Brain-Computer Interfaces, Coronavirus, and the US ‘Peace Plan’ for the Middle East – New Official Publications 11.02.20

Newly published official publications from :

Westminster and the UK Government

House of Lords Library: The Queen's Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

House of Lords Library: The Queen’s Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

Coronavirus: A Public Health Emergency – “The coronavirus was declared a public health emergency on 30 January 2020 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), only the sixth such emergency since 2009. The declaration followed reports on 31 December 2019 of an unknown virus causing a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in eastern China. The virus was later identified as a new strain of coronavirus (Cov). This House of Lords Library briefing provides information about: the virus, including its spread and impact; what action the WHO and UK Government have taken; and the problem of disinformation in relation to the disease.”

Standing at football – “This Library paper looks at what’s been said on introducing “safe standing” at football grounds in the English Premier League and Championship.”

Brain-Computer Interfaces – “Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) measure brain activity and can be used to control digital devices. The focus of BCI development has been on using the technology to allow patients to control assistive equipment such as wheelchairs or prostheses. Beyond medicine they are under development for applications in entertainment, marketing and defence. This POSTnote looks at the underpinning technology, its applications and the associated ethical and regulatory challenges.”

The European Union

European Parliament © European Union 2015

European Parliament © European Union 2015

Europeans’ attitudes towards cyber security – “On 29 of January, the Commission released its latest Eurobarometer on Europeans’ attitudes towards cybercrime. According to the survey, cybercrime awareness is rising. 52% of respondents are stating they are fairly well or very well informed about cybercrime, compared to 46% in 2017. However, less Europeans feel they can protect themselves sufficiently: 59%, down from 71% in 2017.”

US ‘Peace Plan’ for the Middle East – “On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration’s ‘vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace’. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel’s key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been united in rejecting the proposal, and the PA has since cut ties with Israel and the USA. The plan is meant to serve as the basis for future direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to stretch over four years. However, the Israeli government has announced plans to implement parts of it unilaterally in the near future.”

The EU fishing fleet – “This paper provides additional insight on recent trends in the economic performance of the EU fleet and the potential drivers behind them, with supplementary analyses by main fishing region, type of fishing activity and Member State. Starting from the key findings of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) ‘2019 annual economic report on the EU fishing fleet’, it also includes evidence from recent studies and market analysis. The results highlighted in this paper indicted that the profitability of the EU fleet continues to be positive albeit minor decreases compared to the previous year, net profits were at €1.3 billion in 2017. Continued low fuel prices, stable average fish prices for a number of commercially important specie, alongside improved the status of some important stocks have contributed to this positive result. Employment generated by sector amounted to 151 981 fishers with average wages rising to €28 652. Overall, 2017 was a profitable year for the EU fishing fleets. Twenty-one of the 22 Member State fishing fleets evaluated registered gross profits. Projections for 2018 and 2019 show potential minor falls in profitability, mainly due to an increase in fuel prices.

The Scottish Parliament and Government

Lighting through the Garden Lobby Roof of the Scottish Parliament ©2009 Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

Lighting through the Garden Lobby Roof of the Scottish Parliament ©2009 Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

Scottish Budget 2020-21 – “This briefing summarises the Scottish Government’s spending and tax plans for 2020-21. More detailed presentation of the budget figures can be found in our Budget spreadsheets. Infographics created by Andrew Aiton, Kayleigh Finnigan and Laura Gilman. ”

Big Climate Conversation: report of findings – “The Big Climate Conversation engaged over 2,500 people in Scotland over a six month period in a discussion about Scotland’s response to tackling the global climate emergency.

Conversations took place across the whole country in a variety of formats, with events held in over 80% of local authority areas. Participants had the chance to discuss with others the national and societal changes required to transition to a net-zero emissions society.”

Frequently Asked Questions on the UK’s exit from the European Union – “This briefing provides answers to some frequently asked questions about the UK’s exit from the EU.

The overview is a summary of the key questions on the process of the UK leaving the EU.

The remainder of the briefing is organised into three key areas:


Law and institutions

Looking ahead

Although this briefing aims to be comprehensive, it is not possible to answer every question on the UK’s exit from the EU.

The briefing is intended to stand alone to answer questions on the UK’s exit from the EU. As such, the document is cross-referenced to help readers to understand technical references given in answers. Other SPICe briefings which readers may find helpful are also highlighted. Where appropriate, external sources are linked to.

Whilst this briefing aims to be extensive it is not exhaustive. These answers to frequently asked questions provide general information. They should not be seen as definitive advice for individual circumstances which may be complex.”

Office for National Statistics

Living longer: changes in housing tenure over time – “Trends in renting and owner-occupation by age group have changed in recent years. In the future, older people may be more likely to rent privately.

Housing in construction output statistics, Great Britain: 2010 to 2019 – “Housing sector overview using our construction output estimates, including the differences in public and private sector housing and the size and geographical location of firms in the industry.”


If you’d like to know more about official publications just get in touch with us at the Maps, Official Publications and Statistics Unit on Level 7 of the library. We are open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and can be contacted on 0141 330 6740 or

Categories: Library, Official Publications

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