Power for Good

With energy bosses in Britain muttering darkly about potential power cuts, the end of 2013 will have seen many people pausing to think how they might cope if and when the lights go out.

The start of 2014 has, however, made power cuts a reality for many thousands across the country, as storms and flooding have brought down electricity cables and deluged sub-stations.

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Global take-up of solar power continues to grow and has, as Mark Hankins writes in Sun-Connect (20/05/2013), switched from being 99 per cent off-grid 20 years ago to 99 per cent on-grid in 2012. This may be a broadly encouraging picture, but the whole of Africa accounted for just 1.5 per cent of total solar energy sales last year – less than the UK alone.

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The World Bank is permanently in danger of being shot by both sides. Many on the left have come to see it as a way for the developed world to exploit developing nations, whilst critics on the right sees it as either hopelessly ineffective or as propping up a series of disastrous economies.

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TV news reports in the wake of the recent disastrous tornado in Oklahoma have showed how good emergency preparation saved many lives.

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Every year, the Queen gives a speech to the UK Parliament outlining the policies that the government of the day intends to introduce over the coming year. It is an opportunity for the government to set out its priorities, for opposition parties and special interest groups to give their reactions and, as often as not, for the media to have a field day.

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The sight of British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie touring refugee camps in the DRC this week might -at least initially – have seemed a surreal one, but the issues they were very successfully highlighting could not have been more pressing.

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