C’mon CHAPS – Sort Out Your Health

CHAPS MHD Booking Postcard SMThe men’s health charity CHAPS is holding a health screening day to encourage men from Essex and Suffolk to get their health checked – in order to save lives.

More than 20 organisations and medical professionals will be at the free event at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, home of Colchester United, on Thursday 27th March, 10am – 4pm.

Event organiser urologist Professor Chris Booth, lead clinician for CHAPS, is urging men of all ages – especially those aged over 50 who are at higher risk of developing life-threatening conditions – to attend.

He said: “Men are notoriously bad at seeking medical attention and far too many die prematurely and unnecessarily because they don’t go to their doctors routinely.  But early detection of prostate cancer, testicular cancer or heart disease can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.”

Last year, 285 men attended during the day and numerous previously unknown abnormalities were detected, including life-threatening aortic aneurysms, a kidney cancer and early prostate cancers, now all treated.

There will be access to the exhibition, stands and medical professionals covering all aspects of men’s mental and physical health, including aortic aneurysm screening, heart checks, prostate cancer screening, diabetes tests, physiotherapy and sports injury detection and treatment.

Supporters and exhibitors at the event include Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) who will be providing cardiovascular risk assessments to detect for future heart attacks or strokes, Ramsay Colchester Oaks Hospital, the military charity The Invicta Foundation, The Samaritans, as well as Essex Fire and Rescue, to name but a few. There will also be a British Sign Language interpreter for people with hearing impairment.

A veteran car rally will be held outside the venue, put on by the Essex Bentley Drivers Club and the Charity Classic Vehicle Club.

CHAPS, which is supported by an award from the Big Lottery Fund as well as donations and fundraising events, provides speakers on men’s health issues and provides information and advice.

Forthcoming health check days will be at Southend Utd FC on May 19th, Ipswich Town FC on October 16th and one in Clacton in November. On June 7th, CHAPS will join 27 other charities for the huge ‘Wellbeing in the East Show’ being organised by Enable East at Newmarket Racecourse.

For more information on men’s health issues, please visit www.chaps.uk.com or contact Trish Binks on 07734 747854.

Broadcast Engineering: Bridging The Skills Gap

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With a generation of broadcast engineers approaching retirement age, how can you benefit from this impending skills-gap?

From Civvy Street #45 (March 2014), Words: Paul F. Cockburn

August 2012 was a golden summer for the BBC, with near-universal praise for the breadth, depth and quality of its television, radio and online coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games. At the time, however, the Corporation’s then chief technology officer, John Linwood (subsequently sacked following the shutdown of the troubled Digital Media Initiative) noticed something worrying.

Continue reading “Broadcast Engineering: Bridging The Skills Gap”

Deepcut soldier’s family allowed to seek new inquest

Attorney general grants permission to relatives of Private Cheryl James to go to high court for second hearing

The government’s most senior legal adviser has given permission to the family of a young army recruit who died nearly 19 years ago at the notorious Deepcut barracks in Surrey to apply for a new inquest into her death.

The family of Private Cheryl James, 18, who was found with gunshot wounds, has been granted permission by the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, to seek a fresh inquest at the high court.

James was one of four young soldiers who died at the barracks between 1995 and 2002.

The original inquest recorded an open verdict. After being asked to conduct a separate investigation, Nicholas Blake QC in 2006 rejected calls for a public inquiry by the families of the four recruits who died from gunshot wounds – Privates James, Sean Benton, 20, Geoff Gray, 17, and James Collinson, 17.

Blake concluded there was no evidence the deaths were anything other than self-inflicted, though he reported that bullying, harassment, “foul abuse” and a systemic failure to investigate complaints were part of life at Deepcut.

On behalf of James’s parents, the civil rights group Liberty applied for a fresh inquest after using the Human Rights Act to get access to 44 volumes of statements, documents, notes and photographs understood to be in Surrey police files and containing evidence that had never properly been examined.

Liberty’s solicitor Emma Norton said: “The attorney general’s decision gives Cheryl’s grieving family a long-overdue chance to discover the truth. Until now their battle for answers has been repeatedly snubbed by a state that views the fundamental human rights of our troops as an optional extra.”

James’s parents, Des and Doreen James, from Llangollen, north Wales, said they were relieved and delighted by the attorney general’s decision. “It’s truly an emotional day – it’s been a long and painful process, with so many hurdles, but we never considered giving up”, they said.

“Cheryl had her whole life in front of her. When our young people lose their lives serving their country, not only do they deserve a full and independent investigation into their deaths, it must be their absolute right. We may now finally achieve a meaningful inquiry into her death and we hope it brings about real change for future recruits.”

A spokesperson for Grieve said: “The application was made to the attorney general on the basis that the original inquest made insufficient inquiry into the circumstances of her death and because new evidence is now available that was not put before the inquest in December 1995.”

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MPs call for more transparency over UK’s use of drones

Commons defence committee also points to ‘apparently inconsistent answers by ministers’ over joint operations with US

Ministers should be more open about the use of drones, but the unmanned aerial weapons are here to stay and should be welcomed, the Commons defence committee says in a report released on Tuesday.

The report says that public disquiet about the controversial weapons – or “remotely piloted air systems” as the RAF prefers to call them – has been fed in part by “misunderstandings and misinformation”.

The pilots of unmanned aircraft are not the video gaming “warrior geeks” they are often portrayed as being, and according to the Ministry of Defence, British “remotely piloted combat missions will always involve human operators and pilots”, the report says.

The MoD says it is aware of only one incident in which a strike by an armed UK Reaper unmanned aircraft killed civilians. That was on 25 March 2011, when four Afghan civilians were killed.

However, a freedom of information request last month by the campaign group Drone Wars UK revealed that British pilots launched at least 39 missile strikes against suspected Taliban insurgents from American drones in Afghanistan.

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, subsequently told MPs that the UK and the US operated a “combined fleet” of Reapers, piloted by personnel from either country.

In a separate answer, the junior defence minister, Anna Soubry, told MPs that apart from launching operations, UK Reapers had always been operated by UK pilots.

The defence committee’s report points to the “apparently inconsistent answers by ministers”. They must make it clear whether or not British Reapers have ever been operated by Americans outside launch and recovery operations, the committee says.

“If public confidence is to be built around the use of remotely piloted air systems it is important that it is clear that UK aircraft have only been utilised within Afghanistan and always in accordance with UK rules of engagement,” say the MPs.

The UN and campaign groups have strongly attacked “targeted killings” by unmanned aircraft. The defence committee says it acknowledges ” a growing concern in relation to the sharing of intelligence with allies and the uses to which such data may contribute” – a reference to the UK passing information about individuals to the US.

“We do believe that there should be greater transparency in relation to safeguards and limitations the UK government has in place for the sharing of intelligence,” says the defence committee making it plain that Britain should not get embroiled in US operations.

“It is of vital importance that a clear distinction be drawn between the actions of UK armed forces operating remotely piloted air systems in Afghanistan and those of other states elsewhere,” the report says. Though the MPs say on the basis of the evidence they received, they are satisfied UK remotely piloted air system operations “comply fully with international law”, they make it clear they cannot give the same assurances about US operations.

Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK attacked the report for not demanding that all casualties of RAF unmanned vehicle strikes should …read more