General News

VSO: After 50 years of failing women, VSO are delighted that the UN has finally agreed to take concrete action by creating a full UN Women's Agency.  
Press release
STFC: The Planck satelliteESA’s mission to study the early Universe - has delivered its first image of the entire sky.  By looking at microwave radiation, it not only provides new insight into the way stars & galaxies form, but also tells us how the Universe itself came to life after the Big Bang.

From the closest portions of the Milky Way to the furthest reaches of space & time, the new all-sky Planck image is an extraordinary treasure chest of new data for astronomers.
Press release ~ ~ ~

FCO: Lord Patten of Barnes, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the Papal visit, and the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, Head of the Catholic Church in England & Wales, have announced further details of Pope Benedict XVI's visit.
The Pope's visit to the UK, from 16 - 19 September 2010, is at the invitation of Her Majesty, The Queen and is the first official Papal visit to the UK.  Pope John Paul II made a purely pastoral visit in 1982, but this visit will combine pastoral events – where the Pope will engage with the Catholic faithful of the UK – and the official events that are part of a State Visit.
Press release ~ UK and the Holy See ~ Official Papal visit website
CO: As part of the Government’s deficit reduction plan, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced that he will begin the process of introducing legislation as soon as possible to cap the amount of redundancy payments made to civil servants to ‘bring them in line with the best practice in the private sector’.
The Bill will limit the cost of future redundancy payments by; ‘Capping all compulsory redundancy payments at 12 months’ pay; and Limiting payments for voluntary exits to 15 months salary’.  Accrued pension rights will not be affected by the new legislation.
Under the current scheme some longstanding employees are eligible for a package worth over 6 years’ pay, as compared with the 30 week statutory redundancy scheme and comparable arrangements in the wider public & private sectors.
Press release ~ Letter from the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, to Paul Noon ~ Written ministerial statement  ~  FDA press release in response ~ PCS press release in response ~ Additional PCS press release
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is commissioning a range of research to tackle the food poisoning bug campylobacter, which is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, causing over 300,000 cases per year and costing the economy more than £583m.  The most common source is poultry meat, although it is also found in red meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated water.
To support the Agency’s 5-year campylobacter risk management programme, the Agency is looking to commission a range of research as part of a new campylobacter research programme.  Where appropriate, the FSA will work with other funders to help deliver the evidence needed in a coordinated way.
Press release ~ Campylobacter Evidence Programme
UKOC: Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband a legal right for every citizen. From 1 July 2010 all telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide all residents with broadband lines that can run at a minimum 1Mbps speed. Finland has vowed to connect everyone to a 100Mbps connection by 2015.
In the UK the government has promised a minimum connection of at least 2Mbps to all homes by 2012, but has stopped short of enshrining this as a right in law.
Press release ~ Directgov: Accessing broadband services in your community
Solent NHS the latest Trust to roll out the Energy-Saving Initiative of choice for UK Public Sector