BBC to cut jobs with enforced cutbacks

After years of sending their staff on jollies at the expense of the British tax payer through the stealth tax that is the BBC TV Licence, finally the technological age has caught up with Auntie.

After showing complete left wing bias during the 2015 General Election the BBC is facing the fact that there is a £150m shortfall in funding and the gravy train is going to be soon hitting the buffers.

Looking for travel insurance over age of 85 then visit the various comparison sites.

Various BBC stories from around the web.


The BBC will cut over 1,000 jobs due to a £150m shortfall in its licence fee income, director Lord Tony Hall has confirmed.

With the number of households owning television sets falling as audience’s consumption practices change, the broadcaster’s income from license fee subscriptions has diminished.

The BBC said the financial challenges “means additional savings must now be found” and that it aims to save £50m from the slim down.

Hall said creating a “simpler, leaner, BBC is the right thing to do and it can also help us meet the financial challenges we face.

“We’ve already significantly cut the costs of running the BBC,” he explained, “but in times of very tough choices we need to focus on what really matters – delivering outstanding programmes and content for all our audiences.”

Professional and support areas will be most affected by the cuts, management layers will be removed and the number of its overall divisions reduced as part of Hall’s wide-ranging attempts to improve efficiency and make savings at the broadcaster.

Wage restraints, pay-off caps and a reduction in senior managers have already been implemented as part of his remodelling plan. Properties have also been vacated and sold off in order to cut costs – last month its Media Village site in White City was sold and sublet for £87m.

The £145.5 annual licence fee has been an issue of much contention in recent weeks, after culture secretary John Whittingdale called it “regressive” and argued it hit the poor the hardest.

However, Hall has said the licence hee has got “10 years life in it”.

From the Press Gazette

he BBC is to cut more than 1,000 jobs, including many managerial roles, the corporation has announced.

The cuts come as the corporation seeks to become “simpler, leaner and more effective for the future”.

They were announced by director general Tony Hall in a speech to staff this morning from the BBC’s Media Cafe. It was streamed on the corporation’s intranet.

The cuts announcement comes after reports the BBC discovered a £150m shortfall in funding from licence fee in 2016/17.

The cuts would amount to around one in 20 BBC staff going.

The BBC said it could deliver £50m in savings from “merging divisions, cutting down management layers, reducing managers and improving processes”. It said that more than 1,000 jobs would be lost as a result.

Asked where the other £100m – making up the rest of the shortfall – would come from, a BBC spokesperson said this would be announced “in due course”.

The BBC said it would reduce the number of divisions by “joining up technology teams across Digital, Engineering and Worldwide”, and said: “Further changes are also possible.”

It has also pledged to “reduce the number of layers from the top to the bottom of the organisation. In some places there are currently ten layers of people and management and this will be cut to a maximum of seven in the future.”

The statement also said that the BBC will “reduce management roles in all areas of the BBC. A simpler organisation will inevitably require fewer managers, especially at senior levels.”

And it will also bid to “simplify and standardise procedures across the BBC particularly looking at how professional and support areas such as marketing and communication, finance, HR, IT support and legal are structured and can be simplified.”

In a statement this morning, the corporation said: “Over recent years the BBC has built an impressive savings record that will deliver over £1.5bn of savings a year by 2017. Much of this has been done through cutting administration and property costs, pay and headcount restraint, plus tough decisions like more daytime repeats and shared sports rights.

“A new independent study by PwC being published today ranks the BBC amongst the most efficient organisations in the public and regulated private sectors. Overhead costs are approximately 8 per cent of total costs and will fall to 7 per cent – well below both the public sector average of 11.2 per cent and the regulated industry average of 8.8 per cent.

“Despite the progress already made, and the realities of the licence fee being frozen for seven years, a new financial challenge means additional savings must now be found.

“The licence fee income in 2016/17 is now forecast to be £150m less than it was expected to be in 2011. This is because as more people use iPlayer, mobiles and online catch-up, the number of households owning televisions is falling. It also provides further evidence of the need for the licence fee to be modernised to cover digital services.”

Director General Tony Hall said: “A simpler, leaner, BBC is the right thing to do and it can also help us meet the financial challenges we face.

“We’ve already significantly cut the costs of running the BBC, but in times of very tough choices we need to focus on what really matters – delivering outstanding programmes and content for all our audiences.”

Big UK supermarket Tescos makes a record loss

Every little doesn’t always help!

Tesco’s is the UK’s largest supermarket and is famous for squeezing farmers and food producers. It’s also famous for poor quality food and ruining small local retailers, therefore the group’s latest loss figures is very much a good news story.

Here is what some of the other media outlets are saying…

From the UK Telegraph…

Here is some of the reaction from analysts:

Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital, said: “To say that Tesco had a nightmare year in FY2015 would be an under-statement, an out-turn that would simply have been unfathomable in days gone by. The whys and wherefores of how Tesco reached this somewhat unedifying position have been well documented to our minds, and so perhaps the key take-away for investors from CEO, Dave Lewis’, first set of preliminary results should be what of the future.”
Bruno Monteyne at Bernstein: “The press headlines will be dominated by the loss, we instead focus on the pension deficit, which has not expanded as much as some had feared, the lack of any hidden surprises and the solid trading performance coming through in the UK.”

From the UK Guardian…

The annual result was worse than the City’s most dire predictions that the group would fall £5bn into the red. Chief executive Dave Lewis said he had tried to make a break with Tesco’s recent history by accounting for all likely events.

But Lewis warned that the food retail market remained “challenging” and that, despite signs of improving sales, Tesco’s performance would be volatile for some time to come.

Lewis, who joined Tesco in September, said: “We’ve got a long, long way to go and I don’t think it will be smooth as we move through the changes we want to make. We have sought to draw a line under the past and to rebuild from here. Everything we know [about] we have dealt with.”

The former Unilever executive was drafted in to turn around the fortunes of Britain’s biggest retailer following a series of profit warnings amid a ferocious price war with rivals.

So what is the future for big supermarkets in the UK? Well other big players such as Sainsburys, Morrison and Wal Mart’s ASDA are all struggling.

Could this mean the end of the supermarket in Britain and restoring of the small independent shops.


Across Britain, the high street is in decline. The effects ripple through our communities. A major factor in this decline is the relentless rise of large supermarkets.

From Local Works – Supermarkets lead to local shops closing

Over 80% of independent shops on our high streets have closed.[1] Our local butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and bakeries are shutting down. Meanwhile, hundreds of new supermarkets are opening, and supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s are increasing the number of local convenience stores they own.

There is a devastating lack of choice for local people buying groceries because of the rise of the supermarkets: nowadays, supermarkets control a whopping 97% of the grocery market.[2]

Supermarkets take money out of local communities

Half of the turnover of an independent local retailer goes back into the local community, while just 5% of the turnover of a supermarket does.[3] They take money out of communities and put into the hands of profit-hungry supermarket bosses.

Supermarkets lead to fewer local jobs

Every time a new supermarket opens, 276 jobs are lost locally.[4] Between 2008 and 2010, the big supermarkets Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, pledged to create 67,000 new jobs. They fell far short of this target, creating just 28, 217 jobs.[5]

In 2011, supermarket giants expanded their floorspace by 2,750,000 square feet. You might expect this to lead to more jobs. The opposite happened: the total number of people employed by these companies fell by over 400.[6]

Supermarkets harm the environment

A staggering 17 billion portions of fruit and vegetables are left to rot by supermarkets, rejected because they are not considered “uniform”. To reach the standards supermarkets demand, intensive farming techniques are necessary, with a limited variety of food grown and use of chemicals to keep the fruit looking perfect.[7]

Up to 30% of the UK’s vegetable crop is never even harvested because the perfectly edible vegetables fail look how supermarkets want them to[7]. Supermarkets also demand that the food travels well, because food sold in supermarkets travels a lot further…

Most of the year, English apples are available, but only 25% of apples consumed in the UK are grown here. In fact, 90% of apples sold in our supermarkets are grown in France. The largest retailers have centralised distribution, meaning there is an enormous distance between producer, packager, distributor and ultimate retail outlet[8]. In order to supply food at short notice delivery lorries are often half-empty.[8]

Also travel insurance for the over 75 age group is also sold by most supermarkets now including Sainsburys for instance.

Supermarkets also produce vast quantities of waste that cannot be recycled. Items are overpackaged, and a total of 6.4 billion non-recyclable carrier bags were given to supermarket customers in 2010.[9]

British Doctors could be on brink of a cure for paralysis

This news could be the biggest of the good news site for many years.


In the UK doctors have maybe made a huge breakthrough in the treatment of paralysis that could give hope to millions around the globe who are confined to wheelchairs.

Here is some video news of the findings…

How some of the news papers and agencies are reporting this around the world…

LONDON, United Kingdom – A parayzed Bulgarian man can walk again after receiving revolutionary treatment in Poland in a breakthrough hailed by one of the British scientists responsible as “more impressive than a man walking on the Moon”.

Darek Fidyka was paralyzed from the chest down following a knife attack in 2010, but can now walk using a frame after receiving treatment in which nerve cells from his nose were transplanted into his severed spinal column, according to research published in the journal Cell Transplantation on Tuesday.


“When there’s nothing, you can’t feel almost half of your body. You’re helpless, lost,” the patient, who is now recovering at the Akron Neuro-Rehabilitation Center in Wroclaw, told BBC’s Panorama programme.

“When it begins to come back, you feel you’ve started your life all over again, as if you are reborn. It’s an incredible feeling, difficult to describe,” the 40-year-old said.

Specialist olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), which form part of the sense of smell, were used in the treatment as they are pathway cells, enabling nearby nerve fibers to be continually regenerated.

The treatment involved two operations.

Pawel Tabakow, consultant neurosurgeon at Wroclaw University, led a team of surgeons in removing one of the patient’s olfactory bulbs before transplanting cultured cells into the spinal cord.

Scientists think that the cells, implanted above and below the injury, enabled damaged fibres to reconnect.

“What we’ve done is establish a principle, nerve fibres can grow back and restore function, provided we give them a bridge,” said Geoff Raisman, chair of neural regeneration at University College London’s Institute of Neurology, who led the British research team working on the joint project.

“To me, this is more impressive than a man walking on the Moon. I believe this is the moment when paralysis can be reversed.”

Tabakow said it was “amazing to see how regeneration of the spinal cord, something that was thought impossible for many years, is becoming a reality”.

‘Door will open in life’

For two years after sustaining the injury, Fidyka showed no sign of recovery despite intensive five-hour physiotherapy sessions.

The first signs of improvement came three months after the surgery, when his left thigh began putting on muscle.

Three months later, Fidyka was able to take his first steps with the aid of parallel bars and leg braces. He can now walk outside using a frame and has also recovered some feeling in his bladder and bowel.

“I think it’s realistic that one day I will become independent,” said the patient.

“What I have learned is that you must never give up but keep fighting, because some door will open in life.”

The research was funded by the UK Stem Cell Foundation and the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF), set up by chef David Nicholls after his son Daniel was paralysed in a 2003 swimming accident.

NSIF has given £1 million ($1.6 million, 1.26 million euros) to researchers in London and £240,000 to the team in Poland. Both camps say they will not seek to profit from the research.

“It would be my proudest boast if I could say that no patient had had to pay one penny for any of the information we have found,” said Raisman.

NSIF said it would acquire any patents and make them freely available.

“When Dan had his accident I made him a promise that, one day, he would walk again,” Nicholls told the BBC.

“I set up the charity to raise funds purely for research into repairing the spinal cord. The results with Darek show we are making significant progress towards that goal.”

The UK Stem Cell Foundation said the team was now searching for the best source of olfactory ensheathing cells and developing prototype nanofibre biomaterials on which transplanted OECs could grow.

They hope to raise enough money to hold clinical trials on 10 patients in Britain and Poland.


More on this story…

The 38-year-old Bulgarian man is believed to be the first person in the world to recover from complete severing of the spinal nerves, with sensation now returned to his lower limbs.
Darek Fidyka, who suffered his injury four years ago, can now walk with a frame and has been able to resume an independent life, even to the extent of driving a car.
Surgeons used nerve-supporting cells from his nose to provide pathways along which the broken tissue was able to grow.
Despite success in the laboratory, it is the first time the procedure has been shown to work in a human patient.

Researchers said the man was “not dancing but absolutely delighted” by the breakthrough.
Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at University College London’s Institute of Neurology discovered the technique, said: “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”
A Polish team led by one of the world’s top spinal repair experts, Dr Pawel Tabakow, from Wroclaw Medical University, performed the surgery.
The procedure involved transplanting olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the nose to the spinal cord.

OECs assist the repair of damaged nerves that transmit smell messages by opening up pathways for them to the olfactory bulbs in the forebrain.
Re-located to the spinal cord, they appear to enable the ends of severed nerve fibres to grow and join together – something that was previously thought to be impossible.

So could this be the cure for paraylsis?

cure for the first time after a new technique pioneered by British doctors allowed a man with a severed spinal cord to recover the ability to walk.

A revolutionary implant of regenerative cells has knitted back together the spinal cord of a wheelchair-bound firefighter paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack, restoring sensation and muscle control to his legs.

The astonishing breakthrough by an Anglo-Polish medical team is the first ever instance where a complete spinal paralysis has been reversed and represents the potential conquering of one of the greatest challenges in medical science. If validated, it offers hope of a life-changing therapy to the 2.5m people paralysed by spinal injury in Britain and across the world.

The technique, developed by researchers at University College London and put into practice by surgeons in the Polish city of Wroclaw, uses specialist human cells which repair damage to nasal nerves to enable spinal nerve fibres to re-grow and bridge a severed cord.


The Doctor is back – and he means business!

Most science fiction enthusiasts had a really long summer, waiting for the eighth season of the revived TV series Doctor Who to hit the screens this August. There was a bit of anxiety mixed into their anticipation, as the Doctor has taken a brand new persona this summer – played by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, known for his roles in The Thick of It and The Musketeers (he plays Cardinal Richelieu).

The bad news is that the Doctor has changed into a person completely different from his predecessor. If Matt Smith was a Doctor with much humor, clumsiness, energy and fun, Capaldi’s Doctor looks like a much darker, much more serious character. Sometimes he seems to show his age – he is over 1,200 years old by this time. His long age shows in his grey hair and old eyes, too.

This episode had a bit of surprise for real fans – the moment when he left Clara, his long time companion, behind in the (spoilers!) chamber with the dormant clockwork droids. Some were surely shocked by this action – just to be relieved when Clara had put her faith in the Doctor and was not mistaken to do so. I won’t say more, for the sake of those who haven’t had the chance to see the latest episode yet.

All in all, the new Doctor has shown that he means business. After a few clumsy moments in the beginning, with his mind not being “rebooted” yet, he found himself and got things done, showing that he means business. As usual.

Peter Capaldi is the fifth actor to be cast in the title role of the revived Doctor Who TV series (or the fourth, if we don’t count John Hurt’s single episode presence) and the twelfth (thirteenth) actor to be playing the beloved character since the series premiere in 1963. An interesting fact – the Scottish actor was 55 years old when he was cast for his role as the Doctor, the same age as William Hartnell when he was cast as the first Doctor. Capaldi has appeared in the series before – he played Caecilius in a Pompeii-themed episode in season four of the revived series, and John Frobisher in the third season of the spin-off series Torchwood.

Again, the good news: the Doctor is finally back, and he means business. The bad news, in turn, is that we will have to wait a week for the next episode. This is the hardest part – when you finally get a few bits of good stuff, and have to wait patiently for more. I think I’ll play our vast selection of table games each day until the day comes when I get to see some more of the Twelfth Doctor…

Racing driver showing encouraging signs

The seven-times Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher is “showing moments of awakening” after three months in a coma in a hospital in Grenoble, his manager revealed today.

Previous updates on Schumacher’s condition had spoken of the motor racing legend showing signs of responding to stimulus. Today’s statement implies that he has progressed beyond that stage but medical precedents suggest that, after three months in a coma, his chances of complete recovery are slight.

Schumacher crashed head first into a rock while skiing off-piste at Meribel in the French Alps on 29 December last year. He has been in a coma at Grenoble University Hospital since.

Career in Pictures: Michael Schumacher
The 45-year-old has undergone two operations to reduce pressure on his brain caused by swelling and remove haematomas, and the news today comes as his first significant improvement since effort began at the end of January to awaken Schumacher.

Schumacher’s manager said no further details of his conditions would be released at this stage.

The German was skiing with his son between three and eight metres from the piste when his skis struck a rock hidden in the snow. He was projected for two to three metres and his head struck another rock. His helmet was split in two by the force of the collision.

What is a Medically induced coma?

Can be induced by powerful anaesthetics and is broadly similar to the sedation and artificial ventilation used during surgery.

Used to shut down many brain functions, lowering blood flow and pressure.

Taking a patient out of an induced coma is a delicate process, especially after a prolonged period of sedation
Doctors and relatives are looking for any signs of returning consciousness and recovery.

Last month Schumacher’s relatives said in a statement that he had been showing “small, encouraging signs”.

Investigators probing the accident said Schumacher had been going at the speed of “a very good skier” at the time of his crash in the resort of Meribel.

He had been skiing off-piste when he fell and hit a rock, investigators said.

Experts reconstructed events leading up to the crash after examining Schumacher’s skiing equipment and viewing footage filmed on a camera attached to his helmet.

Schumacher retired from racing in 2012 after a 19-year career.

He won two titles with Benetton, in 1994 and 1995, before switching to Ferrari in 1996 and going on to win five straight titles from 2000.

Source: The Independent, The BBC