• Durham Constabulary has been named the best in the country. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) carried out the assessment, awarding the Force “outstanding” in each of the three areas assessed. Durham Constabulary is the only Force in the country to have achieved this rating. The inspection was carried out as part of the Annual Assessment of Policing in England and Wales 2014.
• Durham University scientists have received a top prize for work helping blind people. The 2015 British Psychological Society’s William Inman Prize was awarded to the team for the Durham Reading and Exploration programme which is aimed at those rendered partially blind by brain damage.
• Durham Lumiere tickets became available last week. The popular light festival in Durham released 21,000 tickets on Ticketmaster last week, all of which have since been claimed. A further 40,000 tickets were made available at the Gala Theatre and Durham Country Council Offices this week which saw long queues outside the theatre.
• A woman was sexually assaulted in the Viaduct on Tuesday night. Reportedly the incident occurred on Lawson Terrace. Speaking to The Tab, Durham Police stated that “[t]he woman was not injured” and that “[a] 19 year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident within a half hour of the report being made.”
• The DU Rugby team has been banned from college bars for the remainder of the Michaelmas term after an incident at a social. The ban was imposed by Team Durham and the DU Rugby Captain.
• In other news, Mary Portas took a tour of Durham Market Hall after an appearance at Durham Book Festival.
· Scottish Nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola in West Africa, is recovering well from a bout of meningitis caused by the Ebola virus. Currently, she is being treated in the specialist isolation unit of the Royal Free Hospital in London.
· The British Medical Association has prepared a strike ballot for junior doctors over a contract dispute, saying that their pay is set to be cut. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused the BMA of “misrepresenting” the government’s position.
· Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently on a state visit to the UK. He has met both members of the royal family and politicians, and has said he thinks that China-UK ties will be lifted to “new heights”. An agreement between China General Nuclear Power Corporation and EDF Energy to build a nuclear power plant in Somerset was reached on Wednesday. The government has pledged to discuss the human rights situation in China, as well as the impact of cheap Chinese steel on British industry. David Cameron and Xi Jinping are also expected to agree on partnerships to “unlock the potential” of the North.
· Tata Steel announced nearly 1200 job losses in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire, which, following similar announcements by SSI and Caparo Industries, pushes the current total of jobs lost in the industry to over 5000.
· The Prime Minister David Cameron faced discontent from within his own party over plans to cut tax credits. The government plan to reduce the threshold at which the credits begin to be withdrawn, and are determined to push through the reforms, with the PM warning the House of Lords not to block it.
· 84 Church of England bishops, including Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, signed a letter calling on the government to accept at least 30,000 more Syrian refugees.
· Migrants at a transit camp in Slovenia set fire to tents to protest against their treatment. They have criticised the process of being registered and moved to the Austrian border as being too slow. They were also angry over a shortage of food, water and blankets at the camp. Slovenia has been overwhelmed by an influx of nearly 20,000 migrants in under a week after Hungary closed its border with Croatia and Serbia.
· The Canadian Liberal Party won an
· The final trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. The trailer received a very positive reaction from fans and the film will be in cinemas on 17 December.