David Preston

858 Flips | 4 Magazines | 11 Likes | 6 Following | 721 Followers | @dpgeog | Geography teacher, head of department, outdoor enthusiast, technology fan.

In the future, will farming be fully automated?

<b>In the not-too-distant future, our fields could be tilled, sown, tended and harvested entirely by fleets of co-operating autonomous machines by land and air.</b><p>And they'll be working both day and night.<p>Driverless tractors that can follow pre-programmed routes are already being deployed at large farms …

Will Central Asia fight over water?

<b>In Central Asia, a crisis is brewing over water and electricity. The Soviet-era system in which the five countries of the region shared their resources has broken down, leaving some facing water shortages and others chronic power cuts. Instances of small-scale unrest have already occurred, but some</b> …

Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink'

<b>A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin's carbon sink by killing trees and slowing trees' growth rates, a study has shown.</b><p>The term carbon sink refers to the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.<p>In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed …

Global warming set to cost the world economy £1.5 trillion by 2030 as it becomes too hot to work

Global warming will cost the world economy more than £1.5 trillion a year in lost productivity by 2030 as it becomes too hot to work in many jobs, …

EU Referendum: Would Brexit prompt London to go it alone?

<b>If Britain votes to leave the European Union, could it prompt London to demand its own exit - in this case from the United Kingdom?</b><p>While it's a scenario most would dismiss out of hand, Prof Tony Travers of the London School of Economics argues that although such an outcome might seem fanciful, in …

Immigration: Threat or opportunity?

<b>The referendum debate is ending pretty much where it began: dominated by two issues. The economy and immigration.</b><p>The economic arguments are mostly about figures. The immigration debate is more emotional, more visceral.<p>Most of us don't have a clue as to how to evaluate the economic arguments for the …

Net migration to UK rises to 333,000 - second highest on record

<b>Net migration to the UK rose to 333,000 in 2015, according to Office for National Statistics estimates - the second highest figure on record.</b><p>Net migration is the difference between the number of people coming to the UK for at least a year and those leaving.<p>The figure for EU-only net migration was …

Prof Ted Cantle, who wrote report after 2001 race riots, identifies trends of ‘more prejudice, intolerance and mistrust’ in schools and workplaces<p>British society is increasingly dividing along ethnic lines – with segregation in schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces – that risks fuelling prejudice, …

Great Britain

How a falling birth rate stalls the world economy

Having fewer children used to be seen as a sign of progress, but when the whole world is having fewer children it can have a severe impact on global economic growth.<p>As the population of the world gets older, and the percentage of those who are of working age gets smaller, This Week's World looks at …

Cyclone Roanu: Half a million flee in Bangladesh

<b>Cyclone Roanu has pounded coastal areas of Bangladesh, forcing half a million people to flee their homes and leaving at least 24 dead.</b><p>It made landfall at noon local time (06:00 GMT) on Saturday, causing floods, landslides and submerging homes.<p>The storm system has since weakened but heavy rainfall …

Is there a sexist data crisis?

<b>There is a black hole in our knowledge of women and girls around the world. They are often missing from official statistics, and areas of their lives are ignored completely. So campaigners say - but what needs to be done?</b><p>"We believe that there is a sexist data crisis," says David McNair, Director …

Billion people face global flooding risk by 2060, charity warns

<b>A British aid charity is warning that by 2060 more than a billion people worldwide will live in cities at risk of catastrophic flooding as a result of climate change.</b><p>A study by Christian Aid says the US, China and India are among the countries most threatened.<p>It says the Indian cities of Kolkata …

What's killing white middle-aged American women?

<b>The rich world has got used to health and longevity getting better, and death rates falling for everyone.</b><p>But over the past few years, data has been accumulating which suggests that this trend has stopped for poorly-educated, white Americans.<p>And for one group in particular - middle-aged women - …

Chinese property investors bet on the Northern Powerhouse

<b>Listening to details of when the M62 motorway is likely to be upgraded - or how the high-speed railway HS2 is progressing - may not be your idea of a scintillating weekend.</b><p>But this Saturday and Sunday 500 Chinese investors will be lapping up such details in two of Hong Kong's swankiest hotels, …

GlaxoSmithKline to 'drop patents in poor countries for better drug access'

<b>Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline has said it wants to make it easier for manufacturers in the world's poorest countries to copy its medicines.</b><p>The British company said it would not file patents in these countries.<p>Chief executive Sir Andrew Witty said he wanted to take a "graduated" approach to …

Local authority becomes first in England to take control of its health and social care budget, but there is widespread uncertainty<p>Greater Manchester is to become the first local authority in England to take control of its £6bn health and social care budget in an experiment that has been criticised …

Radiation Therapy

UK is on track to have the highest obesity levels in Europe, while a fifth of world’s obese adults live in six high-income English-speaking countries<p>About a fifth of all adults around the world and a third of those in the UK will be obese by 2025, with potentially disastrous consequences for their …

Diabetes

Drought and rising temperatures 'leaves 36m people across Africa facing hunger'

More than 36 million people face hunger across southern and eastern Africa, the United Nations has warned, as swaths of the continent grapple with the worst drought in decades at a time of record high temperatures.<p>The immediate cause of the drought which has crippled countries from Ethiopia to …

Africa

French named best baby-makers in all of Europe

At 2.01 births per woman, France's fertility rate is followed by Ireland on 1.94, Sweden on 1.88 and and Britain on 1.81, the EU's Eurostat data …

SNP riding high on unprecedented levels of support before May’s Scottish elections will launch new initiative in the summer<p>Nicola Sturgeon will spearhead a renewed drive to build support for Scottish independence this summer, pledging to turn the 45% who voted to leave the UK in the 2014 referendum …

Income Tax

More women than ever use family planning, says the UN, and having one child fewer could dramatically curtail the global population by 2030<p>The number of women using contraceptives in developing countries has soared to record levels in recent years, such that projections for global population growth …

Family Planning

Bananas, maize and beans could be among crops consigned to history in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with drastic consequences for people who rely on beans as a vital source of protein<p>Climate change will leave swaths of sub-Saharan Africa unable to produce staple crops such as maize, bananas and …

Agriculture

Global warming increases rain in world's driest areas

Global warming will increase rainfall in some of the world's driest areas over land, with not only the wet getting wetter but the dry getting wetter …

Tree planting 'can reduce flooding'

<b>Planting trees around rivers could reduce the height of flooding in towns by up to 20%, new research suggests.</b><p>A study for the Environment Agency concludes that trees round a feeder stream can slow the rush of rainwater and save properties from flooding.<p>But it warns that natural flood prevention …

Thousands gather in Spain to give hero’s welcome to Arnaldo Otegi after six-year sentence for trying to resurrect Eta’s banned political wing<p>Thousands of people in the heart of Spain’s Basque country gave a hero’s welcome to a veteran separatist leader following his release after more than six …

Europe

Work until you're 75 - or even 81 - under Government review of state pension age

Possible age hike comes as minister hints at pensions tax raid on middle-class savers<p>Millions of people could be forced to work until they are 75, the Government has hinted as details of a review into the state pension age were published.<p>Ministers have announced a radical review of the pensions …

Retirement

How did Britain get so fat?

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/ PA<p>A trip to England's fattest town reveals why Britain's obesity epidemic shows no signs of stopping<p><i>By</i> <i>Tom Rowley and</i> <i>Ashley Kirk</i><i>, Friday 26th February 2016</i><p>In the days before Colonel Sanders was born, long before Ronald McDonald was even a gleam in his creator's eye, 4,000 …

Weight Watchers

Fall of nearly one million in official figures shows that demographic problems will be a reality for country in the future<p>Japan’s population has fallen by nearly one million, according to new statistics – the first decline since official census records began in the 1920s.<p>The country lost 947,345 …

Japan

Christchurch earthquake: The battle to rebuild, five years on

<b>It has been five years since a major earthquake hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch, but thousands of residents are still waiting for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt.</b><p>Several residents have told BBC News that they are "in limbo" and face increasing financial problems after years of delays …

New Zealand

Five issues that will shape the Northern Powerhouse

<b>Key decisions will be made shortly about transport infrastructure in what Chancellor George Osborne calls the Northern Powerhouse. But what will it mean in reality?</b><p>George Osborne first spoke of creating a "Northern Powerhouse" - an economic success story in the north of England to rival London - in …