General News

Defra: Britain recently signed an international treaty that will ‘create new incentives to protect wildlife while providing developing countries with better opportunities to benefit from their own natural environments’. The Protocol will enter into force 90 days after it is ratified by 50 countries.  

24 countries have signed to date and it is anticipated that the Protocol will enter into force before the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Hyderabad in October 2012.
Press release & links ~ Nagoya Protocol
 
FSAAsda has withdrawn some of its Strawberry & White Chocolate Popcorn because it contains pecan & milk chocolate popcorn that is not mentioned on the box.  This means that the product is a risk to anyone who is allergic to, or intolerant of, nuts.  The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.
Press release & links
 
FSAFarmer Gosden’s Dairy is recalling all varieties of its Luxury Jersey Ice Cream with ‘best before’ dates from 1 October 2011 to 28 December 2011, because the ice cream might be contaminated with bacteria, but are not present at high enough levels to cause a risk to health.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.
Press release & links
  
DCMS: The design of the medal to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was unveiled by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt last week along with details of who will receive one.
Press release & links
 
MoDNewly-upgraded Warrior vehicles have saved the lives of British soldiers within weeks of arriving in Afghanistan. Warrior is the only British tracked infantry vehicle in theatre, able to get to places that wheeled vehicles cannot.  This enables the infantry to engage the enemy more effectively in difficult terrain.
 
Just a short time after receiving their modified Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, troops from 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3 MERCIAN), on patrol in the Durai East region of Afghanistan's Helmand province, survived a serious improvised explosive device (IED) blast, thanks to the vehicle's improved protection.
Press release & links
 
ACECatalyst Arts is part of the £80m scheme to boost philanthropy to the arts announced last December by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Arts Council England. Further details of the criteria & how to apply to Catalyst Arts will be available in September 2011.  

The fund is just one of the measures ACE are putting in place to help create a more sustainable, resilient & innovative arts sector - one of the 5 goals set out in Achieving great art for everyone, the ACE 10-year framework for the arts.
Press release & links
 
MoD: The Ministry of Defence is doubling the Council Tax Relief (CTR) for Service personnel on eligible operations overseas from 25 to 50%, with effect from 1 July 2011. Based on the average Council Tax per dwelling in England, this will amount to approximately £296 for an average 6-month tour.
 
In addition, CTR is now extended to include Operation ELLAMY, the UK element of the NATO operation in Libya to protect civilians and enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. Increasing the CTR rate is just one of the commitments announced in the 'Armed Forces Covenant: Today and Tomorrow' published on 16 May 2011.
Press release & links
 
HPA:   New cases of Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) and bloody diarrhoea (VTEC or EHEC infection, caused by E. coli O104) in Germany were continuing to decrease last week. No new cases of bloody diarrhoea in the UK, potentially linked to the outbreak in Germany, have been reported to the HPA in the past 2 weeks.
 
The total number of cases in the UK therefore remains at 17 – 3 HUS (all in England) and 14 bloody diarrhoea (13 cases in England, 1 in Scotland).  To date, 6 of these have been microbiologically confirmed.  All 17 cases are related to travel to Germany.
Press release & links
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