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02 Apr 12. David Cameron on Monday repeated Britain’s determination to uphold the Falkland islanders’ right to determine their own future as he marked the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the South Atlantic territory. Amid a recent escalation of tensions between the UK and Argentina, the prime minister said there would be no change in his government’s policy on the disputed islands. “Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future,” he said. “That was the fundamental principle that was at stake 30 years ago: and that is the principle which we solemnly reaffirm today.” Three decades after Argentinian troops seized the islands’ capital Port Stanley on April 2 1982 Mr Cameron paid tribute to the taskforce sent by Margaret Thatcher to take them back. In a gesture of reconciliation, however, he said it should be a day to remember both sides’ losses in the conflict: the 649 Argentinians who died as well as the 255 British military personnel. Mr Cameron said in a written statement he was adamant Britain would not compromise on the central issue of the islanders’ right to self-determination. “Thirty years ago today the people of the Falkland Islands suffered an act of aggression that sought to rob them of their freedom and their way of life,” he said. (Source: FT.com)
03 Apr 12. The UK’s Ministry of Defence must invest in science and technology now or suffer the consequences in coming years, a meeting in London has heard. Rees Ward, head of defence industry body ADS, said the effects of cuts in these areas would hit hard several years down the line. Mr Ward was one of the speakers at an event to showcase innovative concepts for defence. Spending on science has declined steeply over the last decade. This has occurred as the overall MoD budget has come under increasing pressure. “Our industry… has been supported in the past by science and technology budgets that have been substantial,” Mr Ward said. “It’s a great sadness and it is a great risk that over the last 10 years the MoD’s [science and technology] budget has gone from £800m to £400m. “We should be concerned about that as a nation, because the effects of such a reduction are not going to be felt in the next two or three years.
“They are going to be felt in five years and 10 years, when the brains, the skills, the knowledge, the understanding will have disappeared because that budget has reduced.” Mr Ward, chief executive officer for the Aerospace, Defence and Security Trade Organisation (ADS), was speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) to showcase defence innovations from small and medium-sized businesses. These included a lightweight soldier uniform woven with yarn that conducts electricity. The new approach provides a single, central power source to reduce the need for multiple batteries and cabling, thereby lightening the physical burden for soldiers. (Source: BBC)
05 Apr 12. AirTanker is scrambling to stop leaks occurring as its tanker aircraft refuels UK military jets. The tankers are due to make their maiden flights as transport planes with the Royal Air Force next week. The production consortium insists it will be ready to refuel UK jets by the 2014 deadline in spite of the leakage found during recent testing. Despite working on aircraft such as US-made F-16s and F-18s and on Eurofighter Typhoons in service with Spain, the tankers failed to connect their hose properly with UK aircraft 20 per cent of the time. AirTanker believes the problem is based on a software glitch and the need to refine the pilot’s technique to stop the hose from rotating as it prepares to pump 5,000