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River pageant to mark Magna Carta's 800th anniversary

A river pageant on the River Thames has been announced as part of the celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta next year.

Plans for the spectacular event include a flotilla of boats to sail from Bisham Abbey to Wraysbury in Berkshire.

It will be co-organised by the group responsible for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012.

One of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee ships on the River Thames in 2012. Credit: ITVMeridian

The charter was sealed on the bank of the River Thames near Windsor in 1215.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said: "The world's eyes will be on us in June next year."

Oxford academics' 'It will be a tough Christmas for retailers'

Retailers this Christmas will find it a tough challenge to match last year's festive spending figure of ninety one billion pounds according to academics in Oxford.

They say changing shopping habits and low real wages rates will have a significant impact on shopping.

Christmas spending reached £91bn last year Credit: ITV Meridian

"We have found that overdoing the Christmas cheer with flashing bright lights and piping fast-paced music such as Jingle Bells into stores puts shoppers under greater pressure. Less harsh lighting, pleasant smells and gentler seasonal music such as The Nutcracker are far more likely to put us in the mood for spending."

– Nancy Puccinelli, Associate Professor in Marketing

Retailers expected to struggle this Christmas

Retailers this Christmas will find it a tough challenge to match last year's festive spending figure of ninety one billion pounds, according to research.

Academics from the University of Oxford say that changing shopping habits, continued economic uncertainty and low wage rates will have a significant impact on shopping this year.

Shoppers get their hands on some bargains. Credit: PA

We have found that overdoing the Christmas cheer with flashing bright lights and piping fast-paced music such as Jingle Bells into stores puts shoppers under greater pressure. Less harsh lighting, pleasant smells and gentler seasonal music such as The Nutcracker are far more likely to put us in the mood for spending.

– Nancy Puccinelli, Associate Professor in Marketing, Saïd Business School

The research also showed that poor selling techniques, extravagant Christmas promotions, and sharp rises in online shopping all contribute to the fall in sales.

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Cancer death rate steadily falling for under 75s

The number of people under the age of 75 who have died from cancer has fallen over the last decade.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, West Oxfordshire and North Dorset had the lowest mortality rate last year.

However cancer remains the top cause of death for older people.

For both men and women aged over 75 the first and second most common forms of cancer leading to death, were cancers of the digestive organs and of the respiratory and intrathoracic organs.

For men the third most common form was cancers of the genital organs and for women it was breast cancer.

Students pay up to £10,000 in rent

Now how much would you be prepared to pay for your son or daughter's university digs? How about ten thousand pounds a year? Providing top quality halls of residence is now being seen as one of the most effective ways to attract students who pay rent of hundreds of pounds a week on top of tuition fees.

In the Meridian region in the last three years alone more than three thousand extra rooms have been created for rent. And it's so lucrative, some private companies are even getting in on the act - one block has just opened in Southampton that charges rent of around £250 a week for its most exclusive student apartments. Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford spoke to students at the University of Reading, the university's Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell, University of Sussex student union representative Mark Segalov and student Shlok Sachar who lives in a Vita Student apartment.

How many new rooms for students in the South?

Universities across the South are investing heavily in student accommodation.

Good quality halls of residence are being seen as a key battleground in the fight to attract students.

Here are details of how some of our universities are expanding provision this year: University of Oxford - 200 new rooms; University of Kent - 416 new rooms; Buckinghamshire New University - 180 new rooms; University of Reading - 649 new rooms.

Many universities are investing heavily in new student accommodation Credit: ITV Meridian
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