General News

BIS: The UK has assumed leadership of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.  The Charter is an organisation that coordinates space agencies worldwide in gathering vital satellite images of disaster-stricken regions - providing the images to civil protection authorities to inform their response efforts & save lives.
 
Since it was set up in 1999, the Charter has helped in more than 300 disasters for more than 100 countries.  So far this year, the Charter has been activated for the flooding in Australia, Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia and most recently in central Midwest America, as well as hurricane Yasi and earthquakes in Pakistan, New Zealand and Japan.
Press release & links ~ UK secures agreement for International Space Agencies to support disaster efforts worldwide
 
Directgov: Since 11 April 2011, certain categories of severely sight-impaired people have been eligible to claim the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The Disability & Carers Service have been contacting sight-impaired people who receive the lower rate mobility component of DLA.  The reason for this is to find out if they qualify for the higher rate mobility component under the new criteria.  The exercise to contact these customers is now complete and the dedicated phone line is closed.
 
If you have been contacted as part of this exercise the DCS will provide you with a decision as quickly as possible.  However please note where more medical information is needed it may take longer before a decision can be made. 
Press release & links
 
FSALidl is recalling St Maarten Classic Belgian Cheese Slices because they may be contaminated with listeria.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.
Press release & links
 
Newswire – WWFWWF welcomed the decision by the French politicians last week to ban 'fracking' and called on the Government to follow their lead, given current environmental concerns around shale gas extraction. 

'Fracking', or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used to extract shale gas from rock by injecting chemicals, water and sand into shale rock formations under high pressure.  Environmental concerns around the process include the contamination of water supplies by the fracking fluids and from gas leaking into water supplies, creating risks of explosions.
Press release & links
 
MoD: An ice sledge hockey squad made up of injured Service personnel took to the rink last week following a year's worth of preparation to get them ready to compete in the national ice sledge hockey league. The Battle Back Bisons have received sponsorship from the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and Help for Heroes to provide specialist equipment for the squad members.  Players sit in adapted sledges, propelling themselves with adapted sticks in a manner similar to skiing.
 
Sledge hockey is a variant of ice hockey and can be played on & off ice, using sledges to allow participants to move around the rink at high speeds, hitting a puck which travels at speeds of up to 100kph. The team's home will be the Planet Ice Arena in Basingstoke and the squad will be open to all injured Service personnel who express an interest in taking part.
Press release & links
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