General News

PCS: How Civil Service Pensioners could lose tens of thousands of pounds under the government's pensions plans is shown in an online pensions calculator created by the Public & Commercial Services Union. The calculator provides members of the 3 main civil service schemes: Classic, Premium and Nuvos with estimates of how much the proposed pension changes could cost them between now & their retirement.  
Press release & links
 
MoD: After a mammoth 20-month deployment, Royal Naval survey ship HMS Enterprise last week returned to her home port of Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth. The oceanographic & hydrographic survey ship has sailed over 50,000 miles (80,500km) during her deployment, which has included operations in West Africa, the Gulf, Gibraltar, Oman and the southern Red Sea.

HMS Enterprise is 1 of 2 Echo Class ships in the Royal Navy and is designed to spend most of her time deployed on operations. It will therefore be a rare moment for HMS Enterprise's crew when the ship ties up at her base port to the awaiting families & well-wishers.  The ship operates a watch rotation manning regime, allowing her crew of 76 to regularly rotate, with 50 personnel onboard at any one time.
Press release & links
 
Defra: Restrictions on exporting sheep & cattle from Great Britain (in place because of bluetongue disease) will be lifted, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice announced this week. The restrictions were imposed in 2007, following the first cases of bluetongue in Great Britain.
 
Once Great Britain is declared bluetongue free, livestock keepers will no longer be able to vaccinate under EU law.  The Government are pressing for changes to be made at European level to allow farmers to use vaccination even when bluetongue zones aren’t in place. Bluetongue Free status will take effect from 5 July 2011, so any farmers wishing to vaccinate should do so before this date.
Press release & links
 
EHAre you a heritage angel?  Prizes for people who save heritage.  New annual English Heritage awards to celebrate the efforts of local people in saving their heritage (supported by Andrew Lloyd Webber) were announced recently in The Daily Telegraph – the media partner for the awards.  There will be 4 annual awards for the best rescues or repairs of historic buildings or sites on the English Heritage - Heritage at Risk Register. Entrance closes 12 August, 2011.
Press release & links
 
EHVoluntary groups who rescue historic buildings at risk are to get a major boost in the form of a new £2m Challenge Fund put together with a donation of £1m from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, matched by £1m from English Heritage, administered by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF).
Press release & links
 
NEThe Guardian and Natural England have launched a public competition to rescue unnamed British wildlife from obscurity.  The second annual Name a Species competition was launched recently, with the aim of finding a common name for 10 unknown, but amazing British species.
 
A host of seemingly forgotten species exist in Britain and many are disappearing fast.  Known to just a few scientists and identified only by Latin names, they lack the common touch and their decline risks going unnoticed as a result. Anyone can enter the ‘Name a Species’ competition. The closing date & time of the Competition is 12 noon on 25 June 2011..
Press release & links
 
DCMS: To help inspire & motivate the participants, Sport England's Sporting Champions – a team of current & retired elite athletes – will visit Sportivate sessions to share their experiences & enthusiasm for sport. And, as an additional incentive, participants who stick with sport will have the chance to enter a ballot for London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic tickets through the London 2012 Ticketshare scheme that are paid for by a levy on hospitality packages.  
 
In order to be eligible, participants will need to complete the sports course, missing no more than one session,
Press release & links
 
FSADr Oetker is recalling some of its ChicagoTown The Deep Dish pepperoni pizza because it might contain small pieces of metal.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.
Press release & links
 
UKBA: The UK Border Agency is warning people not to be taken in by scammers demanding cash in return for dealing with immigration cases. The warning follows a report of an individual posing as a Border Agency officer and visiting a pensioner's home to ask for £1,350 to process his partner's visa.
Press release & links
The State of the State