General News

DSA: The safety questions asked by examiners at the start of the practical driving tests have been revised & updated and, from 1 July 2008, some additional questions will be included. The number of questions asked will remain the same, but new questions will more accurately reflect the need for candidates to have the skills & knowledge to be safe on the road.
 
The new questions will cover; the use of wipers, demisters, brake lights, fog lights, head restraints, Automated Braking System (ABS) warning lights and the correct operation of relevant controls and switches.
Press release ~ Practical test
 
CIOB: The findings in the latest skills survey by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) indicate that a shortage in skills will continue to be a challenge for the built environment and one that will worsen as the demand for construction work increases.
 
90% of respondents believed the UK construction industry is currently suffering a skills shortage. 83% of respondents felt that recruiting senior management was difficult, and 84% regarded the recruitment of middle management as difficult in 2008.  This represents an increase of 7% and 9% respectively compared to results from the CIOB’s skills survey in 2006.
Press release ~ Skills Shortages in the UK Construction Industry 2008
 
MoD: The new national Military and Civilian Health Partnership Awards scheme have been launched at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opening the nomination process for entries. The awards are intended to recognise the people, both military & civilian, working within the Defence Medical Services, NHS, charity and private sector, and the excellent healthcare services they provide to UK Armed Forces, veterans and their dependants.
 
Closing date for applications is 5 July 2008 and people can self-nominate or be nominated for an award. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 23 October at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London.
Press release ~ Defence Medical Services ~ Health partnership awards ~ Royal Hospital Chelsea
 
SESport England has announced the return of Sportsmatch with a new web-based facility enabling applicants to apply online. Designed to encourage new or additional sponsorship investment from businesses, trusts and private individuals, Sportsmatch (funded by Sport England) will continue to offer pound for pound matched funding to sporting stakeholders for projects that encourage sports participation at grass roots level.

The scheme’s awards criteria have been amended to provide greater flexibility for applicants.  From May 2008, partnership funding from trusts and private individuals becomes eligible for match funding.  In addition, applicants will now apply online with telephone support available from Sport England on 08458 508 508.
Press release ~ Sportsmatch ~ Sport England
 
MoD: The first in a series of UFO files, dating back to the 1970s, have been released on The National Archives' website. The Ministry of Defence files include descriptions of alleged Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon or ‘UFO’ sightings and subsequent MoD evaluations of the reports. To date, independent experts have concluded that there are realistic explanations behind alleged UFO reports, such as aircraft lights or natural phenomena.  
 
Reports are examined by the MoD solely to establish whether UK airspace may have been compromised by hostile or unauthorised military activity.  If required, sighting reports are examined with the assistance of the Department's air defence experts.  Unless there is evidence of a potential threat, no further work is undertaken to identify the nature of each sighting reported.
Press release ~ National Archives – UFO files ~ BBC - UFOs ~ Cosmic Conspiracies ~ UFO ‘videos’ ~ MoD FOI Disclosure Log
 
MoD: Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth has confirmed that the Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) and its supporting elements will move from their current base in Germany to Innsworth in 2010. The MoD is making provision for an estimated 600 families to move to the area and is working with the local authorities in Gloucestershire to prepare for their arrival.
 
The preferred site is currently occupied by the Defence College for Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE) at Cosford in Shropshire.  Detailed planning for these moves is ongoing.
Press release ~ Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) ~ British Forces in Germany ~ Defence College for Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE) ~ 1 Signal Brigade ~ 102 Logistics Brigade
 
YF: £400k is being made available for livestock farmers wanting to invest in new technologies that allow them to make better use of their waste, energy and water resources.  The funding, which is being made available through the Regional Development Programme for England is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and is managed by Yorkshire Forward in the Yorkshire and Humber area.

The Farm Resource Efficiency Programme will provide up to 40% of equipment costs to a maximum of £20,000 of grant funding per business.  Eligible Technologies include:
* Renewable Energy
* Rain water harvesting/water recycling systems
* Manure management
Press release ~ Regional Development Programme for England ~ Farm Resource Efficiency Programme
 
WAG: The organisations that represent patients’ rights in Wales have several vacancies and are seeking new members.  The 19 Community Health Councils across Wales independently monitor local health services from GPs surgeries to hospital and community services.

Applicants are being sought to the watchdogs, which aim to help the NHS continually improve services it provides patients.  They have a crucial role in representing patients’ views on any proposals to change local health services.
Press release ~ Board of Community Health Councils in Wales
International Criminal Court – Reducing Risk whilst Processing Sensitive Data at High Speed