MOSo we can all breath easier again? - Critical research findings (by the Met Office Hadley Centre, the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) that will help plan future flood risk in the Thames Estuary have been revealed as part of the Environment Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 Project - a project that considers an adaptive approach for planning for future flood risk in the Estuary.

The results, released at the international conference Climate change impacts and adaptation: Dangerous rates of change at Exeter University, confirm that current Government predictions & previous flood scenarios are realistic and have gone a long way to reducing the uncertainty around maximum water levels.

The research means that previous worst-case scenario of increases in maximum water levels can be revised down from 4.2m to 2.7m (including surge).  Such a reduction in worst case scenario for this century means that a tide-excluding estuary barrage is unlikely to be necessary to manage flood risk this century.

Another key finding from this new research is that future peak freshwater flows for the Thames, at Kingston for instance, could increase by around 40% by 2080.
Press release ~ Environment Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 Project ~ Climate change impacts and adaptation: Dangerous rates of change ~ Met Office Hadley Centre ~ Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory ~ Centre for Ecology and Hydrology ~ UKCIP Scenarios Gateway

DFIDPutting UK poverty into perspective - Over a million of the poorest people in Bangladesh will benefit from a £70m UK-funded programme - the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) - which protects the livelihoods of thousands of families living on the remote & isolated Jamuna river (char) islands in North-West Bangladesh.

The scheme will provide islanders, many of whom live on less than 35 cents a day, with the chance to help themselves by investing in cattle, goats & seeds that will deliver long-term dependable sources of food. 

The announcement builds on the programme's first phase, which saw a doubling of income for 500,000 island dwellers and help for even more to grow & buy food, particularly during the ‘monga’ or hunger season.
Press release ~ Chars Livelihood Programme ~ DFID: Poverty Reduction Budget Support ~ Millennium Development Goal of ending poverty ~ NAO: Tackling Rural Poverty in developing countries ~ Supporting paper: Staff survey results ~ Supporting paper: DFID - Study on Rural Poverty in Developing Countries (LF 2Mb) ~ DFID - Millennium Development Goals - Poverty and Hunger ~ Better livelihoods for poor people: The role of Agriculture ~ Can Microfinance ‘Halve’Poverty By 2015: A Review By Sirajul Islam ~ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ~ Overseas Development Institute - Rural Policy and Governance Group ~ BBC NEWS - Is India's rural poverty plan working?

FSAWeaning off the Bank of Mum & Dad - As the new university term begins, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has set its sights on introducing its Money Doctors financial education programme to 50 more universities this year, as research shows that young people are least able to manage their finances among UK adults.

The project helps students in higher education become financially competent by encouraging them to confront debt and to take control of their own finances before they get into difficulties.  The FSA has helped train 100 student money advisers at 50 universities across the UK and hopes to double that number in 2008/09.

FSA research shows:
* One-in-three students are constantly overdrawn
* Two-in-five students admit to being completely disorganised about their money
* One-in-three never check their bank statements or, if they do, they only check the final balance
Press release ~ FSA Money Doctors financial education programme ~ Tools and resources to help you in your work to improve financial capability ~ FSA – Money Made Clear ~ 'Skilled to go' ~ What about Money ~ Ofsted: Developing financially capable young people ~ Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) ~ The Thoresen Review and final report ~ Financial Capability: the Government's long-term approach ~ studenttaxadvice.org.uk ~ Uni Money - your guide to Student Loans, grants and bursaries ~ HM Revenue & Customs: Tax + U - Student At Work ~ Money Advice Trust

DFID A health target worth striving for! - World leaders gathered last week at the 2008 Millennium Development Goals Malaria Summit to endorse an ambitious new Global Malaria Action Plan and commit nearly $3bn toward reducing the number of malaria deaths to near zero by 2015.

The funding commitments will support rapid implementation of the Global Malaria Action Plan, which was launched by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, with the broad support of a united malaria community. 

Developed with input from more than 250 malaria experts, the plan is the first-ever comprehensive blueprint for global malaria control. It demonstrates that, by achieving the Secretary-General's call for full coverage of malaria interventions by 2010, it is possible to save more than 4.2m lives by 2015 and lay the foundation for a longer term effort to eradicate the disease.
Press release ~ Malaria no more ~ 2008 Millennium Development Goals Malaria Summit ~ Global Malaria Action Plan ~ Roll Back Malaria Partnership

STFC An indication of India’s resurgence in Science - A sophisticated X-ray camera made by scientists & engineers from the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is set to launch into space on 22 October 2008 aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

This is the first time the UK and India have collaborated in space science and the two countries’ space agencies will be attending the 59th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) this week (29 September - 3 October), along with space agencies from all over the globe. A replica of the camera will be on display at the IAC.

The camera - C1XS – was designed and built at STFC Space Science and Technology Department in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.  It is an X-Ray Spectrometer that will measure X-rays to map the surface composition of the Moon which will help scientists to understand its origin and evolution, as well as quantifying the mineral resources that exist there.

Chandrayaan-1 is the first lunar mission from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is designed to orbit the Moon and carries radar & particle detectors as well as instruments that will make observations in the visible, near infrared and X-ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Press release ~ International Astronautical Congress 2008 ~ British Interplanetary Society (BIS) ~ British National Space Centre ~ Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) ~ C1XS Investigators ~ STFC Space Science and Technology Department ~ European Space Agency’s (ESA) Smart-1 mission to the Moon

ScotGovJust how does this EU rule increase fish stocks? - Fishermen in Scotland are being forced to throw away up to £40m worth of fish every year, a special Discards Summit hosted by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh was told last week.  EU rules mean almost a million tonnes of fish are discarded in the North Sea every year - for every North Sea cod caught & landed by Scots fishermen another has to be thrown away.

The summit marks the start of a campaign by ScotGov to change some of the European rules which force trawlermen to throw away fish which could be landed & sold.  ScotGov believes that discards can be radically reduced if the fleet catches less fish overall, but is able to land the marketable fish (i.e. fish above the minimum landing size) it is currently having to discard. 

It can be achieved by a number of means, including:
* firstly, making fishing nets more selective so that only fish above the minimum landing sizes are caught
* secondly, closing areas of the sea on a temporary basis where high abundances of certain species are found as has been happening under Scotland's innovative real-time closures scheme
* thirdly, through restricting the number of days which a boat is allowed to spend at sea (which saves fuel)
Press release ~ ScotGov - Sea Fisheries ~ Fisheries Research Services ~ EC - Fisheries ~ BBC: Wasted catches hit Europe's codTelegraph: UK fishing boat filmed dumping 5 tons of fish

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