General News

WWF: New legislation has removed Brazil’s long-standing Forest Code. The Brazilian government has issued new legislation that grants amnesties & promotes impunity for environmental criminals, and significantly weakens legal protections for forests across Brazil, according to Comitê Brasil in Defense of the Forests – a coalition of more than 200 civil society entities, including WWF-Brazil.
Press release & links
ippr: As the Leveson Inquiry continues its works, new polling commissioned by the think tank IPPR shows a very strong public mood for strict regulation of the press and for limits on the proportion of the media that any one individual or company can own.  The polling also indicates strong public preference for media owners to be resident full- time in the UK and to be full UK tax payers.
 Press release & links
IFSGovernment plans to localise the help that low-income families receive with their council tax, while cutting funding for it by 10%, leave local councils with a tough challenge to design replacement schemes, according to Institute for Fiscal Studies researchers.  A new report, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and published recently by the IFS, examines the likely effects of this policy and the options available to councils.
Press release & links ~ Comment from JRF
MAS: New research from the Money Advice Service reveals that, collectively, the nation plans to shell out £3bn this summer – averaging £111 per household.   However, when it comes to summer spending, millions of people are unaware of the likely impact it will have on their household budget - well over half (60%, equivalent to 14m households) of those surveyed admitting they’re unaware of the likely costs of their summer celebrations.
Click here for full article
FSA: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is currently investigating a recent increase in cases of cryptosporidiosis.  No source for these has been identified although the Food Standards Agency is contributing to the HPA led multi-agency investigation.
Press release & links
SOCATwo cyber criminals who provided a range of services to credit card fraudsters have been sentenced to almost 5 years. One of them, Jay Moore (who used the online moniker of ‘t0pp8uzz’), set up the ‘Freshshop’ website to facilitate the bulk sale of stolen financial data.

Analysis of Moore’s computers revealed that he held the payment card details of more than 340,000 individuals, and fraud losses attributed to card details available on his website have been reported as being in excess of £26.9m by the card issuers.   This is in reality a conservative figure and the actual loss is likely to be considerably more. 
Press release & links
LGA: A survey of frontline councillors carried out by the Local Government Association reveals that public opposition is the single biggest barrier to the building of new homes.  However, development which comes with appropriate infrastructure is nearly 4 times more likely to be supported by the public, according to councillors.

The LGA has launched a ‘Housing the Nation' campaign, calling on government to remove some of the restrictions hampering local authority efforts to tackle the nation's housing crisis.
Press release & links ~Housing the Nation campaign
WAG: Plans for a year of activities & events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas in 2014 have been announced. 

Housing, Regeneration & Heritage Minister, Huw Lewis, joined Hannah Ellis, the writer’s granddaughter & honorary patron of the festival, to unveil plans for the Dylan Thomas 100 (DT100) Festival at an event at the Hay Literary Festival, where he called for groups & organisations interested in staging an event to apply for a share of the £750,000 of funding (by 5 July 2012) that has been made available.
Press release & links
SocitmSocitm are very pleased to report that the 2 day kick off of their pilot Top Talent programme, which they’re running in association with IBM, was an extreme success. 

This pilot programme will run for a further 6 months, comprising of regular 1-2-1 sessions, mentored projects, group community calls and webinars / briefings.  Delegates will be finally assessed in November 2012 and graduate at a ceremony that will form part of Socitm 2012's Awards Dinner (28 November 2012, Birmingham).
Press release & links
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