General News

DfT: A shocking new THINK! campaign to highlight the deadly consequences of not always wearing a seat belt has been launched. New statistics show one life could be saved each day if all drivers and passengers belted up every time they got in a car.
Graphic images of the fatal damage caused to internal organs are shown in a new TV advert highlighting the three devastating crashes you experience in a road accident, if you are not wearing a seat belt. The advert is so realistic and hard-hitting it can only be shown after 9pm.  An edited version has been produced for earlier showings - describing but not showing the damage to internal organs.
Press release ~ Strapping Yarns: Why people do and do not wear seat belts ~ Think? campaign ~ ROSPA ~ Common Problems ~ Top Tips for car seat safety
DECC: Government plans to protect the taxpayer from the costs of cleaning up new nuclear power stations have moved forward with the appointment of a watchdog to oversee the decommissioning & waste disposal funding arrangements. Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O'Brien announced the appointment of Lady Balfour of Burleigh as the Chairman of the new Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board (NLFAB).
The Office for Nuclear Development also issued the first of 3 discussion papers, which will enable people to feed in their views on the development of estimates of the costs of decommissioning and waste management.
Press release ~ Office for Nuclear Development ~ BERR – Waste and Decommissioning Costs ~ Pre-consultation discussion paper No. 1: on a methodology to determine how the fixed costs of building a geological disposal facility should be apportioned to and shared between operators of new nuclear power stations
ScotParlGuided tours are to be provided free of charge to visitors at the Scottish Parliament from next year, it has been announced by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB). From September 2009 members of the public will no longer have to pay to take a guided tour of the Holyrood building.
The tours will be provided by specially trained in-house staff from the Parliament's Visitor Services team and will focus on how the Scottish Parliament works, the work of its MSPs and the history & architecture of Holyrood.
Press release ~ Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) ~ Current arrangements for guided tours
HMT: Arrangements for managing the Government's shareholding in banks subscribing to its recapitalisation fund have been announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling. The Government's investments will be managed on a commercial basis by a new arm's-length company, 'UK Financial Investments Limited' (UKFI), which is wholly owned by the Government.
Its overarching objectives will be to ‘protect & create value for the taxpayer as shareholder, with due regard to financial stability and acting in a way that promotes competition’. It will also oversee the conditions of the recapitalisation fund, including maintaining, over the next 3 years, the availability & active marketing of competitively-priced lending to home owners and small businesses at 2007 levels.
Press release
Dstl: An initiative supported by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), called the ‘BLOODHOUND Project’, has been launched by Richard Noble to break the current WorldLand Speed Record.  The 4-year programme will attempt to push the Record beyond the present 763mph (sound barrier) record by developing, building & driving a vehicle (BLOODHOUND SSC) that could travel at up to 1,000 mph.
Working in parallel with the vehicle design team, the Education initiative (a.k.a. Bloodhound Engineering Adventure) will be utilising the programme to encourage schoolchildren (4-19 yrs) to gain a greater interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. To celebrate Dstl’s involvement, a competition will be launched shortly to schools, aimed at encouraging students to consider some of the potential challenges faced by the vehicle design team.
Press release ~ Bloodhound SSC ~ dstl - education ~ Bloodhound Engineering Adventure
Socitm: The Socitm Insight Website take-up service is to be enabled from January 2009 to provide a low cost, automated means of capturing the information about website transactions that local authorities will need to make as part of their NI 14 (avoidable contact) returns required from April 2009.

The Website take-up service, established in 2004, tracks usage of & satisfaction with council websites, using information gathered through an exit survey offered to every fifth visitor to participating councils’ websites.  By making a small adjustment to the survey to align the services covered with the NI 14 required service list, the Website take-up service will, therefore, enable collection of all necessary information about web transactions needed for NI 14 returns.
Press release ~ Socitm Insight Website take-up service ~ How to build up website take-up - best practice and networking event (5 December 2008)
WAGAmgueddfa Cymru – NationalMuseumWaleshave launched details of a forthcoming tour of major artworks to the USA.  'Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales' will travel to five venues altogether and will open at the Columbia Museum of Art on 6 March 2009.  
The exhibition, organised by the American Federation of Arts and the museum, features 58 oil paintings and watercolours, some of which have never been seen in the United States of America before.
Press release ~ National Museum Wales ~ American Federation of Arts ~ WAG – Arts ~ 'Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales'
NA: The service records of 40,000 members of the World War One Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) are now accessible online. Previously only available to those visiting The National Archives in Kew, family historians can now trace their WWI naval ancestors a new online resource - 'Ashore or afloat'.
Records are held for ratings (who joined between 1903 & 1919 and officers who signed up between 1914 & 1922. The digitised documents (found in ADM 337) provide a range of information on each individual, including name, division, date of birth, former occupation, ships and units served in, and period of service.  Other details for family historians are also given, such as height, hair colour and eye colour, along with remarks about character and ability.
Press release ~ DocumentsOnline ~ Military history
NA: A National Archives project to fully catalogue over a thousand journals of Royal Navy Medical Officers 1793 -1880 has been launched following funding from the Wellcome Trust. The first tranche of enhanced catalogue entries for medical officers' journals from 1793 to 1819 will be uploaded to the catalogue by February 2009.  
This material will enable medical historians to define & pursue lines of enquiry, test hypotheses and explore the awareness, spread & practical application of the findings & theories of the period’s great health reformers.
Press release ~ Example of how these enhanced catalogue entries will look
DH: The development of important medical devices like hip & knee replacements, pacemakers and stents have received a boost with a new agreement that makes it easier to get approved trials in patients underway. Launched jointly by the Department of Health and Association of the British Healthcare Industries, the model Clinical Investigation Agreement (mCIA) has been welcomed by the medical technology industry as timely and helpful.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has introduced new services that speed-up the assessment of Clinical Investigations for regulatory purposes and an industry-focused advice service.  The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) has introduced a speedy & streamlined process using device-flagged committees which have expertise in device studies, as well as guidance on the ethical review of device studies.  
In addition, the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) provides an electronic portal for the single submission of data required for the regulatory research permissions and approvals needed to initiate a clinical research study.
Press release ~ Association of the British Healthcare Industries ~ model Clinical Investigation Agreement (mCIA) ~ Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) ~ Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) ~ Ministerial Medical Technology Strategy Group ~ Contract Research organisations (CRO-mCTA) Clinical Trial agreement ~ Other model agreements ~ Best research for Health implementation plans ~ National Research ethics service guidance
TfL: The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced that Transport for London (TfL) will scrap the mid-year inspection for London taxis from 6 November 2008, saying: “….our figures clearly show the inspections have not achieved their aims of raising standards or improving the pass rate for annual inspections”.  However, any taxi that failed a mid-year inspection prior to 6 November must pass a re-test before returning into service. 
The inspection regime for the private hire trade will remain unchanged, and any vehicle older than 12 months at the date of the annual licensing inspection must continue to have a mid-year MoT test.
Press release ~ Public Carriage Office (PCO)
MoD: The White Ensign Association (WEA) held their Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary reception onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS at Greenwich on 6 Nov 2008. The WEA is a Naval Charity whose mission is to inform & provide unbiased, confidential and free guidance to all Service & ex-Service personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and their dependants, on personal administration, finance, resettlement and employment.
Press release ~ White Ensign Association (WEA)
DH: A database (funded by Department of Health) launched last week will help identify the incidence & causes of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and save the lives of people who may currently be at risk from the inherited heart condition that can strike without warning in apparently fit & healthy people. SCD kills around 500-600 people under the age of 35 each year.
Designed by pathologists & cardiologists, the database will be a key tool in understanding the incidence and causes of inheritable conditions that can cause sudden cardiac death. With a greater knowledge of the incidence, prevalence and causes of sudden cardiac death, doctors will be able to identify better people at risk from one of these conditions and help them get access to the services they need.  
Close family members of victims of sudden cardiac death will be referred to specialist inherited cardiac conditions centres, where they will be offered counselling and support.
Press release ~ Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework (Chapter 8) ~ Royal College of Pathologists
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