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Why is the sun red & why is the sky a strange colour?

A red sun at Mudeford Dorset Credit: Emma Duguid

According to the Met Office, the red sun is caused by winds pulling up Saharan dust.

This dust is then reflected and refracted in longer wavelengths, giving a red appearance to the sky. This dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset.

Some areas have been forced to turn on street lights in the middle of the day as the dust partially blocked out the sun.

Wilton Windmill, Just South Of Hungerford. Credit: Ken Rayner

Smoke from wildfires occurring over northern Iberia has also been pulled up high up into the atmosphere by ex hurricane Ophelia.

Some aircraft flying at altitude have reported a smell of burning in the cabin which reinforces this theory.

The sun over the New Forest Credit: Greg Parker


Hampshire County Council forced to save another £140m - some services will be cut

Hampshire County Council has an annual budget of almost £2 billion pounds. That money is spent on public services like education, roads, libraries, public health and waste disposal.

So far - since central Government's funding began to be cut in 2008 - the council has saved £340 million from its budget.

Council has to cut £140m of services Credit: HCC

Because of the rising cost of adult social care - like services for the elderly - it has increased council tax. Despite that, it says it faces a budget shortfall of £140 million.

Leader of HCC Roy Perry Credit: HCC

We have been reporting for some time now, the extent of the financial challenge that we continue to face. With our revenue support grant from Government soon coming to an end, together with rising inflation and significant increases in the numbers of elderly people, younger adults and children needing care - the pressures are mounting.

Members of the public, for good reasons, tend not to see the children in the care of the County Council, or those on the 'at risk register', but there is no doubt in my mind that they must be our highest priority to protect.

– Roy Perry

We are limited on the level by which we can increase council tax, and changes to the law would be needed to enable us to introduce or increase charges for some services - even though residents have indicated they would prefer to make contributions for some discretionary services rather than lose them.

The financial outlook remains extremely challenging. It's going to be very difficult indeed to achieve a further £140 million of savings, on top of the £340 million of spending reductions we have had to make since our funding from central Government began to reduce in 2008.

– Roy Perry

A final decision on where the cuts will be come wil be made by full council on November 2.

Storm Ophelia has a nasty sting

Storm Ophelia is blowing thousands of poisonous Portuguese-man-of-War jellyfish, which can be fatal, on to beaches across the south from Dorset to Worthing, Shoreham and Chichester, and the Isle of Wight.

The jellyfish are known as floating terrors because their sting is so painful. UK Coastguard are warning beachgoers and dog walkers not to touch the them because they can in rare cases, cause a fatal allergic reaction in animals and humans.

Portuguese-man-of-war are about 20 cm long Credit: NOS

We are aware of these sightings after receiving multiple reports from members of the public yesterday and today. Until an accurate identification is made, members of the public are advised to keep away from these jellyfish and report any sighting to their local council.

– Aimee Rampton UK Coastguard
Portuguese-man-of-war Credit: @shorehamport

First aid advice would be to remove the sting by scraping it away with a credit card or stick then soak any affected area in warm sea water and seek medical advice if symptoms become concerning by calling 111

Do not use urine to treat a jellyfish sting. Do not use vinegar to treat a Portuguese man of war sting as it will make the pain worse. Use paracetamol or Ibuprofen to numb the pain. If the sting is to the eyes or ingested you must go to your nearest A&E immediately. Pets should be taken to an emergency vet practice.

– RNLI spokesman

Recovering from the Great Storm in Kent and Sussex

Nothing has compared since. The Great Storm of 1987 claimed lives and destoyed homes.

More than 15 million trees were uprooted - many of them in areas of ancient woodland.

The massive clear-up lasted several years - and it's taken even longer - to restore large areas of forest. Work that's still going on today in places such as Emmetts Garden in Kent and Wakehurst in Sussex, run by the National Trust.

We speak to: Gardener Alan Comb and Head Gardener Matthew Scott from Emmetts. And Wakehurst Conservation and Woodland manager Ian Parkinson and Clare Trevidi from Kew Science Directorate.


Recovering from the Great Storm at Wakehurst

30 years ago today we saw the worst storm in living memory - in the UK - the most devastating in 300 years.

The storm stetched across the South East coast - striking at midnight and lasting several hours. In the process millions of trees were uprooted.

The massive clear-up lasted several years - and it's taken even longer - to restore large areas of forest. Work that's still going on today at places like Wakehurst in Sussex.

We speak to Conservation and Woodland manager Ian Parkinson and Clare Trevidi from the Kent Science Directorate.

Schoolchildren to learn lifesaving heart beats

Schoolchildren in Portsmouth - aged between seven and eleven years - are to learn life-saving CPR skills today.

It's part of the annual 'Restart a Heart Day'.

Portsmouth Hospitals, South Central Ambulance Service and HeartBeatzUK have joined forces to teach lifesaving skills to school children and the public.

They'll learn songs that teach the correct speed - or beats - necessary to perform CPR.

The children can also meet a team of paramedics and view a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance and defibrillators.

Our survival rates when your heart stops, a cardiac arrest, are a lot lower than other countries in Europe, we can improve this by learning CPR to give at the scene of a collapse.

By teaching children we are embedding this knowledge in the next generation. With the power of music they can learn what to do and perform CPR and defibrillation if required.

Combining with SCAS and QA ensures our message is heard loud and clear - and as the European Resuscitation Council says 'Kids Save Lives'.

– Dr. Clare Morden, Founder of HeartBeatz UK and Chair of Trainees Committee European Resuscitation Council

'My son asks about him every day'- Amazing support for Gemma Conway's cat crash petition

Losing a much loved pet can be heart breaking - especially when you have no idea what happened to it but suspect it was run over on the roads.

This is often the case for cat owners because there is no legal obligation for drivers to report the incident.

Now one woman from Dorset is campaigning to change the law and force drivers to report any collision involving a cat. Richard Slee reports

Richard spoke to cat owner and campaigner Gemma Conway.

To sign the petition click here

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