individuals in Them: That Make It are Absolutely Fundamentally and Jubilantly Equal at Liberty
 

 

Year Gamma: London: Wednesday: October 18: 2017
The Arkive

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United Kingdom Arkive 2017 Q-Alpha

|| January || February || March ||

|| United Kingdom Arkive Year Alpha || September 24: 2015-September 23: 2016 ||
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's My Marathon May; I Will Run Whatever Way I Like: British Heart Foundation May Marathon Invites: ‽: 050416
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United Kingdom Arkive

The Great Repeal Bill Isn't Enough to Protect Our Environment: Friends of the Earth

 

|| March 31: 2017 || ά. With the environment left out of the UK’s Article 50 letter, it’s vital that the Great Repeal Bill brings over not just the laws, but the principles, which protect our environment warns Friends of the Earth as the Great Repeal Bill White Paper is put before parliament on March 30. The Great Repeal Bill 'will ensure that the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law'. But when it comes to the environment, without a body put in place, which can enforce these rules, there’s great concern that standards could slip.

The environmental charity is calling on the government to not only bring over EU environmental rules as part of the Great Repeal Bill but commit to the overarching principles which underpin the high environmental and wildlife standards that the UK currently enjoys such as the ‘precautionary principle’ and the principle that the ‘polluter pays’. Samuel Lowe, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said, “The Great Repeal Bill is necessary but on its own, it isn’t enough to protect nature and our environment. We must commit to bringing over the precautionary principles which underpin our high environmental and wildlife standards.

The government must also create an independent body with teeth to make sure rules which protect nature and the environment are upheld. As the recent legal cases on air pollution have shown, the government does not always uphold its own laws without being pushed. More clarity is also needed regarding the scope of powers set to be granted to ministers. Whilst the government will need the power to adjust rules to make them work in UK law, they should not be able to change their purpose or meaning without proper scrutiny. Any substantive changes to these laws should be made by primary legislation only.

The environment has been worryingly absent from the Brexit debate. Urgent issues like climate change, air pollution and destruction of the natural world cannot be dealt with by one country alone. This is why the UK government must prioritise continued cooperation with our closest neighbours on these shared problems.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

|| Readmore   || ‽: 010417 || Up ||

 

 

 

 

The National Holocaust Memorial at the Victoria Tower Gardens Next to the Palace of Westminster: Readers You Vote to Help Choose Which One Out of Ten Shortlisted Designs Becomes Reality

 

|| March 30: 2017 || ά. The international design competition to find the best design for the National Holocaust Memorial at the Victoria Tower Gardens, Next to the Palace of Westminster is managed by Malcolm Reading Consultants on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government and the wider work of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, fulfils the recommendations made by the Prime Minister’s cross-party Holocaust Commission in its report of January 2015. On Holocaust Memorial Day in 2016, the UK Government announced that the National Holocaust Memorial will be located adjacent to the Palace of Westminster at the Victoria Tower Gardens, London. The Government has, also, been clear that in delivering this National Memorial, it seeks to maximise the interpretative and educational benefits. Out of the Competition there are now ten shortlisted designs put on display online and the members of the public are invited to vote for the one they like best.

The Humanion invites all our readers to take part and vote and tell everyone about the vote as there are ten beautiful designs, that have arisen from the entire world and yet, all of them cannot be used but one and you determine the prominence of the one you would like the Jury to consider. Therefore, please, go and vote. The competition Jury is made of Sir Peter Bazalgette, Jury Chair, Chair, Lord Daniel Finkelstein OBE, Alice M. Greenwald, Loyd Grossman CBE, Ben Helfgott MBE, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Natasha Kaplinsky, Rt Hon Sadiq Khan, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Sally Osman, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones DBE, Paul Williams OBE, Malcolm Reading. Competition Director and Advisor to the Jury. The Holocaust Commission was clear that the strongest way of delivering those benefits would be through the creation of a co-located Learning Centre. Following an extensive search of potential sites across London and a detailed analysis of Victoria Tower Gardens, the cross-party UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation is now formally recommending to Her Majesty’s Government that such a Learning Centre should indeed be co-located, below ground with the National Memorial in the Victoria Tower Gardens.


As a result, the competition is seeking holistic designs comprising two key parts. The first part fulfils the minimum commitment of a National Memorial, requiring an outstanding design for a stand-alone memorial, including landscaping and above ground work. The second part is the below ground Learning Centre component, which will be taken forward subject to technical, financial, planning or other constraints. Both parts should be considered holistically together, as set out in the competition documents. Her Majesty’s Government has committed £50 million as its contribution to the total project costs of the National Memorial, the creation and running of a co-located Learning Centre and additional wider educational work on the Holocaust. In taking forward the winning design, HM Treasury standard Green Book processes for capital projects will be applied.

Stage One of the competition sought multi-disciplinary creative teams with expertise in architecture and design, landscape architecture, and interpretation. Teams could also include an artist, way-finding specialist, access consultant, education specialist, and any other skills considered necessary. The teams were to be structured under a lead consultant, who is an architect, identified within the submission.

Timeline

Anticipated Timeline 2016-17
September Competition Launch: September 14
EOI Deadline: October 17
Early November Shortlist Announced
Tender Deadline:  January 23
Late January Exhibition Opens
Spring 2017 Jury Interviews
Summer 2017 Winner announced

The Memorial and Learning Centre will be specifically about the importance and relevance of the Holocaust to the United Kingdom and the challenge for designers will be to think about how to create an original memorial that expresses the project’s design values, may have different aspects by day and night and establishes an atmosphere or aura that prompts respect, reflection and active remembering. The project costs are estimated to be up to £40m, this is the cost of works, including contractor Preliminaries, OH and P, contingency, inflation, all professional fees, site preparation and VAT where applicable.

The Learning Centre, expected to be circa 2,650m2, will not be a conventional exhibition or teaching centre. Instead, it will use the architecture, design and interpretation to set the Memorial in context and to convey the magnitude of what happened, whilst ensuring visitors leave the site with a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and its victims. The first stage ran from Wednesday, September 14 to Monday, October 17, 2016 and was an open, global call for participation based on technical or professional capability and past experience.

Such was the quality of submissions that the originally envisaged shortlist of six teams was expanded. Ten teams were selected to move to Stage Two  and they have been asked to produce concept designs for the Memorial and Learning Centre. Following submission and initial assessment, a final interview with the Jury will be held to determine a winner. An honorarium of £15,000 will be awarded to each of the shortlisted teams following the selection of the winner. The competition is organised by the London-based international design competition consultancy, Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The Memorial and Learning Centre should

Be an outstanding, ambitious, sensitive design that creates an emotionally powerful place for reflection and learning.
Become a landmark of national significance, highlighting the importance and relevance of the Holocaust to the United Kingdom’s history.
Establish a place where current and future generations can come to remember the Holocaust and commemorate its victims, and which is also a focal point for annual national commemorations.
Affirm the United Kingdom’s commitment to stand up against prejudice and hatred, inspire reflection and compassion, and encourage visitors to respect and embrace difference.

Be sombre but not shocking; convey the magnitude of what happened in a meaningful and comprehensible way: give visitors a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and its victims.
Combine design, landscaping and place-making to enhance Victoria Tower Gardens – improving the visual and sensory experience of the green space, giving it focus and civic presence, both for visitors and existing users.
Be a logical and harmonious addition to the existing memorials in the Gardens, all of which can be viewed as a physical representation of the United Kingdom’s conscience and values.

Address the sensitivities of the historic, political and national importance of the exceptional setting, adjacent to the Palace of Westminster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the River Thames and in one of the most visited, and recognisable parts of London.
Be widely accessible and communicate to all visitors – regardless of age, faith, background, nationality, language, or knowledge of the Holocaust – attracting and involving people outside the established audience.
Convey the enormity of the Holocaust and its impact, reflecting the centrality of the destruction of European Jewry to Nazi objectives.
Appropriately represent the fate of all other victims of Nazi persecutions, Roma, disabled people, Slavs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and all other political opponents of the Nazi regime


Site of the Memorial

Victoria Tower Gardens is located on the north bank of the River Thames and bordered by the Palace of Westminster. Managed by The Royal Parks, Victoria Tower Gardens is a designated Grade II listed garden within the buffer zone, though not the boundary, of the Westminster World Heritage Site and in close proximity to a number of celebrated listed buildings. Most notably, the Palace of Westminster, to the north of the Gardens, is a Grade I listed building within the WWHS and within the Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square Conservation Area.

Victoria Tower Gardens has an existing memorial-narrative with a series of monuments associated with democracy: the abolition of slavery, the fight for universal suffrage and civic sacrifice. These are: the Buxton Memorial, Grade II, 1865, the Statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, Grade II, 1930 and the Burghers of Calais, Grade I, 1915.

A contemporary addition is the new Parliamentary Education Centre, opened in 2015, which aims to inspire and connect young people with Parliament and democracy, using a range of education techniques, including Parliament-themed learning rooms, augmented reality experiences, 360° projections and sound technology. Victoria Tower Gardens, which opened in 1914, was created as part of the Thames Embankment. A map of 1878 shows the site entirely covered in wharves and houses, while a map of 1896 shows the very beginnings of the Gardens’ development.  Over the course of a year, visitors to Victoria Tower Gardens are anticipated to number up to one million.

The Ten Shortlisted Designs

Adjaye Associates UK with Ron Arad Architects
Allied Works US with artist Robert Montgomery
Caruso St John UK with artist Rachel Whiteread
Diamond Schmitt Architects Canada with landscape architect Martha Schwartz Partners
Foster + Partners UK with artist Michal Rovner
Heneghan Peng architects Ireland with multidisciplinary designers Bruce Mau Design
John McAslan + Partners UK with emerging US practice MASS Design Group
Lahdelma and Mahlamäki Architects Finland with UK based David Morley Architects
Studio Libeskind US with emerging UK practice Haptic Architects
Zaha Hadid Architects UK with artist Anish Kapoor

The Ten Shortlisted Designs

To vote for the best design


Competition enquiries: Jayne Broomhall, holocaustmemorial at malcolmreading.co.uk: + 44 :0:20 7831 2998: ω.

 Holocaust Exhibition at the Scottish Parliament: Open Until April 01

|| March 29: 2017 || ά. An exhibition of the shortlisted designs for a National Holocaust Memorial and Educational Centre has been unveiled at the Scottish Parliament. The exhibition, which will be on display until April 01, showcases ten shortlisted designs and physical models for a new National Holocaust Memorial and Educational Centre in the UK. Envisaged as a place for everyone to come together to remember the Holocaust, the Centre will provide a focal point for annual national commemorations in the UK.

The travelling exhibition was on display at Westminster earlier this month and some of the shortlisted designs will, also, visit the National Assembly of Wales. The Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, who opened the exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, said, “The Scottish Parliament is honoured to display the ten shortlisted designs for the new National Holocaust Memorial and Educational Centre and I would encourage anyone who has the chance to do so, to take this opportunity to see the designs for themselves. Readmore

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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MPs Call for Fairer Science Reporting and Policy Making

International Women in Engineering Day 2017: June 23: Call for the World Countries to Join in the Celebrations

 

|| March 30: 2017 || ά. The report by MPs on the Science and Technology Committee is calling for new measures to ensure clearer consideration of scientific evidence in policy making, and greater backing for public dialogue and engagement with science. The Science Communication and Engagement Report found that people have a strong desire to know how science affects their daily lives. However 71% of people believe that the media sensationalises science and 67% say that they have no option but to trust those governing scientific information. Just 28% believe that journalists check their facts when reporting scientific matters.

In its Report Summary, the Committe says: Despite the strong interest in science in many quarters, there is a collective need to do more to take science to those who are not currently engaged. It was encouraging to see that the competition to name the new polar research ship received 124,000 votes for ‘Boaty McBoatface’. There is a wide range of initiatives by organisations to increase public awareness of and engagement in science, including many encouraging projects aimed at children and young people which complement formal science learning. They all play a vital part in further building our ‘science capital’. However, further efforts are needed to change the long-standing cultural biases that pervade science.

The BBC has made improvements to its science coverage, although there is an opportunity for it to widen its coverage beyond news and documentaries. The position is less clear in the print and other media which often have an agenda with inadequate place for opposing evidence. There are concerns over the media’s misuse of ‘balance’ and its sensationalism. The illegal media behaviour which prompted the Leveson inquiry, will have done nothing to improve the public’s mistrust of science reporting. The Government should ensure that a robust redress mechanism is provided for when science is misreported.

The Government has a responsibility for fostering and facilitating science engagement in its policy-making. It should continue to maintain and strengthen national programmes such as Sciencewise and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. Their programmes should be routinely used across all government departments, so that public opinion is fully captured in developing government policy where science is involved.

Science, politics, finance and the law are all components in the policy-making process. When these components do not fully align, it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that trade-off decisions between what the ‘science’ says, what is affordable and legal, and ultimately what the public will accept, are transparent. It is not unreasonable for the Government to weight scientific evidence to a lesser or greater extent, but where they do not follow the results they must ensure that they do not dismiss or discredit legitimate scientific evidence.

The public consultation process unhelpfully pitches science and other factors together which makes it difficult for a clear foundation of scientific understanding to be established without being co-opted and misinterpreted, by the political debate. The consultation process should be adjusted so that it addresses the scientific issues separately from the political and other trade-offs. We believe this could bring significant benefits for public engagement and reduce unnecessary disputes over the essential science. Such a separation could allow researchers to more readily confine their debate contributions to the science. If they also contributed to questions on policy implementation and the political trade-offs, that would be more transparent.

We agree with the recommendation made by Lord Stern that the Research Excellence Framework:REF should encompass a definition for ‘impact’ in the system’s assessments that includes a closer association with policy-making. The Government has now abandoned plans for an ‘anti-lobbying’ clause in government contracts and grants, which for research grants would have sent precisely the opposite message to the one needed, that there should be the widest and fullest possible science communication and engagement.

The Science Communication and Engagement Report recommends that:

The Government must not deliberately conflate scientific considerations with political, financial or legal matters when making policy decisions, and the Cabinet Office ‘Green Book’ on public consultations must make it clearer how scientific evidence is considered independently of wider matters.
Media organisations must take greater care to avoid ‘false balance’, where opposing scientific views are presented with apparent equal weight even if the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence is weighted on one side. The Committee found this has been particularly evident in reporting around climate change.

The Committee takes a dim view of the practice or organisations issuing embargoed press releases prior to the availability of fully peer reviewed journal reports, as this is impeding journalist’s ability to carry out proper fact checking or to challenge the claims made.
The Government must ensure a more robust redress mechanism in cases where scientific evidence is mis-reported by the media, which is lacking in the current Leveson reforms.
Two key programmes to promote public dialogue and engagement in policy making, Sciencewise and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement should be extended including through adequate funding in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said, "Robust consideration of scientific evidence is crucial to policy making and really affects our daily lives and we have seen over many years through the debates around BSE, climate change, MMR and new medical treatments. However too often the clever practice of communications overshadows the true advice of experts, and the public are left bewildered, and not knowing who to believe.

This affects Government policy too, Ministers and decision makers must take greater care to set out exactly how scientific evidence is being considered, and ensure they cannot be accused of discrediting or skewing the evidence for financial reasons or to suit political aims.

Reporting scientific and particularly, health issues accurately is also a big responsibility for media organisations if they are to retain public trust, and we need to give the public greater reassurances that they are being properly informed and engaged."
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Read the Report

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The UK Measurement Strategy Launched to Support the UK Industry


|| March 30: 2017 || ά. The UK Measurement Strategy was launched by Lord Prior, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on a visit to NPL North of England in Huddersfield, where he met companies, who have benefited from measurement support from the UK's National Measurement System:NMS. Lord Prior said, "The UK is a global leader in science and innovation, which is why we've committed to placing the sector at the heart of our Industrial Strategy. We want to build on our existing strengths and get even better at commercialising British research, supporting the sector while creating high-skilled jobs up and down the country."

NPL led the development of the strategy with our national measurement laboratories partners, taking into account the feedback of over 1000 users. The UK Measurement Strategy strongly supports the UK Industrial Strategy Green Paper, as highly accurate measurement will provide the foundations, on which the UK's future industrial success will be built. It will support the UK's regulatory environment; improve the UK's measurement skills that can increase productivity and provide the confidence to innovate or invest; and respond to the challenge of the data revolution through confidence in data provenance, storage, transmission and inter-operability that measurement can bring.

On the Strategy, Lord Prior said, "The pioneering Measurement Strategy will revolutionise the way we live, capitalise on our expertise in setting measurement standards and provide opportunities to develop solutions to modern day challenges both in the UK and around the world."

Dr Peter Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of NPL, said, "Improving the productivity of UK industry is essential in sustaining and improving our prosperity, and measurement plays a fundamental role in optimising and improving industrial processes. Whilst we currently have a world-leading NMS that supports our businesses, we cannot stand still.

The rise of new markets, innovations in industrial processes, disruptive technologies, and societal challenges all drive the need for new or innovative measurement techniques and standards. The new UKMS ensures that we will continue to have an NMS with the skills, expertise and facilities to address such challenges and provide the confidence our industry needs to prosper."

Every time you use your GPS, put petrol in your car or receive a medical diagnosis, you are putting your trust in measurements. Measurement plays a vital role in responding to new challenges, supporting UK innovation, and helping the drive to increase UK productivity. The UK National Measurement System (NMS) consists of a core infrastructure of measurement laboratories and a wider community of service providers that ensure you can have confidence in the measurements you make or are made on your behalf.

Our reliance on the NMS is often overlooked, but, like many of our infrastructures such as roads or water, it would be noticed if it did not work. The fact that it is invisible to many is indicative of its success, but our economy, our quality of life and often our very lives depend on the robust and reliable measurements it enables.

The strategy sets out major priorities to deliver impact:

To contribute to the UK's rich tradition of knowledge creation, we will continue to invest in a world-leading measurement infrastructure that will put the UK in the most advantageous position, both economically and to ensure quality of life for our citizens.
To enable wealth creation, we will ensure the appropriate measurement infrastructure to: support policy, standards and regulatory environment; get better connected to our end-users to deliver impact; lead the improvement of the UK's measurement skills that will support increased productivity and innovation; and respond to the challenge of data revolution through confidence in data provenance, storage, transmission and inter-operability that measurement can bring.

Through measurement and standardised protocols, we want to bring confidence to invest, to trade, to innovate, and to deliver national services in the UK that ensure our citizens are healthy and secure within a sustainable environment.

To deliver our vision we have identified five strategic themes:

Ensure a national approach to measurement capabilities that drives effective investment in the UK measurement laboratories in partnership with the UK science base and business to deliver a world-leading measurement infrastructure.
Champion measurement across government to ensure good policy, standards, and regulation.
Work smarter and get better connected to end users to increase awareness, access, and uptake of best practice measurement.
Improve the UK's measurement skills across all sectors of the UK to accelerate new technology uptake and fully exploit the benefits of a high tech economy.
Bring together the diverse communities to understand the new capabilities in data science and develop a framework to deliver confidence in the intelligent and effective use of data based on measurement traceability and uncertainty analysis.

The UK Measurement Strategy will be delivered by the UK national measurement laboratories:
National Physical Laboratory:NPL: the UK's National Measurement Institute
Formerly Laboratory of the Government Chemist:LGC: designated for chemical and biometrology
National Engineering Laboratory:NFL: designated for fluid flow metrology
BEIS: Regulatory Delivery: designated for legal metrology
National Gear Metrology Laboratory:NGML: designated for gear metrology
National Institute for Biological Standards and Control:NIBSC: designated for bioactivity metrology:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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SET Squared Announces 50 High Profile Entrepreneurs

Image: SET Squared

|| March 30: 2017 || ά. SET Squared announced its exclusive list of top 50 entrepreneurs at a reception at the House of Commons on Wednesday, March 29. The top 50 entrepreneurs to be honoured have all reached milestone achievements, such as successfully raising a significant amount of investment, exporting products globally, had considerable societal impact, or achieved a world first. SET Squared, which is celebrating its 15th year in 2017, is the enterprise partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Surrey and Southampton and the global number one university business incubator.

It has supported over 1,000 high-tech, high-growth companies who have had significant economic impact, collectively raising over £01bn of investment and creating over 9,000 jobs. The announcement of SET Squared’s top 50 entrepreneurs took place on the historic day that Prime Minister Theresa May was to trigger Article 50 and served as a strong reminder of strength of UK technology innovation and entrepreneurship in the global market. Being identified as one of the top 50 entrepreneurs from a talent pool of over 1,000 is a real accolade and testament to their hard work, dedication and entrepreneurship.

To draw up the list, SET Squared was assisted by an expert panel of investors and innovation corporate leaders. Entrepreneurs on the list are running companies that range across industries such as health, green technology and five G and wireless communication.

Michael Queen, an investor on the panel, commented, “Creating a successful business requires talented entrepreneurs and a great idea but this isn’t enough. SETsquared acts as a catalyst providing support, logistics, training and mentoring to turn dreams into reality. Over the last 15 years, SET Squared has made a major contribution to building a dynamic technology based business sector in the UK.”

The reception at the House of Commons will provide an opportunity for the entrepreneurs to celebrate their achievements along with MPs and special guests, as well as sharing stories on their personal entrepreneurial journey.

Simon Bond, Innovation Director at SET Squared, said, “When I look back on the last 15 years, I am overwhelmed by the talent and achievements of the entrepreneurs that SET Squared has supported. They have brought world-leading innovations to market and these have been exported across the globe. SETsquared has provided support and a network for these entrepreneurs including access to mentors, experts, international markets and investors, and they are now out there doing SETsquared and the UK proud.”
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The full list of the top 50 entrepreneurs.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

|| Readmore || ‽: 310317 || Up ||

 

 

 

Dear Prime Minister: This Might Be Article  50 But It Concerns the 360 Degree Learning-Sphere to Which the UK Universities, European and the World Learning Institutions are Part and That Must and Shall Continue to Remain Open: Yours Sincerely The Russell Group



|| March 29: 2017 || ά. The leaders of the Russell Group of universities today heralded the contribution of EU students and staff to UK higher education as the Government prepared to trigger Article 50. In an open letter published this morning, Wednesday, March 29, Russell Group Chair Professor Sir David Greenaway and Acting Director Dr Tim Bradshaw called for urgent assurances from ministers over the rights of citizens of other EU member states and reiterated the commitment of Russell Group universities to maintaining research ties with partners across Europe.

The text of the open letter is as follows: Russell Group universities are international institutions with a global reputation for the quality of our teaching, research and collaborative relationships. Leaving the EU will not change this. Universities have a key role to play in building a stronger UK economy in years to come. Our members will always remain open to new ideas and talent from across the world. We recognise the triggering of Article 50 will cause further concern for staff and students from other member states who are living and working in the UK.

Our message today to European citizens based at our institutions is clear and unambiguous. Students, lecturers, researchers and professional services staff from across Europe have helped make our higher education sector a world leader. We value your contribution to our universities and the UK. We want you and your families to stay after the UK leaves the EU and are working to ensure you have the right to do so.

In the meantime, we will remain part of the EU until the Article 50 process is complete. You still have the right to live and work in the UK. The announcement today changes nothing in that regard.

The Government has stated no long-term deal on the rights of EU citizens who are resident in the UK at present would be possible until after Article 50 talks began. With negotiations now underway, we urge the Prime Minister to guarantee that EU citizens living and working in the UK will be able to stay and the rights they have at present will be respected. This should be confirmed as soon as possible.

To our European partners, we reiterate that UK universities will continue to be eligible for Horizon 2020 funding until the end of the Article 50 process. The UK Government has already guaranteed to underwrite the payments of awards won whilst the UK is still a member of the EU, even when specific projects continue after Brexit.

Russell Group universities and our partners across the EU have achieved an enormous amount together. Brexit will not mean an end to this international collaboration. Whether through framework programmes or other arrangements, collaboration will continue.

We will continue to work closely with our Government as the Article 50 process continues.
Professor Sir David Greenaway
Chair of the Russell Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham
Dr Tim Bradshaw
Acting Director of the Russell Group

The Russell Group: The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities, which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector. Our research-intensive, world-class universities play an important part in the intellectual life of the UK and have huge social, economic and cultural impacts locally, across the UK and around the globe. While our member universities have histories varying in length from 50 years to nearly 1,000, the Russell Group itself is a newer body, whose board members, the heads of the Russell Group universities, first began to meet in 1994. It was set up as a professional, incorporated organisation in 2007 following the appointment of Dr Wendy Piatt as its first Director General and Chief Executive. The aim of the organisation is to help ensure that our universities have the optimum conditions in which to flourish and continue to make social, economic and cultural impacts through their world-leading research and teaching. We provide strategy, policy development, intelligence, communications and advocacy for our member institutions. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Statement by the European Council Acknowledging the  UK's Article 50 Notification


|| March 29: 2017 || ά. The European Council has issued the following statement upon the service of the UK's Article 50 Notice to the Council: Today, the European Council received a letter from the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, notifying the United Kingdom's intention to leave the European Union. This notification follows the referendum of June 23, 2016 and starts the withdrawal process under Article 50 of the Treaty.

We regret that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union but we are ready for the process that we now will have to follow. For the European Union, the first step will now be the adoption of guidelines for the negotiations by the European Council. These guidelines will set out the overall positions and principles in light of which the Union, represented by the European Commission, will negotiate with the United Kingdom.

In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimise the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom for our citizens, businesses and Member States. Therefore, we will start by focusing on all key arrangements for an orderly withdrawal.

We will approach these talks constructively and strive to find an agreement. In the future, we hope to have the United Kingdom as a close partner. President Tusk has convened the European Council on April 29, 2017.

Note: Following the notification under Article 50 TEU, the member of the European Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or in decisions concerning it.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UK Could Cut the Use of Disposable Coffee Cups Annually by 50-300 Millions

 

|| March 30: 2017 || ά. Research by Bewley’s and Cardiff University identifies measures, that can help encourage the use of re-usable cups by coffee drinkers. The use of disposable coffee cups could be reduced by 50-300 millions annually according to research announced today by leading coffee roaster Bewley’s. An estimated 02.5bn disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year, creating approximately 25,000 tonnes of waste. The research, conducted from September to December 2016 by Cardiff University on behalf of Bewley’s, tested a range of measures, that could encourage the use of re-usable coffee cups.

The research found that financial incentives, re-usable alternatives and clear messaging, reminding customers of the environmental impact of single use coffee cups, all had a direct impact on consumer behaviour. The study found that a charge on disposable cups increased the use of re-usable coffee cups by 03.4%, environmental messaging in cafes increased the use of re-usable coffee cups by 02.3%, the availability of re-usable cups led to an increase of 02.5% and the distribution of free re-usable cups led to a further increase of 04.3 %.

Commenting on the results, Professor Wouter Poortinga of Cardiff University and Author of the report, said, “While the increases for individual measures were modest, the greatest behavioural change was when the measures were combined.” The study found that the provision of free re-usable alternatives combined with clear environmental messaging and a charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable cups in one cafe from 05.1% to 17.4%.

“Our results show that, on average, the use of reusable coffee cups could be increased by up to 12.5% with a combination of measures. With this in mind, the UK’s usage of an estimated 02.5bn disposable coffee cups each year could be cut by up to 300 million coffee cups.” Professor Poortinga said. The most notable finding was that, while a charge on disposable cups increased the use of re-usable coffee cups, a discount on re-usable coffee cups had no impact on their usage.

Professor Poortinga said, “There is an important nuance when it comes to financial incentives. People are far more sensitive to losses than to gains when making decisions, so if we really want to change a customer’s behaviour then a charge on a disposable cup is more likely to be effective”.

As one of the largest foodservice coffee business in the UK and Ireland, Bewley’s has been working with industry partners on the sustainability of coffee cups for some time. Louise Whitaker, Head of Marketing at Bewley’s UK, said, “There is a huge amount of waste being sent to landfill each year and promoting reusable cups is part of the solution.”

While it may be difficult to persuade customers to change the way they drink their daily cup of coffee or tea, companies have a responsibility to play their part in solving the coffee cup waste problem. “As a company we are committed to working with our cup providers and customers to provide a solution to the problem. The research is a really useful step forward in knowing how best to steer people towards bringing their own cups.”

Bewley’s Tea and Coffee UK Limited commissioned Professor Wouter Poortinga to conduct a field experiment into reducing coffee cup waste. The study took place between September and December 2016, and involved twelve business and university café sites. Cardiff University, University of South Wales, University of Winchester, Imperial College and Contract Caterer Bartlett Mitchell.

About Bewley’s: Bewley’s, founded in 1840, is an international, award-winning coffee and tea company. It operates in Ireland, the UK and the USA and is one of the largest foodservice coffee roasters in the UK and Ireland. With strong signature brands such as Grumpy Mule, Eros and BE, Bewley’s sustainably sources and roasts a wide range of espresso and filter blends and single origin coffees. The company also services the needs of foodservice and hospitality operations throughout the UK with sales advice, training and engineering support.

About Professor Wouter Poortinga: Professor Wouter Poortinga is Professor of Environmental Psychology at the Welsh School of Architecture and School of Psychology, Cardiff University. He recently led an ESRC-funded project evaluating the introduction of the English plastic bag charge, and conducted research on attitude and behaviour change following the Welsh carrier bag charge. The study was conducted with the help of Cardiff University, the University of South Wales, University of Winchester, Imperial College and Caterer Bartlett Mitchell.

About Cardiff University: Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Article 50: For a Deal That is Just and Fair for All Nations, Regions, Communities and the All the People of the Nation is What Must the Government Seek to Achieve for No Deal is Never an Option

 

|| March 29: 2017 || ά. Having involved the entire nation in a Referendum, the High Court, the Supreme Court, the Matter finally went to the Houses of Parliament, that  then, passed, what is probably, the Shortest of Legislations that they have ever passed, that gave the Government the 'power' to trigger the 'Act' of Exiting the European Union by giving the Notice to the European Union under Article 50 and now, the nation waits to see the Article 50 Notice Being Hand Delivered to the European Union sometime today. One only hopes that the Government will seek to try to be 'one' Government and not remain a Government divided into two groups, into the remainers and the outers for too much at stake here, where it requires the best of skills, aptitudes, attitudes, temperaments, outlooks, visions and determinations in such a complex and lengthy period of negotiations.

Let the government not repeat what they earlier said. No deal can ever be an option that the Government must seek. A deal that is fair and just on both the entire UK and all its nations, regions and communities and all the people is what the Government must aim and seek to achieve and this the deal, must be, fair and just for both the UK and the European Union for end of the day, the 27 European Countries are still our neighbours, friends and partners. And if principles are anything to go by than one can say, that what is just and fair for the people of the rest of Europe cannot but be just and fair for the people of the UK. If the negotiators take this position they cannot but reach a just and fair deal.

However, politics and the politicians, seeking to play the politics, speaking and seeking to influence the voters, will speak and create much confusion but what must not get lost in this coming long and uncertain period is this: the Single Market and the Customs Union, Membership of the European Central Bank, the European Space Agency, EMA, Being part of the Research and Innovation Mechanism and sharing of vital apparatus such as crime and security and other important elements as well as the continued enhancement of environmental, human rights, workers rights or social protection, jobs, business and commerce, flow of capital and investments, the status of the city must not get lost in the way. The Government must not be in any doubt that the Houses of Parliament will not be a rubber stump and the nation is not made up of people, who would go to sleep because the Government has triggered the article 50. Therefore, let the negotiations begin and as they do, The Humanion invites all negotiators involved to think  of late John Nash and what he had to say about negotiations. Neither party wins at negotiations if they seek to get the best only for themselves alone but they cannot lose when they both seek to get to a ground where both parties interests are met  equitably and fairly and they succeed in getting the best deal for both parties. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Time to Act on Unacceptable Level of UK Financial Exclusion: 40 Per Cent of the UK Working Age Population Has Less Than £100 Savings: This Fact Should Tear Down the Mythology That Promotes the Terrible Untruth That the Country is Working for Everyone

 

|| March 28: 2017 || ά. The UK Upper House Select Committee on Financial Exclusion calls on the Financial Conduct Authority and Banks to give greater priority to tackling financial exclusion in the UK. With more than 01.7 million people in the UK without a bank account and 40% of the working age population with less than £100 in savings, the Committee asks them to end the scandal of the poorest being excluded from even the most basic financial services. In the Report Summary the Committee says: The United Kingdom is at the forefront of the global finance industry and is a leader in the fields of financial services, technology and innovation. Despite this high standing, a sizeable number of UK citizens lack access to even the most basic financial services, while still more are forced to rely on high-cost and sub-optimal products, which can prove damaging to their long-term financial health.

The ‘poverty premium’, whereby the poor pay more, serves to exacerbate the effects of financial exclusion, reinforcing a vicious circle. In addition, bank branch closures are a depressingly regular feature in news headlines and, when combined with a growing emphasis on digital services, will intensify financial exclusion. We do not believe that this situation is acceptable. Recent speeches and policy announcements have clearly set out the Government’s ambitions towards a shared society, and to make ‘the system’ work for all. Our conclusions and recommendations in this report are consistent with these wider Government objectives, and will help the Government to deliver on this agenda.

The Government needs to give stronger leadership and central co-ordination to initiatives that seek to address financial exclusion. Work to address financial exclusion cuts across various Government departments and extends to local authorities, businesses and civil society. In addition, there is a need to collaborate and co-ordinate with the devolved Legislatures and Administrations, to create a cross-UK response to financial exclusion. Since the demise of the Financial Inclusion Taskforce initiatives have lacked central co-ordination and oversight; in addition, the loss of the Taskforce gives the unfortunate impression that financial inclusion is no longer a key priority for the Government.

We recommend the appointment of a clearly designated Minister for Financial Inclusion to lead and co-ordinate work in this field. The Minister should provide annual reports to Parliament, setting out progress made in addressing financial exclusion. A strong lead from the Government should be supported by proactive regulation; we recommend that the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority should be expanded to include a statutory duty to promote financial inclusion as part of its key objectives.

The Government must lead from the top but support should also be provided to ensure that each individual is equipped with the lifelong skills required to make appropriate choices concerning savings, borrowing, and debt. We recommend the addition of financial education to the primary school curriculum in England, and a stronger role for Ofsted in assessing provision, in order to deliver against this objective.

While this will help to support the financial capability of future generations, those who are currently experiencing difficulties should not be neglected. Cuts to debt advice services, especially those provided at a local level, are a cause for major concern, particularly in an era of growing levels of household debt. The body that succeeds the Money Advice Service must have the appropriate mandate to be able to commission and fund effective and impartial debt advice for all who require it. In addition, the banking sector needs to be much more proactive in promoting basic bank accounts to those who need them, playing the fullest possible role in reducing the number of people who are currently unbanked.

The ongoing closures of bank branches, and an increasing reliance on digital services, pose a number of challenges for customers. The Post Office provides a wide range of banking and financial services through an extensive branch network. The majority of customers, however, are simply unaware that these services exist. The current waste of this untapped potential is not acceptable, and needs to be addressed through a concerted joint effort from Government, the banks and the Post Office.

Vulnerable groups including the elderly, those suffering from mental health problems and people living with disabilities are particularly ill-served by the growing number of bank closures, and we make specific recommendations to support these groups. We find it totally unacceptable that, over twenty years after the concept of reasonable adjustment was first introduced into law by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, some financial services providers are still failing to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers.

High-cost credit is a significant issue which can intensify the problems of those who are already in financial difficulty. The added value of a strong lead from Government, backed and supported by proactive regulation, was demonstrated clearly in the action taken to regulate parts of the high-cost, short-term credit sector in 2015. The success of these regulations makes the case for more widespread regulation of high-cost credit.

In particular, we recommend that the excessive costs associated with unarranged overdraft fees and some rent-to-own products should be addressed as a matter of urgency, and we see no reason why a similar cap should not be extended to these services. Limitations on this sector will mean that demand for credit needs to be met elsewhere, and we recommend that credit unions should be provided with new freedoms and flexibilities to help them to meet some of this demand.

Finally, we received a high volume of evidence highlighting how recent Government welfare reforms could contribute to financial exclusion. We believe that the reforms were intended to promote social and financial inclusion, and are concerned that unintended consequences could undermine these aims. We make a number of important recommendations which would help to prevent benefit recipients spiralling unnecessarily into debt and financial exclusion.

Chairperson of the Committee, Baroness Tyler of Enfield said, "The UK financial services sector is a world leader which makes it doubly unacceptable that it is failing those who need it most. Too many people still have no bank account or cannot get access to basic or fairly priced financial services. The 'poverty premium'—where the poor pay more for a range of services from heating their home to accessing credit, contributes to a vicious circle driving people ever deeper into debt and distress.

The Government have said they want the system to 'work for everyone'. So do we. We hope they share our view that the current level of financial exclusion is unacceptable. The victims are often the most vulnerable in society, the elderly, the poor or those living with physical disabilities or mental health issues. Action must be taken to ensure the financial system in this country works for all. The Government and the FCA should introduce a duty of care for bank customers, currently some banks deliver on their social responsibilities, but too many don't. It is time we required them to do so. Banks should also ensure they are offering, and properly promoting, basic bank accounts to those customers who need them.

All too often, disabled customers are being failed by banks who are not adjusting their communications and procedures to serve them properly. We have heard of banks contacting deaf people by phone and sending written PIN numbers to blind people instead of using braille. Banks must review their own practices toward disabled customers to ensure they are making the reasonable adjustments already required of them by law. It is totally unacceptable that this situation persists, over twenty years after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act."

Recommendations included in the report

We recommend that the Government should appoint a clearly designated Minister for Financial Inclusion. The Minister should have lead responsibility for promoting financial inclusion and should be supported with appropriate resources to co-ordinate effectively work to address financial exclusion.
We recommend that regulations to limit and manage the negative impact of unarranged overdraft charges should be introduced. The potential for such regulations should be assessed as part of the ongoing FCA review into high cost credit.
We recommend that the Government work proactively with the Post Office and banks to fund and launch an extensive public information campaign on the banking services, that are available through Post Office branches. The Government, as sole shareholder in Post Office Ltd, should, also, ensure that the Post Office provides adequate training for staff at branches within retail outlets, so that they can carry out banking services for customers with confidence and competence.
We recommend that the Government abolish the seven-day waiting period at the start of a Universal Credit claim; the waiting period contributes to sometimes lengthy delays in claimants receiving their first payment. These delays put claimants at significant risk of falling into arrears. ω.

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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Government is Missing Important Opportunities to Tackle Childhood Obesity


|| March 27: 2017 || ά. The Government needs to take more robust action to tackle the impact of deep discounting and price promotions on the sales of unhealthy food and drink, says the Health Committee in its follow up report into childhood obesity. Given the amount of our food and drink that is purchased on discounts and promotions, the Committee is urging the Government to follow the evidence-based advice to create "a level playing field". It was Industry representatives themselves, when giving evidence to the Committee, who explained that the current Government plans risk being undermined unless there is regulation. Retailers who act responsibly on discounting and promotions should not be put at a competitive disadvantage to those who do not.

The Government's plan to tackle childhood obesity was published in August 2016. Although the Health Committee welcomes the measures the Government has announced on the sugary drinks levy, they are extremely disappointed that several key areas for action that could have made the strategy more effective have not been included. We looked at childhood obesity in the autumn of 2015, anticipating the publication of the Government’s childhood obesity plan. We concluded that the scale and consequences of childhood obesity demand bold and urgent action, and that if the Government fails to act, the problem will become far worse. We judged the evidence to be sufficiently strong to justify introducing all the policies we recommended, and we urged the Government to take action to implement them.

The Government’s plan was published in August 2016. Campaigners and other commentators on childhood obesity were largely underwhelmed by its contents. For our part, although we welcome the measures the Government has included in the childhood obesity plan, we are extremely disappointed that several key areas for action that could have made the strategy more effective have not been included. The Government has stated that it will “look to further levers” if the plan does not achieve the necessary impact. We call on Ministers to set clear targets for reducing overall levels of childhood obesity as well as goals for reducing the unacceptable and widening levels of inequality.

We welcome the introduction of a tiered levy on the manufacturers of sugary drinks and the progress already being made in the reformulation of soft drinks as a result. We strongly recommend that manufacturers pass on the differential cost between products with high and low or no-sugar as a result of the levy in order to help maximise the ‘nudge’ to healthier choices. Consumers of sugar-free products should not be forced to subsidise higher-sugar drinks, which would in effect be the case if manufacturers do not pass on the price differential between these products arising from the levy. We recommend that the Government should develop and be prepared to implement measures to ensure that this price differential is clear in the price paid by consumers for high-sugar drinks. We also urge the Government to extend the levy to milk-based drinks which have extra sugar added.

We welcome the Government’s positive response to our recommendation that the proceeds of the soft drinks industry levy should be directed towards measures to improve children’s health including through increasing access to school sports and to breakfast clubs. We intend to follow up how the income from the levy is distributed, including the ways in which this can help to reduce the inequalities arising from childhood obesity.

Public Health England is leading a voluntary reformulation programme to challenge all sectors of the food and drinks industry to reduce overall sugar content across a range of the products which contribute to children’s sugar intakes. We urge the Government to set out the policy proposals which it is prepared to implement if the voluntary reformulation programme does not go as far or as fast as necessary to tackle childhood obesity.

Likewise we encourage Public Health England to go further in setting out their plans for reducing portion sizing. We recommend that the Government draw up measures to implement our earlier recommendation of a cap on portion sizes, linked to the calorie content of certain foods and drinks, to be introduced if swift progress on portion sizing is not achieved by voluntary means.

Given the amount of our food and drink that is purchased on discounts and promotions, we urge the Government to follow the evidence-based advice from their chief public health advisers and to regulate to further reduce the impact of deep discounting and price promotions on the sales of unhealthy food and drink. Industry representatives themselves told us this is necessary to prevent policies to reduce discounting from being undermined. Retailers who act responsibly on discounting and promotions should not be put at a competitive disadvantage to those who do not.

In December 2016, the Committee of Advertising Practice:CAP announced new rules banning the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar:HFSS food and drink products in children’s media. We welcome the changes introduced by the CAP, but we consider that the advertising regulators have not sufficiently addressed the scale of the challenge. They could and should go further. We urge a re-examination of the case for further restrictions on advertising of HFSS food and drink in the light of the most recent research not only on the effect of such advertising, but on the scale and consequences of childhood obesity.

The out-of-home sector, restaurants, takeaways, etc is also important to efforts to reduce childhood obesity because it now accounts for a large proportion of the food we eat. We repeat our call for change to planning legislation to make it easier for local authorities to limit the proliferation of unhealthy food outlets in their areas. We continue to urge that health should be included as a material planning consideration. We also call on the Government to provide evidence of progress with other measures to reduce the impact of the out-of-home sector on childhood obesity.

We welcome the Government’s promise to collect and publish regularly all the data on progress with the measures contained in the childhood obesity plan. We look forward to reviewing progress next year when the initial report is available. We hope to see clear evidence of progress, including in reducing the health inequality of childhood obesity, and clear plans for further action if progress is unsatisfactory.

Chair of the Health Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, says, "We are extremely disappointed that the Government has rejected a number of our recommendations. These omissions mean that the current plan misses important opportunities to tackle childhood obesity. Vague statements about seeing how the current plan turns out are inadequate to the seriousness and urgency of this major public health challenge. The Government must set clear goals for reducing overall levels of childhood obesity as well as goals for reducing the unacceptable and widening levels of inequality."

The Committee also calls on the Government to ensure that manufacturers pass on the cost of the levy to ensure that there is a price differential at the point of sale between high- and low- or no-sugar drinks. The Committee feels that this would enhance the effect of the levy in encouraging low or no sugar choices and that failure to pass on the levy would result in consumers having to cross subsidise high-sugar products.

The Committee has welcomed the tiered levy and recognises that this has already started to drive reformulation and further recommends that it be extended to include milk-based drinks with added sugar.

The report welcomes the Government's positive response to the Committee's recommendation that the proceeds of the soft drinks industry levy should be directed towards measures to improve children's health including through increasing access to school sports and to breakfast clubs. The Committee will follow up how the income from the levy is distributed, including the ways in which this can help to reduce the inequalities arising from childhood obesity. ω.

Read the Report

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Moderate Drinkers are Not at Risk When Taking a Widely-Used Arthritis Medicine

Image: Cardiff University


|| March 27: 2017 || ά. People taking a common rheumatoid arthritis medicine are not at increased risk of liver damage if they stick to 14 units of alcohol a week or fewer, a new study from the University of Manchester has found. Methotrexate is a drug taken, often over long periods of time, to limit or prevent joint damage and disability. People who take methotrexate are often advised to abstain from alcohol as both methotrexate and alcohol are known to increase the risks of liver damage. However, it is not known whether drinking modest amounts of alcohol is safe during methotrexate therapy.

The new study by The University of Manchester, published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and funded by Arthritis Research UK, has drawn upon the medical records of almost 12,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis taking the drug who had a record of the levels of alcohol they drank and who had routine blood monitoring test results. The researchers found that increased use of alcohol did indeed correspond to increased liver damage, but at 14 units or fewer there was no heightened risk.

Dr Natalie Carter, Head of Research Liaison and Evaluation at Arthritis Research UK, said, “We know that methotrexate can be an effective drug for treating arthritis. As it can interact with other medicines and alcohol it is important that people with arthritis have information about their medication in order to manage their arthritis safely and effectively.

Arthritis Research UK invests in exceptional science to find treatments and information that let people push back the limits these conditions cause. This research adds to the knowledge we have around methotrexate and its effects in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which can help people make informed decisions about their treatment. We would recommend that people who take methotrexate to speak to their rheumatologist for advice about drinking alcohol whilst on this drug.”

Dr Jenny Humphreys, an NIHR Clinical Lecturer at The University of Manchester’s Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, led the study. She said, “In the past there’s not been clear guidance on what effects different amounts of alcohol have on these people, so doctors often err on the side of caution and recommend abstinence.

As a result, some people choose to decline methotrexate so they can continue to enjoy a drink, thereby missing out on the possible benefits of the medication. Alternatively, some people may go totally without alcohol after starting methotrexate: if they like to drink in moderation, the quality of their life may be affected.”

With a pint of 05.2% ABV beer containing three units and a 250ml glass of 14% ABV wine containing 03.5, the findings show that people can drink in moderation, while still benefitting from the drug. The data used in the study came from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, a UK general practice database. The researchers identified 11,839 people with rheumatoid arthritis who were taking methotrexate and had at least six liver function test results per year. Of these, 530 developed abnormal liver function tests.

Although there was no increased risk associated with drinking 14 units or less compared to people who drank no alcohol, people who drank 15-21 units had a 33% increased probability of liver damage and this rose to 81% in the group that drank more than 21 units.

Professor Will Dixon, Director of the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology at The University of Manchester, who is also, a rheumatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, believes that the results can provide important guidance for doctors who are prescribing methotrexate.

He added: “This is the first study to provide estimates of risk of liver damage for different levels of alcohol consumption in this drug. It also quantifies the risk for doctors so they can be clear about the extent to which different levels of alcohol will cause problems across a population of patients taking methotrexate.”

Paper: Quantifying the hepatotoxic risk of alcohol consumption in patients with rheumatoid arthritis taking methotrexate, Jenny H Humphreys, Alexander Warner, Ruth Costello, Mark Lunt, Suzanne MM Verstappen, William G Dixon. Published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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DFID Should Spend UK Aid Better: Not Spend Less

Godwin Chisenga, Director: Centre for Enterprise Development, front, second from left, pictured with staff and industry
participants. Image: Namibia University of Science and Technology
 

|| March 28: 2017 || ά. The House of Commons International Development Committee has underlined its support for the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development assistance, with a primary focus on tackling poverty reduction. In UK aid: allocation of resources, the Committee reports that UK aid spending can be and often is, a strong investment contributing to create a more prosperous world, which pays far-reaching dividends including to UK taxpayers at home. Foreign aid is the most scrutinised part of UK Government spending.

The Committee reports that DFID is effective in its spending and that it has not seen evidence to suggest that DFID suffers from poor or wasteful spending, any more than other government departments or international donors. The Secretary of State is challenged to tell the positive story of UK aid. MPs say that the Department must be proactive in publicising the good work that results from the UK’s funding. DFID must explain how it sets the balance between bilateral and multilateral spending and should reconsider its decision to end core support to civil society organisations.

While DFID spending on UK aid is effective, the Committee is concerned about a lack of emphasis on strategy in the spending of UK aid. This concern is amplified as the allocation of aid spreads across government departments. The Committee believes DFID should remain a standalone department with formal oversight and co-ordination role for all UK aid spending.

The Report Summary

The domestic and global landscapes have shifted dramatically over the last two years. Against this backdrop the Government has been reviewing and altering the make-up of UK aid spending, including carrying out a number of major development reviews to inform future spending decisions. In this inquiry we have looked at how the Department for International Development:DFID decides where to allocate its resources, including the results of the development reviews. We published an interim Report in March 2016 to deal with a number of issues at the earliest possible opportunity. We follow up on some of these in this Report.

Both major political parties in the UK pledged to hit a target of spending 0.7% of gross national income as official development assistance:ODA in their 2010 manifestos. The UK achieved this target in 2013, and it was subsequently enshrined into law in 2015. Through our inquiries, we have seen first-hand that ODA spending is in the national interest and is a strong investment contributing to create a more prosperous world, which pays far-reaching dividends including to UK taxpayers at home.

We have also seen the great need for development assistance globally and the life changing opportunities it provides, including in a number of ongoing abject humanitarian crises. We agree with our predecessor committee in supporting the 0.7% commitment, as we have no doubt that there is sufficient need in the world for it to be necessary. The examples we have seen of less effective spending do not represent a considerable portion of, nor are they an inevitable consequence of, the 0.7% target.

We have not seen evidence that poor or wasteful spending is any more of a problem for DFID than any other government department or other international donors; instead we would assess it to be effective in its spending. The response to many criticisms of aid spending is for DFID to continue to strive to spend better, not for it to spend less. We challenge the Secretary of State to lead the Department in a way which displays the value for money and great impact of good UK aid spending.

DFID was established as a separate department in 1997, with primary responsibility for spending ODA. The Conservative Party manifesto in 2015 included a pledge to maintain it as an independent department, although questions continue to be raised about whether it should be rolled back into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our predecessor Committee looked at the possible models and concluded that DFID should remain an independent department, to avoid 'marginalising development' and 'losing technical development expertise'.

We continue to have concerns about the capacity and capability of departments other than DFID, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to effectively deliver aid, in contrast to a specialised department like DFID, and about the transparency and accountability of those departments. We do not believe that abolishing DFID as an independent department would lead to any improvement in the quality of UK aid spending and therefore strongly welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to maintaining DFID as an independent department, and expect this to remain so in the long-term future.

In our interim Report, we looked at the issues of the strict rules and targets surrounding budget support, ‘non-fiscal’ spending, and Payment by Results. We conclude that DFID works best when it works flexibly, and these strict rules and targets can be damaging to effective development and can lead to perverse outcomes. While DFID may assess all of these targets and rules to be correct right now, it should keep them under constant review and be willing to relax them when appropriate, in order to have the flexibility required to spend effectively.

DFID is currently operating in an environment of intense media scrutiny and criticism. At times this media scrutiny has been very helpful in uncovering serious issues in UK aid spending, although we have found much of it to be misleading about the nature of aid spending or about the contents of our own Reports. We will continue to fulfil our responsibility for the robust scrutiny of aid and development expenditure, including cases brought to our attention in evidence and media coverage. The media has a responsibility to be accurate and contextual given its role in influencing public understanding and opinion.

We are concerned with DFID’s management of its reputational risk. We note that programmes occasionally appear to be closed based on negative media headlines, despite performing well in DFID’s own assessments, and without a proper review of the programmes being undertaken. While there has been some improvement, we still do not believe that DFID is robust in its communications and managing reputational risk. We urge DFID to continue improving its communications and to be more proactive in publicising when it is doing good work.

DFID’s decisions as to the allocation of resources should be based on evidence rather than media coverage. We recommend that DFID produces clear guidance on how to manage reputational risk, the level of its reputational risk appetite, and how to respond to reputational risk issues in the aid budget across the Government.

DFID has conducted a full reviews of its bilateral and multilateral spending through the development reviews, including the Bilateral Development Review (BDR), Multilateral Development Review:MDR, the Civil Society Partnership Review:CSPR and the Research Review. These were originally due to be published in late 2015 and early 2016, but were heavily delayed and were eventually only published in late 2016. The numerous delays to the development reviews have undoubtedly had grave effects on a number of organisations and, we fear, on the quality of some programming. The low level of detail in the reviews does not justify such substantial delays.

Due to the process of carrying out the development reviews together, they all went through a ‘coherence phase’ centrally in DFID. The purpose of this phase was to reconcile the reviews and DFID’s overarching strategy with the lower-level and more specific assessments which had been made in the reviews. Despite this, we are concerned that, in the development reviews, DFID has not displayed whether it is thinking strategically in terms of allocations between bilateral and multilateral budgets. We strongly reiterate our previous recommendation that we need much more detail from DFID as to how it strategically sets the balance between bilateral and multilateral spending.

As a strategy for its bilateral work, the BDR is largely lacking in detail. Very little of the information in the BDR is new and it gives very little hint of how DFID will be allocating its bilateral resources. The lack of detail in the Bilateral Development Review is disappointing. Even where DFID has committed to specific actions, it is unclear how it plans to take this forward. DFID should publish as many of its new country operational plans, country poverty reduction diagnostics, and inclusive growth diagnostics as possible for its country programmes by the start of the summer parliamentary recess.

While the MDR provides more detail of its methodology and results than the BDR, it still does not provide clear detail of how and why DFID chooses to use multilaterals or what effects the results of the review will have on funding. DFID has indicated that it will increasingly use Performance Agreements with multilaterals to achieve change, improvement and value for money. We welcome the improvements that have been made to the multilateral review process after the 2011 Multilateral Aid Review but are not convinced that DFID is strategic in how it decides which multilaterals to use and how. The use of Performance Agreements has the great potential to drive improvements, but need to be used carefully so as not to impose practices like Payment by Results, which might create perverse outcomes, on multilateral agencies.

The CSPR’s length and its level of detail are both very disappointing, and particularly surprising given the numerous delays to its publication. This has made analysing whether or not its findings and outcomes are positive a challenging task. Some of the statements in the CSPR, especially around supporting smaller CSOs and CSOs based in developing countries, are welcome but need to be turned into practical and detailed proposals. We welcome DFID’s announcement of a Small Charities Challenge Fund, following previous recommendations by this Committee. We were particularly surprised at the lack of any mention of the Sustainable Development Goals in the CSPR; this was a serious omission. It is important for DFID to take the CSPR forward into its day-to-day relationship with civil society and avoid allowing that relationship to become one of a consumer and suppliers.

While not explicitly laid out in the CSPR, one of the largest changes for CSOs coinciding with the review was the abolition of Programme Partnership Arrangements (PPAs), which provided unrestricted core funding to civil society organisations:CSOs for three years at a time. Despite DFID’s claim that it gave CSOs a lot of notice of this change, there was plenty of uncertainty around the future of PPAs, and whether they would be replaced with a new mechanisms for unrestricted core funding, for some time.

We have not been reassured that DFID gave proper support to CSOs during this period of uncertainty nor have we been given a clear rationale for why DFID has chosen to end PPAs. PPAs were strategic, flexible and encouraged innovation; there is plenty of evidence of their effectiveness including a positive ICAI review. The loss of PPAs is likely to stifle innovation and it is of the utmost importance that DFID’s other funding streams, whilst maintaining accountability, are able to cover the sorts of activities which PPAs allowed and encouraged. DFID must provide a clear and detailed explanation of why it feels that unrestricted core funding, and PPAs more specifically, is no longer an effective means of development.

The 2015 UK aid strategy refocused UK aid onto “tackling global challenges in the national interest”. We noted in our interim Report that the strategy appeared to relegate poverty reduction to the last of four priorities. We strongly reiterate our recommendation that poverty reduction should always be the primary purpose of any UK aid spending. We have detected a shift in UK development strategy the appointment of Rt Hon Priti Patel MP as Secretary of State for International Development, with a greater focus on wasteful spending.

While we commend and support the Secretary of State’s focus on improving the quality of spending, we think that the level of wasteful spending in the Department is minimal. Following the EU referendum, DFID has changed its tone on the relationship between the aid budget and trade. We welcome a strong focus on economic development from DFID, which is an important aspect of a comprehensive approach to poverty reduction, but it is important that UK aid continues to be completely untied, whether explicitly or implicitly.

We have become increasingly concerned about the lack of emphasis on strategy within DFID at an operational level. We urge DFID to set a clear strategic direction in all of its policy areas based on its evidence on what works and its objectives in that policy area. We are further concerned that DFID’s own capacity could be affecting the effectiveness of UK aid.

The number of DFID staff has not kept pace with increases in its budget to achieve the 0.7% target. DFID’s administrative capacity appears to have fallen below what is required to manage its increasing budget optimally, causing it to become more reliant on larger external organisations. DFID would be more effective if it rebalanced its budget more towards administration. We recommend that DFID spends more of its budget on its own administration and increases its staffing capacity. The allocation of ODA between different departments was done through a competitive process run by the Treasury.

The results of the competitive process have not been made clear and details of spend by other government departments are only made clearly available retrospectively. It is therefore difficult to conclude whether there is proper strategic oversight of all UK ODA spending and on whether it is being allocated most effectively. We will look at these issues further in our inquiry into UK aid: other government departments. In order to ensure coherence across UK aid spending, and a focus on poverty reduction, DFID should have a formal oversight and coordination role for of all UK aid spending.

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the Committee, said, “The great need for development assistance globally and the life changing opportunities it provides, including in a number of ongoing abject humanitarian crises, has not changed. We reiterate that tackling poverty reduction must be the primary purpose of any aid spending.

The 2015 UK aid strategy sought to demonstrate how overseas development assistance is in the UK's national interest. Through our inquiries in this Parliament, the Committee has seen first-hand that this is true. UK aid spending has allowed refugees fleeing the war in Syria to settle closer to home, and has provided support to help create jobs and livelihoods for those refugees, so that they did not have to make dangerous journeys across Europe.

However, the Department needs to publicise its good work to a wider audience. DFID decisions on the allocation of resources should be based on evidence. We are particularly concerned that a lack of strategic direction is holding UK aid back. This is more important than ever, with increasing amounts of aid being spent by government departments other than DFID. The basis on which aid spending decisions across the Government are made needs to be clear.

It is absolutely right that Government demonstrates that every penny is spent as effectively as possible. Supported by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact and the National Audit Office, the Committee’s primary function is to scrutinise spending to ensure it achieves maximum benefit for beneficiaries and the UK taxpayer. Our robust scrutiny of aid and development expenditure will continue.” ω.

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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The UK’s Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council


|| March 26: 2017 || ά. In May 2017 the UK will have its third regular human rights review by a group of other UN States, who will make recommendations under the UN’s ‘Universal Periodic Review’:UPR process. This Commons Library briefing paper provides a brief overview. The UPR is the UN Human Rights Council’s regular examination of the human rights record of each UN Member State. It applies equally to all UN countries, covers a wide range of human rights obligations, and results in a series of recommendations.

The process involves a group of UN Member States assessing written reports, questioning the State under review, and then making recommendations. First, various written reports are submitted to the UN. National stakeholders such as human rights organisations can report on the State under review, and these along with reports from other UN bodies are summarised by the UN. Then the State under review submits its own National Report setting out developments since its last review. A few months later, the UPR Working Group, the 47 Member States of the UN Human Rights Council, holds a half-day review of the State in Geneva.

This includes an interactive dialogue with the State’s representatives. The UPR Working Group’s Member States will come up with recommendations for the State under review. The review and recommendations are summarised in an ‘outcome document’, which the State under review can comment on but not reject. The Human Rights Council adopts the report a few months later.

The State is then expected to follow up the recommendations before its next review, four to five years later. The UK’s third UPR cycle is under way. Stakeholders have made their submissions, and the UK has submitted its National Report to the UN.

The UPR Working Group review of the UK is expected on May 04, 2017 and the Human Rights Council might consider the outcome report in September 2017. The UK Government usually likes to be seen as meeting the UPR requirements. It voluntarily published a mid-term report on its 2nd UPR cycle in 2014 and submitted its National Report for the 3rd cycle in February 2017 just a few days late, although it has not yet published this. Sir Oliver Heald, the Minister for Courts and Justice, will lead the UK delegation at the UPR Working Group review in May.

Parliament was not much involved in the UK’s previous UPRs but it appears to be more so this time, following a recent spate of initiatives on involving national parliaments in human rights monitoring. For instance, the Joint Committee on Human Rights is holding an evidence session on the UK’s UPR on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. ω.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7933: Author: Arabella Lang: Published: March 22, 2017.

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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Charities are the Eyes, Ears and Conscience of Society

Carey Mulligan: She remembers but those whose desperate cause she is championing cannot but lose the most precious
thing they ever had: their memories


|| March 26: 2017 || ά. The UK Upper House Select Committee on Charities today publishes its report, 'Stronger charities for a stronger society', in which the Committee praises the important role that charities play in our society. The report stresses that if the sustainability of charities is to be maintained, it is essential that their contribution is recognised by the Government, by the regulator and by their beneficiaries. Charities too must be certain that their governance is strong enough to enable them to face a challenging future with confidence. In the Report Summary, the Committee says that charities are the eyes, ears and conscience of society. They mobilise, they provide, they inspire, they advocate and they unite. From small local organisations run entirely by volunteers to major global organisations with turnover in the hundreds of millions, their work touches almost every facet of British civic life.

We are living through a time of profound economic, social and technological change and the environment in which charities are working is altering dramatically. These changes have posed new challenges for charities, resulted in some high-profile failures, and led to greater scrutiny of the sector than ever before. However, the overwhelming majority of charities continue to do excellent work and trust in the sector fundamentally remains strong. The funding of charities has changed significantly over the last decade. Public sector grants have been replaced in most instances with contracts, often with complex commissioning processes. These have disadvantaged smaller charities, which struggle to bid for services at scale, and constrained the valuable innovation that charities can bring to service delivery.

We, therefore, recommend that Government provides support for the development of voluntary sector bidding consortia, and takes steps to promote commissioning based on impact and social value rather than simply on the lowest cost. We also recommend the strengthening of social value considerations in public sector commissioning, to recognise the added benefits of charities’ involvement in service delivery, and urge local authorities to consider grant programmes wherever possible.

Charities have faced challenges in funding their core costs for many years. However, this has been exacerbated by the move to contract funding, which is often tightly defined and does not allow for costs incurred outside the specific terms of the contract. Separately, there has been pressure on charities to reduce “back office” costs and an increasing expectation that all money donated should go to the frontline. The result has been further pressure on charities’ viability and sustainability. Charities cannot operate unless their core costs are met.

We recommend that public sector commissioners should have regard for the sustainability of the organisations which they commission to deliver services and that realistic and justifiable core costs should be included in contracts, just as would happen in the private sector. We also recommend longer-term contracts, wherever possible, to ensure that the services can be delivered sustainably by charities with the capacity to plan effectively for the future. We propose that funders should provide more resources for volunteer managers so that charities can make the best possible use of the generous contribution of their volunteers and support their efforts.

Good governance is fundamental to a strong charity sector. Charities need strong governance, with robust structures, processes and good behaviours, in order to deliver effectively for their beneficiaries. We call for new efforts to provide training and development for trustees and recommend that charity boards should undertake greater self-reflection, examining their behaviours, processes and skills. We also believe that infrastructure bodies need to identify the shortcomings in provision of governance advice and training for charities and do more to raise awareness of the support that currently exists.

We have concerns about the lack of diversity among trustees, which limits the experience and knowledge of charity boards. Among our recommendations to remedy this, we believe that the Government should hold a public consultation on introducing a statutory duty to allow employees of organisations over a certain size to take a limited amount of time off work to perform trustee roles.

Charities’ record in the use of digital platforms is mixed. While some charities are at the cutting edge of new technology, others have yet to realise its potential with regard to fundraising, volunteering and communications. To raise awareness of their work, and be transparent and accountable, all but the smallest charities need to have a simple website or social media page. In addition, charities should actively consider including a digital trustee role on their boards.

Social investment has been heavily promoted by Government as a new form of income for charities. However, alongside the potential advantages, there are also barriers, particularly for smaller charities which may not have the capacity to take investment or for which investment may not be suitable. Government and sector leaders need to do more to address the reasons for high transaction costs and work to bring them down. In particular, expected rates of return can be prohibitively high, and investors should be encouraged to have more realistic expectations of the potential for returns from social investment.

Alongside all these changes, the Government needs to improve the way it consults the charity sector when developing new policies. It caused unnecessary concern and pressure as a result of the proposed 'anti-advocacy' clause in grant awards and in relation to the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, both of which threatened the vital advocacy role of charities. We also believe there should be better consultation with the devolved administrations and infrastructure organisations when developing legislation on reserved matters which may impact charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Withdrawal from the European Union is bound to have an impact on the charity sector, with estimates that the sector receives around £200m a year from the EU, primarily through the European Social Fund. We recommend that the Office for Civil Society undertakes an audit of the potential impact of Brexit on charities and brings forward proposals to address any negative effects.

The role of the Charity Commission has come under particular scrutiny in recent years, following inquiries by parliamentary committees and the National Audit Office. We are encouraged by the subsequent progress the Commission has made, but we believe it has more work to do before it can be deemed a fully effective and efficient regulator. One particular area on which it might focus is charity mergers, where there is scope for more support and guidance.

The Charity Commission is currently considering whether to charge charities in order to fund part of its operation. We raise concerns about the impact of a charge, both for the charity sector and for the Commission itself. If the Commission chose to proceed, it would need to be clear about how a charge would benefit charities and strengthen the sector overall. Any charging model must ensure that the burden does not fall upon small charities which will not be able to afford it.

Charities face greater operational and environmental pressures than ever before, but their principle is enduring and charities have always helped society through periods of upheaval. We are confident they will do so again.

Chairperson of the Committee, Baroness Pitkeathley, said, "Charities are the lifeblood of society. They play a fundamental role in our civil life and do so despite facing a multitude of challenges. Yet for them to continue to flourish, it is clear that they must be supported and promoted. We found that charities lead the way with innovation, but that this is at risk of being stifled by the 'contract culture'. And while advocacy is a sign of a healthy democracy, and is a central part of charities' role, this role has been threatened by Government.

"We hope that charities will be encouraged by this report; that the Government will respect their role; and that in addition it will value the connections charities have with all sections of society, and encourage the vital scrutiny they provide."

Recommendations included in the report

There should be more support for charities' core costs and contracts should be longer wherever possible so that charities can plan for the future.
More training and skills development for charity trustees in order to improve the strength of charity governance.
The Government and Charity Commission should engage more effectively with the charity sector in future and to ensure that regulations and guidance make clear that these are not intended to restrict charities' vital campaigning and advocacy roles.
Additional support for charities with digital technology and innovation, by bringing in trustees with digital expertise, and by infrastructure bodies sharing knowledge and best practice on innovation and training opportunities.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Statement From Both Houses of Parliament on the Current Security Review

 

|| March 25: 2017 || ά. The Both Houses of Parliament  have issued a security statement following the incident in Westminster on Wednesday, March 22. "Following the creation of the Parliamentary Security Department in January 2016, security measures in and around the Parliamentary Estate have been reviewed, upgraded and enhanced.

As is good practice following any significant incident, the Houses, in conjunction with the police and other bodies, are carrying out a review of security around this specific incident. A series of exceptional meetings are scheduled for next week including a joint meeting of the House of Commons and House of Lords Commissions where the details of the review are expected to be discussed.

The Consultative Panel on Parliamentary Security will be also be meeting next week, and working closely with those involved throughout the review to ensure that Members’ views and experiences are considered and so that Members are kept informed and updated about the process." ω.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Editorial Those Who Believe in One God Cannot But Believe in One Humanity and Those Who Do Not Believe in One God Cannot But Believe in One Humanity and Neither Can Fail to See Peace Cannot Arise Out of Division, Fear or Hatred and That Peace is a Choice Arising Out of the Co-Existential Necessity of All Humans That Share a Land That They Call Home

The St Andrews Declaration on a Shared Humanity: My Humanity is Bound Up in Yours: for We Can Only Be Human Together:
September 23: The Conference of Being One in the Faith in Our Oneness in Humanity


 

|| March 24: 2017 || ά. The father and husband, who had left for work that morning did not return home, the tourists that went on walking on Westminster Bridge, taking photos of 'the mighty heart' would not return home to show and share those images with family and friends and those, who suffered horrific injuries and those, who witnessed the atrocities unfold, life will never be the same again. So many people involved and impacted by these atrocities, linking so many families, communities, countries and nations, that it is difficult to assess how much damage, pain and suffering one single criminal, a terrorist one at that, can and does inflict on life and the living. Yet, those, who are always ready to find and use and abuse 'evidence' to support their divisive, antagonistic, negative and hostile political views, begin to spread the paranoia, blaming, naming, shaming, vilifying and finger-pointing and all these actively promote, support and incite a cultural atmosphere of, what can be called, the cruelty fiesta, in which humanity is brought down to the lowest of the low, where everyone taking part in this is doing nothing but taking part in literally becoming the most cruel one can become through language. And yet, anyone can see that these do not help anything but seek to direct attention and focus to the wrong priorities and people are forced, as flood does force whatever is on its way, towards the lowest end of humanity. What happened on Westminster Bridge and around the Houses of Parliament was a dreadful, atrocious unfolding of the acts of a criminal, who wanted to inflict carnage but what other things that happened parallel to these atrocities, we must think of, because they are far more profound than these atrocious brutal acts of violence. And that is: how the people of the emergency services and the very members and staff at the Houses and the staff of nearby St Thomas's Hospital and many others, shone through with courage, determination, professionalism and bravery and went on to deal with the carnage.

And we as a nation, as a people, should be absolutely moved to the core to have come to witness this fact, that, out of these very Houses, arose a Mr Ellwood, whose highest state of humanity will remain etched into the memory of this nation, along with the highest bravery, dedication, professionalism and commitment to duty, shown by the very human being, whom he was seeking to help revive and save, in centuries to come. These are the things the world has witnessed out of this carnage of hatred of a criminal terrorist. And these are things that are and that can be called the highest of humanity and it resides here, in this UK, among, with and in the people of these British Isles. The Police Officer, who had been killed by the attacker, had made the ultimate sacrifice but what the brother of a dead man, whose life was taken by another terrorist attack, that happened in Bali, Mr Ellwood, the MP for Bournemouth East did, in his frantic, mad, insane and desperate efforts to save his life, to revive him, will remain as lamp of eternal humanity and will shine as a brave light in the halls of, not only the Palace of Westminster but across the country and the world. And which one of us, of the entire nation of this country, which one of us, has the dare in the heart to be able to try and comprehend what life Mr Ellwood will live henceforth? Just remember the image of him, standing, having tried and failed, in absolute and utter devastation, bloody and lost in a state of mind that no one can fathom, is enough to make one lost but at the same time, inspires one to the highest of horizons. This human being's life will never, ever be the same again, except, in that 'unsame' life, what he did, what he became, in those fragmentary moments, even if he had failed, ironically will offer him the soothing lights of sustenance. And this is the highest of humanity.

Westminster Bridge and the immediate areas around the Houses of Parliament has always been and will always be the most worldly and rather 'Un-British' place because it is always, beautifully, peopled by the world humanity, the tourists, who come to visit this country and the British struggle through them to get to work without ever complaining for it is a beautiful thing to see the world and world humanity in a tiny theatre-space of life, just outside and around the House of Parliament. And in a way, this very flow of world humanity right outside the Houses helps everyone not forget this fact that this UK, this Britain, this us, are an essential and integral part of this world and this humanity. And in a way, it is as if the British and Brain's world connections and contributions have opened up a window so that the world and world humanity are always showing their faces and existence right outside the heart of, what is the United Kingdom.

When parts of the media and some political outlets begin to use such atrocious crimes, regardless of who committed it, to advance their political standpoint is not only unhelpful but also dangerous. The question is this: is it possible for any government or agency to offer protection to the public from criminals whether they are terrorists or not, if they convert anything and everything into 'weapons of mass destruction'? Who can make all the vehicles 'terrorist' proof? Or public places, stations and airports and communication systems? And calling for more powers for authorities to safeguard the public is a waste of energy. Let us have a look. Let's suppose the authorities have been given all the power to eavesdrop and intercept on all types of 'conversations' in all the domains. Can anyone fail to imagine the 'almost infinite' amount of data that is? How many millions of people and trillions of hours it will take to 'look' into these data? How much resources, how much human power, how much computational power and in short, how much money will it take to use that 'almost infinite' data? Could the entire world's governments find as much money, that would be required to be poured into this? And how much human resources would that require, in which the entire nation would end up becoming the 'Security Service Personnel! For how many billions of texts are sent, how many trillions of 'electronic communications are going on every hour, how many megabillions of emails being sent, how many gigabillions of telephone calls being made, how many monstertrillions of searches are being undertaken, how many posts being posted, how many millions are travelling and going places, how many sales and this and that are taking place, how many letters and parcels being sent, how many vehicles being rented and so on and so forth and this is only just a few items on this mile long list. It is an utter fantasy that governments and government agencies could offer 'full proof' guaranteed safety. It is not possible. And this is a rational statement. ω.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Parliament Turns Off the Lights for the Earth Hour: March 25: 20.30-21.30


|| March 25: 2017 || ά. Today, Saturday, March 25, between 20.30 and 21.30, the Parliament will be plunged into darkness, joining the landmarks across the world in participating in the Earth Hour 2017. All non-essential and external lights will be extinguished, in order to raise awareness about the need for action on climate change. Spectators will be able to watch from Westminster Bridge as the Palace lights are extinguished and then switched back on again an hour later.

Parliament has long been committed to reducing its environmental impact, and has decreased its overall carbon footprint by 22% since 2008. Use of electricity has been reduced by 12%, gas by 10% and water by 42%. This has been achieved through a combination of building modifications and raising awareness. Parliament, also, recycles 64% of its general waste.

Rt. Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said, “Earth Hour has become a firm fixture in the annual Parliamentary calendar and we are rightly proud of this, as we are of our longstanding commitment to improving sustainability across the parliamentary estate. By turning out the lights for an hour, we hope to raise awareness and show that we are playing our part in combatting climate change.”

Lord Fowler, Speaker of the Upper House, said: “Simple steps, such as ensuring lights in empty rooms are switched off, or turning off computer monitors for the night, make a real difference to Parliament's energy consumption. Our commitment to reducing our energy usage remains as strong as ever, and I am therefore delighted that we are once again participating in this year's Earth Hour.”
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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We are Not Afraid and Our Resolve Will Never Waver in the Face of Terrorism: We Meet Here, in the Oldest of All Parliaments, Because We Know That Democracy and the Values That It Entails...Free Speech, Liberty, Human Rights and the Rule of Law....Will Always Prevail...Theresa May MP

It is by Demonstrating Our Values, Solidarity, Community, Humanity and Love, That We Will Defeat the Poison and Division of Hatred...Today, We are United by Our Humanity, by Our Democratic Values and by That Human Impulse for Solidarity to Stand Together in Times of Darkness and Adversity: Jeremy Corbyn MP


 

|| March 23: 2017 || ά. The Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May, spoke at the House of Commons, today at 10:33 and this is what she said: Yesterday, an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism. We meet here, in the oldest of all Parliaments, because we know that democracy and the values that it entails, will always prevail. Those values, free speech, liberty, human rights and the rule of law, are embodied here in this place, but they are shared by free people around the world. A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities and cultures gather to celebrate what it means to be free and he took out his rage indiscriminately against innocent men, women and children. This was an attack on free people everywhere and on behalf of the British people, I would like to thank our friends and allies around the world, who have made it clear that they stand with us at this time. What happened on the streets of Westminster yesterday afternoon sickened us all.''

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North, the Labour Party Leader said, I join you, Mr Speaker, in welcoming our colleagues from France here today, and I associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks. What happened yesterday within metres of where we sit now was an appalling atrocity. The police are still piecing together what took place and what lay behind it. It behoves us all not to rush to judgment, but to wait for the police to establish the facts, to stay united in our communities and not to allow fear or the voices of hatred to divide or cower us. Today, we are united by our humanity, by our democratic values and by that human impulse for solidarity to stand together in times of darkness and adversity. I express my condolences to the family and friends of police officer Keith Palmer, who gave his life yesterday in defence of the public and our democracy. We thank the police and security personnel, who keep us safe every day on this estate and we especially pay tribute to the bravery of those, who took action to stop the perpetrator of yesterday’s assault. The police and security staff lost a colleague yesterday and continued to fulfil their duties, despite their shock and their grief for their fallen colleague, which many of them expressed to me when I was talking to them late last night.''


The Prime Minster Mrs Theresa May

''While there is an ongoing police investigation, the House will understand that there are limits to what I can say, but, having been updated by police and security officials, let me set out what, at this stage, I can tell the House. At approximately 02.40 pm yesterday, a single attacker drove his vehicle at speed into innocent pedestrians, who were crossing Westminster bridge, killing two people and injuring around 40 more. In addition to 12 Britons admitted to hospital, we know that the victims include three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American and two Greeks and we are in close contact with the Governments of the countries of all those affected. The injured, also, included three police officers who were returning from an event to recognise their bravery; two of those three remain in a serious condition.

The attacker then left the vehicle and approached a police officer at Carriage Gates, attacking that officer with a large knife, before he was shot dead by an armed police officer. Tragically, as the House will know, 48-year-old PC Keith Palmer was killed. PC Palmer had devoted his life to the service of his country. He had been a member of the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command for 15 years and a soldier in the Royal Artillery before that. He was a husband and a father, killed doing a job he loved.

He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten. Hon. Members: “Hear, hear. I know that the whole House will join me in sending our deepest condolences to his family and to the families and friends of all those who have been killed or injured in yesterday’s awful attacks. I know, also, that the House will wish to thank all those who acted with such speed and professionalism yesterday to secure this place and ensure that we are able to meet, as we are doing today.

At 07.30 pm last night, I chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, Cobra and will have further briefings and meetings with security officials today. The threat level to the UK has been set at 'severe', meaning an attack is highly likely, for some time. This is the second highest threat level. The highest level, 'critical' means that there is specific intelligence that an attack is imminent. As there is no such intelligence, the independent joint terrorism analysis centre has decided that the threat level will not change in the light of yesterday’s attack.

The whole country will want to know who was responsible for this atrocity and the measures that we are taking to strengthen our security, including here in Westminster. A full counter-terrorism investigation is already under way. Hundreds of our police and security officers have been working through the night to establish everything possible about this attack, including its preparation and motivation and whether there were any associates involved in its planning. And while there remain limits on what I can say at this stage, I can confirm that overnight the police have searched six addresses and made eight arrests in Birmingham and London.

It is still believed that this attacker acted alone and the police have no reason to believe that there are imminent further attacks on the public. His identity is known to the police and MI5, and when operational considerations allow, he will be publicly identified. What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that, some years ago, he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic: he was not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent or of the plot. Intensive investigations continue, and as Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley confirmed last night, our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology.

We know the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real, but while the public should remain utterly vigilant, they should not, and will not, be cowed by this threat. As Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley has made clear, we are stepping up policing to protect communities across the country and to reassure the public. As a precautionary measure, this will mean increasing the number of patrols in cities across the country, with more police and more armed police on the streets.

Since June 2013, our police, security and intelligence agencies have successfully disrupted 13 separate terrorist plots in Britain. Following the 2015 strategic defence and security review, we protected the police budgets for counter-terrorism and committed to increase cross-Government spending on counter-terrorism by 30% in real terms over the course of this Parliament. Over the next five years, we will invest an extra £2.5 billion in building our global security and intelligence network, employing over 1,900 additional staff at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, and more than doubling our global network of counter-terrorism experts working with priority countries across Europe, the middle east, Africa and Asia.

In terms of security here in Westminster, we should be clear first of all that an attacker attempted to break into Parliament and was shot dead within 20 yards of the gates. If his intention was to gain access to this building, we should be clear that he did not succeed. The police heroically did their job. But, as is routine, the police, together with the House authorities, are reviewing the security of the parliamentary estate, co-ordinated with the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for the security measures in place around the Government secure zone. All of us in this House have a responsibility for the security and safety of our staff, and advice is available for Members who need it.

Yesterday, we saw the worst of humanity, but we will remember the best. We will remember the extraordinary efforts to save the life of PC Keith Palmer, including those of my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East, Mr Ellwood. And we will remember the exceptional bravery of our police, security and emergency services, who once again ran towards the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way. On behalf of the whole country, I want to pay tribute to them for the work they have been doing to reassure the public, treat the injured and bring security back to the streets of our capital city. That they have lost one of their own in yesterday’s attack only makes their calmness and professionalism all the more remarkable.

A lot has been said since terror struck London yesterday. Much more will be said in the coming days. But the greatest response lies not in the words of politicians but in the everyday actions of ordinary people. For beyond these walls today, in scenes repeated in towns and cities across the country, millions of people are going about their days and getting on with their lives. The streets are as busy as ever, the offices full, the coffee shops and cafés bustling. As I speak, millions will be boarding trains and aeroplanes to travel to London and to see for themselves the greatest city on Earth. It is in these actions, millions of acts of normality, that we find the best response to terrorism: a response that denies our enemies their victory, that refuses to let them win, that shows we will never give in; a response driven by that same spirit that drove a husband and father to put himself between us and our attacker and to pay the ultimate price; a response that says to the men and women who propagate this hate and evil, 'You will not defeat us'. Mr Speaker, let this be the message from this House and this nation today: our values will prevail. I commend this statement to the House.''

Jeremy Corbyn MP

''We see the police and security staff every day. They are our colleagues. They are fellow workers. They are friends. They are neighbours. As the Prime Minister said, when dangerous and violent incidents take place, we all instinctively run away from them for our own safety; the police and emergency services run towards them. We are grateful for their public service yesterday, today and every day that they pull on their uniforms to protect us all. I want to express our admiration for the hon. Member for Bournemouth East, Mr Ellwood, whose efforts yesterday deserve special commendation. He used his skill to try to save a life.

Innocent people were killed yesterday walking across Westminster bridge, as many millions of Londoners and tourists and all of us in this Chamber have done before them. As the Prime Minister said, the injured include people of 10 nationalities. We send our deepest condolences to their loved ones and to the loved ones of those still in a critical condition, including the French schoolchildren so welcome in our capital who were visiting from Concarneau in Brittany. We send our sympathies to them and to the people of their town and their community.

We thank all the dedicated national health service staff working to save lives, including all those from St Thomas’ hospital who rushed straight over to the scene of the incident to try to support and save lives. Many people will have been totally traumatised by yesterday’s awful events, not just all of us here, but those who were watching on television, worried for the safety of their friends and loved ones, so I ask in this House and in the country, please, that we look after each other, help one another and think of one another. It is by demonstrating our values, solidarity, community, humanity and love, that we will defeat the poison and division of hatred.'' ω.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Engineering Employers Urge Apprenticeship Body to Retain Qualifications


|| March 23: 2017 || ά. As the Department for Education:DfE is poised to transfer responsibility for apprenticeships to the new Institute for Apprenticeships on April 06, engineering employers are urging the body to keep recognised qualifications a core feature of apprenticeship standards. Ms Ann Watson, Chief Executive of Semta, says, “The government’s original apprenticeship standard insisted only on one end test and no requirement for the apprenticeship to achieve a recognised qualification.

Engineering employers have argued and won the case for our industry to have continuous assessment and qualifications in our apprenticeships. We must not lose this recognition as responsibility transfers.” To support the employers’ case, Semta commissioned research into international best practice by Professor Lorna Unwin of UCL Institute of Education. This showed that countries with leading apprenticeships, including Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands, all have continual assessment and lead to qualifications.

Jo Lopes, Head of Technical Excellence at Jaguar Land Rover, said, “The Apprenticeship Levy is a great opportunity for manufacturing and engineering. As an industry we have worked extremely hard to ensure the new apprenticeship standards work for employers, the apprentices and UK PLC.

We are delighted the government has agreed that apprentices should receive a qualification which is recognised wherever they go in the world and that this is achieved through constant assessment, evaluation and feedback. This gives employers confidence in the skills and ability of every apprentice.”

Professor Lorna Unwin, said, “It is clear from this research that if an apprenticeship is to have credibility and worth for both individuals and employers, it must end up with a recognised qualification. And why would you have an apprenticeship without any formal assessment and feedback as part of that process? Assessment is a critical part of learning and improving.”

Semta represents around 150,000 engineering employers, large and small and has been involved with the development of new apprenticeship standards through leading groups since 2014. They have used their expertise in qualification and assessment to ensure apprenticeships meet employer needs. Their subsidiary, EAL, works with more than 700 recognised assessment centres across the UK. ω.

Read the Report The role of qualifications and end point assessment in apprenticeships: an international comparison

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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London and the Country Face the Aftermath of Terror Attack Around the Vicinity of the Houses of Parliament: Resolute We Stand: Absolutely Unafraid and at Liberty: United Against Hatred, Division, Fear, Violence and Threat of Violence

 

 

|| March 23: 2017 || ά. Five people, including a Police Officer, have been confirmed dead and 40 injured in, what the Police is treating as a terrorist attack, that took place on the late afternoon today, in which a man, suspected to be the attacker, drove and crashed onto the pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge and then drove onto the pavement of the Houses of Parliament. The attacker, with a knife, who attacked and allegedly killed the Police Officer on duty, had been shot dead by the fire armed police officers. The emergency services have been on the scene and dealing with the aftermath; the Prime Minister Theresa May had been taken back from the Parliament Building, which has been under lock down, to her Downing Street Office, who is due, later to chair a Cobra Emergency Committee Meeting. The Speakers of the both Houses of Parliament have made a statement following the incident in Westminster.

"An extremely serious incident has occurred in the Westminster area this afternoon. The Metropolitan Police is dealing with this and an investigation is underway. On behalf of Members of both Houses of Parliament, we wish to offer our thoughts to all those affected and their families. We would, also, like to express our gratitude to the police and all emergency services.” United Kingdom will always, as it has always done, fight evil with the law of reason, democratic values, customs, norms and culture and the rule of law. London, The Elleesium will always have a William Wordsworth, who will always sing this joy of reason, of law, of democracy, of live and let live with a little pen in just fourteen lines, that speak on Westminster Bridge and therefore, we shall stand, absolutely unafraid and at liberty, united against hatred, division, fear, violence and threat of violence, while our thoughts, prayers, sympathies, solidarity and wishes continue to be and remain with all those, who have lost loved ones, who are injured and those, who have been affected by the atrocious terrorist attack that took place yesterday.

St Thomas' Hospital has been at the forefront of receiving and treating the injured, who were being taken there. The immediate areas around the Palace of Westminster have been sealed off and a lot of people have been stuck there for hours as the emergency services continue their methodical operations. The attack is as sudden and shocking as it is terrible and despicable. However, this is very much an on-going situation. The Humanion notes with great praise, admiration and respect, the very courageous, orderly, professional and with at-the-job-with-the-highest-of-preparedness of all the emergency services. All the members of the Houses of Parliament, who were present at the premises have been there under a state of lock down as the emergency services went on to ensure everything was safe around the Houses. The attack, being reported around the world. This is very much an on going emergency services operation that will continue for some time yet. ω.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Government's EU-Exit Plans Lack Ambition for Equality and Human Rights: The Equality and Human Rights Commission Puts Forward a Five-Point-Plan



||March 22: 2017 || ά. Government EU Exit plans are showing a lack of ambition for equality and human rights standards, Equality and Human Rights Commission Chair David Isaac has warned. Publishing a Five Point Plan on how Britain’s status as a world leader on equality and human rights can be maintained and strengthened after we leave the European Union, Mr Isaac has called for the government to set out its vision for a fairer Britain once we leave the EU and demonstrate how it will take a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shared society and heal the divisions exposed during and since the referendum campaign.

The Five Point Plan covers protecting parliamentary sovereignty over the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework, retaining the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework as we leave the European Union, ensuring the UK is a global leader on equality and human rights, protecting the UK’s equality and human rights infrastructure and promoting the UK as an open and fair place to live and do business. Healing the divisions: A positive vision for equality and human rights in Britain. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has been given powers by the UK Parliament and the United Nations to advise governments and parliaments on the equality and human rights implications of laws and proposed laws.

This role is crucial in the wake of the changes that are likely to flow from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, including possible implications for the Equality Act 2010 and other laws that impact on equality and human rights, such as those on maternity and parental rights, accessibility for disabled people, and immigration.
Britain has a long history of upholding people’s rights, valuing diversity and challenging intolerance. At this moment of significant constitutional change, it is important to set out a positive vision for the kind of country we want to be after we have left the EU. Building on our heritage of respect and inclusion, the Commission will encourage all political parties to pursue five priorities to protect and promote equality and human rights in the UK.

01. Protecting Parliament’s role in scrutinising the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework

The Great Repeal Bill should explicitly rule out further use of ‘Henry VIII’ powers to repeal or amend equality and human rights laws in UK primary legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010.
Equality and human rights laws in UK secondary legislation that are derived from EU law, such as those on accessible transport for disabled people and maternity and parental rights, should only be amended by procedures which allow for rigorous parliamentary scrutiny, such as the super affirmative procedure.
Rigorous equality and human rights impact assessments should be published in advance of proposed changes to laws protecting equality and human rights, to ensure parliamentarians have evidence to inform their debates and votes.

02. Retaining the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework as we leave the European Union

Equality and human rights laws that are currently underpinned by EU law, like the Equality Act 2010, those on data protection and workers’ rights, should be retained.
The UK should remain a committed party to the European Convention on Human Rights and ratify its Protocol 12, which would replace the right to non-discrimination in Article 21 in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The UK Government should ensure Court of Justice of the European Union:CJEU case law, which is in place at the point of Brexit, continues to apply in the UK and consider how to ensure UK courts keep up with future case law developments at the CJEU and courts in other countries that share our values.

03. Ensuring the UK is a global leader on equality and human rights

All the original provisions of the Equality Act 2010, such as the socio-economic duty and protection from combined discrimination, should be brought into force and implemented in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Public Sector Equality Duty should be strengthened. This would maximise the potential of the Equality Act’s protections to heal those divisions in society that became acutely apparent around the EU referendum.
The UK Government should introduce a constitutional right to equality, for example by amending the Human Rights Act 1998 or the Equality Act 2010, to provide a free-standing right to equality. This would mean that UK laws and state actions could be tested against our fundamental right to equality.
UN human rights treaties, like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, should be given further effect in UK and devolved law, and the
UK and devolved governments should publish action plans for implementing UN recommendations on human rights. This would ensure the UK meets international human rights standards.
The UK and devolved governments should explore opportunities to advance equality and human rights that arise from the removal of EU constraints, for example using public procurement and positive action to drive equality.
The UK and devolved governments should ensure our laws and policy keep pace with future equality and human rights standards coming from the EU, after we exit, such as the EU Accessibility Act, as well as other comparator countries.

04. Protecting the UK’s equality and human rights infrastructure

The Equality Act 2006 should be protected so that Britain retains an effective independent equality body and ‘A’ status national human rights institution.
The UK Government and devolved governments should ensure the loss of EU funding, such as the European Social Fund and the Equality and Citizenship Programme, does not undermine the UK’s equality and human rights infrastructure. This includes academic research, for example on violence against women and how to police it, and voluntary sector services, for example those supporting older and disabled people in employment.

05. Promoting the UK as an open and fair place to live and do business

The UK and devolved nations’ future trade agreements should contain human rights and democracy clauses that, at a minimum, meet current EU standards.
The UK Government should conduct rigorous equality and human rights impact assessments of proposed changes to immigration rules, and take steps to minimise negative impacts. Such impacts could include the availability of workers to support services that are fundamental to our rights, like the National Health Service or personal assistants to disabled people, and the protection and promotion of the right to family life.
Any new asylum arrangements that the UK Government agrees with other countries must comply with the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, and enable cross-border cooperation, for example to protect child victims of trafficking.
Governments should view Brexit as a driver for National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights, for example by integrating human rights into the design of international investment agreements.

Mr David Isaac said, “We’ve had calls for all kinds of Brexit. A soft Brexit, a hard Brexit and a red, white and blue Brexit. No one is talking about a fair Brexit - one that will unite the country and lead us to a shared society based on fairness and mutual respect the Prime Minister has talked about. At any crossroads there are important decisions to be made. We can either set out the positive requirements to maintain our traditions of respect for equality and human rights and be a country that really does work for everyone, or we can miss this golden opportunity to demonstrate how post-Brexit Britain can create a fairer and more united Britain.”

Setting out what steps the government can take to create a fairer Britain once we leave the EU the action plan published today includes: ruling out the use of so-called 'Henry VIII' powers to repeal or amend equality and human rights laws without Parliament’s approval; bringing into law every part of the Equality Act 2010 not yet implemented; introducing a constitutional right to equality that every law and government action can be tested against.

Every UK and devolved government trade deal must contain a human rights and democracy clause to help advance equality and human rights; ensuring equality organisations relying on EU funding, such as disabled people’s organisations, can keep running; enshrining all UN human rights treaties, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, into UK and devolved government law and producing an action plan explaining how UN recommendations will be implemented.

Mr Isaac continued, “Markets and trade deals are hugely important, but our vision for the future should not be narrowly economic. Both our economy and society will be stronger in a Britain where everyone is treated fairly and can achieve their potential.

There is great deal of anxiety about leaving the European Union and the government should go further to unite the country by setting out a positive vision for a post-Brexit Britain. That vision must be founded on pride in our shared values of tolerance and mutual respect. The plan we have launched today will, if implemented, help the government take steps to correct injustices and tackle unfairness to create a country that works for all.”

Ali Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the Equality and Diversity Forum:EDF, said, “EDF supports the call for a positive vision of an inclusive, outward-looking UK after we leave the EU, and a plan to turn the vision into reality. Equality and human rights are essential for a modern society where we can live and work successfully together, and where we can make the best of everyone’s contributions and talents. They are at the heart of the essential freedoms and protections that we all rely on and that are valued by the public.

The steps proposed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission are important and highlight the key areas we should discuss and debate as part of the Brexit process.”
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Houses and Prices and the Sail Away Dreams of Owning a Home for Most Young People: Will the Halifax Give You Extra: No One Does

 

|| March 23: 2017 || ά. New research from Halifax uncovered the attitudes of young people, who don’t own a property, showing that a quarter of 18-34-year-olds think the only way they’ll manage to own a house is by inheriting the cash. Eight out of ten feel that a lack of affordable property is keeping home ownership out of reach and as a result one in 10 think they’ll need to rent forever. However, first-time buyers end up on average £651 a year better off buying than renting.

Despite the number of first-time buyers reaching a 10-year high in 2016, half of 18-34-year-olds don’t think home ownership is a realistic option for their generation. two thirds, 65%, saying they don’t earn enough to afford it. Unsurprisingly, deposits remain too unrealistic and expensive for more than half, 52%, of young people as the average age of those buying their first home has crept slowly up to 30.

More than half of young people feel that the average house price for a first home in their area is currently unrealistic for them, causing generation rent to think about relocating to boost their chances of buying. One in five, 22%, 25-34 year-olds would move to a cheaper area and even more of their younger counterparts aged 18 to 24 would be prepared to pack their bags for a bargain home elsewhere in the UK.

The average deposit put down for an average first-time buyer home is £32,3212, rocketing to £100,445 in London. Northern Ireland has the lowest at £16,695, less than half of the average deposit needed in the South East, £47,472. Martin Ellis, Halifax housing Economist, said, “Even with the highest number of first-time buyers in the last decade in 2016, many young people still feel they are running financial gauntlet, saving for a deposit, finding an affordable property in the right area and managing to fund living in the meantime.

Table 1: First Time Buyers: Average Price, Loan and Deposit by Region, 2016

 

Average House Price (£s)

Average Mortgage

Average Deposit (£s)

Deposit as % of purchase price

(£s)

 North

124,117

105,794

18,324

15%

 Yorkshire and the Humber

135,719

116,257

19,462

14%

 North West

144,367

123,343

21,025

15%

 East Midlands

153,779

130,717

23,062

15%

 West Midlands

159,732

135,570

24,162

15%

 East Anglia

196,367

164,503

31,864

16%

 Wales

133,730

116,181

17,550

13%

 South West

200,465

166,159

34,306

17%

 South East

272,777

225,305

47,472

17%

 Greater London

402,692

302,247

100,445

25%

 Northern Ireland

115,269

98,575

16,695

14%

 Scotland

137,188

116,459

20,729

15%

UK

205,170

172,849

32,321

16%


It’s never too early to do some research to help build a better understanding of how much is affordable, the borrowing options available and calculating what’s achievable to help make owning a property more of a reality.” Although aspiring homeowners could begin gravitating towards the UK’s more affordable areas to get on to the property ladder, more than one in five, 22%, feel that home ownership is a thing of the past. Even if they have managed to raise a deposit, a third, 33%, feel mortgage criteria is too difficult for them to meet.

There are still ways for people determined to get on to the first rung of the ladder, as many lenders offer mortgages for first-time buyers with deposits of 05%. This could reduce the amount needed to nail the necessary deposit and longer mortgage terms help make monthly payments more manageable. In 2016, 28% of all first-time buyers with a mortgage chose a 30 to 35-year term, up from 11% in the past decade.

About the Research: House price data is based on data from the Halifax's own extensive housing statistics database and ONS data on average earnings. Consumer research based on a survey of 1500 18-34-year-olds carried out on mobile and online between 13.02.17 and 23.02.17 by Vital Research and  Statistics on behalf of Halifax.

House Prices: The prices used in this research are simple arithmetic, 'crude' averages for 12 months to November 2016. These prices are not standardised and therefore, can be affected by changes in the sample from period to period. "This report is prepared from information that we believe is collated with care, however, it is only intended to highlight issues and it is not intended to be comprehensive. We reserve the right to vary our methodology and to edit or discontinue:withdraw this, or any other report. Any use of this report for an individual's own or third party commercial purposes is done entirely at the risk of the person making such use.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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London Faces the Aftermath of Terror Attack Around the Vicinity of the Houses of Parliament: Emergency Services on the Scene: At Least Four Dead and 20 Injured

 

|| March 22: 2017 || ά. At least four people, including a Police Officer, have been confirmed dead and 20 injured in, what the Police is treating as a terrorist attack, that took place on the late afternoon today, in which a man, suspected to be the attacker, drove and crashed onto the pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge and then drove onto the pavement of the Houses of Parliament. The attacker, with a knife, who attacked and allegedly killed the Police Officer on duty, had been shot dead by the fire armed police officers. The emergency services have been on the scene and dealing with the aftermath; the Prime Minister Theresa May had been taken back from the Parliament Building, which has been under lock down, to her Downing Street Office, who is due, later to chair a Cobra Emergency Committee Meeting.

St Thomas' Hospital is at the forefront of receiving and treating the injured, who were being taken there. The immediate areas around the Palace of Westminster have been sealed off and a lot of people have been stuck there for hours as the emergency services continue their methodical operations. The attack is as sudden and shocking as it is terrible and despicable. However, this is very much an on-going situation. The Humanion notes with great praise, admiration and respect, the very courageous, orderly, professional and with at-the-job-with-the-highest-of-preparedness of all the emergency services. All the members of the Houses of Parliament, who were present at the premises have been there under a state of lock down as the emergency services went on to ensure everything was safe around the Houses. The attack, being reported around the world. This is very much an on going emergency services operation that will continue for some hours yet. The Humanion: ω.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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One That Walks on the Path of Peace Like the Late Dr Ian Paisley Does Not Make News: But the One That Turns Away From Violence and Joins the Peace Maker and Lives for and Works Together with Him for Peace Does: Martin McGuinness Chose and Spent the Better Part of His Life for Peace: May This of His Life Inspire People Towards a Future of Reconciliation and Irreversible Peace and Not of Divisions and Recriminations

Image: University of Manchester

 

|| March 21: 2017: Professor Roger Mac Ginty, University of Manchester’s Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute Writing  || ά. Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has died at the age of 66. The IRA leader turned peacemaker worked at the heart of the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, and became deputy first minister in 2007. I once spent a few days with Martin McGuinness in Dubai. With a few others, we were brainstorming how a stalled peace process in Sri Lanka could be kick-started.

What was very noticeable about McGuinness was that he knew the names of the hotel staff within 24 hours. He was on first name terms with the people, who served breakfast and was asking after someone's mother as if he had known the family all his life. It wasn't an act, it was for real. McGuinness was a people person. Those people skills could be seen when he was Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, most notably, when he struck up a friendship with First Minister Ian Paisley,  a long-time political foe.

As Deputy First Minister, he had to represent all the people of Northern Ireland, a difficult task where there are deep divisions in society. McGuinness is generally considered to have been an excellent minister, who was on top of his brief and worked hard to be inclusive. He, also, lived very modestly.

But for many people, McGuinness will always be associated with the Irish Republican Army and violence. They saw him as a spokesperson for an illegal organisation, that killed policemen, British soldiers and civilians.

Some victims of violence, including former cabinet minister Norman Tebbit, are celebrating McGuinness' death. Yet the Northern Ireland peace process needed people like McGuinness to be involved.

Previous attempts to make peace in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s failed precisely because they excluded the people like Martin McGuinness. He made a remarkable journey during his life. He still believed in a united Ireland but calculated that peaceful means would have greater traction.

The McGuinness life story is fascinating; it was full of persistence, hardship and contradiction. He will be venerated by some and despised by others  but it is difficult to think of the Northern Ireland peace process getting off the ground and delivering the Good Friday Agreement, without him as a central character.

The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group of British universities, is the largest and most popular university in the UK. It has 20 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. The University is one of the country’s major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’, has had no fewer than 25 Nobel laureates either work or study there, and had an annual income of just over £01 billion in 2014:15.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Women in Finance Charter Update: Gender Equality is a Necessity of Political Economics That Society Must Fail at Its  Own Perils


|| March 22: 2017 || ά. 33,000 extra staff in the UK now are covered by the plan to tackle gender inequality in financial services. The news comes on the first anniversary of the charter, with 122 firms, employing over half a million people in the UK and covering almost 50% of the financial services sector, now signed up. The Women in Finance Charter, launched a year ago today, asks financial firms to commit to four industry actions to build the female talent pipeline for leadership positions. According to the Government, the Charter’s innovative approach has been an unprecedented success with some of the UK’s biggest and most well established firms signing up. But the question is, are they working to deliver on the promises that they have signed up to?

The latest signatories include retail banks such as CYBG, payment firms such as VocaLink, global banks such as the Royal Bank of Canada, insurers like Ageas UK and other firms including Pinsent Masons LLP and NS and I, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the latest firm with headquarters in the US to sign up. Since the Charter launched, 77 financial services firms have committed to have at least 30% women in senior roles by 2021 and 23 firms have committed to a 50:50 gender split in senior roles by 2021. New signatories will announce their targets in June.

The Commercial Secretary, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said, I know how difficult it can be for a woman to get the recognition she deserves and achieve her potential. And in financial services particularly, women progress too slowly or they leave the sector completely. We have made a strong start, the first anniversary of the Women in Finance Charter sees 122 firms seizing the competitive advantage by tackling sex inequality head on.

But this is just the beginning. The financial industry is famed for its ability to identify opportunities to improve productivity. The Women in Finance Charter is one of those opportunities. It offers the chance to increase diversity of thought and for the financial services sector to better reflect the society it serves. This is why I encourage firms across the UK to step up and sign the Charter.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money and the government’s Women in Finance Champion, said, ''I am delighted with the strong and ongoing momentum of the Women in Finance Charter. A truly diverse financial services sector will drive productivity and underpin the UK’s position as a strong and competitive economy. There is still further to go and I urge more businesses to commit to the charter so that they can play their part in building an economy that works for everyone.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the latest firm with headquarters in the US to sign up, joining the likes of Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon, BlackRock, Circle and Thomson Reuters. This proves that there are no barriers for international firms to show their commitment to gender parity by signing the Charter.''

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, President, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a long history of supporting women’s leadership and economic empowerment, but there is clearly more to be done. Increasing the number of senior women and addressing gender balance is crucial for our long-term success. This means supporting and engaging women at all levels, to ensure a strong pipeline of talent. We are wholly supportive of the Women in Finance Charter and the positive impact it will have on our industry.

FinTechs have also responded to the government’s call to action with nine signing up including Nutmeg, RateSetter, Starling, Monzo, Zerado, Azimo, and FINTECH Circle. The Gadhia review looked at the issue of unequal gender representation in financial services and found that in UK financial services female representation was around 23% on boards, but only 14% on executive committees. It is estimated that equalising the role of men and women in the labour market could increase GDP by 10% by 2030.

On June 29, HM Treasury, in partnership with GrowthBusiness.co.uk, What Investment magazine and Virgin Money, will launch the inaugural Women in Finance Awards at the Savoy in London. These awards will celebrate the individuals and organisations who are leading change by driving the gender diversity agenda in financial services.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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To Do: To Change: To Make Better: Laura Banyard to Ride for Raising Funds for Julia's House Hospice: Will You Seek to Do: To Change: To Make Better and Support Laura's Campaign for the Children's Charity's Efforts to Build a New Hospice in Wiltshire: Laura is Riding on March 25

|| March 21: 2017 || ά. Laura Banyard works at Forest Fuels, who is taking her hose for a ride to raise money for charity and she is asking for your support and The Humanion invites you all to do whatever you can. She is donning her favourite riding hat for an equestrian adventure on Saturday, March 25, all in the name of raising money for Dorset-based Children’s charity, Julia’s House. Laura Banyard, who’s recently joined the eco-friendly company, is a customer account manager and deals with wood pellet and wood chip supply and biomass boiler servicing for customers. However outside work, she is a keen rider, so will be taking part in a Point to Point flat race on her beloved horse, Oscar, in a bid to raise as much money as possible for the worthy cause in order to help fund expansion into Wiltshire.

Speaking about the ride, Laura said, “I have never entered something like this before but I try and do something for charity once a year so thought with my love of horses and riding it was a perfect match.” The flat course is 11 furlongs, 01.38 miles and will be the first race on the card at the Point to Point. The event is open to any non-thoroughbred horse, who has seen hounds with the Wilton and riders must be 18 or over. Therefore, with 17 year old Oscar Laura is preparing for the even. Having owned Oscar for the past five years and after knowing him for seven, the two have an unbreakable bond, often exploring the countryside on legal hunts and practicing his jumping skills. ω.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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A New Composite of Institutes at the University of Bristol: Made of Seven New Institutes Including One of the Heart and the Other of Poverty

Image: University of Bristol

|| March 20: 2017: University of Bristol News || ά. Not one, not two, no three, but seven at once: a composite of institutes: the University of Bristol has today launched seven new research institutes reflecting the University’s strength and depth in key specialisms. The Specialist Research Institutes:SRIs encompass areas, where the University is already internationally-leading and is looking to develop capacity. And there is one of the Heart and another of Poverty. Let the heart at Bristol keeps on beating with the urgency to shine lights on the devastation poverty inflicts on people, lives and society.

One: Bristol BioDesign Institute: a cross-sectoral engineering approach to biology, the institute looks at how molecules can be engineered in a biological context. With wide ranging applications, from health to food security, its work embeds pioneering synthetic biology practice in biological and bioengineering research. It links the boundary-breaking research of the BrisSynBio synthetic biology network with postgraduate and postdoctoral training; cementing links with academia, policy makers and industry, while engaging the public with emerging solutions to global challenges.

Two: Bristol Composites Institute:ACCIS: composites are critical to reducing weight, energy consumption and CO2 generation. With the unparalleled scale of activity in composites research and application in the South West, the University has the head start and research strength to make composites in the UK an exemplar of how research and industrial engagement should be done. ACCIS will lead the way in composites education and research, combining cutting edge fundamental science with strong industrial links for technology transfer.

Three: Bristol Heart Institute: a world-leading centre for translational cardiovascular research and the leading academic cardiac surgery centre in the UK. Specialising in preventing, predicting, detecting, reducing and treating cardiovascular disease, it brings together scientists and clinicians from across the University and the NHS in Bristol; training the next generation of cardiovascular scientists and clinical academics.

Four: Bristol Institute for Migration and Mobility Studies: providing a fresh approach to the study of migration through a prism of arts, humanities and social sciences. Drawing from multidisciplinary perspectives, the institute looks at why people move from one place to another; the social, economic and cultural consequences of migration; and, importantly, the actual experience of migration. It is recognised as setting the agenda in migration research, particularly in the fields of colonial and postcolonial experience, ethnicity and citizenship; family migration, and the analysis of migration data.

Five: Bristol Population Health Science Institute, building on Bristol’s internationally-leading reputation for research in the determinants and consequences of ill-health, this institute takes a multi-disciplinary approach to studying the health of populations, spanning molecules to communities. Research ranges from basic discovery science in molecular and genetic epidemiology to innovative clinical trials and policy-influencing and assessment activities spanning across several Schools and Faculties within the University.

Six: Bristol Poverty Institute: drawing on 25 years' experience, the institute’s work centres around the production and dissemination of practical solutions and policies to catalyse the eventual ending of world poverty. It provides multidisciplinary analysis of the underlying causes of poverty with leading-edge expertise in the measurement of child/youth poverty and in the development of efficient anti-poverty policies. This essential research and data assists governments, NGOs and private sector bodies striving for poverty reduction.

Seven: Bristol Quantum Information Institute: long at the forefront of the growing worldwide activity in this area, the institute crystallises the University’s research across the entire spectrum, from theory to technology. With an expert cross-disciplinary team, including founders of the field, it has expertise in all major areas of theoretical quantum information science and in experiment. Fostering partnerships with the private sector, it provides superb teaching and training for the future generation of quantum scientists and engineers and the prototypes of tomorrow.

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Nishan Canagarajah said, "This is an exciting time for research at the University of Bristol. The new Specialist Research Institutes build on our culture of innovation, strong community and outstanding facilities here at Bristol. They reflect the strength and depth we already possess in key specialisms, and will clearly benefit from the inter-disciplinary nature of our world-leading research."

The new SRIs complement the University’s existing research institutes, which bring disciplines together to meet both the challenges of leading-edge research and the external demands of government, business and society. These are: Cabot Institute: living with environmental uncertainty. Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research: building new health research communities. Brigstow Institute: researching new ways of living and being. Jean Golding Institute: making data work for everyone.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Parliament Turns Off the Lights for the Earth Hour: March 25: 20.30-21.30


|| March 20: 2017 || ά. On Saturday, March 25, between 20.30 and 21.30, the Parliament will be plunged into darkness, joining the landmarks across the world in participating in the Earth Hour 2017. All non-essential and external lights will be extinguished, in order to raise awareness about the need for action on climate change. Spectators will be able to watch from Westminster Bridge as the Palace lights are extinguished and then switched back on again an hour later.

Parliament has long been committed to reducing its environmental impact, and has decreased its overall carbon footprint by 22% since 2008. Use of electricity has been reduced by 12%, gas by 10% and water by 42%. This has been achieved through a combination of building modifications and raising awareness. Parliament, also, recycles 64% of its general waste.

Rt. Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said, “Earth Hour has become a firm fixture in the annual Parliamentary calendar and we are rightly proud of this, as we are of our longstanding commitment to improving sustainability across the parliamentary estate. By turning out the lights for an hour, we hope to raise awareness and show that we are playing our part in combatting climate change.”

Lord Fowler, Speaker of the Upper House, said: “Simple steps, such as ensuring lights in empty rooms are switched off, or turning off computer monitors for the night, make a real difference to Parliament's energy consumption. Our commitment to reducing our energy usage remains as strong as ever, and I am therefore delighted that we are once again participating in this year's Earth Hour.”
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Clarity on Future Immigration System Critical for Thames Valley Businesses

Carolyn Fairbairn: Image: CBI

|| March 19: 2017: University of Reading News  || ά. The Head of the Confederation of British Industry:CBI told businesses in the Thames Valley that the clarity over the immigration system is 'critical', as the UK Government prepares to trigger Article 50 and begin negotiations to leave the European Union. In an event held at the University of Reading, leading industry leaders from Thames Valley met to discuss future challenges for the region, including the UK's EU-Exit, the spring budget and industrial strategy.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI and University of Reading Vice Chancellor Sir David Bell delivered brief speeches about the closer role that business and the higher education sector can play in driving growth in the region and then joined a panel, which included Tim Smith MBE from the Thames Valley LEP and Ian Workman, Head of South East, Barclays. Following the event, Carolyn Fairbairn said, “The Thames Valley is renowned for its strong and international facing economy. The diversity of firms, from pharma to tech, adds hugely to its character and the University provides a wonderful ecosystem for these businesses, whether cutting edge bio-tech or software companies planning to use the Science Park.

From speaking with businesses across all industry sectors, it’s clear that many see opportunities from Brexit but are, also, clear about their concerns. Knowing what a future immigration system will look like is critical for many across the Thames Valley, affecting everything from company secondments to forecasting. It’s, also, vital for businesses that the UK-EU negotiations get off to a good start, with some early wins on EU citizens’ rights, discussing a free trade agreement in tandem with the divorce and establishing a transition period up front."

Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading said, “We are delighted to welcome Carolyn Fairbairn to the University of Reading at such a critical moment for the economy, both in the Thames Valley and in the UK more generally. We will all benefit enormously from hearing her insights as one of our most prominent business leaders.

Universities play a crucial role in driving innovation, generating growth and creating jobs. The University of Reading values its relationships with businesses in the Thames Valley. Together, we can ensure that our region remains one of the most prosperous in the country.”

Ian Workman, Barclays Co-Head of Business Banking Relationships UK, who chaired the event, said, “Barclays is proud sponsor of this high profile CBI event which has attracted many of the region’s leading businessmen and women. It has provided the perfect platform to highlight some of the challenges and opportunities ahead while continuing to recognise the strength of the Thames Valley business community and the exceptional talent the region has to offer.”

About the Thames Valley Science Park: The University of Reading is opening the first stage of our 800,000 square foot Thames Valley Science Park next year, and the park will eventually support 5,000 jobs and 80 firms. The Gateway building, which will see 70,000 square feet of space, will open in August.

About the Henley Business School: The University of Reading is home to the Henley Business School, consistently ranked in the top 50 by both the FT and Economist and in the top 01% of business schools worldwide with its triple accreditation from UK, US and European accrediting bodies. The Business School is providing leading highly practical, collaborative and academically rigorous executive education, enterprise modules and the Henley MBA was rated by the Economist at #1 in the world for potential to network.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New £03 Million Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research in Yorkshire to Tackle Key Questions of Health and Social Care


|| March 19: 2017: University of Bradford News  || ά. A new Yorkshire centre will improve the health and wellbeing of children and the elderly and the safety of patients in hospitals and clinics. The Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research, to be established beside Bradford Royal Infirmary, brings together researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford with clinicians from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It has been made possible thanks to a £01 million donation from national charity The Wolfson Foundation, with further contributions from the two Universities and the Trust.

By combining the expertise of health researchers with clinicians who have daily contact with patients, the centre will ensure that its findings are put rapidly into practice, resulting in better health and social care for those who need it most, right here in Yorkshire. The three areas it will address have been identified as key health priorities for the county: A child’s health is the foundation for their lifelong mental and physical well-being, yet a recent UNICEF report showed the UK lags behind our European neighbours on this important measure. The centre will examine how to reduce inequalities in the health and development of young people, and seek out the early-years interventions which are most effective.

As our life expectancy has increased, so has the number of elderly people living with long-term medical conditions, limiting their quality of life and placing a growing burden on health and care services. The Wolfson Centre will develop new models of care for frail elderly patients, those with dementia and those facing debilitating musculoskeletal conditions. It will also work to improve systems of care for the terminally ill.

Health data shows huge variations in the standard of care received by patients in hospitals and clinics; a recent survey showed there are almost 12,000 preventable adult deaths a year in England alone. Research in the Centre will develop new methods of care that are safe, patient-centred and that harness the potential of new technologies.

The Wolfson Centre will host a centre for child health including the ground-breaking 'Born in Bradford' and 'Born in Bradford’s Better Start' cohorts. It will also host the Centre for Ageing, one of the UK’s most successful research groups in applied health research for older people, and the National Institute for Health Research’s National Patient Safety Centre.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said, “The Wolfson Foundation is a national charity awarding funding based on rigorous and independent review. We were very impressed by the high quality of the research that will take place in Bradford. The new Centre will be an excellent example of how universities and an NHS Trust can work together to encourage research which will have a direct practical benefit to patients, in Bradford, across Yorkshire and beyond. We are particularly pleased to be funding in Bradford, and hope that this project will make the city a beacon for outstanding, applied health research.”

Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, said, “This is a groundbreaking partnership. Our new national Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research will bring together doctors and researchers to work out how we can speed up the translation of research into benefits for patients. Too much medical research lies collecting dust in dry academic journals. Our new Centre will help catalyse cutting-edge science to improve health and well-being of people in our communities.

Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, described it as a fantastic achievement for our patients, NHS staff, researchers and the region. This exciting initiative builds on our decade-long partnership with the Universities of Leeds and Bradford and we warmly welcome the Wolfson Institute into our dynamic research organisation. With this new injection of funding, we will develop a centre of excellence which will deliver high-quality research which translates into meaningful practice and which we hope will result in improving the health and wellbeing of our patients.”

University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said, “This grant will support the University’s open, collaborative and dynamic approach to research delivery. By working with the University of Bradford and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust, the Centre will put specialist academic groups at the heart of patient care. It will deliver a step change in the quality, volume and impact of world-leading applied healthcare research, and deliver effective and improved care for patients in our region, the UK and globally.”

University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said, “I am delighted that the Wolfson Foundation is supporting this important development. The University of Bradford is a world-leading technology university with a proud tradition of research and innovation, making a positive difference to society. Our partnership with the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals will make the Wolfson Centre a national and international exemplar in turning great academic research into better health and care for people in the city and beyond.”

Work on the centre is due to start in the early summer of 2017 and will take around two years to complete.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Community Resilience to Climate Change Impact: The Disadvantaged are at the Forefront of the Impact

 

|| March 18: 2017: University of Dundee News  || ά. Disadvantaged groups need to be helped to cope with the cost pressures, caused by climate change, according to a new report compiled by the University of Dundee for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report, ‘Community Resilience to Climate Change’ warns that shocks, such as extreme weather events and stresses like changes in the cost of living will interact to generate hardships for local communities. The researchers from the University’s Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience:CECHR further warn that climate change will disproportionately impact upon already disadvantaged people.

The team worked with three flood-prone communities in the Scottish Borders, Hawick, Peebles and Newcastleton, to improve understanding and approaches to building climate resilience. By bringing members of the community together with local authorities, policy makers and other stakeholders they brought about changes to a major flood scheme, increased understanding of social dimensions of climate change and facilitated new flood risk and renewable energy groups among other outcomes. Professor Ioan Fazey of CECHR, said, “Building community resilience to climate change requires collaborative action, that involves working with communities and institutions and across different sectors.

All three communities we worked with have experienced flooding in the past or are at flood risk. In fact, while carrying out the project there was flooding in Peebles and Hawick. The critical thing about climate change is that we are not just talking about an increase of flooding, drought or other extreme weather shocks. Community resilience to climate change is a systemic issue, where climate shocks and stresses and existing vulnerabilities combine to create climate disadvantages. The effect is that the most marginalised members of society are likely to be most negatively impacted upon by climate events.

In addition to these shocks, climate change will create ongoing stresses, including a likely increase in food prices, that will put pressure on already-stretched household finances. When we talk about developing community capacity for resilience, we are referring not only to things like flood defences but also practical measures, such as assistance to manage household budgets.”

The report notes that reducing carbon emissions is a critical part of building community resilience in the long term. Community resilience activities, therefore, need to engage with measures that simultaneously mitigate and adapt to climate change. This requires explicitly engaging with climate change in community-based activities, albeit, through approaches that clearly link climate change to local issues.

A more integrated national policy landscape is also needed to shape effective action at the community level for building community resilience by improving spatial planning, strengthening policies to build capacity, enhancing coordination across levels of governance, and providing strategic leadership to explicitly promote community resilience.

Professor Fazey added, “Building community resilience is a complex social process that requires bringing people with different perspectives and capacities together to help shape local outcomes. Residents themselves are often absent from discussions about how to build resilience in their communities. We cannot expect to help them to deal with these vulnerabilities without involving them from the outset in these plans.”

Jim Fraser, Scottish Borders Council’s Emergency Planning Officer, said, “We were delighted to be involved with this project along with other local partners, including the Tweed Forum and Southern Uplands Partnership.

The development of our own Resilient Communities initiative in recent years has been very positive, and this report builds on that and hopefully will improve understanding and approaches to building climate and community resilience, both here in the Scottish Borders and nationally.”
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Read the Report

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Put the Brakes on Making Tax Digital for Businesses: Finance Sub-Committee Urges the Government

Image: Turner Contemporary


|| March 17: 2017 || ά.  The Finance Bill Sub-Committee today publishes its report on the Draft Finance Bill 2017: Making Tax Digital for Business. It concludes that the Government should delay the digitisation of tax for businesses. The Sub-Committee examined in detail clauses in the draft Finance Bill that make tax digital for small businesses and the self employed. These changes will affect 01.6 million companies, 02.4 million self-employed individuals and 900,000 residential landlords. The Committee agrees that the digitalisation of tax is to be welcomed. But it concludes that the roll-out of the scheme is being rushed, imposing unnecessary burdens on small businesses and will yield little benefit to the Government.

The Sub-Committee recommends a series of modifications to ensure the policy is implemented successfully, including revise and improve its assessment of Making Tax Digital's benefits and costs. The Government's estimate of the 'tax gap' savings are fragile and not based on adequate evidence. The assertion that the scheme will initially cost businesses £280 does not reflect the reality of the initial expenses businesses will incur. Delay the scheme until 2020 to allow a full pilot. This delay will allow the Government to test whether Making Tax Digital does reduce taxpayer errors, assess the actual costs to business, and receive valuable feedback from business users. It also gives the Government time to raise awareness and put in place support systems for those who lack digital skills.

Make keeping digital records and quarterly reporting optional for businesses with a turnover below the VAT threshold. For smaller businesses the requirement to report quarterly to HMRC will impose an unnecessary burden, and will be of limited use. Look again at which businesses are included in the scheme. The Government should examine whether some kinds of businesses, such as those with seasonal or highly irregular income, should be outside the scheme.

The Chairman of the Sub-Committee, Lord Hollick, said, "Many small businesses and landlords are simply unaware of or not ready to cope with the additional administrative and financial burdens that will be imposed by digital taxation. We welcome the Government's announcement in the Spring Budget that the scheme would not apply to businesses with a turnover below the VAT threshold until April 2019. However, this does not go nearly far enough and it needs to further delay the scheme's implementation, and take a more incremental and gradual approach based upon the evidence from the pilot.

This scheme coincides with changes to business rates and dividend taxation, all of which will impact some small businesses. A full pilot will ensure the software works and provide hard evidence of the additional financial and administrative burdens on businesses. It will also provide evidence in place of the widely disbelieved assessment of costs and benefits of the introduction of Making Tax Digital.

We are sceptical of the benefits to small businesses of regular digital reporting. We recommend that the scheme remains optional for businesses with a turnover below the VAT threshold."
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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BBC Radio 4 Farming Today: Princess Anne, Germaine Greer and Jay Rayner to Discuss the Challenges of Major Food, Farming and Environmental Issues of the Coming Decade: March 20-24 for Early Birds at 05:45

Image: University of Edinburgh


|| March 17: 2017 || ά. BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today invites Princess Anne, Germaine Greer and Jay Rayner to discuss food, farming and environmental opportunities in the decade ahead. BBC Radio 4’s flagship rural affairs programme, Farming Today will explore the environmental and farming opportunities that will come with the UK's U-Exit in a week of programming, Monday-Friday, March 20-24, 05.45 daily, featuring a line-up of special guests. Princess Anne, Germaine Greer, Tim Martin, Jay Rayner and Sir Tim Smit KBE will each explore some of the issues close to their heart relating to how we could look after our countryside, environment and rural communities or produce food from a different perspective. The guests will be interviewed by Farming Today’s Charlotte Smith and Anna Hill and the programmes will feature location reports.

With the country voting to get our of the European Union, for the first time in over 40 years the UK has an opportunity to completely redesign how we consider our environment, produce food, as well as how we look after our countryside and our rural communities. Farming Today’s guest line-up will examine some of the questions involved, including: Should we link our farming policies together with health policies? Is this an opportunity to embrace some farming technologies such as GM, which have so far been embraced by the US but avoided by the EU? What should we do to ensure rural communities stay a vibrant place to live and where businesses can thrive?

On Monday, March 20, writer Germaine Greer tells Charlotte Smith why protecting our wildlife, pollinators and natural habitats will be so important as the UK enters negotiations for post-EU trade deals. The journalist - who famously bought a redundant Australian dairy farm and turned it into rainforest, is President of the charity Buglife.

On Tuesday, March 21, Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit says that we'll need a revolution in attitudes to producing food if we're to protect food security in the UK post-Brexit. He criticises our current leaders who, he claims, 'look down their noses at farming'. Food production will be the most important profession as the global population moves towards 9 billion, and we need to be inspiring the next generation of producers. He wants leaders who will make it 'rock and roll'.

Sir Tim Smit says, “The Brand of horticulture and agriculture [in the uk] has been allowed to decline to a degree that’s horrifying. If I look at the country of my birth, Holland, if you’re a famer or a horticulturalist it’s a career, you’re a professional. Agriculture is regarded as every bit as much an applied science as is pharmacy, engineering and medicine. In this country we have a government department where people go to die, and we have a professional class that looks down its nose at people in agriculture and horticulture.”

On Wednesday, March 22, Wetherspoons pub chain founder Tim Martin tells Anna Hill that UK food and farming will thrive post-Brexit, even without a tariff-free deal from Europe. But he does want to see controlled immigration, which he says is vital for the economy. Tim famously campaigned for Leave in the Referendum by printing anti-EU messages on half a million beer mats. Now he says new trade deals won't put UK farmers at risk, either because consumers won't buy cheaper, lower quality meat and veg, or because our government won't allow it in.

On Thursday, March 23, Anna Hill talks to the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace to discuss food, farming and environmental opportunities after 2020. Princess Anne, who farms in Gloucestershire and is a patron of many rural charities, talks about biofuels, the use of science and technology in farming and what kind of subsidies could help farmers in the future. She explores whether support should also be used to enable producers to grow food 'staples' at a reasonable cost so that all consumers can afford them.

On Friday, March 24, Author and food critic Jay Rayner tells Charlotte Smith why he believes it's time for a completely fresh look at food production post-Brexit. He wants to see producers and retailers taking their 'carbon footprint' into account as part of pricing and labeling, right along the food chain. Jay believes we'll see the end of ultra-cheap food as we've known it in recent decades, but the future of the planet depends on us cutting down on foods that harm the environment. If subsidies to farmers continue he says they should only be to reward progress on environmental or wildlife stewardship.

This week of programmes on Farming Today follows the ten-part investigation, Against the Grain, by Charlotte Smith into British agriculture at a time of uncertainty and speculation, which is available on the Radio 4 website and as a podcast via the iPlayer radio.
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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GMB Warns Every School in the UK Faces Brutal Cuts in Light of Damaging New Report

Image: Bournemouth University


|| March 17: 2017 || ά. Education Policy Institute study claims £74,000 will be slashed off primary school budgets while secondaries stand to lose £291,000. GMB, the union for school support staff, warned today every school in the UK faces a real-terms per-pupil funding cut thanks to the Government’s brutal national funding formula. According to a new report by the Education Policy Institute, primary schools will face budget cuts of £74,000 on average by 2019:20, and secondary schools will lose £291,000.

This is the equivalent of four lost teaching assistants per primary school and 16 lost teaching assistants per secondary school. The report also found that Ministers’ new national funding formula would shift 'funding away from the most disadvantaged pupils towards what is considered the 'just about managing'  group.’ Sharon Wilde, GMB National Officer for Schools, said, “This report highlights the national scandal in education funding that will leave our schools poorer and staff fearing for their jobs.

It isn’t just teachers who are set to lose out – in fact, support staff are often seen as a ‘soft target’ by schools. Across the country teaching assistants and other support staff have already suffered brutal cuts to their pay and their terms and conditions, and the situation looks set to get even worse. There can be no justification for taking money away from the most deprived children or cutting essential support staff.”
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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East Africa Crisis Appeal: More Than 19 Million People Face Across East Africa Facing Terrifying Hunger: Please, Donate, Whatever You Can for Every Penny Builds up the Pound and Every Pound Goes to Save Lives

Images: Oxfam:British Red Cross:ICRC:Pedram Yazdi

|| March 15: 2017 || ά.  East Africa is in the grip of a devastating food crisis. Millions of families are facing starvation because of droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Famine has been declared in parts of conflict-stricken South Sudan. Oxfam is there with life-saving support but we urgently need your help to do more. More than 19 million people across East Africa are facing terrifying food shortages. Drought has caused crops to fail and cattle to die in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, leaving millions facing starvation and desperately seeking a safe source of water. Brutal war in South Sudan has driven more than three million people from their homes and left millions more in need of emergency food.

For the first time since 2011, famine has been declared in the worst affected areas. In Ethiopia this year, an estimated 300,000 children will become severely acutely malnourished and 09.2 million people are expected not have a regular supply of safe drinking water. 05.6 million people urgently need food. In Kenya, the arid and semi-arid lands and coastal areas are worst affected. 02.7 million people are considered severely at risk. Malnutrition rates have reached a critical level. In Somalia, the UN has been warning of a famine. The number of people in need of emergency food aid has doubled in the last six months to 06.2 million. Over 360,000 acutely malnourished children are in urgent need of support.

In South Sudan, ongoing conflict means that 07.5 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Half the country's population are expected to be affected by extreme hunger by July and famine has already been declared in parts of the country.

Without immediate action, this crisis will get worse. We need to act now to save lives.

Please, Donate, whatever you can for every penny builds up the pound and every pound goes to save lives. ω.

Through Disaster Emergency Committee East Africa Crisis Appeal

Or Through Oxfam

Or Through British Red Cross

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New Salaried Two-Year Post Graduate Diploma Course to Be Delivered by Seven Universities to Train and Develop Teachers for Low-Income Schools to Tackle Educational Inequality

 

|| March 15: 2017 || ά. The Manchester Institute of Education is one of seven institutions to have been chosen to partner with education charity Teach First. From July, the institute will deliver its enhanced Leadership Development Programme:LDP in partnership with Teach First. This will be a two-year salaried route into teaching, which places participants within schools facing the greatest challenges. It focuses on building participants’ leadership skills and on developing them as research-informed teachers so they can tackle educational inequality in low-income schools throughout the country.

Participants will study towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Education:PGDE which, for the first time, fully integrates teacher training with leadership development. The PGDE will be worth twice the Masters’ credit of the Post Graduate Certificate of Education offered by the previous LDP, reflecting the value of university accreditation and the role of higher education providers in delivering training. This will be the first PGDE in the UK to run over two years, with university involvement across both years.

“We have worked with Teach First for over 10 years, providing new teachers for some of the most challenging schools in the region.” said Dr David Spendlove, Head of Initial Teacher Education at the Manchester Institute of Education. “We are, therefore, delighted to be working closely with them once again on this rigorous new programme.

This programme further demonstrates the University’s commitment to social responsibility and initial teacher education, through providing highly capable teachers to support schools serving low-income communities.”

The seven university partners are: Bath Spa University, Birmingham City University, Canterbury Christ Church University, Northumbria University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Manchester, UCL Institute of Education

The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group of British universities, is the largest and most popular university in the UK. It has 20 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. The University is one of the country’s major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’, has had no fewer than 25 Nobel laureates either work or study there, and had an annual income of just over £01 billion in 2014:15.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Why is Zero Hour Contract Getting So Popular with Employers: Is It Because Using This Route Employers Can Legally Get Away with All Their Legal Obligations to the People They Employ

ONS

 

|| March 15: 2017 || ά. This is the latest from The Office for National Statistics: This article comprises the latest figures from the Labour Force Survey for the period October to December 2016. This article contains estimates of the number of people in employment in the UK on contracts where they are not guaranteed any hours in a given week, also known as 'zero-hours contracts'. It comprises the latest figures from the Labour Force Survey:LFS for the period October to December 2016. The number of people employed on 'zero-hours contracts' in their main job, according to the LFS, during October to December 2016 was 905,000, representing 02.8% of all people in employment. This latest estimate is 101,000 higher than that for October to December 2015, 804,000 or 02.5% of people in employment.

In recent years, increases in the number of people reporting to the LFS that they were on a zero-hours contract were likely to have been affected by greater awareness and recognition of the term 'zero-hours contract'. This latest annual change, may also, have been affected in this way but it is not possible to estimate the extent. People on 'zero-hours contracts' are more likely to be young, part-time, women or in full-time education, when compared with other people in employment. On average, someone on a 'zero-hours contract' usually works 25 hours a week. Around one in three people, 32%, on a 'zero-hours contract' want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job, as opposed to a different job that offers more hours. In comparison, 09% of other people in employment wanted more hours.


What are 'Zero-Hours Contracts: There is no single agreed definition of what 'zero-hours contracts' are. While some contracts are explicitly called zero-hours contracts, there are other definitions available and used in published statistics. The common element to the definitions is the lack of a guaranteed minimum number of hours. When developing the survey of businesses, we consulted on the definition to be used and decided on the lack of any guaranteed hours. To provide clarity and prevent confusion with the other estimates of 'zero-hours contracts', the remainder of this article refers to estimates from the Office for National Statistics:ONS business survey as no guaranteed hours contracts.

When comparing figures from the ONS business survey with the LFS estimates, a number of issues need to be considered:
the LFS counts people, who report that their main employment is a 'zero-hours contract'
the estimate from businesses is counting contracts; this will be greater than the number of people as people can have more than one contract
estimates from businesses will include contracts that cover a variety of working arrangements; this will include instances where people in their main employment are working a regular number of hours a week (although these hours are not guaranteed by their contract) as well those who work on an irregular basis due to personal choice, availability of work or to fit in around their main employment
employers are likely to be more aware of their employees’ formal contractual arrangements and this may differ from the perception of employees if their normal working hours are relatively stable or if changes in hours are mainly as a result of personal choice
there may be multiple contracts for each job in the business survey

How Many No Guaranteed Hours Contracts are There: This section looks at the latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey:LFS for the period October to December 2016. Estimates from surveys are, due to sampling error, subject to a degree of uncertainty.

Labour Force Survey: The LFS samples around 40,000 households each three-month period and collects information about people’s employment status. One of the questions on the LFS, asked of people in employment, relates to special working arrangements that vary daily or weekly. Respondents can choose up to three different arrangements from a list of eight options, one of which is 'zero hours contracts' defined as 'where a person is not contracted to work a set number of hours and is only paid for the number of hours, that they actually work'.

As the LFS is based on respondents’ views about their working arrangements and counts people rather than contracts, it is likely that any estimate of 'zero-hours contracts'  from the LFS will be less than an estimate obtained from businesses. The number of people the LFS classes as being on a 'zero-hours contract' will be those who:

are employed, have done at least one hour of paid work in the week before they were interviewed or reported that they were temporarily away from their job
report that their working arrangements in their main employment include some form of flexibility
recognise that the flexibility of their working arrangements is a result of being on a 'zero-hours contract'

Therefore, the people identified by the LFS as being on a 'zero-hours contract'  will be those in employment who are aware that their contract allows for them to be offered no hours. This might exclude some people who select another option, such as on-call working, although they have the opportunity to report a 'zero-hours contract' as well.

The latest estimate from the LFS shows that 905,000 people reported that they were on a 'zero-hours contract' in the period October to December 2016, representing 02.8% of people in employment. This is 13% higher than the reported figure from the same period in 2015, 804,000 or 02.5% of people in employment. In recent years, increases in the number of people reporting to the LFS that they were on a zero-hours contract were likely to have been affected by greater awareness and recognition of the term “zero-hours contract”. This latest annual change may also have been affected in this way but it is not possible to estimate the extent.
 

What are the  haracteristics of People Employed on 'Zero-Hours Contracts': The Labour Force Survey:LFS can provide additional information about the type of people who report that their main employment is on a 'zero-hours contract'.

Who are They: Looking at the type of people, who report that they are employed on a 'zero-hours contract' compared with other people in employment shows that there are differences in the type of people on 'zero-hours contracts' and the industries they work in. For October to December 2016:

women make up a bigger proportion of those reporting working on 'zero-hours contracts', 52%, compared with women in employment not on 'zero-hours contracts', 47%,
people who report being on a 'zero-hours contract' are more likely to be at the youngest end of the age range; 33% of people on 'zero-hours contracts' are aged 16 to 24, compared with 12% for all people in employment not on a 'zero-hours contract'
18% of people on 'zero-hours contracts' are in full-time education compared with 03% of other people in employment
22% people in employment on a 'zero-hours contract' are in the accommodation and food industry
11% of people employed in the accommodation and food industry are on a 'zero-hours contract'

These characteristics have shown little change over recent years with the patterns partly reflecting the groups most likely to find the flexibility of 'zero-hours contracts' an advantage, for example, young people, who combine flexible working with their studies.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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GMB Condemns the Zero Certainty of Zero Hours Contracts as New Data Shows Numbers Approaching a Million


|| March 15: 2017 || ά. GMB union today commented on new data from the Office for National Statistics:ONS showing the number of people on zero hours contracts rise to 905,000 in December, contracts, a rise of 100,000 on the previous year.  The figures show a masive 440% rise in people on zero-hours contracts since 2010.  Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary said, “The number of zero hours workers is on course hit a million. In the real world, zero hours means zero certainty. Zero security.

Zero ability to plan your life, your future, your family's finances because from one week to the next, people don't know how much is going to be on their next pay slip. People deserve more certainty and control in their working lives, not getting their hours texted to them the day of their shift, with no ability to plan around caring responsibilities, public transport or having any kind of a social life.

This figure ties into a wider problem of insecure work in the U.K, millions are toiling away on agency contracts, zero hours contracts and in bogus self employment. Not six months ago, the Prime Minister promised an economy that works for everyone. It's a political choice to let this be the status quo for working people. A choice she is seemingly happy to make."
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Bees and Neonicotinoids


|| March 14: 2017 || ά. This House of Commons Briefing Papers concentrates on the interaction between bees and a group of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, which have been in the spotlight after a number of studies yielded evidence, although much of that evidence is contested, of sub-lethal, harmful effects on bees. In July 2015, the UK Government granted an emergency authorisation for the use of restricted neonicotinoids on oil seed rape seeds in four English counties. A similar application for an emergency authorisation for 2016 was rejected and the NFU has submitted a fresh application for 2017.

The use of three neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin and imidacloprid, made by Bayer and thiamethoxam, made by Syngenta, has been subject to two year precautionary restrictions in the EU since December 2013. This is based on concerns that they have sub-lethal but still harmful effects on bees. The UK Government has implemented the restrictions but did not support them because, in its view, field trial evidence did not support the restrictions. The Government believed that there had not been sufficient analysis of the impacts of the other insecticides that would be used, instead.

The EU Commission is currently reviewing the restrictions taking into account 'relevant scientific and technical developments'. The European Food Safety Authority was expected to complete a review in January 2017 but nothing has yet been made public. The restrictions are not time-limited and will stay in place until the Commission decides to change them. In July 2015, the UK Government granted an emergency authorisation for the use of restricted neonicotinoids on oil seed rape:OSR seeds after an application from the National Farmers’ Union:NFU. An application for an emergency authorisation in 2016 was refused and the NFU has applied to use neonicotinoid pesticides on 11% of the OSR crop in England in 2017.

This briefing therefore examines: the risks that neonicotinoids might pose to bees and the evidence for those risks, and conversely the risks of not using neonicotinoids; bee health: why are numbers declining; the UK’s restriction on neonicotinoids; the UK emergency authorisation in 2015 and unsuccessful applications for authorisations in 2016; how pesticides are regulated at the EU level and in the UK EU Commission restrictions imposed in 2013 and scientific studies and reviews in recent years and before the imposition of the restrictions in 2013.

Pollinators, including bees, are showing declines worldwide but, although the overall trend is downwards, this is not universal and not all species are declining. Where declines in bee health and bee numbers have been observed, a number of factors, such as disease, habitat loss, climate change and pesticides, are thought to have contributed.

There are numerous scientific studies on bees and pesticides but neonicotinoids’ effects are not yet fully understood and differ among neonicotinoids. Although the evidence is not conclusive, the EU, acting on the precautionary principle, took action in 2013 and imposed restrictions on the use of three neonicotinoids - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. These controls are often spoken of as a ban but neonicotinoids may still be used in certain situations and so it is more accurate to describe them as restrictions.

The UK government did not consider that the evidence merited this action but abided by the restrictions, although its granting of emergency authorisations for neonicotinoid use in 2015 prompted concern in some quarters that it might seek to overturn the restrictions. For policy makers and other concerned bodies, the situation remains contested and unclear: an October 2015 review statement by a group of pollinator experts concluded that the evidence still does not provide a clear steer for policy makers in relation to neonicotinoids.

The European Food Safety Authority:EFSA was expected to complete a review of available data on the risk to bees from clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, update its risk assessments and report to the Commission in January 2017. Nothing has yet been made public and there has been speculation that the EFSA report might not appear until September 2017.

In the UK, wild bees and other wild pollinators have declined in number in the last 50 years, with changes in the species reflecting changes in our landscapes. Managed bees in hives, though, are faring better; their numbers in the UK are recovering from large losses due to the Varroa mite in the early 1990s. Pollinator strategies set out, broadly speaking, to support pollinator populations and enable their survival and success. There are pollinator strategies for England and for Wales and an All-Ireland strategy, as well as one being developed in Scotland, to tackle adverse impacts on bees and other pollinators beyond pesticides.

Neonicotinoids are widely-used insecticides. They were developed in the 1980s and 1990s and were the first new class of pesticides for 50 years. They have low mammalian toxicity, which has made them an important means of crop protection. Bayer CropScience and Syngenta are the main producers. Neonicotinoids are systemic, which means that they are taken up by the whole of the plant including the pollen and nectar.

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology:CEH suggested in August 2016 that neonicotinoid use is linked to large-scale and long-term decline in wild bee species distributions and communities. Other, more recent studies are mentioned below. Manufacturers of neonicotinoids, on the other hand, have generally argued that they are unlikely to be responsible for declining bee health or bee numbers and that the alternatives, such as organophosphates, might pose greater risks. On its Bee Care website, Bayer points to the many factors, influencing bee health and bee numbers and maintains that realistic field studies show no harmful effects to bees from neonicotinoids.

Similarly, the relationship between restrictions on neonicotinoid use, crop damage and yields is contested. The Crop Protection Association:CPA, which comprises 22 companies from the UK plant science industry, responded to the CEH study, arguing that neonicotinoids are important for farming and food production and there is no evidence that restricting them helps bee populations. The CPA points to the links between the decline of wild bee populations and several other factors, especially, the Varroa mite.

The NFU in England and Scotland claimed in 2015 that the restriction on neonicotinoids had caused heavy losses through oilseed rape crop:OSR damage from pests. The most recent figures, available in the ADAS Final Harvest Report 2016, indicate that yields are down: the national yield estimate for winter OSR was 03.0-03.2 t:ha–an 11-17% decrease on the five year average, 03.6 t:ha. Commenting on the poor harvest and decreasing OSR area, the NFU said in November 2016 that it was reviewing the way forward, as OSR production might be in jeopardy if neonicotinoids remained restricted.

The Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture in 2013, in a report funded by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, estimated that the overall cost of a ban could be as high as €04.5 billion and over a five-year period, put one million arable production jobs at risk across the EU. More recently, Farmers Weekly reported in August 2015 that the restrictions on neonicotinoids had cost farmers £22 million: £07.8 million for alternative chemical use, £11.4 million for applying the chemicals and £02.3 for crop lost and not replanted.

In an open letter to the UK government in December 2016, to mark the third anniversary of the restrictions, 18 wildlife and environmental groups argued that it was 'clear that there is now more than enough evidence to retain the ban and extend it to all crops and that this is essential to reverse the decline of bees and other pollinators', although the NFU disputed these claims. The Wildlife Trusts are calling for an outright ban on neonicotinoids. Friends of the Earth, also, continues to call for a ban on neonicotinoids. In a report published in January 2017, looking in particular at the use of clothianidin on wheat,
Friends of the Earth urged the UK government to 'commit to a comprehensive ban now, that will apply whatever our future relationship with the EU'. The RSPB continues to be concerned about neonicotinoids’ potential effects on biodiversity.

It is sometimes asserted that neonicotinoids must be harmful to bees but the picture emerging from the numerous scientific studies on bees and pesticides is more complicated and more nuanced. Already this year there have been studies published, attempting to shed more light on the interaction of factors such as exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides and bee behaviour and health:

Klein et al 2017 found that 'even at low intensity levels, many stressors damage the bee brain, disrupting key cognitive functions needed for effective foraging, with dramatic consequences for brood development and colony survival'.
LaLone et al 2017 concluded that 'sufficient biological plausibility exists to link activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by neonicotinoids to colony death'.
Schick et al 2017 found that data in a 2013 study of thiamethoxam funded by Syngenta, which had concluded that there was no evidence of detrimental effects and so thiamethoxam posed a 'low risk' to bees, had not been sufficiently analysed and so the 2013 study’s findings were both misleading and unacceptable in principle.

In preliminary findings, from a study reported in Farmers Weekly in December 2016, Dr Penelope Whitehorn at Stirling University found that bees’ ability to produce the buzz needed to shake pollen from crops, such as potatoes, tomatoes and aubergines, so-called buzz pollination, may be harmed by neonicotinoids. In 2015, Botias et al drew attention to the contamination of wildflowers at the margins of arable fields and the associated persistence of neonicotinoids, which would increase bees’ exposure.

Even where, as with certain neonicotinoids, use of a pesticide has been restricted at EU level, it is still possible to seek an emergency authorisation for its use if certain criteria are met. In July 2015, the UK Government, advised by the Expert Committee on Pesticides or ECP, granted such an authorisation to the NFU, after the initial application was refused because it was not sufficiently targeted. The authorisation allowed use of a restricted seed treatment for 120 days in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

A similar application from the NFU and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board:AHDB for 2016 was refused: the two organisations had sought emergency authorisation for products containing neonicotinoid active substances for use as seed treatments on winter OSR to control Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle:CSFB.

Farmers Weekly reported in January 2017 that, because of ongoing problems with CSFB, the NFU had applied to use neonicotinoid pesticides on 11% of the OSR crop in 2017. On the NFU website, the NFU vice-president, Guy Smith, set out the farmers’ case.

In the Brexit white paper published on February 02, 2017, the Government sets out its approach to agriculture, fisheries and food. It confirms that the UK will not be seeking to remain in the Single Market and argues that Brexit presents an opportunity to create a 'world-leading' food and farming industry.

Further details of the UK government’s approach to agriculture and more specifically, to pesticide regulation, post-Brexit have yet to emerge but, before the referendum, farming minister George Eustice was reported as saying that the EU's precautionary principle needed to be reformed in favour of a US style, risk-based approach, allowing faster authorisation of pesticides.

In response to a PQ in October last year, George Eustice again spoke of the need for decisions to be based on the level of identified risk. In February 2017, Lord Gardiner of Kimble too argued for an approach based on risk assessment, saying that protection of people and the environment will be the highest priority. This might, therefore, indicate that the Government could be minded to take a very different approach to pesticides approval with any opportunity for more UK autonomy, although, obviously, much would depend on the terms agreed on exit. Membership of the EEA, for example, requires adopting some pesticides marketing and approval systems. ω.

Commons Briefing papers SN06656: Authors: Emma Downing; Gabrielle Garton Grimwood: Published on March 09, 2017.

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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Elephant in the Sale Room: New Report Calls for Significant Change to UK Regulations on the Sale of Ivory

Image: University of Portsmouth


|| March 14: 2017: University of Portsmouth News || ά. A new report out today today calls for a significant change to laws governing the sale of ivory in the UK. Global demand for ivory has seen almost 150,000 elephants lost to poaching in under a decade, leaving numbers down by almost a third. Current legislation makes it illegal to sell ivory, from elephants killed after 1947 but trade in ‘worked’ items, such as works of art and ornaments dating from before 1947 is permitted under the current regulations. However, the law is not able to regulate the expertise and knowledge of sellers, who identify the age of items offered for sale, so it is dependent upon the seller to correctly and honestly assess it to be pre-1947 worked ivory. The current regulations are, therefore, dependant on an educated and conscientious antiques trade.

The report, led by Caroline Cox from the University of Portsmouth, calls for enforceable and effective regulations, that distinguish the legal ivory trade from the illegal trade in ivory. Recommendations include: the UK Government to introduce a passport-type document for higher value ivory items; DEFRA to provide clear guidance as to what ‘documentary evidence’ dealers will need to provide as to the origin of an ivory item being offered for sale; Antique Trade Associations to compile and make easily available to the wider trade and buyers a 'Best Practice Guide' regarding the law and the sale of ivory within the UK and EU.

Caroline Cox said, “The findings of this report highlight key issues, that need to be addressed, both in terms of research and policy making practices. Ninety five per cent of respondents relied on their knowledge and experience, colour, the quality of the carving, etc, when assessing an object. Scientific testing is not widely used by the trade because it is expensive and invasive.

Our research indicated that traders were sourcing their stock from a wide variety of sources, including house clearance, private sales, fairs, auctions, shops and car boot sales. With large percentages of stock being sourced from such varied sources, it is vital traders understand the law and regulations within which they must operate.”

The British Antique Dealers Association:BADA estimates that there are around 20,000 antique traders in the UK, from large, international auction houses, including Christies, Bonhams and Sotheby’s, to stall holders, shop keepers and online traders. Yet, fewer than 10 per cent of traders belong to official trade associations such as BADA,

‘The elephant in the sale room: An Inquiry into the UK Antiques Trade’s Sale of Ivory’ report was in response to calls for a tightening of the regulations regarding the sale of ivory artefacts and to understand the effect that additional constraints would have on the British arts and antiques market, which is worth £01.6 billion annually.

Data was collected during one to one interviews with members of the antiques trade and an online questionnaire over a period of five months from June to November 2016. This was done to evaluate the amount and type of ivory being sold by the traders, and their risk assessment and appraisal strategies when deciding whether to accept an item for sale.

Caroline Cox added, “The antique trade associations have consistently expressed their concerns about the extension of an ivory ban to affect pre-1947 worked ivory, and point to the potentially negative impact on the trade of such a ban. The difficulty for policy makers, in the event that they should endorse a legal antique trade in ivory, is the creation of workable, enforceable and effective regulations that distinguish the legal ivory trade from the illegal trade in ivory.

The policy decisions taken by DEFRA over the coming months are of vital importance. Auctioneers and dealers understandably do not want to see a ban on the sale of pre-1947 worked ivory, however their concerns must be balanced against the real and imminent threat to the future of wild elephant populations and to the fact that conservationists argue that the current legal trade acts as a cover for the illegal one.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Audio Engineering Society UK Student Conference 2017 at Southampton-Solent: March 17-18

A film editing machine at the UN Department of Public Information:DPI film and video archives,
Audiovisual Services Section. Image: UN Photo:JC McIlwaine


|| March 14: 2017: Southampton Solent University News || ά.  Southampton Solent University is to host the Audio Engineering Society 2017  UK Student Conference on Saturday-Sunday, March 17-18. Organised in partnership with the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research:ISVR, the University of Southampton, ‘UP Your Output’ is an annual event, which offers students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn, network, and develop career opportunities.

The event is being hosted and held at Solent University’s new Spark Building. There will be presentations and exhibitions from multiple major companies, along with a wide range of workshops and demos which will show off the University’s facilities. This year, Southampton Solent University’s School of Media Arts and Technology is sponsoring up to 50 tickets for further education students to attend and promote courses and careers in this field. Entry is free to students who are members of the AES or those studying a relevant course at Solent or University of Southampton; however pre-registration is required.

“In the past, UP Your Output has been restricted to just AES student members, so this is a great opportunity for students to learn about lots of different aspects of audio engineering and different career options, free of charge!” says Professor Chris Barlow, who is helping organise the event.

“We have a number of Solent students helping with the event this year, so this is also fantastic work experience and an opportunity for students to add a UK wide event to their portfolio, as well as building industry contacts.”

The two day conference will feature a variety of guest industry speakers, workshops and live product demonstrations. Keynote speakers include Rob France, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dolby Laboratories and Varun Nair from Facebook VR.

Charlie Slee is a keynote speaker and is Chair of AES UK, "Since 2011, UP Your Output has been the foremost conference in the UK for audio engineering students. Having Solent University host the event for the first time does not only show the conference is an important national event in the industry but shows Solent's commitment to supporting the AES and the audio industry as a whole."

Marc Bahl, a second-year music production student studying at Southampton Solent University is on the committee for UP Your Output, "My career depends on building networks with the people involved in the industry. Being involved with UP Your Output allows me to develop great contacts, which will help my career."
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To register for this year’s UP Your Output, visit Southampton Solent University’s event page.

 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The UK-EU Movement of People



|| March 13: 2017 || ά. The Upper House of the UK: EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, European Union Committee has published its 14th Report, 'Brexit: UK-EU movement of people'. In its summary, the Report says that the Prime Minister has said that 'the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people, who come to Britain from Europe':Lancaster House, January 17. In order to achieve this, the Government has undertaken to put an end to the free movement of persons, one of the four freedoms underpinning the Single Market. In this report, we examine what the Government’s pledge to deliver control over EU immigration might mean in practice. The free movement of persons is a legal construct and its foundations are in EU law. It is set to end automatically when the UK ceases to be a member of the EU bound by EU law.

The policy choice facing the Government will be about what aspects of the free movement of persons, if any, it would like to see reproduced in any future bilateral agreement with the European Union. If negotiations under Article 50 were to conclude without an agreement on this issue, the default outcome is that UK nationals would become third-country nationals for the purposes of EU law and the domestic immigration rules of EU member states. For its part, the UK could place EU immigrants on the same footing as non-EU immigrants. At the other end of the spectrum of possible outcomes, negotiations could lead to new, reciprocal and preferential arrangements for UK-EU migration falling short of free movement as it exists today but coming close in some or even many respects.

The Government says that it will be pursuing a 'two-way agreement' with the EU regarding future migration flows. We support this objective and judge that offering preferential treatment to EU nationals compared to non-EU nationals in the UK’s future immigration regime could increase the likelihood of securing reciprocal preferential treatment for UK nationals in the EU. It could, also, improve the prospects of achieving the UK’s objectives on access to the Single Market.

In view of the read-across to these other goals, we consider it vital that the Government should not close off policy options on future regulation of EU immigration ahead of negotiations with the EU-27. In view of the link between the free movement of persons and access to the Single Market, transitional arrangements could be required if the UK left the EU while negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement were still underway, or yet to begin.

The Government’s primary objective in putting an end to the free movement of persons is restoring sovereignty: ensuring that immigration rules for EU nationals are devised and adopted in the UK. The restoration of national control over EU migration may or may not deliver a reduction in overall net migration. We note that until June 2016, net migration to the UK from outside the EU was consistently higher than EU migration, even though the relevant policy levers are already under national control.

Given that almost three-quarters of EU migrants to the UK come to work, or look for work, we anticipate that any new controls may focus on those categories, and take the form of a work permit system. However, the unanimous view of the public and private sector employers’ groups from whom we took evidence was that the Government should not apply the UK’s non-EU work permit system to EU nationals. They warned that this would disproportionately affect some employers’ ability to sponsor EU workers, and could result in labour shortages.

The composition of UK migration to the EU differs from that of EU migration to the UK, with the age profiles of UK citizens who are long-term residents in other EU countries suggesting that a larger proportion are retired or nearing retirement. A strictly reciprocal two-way agreement may not, therefore, be attractive to the EU-27. Restoring aspects of the equal treatment dimension of free movement, that is to say, the right to equal treatment compared to nationals of the host State, in any future agreement would be particularly significant for prospective migrants in non-work categories, such as UK nationals retiring in the EU or EU nationals studying in the UK.

To the extent that the Government has set out a direction of travel for how it wishes to manage migration of EU nationals in future, that vision seems to consist of three elements: first, that high-skilled immigration will remain welcome; second, that low-skilled immigration is potentially of concern; and third, that the UK should seek to reduce dependence on low-cost migrant labour. Each of those elements merits closer scrutiny, and we recommend that the Government should focus on improving its evidence base before building policy on these foundations.

The evidence base currently available to policy-makers responsible for devising a future framework for UK-EU migration is incomplete, and in some cases insufficiently reliable. This is an unsatisfactory basis from which to start developing policy, and also complicates scrutiny of the policies that may result. Different measures of who counts as a migrant sow confusion in public debate, facilitating both over- and under-statement of particular trends in political rhetoric, and contributing to a gap between perceptions and reality.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Scotland Faces Towards a Second Independence Referendum as Nicola Sturgeon Declares Scotland Must Have Choice Over Its Future

 

|| March 13: 2017 || ά. Scotland's First Minister Ms Nicola Sturgeon, sets out her plan for a referendum in the face of 'hard EU exit'. ''The people of Scotland must be offered a choice between a hard Brexit and becoming an independent country.'' Ms Sturgeon said, as she confirmed plans to seek parliamentary approval to begin discussions with the UK Government on the details of a Section 30 order to enable an independence referendum to take place. In a speech ahead of the UK Government triggering the UK’s formal process to exit from the European Union, the First Minister said that, despite Scotland voting by 62% to 38% to remain in Europe, the UK Government ‘has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement’ since the European Referendum.

In addition, the First Minister said that the UK Government had ruled out membership of the European Single Market ‘with no prior consultation’ and warned of real economic damage caused by the UK leaving the single market. Outlining how the democratic mandate for holding another referendum is ‘beyond doubt’, Ms Sturgeon said that the UK Government must stand by the position it took in 2014, that an independence referendum should be, in their words, ‘made in Scotland, by the people of Scotland.’ Ms Sturgeon added that there must be clarity on the implications of UK's EU exit for Scotland and clarity about independence, before the choice is put to the country. She, therefore, proposed that a referendum take place between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019, when the shape of the UK’s exit deal will become clear.

The First Minister said, “Scotland stands at a hugely important crossroads. On the eve of Article 50 being triggered, not only is there no UK wide agreement on the way ahead, the UK Government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement. All of our efforts at compromise have been met with a brick wall of intransigence. UK membership of the single market was ruled out with no prior consultation with the Scottish Government or with the other devolved administrations, leaving us facing not just Brexit, but a hard Brexit.

And far from any prospect of significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament, the UK Government is becoming ever more assertive in its intention to muscle in on the powers we already have. The language of partnership has gone, completely. I will continue to stand up for Scotland's interests during the process of Brexit negotiations. But I will take the steps necessary now to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process, a choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit or to become an independent country able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe.”


Ms Sturgeon added, “The Scottish Government's mandate for offering this choice is beyond doubt. So next week I will seek the approval of the Scottish Parliament to open discussions with the UK Government on the details of a Section 30 order, the procedure that will enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum. The UK Government was clear in 2014 that an independence referendum should be, in their words, 'made in Scotland, by the people of Scotland', that is a principle that should be respected today. The detailed arrangements for a referendum – including its timing – should be for the Scottish Parliament to decide.

It is important that Scotland is able to exercise the right to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide on our own path. By the time a choice comes to be made, there must be greater clarity about Brexit and its implications for us. It is just as important that there is clarity about the implications of independence. And there will be.

We will be frank about the challenges we face and clear about the opportunities independence will give us to secure our relationship with Europe, build a stronger and more sustainable economy and create a fairer society. If I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding, completely unilaterally, that Scotland will follow the UK to a hard Brexit come-what-may, no matter how damaging to our economy and our society it turns out to be. That should not be the decision of just one politician, not even the First Minister. It will be decided by the people of Scotland. It will be Scotland's choice.”
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Background to the Scottish Referendum

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Guardian: The Observer: Must We Do All to Support, Protect and Nurture with All That We Have the Power to Do

What was on today's The Observer: This is why it must carry on existing and we must, must, must support and protect it

|| March 13: 2017 || ά. It is a beautiful thing, to read, Katharine Viner, The Guardian Group Editor-in-Chief, writing today, ''I’m delighted to let you know that today we have reached an important milestone in our efforts to rebalance the Guardian’s business model to offset the dramatic decline in advertising: the Guardian now has the financial support of more than 200,000 members. In addition, we have 185,000 subscribers and people are buying the paper on newsstands more regularly than we expected. After responding to lots of feedback from readers suggesting they would be happy to give money to support the Guardian’s journalism, we have also now received more than 160,000 one-off contributions from around the world. We greatly appreciate the role you all play in the Guardian. Thank you. Whether by joining as a member, taking out a print or digital subscription, buying the paper or giving a one-off contribution, you are providing crucial financial support for our independent journalism, and showing how much you value the Guardian’s fair and factual reporting, informed by our progressive and liberal values. This feels more important now than ever.'' And we are absolutely delighted to hear this wonderful news.

The Humanion is delighted to hear this wonderful news, such rare, such good news, one does not get to read everyday. The Humanion published this piece on January 23, which we republish, to re-issue our call, urge, invitation to everyone to carry on buying and supporting The Guardian:The Observer and support to secure the continued existence of this institution that is vital for democracy and for keeping the voices of the free press keeping the the 'powers' in check and reporting 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth'. || January 22: 2017 || ά. There has never been such greater,  more profound and deep and as desperate a need for the United Kingdom, for Europe, for the entire world and for the entire humankind to have independent, free and fearless journalism that is principled, professional and absolutely committed to evidence based practice but, most importantly, with a steel of will, resolve, commitment and determination, not to be scared, not to be afraid, not to be intimidated, not to be bent to suit the 'power' and absolutely independent, free and fearless, than now. The Guardian and The Observer have established themselves as such institutions. Many people in the UK, if asked, would count The Guardian:The Observer as one of things that form what is best of Britain. And rightly so.

Yet, over the technological development and for many other reasons, these two titles, let's use The Guardian, has been struggling like all other print media outlets, primarily, not as much as the falling readership, ironically, the readership has been increasing, but the falling 'buyership' whereby people are not buying as many print publications as they used, particularly, for the fact that they can read it free online and the loss, absolutely significant loss of advertising revenue, which has gone towards the online outlets and other mediums. Yet, the good news is, as already mentioned, The Guardian has enjoyed increasing readership. But that is not good enough, for to run this institution, The Guardian Group, the Manchester Group, it is affectionately called, must make enough money to sustain itself, even though it is not business but a non-profit Trust.

This is why it is so absolutely paramount that all the readers of The Guardian who used to buy the daily editions, begin and try really hard to make a new habit of buying The Guardian every day, again, even if they read it online. Why? Invent a reason: for love, for remembrance, nostalgia, supporting a great cause and fulfilling the duty that no one else will do or make up any other reasons you like, but, please, buy. Or join The Guardian's Membership Scheme. The Guardian:The Observer must be protected and kept alive for if it is gone, a 'great sun' of the journalistic solar system will have died out. The Guardian: The Observer: Must We Do All to Support, Protect and Nurture with All That We Have the Power to Do.'' ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Article 50: Dereliction of Duty to Fail to Plan for No Deal: Foreign Affairs Committee



|| March 12: 2017 || ά. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has published its report on Article 50 negotiations: Implications of 'No Deal'. Even with all sides entering negotiations with goodwill and the desire for a successful outcome, the Foreign Affairs Committee points out in its report that negotiations could stall or be derailed and the two years could end with no deal between the UK and the 27 Member States. By the end of this month, the UK will tender the official notification to the EU of its intention to leave. The two year negotiating period will be short, complex and challenging. Published today, Article 50 negotiations. Implications of ‘no deal’ is the first Select Committee Report to focus specifically on the implications of 'no deal' for the UK with reference to a range of different sectors, policy areas and circumstances.

The consequences of ‘no deal’ are far from being, what the Secretary for Exiting the EU, called, 'an exercise in guesswork'. On the contrary, the evidence published in today's report makes the scope of those consequences clear. The full potential implications of 'no deal', explored in detail in the annexes to the report, include: ongoing disputes over the exit 'bill'; uncertainty and confusion for UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK; trading on World Trade Organisation:WTO terms; a 'regulatory gap' and legal uncertainty in areas not covered by the 'Great Repeal Bill'; uncertainty over UK participation in the EU's common foreign and security policy; the sudden return of a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Chair of the Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented, "The possibility of 'no deal' is real enough to require the Government to plan how to deal with it. But there is no evidence to indicate that this is receiving the consideration it deserves or that serious contingency planning is underway. The Government has repeatedly said that it will walk away from a 'bad' final deal. That makes preparing for 'no deal' all the more essential. Such preparation reinforces that stance.

Last year, the Committee described the Government’s failure to plan for a Leave vote as an act of gross negligence. This Government must not make a comparable mistake. The Article 50 negotiations will hopefully be successful. There is a clear shared UK and EU interest in reaching agreement. Mutually assured damage is the alternative. The responsibility on the negotiators is substantial.

But there is a real prospect that negotiations will fail. The Government should therefore require each Department to produce a 'no deal' plan identifying the likely consequences and making proposals, including guidance to individuals and businesses, to mitigate potential risks. Anything less would be a dereliction of duty."

Report Summary

01: Assuming successful passage of the European Union Notification of Withdrawal Bill 2016–17, the Government has stated its intention to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union:TEU before the end of March 2017, launching the legal process that enables a state to withdraw from the European Union. The UK’s official notification to the EU of its intent to leave sets the clock ticking on a two-year negotiating period, at the end of which the UK automatically leaves the EU unless the UK and all 27 remaining EU states agree unanimously to extend the negotiations.

02: The UK’s withdrawal from the EU is without precedent. Until now, only Algeria upon independence from France and Greenland, which remained part of Denmark, have left the bloc. Both events took place long before the establishment of the Article 50 process, which was incorporated into the Treaties as part of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2008, nor were they of the same order as the departure of a large state such as the UK. It is therefore difficult to predict how the Article 50 process will progress. However, two years is a short period of time in which to complete such a challenging and complex task. As this Report outlines, there are many ways in which the talks could be stalled or derailed. It is therefore quite possible that the UK could reach the end of the negotiating period with no withdrawal agreement in place.

03: In November 2016, therefore, the Foreign Affairs Committee launched an inquiry on the implications for the UK if the two-year negotiating period mandated by Article 50 ends with no withdrawal agreement in place. We asked for evidence which addressed, in particular:
The implications for European foreign and security policy
The implications for UK participation in organisations and bodies to which it is currently a party in its capacity as an EU Member State
The legal status of the UK-EU relationship if the UK leaves the EU with no withdrawal agreement in place, including police, justice and counter-terrorism co-operation
The outstanding issues that would have to be resolved in that eventuality, and the process by which any arbitration or litigation might take place, including its potential duration and cost
The terms of trade that would exist between the UK and remaining EU.
Government refusal to submit evidence

04: We would normally expect the Government to submit evidence to all our inquiries. On December 05, 2016, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Europe, wrote to the Committee to explain that the Government would not make a submission in this case. He said, ''I can assure the Committee that the topic of this inquiry is of high importance to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and colleagues across Government. HMG’s efforts will be focused on getting the best deal possible for the UK in the Article 50 negotiations with the EU. Since those negotiations are not yet underway, the Government is not currently in a position to provide written evidence to the Committee. I hope you appreciate our position and that this is not in any way meant to show any lack of respect for the Committee.''

05: The Committee responded to Sir Alan on December 14, asking him to reconsider his stance in the light of the strong public interest in reducing uncertainty around the potential outcomes of the Article 50 negotiations. The same month, Sir Alan replied to the Committee with a short submission of evidence. He said, ''I regret that my previous letter of 5 December was found unsatisfactory by the Committee. It was meant as an act of courtesy in response to the general invitation for evidence on your Committee’s website. I would like to reassure the Committee that, as I’m sure you’re aware, the Government takes the negotiations to leave the European Union very seriously and is preparing accordingly.

As you know, the Department for Exiting the European Union is the lead Department coordinating this work. As the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU explained to the Select Committee on Exiting the EU on 14 December, the Government is carrying out detailed analysis and a wide-ranging programme of engagement, allowing us to understand the concerns of organisations, institutions and companies across a variety of sectors, as well as to prepare to seize the opportunities that exiting the European Union might bring. The format and process for the coming negotiations are yet to be determined, but the Government will work to achieve a smooth and orderly withdrawal. The Prime Minister has been clear that we are committed to triggering Article 50 by the end of March next year, and we will set out our position in more detail ahead of negotiations. We are intent on getting the best possible deal for the UK, and our work to do so will involve a full range of scenario planning.''

Commissioned Research

06: In January 2017, we invited the Bar Council and Professor Kenneth Armstrong of Cambridge University to provide evidence setting out the main legal and technical issues that would remain unresolved if the UK left the EU at the end of the Article 50 period with no deal in place. Our aim was to be able to explain what the impact of ‘no deal’ might be on day-to-day life, using hypothetical examples to illustrate the real-world implications of some of the potentially unresolved legal questions, including the possibility of sudden withdrawal from EU regulatory and other bodies.

07: Both the Bar Council and Professor Armstrong submitted drafts of their evidence to us in the week commencing January 30. On that basis, we held an oral evidence session on February 07 in which we questioned Professor Armstrong and the authors of the Bar Council’s submission, Professor Derrick Wyatt QC and Hugo Leith, on their outline findings. Both parties submitted final versions of their evidence in the week following the evidence session.

08: We are very grateful to Professor Armstrong, Professor Wyatt and Mr Leith for the substantial pieces of work that they carried out at our request. Their evidence makes a significant contribution to the overall body of knowledge on the potential consequences of failing to agree a deal under Article 50. The two submissions are published in full as Appendices to this report. They are complementary: Professor Armstrong’s submission focuses in detail on the potential impact of sudden withdrawal from the EU’s regulatory and other bodies, and the Bar Council’s evidence is wide-ranging and extensive across a range of issues.
Work of other Committees

09: Several Committees in both Houses of Parliament have taken evidence or reported on aspects of the potential implications of failing to reach a deal under Article 50. We have referred to some of this evidence in this report, where possible. The Committee on Exiting the EU, the International Trade Committee, and the Treasury Committee have all taken evidence that is relevant to this question.4 The House of Lords European Union Committee and its various sub-committees have published a range of reports on issues including UK-Irish relations, trade, acquired rights, security and policing co-operation, and fisheries, many of which also include reference to the potential implications of ‘no deal’ in the relevant policy areas. This report, however, is the first Select Committee publication to focus specifically on the implications for Government and the country as a whole of ‘no deal’, with reference to a range of different sectors, policy areas and circumstances. ω.

Read the Reporrt

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Project Tackling Barriers to Higher Education Receives £500,000 Funding

Image: UNESCO

|| March 11: 2017: University of Exeter News || ά. A pioneering new project, led by the University of Exeter, which seeks to tackle potential barriers, faced by students with vocational qualifications when they enter higher education, has received a significant funding boost. The project, called 'Transforming Transitions' and led by Professor Debra Myhill, has received £500,000 funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England:HEFCE. The project will examine and challenge potential barriers experienced by students with BTEC qualifications as they apply for and then enter, higher education.

The crucial project aims not only to address the gap between the number of students taking solely BTEC qualifications and those, moving into Higher Education, but also identifying ways, in which to smooth and aid their transition once they enter university. The project will be conducted over the next two years in partnership with the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University and Queen Mary, University of London. It will also involve Exeter College, Leicester College, Hereford Sixth Form College, City and Islington College.

Professor Debra Myhill, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the College of Social Sciences and International Studies said, “We are very excited about this award because it will help us to understand better the transition from school or college to university, and enable us to ensure a successful student experience for all our students, regardless of their background.”

The project is one of 17 projects nationwide, involving 64 universities and colleges, to receive funding from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, which seeks to address differences in outcomes for various student groups.

The projects will particularly benefit those student groups affected by differential outcomes highlighted in previous HEFCE research, including black and minority ethnic students, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, disabled students, including those presenting with mental health issues and specific learning difficulties, mature students and part-time students.

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE said, ‘The significant response from higher education providers to this funding call demonstrates their commitment to ensuring all students benefit from a vibrant, inclusive, world-class higher education experience.

“Funding this programme will support real progress towards closing the unacceptable differences in outcomes between groups of students. We look forward to working with providers to make sure this targeted, evidence-led investment maximises outcomes for students, contributing to improved productivity and social mobility and, of course, individual opportunities.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Strategic Agreement Set to Tackle Technology Challenges

Image: University of Northumbria

|| March 11: 2017: University of Bristol News || ά. The University of Bristol has been chosen by global technology company Thales Group to be its first strategic partner university in the UK, in a move, which will lead to new research and education opportunities. The agreement strengthens an existing relationship, where Thales has worked with Bristol for 20 years on several joint UK and European Union based research projects, while supporting over 15 doctoral students. A strategic agreement was signed on March 08, signifying a commitment to work together on the key challenges that confront modern engineering teaching and technology research.

Following on from similar programmes across the globe, this is the first dedicated strategic partnership Thales has entered into with a UK university. Thales are experts in the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets. It employs 64,000 employees in 56 countries, with 6,500 people based in the UK across 12 sites, including Bristol. Teams in the UK have worked on in-flight entertainment systems currently used by 130,000 passengers a day, the security for information systems used by 19 of the world's 20 largest banks, and sensors used by the Royal Navy to allow them to operate effectively at sea.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said, "We're very excited to sign this strategic agreement with Thales and look forward to seeing the exciting new technology which will be developed in partnership with our students and researchers in the future. Such a partnership offers our staff and students a unique insight into real-life research challenges across a variety of sectors, and an opportunity to develop solutions to some key technological and societal challenges."

Working with research groups across the University, but focusing its activity in the Engineering Faculty, Thales will look to develop a programme of work around security, communications, sensors, autonomy and complex systems.

Marko Erman, Thales Chief Technical Officer, said, "Thales has a real capacity to innovate through collaboration across the entire high-tech ecosystem, including with start-ups and universities. We are proud to broaden our partnerships by working with the University of Bristol, which has excellent research facilities and high quality students looking at complex technical challenges."

Stuart Tower is a graduate of the University’s Engineering Mathematics degree course. He joined the Thales Internship Programme in summer 2012 and returned for the Graduate Scheme after completing his degree in July 2013. Stuart, now a Senior Research Scientist in Thales UK’s research department, said, "One of the best things about working here is the opportunity to create innovative solutions to complex problems; you really get to work at the cutting edge of technology.

As well as this, the variety of the work always keeps things interesting. I've worked on things ranging from advanced communications networking for submarines, algorithms for health monitoring of network rail assets through to research strategy & activity management, and much more. This breadth of opportunity has given me a strong foundation to progress my career in the direction I want, and Thales UK are giving me the support I need to accomplish my goals."

About Thales: Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defence and Security markets. With 64,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14.9 billion in 2016. With over 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its exceptional international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Turner and Townsend Appointed to Deliver Pfizer's Clinical Research Unit in Belgium

Image: Turner and Townsend

|| March 11: 2017 || ά. Turner and Townsend, the global professional services consultancy, has successfully delivered the first of two fit outs on behalf of Pfizer Clinical Research Unit:CRU, located within a renowned teaching hospital in Belgium. Pfizer currently undertakes studies on healthy volunteers on two floors of the existing Erasme One-Day Hospital in the Brussels region, Belgium. To increase capacity, Pfizer’s original office and volunteers screening area has been divided into two separate units: one office and screening area outside the hospital for ambulatory visits and another within the hospital for in-house studies.

The first phase of the Pfizer Centre Administratif Hospitalier:CAH project at Erasme Hospital involved a 578 sq m office fit out, accommodating 60 people and a subject screening area. This area, which has been fully equipped with bespoke medical equipment and analytical instruments, includes six examination beds, two interview rooms and a laboratory.  Turner and Townsend, which is providing project, cost and commercial management services, is now supporting a second phase of refurbishment. This involves the fit out of approximately 1300 sq m, including change and shower room facilities, six patient bedrooms with ensuites, and a grade two full laboratory. The final completion date is June 2017.

The global consultancy has previously worked with Pfizer in Belgium, completing an office renovation in 2015, and has new projects starting in South Africa and the Middle East with the biopharmaceutical company. Luke Bartolo, Director for Turner and Townsend in the Netherlands, commented, “We are excited to be supporting Pfizer on this challenging project, as a continuation from the work we completed recently in Zaventum.

Our extensive experience within the pharmaceutical sector in combination with our global reach is recognised by Pfizer and we’re looking forward to building the relationship further. The feedback from Erasme is extremely positive and we look forward to working closely together over the course of the second phase of the project.”

Kevin Deveson, Global Operations Manager for Pfizer, added, “Turner and Townsend has drawn upon its experience and expertise into this specialised area of research. The first phase of this demanding fit out has been completed according to plan and we’re extremely pleased with the result.

We’re now focusing on the second part of the project which we’re confident will be up and running from this summer, a much-needed addition to the Pfizer Clinical Research Unit.”

Turner and Townsend: Turner and Townsend is an independent professional services company specialising in programme management, project management, cost management and consulting across the real estate, infrastructure and natural resources sectors. With 97 offices in 41 countries, we draw on our extensive global and industry experience to manage risk while maximising value and performance during the construction and operation of our clients’ assets.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Houses of Parliament Renovation Work: Full Decant is Most Economical, Effective and Efficient Choice: Doing Nothing is Not an Option: Public Accounts Committee: It is a Terribly Long Overdue Task and It is Now the Time to Literally Just Getting on with It: The Humanion


|| March 10: 2017 || ά.  A full decant of the Palace of Westminster while major works are undertaken is most likely to be the most economical, effective and efficient choice, the Public Accounts Committee report says. In their report, the Committee endorses the option recommended by a Joint Committee of the two Houses of Parliament and states, "The best value for money will be achieved by getting on with it." The Committee concludes the Palace, a World Heritage Site, is in an extreme state of disrepair with the risk of a catastrophic failure high and growing. Doing nothing is not an option, says the Committee, which describes its report as 'a review of the robustness of the options, indicative costings and project management proposals', rather than an effort to repeat previous work examining restoration and renewal.

The full decant, as set out in the independent options appraisal commissioned by both Houses of Parliament, would see the Houses fully vacating the Palace while the project is completed over an estimated six years. The order of magnitude costs for some improvements included were £03.5 billion or, with above a like-for-like replacement, £03.9 billion. In the report, the Committee recommends the House of Commons 'swiftly proceeds to a decision-in-principle and that the decision is to pursue a full decant from the Palace whilst it is restored, renewed and made ready for at least another 150 years as the home of Parliament". It recommends the establishment of a two-tier delivery authority, building on the examples of Crossrail and the 2012 Olympics and that National Audit Office should be empowered to audit the delivery authority and carry out value for money studies.

The Committee, also, highlights the importance of effective public engagement during the project, stating, ''We would stress to the project team that a strong communications plan is vital as the programme progresses, to actively communicate the benefits of the project to all stakeholders, including MPs, Peers, staff and the wider public. It is, at its heart, a project that belongs to all of us in this country, not just to Parliament."

Ms Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said, "The Palace of Westminster is in urgent need of repair and major work will be required to make it fit for use by Parliament and the public for generations to come. Delaying a decision on how that work should be carried out will only add to the costs and risks. In our view that decision should be to endorse a full decant. This is our best chance to keep costs down, ensure safety and complete the work on this historic building as quickly as possible.

The longer the House of Commons spends mulling new or alternative options, the greater the chance that public money is wasted. Clearly there are many details to be agreed and difficult choices will need to be made as restoration and renewal progresses. Effective oversight and clear communication will be essential to its success. This will not be Parliament's last chance to scrutinise this complex and challenging project and the Public Accounts Committee will be watching costs closely to ensure taxpayers get the best deal."

Report Summary: The Palace of Westminster is the home of the two Houses of Parliament. This internationally recognised building is in a state of extreme disrepair. The risk of a catastrophic failure is high and growing with every month that passes: fire, water penetration, sewage inundation, comprehensive electrical failure or some other mechanical breakdown are among the most likely causes. It must be repaired. For a World Heritage site that is the home of the 'mother of parliaments', doing nothing is not an option.

Since this problem was properly acknowledged and confronted there have been two comprehensive examinations of the options for restoration and renewal of the Palace; one by independent consultants and another by a Joint Committee of the two Houses. The Joint Committee recommended the evacuation of the Palace for a period of around six years while it was comprehensively restored as the option which presented the lowest financial and technical risks.

The Public Accounts Committee has not attempted to repeat the work represented in these two thorough exercises. But as the House of Commons' guardian of the public purse, we believed we should satisfy ourselves, on behalf of the House, that the work was thorough and that the lessons that have been learned from our examinations of other major public works have been applied to this extremely complex, high-value major project.
Joint Committee's favoured option is most economical, effective, and efficient

This report should be regarded as a review of the robustness of the options, indicative costings and project management proposals, rather than an effort to repeat the detailed and prolonged work of technical experts and political stakeholders. In this we draw on our experience of examining how public money is spent and how major projects are set up to succeed or fail. We considered: cost, project management, safety and time. We are clear that there needs to be a detailed business plan before any final decision is made.

Our conclusion is clear: the option favoured by the Joint Committee is most likely to be the most economical, effective and efficient choice. The best value for money will be achieved by getting on with it. The Government should not delay any further in putting the proposal for a decision in principle before both Houses. There are many further details to be hammered out and some difficult further choices will have to be made.

The Public Accounts Committee, together with the National Audit Office, will continue to work to ensure that the best value for public money is achieved. The Palace of Westminster belongs to every citizen of the UK, and they deserve nothing less. ω.

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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Conservative Party Government Will Give You a Rationale for Whatever They Do: And They Give the Rational of Their 'Compassionate Conservatism' Act: Delete the Young People Who are 18-21 From Housing Benefit Entitlement

According to today's The Guardian report, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr George Osborne has got a new job, working four-day-a-month, earning £650,000 a year, while, the fact is this that, it was he, who had decided and written this 'rationale' to cut out the 18-21 year olds out of Housing Benefit Entitlement and here, above image, is Ms Rebecca Pitchford, a GMB Young Member, struggling to survive life on the young people's lower than older people's minimum wage. What should Ms Rebecca Pitchford and all the young people of this country feel and think as they register this news of Mr Osborne's new job and as they see what Theresa May's government does and hears the expression that this government is to fight against 'everyday injustices'? And here are some calculations, compare these figures with Mr George Osborne's £650,000 a year: If Ms Rebecca works, at roughly £05.50 an hour, assuming she is 18 and she works 40 hours a week at the same rate of pay and she retires at 68: she will have earned £577,000 in her working life. That's her entire life's earnings. This still falls far short of reaching Mr Osborne's one year's salary, while Mr Osborne, assuming he has worked on this salary for 50 years, will have earned £32,500,000! Now compare Ms Rebecca Pitchford's entire life: £577,000 to Mr George Osrbone £32,500,000! This is the bleeding example of the tremendously wide and infectious inequality that this 'Compassionate Conservatism' has been championing and creating but they will give the country the myth. But this myth must be challenged for this is no longer acceptable.

|| March 09: 2017 || ά. The Humanion published a short piece, about this news on March 04: ''And Here is the Conservative Party's Economics of True Genius: This Statement is Issued by the National Landlords Association About the Government's New Effort to Restrict Housing Benefits to 18-21 Year Olds: Commenting on the Government’s move to restrict the automatic entitlement of 18-21 year olds to claim housing benefit, Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the National Landlords Association    said, “The Government has effectively closed the door to private rented housing for some of the most vulnerable individuals in society. Never mind the nuances, all landlords will hear is that 18-21 year olds are no longer entitled to housing benefit. Faced with a young person, who may not be able to pay the rent, a landlord won’t worry about the details of their life, they just won’t consider them as a tenant.

However much the Government tries to make this policy more palatable by talking up the exemptions, it still leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.” Now, this House of Commons Briefing Paper, titled, 'Housing Cost Element of Universal Credit: Withdrawing Entitlement From 18-21 Year Olds' offers some details of this act of 'Compassionate Conservatism' and in which, dear Readers, you shall get to read the 'rationale' for this 'Compassionate Conservative' Act, which was written and delivered by the than Chancellor Mr George Osborne: ''The stated rationale is to 'ensure young people in the benefits system face the same choices as young people, who work and who may not be able to afford to leave home!'' And this is the hostile to the poor, working and vulnerable people, futile, empty and bankrupt dogma of today's 'Compassionate Conservatism'. According to The New Economics Foundation's recent research: ''As most people cannot afford to buy now even with a mortgage, cash buyers such as second homeowners and buy to let landlords are propping up the market. By far the biggest portion of government spending on housing goes on the housing benefit bill, which costs £21 billion each year. Meanwhile there are over 70,000 households in England living in temporary accommodation, up from 48,000 in 2011.''

And this Conservative Government, not only will not invest in social housing construction, will not allow local governments to be able to borrow to build social housing, it will carry on wasting public funds to the amount of £21 billion each year on Housing Benefits, while 78,000 households, families, children waste away in horrible bed and breakfast accommodations and it finds 'rationale' to cut housing benefit entitlements away from the 18-21 year olds! This is simply an astounding thing that makes one speechless. Why is this 'Compassionate Conservative' Party so hostile towards the young people of this country, in particular?  Or is it this that these young people are poor and they, therefore, are not as much worth for the nation as those who are from rich backgrounds? And yet, the Prime Minister Theresa May goes about saying, she wants to fight 'everyday injustices'. Could someone look into the good old Oxford Dictionary as to what irony means, what paradox means, what absolute contradiction or seismic antagonism means. Those, who are committed to serve the 'money and those, who have money' cannot but be blind to 'justice'; both unwilling and incapable of seeing it, let alone, seek to achieve it. They cannot spell justice. There is no 'justice' in the state or condition that makes Ms Rebecca Pitchford's Life worth £577,000 and Mr George Osborne's Life worth £32,500,000! And yet, the seismic irony is this that it is these Mr George Osbornes and Ms Theresa Mays, who tell the country they are the 'builders' of 'one nation' and they are the party to fight 'everyday injustices' and they are the 'compassionate conservatives'.

''Yesterday Mr Deputy Speaker, over three thousand people in this country will have queued at food banks to feed themselves and their families. Last night, Mr Deputy Speaker, over four thousand people will have slept rough on the streets of this country. And the Chancellor made his boasts about a strong economy but who is reaping the rewards of this economy? For millions it is simply not working. Not working for the NHS, in its worst crisis ever, with funding being cut next year. Not working for our children’s schools, where pupil funding continues to be cut. Not working for our neighbourhoods, which have lost 20,000 police officers, leaving the force in a 'perilous state' in many parts of the country. And not working for our dedicated public servants and the people who work in them, nurses, firefighters, teachers, no pay rise for seven years for them.'' Labout Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday, speaking on the Budget at the House of Commons. In the same speech he mentioned, 86% of the savings the Treasury has made from Tax and Benefit Changes have fallen on women: a million working households claiming Housing Benefit because their wages aren’t enough to pay the rent. And there are three million working families, who simply rely on Tax Credits to make ends meet. This is Modern Britain.'' And this Conservative Party runs its propaganda campaign, that seeks to portray their 'compassion'.

These 86% of women, who bore the brunt of these ruthlessly ferocious Conservative cuts, who are these women? They are mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, carers in families, of children, of young people, of people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups of humanity but most importantly, they are working-poor women of hundreds of different professions and women on vary many benefits. And when they pay the 'price of that 86% cuts, who suffer from the wounds that these cuts inflict? The babies, the children, the young people, the people with disabilities, people with care needs and in short, all their family members for they now are forced towards the lower end of the ladder of poverty and further down and down they are pushed down. Therefore, compassion and conservatism are seismically antagonistic words as north and south or east and west or cold and hot.  ''Women up and down the country, who will have to wait another 60 years before the gender pay gap is closed. The hundreds, hundreds of women being turned away from domestic violence shelters every year through lack of space or appropriate services or because they’ve simply been closed.

Mothers struggling, put under more pressure through cuts to universal credit and to tax credits. And as if it wasn’t bad enough to cut benefits to children, whose only crime is to be born third or fourth in a family, most shamefully, Mr Deputy Speaker, as of next month, women will have to prove their third child is a product of rape, if they wish to qualify for child tax credits for that child.'' Mr Corbyn said. This fact, that this Conservative Government is seeking to 'force' women 'to prove their third child is a product of rape, if they wish to qualify for child tax credits for that child' is a proof that this 'Compassionate Conservatism' is a myth that the Conservative Party has been trying to create, maintain, sustain and grow into the public psyche. But the truth does not need propaganda: it requires no PR. However, the truth needs to be told, to be shown, to be put out there so that people begin to see. And this is the truth: And here are some calculations, compare these figures with Mr George Osborne's £650,000 a year: If Ms Rebecca works, at roughly £05.50 an hour, assuming she is 18 and she works 40 hours a week at the same rate of pay and she retires at 68: she will have earned £577,000 in her working life. That's her entire life's earnings. This still falls far short of reaching Mr Osborne's one year's salary, while Mr Osborne, assuming he has worked on this salary for 50 years, will have earned £32,500,000! Now compare Ms Rebecca Pitchford's entire life: £577,000 to Mr George Osrbone £32,500,000! This is the bleeding example of the tremendously wide and infectious inequality that this 'Compassionate Conservatism' has been championing and creating but they will give the country the myth. But this myth must be challenged for this is no longer acceptable.

This briefing paper provides information on the decision to restrict entitlement to the housing cost element of Universal Credit for young people aged 18-21. The paper sets out the exemptions that will apply and includes comment on the potential impact of the measure. The Universal Credit Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21 Amendment Regulations 2017 2017:252, were laid before Parliament on March 03,  2017 and are due to come into force on April 01.

Early Day Motion 1014, praying against the Regulations, had, by  at March 08 attracted 65 signatures. The Regulations implement a Conservative Party Manifesto commitment and the announcement made as part of the Sumner Budget 2015, when George Osborne, the than Chancellor, announced the removal of entitlement to the housing element of Universal Credit from young people aged 18-21, with some exceptions, from April 2017.

The stated rationale is to 'ensure young people in the benefits system face the same choices as young people, who work and who may not be able to afford to leave home.'  A related Budget announcement, summer 2015, set out plans to introduce a Youth Obligation for 18 to 21 year olds on Universal Credit from April 2017. Young people will be expected to participate in an 'intensive regime of support from day one of their benefit claim, and after six months they will be expected to apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship, gain work-based skills or go on a mandatory work placement.”

The measure was initially forecast to save £40m by 2020:21. In response to a PQ answered on January 24, 2017 the Minister said that around 10,000 people would be affected, saving an estimated £95 million over the course of the current Parliament. On March 07, 2017 Caroline Nokes said that 'in the region of £105 million' would be saved over the period of this Parliament.

The Regulations specify the categories of young people, who will be exempt from the removal of the housing costs element of Universal Credit. These exemptions include: those, who may not be able to return home to live with their parents; certain claimants, who have been in work for six months prior to making a claim; and young people, who are parents. Section two of the full report provides information on all the exemptions that will apply.

Organisations such as Shelter, Crisis, and Centrepoint welcomed the limitation of the impact to 18-21 year olds as opposed to the wider age group first mentioned of 16-24 year olds but are actively lobbying against the removal, what they describe as an 'essential safety net', which can offer a lifeline to young people faced with homelessness. Crisis has said that the measure could undermine attempts to address homelessness through the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament. The Scottish Government is opposed to the implementation of the Regulations in Scotland. ω.

Commons Briefing papers SN06473: Author: Wendy Wilson: Published on March March 08, 2017.

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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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To Do: To Change: To Make Better: New Portsmouth Initiative Gets Funding to Change Disadvantages Lives

Image: University of Portsmouth

|| March 09: 2017: University of Portsmouth News || ά. Disadvantaged students are to benefit from a new project, led by the University of Portsmouth, which aims to challenge stereotypes to raise the expectations of students and their teachers and to build belief in their abilities. The project, run by Professor Sherria Hoskins, Dean of Science at the University of Portsmouth, has been awarded £500,000 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Professor Hoskins and Dr Jessica Gagnon, Senior Research Fellow at the University’s School of Education and Childhood Studies, will lead the project with 5,200 university students and 800 university staff, who work with them at five universities.

The students, who will benefit, are from the groups least likely to apply to university and if they do attend, most likely to drop out, or not perform well academ