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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
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United Kingdom Arkive Q-Delta 2016

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Statins Controversy Linked to Rise in UK Patients Stopping the Treatment: New Research: ‽: 040716

To Read the Stories Published in United Kingdom Section in September-December 2015

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The Humanion Joins Its Voice with the Appeal Made by Katharine Viner, the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian News and Media for The Guardian Christmas Appeal 2016: Please, Do What You Can to Make a Difference to Lives That Need Your Generosity

|| December 12: 2016 || ά. Katherine Viner writes, in The Guardian, ''The plight of child refugees is at the heart of this year’s Guardian and Observer charity appeal. We supported refugees last year and we are proud to return to this theme again. It remains the great humanitarian crisis of our times.

The political mood has hardened around immigration, and in a volatile world the tragedy of forced migration can seem less visible. Yet the reality is inescapable: in Europe, thousands of children are stuck in squalid camps or sleeping rough, caught up in political turmoil beyond their control and exposed to multiple dangers.

This year, record numbers of children have drowned in the Mediterranean; others have been placed in detention for travelling without documents. Official figures indicate more than 90,000 children have travelled alone, fleeing war and destitution across Europe. Charities believe the real figure is higher, because so many have slipped beneath the radar.'' The Humanion invites and urges you to do whatever you are able to do this Christmas. With the last year's Guardian Christmas Appeal breaking records, we hope this year's appeal will make new ones in raising more funds for those vulnerable of humanity, the children and the young, who need all we can offer them.

It is neither the media nor the political debates that should determine our understanding, assessment and response to what goes on in the world we live in: it is and it must always be determined by our inner belief, faith and self-awareness as humans. And there, in this inner core of us, do we have, and do we feel, that we do have a moral duty to do something, to do anything, as opposed to doing nothing, to a humanity that the world seems simply unable, disorganised, too disconnected and self-concerned, to be of effective support. The world seems unable to do anything effective to bring this exodus of suffering humanity and their daily ignominy and agony in horrible conditions to an end; for the world goes on so do almost countless numbers of wars, conflicts and hostilities, causing a sustained flow of uprooted humanity to be on the move, seeking sanctuary and the multitude of humanity left in limbo, made of absolute dehumanisation, suffering in horrible conditions, find that no one seems to care what happens to them, other than those impossible humanitarian organisations putting up 'epic a fight' to offer help and support, that should offer us 'an eternal flame of hope and inspiration'. For years and years this has been going on and there appears no sign that it is nearing the end. Does it mean, we should just stop caring and if it does, are we capable of being able to hear that tiny, almost inaudible voice, raising itself, with ever-so-strong an insistence, from within our beings, this question to us: Then, what are we and why ever for are we here?  Please, donate....Thank You. ω. The Humanion Team

 

Rough Sleepers are 17 Times More Likely to Have Been Victims of Violence: New Research: End Homelessness


|| December 23: 2016 || ά. People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence and 15 times more likely to have suffered verbal abuse in the past year compared to the general public. According to new research from Crisis, drawing on a survey of 458 recent or current rough sleepers in England and Wales, almost eight out of 10 have suffered some sort of violence, abuse or anti-social behaviour in the past year, often committed by a member of the public, while nearly seven in 10, 66%, report that life on the street is getting worse.

The report shows that for current or recent rough sleepers:  More than one in three have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless, 35%, More than one in three have had things thrown at them whilst homeless, 34%, Almost one in 10 have been urinated on whilst homeless, 09%, More than one in 20 have been the victim of a sexual assault whilst homeless, 07%, Almost half have been intimidated or threatened with violence whilst homeless, 48%, Almost six in 10 have had been verbally abused or harassed whilst homeless, 59%.

The report also provides first-hand accounts showing how these experiences take a serious toll on people’s mental wellbeing and sense of isolation, leading some to question their self-worth and making it even harder for them to escape the streets. The charity is also calling for action to prevent people from having to face the horrors of the street in the first place. The Homelessness Reduction Bill now going through parliament would help to make sure homeless people can get support at an early stage, ideally before they lose their home.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said, “For anyone sleeping on the street, life can be a struggle just to survive. As our research shows, rough sleepers are far more likely to be victims of crime, including violent assault, abuse and intimidation, compared to the general public. This is a horrifying state of affairs and shows why we need to prevent people ending up in this situation in the first place.

Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for homeless people. While others are enjoying the comfort of family and friends, homeless people face a daily struggle just to stay safe and escape the cold. That’s what makes our work at Christmas so important. Every year, Crisis opens its doors to thousands of homeless people, offering a safe, warm welcome with food and companionship, as well as access to vital services.

Yet we also need to make sure people can get help all year round, ideally before they become homeless in the first place. The Homelessness Reduction Bill currently making its way through parliament aims to make sure people facing homelessness can get support when they need it, and we urge the public to help by calling on their MP to back this crucial bill.”

The charity’s Christmas centres are run by an army of more than 10,000 volunteers. As well as warmth, companionship and three hot meals a day, guests receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits and are encouraged to take up the life-changing opportunities on offer at Crisis centres across the country during the year ahead.

Jon Sparkes added, “None of this work would be possible without the generosity and compassion of thousands of individuals, organisations and companies, who give their time, funds and goods to make Christmas happen for some of society’s most vulnerable people.”
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Read the Report

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

A Homeless Soul: This report does not actually, speak of these souls who are forced to live rough on the street. Image: University of Sheffield.

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 Day Without Us: Let's Reject the Politics of Division and Hatred and Make Tomorrow a Better One Than Today: Show Your Support for the Migrants and Celebrate the Contributions They Make to the UK: February 20

 

|| December 23: 2016 || ά. One Day Without Us is a National Day of Action on February 20, Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice. For 24 hours, the initiative is inviting migrants from inside and outside the European Union and everyone who supports them to celebrate the contributions that migrants make. A new video, released on Thursday,  December 22  invites people to imagine a situation in which all the migrants to Britain who contribute so much to our country were absent for a day. Produced by expert film makers, working with top actors and with migrants, the film is part of the growing movement of support that is building towards a mass day of action across Britain in February.

Called One Day Without Us, the action, which is backed by Hope not Hate, Migrants Organise, Migrants Rights Network, the Three Million, and War on Want, among others, is designed to show that Britain couldn’t manage for even one day without the contributions of people who’ve migrated here and that their contributions should be celebrated, not denigrated. People from all backgrounds will take actions on February 20. These will be based around work places and will range from small symbolic shows of support to people joining rallies or stopping work for a period of time.

Organiser, Matt Carr, said about the action, “We believe British born people and people who come from overseas are all part of one team, which has been shown to work successfully together. If migrants were removed, as a noisy minority in this country are calling for, there would be huge gaps in the team and Britain would be a poorer, duller country.

We are not going to let that happen. We believe we, migrants and non-migrants, are the majority in this country and it’s time to fight back against the politics of division and hatred. This film is part of that fight back and a great way to build even bigger support for the action on the 20th of February.”

The video is directed by Jacobo GF of Emigrant Beard productions, who is originally from Spain. He explained why he wants to support One Day Without Us, “We just feel really identified with One Day Without Us. Imagine if all the migrants disappeared for one day. Really, think it for just one second. I walk around and I see restaurants, companies set up by immigrants that now are giving jobs to British and non-British citizens, there are plenty of opportunities for everybody in this country.”

The script for the film, which is in verse, was written by playwright, Steve Waters, who said, “I was delighted to be invited to write something for 'One Day Without Us'. This vital campaign is a wake-up to all of us to celebrate the diversity of our country and the role people of all nations play in the way we live and work.”

A number of people who’ve migrated to Britain take part in the video. They include the cameraman and editor Carlos Blanco who said, "I felt it was important, first of all, because I am a migrant and I don't feel that bad about it. I think all of us should be proud of it; to be a migrant is to be brave. I hope people realize that. I hope One Day Without Us changes people's minds on the subject of migration, not just in the UK, but in the whole world."

Gerardo Pastor Ruiz, the film’s sound engineer, said, "To record the sound was to record a message. We gave a voice to people who needed to be heard."

Another migrant to the UK, Nadilla Castilla, is also featured, "I wanted to be part of a project that includes everyone and that sends such a positive message."

The video also includes contributions by two star professional actors. Lee Ross has appeared in a number of films and TV series including Press Gang and EastEnders. Linus Roche’s television career includes the hit US TV series, Law and Order and his films include Innocence, Priest and The Wings of the Dove.

Linus Roche said, “The reality is that we are living in a globalising world. There is no going back, we need to be fearless in our embrace of diversity. This is the march of human evolution toward greater unity.”

The organisers say, ''Some may choose to do this symbolically, by wearing badges and lanyards or putting posters in their windows. Some may wish to have a communal meal or a party with the migrants they have known as friends, colleagues, workmates and neighbours. Workers may take a five-minute silence or a mini-rally at lunchtime or tea-time.

There are also those who may wish to highlight migrant contributions to the UK in more direct ways. Some may prefer a march or a rally. Others may decide to stop work or leave their classes for ten minutes or an hour or the whole day. There are many ways that you can take part in this day. Do what you feel able to do and what you feel is most appropriate to your situation.

Whatever your nationality and place of origin; wherever you live and work, join us and make February 20 a day of protest, solidarity and celebration.
We are millions. Let us stand together and show it. Let’s reject the politics of division and hatred. Let’s make tomorrow better than today.
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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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Tell Her, But It is Merry Christmas, Mary: Companionship at Christmas at Abbeyfield for Older People: An Estimated 500,000 of Them Will Spend This Christmas Alone


|| December 22: 2016 || ά. As the first Advent calendar doors opened on Thursday, December 01, older people’s charity Abbeyfield threw open its own, as its houses and homes across the country welcoming in isolated older people during December and beyond. Abbeyfield, which was founded 60 years ago to counter social isolation and loneliness in the elderly, has launched Companionship at Christmas, offering vulnerable older people blighted by seasonal loneliness free, festive events across its 500 plus houses nationwide.

Companionship at Christmas events, including Christmas baking clubs, pub lunches, mince pies and carols through to Christmas Day lunches and even overnight stays for those who would otherwise be waking up to an empty house on December 25, all in the company of others, are all being offered by Abbeyfield. An estimated 500,000 older people will spend this Christmas alone. A recent survey conducted by Abbeyfield found that nine out of ten older people said that company was crucial to a good Christmas. Of those surveyed, 73 per cent felt that sharing food in the company of others was an essential ingredient of a good Christmas.

The findings bring home the reality of loneliness and isolation that so many older people face during what should be one of the happiest times of the year. Living on her own for almost a quarter of a century since she lost her husband, 78-year-old Mary enjoys a full and active life, she fully admits to enjoying her own company and has a passion for ballroom dancing.

But on Christmas Day itself, she finds herself feeling isolated and alone with her usual clubs closed down for the holidays. Her way of coping was to shut out the fact it was Christmas, pretending it was just another day. “I’d get up and try not to think about it being Christmas. I’d have a sandwich or something and at tea time, an ordinary cup of tea and go to bed and try to forget it was Christmas Day.” said Mary.

“You find yourself thinking even more about the people you’ve loved who aren’t around you any more and it makes you feel so sad and even more alone. I have a lovely daughter who works so hard. Because of her work, she can’t take time off at Christmas so we don’t get to see each other. I know that’s just how it is these days. It is a very lonely time, but you find ways to get through it.”


But this year, Marie will be spending Christmas Day in the company of others at her local Abbeyfield House in Nottingham where she is a regular visitor. “I’m looking forward to Christmas, the food, having people around you, even helping with the washing up, it’s all part of the fun and is something I haven’t had for such a long time.”

Abbeyfield Chief Executive Natasha Singarayer said: “Abbeyfield’s founding ethos was of alleviating loneliness and isolation. Now, 60 years later, we are still doing all we can to counter the growing epidemic of loneliness felt by older people with our Companionship at Christmas campaign.

Enjoying a fun-filled Christmas surrounded by family and friends is something we often take for granted. It’s heart-breaking to think that for an estimated 500,000 older people across the UK, Christmas is a time of crushing loneliness and isolation, intensifying painful memories of lost loved ones, bereavement and the fear and stigma of being alone and a burden to others.

Companionship at Christmas will be providing just that, warmth, friendship, and of course great food, during the festive period and beyond. We hope as many people as possible will find Companionship at Christmas with us in 2016, enjoying friendship, laughter and festive food in the company of others.”

Companionship at Christmas will offer company, free events, entertainment, overnight stays and a feast of festive food to over-55s living alone across the UK throughout the festive period and beyond. If you are living alone and want to find out more about Companionship at Christmas or are concerned about a neighbour, friend or family member who is isolated, contact Abbeyfield on 01727 734 167.

About the Abbeyfield Society: Established in 1956 by Richard Carr Gomm, an Army officer who abandoned his career to devote his life to helping lonely older people. Today Abbeyfield is a charity that has over 500 houses in the UK in which more than 8000 older people live in a supported family-like atmosphere. Nine out of ten older people surveyed by older people’s housing and care charity Abbeyfield said that company was a vital part of enjoying the festive season with a further 73 per cent saying that sharing food with others was another essential ingredient.
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Images: Abbeyfield

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 Investigatory Powers Act: The UK Government IS Breaking the Law by Collecting Everyone's Internet and Call Data and Accessing It with No Independent Sign-off and No Suspicion of Serious Crime: The European Court of Justice Rules


|| December 21: 2016 || ά. In first major post-EU Referendum judgment involving the UK, Court of Justice of the EU backs Tom Watson MP, represented by Liberty, in landmark challenge to Government surveillance. The ruling effectively means significant parts of the new Investigatory Powers Act are unlawful and must be urgently changed. The Government is breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting the nation's internet activity and phone records and letting hundreds of public bodies grant themselves access to these personal details with no suspicion of serious crime and no independent sign-off, meaning significant parts of its new Snoopers’ Charter are effectively unlawful.

Judges at the EU Court of Justice:CJEU have today backed a challenge brought by Tom Watson MP, represented by Liberty, to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act:DRIPA, the temporary emergency law that covers state surveillance. DRIPA will expire on December 31 but the Government has since replicated and vastly expanded the same powers in its new flagship surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, which passed in November. Today’s ruling means major parts of that new Act are in effect unlawful and the Government will need to urgently and fundamentally amend these parts of the law that are deemed to be unlawful by the CJEU.

Martha Spurrier, Liberty’s Director, said, “Today’s judgment upholds the rights of ordinary British people not to have their personal lives spied on without good reason or an independent warrant. The Government must now make urgent changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to comply with this. This is the first serious post-referendum test for our Government’s commitment to protecting human rights and the rule of law. The UK may have voted to leave the EU but we didn't vote to abandon our rights and freedoms.”

Tom Watson MP said, “This ruling shows it's counter-productive to rush new laws through Parliament without a proper scrutiny. At a time when we face a real and ever-present terrorist threat, the security forces may require access to personal information none of us would normally hand over. That's why it's absolutely vital that proper safeguards are put in place to ensure this power is not abused, as it has been in the recent past.

Most of us can accept that our privacy may occasionally be compromised in the interests of keeping us safe, but no one would consent to giving the police or the government the power to arbitrarily seize our phone records or emails to use as they see fit. It's for judges, not Ministers, to oversee these powers. I'm pleased the court has upheld the earlier decision of the UK courts.”

DRIPA forces communications companies to store every person’s 'communications data', the who, what, when, where and how of every email, text, phone call and internet communication, including those of lawyers, doctors, MPs and journalists. This data is subject to an extremely lax access regime, which lets hundreds of organisations and government agencies, from police forces to HMRC, grant themselves access for a wide range of reasons that have nothing to do with investigating serious crime.

CJEU judges have ruled this regime breaches British people’s rights because it: allows general and indiscriminate retention of all communications data;
does not restrict access to this data to the purpose of preventing and detecting precisely defined serious crime; lets police and public bodies authorise their own access, instead of subjecting access requests to prior authorisation by a court or independent body; does not provide for notification after the event to people whose data has been accessed; does not require that the data be kept within the European Union.

What this means for the Investigatory Powers Act: Since this legal challenge was launched in 2014, the Investigatory Powers Act has not only re-legislated for the powers found unlawful today, but gone much further. The Act has dramatically expanded powers to gather data on the entire population, while maintaining the controversial lack of safeguards that resulted in this legal challenge.

Under it, the state now also has access to every person’s internet use – every website visited or app used – which service providers must generate and store for 12 months. This creates vast databases of deeply sensitive and revealing personal information which, at a time when companies and governments are under increasingly frequent attack from hackers, creates a goldmine for criminals and foreign spies.

This data can be accessed by dozens of public authorities with no need for suspicion of criminality or prior sign-off from a judge or other independent official. These include the NHS, Department for Work and Pensions and Gambling Commission.

The Investigatory Powers Act has also legalised other unprecedented bulk spying powers, including bulk hacking, interception of phone calls and emails on an industrial scale and collection of huge databases containing sensitive information on millions of people, which could integrate records such as Oyster card logs and Facebook back-ups. Liberty believes these indiscriminate powers are also unlawful and is preparing to challenge them in court. 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 UK Needs a Whole Economy Approach to Make the EU Exit a Success: CBI

|| December 21: 2016 || ά. The Confederation of British Industry:CBI has carried out its largest consultation of members since before the EU referendum. ''The UK’s new relationship with the European Union must meet the needs of every sector of the economy to be a success, as the consequences of leaving any behind could have knock-on effects for others.'' says the CBI. The CBI has held thousands of conversations across the country with trade associations and firms of all sizes since the summer and taken an in-depth look at the opportunities, concerns and questions that 18 sectors of the UK economy face ahead of EU negotiations in 2017 on the ease of doing business, regulation and access to talent.

In Making a Success of the UK EU exit, the CBI calls on the Government to consider the complexity of the modern economy where no business operates in isolation. Products come with complementary services, supply chains overlap across borders and many companies do not fit neatly into a single sector. Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said, “Businesses in every corner of the UK are rolling up their sleeves as they prepare for life outside the EU and are committed to making it a success. Leaving the EU will be a highly complex process and all sectors of the economy are making their priorities clear in order to get it right. The Government will need to take a ‘whole economy’ approach to avoid leaving sectors behind.”

The CBI’s consultation reveals that many questions are shared by businesses across sectors. Airlines and the wider aviation sector, which employs nearly one million people, are asking how the Government will seek agreements that allow the smooth transport of holiday-makers, workers and goods, as are logistics companies, haulage firms and retailers.

Restaurants are asking how they will continue to hire chefs from abroad, while companies in the chemicals and plastics sector, which export towards £30bn worth of products each year, are asking whether they will still be able to access the skilled employees they need at their plants. This is also an issue for logistics firms who already face a shortfall of nearly 35,000 HGV drivers.

Construction companies, which will build the UK’s new homes, roads and rail in a sector worth over £100bn to the UK economy, are asking about the potential costs of importing materials and the future of the CE marking regime, as are many manufacturers.

Our world-beating creative industries, which employs nearly two million people across music, film, video games, architecture and more, are asking about the future of Intellectual Property and data flows, as are life sciences businesses, technology companies and other sectors.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said, “While each sector has issues specific to them, there are many crossovers and common principles that unite them, for example, the need to avoid cliff edge changes that cause disruption to supply chains and trade.

Where companies differ is how they prioritise these issues and the contrasting emphasis they place on trade, migration and regulation. To make a success of Brexit for the whole economy, Government needs to work through all these issues, as well as seize the opportunities afforded by a new focus on the UK’s global economic relationships.

From aviation and chemicals to life sciences and agriculture, firms of all sizes will want to understand how easy it will be for them to trade in the future with the EU which remains the biggest market for British businesses. They need to know what rules they will be working by and how they can still secure access to skilled workers and labour, where shortages already exist.”

The report identifies that many legal requirements have cross-sector implications, for example, energy and environmental regulations have an impact on construction, housing, manufacturing, water companies. The success or failure of some sectors could affect others, the future of financial services regulation, for example, has been raised by firms in the automotive, housing, real estate and retail sectors, given the role they play in finance, insurance and pensions.

Meanwhile, the increasing diversity of offerings from firms means they have cross-sector interests, some food and drink companies produce biofuels as well as the products on our supermarket shelves, and many manufacturers offer comprehensive services packages alongside their goods.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said, “The modern UK economy is ever more interconnected. Legislation in one sector can have a knock-on effect in many others. For example, any business that handles data or has an online presence can be affected by future digital regulations, not just technology companies. The CBI will work closely with the Government to deliver an outcome that helps to meet the needs of firms throughout the UK, building a post-Brexit economy that spreads prosperity to all.”

The CBI has identified six common principles as business priorities: A barrier-free relationship with our largest, closest and most important trading partner; A clear plan for regulation that gives certainty in the short-term, and in the long-term balances influence, access and opportunity; A migration system which allows businesses to access the skills and labour they need to deliver growth; A renewed focus on global economic relationships, with the business community at their heart; An approach that protects the social and economic benefits of EU funding; A smooth exit from the EU, avoiding a cliff-edge that causes disruption. ω.

Read the Report

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General: Image: CBI

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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How Far the Arms Go

|| December 21: 2016 || ά. This House of Commons Briefing Paper, CBP-7842, authored by Rachel Kift and Rob Page, published today, looks into the statistics o the arms trade. According to figures published by the Government on July 26, 2016, the global defence export market in 2015 was estimated to be worth more than £63 billion, $97 billion. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States of America, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom, are the world’s largest arms exporters.

The UK is the third largest defence exporter in the world with its market share estimated at £07.7 billion, US $12 billion, representing 12.8% of the estimated market share of the top ten defence exporters. An arms industry database published annually by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:SIPRI, and containing information on the 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies in the world, shows that UK companies feature consistently in the top 100 listing.

According to Government figures, the UK’s largest defence export market is the Middle East, responsible for an estimated 58% of orders between 2006 and 2015, followed by North America with an estimated 20% of orders.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:SIPRI has developed a unit of measurement to measure volumes of arms exports: the trend-indicator value:TIV. The TIV is based on the known unit production costs of a core set of weapons in constant 1990 US dollars. Second hand-weapons which have been significantly reconditioned are given a value 66 per cent of that of a new weapon; those which have not been significantly reconditioned are given a value 40 per cent of that of a new weapon.

Based on this, Saudi Arabia has consistently been the UK’s top export market for the last five years, receiving two-thirds of the UK arms exports in 2015. During the same period, UK companies have been second only to US companies in exporting arms to Saudi Arabia.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7842: Authors: Rachel Kift and Rob Page: Published: December 21: 2016: 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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Bold Steps are Needed to Build on UK's Science Success: Science and Technology Committee Report

Images: The Grünenthal Group and Abiogen Pharma

|| December 20: 2016 || ά. The UK needs to retain current scientific talent and attract even more of the world’s leading scientists according to the Science and Technology Committee’s report A time for boldness: EU membership and UK science after the referendum. The UK should expand and enhance existing programmes. But it must also search out the world’s most accomplished scientists and persuade them to pursue careers here. The Government should send repeated signals to the global science community that the UK remains a welcoming place for talented scientists.

The report welcomes the major increase to science funding announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement. The Committee recommends that, in addition, the science and research budget should be re-based at an early opportunity to compensate fully for any reduction of funding from the EU. UK scientific leaders should not to be consumed entirely with UK-EU negotiations and should explore scientific collaborations and shared protocols with the rest of the world, particularly where there is potential to build on existing relationships such as ones with the USA.

The UK should offer to host, in partnership with governments and funding bodies from other countries, one or more new, large-scale international research facilities. This would be a bold move to signal the UK’s global standing in science. Uncertainty over the future relationship between EU and UK science is having a corrosive effect on the UK research base. But the Government has the power to mitigate many negative effects of Brexit and use it as a catalyst to address long standing underperformance in economic productivity.

Lord Selborne, Chairman of the Committee said, “Positive assurances have been sent from the Government to UK science. We welcome the major increase in science funding announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the Government’s separate assurance that it will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before Brexit.

The UK's outstanding reputation and performance in the scientific world depends critically on redoubling efforts to persuade many of the world's most talented scientists to pursue careers in this country. Our proposal to find global scientific leaders will help to tackle this and nurture the next generation of research leaders in the UK. It is vital the UK is still seen as open to scientific talent; the Government has the ability to send this message to the scientific community enabling us to become world leaders after Brexit and beyond.”

Key Findings from the report

Freedom of Movement

The report maintains that the Government should distinguish in the immigration statistics and the net migration target between students, holding Tier four visas nd other immigrants; and the Government should treat student numbers separately for immigration policy making purposes.

The EU referendum result and mixed messages from the Government could undermine the shared ambitions of the Government and the research community to welcome talented scientists to the UK.

Attracting talent

We recognise that at this early stage, there is little documented evidence of scientists from other EU Member States deciding not to come to the UK because of the EU referendum, or of UK scientists deciding not to work in other EU Member States for that reason. But there is a clear perception in the scientific community that discrimination is occurring.

We recommend that the Government, through its global science and innovation network, or the British Council, should perform annual surveys around the world assessing the UK's reputation in the global scientific community as a welcoming place to pursue a scientific career. The results of these surveys should be published.

Scientific advice

The Government must ensure that it has appropriate scientific advice during the Brexit negotiations. The voice of the scientific community should be heard alongside the voice of business during the Brexit negotiations and in making future alliances. ω.

Political Economics The UK Upper House to Investigate Whether UK Energy Policy Led to Market Failures: Committee Invites for Submissions: Deadline: September 30


|| July 21: 2016 || ά. In this Report The Humanion begins to use the name, The Upper House of the UK for the House of Lords and, as we have written before, the name The House of Lords does not include the female members of this Upper or Second Chamber of the Houses of Parliament of the UK. And it is not acceptable any longer that this very House keeps calling itself The House of Lords that it is not only absolutely discriminatory but also absolutely unacceptable. Therefore, The Humanion invites the House of Lords to initiate proceedings to rename this House so that it does not exclude and discriminate female members of the House. Until this name change happens The Humanion will continue to refer The House of Lords as The Upper House. And we invite everyone in the country, particularly, the political parties, organisations and most importantly, women and human rights, gender equality and anti discriminatory organisations to begin referring the House of Lords as the Upper House and not as The House of Lords for this is the Upper House that is comprised of male and female members and its title must reflect this fact. And now we get back to the report. ‽: 220716

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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£60 Million Boost to Strengthen UK Manufacturing Base

Image: Neutronic Technologies

|| December 20: 2016 || ά. Six new £10 million research hubs that will explore and improve new manufacturing techniques across fields such as targeted biological medicines, three-D printing and composite materials have been announced by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson. The National Physical Laboratory:NPL is providing support to three of the new hubs, through the main Teddington site and two of its regional bases in Huddersfield and Strathclyde.

Funded by the government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council:EPSRC, the hubs will draw together expertise from 17 universities and 200 industrial and academic partners to upgrade the UK's manufacturing capabilities and take greater advantage of the UK's innovative strengths. Through increased collaboration between universities and industry, more products can be developed to meet industry needs and progress from the research lab to market, boosting the UK economy.

NPL is providing support to three of the six hubs: the Future Metrology Hub, led by the University of Huddersfield; the Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation:CMAC Research Hub, led by the University of Strathclyde; and the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub, led by Cardiff University.

Prof John Bancroft, Director of NPL North of England, said, "This investment by EPSRC into the Future Metrology Hub at the University of Huddersfield is excellent news. NPL already has a regional centre based at the University of Huddersfield and is looking forward to working in close partnership to deliver new and innovative metrology expertise and resources.

These will be aimed at helping businesses in the region and beyond to utilise world-leading measurement technologies and capabilities to improve their productivity and competitiveness, thereby generating growth in the UK's manufacturing industries."

Announcing this major investment in the UK's manufacturing research base, Jo Johnson said, "Developing new innovative manufacturing techniques will help UK industry create new products, explore more business opportunities and ensure the UK becomes more competitive and productive." 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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Fundamental Rights Not a Bargaining Chip: Joint Committee on Human Rights

|| December 19: 2016 || ά.  The Joint Committee on Human Rights report says the Government must not use fundamental rights as a bargaining chip. The Committee calls on the Government to give an undertaking to protect the residency rights of EU nationals in the UK. While many fundamental rights are underpinned by EU law, the Committee says that it is not clear whether the Government intends to remove any rights which UK citizens currently possess under EU law and, if so, which rights are under threat.

It demands that any future legislation should include safeguards and Parliament should have the opportunity to debate, amend and vote on any proposed changes to fundamental rights. It is estimated that there are currently 02.9 million EU nationals resident in the UK. The Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox has reportedly described EU nationals in the UK as one of the 'main cards' in the UK's EU-Exit negotiations and Minister for Human Rights Sir Oliver Heald told the Committee that the Prime Minister was seeking an 'early agreement' on the status of UK nationals in Europe and EU nationals in the UK. He confirmed that the Government’s view was that to agree a unilateral position on the issue would not be helpful.

JCHR Chair Harriet Harman said, "The Government must not use human rights as a bargaining chip. Moreover, the Government will continue to have obligations under Article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, as we set out in our Report. The UK Government could not deport the large numbers of EU nationals currently in the UK."

The actual position of such individuals is underpinned by the Human Rights Act and will depend on length of residence and other factors, but Government intentions for both UK and EU citizens remain far from clear.

Under Article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights:ECHR, individuals are entitled to respect for their private and family life and home. However, these rights are not absolute and do not provide the same protections as offered by EU law, and restrictions on them can be justified in certain circumstances where they would not be under current EU law.

However, even with restrictions it would not be possible for the Government to establish a rule that would allow the deportation of EU nationals merely on the grounds that they had only been resident for a fixed period of time. Other factors such as family connections and the residence rights of children would be relevant and each case would need to be considered on its own facts.

Harriet Harman said, "In the unlikely and unwelcome event that the Government sought to deport EU nationals there could be the potential for significant, expensive and lengthy litigation leading to considerable legal uncertainty for a prolonged period of time. These cases would have the potential to clog up and overwhelm the court system"

The Committee recommends that the Government should set out a full and detailed list of fundamental rights currently guaranteed by virtue of the UK’s EU membership and what approach it intends to take towards them.

It further recommends that: There should be no opportunity for the Government to repeal fundamental rights by secondary legislation for reasons of expediency: if rights are to be changed there should be parliamentary accountability, with an opportunity for both Houses to debate, amend and vote on such changes; The Government should issue detailed statutory guidance on the status of existing case law. It will also have to determine how it will approach the status of future EU law and the Court of Justice of the European Union:CJEU decisions to ensure that it is not isolated from developments emanating from the EU.

The question of how fundamental rights will be enforced going forward will also be of central importance. The EU has included human rights clauses in trade agreements for many years. The Committee recommends that when the UK exits the EU, and enters into trade agreements with other states, the Government should, at the very least, ensure that standards included in current agreements are maintained.

Harriet Harman said, "Any dilution of human rights standards would be extremely undesirable. There is an argument to be made that if the UK enters into any new agreements, this is an opportunity to raise standards." 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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Impact of Exiting the EU on Higher Education


|| December 18: 2016 || ά. This House of Commons Briefing Paper gives a brief overview of the issues of concern to the Higher Education:HE sector as a result of the decision to leave the EU and outlines parliamentary debate in this area. The higher education:HE sector is a major UK industry; it contributes £73 billion to the UK economy, including £11 billion of export earnings. The sector benefits from EU membership in a number of ways such as through the free movement of staff and students and access to research funding, higher education institutions are concerned that they may lose these benefits followed by the UK exit of the EU.

The Government has put in place some guarantees around funding and students, but the final position of the sector will depend on the result of the EU Exit negotiations. International and EU students play a significant role in the HE sector contributing in economic and cultural terms. Latest figures showed that EU and non-EU students were estimated to have contributed £09.7 billion to the UK economy in 2011 through tuition fees and living expenditure. Under EU law the UK Government must provide tuition fee loans to EU students on the same basis as UK home students, some EU students also qualify for maintenance support.

In 2013:14 there were 125,300 EU students at UK universities and in that year £224 million was paid in fee loans to EU students on full-time courses in England, 03.7% of the total student loan bill. UK students benefit from the UK’s EU membership by way of access to Erasmus+ a mobility scheme that provides students with opportunities to study in the EU.

UK HEIs also benefit significantly from EU science and research funding and the free movement of academics across the EU. The UK is predicted to receive about £02 billion from the Horizon 2020 programme in the first two years of operation and it is estimated that the 24 Russell Group universities receive about £400 million a year in EU research funds, some 11% of their research income. In addition British universities employ more than 30,000 scientists from EU countries and in some UK universities, up to 50 per cent of postdoctoral positions are held by EU citizens.

Universities are extremely anxious about their situation post EU situation of the UK, their concerns focus on two main areas: the impact on people, students and staff, and the impact on research, funding and collaboration. The Government has made some guarantees around students and funding but the long-term implications of UK's EU exit on the HE sector and on students is currently still unknown as much will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations with the EU.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the HE sector is already experiencing an impact with regard to collaboration in EU research projects and HE staff mobility, these issues could potentially have a substantial effect on the sector in the future.

This paper gives a brief overview of the issues of concern to the HE sector as a result of the decision to leave the EU and outlines parliamentary debate in this area.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7834: Author: Susan Hubble: Published on December 15. 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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Enrichment Activities to Encourage Children to Study Science, Technology and Mathematics Have No Impact on Results

The Idearian Echoing Eternities


|| December 17: 2016: University of Exeter News || ά. Enrichment activities to encourage pupils to study science and technology subjects have made no difference to their performance in mathematics exams, new research shows. Data shows children who didn’t take part in the activities, run and funded by various governments, private companies and charities, did just as well in GCSE tests. The STEM enrichment activities have been running to encourage more children to develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics:STEM skills, which are vital to the economic growth of the UK. There have long been concerns not enough children are studying these subjects, in contrast to pupils in other nations.

The activities include hands-on fun sessions in laboratories, teacher mentoring and inspiring talks for young people by STEM ambassadors. Their objective is to give young people a better understanding of science and maths; to link science and maths as done in the classroom to STEM done in the real world; and to break the myth held by young people that STEM subjects are only for the 'brainy'. Dr Pallavi Amitava Banerjee, from the University of Exeter’s Graduate School of Education, used the National Pupil Database, government statistics about each school and pupil, to assess the impact of STEM enrichment schemes on how well students performed in mathematics. By looking at five years of data she found that among the 300 schools who participated there was no impact on maths GCSE results.

Dr Banerjee compared GCSE results in 300 state schools where all pupils had participated in STEM enrichment activities since 2007 to a comparator group of all other secondary schools. A grade of C or above in maths was considered a success. Comparator schools had a slightly lower figure of students doing well at mathematics at first, but results soon caught up with those at schools who were taking part in intervention activities.

The comparator group had a slightly higher proportion of pupils with free school meals, and the study did not find evidence that STEM interventions improved outcomes for less advantaged students. “Of course, attainment is only one indication of the success of these programmes, but it's important because students are more likely to continue to study STEM subjects when they get higher grades. Good attainment in mathematics is also a pre-requisite for admission to STEM degree courses.” Dr Banerjee said.

All the activities considered as part of the study were delivered as after-school clubs, competitions, or out-reach programmes, and were run during Key Stage 3 and 4. Activities run by ten providers were considered for the study, and children took part from the beginning of year 7 until they took their GCSEs. Eight of these were government organisations, one was an educational charity, and one received public funding.

National Pupil Database data from 2007 to 2011:12 for GCSEs and 2013:14 for A-levels was used in the study. All special schools, pupil referral units, and independent schools were excluded from the study. State maintained schools included were academies, city technology colleges, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled, and foundation schools.

Dr Banerjee said, “It is important to state that these enrichment activities can be fantastic, but the study did not find a direct impact on results and further research should be carried out to find out why.”

Dr Pallavi Amitava Banerjee is a Lecturer in Science Education. She teaches on MSc Educational Research, MA Education, module leader for Science education for diversity, Planning for understanding in science, and PGCE secondary Biology programmes. Pallavi studied Life Sciences with a specialisation in Cancer Biology for M.Sc. She has previously worked as a molecular biologist funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. She taught for 12 years in secondary schools and held the posts of head of department, senior academic incharge and vice principal of an international independent school.

Her PhD at Durham University focussed on the UK STEM education policy. The study addressed an important issue for education, the use of informal 'enrichment and enhancement activities' to support student's engagement with STEM subjects post compulsory education. During and after the PhD she worked as a Resesarch Associate at Durham University on several research projects focussing on widening participation, contextualising admissions in higher education, STEM education, improving A-level examiner's understanding of reliability and validity of question papers. Her research interests lie in the robust evaluation of educational programmes for effectiveness and improvement and education policy. 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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European Greens Back British Green MEP Jean Lambert for the European Parliament President

Jean Lambert MEP on the right


|| December 13: 2016 || ά.  Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has been selected, on December 15, as the Greens’ candidate for President of the European Parliament. Jean will be the only British MEP contesting the position. Elections for a new President, to replace the outgoing German Socialist Martin Schulz, will take place in January. Jean said, “I am honoured to have the support of the Greens:EFA group to stand as their candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament.

This election comes at a crucial moment, both for the European Parliament and for the entire European Union, and I will be a candidate to defend the core values on which the EU was founded and to represent a more equal society. I believe the Parliament needs a more human, less bureaucratic face and to connect more with citizens, the UK referendum result shows this is something long overdue.

I believe I am well-placed to explain the importance of what we have built in the EU and the role it can have as a bastion of human rights and action on climate change in this world that faces so many challenges, from climate change, to growing inequality and instability.

Greens believe the UK should continue to have a close relationship with its European neighbours. The support of Greens from across Europe for a British candidate is a symbol of the ongoing partnership approach we want to see between Britain and the rest of the EU.”

Jean was elected to the European Parliament in 1999 and has served four consecutive terms. She has been long record of working against poverty and discrimination and for sustainability and human rights.

The President of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. He or she represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally. The president’s signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget. Presidents serve two-and-a-half-year terms. 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 Disasters Emergency Committee DEC Launches Yemen Crisis Appeal: Yemen a Nation Slowly Being 'Terminated' Before the Very Eyes of the World: Please, Donate Whatever You Can: Onlin dec.org.uk or on the Phone  0370 60 60 900 or to Donate £5, Please, Text SUPPORT to 70000

Who can bring themselves to go and tell this child that she:he is not being slowly 'terminated' by the severe acute malnutrition and hunger?

|| December 13: 2016 || ά.  The Disasters Emergency Committee on has launched  The Yemen Crisis Appeal for people facing hunger in Yemen. More than seven million people in Yemen do not know where their next meal will come from and children are dying from malnutrition.  With Yemen’s health system near collapse, the United Nations Children’s Fund:UNICEF warned yesterday that nearly 02.2 million children are acutely malnourished and require urgent care, while at least 462,000 are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition:SAM, a near 200 per cent increase since 2014. The Hodeida, Sa’ada, Taizz, Hajjah and Lahej governorates put together experience the highest SAM cases in the country. In some areas of Sa’ada, eight out of 10 children are chronically malnourished.  And does that, would that create any response in the wider world?

Twenty months of war have brought Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the world, to breaking point. DEC member charities are reaching millions of people across the country with lifesaving aid, such as food and treatment for malnutrition, but much more needs to be done to help those in dire need. And yet, this has not, so far, produced the response required by the world community and the war rages on and the land and the people, and these most vulnerable of humanity, the children and young people are now being deliberately 'destroyed' for what does sever acute malnutrition do to young babies, young children and to the mothers, who themselves are malnourished, too? The world goes on and nothing changes. When will the world wake up to realise that it has been watching how a nation is literally brought down to its knees where the knees are bleeding towards the devastating end....in which the people, the mothers, the fathers and the families and their friends, desperately, helplessly watch their loved ones, the little ones being 'killed', being 'terminated' slowly before their very eyes by this invisible but mighty and invincible human enemy, hunger and malnutrition.

The DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal is launched on all major UK Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky today. Donation can be made, on the phone, 0370 60 60 900 and online. The Humanion can only invite, can only urge and can only encourage that all our readers, and let them tell others about this Appeal, do all they can to donate to this Appeal for the children of Yemen are being slowly but surely being 'terminated'. That is what has been happening to the children of Yemen that has now reached to such a depth of a crisis that it now engulfs, with a horrible state of 'suffering through hunger and malnutrition', almost the entire community of children and young people of the the country. Please, donate as much as you are able to. To make a donation to the DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000. 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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Economic Affairs Committee Criticises the Government Response to Its Housing Report

The families that are wasting away at unacceptable temporary accommodations, tens of thousands of children included, the low-income families living in
private sector rented accommodations and those, the most unfortunate, most degraded, most contempt-given and the most cruelly treated, the rough
sleepers, won't be able to 'buy' any house, probably ever: Who is going to build a place that they can call home?


|| December 13: 2016 || ά. The House of Commons Economic Affairs Committee has criticised the Government's response to its report, 'Building More Homes', which it published in July. Lord Hollick, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, dubbed the response 'inadequate to deal with the scale of the crisis in the housing market'.  The Committee's report criticised the Government's target of one million new homes by 2020 as inadequate and said that the level of house building required to meet the housing crisis could not be met by the private sector alone. The Committee called on the Government to free local authorities to build more homes for rent and to move away from its single minded focus on subsidising home ownership and do more to support people to rent affordably.

The Government's response to the Committee's report accepts much of the Committee's analysis of the reasons for the crisis in the housing market but does not make any solid commitments to changing policy preferring to say that it will produce a 'comprehensive package of reform' to increase housing supply in a White Paper to be published 'in due course'. Commenting on the Government's response Lord Hollick, Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said, "This is a welcome albeit timid response to the Committee's recommendations. The measures proposed are inadequate in the context of the crisis in the housing market. I hope that the promised White Paper will set out the far reaching measures needed to address the problems in the housing market and to meet the Prime Minister’s ambitions.

The Government have accepted the Committee's analysis of the problem, but shied away from the steps needed to address it. In particular, the Government continue to rely on the private sector to build more houses when, as the Committee heard, these builders are incentivised to maximise profit margins not increase the number of houses they build. The Government have failed to recognise the need for local authorities to build more homes and for them to be freed from unnecessary and arbitrary financial restrictions which severely curtail their ability to build.

We are also disappointed that the Government has ignored our suggestion to give a single Cabinet Minister responsibility for ensuring suitable unused public land is made available for developing homes. Without a champion for that work at the highest level in government there is a danger that an opportunity to bring those spaces into productive use will be lost." 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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Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities or Mental Health Problems Not Always Given Adequate Attention While Families Report Poor Experience of Investigations: Care Quality Commission Report


|| December 13: 2016 || ά.  The Care Quality Commission review of the way NHS trusts review and investigate deaths has found that opportunities to learn from patient deaths are being missed  and too many families are not being included or listened to when an investigation takes place. Families and carers often have a poor experience of investigations. The CQC review found that they are not consistently treated with kindness, respect and honesty, despite many trusts saying that they value family involvement. The Review also found that the deaths of people with a learning disability or a mental illness do not consistently receive the attention they need.

The report highlights the need for learning from deaths to be given greater priority by all those working in health and social care. Without significant change at local and national levels, it argues, opportunities to improve care for future patients will continue to be missed. While the review found areas of good practice at individual steps in the investigation pathway, no single trust was able to demonstrate good practice across all aspects of identifying, reviewing and investigating deaths and ensuring that learning was put into practice. With no single framework setting out what should be done to ensure that as much as possible is learned from deaths, individual providers and commissioners have developed a range of systems and processes, and practice varies widely.

But while the report identifies widespread variation, it calls for the NHS and national bodies to recognise the need to improve the way deaths are investigated for the benefit of families and future patients, instead of singling out individual trusts for blame. Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said, "Investigations into problems in care prior to a patient's death must improve for the benefit of families and, importantly, people receiving care in the future... This is a system-wide problem, which needs to become a national priority."

Among the report's recommendations, the CQC calls for its partners to work with the body to develop a national framework, and for improvements in the way bereaved families and carers are involved in investigations.

What the CQC Report Found: Five Key Areas

We weren't able to identify any trust that demonstrated good practice across all aspects of identifying, reviewing and investigating deaths, and ensuring that learning is implemented. But we saw some trusts demonstrate promising practice at individual steps.

We focused on five key areas: Involvement of families and carers: We found that families and carers often have a poor experience of reviews and investigations, and are not always treated with kindness, respect and sensitivity. We found that the extent of their involvement in reviews and investigations varies and they are not always listened to.

Identification and reporting: We found inconsistency in the way organisations become aware of the deaths of people in their care, with no clear systems for a provider that identifies a death to tell commissioners or other providers involved in the person's care. Other issues include the lack of a consistent way of recording the deaths of patients that have recently been discharged. We also found that electronic systems don't always support the sharing of information between NHS trusts and other services involved in someone's care.

Decision to review or investigate: Healthcare staff use the Serious Incident Framework to help them decide whether a review or investigation is needed. But this can mean investigations only happen if a serious incident has been reported, and the criteria for deciding to report an incident and the application of the framework both vary. Clinicians are using different methods to record their decisions, definitions used to identify and report deaths are used inconsistently, and sharing information between providers is often difficult.

Reviews and investigations: The quality of investigations is often poor and methods set out in the Serious Incident Framework aren't applied consistently. Specialised training and support aren't given to all staff carrying out investigations. There are problems with the timeliness of investigations and confusion about standards and timelines set out in the guidance. Where a number of agencies are involved, their ability to work together is restricted by a lack of clarity over which agency is responsible for leading the investigation, and they often work in isolation.

Governance and learning: There are no consistent frameworks or guidance requiring boards to keep all deaths under review, and boards only receive limited information about the deaths of people using their services. When they do receive information, they often don't challenge the data effectively. Where investigations take place, there are no consistent systems to make sure recommendations are acted on or learning is shared. There's a lack of robust mechanisms to disseminate learning from investigations or benchmark beyond a single trust.

The Report Recommendations

Our recommendations are set out in more detail in our report, where we describe what action we recommend and which body should lead it. In summary, we've identified the need for improvement in the following areas.

Learning from deaths needs much greater priority within the NHS to avoid missing opportunities to improve care.
Bereaved relatives and carers must receive an honest and caring response from health and social care providers and the NHS should support their right to be meaningfully involved.
Healthcare providers should have a consistent approach to identifying and reporting the deaths of people using their services and share this information with other services involved in a patient's care.
There needs to be a clear approach to support healthcare professionals' decisions to review and:or investigate a death, informed by timely access to information.
Reviews and investigations need to be high quality and focus on system analysis rather than individual errors. Staff should have specialist training and protected time to undertake investigations.
Greater clarity is needed to support agencies working together to investigate deaths and to identify improvements needed across services and commissioning.
Learning from reviews and investigations needs to be better disseminated across trusts and other health and social care agencies, ensuring that appropriate actions are implemented and reviewed.
More work is needed to ensure the deaths of people with a mental health or learning disability diagnosis receive the attention they need. 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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Rough Sleepers and Anti-Social Behaviour: Is an Increase in the Use of These Powers is Criminalising Homelessness: Yes, It Is and It Must Not Be Allowed to Be Done by Local Authorities Since Rough Sleeping and Homelessness are Not Criminal Matters Nor are the Local Authorities Competent to Make Criminal Laws for Which the United Kingdom Has a Parliament


 

|| December 13: 2016 || ά.  This House of Commons Briefing Paper discusses the use of anti-social behaviour powers to ban activities often associated with homelessness, and concerns that an increase in the use of these powers is criminalising homelessness. The number of people sleeping rough in England has increased from 1,768 in 2010 to 3,569 in 2015; an increase of 102%. Rough sleeping is often associated with nuisance activities such as begging, street drinking and anti-social behaviour. Homelessness is a complex issue and entrenched homelessness presents particular difficulties; addictions and criminal and offending behaviour may be a symptom of homelessness as well as an underlying cause.

Nuisance activities can have a negative impact on local communities. The police and local authorities have a range of powers to tackle these activities. However, voluntary sector organisations have voiced concerns that an increase in the use of these powers is criminalising homelessness and leaving vulnerable people in an even more marginalised position. Begging is an offence under section three of the Vagrancy Act 1824, as amended. It is a recordable offence. The maximum sentence is a fine at level three on the standard scale, currently £1000.

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign Homelessness Leading to Severe Mental and Physical Problems: New University of Sheffield Study Shows

|| December 10: 2016: University of Sheffield News || ά. Research into the experiences of 64 people who are homeless or facing housing problems in Newham, London, found some living in slum-like temporary housing and others living in constant insecurity and flux while grappling with a housing system which they find complex and confusing. Of those interviewed, 22 per cent had a disability and 48 per cent had a health condition. When asked an open question about their health, nine per cent, more than double the national average, reported experiencing suicidal thoughts and nine per cent mentioned self-harming.

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Birkbeck, University of London, set out to understand the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people by working with Focus E15, a campaign group run by people who had themselves been threatened with homelessness and eviction in Newham. Between September 2015 and April 2016, Focus E15 identified and interviewed people facing homelessness who were not known to them and who had either approached Newham Council for support, or were living in hostels in the borough.

Other provisions also criminalise begging behaviour: wilfully blocking free passage along a highway is an offence contrary to section 137 of the Highways Act 1980, as amended, punishable by a level three fine. Using threatening or abusive words or behaviour is an offence under section five of the Public Order Act 1986, which also carries a level three fine.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Crown Prosecution Service in July 2016 released figures showing the number of prosecutions under the Vagrancy Act 1824 in each of the last 10 years. According to these figures, the number of prosecutions under section three of the Vagrancy Act 1824 increased from 1510 in 2006-07 to 2365 in 2015-16.

Following its introduction by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Anti-Social Behaviour Order:ASBO was used extensively by local authorities attempting to address problems associated with begging.

Jurisprudence Rights of Rough Sleepers, Protesters and Disabled Residents are at Risk: Liberty Urges Enfield Council to Abandon Discriminatory PSPO Plans

This PSPO Issue Must Be Challenged for Local Governments Do Not Have and Must Not Be Given the Power to Make Laws That Infringe and Violate National and International Laws Because Their Competence Only Relates to Local Issues  and Their Locality is Neither a Nation nor a State Only Which Has the Competence, Authority, Power, Expertise, Mechanism and System to Pass Laws That Apply Throughout the Land:  The Humanion

|| November 25: 2016 || ά. Liberty has written to Enfield Council urging it to abandon proposals that could penalise the vulnerable and chip away at residents’ civil liberties. The council is considering using a Public Space Protection Order:PSPO to introduce 18 separate criminal offences. PSPOs are disturbingly broad powers that let local authorities ban a huge range of activities. A public consultation into the plans, which closes on Monday, November 28, outlines the council’s intentions to ban 'sleeping or living in a public place without consent' and to criminalise 'annoying' public speakers, the latter of which would constitute a significant threat to protest rights.

Those citizens of a country, in this case, in England, within the UK, have no home, do not loose their citizenship because they have no homes. And if they do not loose their citizenship by losing their homes then they have every right, like any other citizen, to use the public spaces and facilities for which no local government nor even the national government can make them criminally liable! This simply beats even the 'Kafkaesque' unreality of the bureaucrats coming up with the most absurd, most ridiculous and absolutely callous and brutal of ideas! Why do we use words like callous and brutal? What else can be used? These are human beings, these homeless people and the council is proposing to criminalise their use of the public spaces? What time of human history, Enfield Council thinks, we are living in the UK that it thinks it can treat human beings, who are citizens of this country, with such contempt as if they are not humans? Can Enfield Council, tell the country, where, when they refuse to offer any help to house these very homeless people, these homeless people to 'stay alive' if they cannot use the public spaces? Where are they going to be forced to find 'shelter'? And if they cannot use these public spaces, where is the Council telling them to go?

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 replaced the ASBO, and other disparate powers developed to tackle a range of anti-social behaviour, with six new and much broader powers designed to be faster and more efficient to use. They include the following powers which may be used to deter anti-social behaviour:

Civil injunctions: Various agencies may apply for the Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance:IPNA to tackle people repetitively engaging in low level anti-social behaviour. Unlike an ASBO which was entirely prohibitive, an IPNA can both prohibit the individual from engaging in certain behaviour and:or impose requirements to engage in a particular activity in order to address the underlying causes of their anti-social behaviour. Breach of an injunction is not a criminal offence and is treated as civil contempt of court. The maximum penalty for breach of an injunction is two years in prison and:or an unlimited fine.

Dispersal powers: Section 35 of the Act allows a police officer to disperse individuals or groups causing or likely to cause anti-social behaviour in public places or common areas of private land, such as shopping centres or parks, directing them to leave a specified area and not return for up to 48 hours. It is an offence for someone to fail to comply with a direction made under section 35 for which the maximum penalty is a level four fine, currently £2,500, or three months imprisonment. An example of its use in response to begging is the February 2016 order to force beggars out of Middlesbrough city centre.

Public Spaces Protection Order: Local councils, following consultation with the police, may issue a Public Spaces Protection Order:PSPO to place restrictions or impose conditions on activities that people may carry out in a designated area. They are designed to deal with issues identified in problem areas which are having a detrimental impact on the quality of life in a community. It is an offence for a person to breach the terms of a PSPO for which an enforcement officer, police constable, police community support officer, council officer or other authorised person, may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Criminalising rough sleeping: In some cases the use of PSPOs by local authorities to prohibit begging and other street activities has caused controversy, forcing authorities to deny they have sought to target rough sleepers. Freedom of Information requests by Vice magazine in February 2016 revealed that more than one in 10 local authorities have introduced or are working on PSPOs which ban activities linked to homelessness.

Voluntary sector organisations have voiced concerns that the use of anti-social behaviour powers to tackle rough sleeping is criminalising homelessness and leaving vulnerable people in an even more marginalised position. According to Liberty, a Human Rights organisation, “PSPOs don’t alleviate hardship on any level. They are blunt instruments which fast-track so-called 'offenders' into the criminal justice system.” Liberty has urged the Government to rethink these powers: 'handing hefty fines to homeless people … is obviously absurd, counterproductive and downright cruel."

There is also a concern that enforcement activity in one area simply displaces rough sleepers to another area, and forces them away from vital support services. Furthermore, it does not address the underlying causes of rough sleeping.

Other deterrent measures: The use of physical deterrent measures by planners, businesses and security companies to stop people resting or sleeping outdoors is also controversial. The national homelessness charity Crisis has identified an increase in 'street cleansing' tactics intended to deter rough sleeping. Measures include: spikes; curved or segregated benches; gated doorways; wardens and night security guards in public spaces; noise pollution, such as loud music; and the use of sprinklers or hose pipes.

A Crisis survey in summer 2016 of more than 450 people in homelessness services across England and Wales found that: 60% of respondents reported an increase over the past year in 'defensive architecture'; over the same period 35% reported they were unable to find anywhere to sleep or rest as a result;
63% reported an increase in the number of wardens and security guards in public spaces; some said they were regularly moved on in the middle of the night;
20% said they were subjected to “deliberate noise pollution”, such as loud music or recorded bird song and traffic sounds, played over loudspeakers in tunnels and outside buildings; and
21% said their makeshift sleeping areas had been washed down while they were still in them.

According to Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, people who are forced to sleep rough should be supported not victimised.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7836: Authors: Hannah Cromarty; Terry McGuinness. Published Tuesday, December 13, 2016. 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 Reduces Lloyds Shareholding to Below 07% and Got Back £17.5 Billion of the £20.3 That the Taxpayers Injected Into the Bank During the Financial Crisis


|| December 13: 2016 || ά. The government has continued to make sales of its shares in Lloyds Banking Group, reducing its remaining shareholding to less than 07%. The latest share sales, conducted via the trading plan, mean that the government has now recovered over £17.5 billion of the £20.3 billion taxpayers injected into Lloyds during the financial crisis, once share sales and dividends received are accounted for.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby said, Selling our shares in Lloyds Banking Group and making sure that we get back all the cash taxpayers injected into it during the financial crisis is a key government priority. So I am pleased that we have continued to reduce our stake in Lloyds, and have now recovered over £17.5 billion for the taxpayer.

A trading plan involves gradually selling shares in the market over time, in an orderly and measured way. The Lloyds trading plan initially ran from December 17, 2014 to June 30, 2016. The government announced on October 07, 2016 that further sales of Lloyds shares would also be made through a trading plan.

As required by Financial Conduct Authority:FCA rules, Lloyds Banking Group announced today that the government’s shareholding in the bank has crossed through a one percentage point threshold. This announcement therefore notifies the market that the government has reduced its shareholding in Lloyds to below 07%. All proceeds from the sales are used to reduce the national debt. 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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What Does One Do After Beating Leukaemia: The Black Farmer Does It Big for the Small Hope

 

|| December 12: 2016 || ά. Almost £76 billion was spent in Britain during the festive season in 2015, and as one of the most important retail dates in the calendar edges closer, big businesses are already slipping into overdrive as they eagerly clamber to entice shoppers to cash in on their busiest time of the year. However, as the 25th approaches, there is a man who is asking companies to look beyond consumerism this Christmas to change how they embrace the ‘giving’ side of this much loved holiday. And this human being is Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, aka the wonderfully eccentric founder of ‘The Black Farmer’ food brand is doing just that. He is doing it big for the small Hope: the wonderful charity organisations that are not big but do absolutely astonishing array of great works that bring hopes to so many.

Having purchased a TV advert to run after The Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day, The Black Farmer is going against the season’s greed by donating this advert space to charity, a small, relatively unknown charity, in fact. Rather than extolling the virtues of the brand’s gluten free products such as sausages, eggs, bacon, chicken and meatballs, the ad space will seek to showcase ‘Hope for Tomorrow’, a charity that aims to alleviate some of the stresses and strains associated with receiving treatment for Cancer via the provision of Mobile Chemotherapy Units to NHS Trusts. So why would The Black Farmer do this? Well, the story has both history and a future ambition housed within; an ambition to change the way companies approach their charitable giving to give small charities a chance.

In 2014, Wilfred was diagnosed with life-threatening Leukaemia. Wilfred says, “I spent a lot of time in hospital having treatment which gave me time to think and work out what I really wanted to do with my life. In that position of contemplation you really have to ask yourself what’s important to you? For me, the key fell on what I was going to leave behind, and, in turn, how I could use my position as a successful business to enhance those of other people and the organisations that help them.”

However, when he left hospital, Wilfred found that doing something to help was harder than he thought. The bigger charities didn’t give him the time of day. He was too small for them, and they were too big to care. Dumbstruck, he quickly found that, by contrast, the smaller charities were crying out for help and welcomed those willing to deliver with open arms. They were struggling to gain awareness and financial support, whilst a core group of larger charities were so big they were turning away people and businesses.

“This huge gap within the charity sector truly shocked me and I felt compelled to do something.” adds Wilfred. “After doing some research, it became clear that the charity sector was hugely flawed in this sense, and much of the problem was coming from an unbalanced relationship with business. Large organisations were mainly working with the large charities that already had a global level of awareness. As such, it meant that this odd third sector:big business handshake deal was making the largest charities even bigger, whilst the rest were struggling to see the light of day. It’s almost as though businesses are glory hunting when it comes to these charity partnerships and this is to the detriment of smaller third sector offerings.”

An insight that is reflected in research. In the 2015:2016 The Guide to UK Company Giving, there was a clear correlation between the causes the top 25 most charitable companies, those giving the most cash donations, were donating to, and the charities topping the fundraising profits lists in the ‘Top 100 Fundraising Charities Spotlight’.

Within this report, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation have remained unchallenged at the top of the fundraising table for five years. It is therefore no surprise to see that companies who top the guide such as HSBC and Santander cite the BHF as a key partner, whilst HSBC and ScottishPower donate a wealth of funds to CRUK.

Outside of these leaders, you have the likes of Tesco donating more than £10 million to Diabetes UK, no. 43 in the fundraising ranks, Marks & Spencer partnering with everyone from Macmillan Cancer Support, no. 03, to Shelter, no. 29 and Oxfam, no.04, and this year Sainsbury’s is supporting Great Ormond Street,no. 22. Of course, whilst all donations are great, this penchant for big businesses to prioritise and promote these top charities means that the thousands of smaller charities get left in the dark, both financially and on an awareness level. It is this that has urged The Black Farmer to call for change!

“As we approach Christmas, I believe it is time for us to shine a light on these wonderful charity underdogs, the tireless heroes who find themselves overshadowed by large organisations, even though their work is simply as important, if not more. All giving is great, but what I am calling for businesses to do is to challenge conventions and break from the norm.

Rather than donating or working solely with the big charity names we all know, I am asking them to give some of their company’s CSR activity to a smaller charity. Donate your time and money to these smaller partners and you could honestly transform lives for the better. When you give your budget to a huge charity partner do you even see where it goes?

With a smaller charity you will see how you are enhancing their mission on a ground level and every penny matters. Not to mention, there are so many ways you can work together to benefit the charity beyond a basic donation! In the future, I would love to see big corporations donating 50% to the larger charities, and 50% to the small ones, an equal cut for the greater good.”

For those companies that are doing more with smaller charities, The Black Farmer wants them to shout about it and show them some awareness. “I know there are many companies doing wonderful things on ground level but they are often less visible than the work with bigger charities which instantly gain nationwide discussion” explains Wilfred. “In addition, we know that change doesn’t come solely from business, it also comes from employees and our campaign is calling for the great British public to put pressure on their employers and ask them to support a small charity.”

To spread the word, The Black Farmer is calling for employees, businesses and small charities alike to sign the Change.org pledge and show their support, something The Black Farmer will be using to campaign to businesses to help make a change this Christmas.  With a view to help, The Black Farmer has also created a dedicated page on their website that will host a small charity directory where said charities can come and upload a profile to make them more discoverable, and businesses can search to find a partner they care about.

Whatever the cause, whatever the chosen charity; The Black Farmer wants to make a change this Christmas, encouraging businesses to see that it is their responsibility to show that they care for bigger things than just the products they sell and make a change to those charities that are struggling for support this winter.

Sign the petition

Visit The Black Farmer’s Small Charity Directory: 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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Cultural Exchange of Youth Between Aarhus Denmark and Hull: December 14-16

George Foster, Stacey Windley, Zoe Walker, Sol Fisher, Lyon Cosmin, George Dragu


|| December 12: 2016 || ά. Five young people from Hull aged 18-24 will be travelling to Aarhus, Denmark during Dec 14-16. They will be meeting with young people from Aarhus also taking part in the project as well as important figures from the Cultural and Citizen Activism communities. The itinerary includes a visit to the community-led culture, business and education space Institute and one of Europe’s largest art museums, ARoS. The experience offers the young people the opportunity to think about how they want their cities to be in the future, as well as to gain inspiration from people and organisations in Aarhus working to shape their communities for the better.

This week, during December 14-16 five young people from Hull will travel to Aarhus in Denmark to take part in a cultural exchange as part of 2097: We Made Ourselves Over, an ambitious international collaboration with Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture. The group includes 18-year-old Hull College student Sol Fisher-Lyon, University of Hull students George Foster, 22 and Cosmin-George Dragu, 20, 19-year-old Gap Year student and Hull 2017 volunteer Zoe Walker and Stacey Windley, 19, a Creative Apprentice at Hull City Council’s Youth Service. All will have the opportunity to explore Aarhus’ cultural spaces, meet inspirational people making a difference in their communities and compare thoughts and share ideas with their Danish counterparts about their cities and how they’d like to shape them.

The Cultural Exchange forms part of 2097: We Made Ourselves Over, a science fiction project that sees award winning interactive art pioneers Blast Theory working with communities in Hull, UK and Aarhus, Denmark to re-imagine their futures 80 years from now. The project started in September 2016 when Blast Theory interviewed ‘future experts’, specialists in the study of climate change, technology, community and economics, to explore the possible opportunities and challenges the future might hold for each city.

In November, using these conversations as inspiration, Blast Theory held a series of free creative workshops at C4DI in Hull’s Fruit Market, during which schoolchildren, over 60s and young people aged 18-24 shared their ideas about how Hull might be transformed in the future, five of which will join Blast Theory in travelling to Aarhus.

Blast Theory artist Nick Tandavanitj says: “It’s been striking that the experts we talked to all stressed the importance of inclusion in making choices about the future. The challenges we face are actually choices for all of us. It’s our vision for 2097: We Made Ourselves Over to explore these with people in Hull and Aarhus - how can we use technology, our communities and our own imaginations to set a course for the future?

I can’t predict the ideas this trip will inspire among the young people. I’m excited to see what happens. Whatever they come up with will spur us on in the next stage of the project, creating a new science fiction vision of 2097.”

About Blast Theory: Blast Theory has been making interactive artworks that invite you to question your place in society for 25 years. Renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art, the group has created work for the Venice Biennale and Sundance Film Festival. Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group’s work explores the social and political aspects of technology. Drawing on popular culture and games, the work often blurs the boundaries between the real and the fictional.

About Hull UK City of Culture 2017: Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England. Divided into four seasons, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas.

The Culture Company was set up to deliver the Hull 2017 programme and is an independent organisation with charitable status. It has raised £32 million, with over 60 partners supporting the project, including public bodies, lottery distributors, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses. Key contributions are coming from: Host City – Hull City Council; Principal Partners - Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull; Major Partners –Associated British Ports, Arco, BP, the British Council, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group.

68 per cent of the funding is dedicated to public facing activities, including the widest range of cultural events in every corner of the city, with a further 11 per cent for legacy and contingency. More than £05 million is being invested in volunteering, learning and community engagement. £01.6 million is being invested to ensure a legacy after 2017. This includes capacity building, such as supporting existing events so they can grow, staging curtain-raiser events, developing future programming for after 2017 and building a new platform to support a unified ticketing system for the city. Hull 2017’s International Partners are: Aarhus, Denmark, which is European Capital of Culture 2017; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Freetown, Sierra Leone, twinned with Hull. These relationships are reflected in a number of events throughout the year.

About Aarhus European Capital of Culture: Aarhus and the 18 other municipalities in Central Denmark Region celebrate our year as European Capital of Culture in 2017. The title European Capital of Culture:ECoC represents one of the most prestigious and prominent cultural events in Europe. Every year, two EU countries are appointed as host countries for the European Capital of Culture. In 2017 Pafos in Cyprus has also been nominated as ECOC. Copenhagen was the first Danish city to host the European Capital of Culture in 1996, and it will be many years before a Danish city can boast the title again. European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 is deeply rooted in strong regional cooperation across the entire region. Royal patronage: HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Official opening: Aarhus, Denmark, Saturday 21st January 2017. 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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Now, That's The Brunel Vision: Build the Bridges That Must Be Built Between Today and Tomorrow and Between What is Real and What Else Must Be Brought to Reality for the Service of Human Advancement

|| December 11: 2016: Brunel University at 50 News || ά. Brunel 2030 Vision comes as Brunel spells out its multi-million pound modernising plans which include a new Teaching and Learning Centre, Design Engineering Centre and STEM centre, to advance science, technology engineering and maths on campus. These projects add to the recent expansion of the Brunel Metals Research Park, with the second Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification and National Structural Integrity Research Centre. There are also moves to develop a local academic centre for health sciences alongside partners the Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust. Now, That's The Brunel Vision: Build the Bridges That Must Be Built Between Today and Tomorrow and Between What is Real and What Else Must Be Brought to Reality for the Service of Human Advancement.

Brunel embarks on an exciting new future with the launch of its strategic vision, an ambitious roadmap to steer the institution into 2030. It opens a fresh chapter for the university, now in its 50th anniversary year and aims to crystalise Brunel’s position as a leader centre for research intensive technology. The ideas are laid out in Brunel 2030 A university for a changing world, which sets five new goals in research, community, campus and community and global impact. “Excellence, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, will be at the heart of everything we do.” said Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President.

Announcing aims driven by industry, government and charity, Professor Buckingham said the vision recaptures its namesake, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ingenuity. “The challenges have changed, but our aims are as innovative and ambitious as they always were.”

Unveiled alongside a brand new mission, ‘to bring benefit to society through excellence in education, research and knowledge transfer’, the vision pledges to: put society at the heart of academic activity; work with business, governments and the not-for-profit sector; support the university’s long-term sustainability; be a top UK and world-leading technology university and make student and staff teamwork its route to success. 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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Mother-Child HIV Transmission at All Time Low in UK and Ireland

HIV budding: Image: C. Goldsmith, source: Wikimedia

|| December 10: 2016: UCL News || ά. The number of mothers passing the HIV virus to their babies has fallen to a new record low in the UK and Ireland thanks to the very high take-up of antenatal HIV screening and treatment which reduces virus levels in the pregnant women, according to research led by UCL. The proportion of pregnant woman passing on the virus to their babies fell to a new low of 0.27% in 2012-2014, with only seven infected babies born in this period to women diagnosed with HIV.

This compares with 0.46% in 2010-2012 reported two years ago, and with 02.1% in 2000-2001. The data was compiled by the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood, a long-running national surveillance study, which is supported by Public Health England. The data was published in a research letter to Clinical Infectious Diseases. In the UK there is a very high uptake of antenatal HIV screening, estimated at 97%, which is recommended for all pregnant women, and there are clear standards and guidelines for the management of pregnant women with HIV.

The chance of a baby being infected depends mainly on the extent the virus is present in the pregnant woman. The reasons behind the continuing decline in vertical transmission are largely linked to treatment, which reduces virus levels. As a result of the treatment, around 90% of women now have 'undetectable' levels of virus in their blood by the time they deliver.

“It is uncertain whether the transmission rate will decline further. We are continuing to monitor this as well as the circumstances around the small number of new infant infections, which tend to be highly complex.” said Dr Claire Thorne, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. “To maintain, or possibly improve on the current rate requires continued early testing for HIV in pregnancy and appropriate support for all women living with HIV, before, during and after their pregnancy.”

There are around 35,000 women living with HIV in the UK. Every year around 1200 women living with HIV become pregnant in the UK. If a pregnant woman is unaware that she has HIV, her baby has approximately a one in four chance of becoming infected. Appropriate interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission include use of anti-HIV drugs, elective caesarean section in some cases and avoiding breastfeeding. 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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Bournemouth University to Host British Conference of Undergraduate Research 2017: April 25-26: Calls for Submissions of Abstracts

Image: Bournemouth University


|| December 10: 2016: Bournemouth University News || ά. The British Conference of Undergraduate Research:BCUR celebrates undergraduate research from across all disciplines. Each year a different British university plays host to the conference, welcoming undergraduates from all over the country as they present papers, posters, workshops and performances. In 2017, BCUR will be coming to Bournemouth University.

This prestigious annual conference will take place on April 25-26, 2017 and is a chance to celebrate the achievements of students as they take their first steps into the world of research. The University is looking forward to welcoming students from all disciplines as they share the insights and knowledge they’ve gained through carrying out research.

Calls for Submissions

Undergraduate students from all disciplines are invited to submit their abstracts to BCUR 17. All abstracts will be reviewed by the conference’s scientific committee. One abstract per person. If your abstract is accepted, you will hear from BCUR around mid-February 2017.

Abstracts will be assessed against the following criteria
It is written in clear English: There are no grammar or spelling errors and the language style allows non-specialists to understand the message; and
Quality of content: There is a clear indication of your research question or field of investigation; its relevance; the methods used; key findings and conclusions, even if preliminary.

The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to Sunday, January 15. You can submit your abstract via the online form. If you'd like advice on what to include in your abstract, read the guidance pages.

Bournemouth University proud of its unique fusion of research, professional practice and education, and the fact that it provides opportunities for its undergraduate students to get involved in research from the very beginning of their courses. You can read more about some of the exciting projects our students have taken part in on our Fusion page. 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 Last Screaming Remnants of Humanity, in the Shape of This Tiny Bear, Still Left of This Homeless Soul: Will You Try to Hear These Screams and Respond: This is Not How a Human Soul is Meant to Live: Please, Help Crisis Help the Homeless Souls This Christmas

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The Greener UK Coalition: UK Agrees to New EU Environmental Law That Has Just Been Passed But What Will Happen After the UK Departed from the EU

Aargau Switzerland: Image: Felix Muller:ESA


|| December 08: 2016 || ά. The UK today agreed to a new EU law which commits it to curbing emissions of harmful air pollutants. This crucial piece of EU legislation will lead to cleaner air in Britain and across Europe and save hundreds of thousands of lives, but raises some awkward questions for the government about how the law will be enforced after the UK departure from the EU. The move comes on the day that 13 environmental organisations, including ClientEarth, have united to form the Greener UK coalition to ensure that the UK uses the pivotal moment presented by the forthcoming EU-Exit negotiations to restore and enhance the UK’s environment.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said that the government’s poor record on sticking to pollution laws raised serious doubts about whether it would meet these new targets. He said, ''As this week’s smog episode has shown, air pollution does not stop at national borders, so tackling Britain’s air quality problems will require action both at home and by our neighbours in Europe. That’s why we need all countries to be subject to binding legal commitments to take action to reduce pollution.”

ClientEarth’s Director of Programmes, Karla Hill, who is a member of the Greener UK board, added, “The Government needs to commit to transposing this directive into UK legislation as soon as possible, and has to answer some awkward questions about who will hold it to account if it breaks these laws once we have left the EU.”

The new law sets targets for 2020 and 2030 for five harmful pollutants including oxides of nitrogen, NOx, fine particulate matter, PM2.5 and ammonia. The inclusion of ammonia targets is particularly important. Ammonia emissions come mostly from agriculture and are currently unregulated. They actually rose in the UK recently.

The new coalition has welcomed the government’s environmental ambitions but says that the UK’s natural environment is at risk, with over half of species declining, temperatures rising and poor air quality damaging people’s health. 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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Most UK Coastal Flooding Caused by Moderate and Not Extreme Storms

 

|| December 08: 2016: University of Southampton News || ά. Scientists at the University of Southampton have found that the majority of instances of coastal flooding around the United Kingdom in the last 100 years have been due to moderate storm events combined with high spring tides, rather than extreme storms. Researchers from the University and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton have undertaken one of the most detailed assessments of extreme sea level and coastal flooding ever carried out for the UK. Their findings are published in Nature Research journal Scientific Data.

The team examined exceptionally high sea levels using tide gauge records dating from 1915 to 2014. In particular, they set out to assess the footprint of flooding along the UK coast. This helped them to determine what types of storms led to simultaneous flooding along extended stretches of coastline during the same storm and to examine the temporal ‘clustering’ of the flooding events, i.e. events occurring one after another in close succession. Lead author, Associate Professor Ivan Haigh of Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton says: “We found that most of the extreme storms and storm surges have, by chance, not occurred on high spring tides and hence haven’t led to flooding.

The majority of instances of coastal flooding have been due to more moderate storm events. It is important that we improve our understanding and prediction of moderate storms, examine how these might change in the future with climate change, and not only focus our attention on extreme events.”

The researchers also identified four main storm track pathways approaching the UK, mainly from the westerly and northerly directions, and four broad corresponding footprints of extreme sea level events, four sections, which together, make up most of Britain’s mainland coastline. “The stretch of coast impacted is very much determined by the pathway the storm takes.” explains Dr Thomas Wahl, a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. “Importantly, we identified there have been occasional events, when extreme levels have occurred along large lengths of coast and even along two unconnected stretches of coastlines during the same event.”

In addition, the study considered how unusual the 2013-14 winter season was from a coastal flooding perspective, a period when the UK experienced a remarkable sequence of extreme storms and coastal floods. Dr Jenny Brown, from the National Oceanography Centre, concludes: “We found that storms during winter 2013 - 14 generated the maximum-recorded sea level at 20 of the 40 tide gauge sites around England, Wales and Scotland; and the largest number of extreme sea level events in any season in the last 100 years.”

Robert Nicholls, Professor of Coastal Engineering at the University of Southampton, added: “Clustering of storms, such as happened during the 2013-14, or even 2015-16 season, is an important issue. It can lead to large socioeconomic impacts and cumulative insurance losses. Before now, knowledge of this area has been limited, but our study will help better inform flood management, the insurance sector, and national emergency and infrastructure resilience planning to minimise the impact of successive storm events. For example, knowledge of typical lengths of time between storm events will help determine how much time emergency response teams have to repair a flood defence before the following storm arrives.”

The research was conducted in collaboration with the Flood Management Group at the independent civil engineering and environmental hydraulics organisation HR Wallingford in Oxfordshire, UK. The team has also developed a new database of coastal flooding for the UK called SurgeWatch which contains records, including photographs, of coastal flooding events over the last 100 years. 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 Humanion The Humanion Humanity of the Year 2016: Angela Merkel: Aung San Suu Kyi: Hillary Clinton: Jeremy Corbyn: Dr. Kanayo Nwanze: Dr Margaret Chan and Professor Peter Piot

|| December 08: 2016: London: England: United Kingdom || ά. From now on, The Humanion will declare The Humanity of the Year in every December, on the eight, every year. This is simply based on The Humanion's Editorial Judgment and Opinion after following the year. No one is consulted about this nor the person:s themselves informed of their becoming declared as such. They will know as The Humanion Readers that they have been declared as such. This is The Humanion's effort, initiative to make a Statement to say and show that power, market, money, wealth, manipulation and propaganda cannot dictate, define and impose what is to be celebrated or what is good.

Our Seven Joint Humanity of the Year 2016 are persons, human beings, remarkable for their services to humanity, in their relevant field and arena of work and who have shown courage, strength, determination, resolute conviction and faith in seeking to rise to the challenge without losing any ground in relation to their faith, belief and choice in goodness that is the essence of what humanity is about and in doing the good, in seeking to do good, they seek to do, despite and regardless of the adversity they face, the criticism, the attacks and vilifications, the sustained and continuous abuses thrown on their paths, to most of them, and the barriers and obstacles they needed to overcome, they have shown the undefeatable human spirit, essence, steel so that these all stand out as beacons to the world: to encourage, to inspire, to empower, to connect and to bring together that what humanity is; without goodness that does not exist and without it there is no humanity for than we are only physiology of nothing but biology.

In the Editorial Judgment and Opinion of The Humanion the following persons have done their absolute utmost to do the highest possible good to this world and to humanity including, of course, their own nations and in doing so they have defined what spirit, what element, what steel, what humanity has made, shaped and constructed them that make them what they are and they stand against all adversity and make a stand: committed, determined, resolute and absolutely focused in their faith in goodness and in their conviction that humanity's synonym is goodness. The Humanion celebrates that and invites everyone to celebrate that that are expressed in shining light... Angela Merkel: Aung San Suu Kyi: Hillary Clinton: Jeremy Corbyn: Dr. Kanayo Nwanze: Dr Margaret Chan and Professor Peter Piot. May they continue to serve their own countries, nations and humanity long many years and years to come....

 

Angela Merkel: Chancellor: Germany

Aung San Suu Kyi: The State Counsellor of Myanmar

Hillary Clinton: The Democratic Party Candidate at the Presidential Election 2016: United States of America

Jeremy Corbyn MP: Leader of the Labour Party: United Kingdom

Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze: President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development

Dr Margaret Chan: Director-General: World Health Organisation

Professor Peter Piot: The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Up

And what do the Seven of our Humanity of the Year 2016 Get: These Two Sonnets that they may read to themselves when they have a minute to themselves and keep going... for the road is long and hard for the walk and work is even harder....but the joy of seeking, doing and being good is the ultimate accolade of this human existence. And tell the world, tell everyone and say: Let there be light: The Humanion Team: ω.

Build a Bridge of Love's Eternal Songs

Between the sunrises and the sunsets
Between the origin and the shadow
Between the letters and the tears
Breathe earth's rotating unfurling songs

Between the light and the dark
Between the words and the sounds
Between the keys and their typesets
Build a bridge of love's eternal songs

Between the Moon and the Earth
Between the tears and their salts
Make a garden to raise all cut-roses

Forget not the wounds nor the falls
Nor the cuts nor the calls nor the hard
Yet build a bridge of love's eternal songs

The Same Kite

Despite the diverging shapes frames and their variations
In which we come as we are formed to make our prints
Despite the coats of all that colours their shades textures
That we wear on which the genome carries on working

Geophysics the sun heat light gravity and the weather all
Sign their marks so that we change adapt go and grow
Despite our multitudinous tongues we speak in and sing
The same songs of sorrows same sonatas of wonders or joys

Despite the divergent themes dreams drives and strivings
At the core we are one one we are at the very central core
The core that cuts us to be the same kite in the heavens of

Our mother earth who sails her round blue boat lit aglow
By the sun and moon she marks her tiny sand-grain magic
Against the endless expanse of heavens where wonders sing

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 Humanion Calls on Your Generosity: Please, Help UCLH Build UK's First Two National Proton Beam Therapy Centres

|| December 08: 2016 || ά. With the Government investment £250 million two NHS National Proton Beam Therapy or PBT Centres are being built in London and Manchester. To make the Centres the best they can be, an additional £20 millions needed to to be raised. The Christie Charity, registered charity number 1049751, based in Manchester is managing the fundraising campaign. If you would like to learn more, please, contact Paul Dryden or call on 07825 905849. If you wish to make a donation by cheque you can write to: The Christie Charity, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX.

Cheques should be made payable to The Christie and endorsed for 'The National Proton Beam Therapy Project'. Or donations can be made through either Direct Debits or Standing Orders. JustTextGiving by Vodafone: A quick, easy way to give through your mobile, with every penny going towards the Centres at UCLH. And here is the text that will break your soul, where and when, imagine, you were locked away in the darkest of place, in the darkest of room and there is even no hope for you ever to get to the light, because the cancer you have has no effective cure nor treatment. But, there, appears this 'proton text of hope'; it's essentially the life-sustaining-light of hope.  Because this PBT offers impossible hope to those who so desperately need it. Please, send the shortest of text you will ever send: Please, donate: Text UCLH19 to 70700 to give £5 or £10. Thank you. ω. The Humanion Team: December 08: 2016

Green MEPs Welcome the European Commission's Plans to Strengthen Enforcement of EU Nature Laws and Call on UK Ministers to Commit to the Same Vital Protections
 

 

|| December 07: 2016 || ά. Green MEPs are today calling on UK Ministers to commit to maintaining vital EU wildlife protections as the European Commission announces its plans to beef up the enforcement of key EU-wide nature laws following a policy 'fitness check'. Green MEPs had resisted attempts to water down the Birds and Habitats Directives and, throughout the so-called 'fitness check' process, had, instead, urged the Commission to address enforcement problems.

Green MEPs are welcoming the news that the Commission has done just that and are now urging UK Ministers to recognise the importance of the laws for protecting precious British wildlife. Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament's Environment committee, said, "These vital laws are driving positive conservation action in Britain. Protected wildlife sites were being lost at a rate of 15% a year before EU action; now that rate has fallen to just 01% a year.”

Wildlife and environmental issues were sidelined during the referendum campaign, but we cannot allow leaving the EU to be an excuse to erode the vital safeguards Leave campaigners maligned as ‘red tape’."

Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and a member of the European Parliament's Agriculture committee, said, "We welcome the Commission's commitment to strengthening the enforcement of the Nature Directives. This is something Greens have consistently called for. As the EU seeks to strengthen its nature laws we need UK Ministers to commit to maintaining these vital protections in a post-Brexit Britain."

These are worrying times for the environment in the UK. We already see hard-line Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg calling for environmental and safety regulations to be slashed once the UK leaves the EU."

Jean Lambert, MEP for London, said, "The UK stands at a crossroads. Will it follow Europe in pushing forwards with improving environmental legislation or embark on an environmentally destructive race to the bottom? As Greens, we are advocating for the former and calling on the Government to commit to maintaining and strengthening these vital EU environmental protections.”​
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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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VIDA Launches New Digital Home Care Service Platform for the Elderly and Chronically Ill

Tell Her, But It is Merry Christmas, Mary: Companionship at Christmas at Abbeyfield for Older People:
An Estimated 500,000 of Them Will Spend This Christmas Alone
 

|| December 07: 2016 || ά. A new in-home care service for the elderly and those with chronic illnesses has been launched and is the first of its kind to be registered by the Care Quality Commission. The mark of approval was granted on November 23 from England's independent regulator for health and social care. The move marks an important step towards the recognition that digital platforms will play a critical role in provisioning and improving the quality, safety and transparency of home care to the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.

The Vida home care service uses sophisticated technology to match carers with clients throughout the Greater London area. The matching process takes into account multiple factors when assigning carers to clients including level of need, care specialisation, location, culture, gender, interests and hobbies. Vida's platform goes far beyond matching clients to carers. Their sophisticated platform allows full transparency and insight into the entire care programme from the moment the carer is on their way to a client's home, to meal preparation and service to medication administration and ensuring important routines like exercise are carried out.

Vida's platform has been developed in response to the significant challenges faced within the NHS' broken £24 billion care sector. The current care system sees many elderly people either falling through the cracks, suffering from abuse or simply not receiving adequate levels of care. While the primary goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of their vulnerable clients, Vida's ultimate aim 'is to ensure the transformation of the care industry so that everyone within the care network wins' says Naushard Jabir, Founder and CEO of Vida. "We want our carers to feel valued and respected, the families of our clients to feel reassured that their loved ones are safe and looked after and most importantly for our clients to receive the best quality care with high levels of continuity."

By digitising the care programme, Vida is able to ensure the quality, safety and consistency of the care services it offers. Unlike the traditional approach to care management which is manual and paper based and has at times resulted in life threatening errors, Vida's digital care platform ensures no room for error or ambiguity when it comes to the treatment of their clients.

Vida's launch comes off the back of a glowing review from their current clients and their families as well as the carers themselves who are being trained rigorously, treated with respect and paid above average wages to ensure they see caring as a valuable vocation.

With plans to expand across the UK in 2017 and to further build their platform to include integration for connected medical devices, Vida is poised to make a major and lasting impact on the care system in the UK and improve the lives of thousands of people in the process.

About Vida: Vida is a fast growing digital platform for delivering high quality care services to the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. Vida was co-founded by Naushard Jabir and Devika Wood. Having both previously built several technology start-ups, Naushard and Devika witnessed first-hand the structural decline of the care industry and the poor quality of care being provided. With the care industry in dire straits, Vida was built by bringing together a young and energetic team to revolutionise the care industry in the UK.
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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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Christian Aid Christmas Appeal 2016: Please, Light the Way 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Aid Christmas Appeal 2016: Please, Light the Way

More than 65 million people are fleeing from conflict and crises. Forced out by the darkness of violence and fear, they're searching for refuge. This Christmas, another human being urgently needs shelter, clothes for winter and hope towards a brighter future.

You can be their beacon of hope. You can light the way. Please, donate today to our Christmas Appeal 2016. Christian Aid Christmas Appeal 2016: Please, Light the Way

 

Saudi Arabia: The House of Commons Update 2016



|| December 06: 2016 || ά.  The Middle East in turmoil and the Saudi ruling elite is in the process of generational change. The government's strategy of domestic economic transformation and foreign policy assertiveness while maintaining domestic restrictions is ambitious. In 2015 King Abdullah died and was succeeded by Salman, his half-brother. Salman is son of Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia and likely to be the last of the founder’s sons to sit on the Saudi throne.

Abdullah had made some modest political reforms, increasing consultation with the populace and improving tertiary education, for example. Salman’s policies so far have stressed a firm approach to internal security and if anything a tightening of the screws on dissent. Mohammed bin Nayef, son of the long-serving interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abd al-Aziz, was appointed interior minister, first deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince.

Salman’s son Mohammed bin Salman was appointed second deputy Prime Minister and defence minister. He is very young for a Saudi cabinet minister at 31, and is thought to be highly influential. Some see him as a breath of fresh air with a welcome enthusiasm for more dynamic policies and faster change. Others think he is impetuous and takes dangerous gambles. Many analysts see his influence behind the decision to take military action in Yemen, although moves towards a more independent and activist foreign policy were already underway under the previous King, conditioned by a cooling of the relationship with the United States, particularly since 9:11.

Mohammed bin Salman or MBS as he is often known, is also seen as the driving force behind Saudi Vision 2030, a comprehensive strategy document that foresees economic reform aiming at weaning the state and its citizens off oil revenues. The strategy foresees increasing the size of the private sector and charging for public services, for example. It also implies some social changes, making education more practically useful, increasing opportunities for cultural expression and encouraging healthy lifestyles. The strategy also sets out a target of increasing transparency and enhancing engagement with citizens.

Sceptics wonder whether the Saudi state is capable of delivering the changes at the speed envisaged, when many public servants are steeped in traditional ways of doing things. Saudi foreign policy is conditioned by a distancing from the United States, the surge in regional instability since 2011 and the struggle for regional dominance between Riyadh and Tehran.

The Saudi-led campaign against the Houthi:Saleh rebellion in Yemen, seen by the Saudis as an example of Iranian aggression, is the biggest test for the newly activist Saudi foreign policy; some observers think that it will damage the reputation of Salman’s defence minister MBS. The Yemen campaign has come in for increasing criticism, as it appears to be making little progress and is causing immense suffering to Yemenis. While Western governments, including the UK, have signalled their disapproval of events such as the attack on the funeral in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that killed some 140 people, they have also come in for criticism themselves for supporting the Saudi-led operation.

Human rights groups and others allege that UK-supplied weapons have been used in ways which violate international humanitarian law, and there have been questions about the role of UK military advisers in the conflict. In September 2016 the House of Commons Business and International Development Committees recommended a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia until a full international investigation had taken place.

The protection of human rights in Saudi Arabia remains weak. Freedom of expression has been further curtailed in recent years; new anti-terrorism laws introduced in 2014 were very widely drafted, giving the authorities wide scope to use them to repress dissident opinions. The right to assemble and to form associations is also severely restricted.

Women were included in the innovation of elections to municipal councils and have been appointed to the Consultative Assembly, under reforms brought in by King Abdullah. They are also increasingly entering the workforce and more than 50% of graduates are women, one of the aims of the Vision 2030 strategy is to increase their participation from 22% to 30% by 2030. There remain, however, significant obstacles to their full participation in society, they are still banned from driving for example and their freedom is hampered by the male guardian system.

Although Saudi society remains very conservative, faster change may be inevitable:
The Saudi population is young on average
the take-up of social media and other internet services is very high
Saudi Arabia’s economic model cannot last for ever
the government has policies in place to accelerate social and economic change
a generational change is taking place in the highest leadership
there are as many women as men in higher education
the whole region is in flux. ω.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7781: Authors: Ben Smith; Steven Ayres: Published: December 01, 2016

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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End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign This is Not How a Human Soul is Meant to Live: Please, Help Crisis Help the Homeless Souls This Christmas

 

British Medical Association Foundation Medical Research Fund Applications for 2017 Open: Deadline March 03

Image: University of Southampton

|| December 05: 2016 || ά. The BMA Foundation for Medical Research Fund will be awarding £575,000 worth of grants to support medical research across a range of areas. Applications for 2017 are now open. Applications to the 2017 BMA foundation for medical research grants will open between December 05 and close on March 03, 2017.

Who can apply: Some funding are open to research scientists, some are open to BMA non-members who are doctors registered with the GMC, and some are only open to BMA members. For more information, contact, Corporate development, British Medical Association, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP. Tel: 0207 383 6341. Email the team: researchgrants at bma.org.uk: 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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Think Tank Urges Action to Improve Uptake of Shingles Vaccine Among Older People

 

|| December 05: 2016 || ά. Responding to the news of falls in uptake of the shingles vaccination, the International Longevity Centre UK:ILC-UK has urged a change to its eligibility guidelines. Public Health England has reported a decline in the uptake of the Shingles vaccination in both the routine, 70 year old and catch up, 78 years old, cohorts, from 61.8% in 2013:14 to 54.9% in 2015:16 and from 57.8% in 2014:15 to 55.5% in 2015:16, respectively.

In 2013, ILC-UK published 'Immune Response', calling for a lifecourse approach to immunisation and making 30 plus recommendations for policy action. In 2015, ILC-UK launched a European Adult Immunisation Hub, which seeks to provide information and news about adult immunisation across Europe. David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK and Editor of the European Adult Immunisation Hub said, “Vaccination is not just for kids. In an ageing society we need a much greater focus on improving awareness and uptake of vaccination among adults.

Anything we can do to reduce likelihood of pain is of huge importance in old age, with 6 in 10 people in their mid-70s suffering from pain. Shingles can be a significant cause of pain in old age and vaccination is an effective way of reducing the likelihood that we will suffer from it. We must ensure that older people eligible for the Shingles vaccination take up their right to receive it.

Some parts of the country have very low coverage of the Shingles vaccine among eligible people. It is important that Public Health England and the Department of Health work to ensure that we don’t see emerging a postcode lottery in access to the vaccine.

The complexity of the age of eligibility guidelines for shingles will no doubt be hampering the ability to communicate uptake to relevant individuals. Perhaps now is the time to extend eligibility to everyone between 70 and 80, after all, all of these people are at risk and would benefit from vaccination.”

Details of who is eligible for a shingles vaccine are available here.

The International Longevity Centre UK:ILC-UK: ILC-UK is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.
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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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At the Supreme Court: Do They or Don't They Have the Power

The Only Power That Humanity Must Seek to See Established
and Respected is the Power of the Law Because It is Only This
Power That Resembles Natural Justice the Most
 

|| December 05: 2016 || ά. The Case R, on the application of Miller and Dos Santos v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and associated references, which is an appeal brought by the UK Government  against the Judgment made by the High Court that is before the United Kingdom Supreme Court and is being heard between December 05 and 08 in the Courtroom One. The Court's judgment will not be announced this week. It is expected that a decision would follow in the New Year. the Case Summary, taken from the Supreme Court website: Issue: Does the Government have power to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom's intention to withdraw from the European Union, without an Act of Parliament providing prior authorisation to do so?

Facts: On January 22, 1972, the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Accession pursuant to which it acceded to the European Communities Treaties on January 01, 1973. Following the signing of the Treaty, and in order to ensure compliance with it, Parliament passed the European Communities Act 1972. Section 2:1 provides that 'all such rights, powers, liabilities, obligations and restrictions from time to time created or arising by or under the Treaties, and all such remedies and procedures from time to time provided for by or under the Treaties, as in accordance with the Treaties are without further enactment to be given legal effect or used in the UK shall be recognised and available in law, and be enforced, allowed and followed accordingly..'

The European Union:Amendment: Act 2008 gave effect in UK domestic law to the Lisbon Treaty, which amended the Treaty on European Union, including the insertion of Article 50. Article 50:1 states that 'Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements'. Article 50:2 provides that 'A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention'.

The effect of Article 50:3 is that, once notification is given, the notifying Member State will cease to be a member of the European Union either on the date of entry into force of a withdrawal agreement, or two years after the notice is given unless that period is extended by agreement between the notifying Member State and the remaining members of the European Council. Pursuant to the European Union Referendum Act 2015, a referendum took place on June 23, 2016 in which a majority voted in favour of the UK leaving the European Union. The UK Government has announced its intention of notifying the European Council under Article 50:2.

R: on the application of Miller and Dos Santos: Respondents: v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union:Appellant
Reference by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland: In the matter of an application by Agnew and others for Judicial Review
Reference by the Court of Appeal:Northern Ireland: In the matter of an application by Raymond McCord for Judicial Review

The Supreme Court has, on November 18, confirmed that the following applications to intervene in the above case have been granted:
The Lord Advocate, Scottish Government
The Counsel General for Wales, Welsh Government
The 'Expat Interveners', George Birnie and Others
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

Additionally, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland has made a reference to the Court regarding devolution issues relating to that jurisdiction. Permission to intervene is therefore not necessary.

Counsel for the Scottish Government and for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain have been invited to address in their skeleton arguments the relevance of points of Scots Law, so far as they do not also form part of the law of England and Wales, to the determination of the present proceedings.

Parties
Appellant: Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Respondents: Gina Miller, Deir Tozetti Dos Santos

Interested Parties: Graham Pigney and others, AB, KK, PR and children

Interveners: George Birnie and others, The Lord Advocate, The Counsel General for Wales, The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, Lawyers for Britain Limited

Appeal Justices: Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes, Lord Hodge.
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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 Announces a £500 Billion National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline


|| December 05: 2016 || ά. The government has today published a new National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, setting out over £500 billion worth of planned private and public investment over this Parliament and beyond with more than 40% of the pipeline being delivered thanks to government investment. The pipeline which is being published by the government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority, follows the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement announcement of the new £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund. This new fund includes infrastructure investments of over £02.6 billion to improve transport networks; a multi-million pound package to accelerate the future of broadband, and £07.2 billion to support the construction of new homes. The NPIF will, government believes, boost productivity in the long-term, which is critical to help raise living standards and wages, while also improving living standards in the short-term by making passenger journeys quicker and more reliable, improving broadband connections, and building more homes.

If the UK raised its productivity by one percentage point every year, within a decade it would add £240 billion to the size of the economy; £9,000 for every household in Britain. And this is why, no one can argue with this as to why it is paramount that any government must make raising productivity its absolute and high-most urgent priority. If one makes a pen in eight hours in the UK and the German worker makes the same pen in two and half the UK pen is not only going to be costly for the UK economy and the worker for both perform at half their strengths while working their hardest, as well, but also useless in the market  because the UK pen would be doubly expensive against the German pen and cannot stand a chance in competing against it. The other way to look at it is this: if the UK worker produces two pens in the same time, as the German worker, she:he produces 100% more using the same time and resources. That is the difference productivity makes and means.

Investing in better infrastructure is at the heart of the government’s ambitious plans to close the UK’s productivity gap. Today’s pipeline is the largest and most comprehensive ever, with private finance making up more than half of the pipeline to 2020:21, and will help deliver important local projects across the country including transport, broadband, flood defence, and housing. The government has also today published a new funding and finance supplement to help attract further private sector investment into some of the UK’s most important infrastructure projects.

This record planned investment sends a clear signal that government is working successfully with private investors to unlock the vital infrastructure that modern Britain needs. It also provides a single source of data for both government and the private sector, giving greater certainty for investors and the supply chain and helping to better forecast future skills. The new National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline contains: over £500 billion of planned investment, with over £300 billion of this to be invested by 2020:21 over 720 projects and programmes across transport, housing and digital to fire up the nation’s infrastructure, around 20 new schemes have been added to the pipeline since March 2016, including the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said, This record infrastructure pipeline is set to make a real difference to people’s lives from quicker and easier journeys, to better broadband access, and building more homes for people who need them in high demand areas. It is clear proof that we are absolutely committed to ensure our infrastructure is fit for the future, which is at the heart of our ambitious plans to close the UK’s productivity gap and build a fair economy for everyone. It builds on our strong record of delivering the modern infrastructure this country needs for the twenty-first century.''

Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority:IPA, Tony Meggs, ''Creating the IPA has enabled us to produce a more comprehensive pipeline. Having the visibility and certainty of a pipeline of construction and infrastructure investment allows industry to invest strategically for the market, not just tactically for the project. We will continue this comprehensive approach, working with industry to deliver the pipeline. It is an important step in the IPA’s mission to deliver important infrastructure projects successfully, so we can raise people’s living standards, boost our productivity and grow our economy.

Alasdair Reisner, Chief Executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association:CECA, ''If the UK infrastructure sector is to plan for the investment in skills and innovation that will be required to deliver world-class infrastructure in the coming years, it is vital that companies are able to strategically allocate funding on a basis of projected need. The pipeline is a crucial tool that enables companies to plan ahead and deliver optimal outcomes for clients, taxpayers, and communities.

Nick Baveystock, Director General of the Institution of Civil Engineers:ICE, ''Infrastructure services enable balanced economic growth and thriving communities. This updated National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline sets out the value of infrastructure to the economy and provides long term visibility to industry. ICE welcomes the government’s commitment to infrastructure delivery and a more strategic approach to addressing the UK’s infrastructure needs.''

The merger of these two pipelines delivers on a pledge made in the IPA’s National Infrastructure Delivery Plan which set out the government’s plans to support the delivery of housing, and social and economic infrastructure. It will enable Britain to better plan for future skills and resource needs, increase market confidence, and support industry to invest and allocate resources effectively.
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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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University of Southampton Receives Recognition for Its Work with Citizens in Democratic Involvement

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society receives her Award from Carwyn Jones, the First Minister for Wales,

|| December 03: 2016: University of Southampton News || ά. Politics academics at the University of Southampton are part of a winning team to receive the Democratic Innovation Award at the Political Studies Association:PSA Annual Awards in Westminster. Together with researchers from four other universities and members of the Electoral Reform Society, Professor Will Jennings, Professor Gerry Stoker and Dr Paolo Spada were recognised for their Democracy Matters Citizens’ Assembly Project.

Democracy Matters aimed to address the gap that has emerged between the public and politicians, political processes and political institutions. It brought together politicians, regional leaders and the public to debate a range of options for Britain’s constitutional future. Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton, said, “Our project challenged the myth that people are disengaged from politics.

When citizens are given the chance to assess a range of positions and possibilities, they do it with gusto, people are more than capable of grappling with complex questions about the way we are governed. This marks an important contribution to the conversation about politics and democracy in this country. We have shown there is a real potential for a new way of doing things.”

Between October and November 2015, two pilot assemblies were run in Sheffield, Assembly North and Southampton, Assembly South to ask how new regional powers can be established in a form that is supported by the people who live locally. The pilot assemblies compared and contrasted different assembly design types and revealed how to ‘do’ politics differently and the long-term benefits of such an approach in an era that appears defined by anti-politics.

The PSA judging panel who selected the award praised, ''The innovative and deliberative ways in which the Democracy Matters project and their pilot Citizens’ Assemblies in Sheffield and Southampton engaged with citizens and their potential for shaping future democratic reforms and the devolution of power at local and regional levels.’

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said, “This prize means a great deal, especially to those who believe involving citizens in political processes is central to building a healthy democracy. At a time of growing disillusionment in mainstream politics, it's vital that politicians at all levels recognise the need to close the democratic gap and give voters a real say over their communities.”

Now in its 15th year, the PSA Awards pays tribute to those that have made outstanding contributions to the study and conduct of politics in the past year. The Citizens’ Assembly project achieved both, by bringing together an alliance of university researchers and civil society organisations to pilot new ways of promoting informed public engagement around the English devolution agenda.

The winning team consisted of Katie Ghose, Electoral Reform Society, Matt Flinders, University of Sheffield, Will Jennings, University of Southampton, Edward Molloy, Electoral Reform Society, Brenton Prosser, University of Sheffield, Alan Renwick, University College London, Graham Smith, University of Westminster, Paolo Spada, University of Southampton and Gerry Stoker, University of Southampton.

As an ESRC-funded ‘rapid response’ project, Democracy Matters demonstrates the capacity of the social sciences to undertake rigorous, risky and high-impact research in an agile and highly responsive manner.

The master of ceremonies on the evening was Jon Snow, Channel 4 News and the award was presented by the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones. Other winners include Grayson Perry, Contribution to the Arts and Culture, Michael Ignatieff, International Recognition Award, Gordon Brown, Lifetime Achievement in Politics and Ruth Davidson, Best Use of Social Media.
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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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Three Outstanding Women Celebrated as IET Young Woman Engineers of the Year: Far, Far, Far to Go From 09%... You Lead the Way

Gemma Dalziel, Jenni Sidey and Bethan Murray

|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Three young female engineers have been recognised at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s:IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for their innovative work in engineering. All three winners will play an ambassadorial role for the engineering and technology professions in the forthcoming months, promoting engineering careers to girls and young people. IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year: Jenni Sidey, 28), is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, currently working on the development of the latest low emission combustion devices for use in the transportation and energy sectors.

IET Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices: Gemma Dalziel, 23, is an Apprentice Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco, working on network technologies and network security. Women’s Engineering Society:WES Award: Bethan Murray, 23, is a Manufacturing Systems Lead at Rolls-Royce Plc, working on the systems that aid the manufacture of the latest aircraft components. On winning, Jenni said, “I am enormously proud to be recognised by such a progressive programme promoting women in engineering within the UK.

The IET has worked hard to raise awareness of the lack of diversity within the engineering profession and I hope that, through my receipt of this award and involvement in gender diversity initiatives, I can strengthen the IET’s sentiment: to reach our technological potential, the UK’s engineering workforce must be inclusive and diverse.” These prestigious engineering industry awards celebrate women working in modern engineering and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes.

As well as highlighting female engineering talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find female role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Women currently represent only 09 per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK, source: 2016 IET Skills Survey, the lowest percentage in Europe.

IET President Jeremy Watson CBE, said, “I’d like to congratulate the three winners and other finalists. These talented women are a real credit to the engineering profession and will help to encourage more girls to consider a career in engineering and technology. Engineering is an exciting and diverse career with the opportunity to change lives, and the world, so it is crucial that we get more young girls excited about the possibilities of engineering as a career.

Our failure to attract enough women into engineering is also contributing to the national skills shortage. We need to see women accounting for far more than only 09% of engineers of the UK.”

The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 167,000 members in 150 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.  The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers. We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
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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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Four Capitals Announce They're Ditching Diesel: London Should Follow Suit: Friends of the Earth


|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Four capital cities in the C40 group, Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens have announced that they will remove diesel vehicles from their cities by 2025. The cities have pledged to incentivise alternative vehicles and promote walking and cycling infrastructure.

Responding to the news, Jenny Bates Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said, “This bold move to get rid of diesels, which are the most polluting vehicles, is exactly what is needed in the UK to help clean up the illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution currently suffered by many of our cities, and which leads to 40,000 premature deaths a year.

Sadiq Khan should follow suit and commit to phase out diesel vehicles from London by 2025. And, the government must lead the way by funding strong Clean Air Zones in all our cities and major towns, as well as switching funding from roads to sustainable transport.

We need cleaner vehicles, and fewer of them. Getting rid of diesel is essential and we must also give people genuine alternatives to driving.” 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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Thousands of Heart Patients Missing Out on Cardiac Rehabilitation: Female Patients are Being Left Behind: British Heart Foundation

Image: BHF

|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Thousands of heart patients are missing out on cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack, increasing their risk of suffering a fatal event, according to new figures released by the British Heart Foundation:BHF. Around 66,000 heart patients missed out on cardiac rehabilitation in 2014:15, an effective service to help recovery following a heart attack or procedure. Despite this shortfall, participation in cardiac rehabilitation has improved in the last decade, with uptake in the UK reaching 50 per cent for the first time last year.

But this is still just half the number of eligible heart patients across the UK, meaning tens of thousands of people are missing out. The charity is warning that female patients in particular are being left behind and not accessing vital services to improve their chance of recovery and reduce the risk of suffering another heart attack. Statistics published today in the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation:NACR reveal: 66,000 people took part in cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack or procedure, but this is still just half the number of eligible patients; More than 20,000 female patients are missing out; Half of patients are left waiting too long to start rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack can help achieve better physical and psycho-social outcomes for patients. This year’s audit report found that patients with clinical depression almost halved from 07% to 04% following cardiac rehabilitation, while the number of patients meeting national exercise guidelines increased from 40% to 70% following their programme. In England, around 52% of eligible male patients take part in cardiac rehabilitation compared to 44% of female patients.

It’s recommended that heart attack and angioplasty patients start cardiac rehabilitation within 33 days, but just half of programmes are meeting this target. The BHF is calling for cardiac rehabilitation services to do more to meet waiting time targets and wants to encourage more female patients to take part. Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said, “It is hugely encouraging that more patients are accessing rehabilitation services, but there is still much more to be done.

Half of heart attack patients are still missing out on this effective service and are at greater risk of suffering a deadly heart attack. There are also delays in patients getting access to care, with half of services failing to meet targets. There is variation between services which needs to be ironed out to ensure that every patient has access to cardiac rehabilitation which can reduce their risk of suffering another heart attack.”

Professor Patrick Doherty, author of the report and Director of the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation, at University of York, said, “The good news is that the UK now leads the world in uptake to cardiac rehabilitation and prevention for patients following a cardiac event or procedure, with 50 per cent of patients accessing services.

The bad news is that half of patients are still not accessing these services and those that do attend may receive inadequate care with nearly half of programmes failing to meet the minimum standards.”

The National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation:NACR, which is funded by the BHF and hosted at the University of York, combines data from hundreds of rehabilitation centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Cardiac rehabilitation offers physical activity support and lifestyle advice, such as exercise classes and dietary guidance, to help people living with heart disease manage their condition and reduce their risk of associated heart events.

Rehabilitation can help reduce the number of deaths by 18 per cent over the first six to twelve months and can cut readmissions by nearly a third, 31%.
Earlier this year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group:APPG on Heart Disease launched an inquiry into heart failure care. Patients involved in the inquiry spoke of the many benefits of cardiac rehabilitation.

Evidence shows that cardiac rehabilitation can help to reduce mortality and hospital admissions. One of the key recommendations within the report published by the APPG highlights the need for all clinical commissioning groups to commission exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programmes suitable for heart failure patients and increase referrals to them. The report audit launched today echoes this by recommending that heart failure patients should be seen as a priority group for cardiac rehabilitation.

British Heart Foundation: Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. 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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Nice Guidance on Air Pollution: Tinkering Not Enough to Deal with Crisis: Friends of the Earth

If the Water is Poisoned It Does Not Matter How One Drinks It: It is Going to Cause Harm: Air Pollution is Not a Problem of Medicine, Although It Causes Myriad of Health Problems: It is a Political Problem That NICE Cannot Deal with. It's a Political Problem of Choosing the Priorities in That the Political Leadership and Parties Do Not See Why Dealing with This Slow-Death Problem Must Be the Highest Most Priority for Any Nation and That This Should Be at the High Point of Any Political Agenda: The Humanion


|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Responding to new draft guidance on air pollution from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence:NICE, Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner said: “While NICE is rightly saying schools and nurseries must be built away from busy roads, we must deal with the real crux of the issue and reduce air pollution levels, not just learn to avoid the worst of it.

Action is needed both to ensure vehicles on the road are clean and that there are fewer of them, diesel vehicles, which are the most polluting, must be phased out and our transport and planning policy needs a radical overhaul.

This is no time for tinkering around the edges - to deal with this public health crisis we must plan our towns and cities in ways which actually reduces traffic and gives people real alternatives to driving.”

The Humanion would like to add this that if the water is poisoned it does mot matter how one drinks it: It is going to cause harm: Air Pollution is not a problem of Medicine, although it causes myriad of health problems; it is a political problem that NICE simply does not have the means to deal with, as much sincerely it seeks to try. The NHS or the Doctors cannot give the children or elderly, anything at all, those who are suffering from many illnesses that are exasperated and made worse by polluted air; because there is no medicine that can purify that polluted outdoor air. Therefore, It's a political problem, as the funding issues of the NHS, for example, of choosing the priorities in that the political leadership and parties do not see why dealing with this slow-death air pollution problem must be the highest most priority for any nation and that this should be at the high point of any political agenda: 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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Tell Her, But It is Merry Christmas, Mary: Companionship at Christmas at Abbeyfield for Older People: An Estimated 500,000 of Them Will Spend This Christmas Alone


|| November 30: 2016 || ά. As the first Advent calendar doors open this Thursday, December 01, older people’s charity Abbeyfield will be throwing open its own, as its houses and homes across the country welcome in isolated older people during December and beyond. Abbeyfield, which was founded 60 years ago to counter social isolation and loneliness in the elderly, has launched Companionship at Christmas, offering vulnerable older people blighted by seasonal loneliness free, festive events across its 500 plus houses nationwide.

Companionship at Christmas events, including Christmas baking clubs, pub lunches, mince pies and carols through to Christmas Day lunches and even overnight stays for those who would otherwise be waking up to an empty house on December 25, all in the company of others, are all being offered by Abbeyfield. An estimated 500,000 older people will spend this Christmas alone. A recent survey conducted by Abbeyfield found that nine out of ten older people said that company was crucial to a good Christmas. Of those surveyed, 73 per cent felt that sharing food in the company of others was an essential ingredient of a good Christmas.

The findings bring home the reality of loneliness and isolation that so many older people face during what should be one of the happiest times of the year. Living on her own for almost a quarter of a century since she lost her husband, 78-year-old Mary enjoys a full and active life, she fully admits to enjoying her own company and has a passion for ballroom dancing.

But on Christmas Day itself, she finds herself feeling isolated and alone with her usual clubs closed down for the holidays. Her way of coping was to shut out the fact it was Christmas, pretending it was just another day. “I’d get up and try not to think about it being Christmas. I’d have a sandwich or something and at tea time, an ordinary cup of tea and go to bed and try to forget it was Christmas Day.” said Mary.

“You find yourself thinking even more about the people you’ve loved who aren’t around you any more and it makes you feel so sad and even more alone. I have a lovely daughter who works so hard. Because of her work, she can’t take time off at Christmas so we don’t get to see each other. I know that’s just how it is these days. It is a very lonely time, but you find ways to get through it.”


But this year, Marie will be spending Christmas Day in the company of others at her local Abbeyfield House in Nottingham where she is a regular visitor. “I’m looking forward to Christmas, the food, having people around you, even helping with the washing up, it’s all part of the fun and is something I haven’t had for such a long time.”

Abbeyfield Chief Executive Natasha Singarayer said: “Abbeyfield’s founding ethos was of alleviating loneliness and isolation. Now, 60 years later, we are still doing all we can to counter the growing epidemic of loneliness felt by older people with our Companionship at Christmas campaign.

Enjoying a fun-filled Christmas surrounded by family and friends is something we often take for granted. It’s heart-breaking to think that for an estimated 500,000 older people across the UK, Christmas is a time of crushing loneliness and isolation, intensifying painful memories of lost loved ones, bereavement and the fear and stigma of being alone and a burden to others.

Companionship at Christmas will be providing just that, warmth, friendship, and of course great food, during the festive period and beyond. We hope as many people as possible will find Companionship at Christmas with us in 2016, enjoying friendship, laughter and festive food in the company of others.”

Companionship at Christmas will offer company, free events, entertainment, overnight stays and a feast of festive food to over-55s living alone across the UK throughout the festive period and beyond. If you are living alone and want to find out more about Companionship at Christmas or are concerned about a neighbour, friend or family member who is isolated, contact Abbeyfield on 01727 734 167.

About the Abbeyfield Society: Established in 1956 by Richard Carr Gomm, an Army officer who abandoned his career to devote his life to helping lonely older people. Today Abbeyfield is a charity that has over 500 houses in the UK in which more than 8000 older people live in a supported family-like atmosphere. Nine out of ten older people surveyed by older people’s housing and care charity Abbeyfield said that company was a vital part of enjoying the festive season with a further 73 per cent saying that sharing food with others was another essential ingredient.
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Images: Abbeyfield

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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British Heart Foundation Welcomes New Nice Guidance on Reducing the Harmful Effects of Air Pollution

Image: World Bank:Curt Carnemark

|| December 01: 2016 || ά. The British Heart Foundation:BHF welcomes new draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence:Nice on reducing the harmful effects that air pollution is having on the nation's health. Nice has today issued new draft guidelines on reducing the harmful effects that air pollution is having on the health of people living in the UK.  The guidance, which has been developed for local authority staff and is currently out for consultation, includes a series of initiatives to help improve health outcomes caused by air pollution across the country.

Road traffic, which is responsible for around a third of air pollution in urban areas, has been highlighted as one of the priority areas to be addressed in order to tackle the issue in the UK. Nice has stated that local planners should 'consider using variable speed limits and average speed technology on the roadside to promote a smoother driving style'. The guidelines also promotes smoother driving, encourages living rooms to be placed at the back of houses away from roads, and the creation of hedgerows to protect cyclists using cycle paths.

According to Nice, 25,000 deaths a year in England can cite air pollution as a contributory factor, almost 05% of all deaths. Breathing in high amounts of polluted air is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

John Maingay, Head of Policy at the BHF, said: “This guidance is a step in the right direction in tackling the UK’s dangerous levels of air pollution, which our research shows is increasing people’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. It’s now important the consultation results in feasible guidance that allows local authorities to cut air pollution right across the country.

We’re committed to working with local and national Government to identify the measures that will put a stop to the UK’s dirty air, needlessly putting lives at risk.”

Last year BHF funded researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that recent exposure to air pollution increases the risk of hospitalisation or death from a stroke. Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide and causes more than 40,000 deaths in the UK each year.
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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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Corporate Governance and Workers on Boards: The Options on the Table are a Missed Opportunity to Introduce More Co-operation Into Britain’s Businesses: Co-operatives UK Secretary General


|| November 29: 2016 || ά. Commenting on the proposals on corporate governance announced today, Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said, "We were among the first to welcome the proposal to put workers and consumers on the boards of companies, because co-operatives have done this for over a hundred years and we see the benefits of an inclusive approach.

Today’s green paper seems to confirm we will see a more indirect process to representing the interests of workers and consumers at board level, rather than an obligation for direct representation. Any step in this direction for corporate Britain is one that we continue welcome, but we caution that the options now on the table are far more limited than the original ambition of the government’s corporate governance reforms and may prove significantly harder to make work in law than the cleaner and simpler model of having employee directors in the boardroom.

Research shows that the public feel big businesses are out of control and would like to see workers on boards as a way to rein them in. The options on the table are a missed opportunity to introduce more co-operation into Britain’s businesses.”

Co-operatives UK is the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives. Together we work to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses across the economy. From high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, co-operatives are everywhere and together they are worth £34 billion to the British economy.
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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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Will You Light the Way, This Christmas: Christian Aid Calls for Your Response

Image: Christian Aid

|| November 29: 2016 || ά. The figures show that there are currently 65 million across the globe displaced from their homes due to unprecedented levels of conflict. It is not just Syrians and Iraqis who have been forced to flee; ongoing violence and instability in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Nigeria, among others, have resulted in the huge scale movement of desperate people. Most stay within their own country or are hosted in neighbouring countries and a small percentage are seeking safety in Europe.

“Everyone is affected, but the poor are the most vulnerable.” said Madara Hettiarachchi, Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes Asia Middle East. “They are often the last to leave unstable places and will take the longest to recover. The families we met have lost everything, homes and livelihoods, some left family members behind and many have lost loved ones.” Christian Aid is launching its annual Christmas appeal Light the Way. The charity is urging people to support its appeal this festive season, so that it can continue to provide critical support to some of the millions of people worldwide who have been forced to leave their homes through fear and uncertainty in the worst global displacement crisis of our time.

Loretta Minghella, Chief Executive of Christian Aid, said: “As we celebrate Christmas, we’re calling out to people across the UK to remember the millions of children, mothers and fathers currently fleeing from conflict, who are less fortunate than ourselves, those who are lonely, desperate and without their family by their side.

“We may never be touched by the same desperation or fear of violence. But the same sun warms us, the same stars guide us, and the same light can bring us each out of darkness. Through our local partner organisations, Christian Aid is working in war-torn countries, as well as in Europe, to provide vital support to those forced out of their homes. This Christmas, another human being needs a beacon of hope. You can be the one to light the way towards a brighter future.”

Working with refugees and displaced people is nothing new for the international aid agency, which was founded 70 years ago to support refugees in the wake of the Second World War and continues to support those searching for safety today, including people from war-torn nations.

For information, or to donate to the Christmas Appeal, visit.


Displacement Figures: From the United Nations’ Global Trends Report, June 2016

Democratic Republic of the Congo:DRC: There’s 01.6 million Internally Displaced People. In Eastern DRC 90% are displaced due to armed attacks and violence. In the last 18 months, the number of people who have returned home has significantly decreased, an indication of the persistent insecurity that is haunting thousands of families. Over three quarters of Internally Displaced People live in host families. 260,000 people fled their villages during the third trimester of 2015. The chronic and complex humanitarian crisis in the DRC persists. At least 40 armed groups continue to commit human rights abuses in the eastern provinces of the country.  Almost three million people have been displaced within the DRC since 2009. Armed groups continue to cause displacements in the Eastern DRC. More than half a million Congolese have sought refuge outside of their country. Abuses of power and violence, including looting, rape, abductions, and forced recruitment of children by armed groups and the Congolese army continue to be a major concern. Lack of basic services and infrastructure in Eastern DRC is exacerbated by the conflicts causing enormous humanitarian needs. An estimated 6.5 million people are at crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and according to Unicef, around two million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. Cholera and measles outbreaks are repeatedly reported and malaria is endemic. The European Commission's aid efforts are focused on the consequences of population displacements, on providing protection and assistance in conflict affected areas and on addressing acute needs related to epidemics, malnutrition beyond emergency levels and natural disasters

South Sudan: As of August 2016, nearly 02.5 million people had fled their homes in South Sudan since fighting broke out in December 2013. Over 01.6 million displaced people inside the country and 882,200 who have fled as refugees into neighbouring countries.

Syria: Please note that the situation is ever changing in Syria. There are 06.1 million internally displaced people in Syria. 04.8million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries.

Iraq: Please note, situation is changing daily around Mosul. There are 10 million people in need. 03.1million internally displaced people in Iraq. In Mosul city, over a month into the military operation to retake the city from Daesh, 69,000 people have been displaced. 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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Think of Sarcoma UK This Christmas: The Only Cancer Charity in the UK Focusing on All Types of Sarcoma

|| November 29: 2016 || ά. Last night Prime Minister Theresa May held a reception at 10 Downing Street for Sarcoma UK, the bone and soft tissue cancer charity. The special event was to bring people together who can help to transform the landscape for sarcoma. Sarcoma UK was announced as the official charity for 10 Downing Street earlier this year, in memory of Chris Martin, Principal Private Secretary to former Prime Minister David Cameron, who passed away from sarcoma a year ago. Sarcoma UK is the only cancer charity in the UK focusing on all types of sarcoma.

The reception was attended by patients, carers, health professionals, scientists, researchers, MPs, and supporters of Sarcoma UK, including Richard Whitehead MBE. Richard Whitehead, Paralympic Gold Medallist, has been patron of Sarcoma UK for the past three and half years. He has a close personal affiliation with the work of Sarcoma UK having lost his close friend, Simon Mellows to sarcoma in 2005. Richard’s work in promoting the charity was duly recognised as part of the evening, with the Prime Minister presenting Richard with a Point of Light volunteering award for his services to Sarcoma UK. The Points of Light  programme recognises exceptional volunteers who are making a difference and changing lives.

Theresa May gave a speech championing Sarcoma UK’s work in bringing together a strong sarcoma community, and stated how proud 10 Downing Street was to be associated with the credible charity that is very close to their hearts. The event was an opportunity to look to the future for Sarcoma UK, and support their mission to find effective treatment for the disease.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We’ve been honoured to support Sarcoma UK as the Downing Street charity of the year. Chris is a much missed figure who was hugely popular amongst his colleagues here and the whole team has been very proud to continue his legacy, helping raise funds and awareness for Sarcoma UK, the only charity of its kind in the UK.’

Chief Executive Lindsey Bennister said, “Chris was a close friend of Sarcoma UK and everybody who met him was touched by his strength and how much he built up relationships with those involved in the sarcoma community. We’ve been delighted with the support we’ve received from 10 Downing Street, illustrated by the team taking part in various challenges such as Tough Mudder and smashing their £25,000 target. We hugely appreciate the support of Number 10 as we look to take Sarcoma UK to the next level”.

As well as addressing guests, the Prime Minister spent time with patients hearing about their sarcoma stories. Ten people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK, and half of those who are diagnosed will not survive. Sarcoma UK has pledged to inject £01 million into top quality sarcoma research every year, for the next 10 years; the charity currently donates £500,000 a year into this research.

About Sarcoma: Sarcoma is cancer. It can develop anywhere in the body. A key symptom of sarcoma is a lump that is increasing in size, often quickly.

About Sarcoma UK: Sarcoma UK works with patients, carers, supporters, health professionals and researchers to drive awareness of sarcoma, promote early diagnosis and improve patient experience. Sarcoma UK has pledged to invest over £03 million into sarcoma research by 2020 with the aim of finding effective treatment for the disease within the next 10 years. Sarcoma UK is the only UK charity providing personal support and expert information on sarcoma. In February 2016, the charity launched its national Support Line. Due to high demand it plans to double the number of specialist nurses who answer the line by July 2016. Sarcoma UK aims to increase survival rates by at least 10% by 2020. Early diagnosis saves lives. Sarcoma UK provides education and training for GPs to help them recognise the symptoms of sarcoma. Sarcoma UK was chosen as 10 Downing Street’s Charity of the Year for 2016 in memory of Chris Martin, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, who died of sarcoma in November 2015
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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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Shortage of Skilled Staff Ranks as the Biggest Growth Obstacle for SMEs in the UK


|| November 28: 2016 || ά. With 50% of small businesses with over five employees planning to grow their headcount over the next two years, finding skilled staff tops the list of challenges business owners face, up from third place in 20151 according to a new report2 by Albion Ventures, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK. The skills shortage is most acute among London-based small firms followed by those in the South East and the North West.

On a sector basis SMEs in the manufacturing industry reported the highest level of concern about finding skilled staff, followed by those in the technology & telecoms sector and construction businesses in third place. Conversely, finding unskilled staff has fallen to 15th place in the list of SME challenges. This is the first time that SMEs have identified a shortage of skilled staff as the biggest obstacle to growth, ahead of red tape and regulation ranked in second and third places in 2016.

Political uncertainty and leaving the EU were ranked in fourth and sixth place respectively suggesting that small business owners are most concerned with tangible obstacles to growth rather than those over which they have less control.

According to the fourth Albion Growth Report, which is based on interviews with 1,000 SMEs and sheds light on the factors that create and impede growth in post-Brexit Britain, the biggest skills gap reported by over a quarter, 26%, of SMEs is marketing, followed by new technology, 21%, and business planning, 17%. The smallest skills gap is in Financial Management with only 09% of small business owners reporting problems.

On a regional basis, entrepreneurs in the East Midlands are the most underpowered in marketing with a third, 32% lacking expertise in this area, followed by those in the West Midlands and the South West with 30%. The technology skills gap is the widest in Scotland, 34%, and London, 25%. A quarter, 26%, of businesses in the North East felt they lacked expertise in HR, the highest in the UK.

Patrick Reeve, Managing Partner at Albion Ventures: “A shortage of skilled staff shows that the growth pressures on the economy are at the most sophisticated end of the scale, which is precisely where we can expect to generate the biggest returns. The economy is coming under capacity constraints at a time of considerable political uncertainty.

Policymakers charged with deciding our post-Brexit future must recognise that many of the skills that enable us to compete in a fast-changing and increasingly competitive world are in short supply and our best chance of overcoming this challenge is by building on the UK’s first class reputation as a home for global talent.”

About Albion Ventures: Albion Ventures is a broadly based venture capital fund manager, with over £455 million of funds under management or administration, including six venture capital trusts, Albion Community Power PLC, a renewable energy generator, Albion Care Communities and the UCL Technology Fund. Albion was founded in 1996 and became independent of Close Brothers Group in 2009. Albion Ventures is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 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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Women and Equalities Committee Launches New Inquiry: Tackling Inequalities Faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities: Calls for Written Submissions by January 27, 2017

Image: Amnesty International

|| November 27: 2016 || ά. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller:GRT have poorer health, worse educational outcomes and a high level of infant mortality compared with many other groups. They also face high levels of hostility and discrimination, with GRT children particularly vulnerable to bullying in school. In 2012 a ministerial working group published 28 commitments to tackle inequalities faced by Gypsies and Travellers. This inquiry will look at these commitments and the progress made by the Government in achieving them.

Committee Chair Maria Miller said: "Gypsies, Roma and Travellers experience poorer health, under achieve at school and can find it difficult to access public services. We have launched this inquiry to look at the effectiveness of policymaking and what action the Government can take to tackle these and other inequalities. The committee is particularly keen to hear directly from Gypsies, Roma and Travellers about their own experiences." Education: According to research by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission: Although the educational attainment of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in England has improved in recent years, the attainment gap for Gypsy and Roma children has widened, while the gap between Travellers of Irish heritage and white pupils has remained unchanged.

Only one in five Gypsy and Roma children and fewer than one in three Traveller children achieve ‘a good level of development’ in their early years, compared to six out of ten other white children. A lower proportion of Gypsy and Roma children, 13.8% and Traveller children, 17.5%, achieved the GCSE threshold in 2012-13, compared to 60% of other white children.

Health

Compared with the general population, Gypsies and Travellers are more likely to suffer bad health. This includes higher infant and maternal mortality rates, low child immunisation levels, higher prevalence of anxiety and depression, chronic cough or bronchitis, even after smoking is taken into account, asthma, chest pain and diabetes in comparison to the general population. Many Gypsies and Travellers remain unregistered with GPs. There is emerging evidence that health inequalities of Roma people are similar to those identified among Gypsies and Travellers. Poor familiarity with healthcare provisions and language barriers may make it difficult to access health services.

Hostility and Harassment

According to the Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, 50% of people in Britain reported having an unfavourable view of Roma; Discrimination and harassment of Gypsies Roma and Travellers is common across Britain, including by police and other authorities; A survey of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers undertaken by the Traveller Movement earlier this year found that 98% of respondents had experienced discrimination and 81% hate crime or hate speech. The survey also reported that 77% hide their ethnicity as a defence mechanism against discrimination and persecution and as a means of securing employment.

Call for Written Submissions

The Committee is now seeking written evidence on the following issues: What progress has been made in achieving the commitments of the Ministerial Working Group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers? Have these commitments delivered a tangible improvement in the position of Gypsy and Traveller communities?

How well has this work been led, managed and monitored across Government? Has sufficient funding been provided, and has adequate funding been identified for the future? What mechanisms have been put in place to achieve the Ministerial Working Group’s commitments and other policy aims for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities?

Is adequate data available to underpin policy-making? Where are the most significant gaps in the evidence base, and what are the reasons for those gaps? How effectively has policy taken into account the diverse needs of different Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and a developing context including greater use of social media?

How effective are mechanisms for engagement and dialogue between national and local policy-makers and members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities? In what areas of public life are inequalities against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities evident? How do these affect access to services, outcomes and life chances for people in those communities? How well are these reflected in policy priorities? Are there particular challenges faced by groups within GRT communities, for example women and LGB&T people?

Send a written submission to the tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities inquiry. The deadline for written submissions is Friday, January 27, 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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Dear Leaders in Westminster: Yours Sincerely: The Equality and Human Rights Commission


|| November 27: 2016 || ά. 
A letter to all political parties in Westminster has been written by David Isaac and Rebecca Hilsenrath from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and and sent out on November 25. Here's the Letter: ''We are writing to you at what we believe is a unique point in British history and culture.

The decision by the British people to leave the European Union and the negotiations that follow will be a defining moment for the nations of the UK. While the focus has been on our place as a global economic leader and trading partner to European nations and major world economies, we also believe there is a need for a discussion on what values we hold as a country. As Britain’s national equality body and national human rights institution, we believe it is our place to help facilitate this discussion. This letter goes to all political parties and we would welcome the opportunity to meet you in person, individually or collectively, to discuss how we can work closely with you in the months ahead and help to shape your agenda and policies to make Britain the vibrant and inclusive country we believe it should be.

After the referendum, politicians of all parties spoke about the need to heal the country and bring people together. However, since those early weeks there is growing concern that the divisions on a range of big questions are widening and exacerbating tensions in our society. The murder of Arkadiusz Jozwick, racist, anti-semitic and homophobic attacks on the streets, and reports of hijabs being pulled off are all stains on our society. We at the Commission have met community groups, representatives and diplomats who have expressed their sadness and disappointment at these events and their wish to work with us to heal the divide.

We are concerned that attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate have polarised many parts of the country. There are those who used, and continue to use, public concern about immigration policy and the economy to legitimise hate. The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believe it is best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others.

We welcome the UK government’s hate crime action plan, but believe more concerted action is needed to counter the narrative from a small minority. We therefore suggest the UK government should carry out a full-scale review of the operation and effectiveness of the sentencing for hate crimes in England and Wales, including the ability to increase sentencing for crimes motivated by hate, and provide stronger evidence to prove their hate crime strategies are working.

We were also concerned by the ambivalent reception given to findings of anti-semitism in mainstream political parties. A clear affirmation that such behaviour is unacceptable is necessary to confirm that standards will improve.

Politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies, even when they are not enacted. Examples include the recent suggestion, later rejected, that companies would be ‘named and shamed’ for employing foreign workers and also the discussion on child migrants, a crisis where our record on human rights will be judged and where dialogue escalated to irrational levels. We have proposed that in the case of uncertainty, a young asylum seeker must simply be treated as such until their age has been assessed by an independent expert.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a statutory power to advise government. Where important new protections are advanced in Europe, whether they relate to data protection, children’s rights or the rights of disabled people to travel independently, we will argue strongly that these rights should also be introduced into British law. Once we are outside the European Union, we will be in a position to identify good practice and follow it with strength and conviction. We have a strong human rights and equality framework in UK law but must remain open to initiatives from abroad that further strengthen this.

Your offices bring with them a responsibility to ensure that policy debate is conducted in a way that brings the country together and moves it forward. Robust discussion is a central pillar of our democracy and nothing should be done to undermine freedom of expression. The right to free and fair elections supported by accurate information and respectful debate is also essential to our democratic process. Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way. Working with you we stand ready to play a full part in identifying the right policy solutions for Britain.

We look forward to hearing from you.
David Isaac and Rebecca Hilsenrath:
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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 Must Produce a Strategy on How They Plan to Curb the Disturbing Increase in Racist and Homophobic Attacks Since the Referendum: Sarah Champion MP


|| November 27: 2016 || ά. Sarah Champion MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, responding to an open letter from the Equality and Human Rights Commission:EHRC to political parties in the light of the rise in hate crime since the EU referendum, said: “The rise in hate crime since the EU referendum is a wakeup call for all of us, politicians and media included.

Politicians and the media have particular responsibility for the words and phrases we choose to use and recognise how this can contribute to creating a climate of fear, hatred and intolerance. The Government must take a strong lead in setting the tone for the country and produce a strategy on how they plan to curb the disturbing increase in racist and homophobic attacks since the referendum.

I urge the Government to halt further cuts to the EHRC which are severely hindering its ability to effectively act as the UK’s human rights and equalities watchdog. The work of the EHRC is more important now than ever. We must all hold steadfast to the core values and principles of our country, which protect the rights and freedoms of all who live, work and visit here.”
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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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Are We The University of The Year 2016: LSHTM, We Are

|| November 27: 2016: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine News || ά. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has been awarded the prestigious Times Higher Education  ‘University of the Year’ Award for 2016. The School was the judges’ unanimous choice for the award, given in recognition of its response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014:15. The judges praised the School for putting all of its expertise into action: “It was an extraordinary example of research expertise being deployed in real time in the real world. But the School’s response wasn’t only about putting people into the field.

There was also a need for education to combat Ebola's spread... This was a moment for the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to come into its own, to pause the normal business of the School to allow its world-leading experts to make a difference in a way for which they are uniquely qualified." Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “We are delighted to be named University of the Year 2016. When the Ebola epidemic got out of control it was our duty to mobilise to help stop this outbreak. Thank you to our committed community of staff, students and alumni for their outstanding work and ongoing dedication to meeting urgent challenges in public and global health.”

When the World Health Organisation:WHO declared that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a public health emergency of international concern in August 2014, the School co-ordinated urgent response efforts. More than 500 academic and professional services staff volunteered to respond, with many volunteers deployed via Save the Children, Public Health England, Médecins Sans Frontières and WHO.

The School continued to pay the salary of anyone who volunteered to work on Ebola care and control in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, or backfill posts in WHO offices, and worked to ensure research funding would be secure while staff diverted their time to the response. School experts advised international agencies and governments in the UK, Sierra Leone and Liberia and made successful public calls for policy changes to improve the response.

Research efforts supported international Ebola response planning, including calculating what resources were needed, where and when by, in order to halt the exponential growth of the outbreak. The Ebola Response Anthropology Platform was established to help health workers develop culturally sensitive interventions to change behaviour in local communities and stop the spread of the virus. Researchers rapidly mobilised to conduct clinical trials of Ebola vaccines and treatments. Students cleansed Ebola patient record data for WHO to ensure sites of outbreaks were recorded accurately.

Working with the charitable foundation of international footballer Michael Essien, the School produced a Ladybird book, Ebola and You, which was distributed for free in French and English to 100,000 school children in West Africa to help them understand the disease, how to prevent it and to reduce the stigma around it.

The School also created a three-week free online course to provide a better understanding of the Ebola virus for health professionals, workers in the field and students, and to inspire people to learn more about infectious diseases, health systems and public health. The course, ‘Ebola in Context’, featured our frontline responders on the ground in West Africa and was a resounding success with more than 24,000 participants from 185 countries joining the course, many of whom worked in the field.

Professor John Edmunds received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for his services to infectious disease control, particularly the Ebola crisis response in West Africa. The Ebola Response Anthropology Platform received the Economic and Social Research Council's 'Celebrating Impact Prize'. Prof Piot was profiled as one of the ‘Ebola Fighters’ who were named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year 2014.

Regarded as the ‘Oscars of UK higher education’, the awards were held on Thursday, November 24 at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London and was hosted by actor Richard E. Grant.
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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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Volcanoes at the Weston Library at the Oxford Bodleian Libraries in 2017: February 10-May 21

 

|| November 27: 2016: Oxford: England: UK || ά. From fire-belching mountains to blood-red waves of lava, volcanoes have captured the attention of scientists, artists and members of the public for centuries. A new exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries uses a spectacular selection of eye witness accounts, scientific observations and artwork to chart how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved over the past two millennia. The Exhibition will take place in 2017 between February 10 and May 21. It's free and no booking is required; therefore, no excuse not to make a go of it. The exhibition examines some of the world’s most spectacular volcanoes including the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, one of the most catastrophic eruptions in European history, and the 19th century eruptions of Krakatoa and Santorini, two of the first volcanic eruptions to be intensely studied by modern scientists.

Today, satellites monitor volcanic activity and anyone with internet access can watch volcanic eruptions live in real time. In the past, volcanic eruptions were described in letters, manuscript accounts and early printed books, and illustrated through sketches, woodcuts and engravings. Many of these fascinating accounts are preserved in the Bodleian’s historic collections and will be on display in Volcanoes at the Weston Library.  The human encounters with volcanoes that are traced in the exhibition range from Pliny the Younger’s account of the dramatic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE to early Renaissance explorers who reported strange sightings of mountains that spewed fire and stones. 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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Labour Party Launches Care for the NHS Campaign


|| November 26: 2016 || ά. The Labour Party has launched its Care For The NHS campaign. The Campaign states, ''Under the Tories our NHS is underfunded and understaffed. Around 03.9 million people on waiting lists. 01.8 million people wait four hours or more in A&E. One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see their GP. Social care is approaching a 'tipping point' according to the regulator.'' Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at the launch of Labour’s ‘Care for the NHS’ campaign poster, said: “The Conservatives are failing our health service, which has been pushed into financial crisis and soaring deficits.

Patients are facing longer waits, with hospitals overcrowded, understaffed and threatened with closure. Labour will stand up for the NHS. We will always make sure the NHS has the funding it needs and will join up services from home to hospital with a properly integrated health and social care service. Labour created the NHS to care for us all, now it’s time to care for the NHS. ” Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “The Autumn Statement revealed that for the Tories, the NHS is always at the back of the queue.

It’s jaw dropping that when the NHS is facing the biggest financial squeeze in its history, when waiting lists are at four million, when A&Es are in crisis, that the Autumn Statement contained not a single penny piece of extra investment for social care and the NHS. Instead the Conservatives have ignored the chorus of voices pleading for them to address the mess they’ve created in social care with cuts to budgets of £04.5 billion. The crisis in social care is such that thousands more older and disabled people face being left without access to services.” 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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Empower Women to Empower Societies: Trust Women Conference 2016 at the Hilton Bankside in London: November 30-December 01

Dr Joanne Liu, the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières

|| November 26: 2016 || ά. The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s biggest news and information provider, will welcome global women’s rights and anti-trafficking leaders at its annual Trust Women Conference, held this year at the Hilton Bankside, London, on November 30 and December 01. Some 600 delegates including Nobel Peace Prize winners, government and business leaders, legal and financial firms, TV and film personalities and NGOs and activists will attend the event which will include the launch of the Stop Slavery Award and the UK premiere of SOLD.

Actress Gillian Anderson speaking to Matt Wells of UN Radio at UN Headquarters for the podcast series: The Lid is On. Image: UN Radio

Trust Women provides an unparalleled platform for the exchange of ideas, experience and expertise. Each day ends with committing to taking specific and concrete action to empower women and to fight human trafficking and modern day slavery. Confirmed speakers this year include: Golden Globe-winning actress Gillian Anderson; Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus; Sculptor and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor; Cherie Blair CBE QC; Yazidi UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha.

Yazidi UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha with Ban Ki-moon

As well as the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières Joanne Liu; New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr; UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland; Former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino; Chief Executive of the Police & Crime Commissioners for England & Wales Nazir Afzal; Girls Not Brides Chair Mabel van Oranje; Freedom Fund CEO Nick Grono; Mekong Club CEO Matt Friedman.

“Trust Women is all about taking action and impact.” says Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Founder of the global event. “We will address such issues as breaking taboos, deradicalisation, migration, and of course, how to clean supply chains from forced labour.

It is encouraging to see how this conference has evolved into an international movement of people and organisations eager to take action to put the rule of law behind women’s rights and eradicate slavery. The Stop Slavery Award, given for the first time this year, is a great example of impact through a business friendly initiative.” she added.

The Agenda of the Conference

The conference will address global issues through six main themes addressed over two days in plenary sessions. These are: Stories of survival: Child slavery; Cleaning supply chains from forced labour; Migrants: Crisis or new normality; Women entrepreneurs: They make it happen; Is deradicalisation possible; Breaking taboos; Trust Women Actions will follow, with participants actively encouraged to contribute.

Stop Slavery Award and Sold Movie Premier

On the evening of November 30, The Thomson Reuters Foundation will present the first ever Stop Slavery Award, a custom-made Anish Kapoor sculpture, to businesses who proved they took exceptional action in cleaning their supply chains of forced labour. Senior executives from the winning companies, which will be unveiled on the day, will then participate in a panel discussion about their involvement in the initiative.

Shortlisted companies for the Stop Slavery Award include: ABP UK; Apple Inc; Carlson; Fortescue Metals Group; Gildan Activewear Inc; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; NXP Semiconductors; R. Twining & Co Ltd; Tesco Stores Ltd.; Thai Union.

Following the Stop Slavery Award ceremony, the Foundation will host the UK premier of Sold, starring Gillian Anderson, a powerful film based on the true story of a survivor who was trafficked from Nepal to a Mumbai brothel as a young child. Gillian Anderson will participate in a Q&A session alongside the film’s producer Jane Charles, director Jeffrey Brown, and Tiffany Watts, executive director of Childreach International.

About the Thomson Reuters Foundation: The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote socio-economic progress and the rule of law worldwide. It provides free legal assistance, media development and in-depth coverage of the world’s under-reported stories.
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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 Must Stop Playing Games with Healthcare, Living Standards and People’s Security in Retirement: Jeremy Corbyn MP


|| November 24: 2016 || ά. Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, visiting George Eliot hospital in Nuneaton today, Thursday, said: “I was utterly astonished that there was not a mention of the NHS or social care in the Autumn Statement yesterday. There is an NHS crisis and there is a social care crisis and it is time to care for the NHS. There has to be more money going into it in order to fund the level of care required and to tackle the issue of bed blocking.

“The George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, which I’ve toured this morning with Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, has done brilliantly thanks to exceptional staff moving it out of special measures a few years ago. I have spoken with doctors, nurses, patients and staff who have nothing but praise for how the hospital has turned itself around and how it is providing a good service to the local community. But this hospital like others faces huge financial pressures and the Tories are only making things worse.

Labour would properly fund the NHS with real terms spending increases and make sure that it is sustainable in the long-term. The national cost of under-funding our NHS is huge. What this Conservative Government is offering, for the first time, is that per head the amount of money spent on patient care will reduce from 2018 onwards, it’s a shocking statistic. With the NHS in financial meltdown now is not the time to question the protected spending on health.

Mr Hammond’s Autumn Statement is a threat to the NHS and a threat to pensions, with not a single extra penny for the health service, and NHS ring fencing and the pensions triple lock now under threat. The Government must stop playing games with healthcare, living standards and people’s security in retirement.” 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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John McDonnell Response to the IFS Autumn Statement Briefing: A Damning Indictment of the Total, Abject Failure of the Tories’ Economic Policy During Their Six Wasted Years in Office

|| November 24: 2016 || ά. John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on today’s analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies:IFS that real wages would remain below their 2008 levels until at least 2021, said: “This lost decade for living standards is unprecedented in modern British history and is a damning indictment of the total, abject failure of the Tories’ economic policy during their six wasted years in office.

The so-called ‘long-term economic plan’ has meant long-term decline in living standards for working people even as the super-rich and the big corporations are given large tax giveaways. Chancellor Philip Hammond promised action in the Autumn Statement for those ‘just about managing’. Instead he has betrayed them by continuing to slash in-work benefits, failing to raise the ‘National Living Wage’ to the level promised, failing to deliver more funding for our NHS and social care and now he’s threatening pensioners with removing the ‘triple lock’.

Labour has different priorities and will prepare our economy for Brexit. Instead of cutting taxes for the super-rich and giant corporations, we will make sure our NHS is properly funded, support the pensions ‘triple lock’, and introduce a Real Living Wage built on an economy that invests for the long-term so that no-one and no community is left behind.” 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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Renewed Living Standards Squeeze is Set to Be Greater in This Parliament Than the Last: Resolution Foundation


|| November 24: 2016 || ά. Lower earnings growth, higher inflation and ongoing welfare cuts detailed in the Autumn Statement mean that a renewed income squeeze is set to be even more severe than that seen in the last parliament, according to a new report published today, Thursday, by the Resolution Foundation analysing the impact of the Autumn Statement 2016. The report finds that on average incomes are set to grow by less than half the exceptionally weak growth seen between 2010 and 2014 as the country recovered from the financial crisis.

In contrast to the last parliament, which saw slow income growth across the income distribution but with higher earners marginally the most affected, low and middle income families are set to be the hardest hit in this one. That’s because of the government’s decision to press ahead with significant cuts to welfare, including Universal Credit, and because the recent jobs miracle which has seen employment climb to a record high is unlikely to be repeated. The Foundation says that the entire bottom third of the income distribution is on course to see their incomes actually fall in the years ahead.

The Foundation also finds that the weak outlook for real average earnings, which the OBR forecasts to be £830 lower in 2020 than previously expected, means that the decade from 2010 to 2020 is set to be the weakest one for wage growth since the 1900s. Real weekly earnings are forecast to grow by just 01.6 per cent over the decade, compared to 12.7 per cent in the 2000s and over 20 per cent in every other decade since the 1920s.

Other findings, which look at the public finances as well as family budgets, include: The increase in borrowing set out in the Autumn Statement is so severe that national debt as a percentage of GDP is expected to be higher at the end of the parliament than the beginning.
The Chancellor has effectively abolished the role of fiscal rules in providing an anchor for fiscal policy. Instead he has loosened them to such an extent that they are able to accommodate another public finances hit on the scale of Brexit and still have further leeway of £09 billion in 2020.
The welcome increase in public investment announced by the Chancellor has been wiped out several times over by an expected fall in private sector investment. Overall investment as a share of GDP is set to fall by 06 per cent by the end of the parliament, relative to expectations at the last Budget.

Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation, said: “Most of the initial reaction to the Autumn Statement has understandably focused on the big hit to the public finances, but just as important is the very real impact on family finances.

The combination of lower growth, higher inflation and the government’s decision to press ahead with big welfare cuts, means that households risk experiencing even slower income growth in this parliament than they saw in the aftermath of the financial crisis . But unlike the last parliament, it will be low and middle income households who feel the tightest squeeze this time round. Tacking this renewed income squeeze will be a key challenge for the Chancellor and government in the months and years ahead.”

Matt Whittaker, Chief Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The last three Chancellors have made a habit of breaking their own fiscal rules. The new Chancellor has guarded against that by loosening his to such a degree that they are best seen not as rules guiding fiscal policy but as a worst case fiscal ceiling.

Such a loosening is understandable given the high degree of uncertainty in any forecasts, but it also reflects a decision to allow borrowing to rise so significantly that national debt is now expected to end the parliament higher than it started, despite very significant cuts to public spending and welfare.

Behind this fiscal deterioration lies a far weaker outlook for earnings, which means that workers are on course to experience the weakest decade of pay growth in over a century.” The report finds that on average incomes are forecast to grow annually by 0.2 per cent between 2015 and 2020, compared to 0.5 per cent between 2010 and 2014. 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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Feeble Autumn Statement: To Give Warm Words But Cold Comfort to Working People: GMB

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary


|| November 23: 2016 || ά. In a statement the GMB Union criticises the Government for  'siding with vested interests and propping up the broken status quo when real change is needed.' In his Autumn Statement, delivered to the House of Commons later today, Chancellor Philip Hammond will unveil a list of pledges designed to be eye-catching but which spectacularly miss the real issues facing working people in Britain. As the winter sets in, Theresa May’s Government's first chance to show the country they are really on the side of working people has instead seen their mask slipping.

The statement proves she is in keeping with the Tory tradition of siding with vested interests and propping up the broken status quo. GMB highlights some of the hypocrisy of Tory warm words against the stark reality of life for working people: A 'living wage' you can't live on: The measly rise in the so-called National Living Wage of 30p, leaves 330,000 workers under 25 without even this guarantee. The Homeless Link found that four in 10 under 25-year-olds will at some time find themselves homeless because their parents cannot or do not want them at home and age discrimination in the legal minimum wage can only make this worse.

A drop in the ocean when it comes to housing need: The announcement of 40,000 affordable homes is a truly pathetic fig leaf to hide the government’s naked lack of housing policy, affordable home building dipped to a 24-year low just last week. More month than money after pay day and rising personal debt. Household debt is up to pre-crash levels and Bank of England is worried. More and more people are needing to use credit to get from one end of the month to another, squeezed living standards means debt is rising and ordinary people pay for the bankers crash, this is unfair and increasingly dangerous.

Complete lack of action on minimum wage avoiders: Just three out of a possible 700 companies named and shamed since February 2014 have been prosecuted or just 0.4%. Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “We have a new Prime Minister, but it's the same old Tory Party in Number 10, siding with vested interests and propping up the broken status quo. The Chancellor's warm words today will be cold comfort for struggling families.

The Prime Minister promised dramatic change this summer, she claimed to be on the side of working people who are struggling to get by, ignoring the inconvenient truth that the reason people are struggling in the first place is due to years of failed Tory policies.

In the most uncertain times since the Second World War, Philip Hammond is tinkering feebly around the edges when the country is crying out for bold, urgent and real change. " 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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Six Years of Conservative Housing Policy Have Led to the Lowest Level of New Affordable Housebuilding in 24 Years: John Healey MP



|| November 23: 2016 || ά. John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, responding to the government’s announcements on new funding for affordable housing in the Autumn Statement, said: “Six years of Conservative housing policy have led to the lowest level of new affordable housebuilding in 24 years. Today’s announcement is too little and too late. Too little to make good the huge cuts in housing investment from 2010, with investment still only half the level left by Labour.

The reality is Ministers’ deep cuts have left a funding shortfall of over £17bn compared to the plans I left as Labour’s last Housing Minister. Today’s announcement doesn’t even make up a tenth of that. Too late to rescue failed flagship policies like stalled starter homes, announced two years ago but not a single one built. The Government have no long term plan to fix the housing crisis and if they’re serious about trying they should back Labour’s plans to build tens of thousands more affordable homes to rent and buy each year.

Responding to a further announcement on ending fees charged by letting agents, John Healey said: “Labour has long backed ending sky-high letting fees for renters, while Conservative MPs including the Prime Minister have repeatedly voted against it, so any change of heart is welcome. However, the reality is this is too little, too late for hard-pressed renters when government housing policies are making the problems of high costs and poor conditions for renters much worse.

Since 2010, Ministers have opposed Labour’s plans for longer term tenancies and brake on rent rises, voted against Labour’s proposals to make all rented homes ‘fit for human habitation’, banned Labour councils from cracking down on rogue landlords, and slashed investment in genuinely affordable rented homes. Renters deserve better, and for that they need a Labour government.” 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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Tories Already Failing Working Families in the Autumn Statement: Labour Party



|| November 23: 2016 || ά. The House of Commons analysis, requested by Labour Party, into the latest changes to the taper rate of Universal Credit:UC reveal many working families will still be worse off. The overnight announced changes in the Autumn Statement indicate that in certain scenarios working families will only see £150 returned to them from an original cut of £2,500 a year.

The key findings are: Following the changes to the UC taper rate, a working couple with two children, both working on the National Living Wage, could now be £800 worse off instead of around £1,100 worse off in 2017-18 as a result of cuts to UC work allowances. Following the changes to the UC taper rate, a lone parent with two children earning £25,000 per annum might be around £2,300 worse off instead of £2,500 worse off in 2017-18 as a result of cuts to UC work allowances.

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, speaking ahead of the Autumn Statement, said: “If this Autumn Statement is supposed to relaunch the Conservative party on the side of workers, then it has already failed.

Some working families, who will have lost as much as £2,500 a year, might only be getting back as little as £150 in this Statement. It appears that Philip Hammond not only takes with one hand, he now pretends to give back with the other.” 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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Please, Mind the Small Print: Office for Budget Responsibility Report Shows 13,000 Fewer Affordable Homes: John Healey MP


|| November 23: 2016 || ά. John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, commenting on details in the Office for Budget Responsibility Report showing that measures announced in the Autumn Statement will mean 13,000 fewer affordable homes built by housing associations, said: “These astonishing figures in the small-print of today’s official Office for Budget Responsibility report show that the overall effect of the Autumn Statement housing changes will be 13,000 fewer affordable homes.

This blows a hole in the claims made by the Chancellor today. After we learnt last week that new affordable house building has fallen to its lowest level in 24 years, Ministers must now urgently sort out this mess and get Britain building again after six years of failure.” 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 Autumn Statement Reveals Deeply Skewed Priorities of the Government: Caroline Lucas MP


|| November 23: 2016 || ά. Caroline Lucas, the Green Party Co-Leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, has accused the Government of 'shirking its responsibilities' after today's Autumn Statement. Lucas accused the Government of having 'deeply skewed priorities'. She said: “Britain is drifting towards the stormy and unchartered waters of brexit with ministers refusing to reveal the route, or properly adjust the sails according to the headwinds. We needed an Autumn statement which rose to the challenges of the day, but we see a government shirking its responsibilities, lacking any moral compass and leaving us dangerously exposed to both economic shocks and climate change.

This Autumn statement shows a Government with deeply skewed priorities. At a time of uncertainty they are continuing with plans to give a tax cut to corporations and the highest earners, while our NHS is strapped for cash and local services are under immense strain. We could save billions by scrapping the plans to cut corporate tax and raising the threshold for the highest earners and we could plough that money into our ailing NHS; but the Government has refused to change course. Lucas slammed the Chancellor for failing 'even mention climate change' in his speech. She said: “With Trump’s election this could have been a moment for Britain to become a world-leader in the fight against catastrophic climate change but, instead, we see little evidence of a commitment to facing up to the greatest challenge of our times.

Indeed, it is shameful that the Chancellor failed to even mention climate change in his speech. By caving into the motor lobby and freezing fuel duty again for the seventh year in a row the Government has made a mockery of the fact that it is the hottest year on record and condemned us to more carbon emissions and deadly pollution.

A Government with a genuinely bold vision could have used this Autumn statement to ensure that the economy is future facing on everything from the risks of a potential Brexit to the threats posed by climate change and growing inequality. Instead we have a backwards looking budget that fails to wage war on poverty and fails to grasp the realities of an uncertain world and the limited resources in it.

A serious response to the situation we’re in could, for example, have included a nationwide insulation scheme to keep people warm in their homes, cut bills and create jobs in every community. Or the Conservatives could have scrapped their plan to hand cash to corporations and high earners and instead give the NHS the funding it so desperately needs." 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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This is a Huge Missed Opportunity for the UK to Show the Global Leadership and Urgency Needed to Protect Our Planet: Friends of the Earth

Image: World Bank:Curt Carnemark

|| November 23: 2016 || ά. Reacting to the chancellor’s Autumn statement today, Friends of the Earth senior campaigner Liz Hutchins said: “The Chancellor is pootling along in the slow lane, when the UK needs to be on the fast track to a low-carbon economy. With Donald Trump appointing climate deniers and oil lobbyists to his transition team, this is a huge missed opportunity for the UK to show the global leadership and urgency needed to protect our planet.

Investment in electric vehicles is welcome, but this over-shadowed by the huge sums committed to roads which will cause more pollution. The government must do far more to make the UK the global low carbon powerhouse we so urgently need, the political will is still sadly lacking.'' Commenting on plans to build new homes, Liz Hutchins said: “More homes are urgently needed, but they must be built to the highest environmental standards and sited in the right locations, not flood plains.

New houses must be super-energy efficient, so that people’s hard-earned cash is spent properly heating their homes, instead of the planet. We need a housing policy fit for the challenges of the 21st century, not a short term fix that simply stores up more problems for the future.”

On keeping the Carbon Price Support:CPS capped out to 2020, Liz Hutchins said: "This is the minimum the government needed to do to keep to its commitment of phasing out dirty coal power stations. But if it's to complete the job of ending coal, the CPS needs to be extended to 2025. The Chancellor should have announced an end to opencast coal mining once and for all, to keep fossil fuels in the ground." 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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IET Welcomes Two Million New Funding for Scientific Research But Calls for Ongoing Commitment to Long-Term Investment for UK Innovation

Image: Semta