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Uk Construction Activity Inches Off Six-year High In September, Jobs Strong – Pmi

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor LONDON | Wed Oct 2, 2013 9:46am BST LONDON (Reuters) – British construction activity eased slightly in September from a near six-year high in August, a survey of purchasing managers showed on Wednesday, but residential construction rose at its fastest rate in nearly a decade. The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers index (PMI)edged down to 58.9 from 59.1 but was still well above the 50 threshold that separates growth from contraction. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 59.2. All three sub-sectors of construction grew last month, with the sharpest rise in housing since November 2003, potentially easing some concerns about Britain’s shortfall of new homes. “Construction is no longer the weakest link in the UK economy,” said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. “The third quarter of 2013 ended with output growth riding high amid greater spending on infrastructure projects and resurgent house building activity,” he said. Optimism was also up, with 51 percent expecting output would rise over the next 12 months and only 9 percent of respondents predicting a fall, the highest level of confidence since August 2010. Employers created jobs for the fourth straight month. “Having been in the doldrums for so long, builders are using this renewal as a platform to invest, with employment seeing the most dramatic upturn in close to six years,” said David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. PMI data on Tuesday showed Britain’s manufacturing activity grew at a slower rate than expected in September, but also showed that employment picking up. The Bank of England is keeping a close eye on the UK labour market, having said that it would not consider raising record-low interest rates until the jobless rate falls to 7 percent. On Friday, mortgage lender Nationwide said British house prices rose for the fifth straight month in September and hit record highs in London. The day before that, finance minister George Osborne asked the Bank of England to make annual assessments of his controversial “Help to Buy” housing programme to ensure that its support to lenders does not lead to a property bubble. – Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from Markit and customers need to apply to Markit for a licence.

UK gears up for cyberwarfare offensives

Gavin O’Toole Last Modified: 01 Oct 2013 12:46 A new report highlights abuse of Asian and Muslim minors in Britain [Muslim Women’s Network] London, UK-Police and leading figures in the battle against child abuse have welcomed the findings of a report highlighting the sexual exploitation of girls in Britain’s Asian and Muslim communities. A broad consensus on the need for greater awareness is emerging in the wake of a shocking study by a Muslim women’s organisation, reported by Al Jazeera last week that highlighted the threat posed by sexual predators to Asian children. A week of activities to highlight the issue of sexual exploitation was launched yesterday on September 30, in Bradford, a northern British city with a high Muslim population, where local agencies have pioneered innovative approaches to confronting this issue among minorities. Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women , published in September by the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) , has been praised by Muslim leaders for its candour. Thousands of UK children vulnerable to abuse Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam from Leicester and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain , said: “We welcome the findings of this report, but particularly the recommendations within it, which we believe provide vital tools in the quest to eliminate and eradicate this heinous crime from all our communities.” Unheard Voiceschallenged a myth commonly repeated in the British media suggesting that child sexual exploitation is mainly a racial crime in which Asian men target white girls. Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), a national police body, says child sexual exploitation spans “all cultures and ethnicities” – but acknowledges that cultural factors may help to explain why research to date suggests most victims are white. The Muslim Women’s Network report has united frontline agencies and community leaders in their determination to raise awareness of the issue in minority communities – and to tackle a crime that has risen rapidly up the political agenda in the UK. Police forces across the UK have dramatically raised the importance they have given to child sexual exploitation in recent years. Greater Manchester Police has made it a top policing priority, and recent awareness initiatives have been launched by police in the northern counties of Durham, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Police in West Yorkshire, which has high Asian and Muslim populations, unveiled a hard-hitting video on September 29 featuring parents whose children have been victims of child sexual exploitation as part of its on-going ” Know the Signs ” campaign. Detective Chief Inspector Susan Jenkinson, the force’s head of safeguarding, said that officers trying to combat child sexual exploitation did not approach this as an ethnic minority issue – yet were fully aware of the special problems faced by Asian and Muslim children. DCI Jenkinson said: “For me it’s not a minority issue: there are people committing horrendous crimes against children, and it’s the children that the police, social care and all the partner agencies and third-sector workers want to protect. “I don’t want it to become a race or minority issue: it’s something that we should all be looking at together to try and prevent it happening and get the people who are committing these offences to justice.” The approach taken by West Yorkshire Police reflects a practice now gaining ground in this area that stresses multi-agency partnerships where officers work with a host of other bodies in local safeguarding units to identify and tackle the crime. In areas such as Bradford, this enables community leaders to help in ways that take account of cultural factors. Awareness is seen as key to reducing the risk of child sexual exploitation in minority communities, and groups such as Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (PACE) work alongside parents and carers of children at risk. The organisation has worked withMuslim and Sikh families where children have been victims,and some of the parents it has helped teamed up with West Yorkshire Police in its video.

UK officials react to child sex abuse report

As cybercrime continues to prove a lucrative way for hackers to steal valuable data for profit or as part of state-sponsored jobs — and many governments struggle to catch up and protect networks adequately against rising attacks — defense budget funds now need to not only consider physical threats, but digital warfare as well. Hammond commented: “Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real. But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.” In February, the National Audit Office named “addressing the UK’s current and future ICT and cybersecurity skills gap” as a “key challenge.” The NAO report was published as part of the UK’s 650 million pound ($1.09 billion) Cyber Security Strategy scheme, and said it could take “20 years” to address the skills gap at all levels of education. Not only could a dedicated task force of offensive security experts deter hackers in the future, but the Defence Secretary told the Mail on Sunday that cyberstrikes could work “alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts,” disabling communications, nuclear weapons, ships and critical hardware. To establish the new cybersecurity force, the UK will recruit experts in their hundreds from a number of fields. The recruitment drive will include civilian computer experts who will be part of the “Joint Cyber Reserve,” and their role will be to work alongside members of the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ to protect critical infrastructure and prevent data theft. The cost of the program was not disclosed, but recruitment is due to begin in October. Hammond commented : “Increasingly, our defense budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe. The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyber-space. This is an exciting opportunity for Internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.” The UK is also seeking ways to train the next generation of cyberspecialists. In May, two UK universities — Oxford and Royal Holloway — were granted 7.5 million pounds in funding to help develop the country’s skills in online security.

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