Category Archives: Press Releases

Dstl Staff Shortlisted For The Sun Military Awards

Staff at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have been shortlisted for the coveted Sun Military Awards – better known as The Millies

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Work carried out at the lab by Diagnostics Fellow Dr Roman Lukaszewski and his team has been nominated in the Innovation category of the awards, for breakthrough work on treatment for sepsis.

A new test, which can identify patients most likely to develop sepsis, was developed following ten years of work by Dstl and its partners, including the US Department of Defense. The test could one day be used on the frontline to save the lives of troops, and in hospitals in the UK and beyond.

The test diagnoses the condition before people become ill by identifying a ‘signature’ for sepsis.

Dr Lukaszewski said:

It’s a real honour for the team to be shortlisted for a Millie. We have been working on this project for more than a decade and it’s fantastic to be able to have a result which could one day save so many lives.

Infection is a huge issue for soldiers injured on operational tour. This breakthrough could identify troops who are likely to develop sepsis and start treatment early. The work is unique as only Dstl has found biomarkers indicating patients who will go on to develop sepsis. It’s a new way of looking at how to tackle cases.

It’s a condition which affects people across the world – it’s estimated that more people die of sepsis than breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer combined each year, and projects like this are vital to help us move forward with solutions.

Dstl has also been nominated for its role in the procurement of the Carbonite-2 demonstrator satellite, which is able to capture colour and full HD still imagery and full-motion video from space.

Sean Murphy, a Principal Scientist in Dstl’s Space Programme, said:

It’s a tremendous feeling to be invited to the awards ceremony and great to be given an opportunity to highlight our work at events like this and a privilege to represent Dstl and the whole of the space programme team.

The Millies are awarded each year for those who have made a significant contribution to the support of our troops. A special ceremony in central London will bring together shortlisted nominees for the awards night, along with celebrities and military chiefs.

Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive of Dstl, said:

Both of these projects are fantastic examples of the huge impact of Dstl’s work and I’m delighted they have been nominated in the innovation category for the Millies. The Sepsis breakthrough has potential benefits – not only to our troops but for the population as a whole. It requires investment and foresight for long-term studies like this but it’s been so worthwhile.

The event will be broadcast on Forces TV on December 13, when the winners will be announced.

Dame Glenys Stacey Review Proposes Farm Regulation Shake-Up

A more supportive, flexible and incentives-led approach to farming regulation has been recommended as part of a review into the sector published today

Dame Glenys Stacey

Dame Glenys Stacey

A more supportive, flexible and incentives-led approach to farming regulation has been recommended as part of wide-ranging review into the sector published today (Thursday 13 December).

The final report by Dame Glenys Stacey, concludes that the current regulation of the farming sector – with its one-size-fits-all rules-based approach – is far too inflexible. Leaving the EU provides the opportunity to do things differently.

The report recommends a new independent regulator that would be supportive of farmers’ individual circumstances, offering them practical advice, guidance and helping to incentivise good practice.

This means local advisers would be able to visit farmers to discuss issues such as biosecurity, soil quality or animal welfare, rather than turning up to impose an automatic sanction. In other words, the regulator should work alongside farmers – to “do with” rather than to “do to” in order to ensure high standards.

The report, which was commissioned by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in February, also recommends better use of technology. For instance, through satellite data and drones to monitor field margins and other public goods that the land manager is contracted to deliver.

Changing the balance between ‘on foot’ and remote surveillance would make inspections more efficient for the regulator and less burdensome for the farmer.

Dame Glenys Stacey said:

As things are, farmers are subject to a number of pernickety and sometimes nonsensical rules. There is little practical advice or guidance given to ensure compliance. Instead, automatic financial penalties have become the norm when at times they are unfair.

The large majority of farmers want to farm responsibly but some need guidance, advice and support to do that. A regulator should provide that, and explain why any change on the farm is needed. Yes, sometimes swingeing sanctions are justified, but more often, more is achieved by a more supportive approach.

There is so much scope to regulate more effectively, by harnessing technology and local knowledge. A strong regulatory culture brings many opportunities – from getting on top of systemic issues such as animal diseases, to improving plant health and our environment under the new farming system.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

Dame Glenys and her team have done excellent work on this comprehensive review into farm regulation and inspections, drawing on what works best in other sectors.

It’s clear that current regulation isn’t working as it should. We commissioned this report because leaving the EU gives us the opportunity for a fresh and modern approach – one that is less onerous for farmers and also helps us to deliver on our environmental ambitions.

The government will respond to the review in the New Year.

Minister For Europe Welcomes The Results Of Armenia’s Parliamentary Elections

Sir Alan Duncan congratulates My Step Alliance on an impressive victory

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The UK welcomes the preliminary assessment of the international observation mission that the Armenian parliamentary elections on 9 December 2018 “were held with respect for fundamental freedoms and enjoyed broad public trust”.

The UK Government is pleased to have supported the preparations for these elections as a member of the international consortium contributing funding to the Electoral Support Project in Armenia (ESPA) implemented by UNDP.

Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan said:

These elections mark an important new stage in Armenia’s democratic development. I congratulate the My Step Alliance led by Nikol Pashinyan on its impressive victory, as well as the other parties elected to the National Assembly.

The UK Government looks forward to working closely with the new Government and Parliament of Armenia, supporting further consolidation of democratic institutions and ambitious political and economic reforms for the benefit of the Armenian people.

Cornwall Drug Addict Has Jail Time Increased

Steven Brown will spend longer behind bars after Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, referred his original sentence to the Court of Appeal

Royal Courts of Justice

Royal Courts of Justice

A heroin addict who carried out a sustained assault on a man will spend longer behind bars after Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, referred his original sentence to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient.

Steven Brown, 40, along with his girlfriend, Jodine Harvey, had been staying at the victim Vincent Rutter’s flat over the festive period last year. The 3 had all consumed large amounts of heroin and crack-cocaine.

Around 28 December 2017, while Harvey was sleeping, Rutter attempted to remove a Kinder egg concealed in her vagina that contained the last of the drugs.

Rutter’s actions woke Harvey up, and Brown and Harvey then accused Rutter of stealing the drugs. They embarked on a sustained assault that left the victim very badly injured.

Rutter eventually went to his neighbour a significant period of time after the infliction of his injuries, and after Brown and Harvey had fallen asleep. The police were contacted and Rutter was taken to hospital. Rutter suffered life-threatening injuries, sustaining 17 fractured ribs, collapsed lungs and a lacerated spleen. He required an operation for plates and screws to be inserted, and spent a total of 9 days in hospital.

Brown, who was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent was originally sentenced in September at Truro Crown Court to 3 years in prison. He will now serve 5 years behind bars.

Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General said:

“This was a vicious and sustained attack that left a man with serious injuries, and all because of drugs. The original sentence failed to take proper account of the seriousness of the offence and the harm drugs can do to people’s lives. I am pleased the Court has now seen fit to increase the prison term.”

Lettings Management Boss Banned For Abusing Tenants’ Deposits

A lettings management director from Dorset has been disqualified for failing to protect thousands of pounds of tenants’ deposits

Parliament Street

Parliament Street

Kari Jade Ridout (46), from Blandford Forum, Dorset, was the sole director of Woodhouse Residential Lettings Limited, a lettings management company that began trading in 2013 predominately in the Dorset area.

As part of its services, Woodhouse Residential Lettings operated a government-backed custodial deposit scheme where in accordance with the Housing Act 2004 the company would safely hold onto tenants’ deposits on behalf of their landlords.

But just four years after the company had started to trade, Woodhouse Residential Lettings entered into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation in May 2017.

Independent insolvency practitioners were appointed to wind-up the business before submitting their report to the Insolvency Service. This triggered an investigation which found that Kari Ridout failed to safeguard more than £34,000 worth of deposits.

Investigators established that over two years between May 2015 and the date the company went into liquidation, Woodhouse Residential Lettings collected thousands of pounds worth of deposits from tenants in relation to at least 24 properties but did not pay them into the custodial deposit scheme.

Instead, the £34,000 was spent, along with general working capital, on the expenses of running the company.

On 16 November 2018, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Kari Ridout for 6 years, after she admitted failing to ensure that deposits taken from tenants by the company totalling at least £34,610 were safeguarded, as required by the Housing Act 2004.

Effective from 7 December 2018, Kari Ridout is banned for 6 years from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Jane Knight, the Insolvency Service’s Deputy Head of Insolvent Investigations, said:

Kari Ridout failed to safeguard the deposits she was entrusted to hold onto, resulting in losses to both landlords and tenants.

Her conduct fell short of what is required of a director of a limited liability company and her disqualification will act as a deterrent to others from similar conduct in the future.

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