Category Archives: News

12-16 November 2018: HMA Kate Smith Travels To Northern Greece

British Ambassador Kate Smith CMG travelled to Northern Greece for a series of meetings with local authorities and businesses

British Ambassador Kate Smith CMG travelled to Northern Greece for a series of meetings with local authorities and businesses

British Ambassador Kate Smith CMG travelled to Northern Greece for a series of meetings with local authorities and businesses

The 5-day long trip to Northern Greece included a series of meetings with Greek officials, visits to local businesses whose operation is linked to the UK and speeches.

Starting from Alexandroupolis, British Ambassador Kate Smith CMG met the Mayor of Alexandroupolis, Evangelos Lambakis with whom they discussed the future potential of the region. She also had a meeting with the General Regional Police Director of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Lt General Nikolaos Menexidis with whom she discussed cooperation in tackling organised crime before their visit to the Evros area.

The Ambassador visited the port of Alexandroupolis where Chairman Mr. Christos Doukas briefed her on the prospects of this key Northern Greece port.

In Kavala, the Ambassador met Deputy Head of Region Mr Theodoros Marcopoulos and Kavala Mayor, Mrs. Dimitra Tsanaka and had very useful discussions about the challenges and the opportunities the area faces, with emphasis to energy given the significance of the completion of the TAP project.

Following on energy theme, the Ambassador visited the Prinos off-shore oil field operated by Energean Oil & Gas where the team briefed her on the operation in the area and the Prinos contribution to energy sources diversification.

The Ambassador also visited the Thrace Group plant in Xanthi – one of the top producers of Technical Fabrics and Packaging Solutions with presence in 11 countries, incl. the UK, in which 20% of its operation is taking place. She also travelled to Serres to visit the KRI KRI plant – one of the most dynamic industries of dairy products, with 50% of its yogurt exports being directed to the UK.

Moving on to Thessaloniki, the Ambassador addressed the students at the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) on the relations between ‘Britain and Europe’ in view of the UK’s exit from Europe, touching upon to different perspectives on Brexit.

On Thursday 15 November, she participated in the THESSALONIKI SUMMIT 2018 joining a panel discussion on ‘European perspective and connectivity, industrial development and cooperation in the Western Balkans’ and sharing her viewpoint on the progress made and the challenges faced in the wider Balkans region.

This trip is included as part of a series of visits the British Ambassador Kate Smith CMG has been conducting across Greece.

PSVI Film Festival: Fighting Stigma Through Film

The UK Government invites you to attend its film festival on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict on 23 & 24 November 2018 in London

PSVI Film Festival

PSVI Film Festival

The UK Government is taking the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative to the big screen for the first time. The ‘Fighting Stigma Through Film’ festival will take place on the 23 & 24 November 2018 at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London.

The festival aims to harness the power of film and cinema to help fight the discrimination so often faced by survivors of sexual violence in conflict. Over two days there will be screenings of 38 films and documentaries from around the world – sharing stories of survivors and the inspiring people working alongside them. Among the titles, the festival will host the world premiere for Leslie Thomas’ film ‘The Prosecutors’ which explores the battle for justice survivors face.

The event is supported by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Angelina Jolie, UNHCR Special Envoy.

Alongside screenings, the PSVI film festival will display thought-provoking art installations and showcase the work of organisations striving to end of the horror of sexual violence in conflict. Workshops will be running throughout, led by prominent experts on various PSVI topics, offering the chance to learn more about these important issues and ask questions.

Register to attend

Admission is free and all are welcome to come along and watch a film, join a workshop, or explore the exhibition.

Doors are open on Friday 23 November from 10am to 2pm and Saturday 24 November from 9am to 9pm.

For more information and to register your attendance please visit our Eventbrite page.

Why is the PSVI campaign so important?

Sexual violence as a weapon of war continues to destroy, destabilise, and demoralise individuals, communities and societies across the world.

As well as leaving a physical wound, sexual violence leaves a social stigma – which becomes a global problem crossing generations. Ending the cycle of sexual violence in conflict and its associated stigma is vital for upholding international peace and security.

The UK remains highly committed to preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence, following the launch of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) by former Foreign Secretary, Lord Hague, and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, in 2012.

The PSVI has three objectives:

  • tackle stigma
  • secure justice and accountability
  • prevent sexual violence in conflict

The film festival marks the one year countdown to a PSVI international conference, which the UK will host in 2019 five years on from the 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The event will celebrate progress, address remaining challenges, and secure further commitments to action.

Oral Statement To Parliament: Government Equalities Office To Join Cabinet Office

The Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt has announced that on 1st April 2019 the Government Equalities Office will move to Cabinet Office

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP

In the Government Equalities Office’s (GEO) Oral Questions, Ms Mordaunt said:

“To ensure that the Government Equalities Office is at the heart of this government’s work the Prime Minister has agreed that it will join the Cabinet Office from the 1st of April next year. This machinery of government change will provide a permanent home for the Government Equalities Office in line with the key recommendations from the Women and Equalities Select Committee earlier this year. It will enable the GEO to have even more influence and leverage within government, working with the Race Disparity Unit, and the Office of Disability Issues, and others, to drive meaningful progress on equalities, and I think this will be a step-up in the work that the Government Equalities Office can do to reduce inequality in the UK.”

LLWR Leadership Team Shows Support For Anti-Bullying Campaign

Pledge Cards urging workforce not to be bystanders when witnessing bullying behaviour have been adopted

Leadership Team united to defeat bullying in the workplace

Leadership Team united to defeat bullying in the workplace

The Leadership Team at LLWR is showing its strong support for Anti-Bullying Week this week with members signing special Pledge Cards.

The cards state that signatories will not be a bystander to bullying behaviour. Members of LLWR’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Focus Group are distributing cards to the workforce, who will be asked to sign and display them to raise awareness and show support for the campaign.

A key finding of a 2017 NDA Group-wide survey was that 5% of LLWR employees felt bullied in the workplace, and the organisation is focusing sharply on the issue.

Dave Rossiter, LLWR’s ED&I Champion, said: “Pledge Cards are another way of showing that bullying will not be tolerated in our workforce.

“By signing these Cards we are promising to call out bullying or harassing behaviour wherever we see it. Creating a respectful workplace culture is the job of us all.”

Pledge Cards are one of several initiatives planned this week to reinforce our anti-bullying message.

Guidance information for managers to prompt discussion in team meetings is also being made available, posters highlighting routes to assistance for those who feel bullied have been displayed prominently and LLWR’s digital screens will highlight the company initiative.

Defence Science And Technology Laboratory Participates In The Latest Unmanned Systems Military Exercise – Autonomous Warrior 18

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory participates in the latest unmanned systems military exercise - Autonomous Warrior 18

Autonomous Warrior 18

Autonomous Warrior 18

Dstl is taking part in Autonomous Warrior 18, an exercise being run by the Royal Australian Navy and its Defence Science Technology (DST) Group which builds on the success of the UK’s Unmanned Warrior in 2016.

Scientists, military and industry representatives from Australia, the UK, the USA, New Zealand and Canada, have come together to address The Technical Co-operation Partnership (TTCP) Autonomy Strategic Challenge, and will be demonstrating the Command and Control of a mixed fleet of unmanned systems covering air, ground, sea surface and underwater vehicles. The aim will be to use the unmanned systems to conduct military and constabulary operations, such as: arms smuggling; mine countermeasures; wide area situation awareness and base protection.

If unmanned systems are to be adopted in the numbers that many anticipate, it will be necessary to change the way they operate. Current systems tend to require at least one person to control them via a bespoke control station, therefore requiring ever-increasing resource. The Research Programme is looking to develop and understand how to establish appropriate higher-level Command and Control of multiple systems, with digital messaging and autonomous unmanned vehicle behaviours, thereby demonstrating a transition from the current operation of unmanned systems.

Dstl is at the cutting-edge of developing maritime autonomous systems and will be contributing three components into this exercise, two of which had a significant role in Unmanned Warrior 16:

Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) is a looking at the high-level Command and Control that enables the autonomous co-ordination of squads of unmanned systems to conduct military tasks. Built as applications that run on an open architecture variant of the Royal Navy’s combat management system, (think of the apps on a modern mobile phone), MAPLE has been designed to enable unmanned vehicle sourced data to be integrated into a ship’s tactical picture display.

Dstl’s Maritime Autonomy Surface Tested (MAST) is a unique UK-designed-and-built vessel capable of reaching high speeds while navigating around the oceans. (sensing other vessels in the immediate vicinity and avoiding them in a safe manner). Various levels of automation can be utilised, from basic remote control up to autonomous route planning and navigation. It is used to test and evaluate new technologies and all aspects of Unmanned Service Vehicle (USV) operation.

Configurable Operating Model Policy Automation Control of Task (COMPACT) is an autonomous policy management tool for unmanned systems in complex, dynamic, environments, which enables the safe operation of autonomous systems in an environment that has both manned and unmanned assets.

Ian Campbell, Technical Partner for MAST, said:

The MAST project is developing an intelligent unmanned surface vehicle (USV) system to understand how these potentially disruptive systems may be best exploited and identify new tactics, techniques and procedures . A key part of the project now is to offer the system as a testbed to allow military users, other government departments, industry and academia to test and evaluate technologies and the use of USV systems in a real-world context.

Matt Wilkinson, Dstl’s project manager for MAST and for MAPLE, said:

Autonomous Warrior 18 aims to increase our understanding of autonomous operations, in order to develop our tactics in this area. It’s essential that we maintain the UK’s capability in this area, as well as exploit the innovations being developed.

Follow #AutonomousWarrior on twitter

« Older Entries