General News

MO: The Met Office prediction of 20 tropical storms between July & November 2010, with a 70% chance that the number will be in the range 13 to 27, is well above the 1990–2005 long-term average of 12.4

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index is a measure of the storm lifetimes & intensities, as well as total numbers over a season.  This year’s most likely ACE index is 204, with a 70% chance that the index will be in the range 90 to 319 — this is again well above the 1990–2005 average of 131.
 
This would make it one of the most active tropical storm seasons on record.  In the last 40 years, only 2005 has seen more storms in the July to November period with 25 recorded and only three seasons (1995, 2004 and 2005) have recorded a higher ACE index than 204.
Press release ~ MO: Tropical cyclones ~ Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index ~ Climate Services for Reinsurance
 
BISFurther Education Colleges have been given the opportunity to bid for a share of £50m for building projects. Around 150 colleges, who have yet to significantly benefit from the capital programme, will each receive approximately £225,000 under a £30m Renewal Grant.
 
A further £20m will be made available to colleges through an Enhanced Renewal Grant.  Colleges will have the opportunity to add to their Renewal Grant, by bidding to build their total allocation to £1m.  Colleges will be expected to attract additional private finance, providing final projects of significant value.
Press release ~ Skills Funding Agency ~ BIS: SFA
 
Newswire – CWGC: A new exhibition organised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which tells the story of 250 First World War soldiers recovered from a mass grave in northern France in 2009, will open at the Imperial War Museum London on 1 Jul 2010.
 
Remembering Fromelles: A New Cemetery for a New Century charts the construction of the Commission's new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (the first to be built in 50 years) and explains the fascinating story of how 250 Australian & British soldiers came to be found, excavated & then reburied in a fitting & final resting place.
Press release ~ Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Fromelles ~ Australian Army - Fromelles ~ Oxford Archaeology ~ 1916 Battle of Fromelles ~ Imperial War Museum: Remembering Fromelles
 
OSOrdnance Survey has launched this year’s GeoVation Challenge. This year’s programme will ask entrepreneurs, developers & community groups to focus their efforts on using geography to address 3 distinct challenges.  The first of which is ‘Can Britain feed itself?’, where geography can play a key role in helping people connect to locally produced & sustainable sources of food.
 
Those with ideas are being encouraged to share them on a newly redesigned GeoVation website, where users can rate, comment and collaborate on each other’s contributions.  There will also be a series of workshops to develop real prototype ideas later in the summer.
Press release ~ Geovation Challenge ~ OS OpenData ~ OS OpenSpace ~ Data.gov.uk ~ Agrarian Renaissance ~ Hack Warwickshire
 
TfL: A new short film guiding people through the process of hiring a Barclays Cycle Hire bicycleis now available to view online.  TfL has worked closely with the 9 London boroughs and several Royal Parks that Barclays Cycle Hire will cover to identify the most suitable locations for docking stations, with all applications subject to planning consent and including a period of consultation.  The boroughs, as the planning authorities, have been making the final decision on whether to approve the locations
 
In order to maximise the chance of people being able to return a bicycle to the docking station of their choice, there will be approximately 1.7 bicycle docking points for each bicycle.  This means that, once the scheme is complete, there will be 10,200 docking points spread across 400 docking stations.  Redistribution teams will be in place to move bicycles from quieter docking stations to busier ones throughout the day.
Press release ~ New short film ~ Barclays Cycle Hire ~ TfL's cycling web pages
 
PCS: The coalition government has no democratic mandate to attack low-paid public servants and the vulnerable, the PCS union says; ‘With inflation running at over 5% and thousands of civil servants already suffering pay freezes & below inflation increases, a 2-year pay freeze for public sector workers earning £21,000 or more is deeply unfair and will drive down living standards.
 
Cuts of 25% in most government departments will also inevitably lead to massive job cuts at a time when unemployment is continuing to rise. The costs of public sector pensions are far from ‘spiralling’ as the chancellor George Osborne claimed, they are modest & sustainable - as the National Audit Office recently confirmed’.
Press release ~ Facts about pay and pensions ~ NAO: The cost of public service pensions ~ TUC – Pay up for pensions ~ TUC Briefing on pension myth ~ Pension Policy Institute - An assessment of the Government's reforms to public sector pensions
 
ScotGov: Community Safety Minister, Fergus Ewing, has announced a Scottish Government funded campaign to warn families about the dangers of blind cords. Free-hanging, looped blind cords can be dangerous for young children who can find themselves entangled in the cord - in extreme cases leading to death by strangulation.
Press release ~ Blind cord safety leaflet
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