General News

FSA: Bottles of fake vodka have been removed from premises in Lewisham following a joint operation by the Food Standards Agency and Lewisham Council.  Food safety officers from Lewisham Council found the bottles being sold at a convenience store in the borough earlier this month, after being alerted by the FSA’s Food Fraud Team.  Alcohol fraud costs the UK economy more £1bn in lost revenue each year, with spirits alone accounting for £130m.
Press release & links
 
FSA: The Financial Services Authority is contacting 76,732 people to let them know they are targets for fraudsters trying to con them out of their money. Their names appeared on a number of lists recovered from companies that the FSA believes were fraudulently selling investments in land or worthless, sometimes non-existent, shares.  Combined into one list, this is the largest number of target victims that the FSA has ever contacted in one go.
 
Letters from the regulator have been arriving on people’s doormats from last week.  The letter, which can be found online, provides tips on how to spot a scam, avoid becoming a victim and what to do if you have already invested.  People that have invested are encouraged to contact the FSA directly by phone or make a report via the online reporting forms on the Operation Bexley webpage.
Press release & links
 
MoD: More than 100 Service personnel were publicly thanked by the Government for their contribution to military operations over Libya (Operation ELLAMY) at a reception at the Palace of Westminster last week.
Press release & links
 
PCS: A secure future for theDepartment for Culture, Media and Sports must be confirmed to protect free access to the arts and allay fears for staff. Following media reports about speculation that DCMS will be abolished after the Olympics & Paralympics, the PCS union has written to the permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens to ask him to assure his staff that the department will remain.
Press release & links ~ iea: Closing down DCMS could save £1.6bn
 
WWF: Brazil’s Congress passed legislation last week that strips the Amazon and other key regions of critical environmental protections, and grants amnesty to individuals accused of past illegal deforestation. WWF condemns the new Forest Code bill, driven by retrograde sectors of Brazil’s powerful agribusiness industry, for its failure to account for severe social and environmental costs.
 
Since 2006, Brazil has demonstrated that it can dramatically reduce its rate of deforestation while increasing agricultural production and reducing poverty. This bill threatens hard-won gains for both the environment and Brazilian society. The bill now goes before President Dilma Rousseff, who has 15 days to decide whether or not to sign it into national law or apply veto power to the full text or parts of it.
Press release
 
NE: The return of a bumblebee species extinct in the UK for nearly a quarter of a century has moved a big step forward. A team of conservationists went to Sweden last weekend on a mission to collect up to 100 short-haired bumblebee queens before releasing them at the RSPB’s Dungeness reserve in Kent later this Spring. 
Press release & links
 
STFC: One of the world’s most powerful cameras, SCUBA-2 is producing its first detailed images of our neighbouring galaxies, revealing previously undetected vast pockets of star formation where the next generation of stars is being created.
Press release & links
 
Socitm: There has never been a better time for IT to step up and make a difference, Socitm's incoming President Kay Brown told members as she started her term at the Socitm Spring conference on 25 April 2012. Kay Brown, who is also Head of ICT at South Lanarkshire Council, one of Scotland's largest unitary authorities, was confirmed as the new Socitm President at the AGM run alongside the recent Spring event.
Press release & links ~ Related press release
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