- DONG Energy and Durham University have agreed to further develop research and engagement collaborations by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Located in Denmark, DONG energy is a leading industry group which have invested around £6 billion in the UK since 2004. Areas of mutual interest between Durham and DONG energy include optimising offshore wind operations and enhancing the rate of Oil and Gas recovery. Durham University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science, Professor Patrick Hussey, said “In DONG energy we have found a partner who shares our aspiration for excellence, our appetite for engagement at the intersection of science and society and whose knowledge and experience builds on our world-class research strengths to achieve economic and societal impact”. A signing event and reception was held at Durham University on 5th November to celebrate the new strategic partnership.
- Millie Tanner, President of Durham Students’ Union (DSU) has been elected to the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Development Zone; a group that focuses on student opportunities, media and volunteering. Commenting on the news Ms Tanner said “The development and support of Students’ Unions should be at the heart of the work of our National Union, but for too long it’s been side-lined by other Zones and priorities”. 16 candidates from student unions across the country ran for the seven Union Development zone positions and Ms Tanner was quick to comment on the importance of having Durham represented at a national level, suggesting that “by being an active participant of NUS we can bring issues to the table that affect the running and effectiveness of our Union and the lives of our students”. In related news, DSU Community Officer Esther Green was appointed to the NUS Welfare Zone.
- Last week, a project to digitally recreate one of the country’s best preserved medieval and renaissance monastic libraries was launched by Durham University. Durham Cathedrals’ Priory Library holds a collection of national and international significance that will now be turned into high resolution images of historic manuscripts and detailed bibliographic records. Lisa Di Tommaso, Head of Collections at Durham Cathedral, said “digitising the collection is the perfect solution” for an “exceptional but fragile” collection.
- Durham Constabulary, Cleveland Police and North Yorkshire Police are to merge their police dog sections. The move, creating a single integrated service from summer 2016, will reduce costs by more than £3 million over the next four years while enabling a 24-hour dog unit to be retained across the three Forces. Remarking upon the decision, Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, said “an integrated dogs section is simply common sense”.
- Specialists at Durham University have created an online survey in order to investigate the nation’s resting habits. The first half of the questionnaire, which is expected to take 5–10 minutes, will be followed by more-in depth questions. In an interview with ChroncileLive, Durham University’s Felicity Callard said “‘The Rest Test’ might well help us to rethink how work might be re-organised, and how societal interventions might find more creative ways in which to facilitate people’s bodily and mental rest”.
- George Osborne has indicated that the UK should reject “ever-closer union” with the EU. The Chancellor addressed the comments to business leaders in Berlin, while also demanding safeguards for the single market and countries not participating in the Euro.
- MI5 has been collecting unprecedented amounts of data on UK phone calls over the past decade, the BBC claims. The allegation comes as Home Secretary Theresa May unveiled a draft Commons statement governing the authorities’ online powers.
- Flights across the UK have been grounded by dense fog throughout the week. London Heathrow cancelled 129 flights on Monday alone, while foggy conditions across Western Europe are expected to worsen delays.
- Kids Company did not receive special treatment amid financial distress, allege senior civil servants. The denial comes as a report into the charity claims that it was awarded over £46m of public funds despite concerns.
- A plane has crashed on the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 on board. Current intelligence suggests that Kogalymavia flight KGL9286 may have been brought down by a bomb, although Russia’s Federal Aviation Agency cautioned against premature speculation. Flights between the UK and the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh have been suspended.
- Russian warplanes have bombed Islamic State (IS) positions in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, according to an official statement from the Russian Defence Ministry. Anti-aircraft guns, fortifications, and an underground bunker were destroyed. Activists say the strikes targeted a hill to the west of Palmyra’s Roman ruins.
- European commentators have questioned the validity of Turkish elections last weekend. The OSCE claimed that polls in which the
Justice and Development Party (AKP) regained a majoritywere marred by violence against campaigners. Ignacio Sanchez Amor, head of the OSCE observer mission, also criticised official pressure placed on journalists.
- The US Department of Defence spent 43m (£28m) on a vehicle fuelling station in Afghanistan, a newly published oversight report has alleged. The project, intended to reduce dependence on petroleum imports, was described as “gratuitous and extreme”.
- Volkswagen cars with bigger diesel engines also contain devices intended to cheat emissions tests, US regulators claimed. Porsche, Audi and VW cars are all implicated in the investigation, which is the latest in the scandal.