first_imgThe chancellor of the exchequer is facing calls to apologise after he made “disgraceful” comments that blamed disabled people for the country’s poor economic performance.Philip Hammond’s comments to the Treasury select committee yesterday (Wednesday) came just days after his government launched its new 10-year Improving Lives strategy, which aims to find jobs for one million more disabled people by 2027.Those attacking his comments included the Disabled Police Association, which described them as “unfair (and inaccurate)”, while Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova, said they were “disgraceful”.Hammond (pictured) had been asked by the committee to explain the reasons for the country’s low levels of productivity growth.He told the MPs: “It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups, very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – we may have had an impact on the overall productivity measurements.”The Treasury had not said by 1pm today (Thursday) whether Hammond would be apologising for his comments.A leading disabled consultant, Tracey Proudlock, described the comments on Twitter as “disgraceful”.The Disabled Police Association said, also on Twitter: “It’s more difficult for disabled people to find employment than non-disabled – unfair (and inaccurate) for those who are working & paying taxes to be blamed for holding back the economy.”Stephen Brookes, a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said they were “the most insulting, disgraceful, anti-disabled comments made by a senior politician for years”.Brookes said Hammond’s words were “not even supportable by reality and facts”, and he added: “The amount of disabled people who work hard and often for lower than equal wages to counterparts is a massive contribution to all local and national services.“The damage to disabled people’s dynamism is immense.“No wonder faith in, and respect for, statutory bodies and politicians and their duty of care to minority groups and their value to society is crumbling.”De Cordova asked the Commons deputy speaker yesterday if Hammond would be making a statement and issuing an apology to MPs for his comments “scapegoating disabled people as a reason for low productivity”.In a statement, she said: “As a disabled person I am shocked and appalled that Philip Hammond is trying to blame me and other disabled people for the Tories’ economic failure.“He should apologise immediately for this disgraceful comment.”One disabled campaigner, Nicky Clark, said on Twitter: “God this is exhausting. Is there NOTHING disabled people aren’t blamed for?”David Gillon, one of the most prominent critics of the government’s much-criticised Disability Confident employment scheme, said on Twitter: “When @PhilipHammondUK claimed disabled people lower #UK productivity, he was making same claim used to force me out of my aerospace engineering career. With same absence of evidence.“Yet #disabilityconfident insists workplace #disability #discrimination doesn’t happen.”Anita Bellows, a researcher with Disabled People Against Cuts, added: “I am wondering how many businesses are going to sign up to the #DisabilityConfident campaign today.”Philippa Barraclough was another to criticise the comments on  Twitter, saying: “This is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard!“As someone who is living with #learningdifficulties & who is #partiallysighted I find this disgusting. I am in employment… [would] quitting my #job be better for the #economy?”last_img read more

first_imgThe government’s decision to extend the contracts of two discredited companies that carry out disability benefit assessments has been branded “appalling”, “shocking” and “a complete con”.The move has also been criticised by the Scottish government.Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, told MPs in a written statement this week that she planned to extend the assessment contracts for the two companies that carry out the personal independence payment (PIP) assessments – Atos and Capita – by a further two years.The contracts had been due to end in the middle of 2019.Newton also announced that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was developing its own IT system that would allow it to “enable more providers to deliver PIP”.Some commentators – including Frank Field, chair of the Commons work and pensions committee – took this to mean that Newton was threatening that DWP would carry out PIP assessments itself if Atos and Capita did not improve their performance over the next two years.But one disabled people’s organisation, Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS), said on its Facebook page that the reason for the two-year contract extension was that Atos “owns the IT system that DWP rely on for PIP claims, and they can’t sack them until DWP has developed its own IT system”.BuDS said: “What a shocking way to run a public service – DWP is effectively chained to a corpse.”Atos has refused to comment on whether it owns the current PIP IT system.Asked whether Newton’s announcement meant the government was considering bringing PIP assessments in-house, a DWP spokeswoman said: “Our focus is the outcomes achieved rather than who delivers them.“The department will continue to keep the most appropriate method of delivery under review.“The department will always consider the quality of assessments and the claimant experience as well as the value for money offered when considering whether to contract out a service.”She declined to say whether DWP’s new IT system would also be used for the work capability assessment (WCA), which tests eligibility for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA).Those assessments are currently run by the US firm Maximus, which itself has a lengthy history of incompetence, discrimination and alleged fraud.If the new IT system was also used for the WCA, it would put a question-mark over whether that contract could also be brought in-house and delivered by DWP.In February, a report by Field’s committee found that the PIP and ESA assessment systems were being undermined by a “pervasive culture of mistrust”, fuelled by widespread claims that assessors from Atos, Capita and Maximus were deliberately trying to prevent disabled people receiving the support they were entitled to.Evidence submitted to the committee by thousands of claimants had substantiated a major investigation by Disability News Service (DNS) into the dishonesty of PIP assessors employed by Atos and Capita.Last October, DNS revealed that complaints about the PIP assessment process had risen by nearly 900 per cent in just one year, also apparently corroborating the results of the investigation.Further DNS reports in February this year – based on freedom of information data released by DWP to campaigner John Slater – revealed “shocking” failings by Atos and Capita in how they were fulfilling their PIP assessment contracts.Newton also announced this week that DWP would pilot the video-recording of PIP assessments – a measure which could help prevent dishonest assessment reports – with a plan to roll this out across the country as “a standard part of the process” (see separate story).But grassroots groups and their allies, disabled people’s organisations, disabled campaigners and politicians have been scathing in their responses to the announcement of the two-year contract extension.Anita Bellows, a Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) researcher, said the IT measure was “a complete con and it seems Frank Field fell for it, though it is not surprising”.She said: “IT is the least of the problems with ESA and PIP assessments.“This move does not address substandard disability assessments and reports, poor performance by disability assessment contractors, high staff turnover, and a raft of other issues.“That Atos and Capita had their contracts extended in spite of their appalling performance documented by the work and pensions committee, and in the management information released by DWP under duress through the Freedom of Information Act, is nothing short of a scandal and Frank Field should know better.“This is rewarding failure.”Ken Butler, welfare benefits adviser at Disability Rights UK, said: “Given their track record of inaccurate assessments, any continuation of PIP contracts to Atos and Capita is unwarranted.“Over 80 per cent of benefit appeals concern PIP and ESA, arising almost entirely from poor private contractor medical reports.“Retaining Atos and Capita will only replicate that for another two years“Rather than developing a DWP IT system as a means of bringing PIP assessments in-house, the aim seems to be to give money-making opportunities to private companies.”John Slater also criticised the announcement.He said: “I would be concerned if the DWP sees the solution to the problems with PIP and ESA being new IT development.“If that is the case then it seems it has learned nothing from universal credit.“It needs to fix the problems with the PIP and ESA processes and then look at where new IT can help.”And he said that “bringing assessments in-house and developing new IT” would not “get around the problem of needing high-quality healthcare professionals to carry out the assessments”.Disabled campaigner Kaliya Franklin, who tweets at @BendyGirl, and was a member of the grassroots Spartacus Network that researches issues on disability and social security, said on Twitter: “Is having the capacity to bring assessments back in house the same thing as bringing assessments back in house, or just another empty (albeit new) promise?”Stephen Lloyd, the disabled Liberal Democrat shadow work and pensions spokesman, said it was “appalling” that the government “sees fit to reward these companies by extending their contracts despite their shocking performance figures and outcomes”.And Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, another leading disabled politician, said on Twitter: “Nearly a third of #PIP assessments are not up to scratch. Nearly 70 per cent of PIP appeals are successful. PIP claimants are forced to wait for 11 weeks for decisions.“And yet the Tories think it’s appropriate to extend Atos and Capita’s contracts. Shocking.”But Field welcomed the announcement that DWP was developing its own PIP IT capacity.He said it was “further credit to the thousands of disabled people who sent evidence to us” and that having the capacity to bring assessments back in-house would put DWP “in a far stronger position to turn the screws on its hitherto failing contractors, in the interests of claimants and all taxpayers”.An Atos spokesman said: “We welcome the statement from the minister and look forward to ongoing discussions with the department to achieve our shared objectives on continuous improvement.”Capita declined to comment.The two-year extension for Atos and Capita is unlikely to apply in Scotland because the Scottish government is due to take over responsibility for PIP assessments in 2020 and has promised to end the practice of using private sector organisations to carry them out.The Scottish government’s social security minister, Jeane Freeman, told DNS: “We have repeatedly called on the UK government to halt the roll-out of PIP in Scotland.“Given the level of criticism aimed at the current assessment providers, I am concerned that DWP are exploring options to extend these arrangements.“Legislation to establish a new Scottish social security system – built on dignity and respect – was recently passed by the Scottish parliament.“Once the social security delivery infrastructure is in place, the Scottish government will start the delivery of these disability benefits during the lifetime of this parliament.”She added: “We have always been clear that assessments for disability benefits will be ‎designed around the needs of our clients.“We will use existing information where we can, minimising the need for face-to-face assessments.“We have categorically ruled out the use of the private sector in assessments, and this has been established in the Social Security (Scotland) Act.”  A DWP spokeswoman said her department was “working closely with the Scottish government”.last_img read more

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… Labour has infuriated its own disabled members by backtracking on a public pledge by the shadow chancellor that the party would scrap universal credit if it won the next general election.John McDonnell drew widespread praise when he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that universal credit was a “shambles” and “iniquitous” and added: “I think we are moving to a position now where it is just not sustainable. It will have to go.”His comments were widely reported, with Sky itself saying “Labour to ditch universal credit”, the BBC reporting him as saying “universal credit has to go”, the Mirror saying “Labour would scrap ‘unsustainable’ Universal Credit”, and iNews saying that “Labour will scrap ‘shambolic’ Universal Credit system”.But when Disability News Service (DNS) asked Labour’s press office to confirm that the party’s policy was now to scrap universal credit, a spokeswoman said instead that the benefit system was “clearly failing in its current form”.Instead of committing to scrapping universal credit, she said that Labour wanted “a root-and-branch review of the social security system”.This was the much-criticised policy announced by shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool last month, when she called on the government to “stop the rollout of universal credit and fix its many flaws” rather than for it to be scrapped.When DNS asked for further clarity and confirmation that a Labour government would scrap universal credit, the party’s press office produced another statement, which said that universal credit was “failing in its current form”.The party later made clear that it was not Labour policy to scrap universal credit, before the press office issued a third statement, which said that “Universal Credit in its current form simply isn’t working” and that “Universal Credit in its current form will not exist under Labour”.Disability Labour, which represents disabled party members and has campaigned to persuade the party to change its position, had issued a statement earlier in the week, following McDonnell’s Sky interview, to say it was “delighted” by the party’s decision to scrap universal credit.But after being told the party had back-tracked on McDonnell’s comments and was now saying the system would merely need to be improved, Disability Labour said it was “appalled and dismayed”.In a statement, it said: “Despite assurances from the shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP earlier this week, Disability Labour has been informed that the party’s position remains to ‘pause and fix’ universal credit.“Disability Labour are clear in our position – universal credit is deeply flawed, harmful to many of its claimants and cannot be fixed.“We believe there is no option other than to stop and scrap universal credit as soon as possible.“Disability Labour’s position as a socialist society is to always be a critical friend to the Labour party.“We will continue to campaign for the Labour party to commit to stopping and scrapping universal credit and call on the party to adopt this policy as a matter of urgency.“We will be seeking an urgent meeting with MPs and party officials to clarify this further.”Disability Labour’s co-chair Wayne Blackburn had described universal credit earlier this week as “the cruellest of benefits” and said the “built-in long waits that claimants have for their money is disgraceful”.He said: “That food bank use has increased so much in areas where UC has been introduced is a clear indicator of this government deliberately creating a hostile environment for UC claimants, many of whom are disabled people.”Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which is also campaigning for universal credit to be scrapped, has said that universal credit has “too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed” and is “rotten to the core”, with foodbank use and rates of claimants being sanctioned “soaring” in areas where it has been introduced.Linda Burnip, DPAC’s co-founder, said the party’s back-tracking on universal credit did not surprise her because Labour’s attitude was that “we are the party of the workers and the rest are skivers and shirkers and we don’t really care about them”.She added: “We will just have to redouble our efforts with the Labour party.”last_img read more

first_img“We wrote it so that Native Americans would be recognized for discovering this land first,” Pacecho said. He said he sought to bring attention to how colonial society would “use them as slaves, kill them, steal from them.”“I just wanted to get that out there for people who didn’t know,” he said.At school, his teachers would sometimes gloss over the more brutal aspects of that history, he added. “Every time I brought it up, I was never looked at by the teacher,” he said. “I think it’s just because it’s too violent for the school. [But] they should teach that. It’s worse to ignore it. It’s worse to ignore the bad parts of history.”Rovzar says that despite their age (all are between nine and 11), the students pay attention to their neighborhood and notice its changes. They even have opinions on national matters.“For example, they have a lot to say about Donald Trump and the fact that if he were elected, that could mean really bad things for a lot of their family and friends,” she said. “Because it matters. If our laws around [immigration] became that much more strict than they already are, it could mean their parents not being here, it could mean some of the students not being here.”A third of the 30 poems deal directly with either gentrification or immigration, though others deal with equally weighty topics from a more personal perspective.“Nobody knows that I lost my mom and dad when I was little,” starts a poem by 10-year-old Yobani Arguello, inspired by the Pac-Man mural near 14th and Cypress. Arguello used her experience playing Pac-Man as a metaphor for dealing with her parents’ death. “There was a war between Ghosts and Pac Mans and my parents got lost in the Ghost World,” reads the poem, recounting adventures wherein Arguello “eat[s] ghosts” and “freeze[s] ghosts” while searching for her family. “My life is good because I get to go on adventures and try to find my parents,” it ends.Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.Some, of course, were inspired by the murals differently. “It’s about animals and they’re everywhere,” said 10-year-old Luis Mederos about his poem “Animals Everywhere,” that he wrote after seeing the jungle-themed mosaic at the children’s park on 24th Street. Rovzar guesses that being in San Francisco, and especially in the Mission, at a time of such change has given the students a more nuanced view of the social issues surrounding them. “I am always impressed and surprised by their sensitivity about what’s going on around them, their ability to comprehend these issues that adults are struggling to figure out,” she said. “They can sense that things are changing and that there are these injustices around.”The 59-page booklet can be bought online for $10 or at bookstores like Adobe and Modern Times and shops like Precita Eyes and Artillery.Annie Rovzar, Danait Fesehaye, and Luis Mederos (left to right) holding a mural the students created after writing poetry inspired by the Mission’s own murals. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros. Writing on gentrification, immigration, Pac-Man, and the Virgin Mary, a class of fourth and fifth graders at Sanchez Elementary School recently published a booklet of poetry made after they walked around the Mission District and took in its murals.“I wanted them to be looking at the murals in the Mission because they were such a powerful vehicle for talking about some of the issues that are going on in the community, like immigration and gentrification” said Annie Rovzar, a teacher-in-residence at the school who worked with the students to put the “Street Heart: Love Poems to the Mission Murals” booklet together. The booklet was written last year and published in May, a collaboration between the school and WritersCorps, a program that sends professionals like Rovzar into schools for three-year rotations on creative writing. Students said the poetry project gave them an opportunity to deal with topics not usually covered in elementary school.Ten-year-old Brian Pacecho, for instance, co-wrote a poem from a Native American perspective with one of his “best friends since pre-K,” Marciano Antone, who is part Native American himself. 0%center_img Tags: arts • elementary schools • gentrification • immigration • poetry Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

first_imgTOMMY Makinson has reacted humbly to his game changing tackle against Leeds last Thursday.Down 6-4, the Rhinos’ Kallum Watkins had gone down the right hand side before putting in Liam Sutcliffe for what looked like a sure-fire try.But out of nowhere Makinson, playing at fullback because Jonny Lomax was off the field with concussion, hauled down the Leeds’ man.“It was a good tackle, but that is a fullback’s tackle,” he said. “I spoke to Wello (Paul Wellens) after the game and let’s be honest he’s made about 400 of those in this career. I was there to clear up and I suppose it did have an impact on the game.“But the middles and the back rowers defended us so well throughout the game.“We put those guys under pressure with some silly errors but they dug deep for us. This team is built on turning up for each other and I think you saw that on Thursday.“Leeds threw everything at us and showed that they will be a good team this year. They have star quality across the board. Last season was a blip for them.“Now it’s up to us to improve and move on.”Saints’ next home game will see Wakefield Trinity come to the Totally Wicked Stadium on March 3.Tickets are now on sale from the Ticket Office, online or via 01744 455 052.last_img read more

first_imgSAINTS have announced their 19-man squad for Friday’s Betfred Super League Round Four game at Hull FC.Luke Douglas, Greg Richards and Jack Ashworth are all called into the 19 with Danny Richardson, Calvin Wellington and Luke Thompson missing out.Keiron Cunningham will choose his 17 from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Adam Walker (pictured), 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 21. Jack Owens, 23. Jack Ashworth, 36. Zeb Taia.Lee Radford will choose his 17 from:1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Gareth Ellis, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Danny Washbrook, 19. Steve Michaels, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Josh Bowden, 29. Masi Matongo.The game kicks off at 8pm at the KCOM Stadium and the referee will be Phil Bentham.Ticket details can be found here.last_img read more

first_imgThe first thing to say about 2006 is we were ambitious; 30 players and an increase from three games to five!First up was a trip to Newcastle to play a Knights side in a curtainraiser to Great Britain’s warm up game and what an introduction that was. We played against a very physical and well organised side who had obviously known about our exploits on the previous trip. To say they were lying in wait would be an understatement.Needless to say we were better prepared for the previous experience and trained that squad in preparation harder than any other Academy side we’d had.We started fast and opened the scoring when Jamie Ellis sliced through from close range, then capitalised to go ahead 22-4 at the break.In the second half the charge came at us and we defended for our lives. In attack we had little energy and struggled to get any real field position. Despite the comeback we held on for a 22-16 victory.The following game against Wests was the most comprehensive victory – by 14-0 – and that followed a tense draw against a physical Balmain side… although we had a winning Andrew Dixon try ruled out for a debatable forward pass!After these first three victories we then had Cronulla cancel on us, and we’d like to think it was through fear!In the final encounter we came up against a Penrith side eager for revenge and yet again we contested a thriller that went right to the death.Willie Isa opened the scoring for Penrith early in the first half, and after that the game went end to end, but both defences held firm.With minutes to go Karl Ashall jumped out of dummy half, pierced the Panthers defence and found the supporting Warren Thompson to go in under the posts to steal victory.The 2006 Tour really was a bruising affair and we were very proud to maintain our unbeaten record as an Academy touring club. With the increased numbers we also had an increased level of staff and Matt Daniels (now Head Strength and Conditioner) and Nathan Mill (now Head Physio) were staff members on that trip too.“My memories of the tour began with a member of staff wearing the stomach contents of a drunken passenger half an hour into a 24 hour plane journey – it must have been a lonely journey for Glynn with everyone keeping their distance from him for obvious reasons!” Matt said. “The trip itself started in earnest with an endurance test on day one. With a deliberate attempt to readjust body clocks and avoid jet lag we marched around Sydney with the lads power napping at any given opportunity.“The bus trips in and out of Sydney became a great opportunity for the lyrically blessed amongst us to start a good old sing song-much to the dismay of some of the staff. One particular favourite amongst the lads, ‘a cow kicked nelly in the belly in barn’ earned rave reviews from Eric Chisnall!“Sleeping arrangements are quite cosy and we had six members of staff in bunk beds in our room. One particular staff member insisted on getting dressed for bed and then turning the light on when he left the room for a toilet run in the middle of the night. This same staff member also had subway Penrith on his friends and family call list.“Other highlights of the trip for me were watching Great Britain beat Australia closely followed by Derek Traynor leaping out of a raft mid-way down the rapids with cramp.“An obvious high of the tour were the performances of the players themselves – not only in returning undefeated, but the high standards of performance and professionalism displayed throughout.“I have too many fond memories to put into words but the players and staff on the tour all contribute to making it a true trip of a lifetime.“Through the fundraising and training pre tour to the matches, activities and visits it is rewarding to see the group bonding and strong relationships formed, as well as young players develop and establish a level of responsibility and independence.“It will always be something I look back on with great pride and the players and staff involved will be lifelong friends.”Tourists:1. Tom Armstrong 2. Karl Ashall 3. Matty Ashurst 4. Philip Baines 5. Jack Bradbury 6. Matthew Clarke 7. Scott Clarke 8. Tom Colborn 9. Tom Connick 10. Jamie Dickinson 11. Andrew Dixon 12. Jamie Ellis 13. Jamie Foster 14. Gareth Frodsham 15. Lee Gaskell 16. Daniel Leach 17. Owen Livesey 18. Jonny Lomax 19. Steven Lucas 20. Shaun Magennis 21. Joseph Molyneux 22. Robert Murphy 23. Steven Nield 24. Dave Sutton 25. Warren Thompson 26. Barry Walsh 27. Martin Waring 28. Mike Welsby 29. Gary Wheeler 30. Andy YatesResults:St Helens 22 v 16 Newcastle KnightsSt Helens 14 v 0 West MagpiesSt Helens 16 v 16 Balmain TigersSt Helens 6 v 4 Penrith Pantherslast_img read more

first_imgWRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Concerned residents went out to Wrightsville Beach’s Board of Alderman meeting Thursday night to hear more about the land swap between the City of Wilmington and the Town of Wrightsville Beach.Many of the people in the meeting were from local homeowners associations. They are concerned that the land swap will lead to more traffic and accidents in the area due to the relocation of the ABC Store on the street and the possible construction of a galleria.- Advertisement – Now the town must wait for what the Department of Transportation decides.“Obviously the DOT rules that road, so the developer and the ABC development will have to have, got to do traffic studies and traffic impact analysis and that’ll be a city DOT thing,” Aldermen Hank Miller said.If North Carolina DOT gives the go ahead, the town will start looking into building footprints, the building process, and possible setbacks during the project.last_img read more

first_img Monique Agius Monique Agius SharePrint Monique Agius 1 of 6 Updated: 21.00The Refugee Agency UNHCR has thanked the Maltese government for ‘allowing the disembarkation and France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg for showing solidarity in relocating.’They say that the beneficiaries are ‘relieved that the ordeal is over,’ but the organisation, ‘stresses the need for predictable mechanisms to ensure timely disembarkation in a safe port.’Updated: 20.35 A police spokeswoman confirmed that there were 60 adults among the group and 2 minors. A reliable source close to the initial assessments explained that there aged 6 and 1 years old respectively.Two of those disembarked were sent to Mater Dei Hospital for check ups, but no information was given on their medical conditions or the wider conditions of the other migrants.The police spokeswoman also explained that the migrant’s were understood to have originated from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast and Senegal.Our source also told that there were only three suspected cases of Scabies among the 62. They added that the majority were in largely good health with no signs of major illness or injury.Watch: Migrants from ‘Alan Kurdi’ vessel, disembarked in MaltaOver 60 migrants have been disembarked from a AFM patrol vessel at the naval base at Haywharf, following transfer from the ‘Alan Kurdi’ rescue vessel.It is believed that that among the 62 disembarked, there were two minors, 1 visibly being a toddler and the other as yet of an unconfirmed age.The majority of those disembarked were males but it is still unclear how many were classified as minors. There were also 6 women among those rescued.The ethnic origin of the majority of those disembarked is believed to be Nigerian.The transfer of these migrants to Malta follows an agreement by the European Commission which will see them distributed to Luxembourg, Portugal, France and Germany.Updated (1): ‘Our actions derive from the obligations of international law’ – Sea-Eye Monique Agius Read more:READ: MOAS delivers relief supplies to Alan KurdiREAD: Alan Kurdi : 64 migrants still waiting at sea11 Days at seaThis disembarkation comes 11 days after they were rescued by the Sea Eye rescue vessel ‘Alan Kurdi’. The vessel was unable to find a safe port for disembarkation in Italy or Malta.In recent days, three medical evacuations have been made from the vessel.  Two involved migrants who were in need of medical treatment and a third involving a member of the rescue crew.READ: Watch: Pregnant woman evacuated from Alan Kurdi following epileptic attackREAD: Woman medically evacuated to Malta from rescue vesselREAD: Updated: Alan Kurdi crew member in Medevac as 27 NGOs press for helpWhatsApp Monique Agius Monique Agius <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

first_imgAdvertisement Opera already has two brands on the market: Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. It has also introduced a revamped Opera Mobile 12 for Android and Symbian smartphones. The changes include the addition of WebGL for Android, which will allow developers to distribute content across a range of smartphone platforms, improved support for HTML5, an option allowing the use of a device’s camera in-browser and an improved Speed Dial feature. Just last year Opera announced that its browser services had exceeded 100 million users per month, and the company reveals that more than 250 million people use its browsers across computers, phones, TVs and other devices. I do not know if this had anything to do with the closing of ‘Snaptu’ which closed on the 26th of December last year. – Advertisement – I did ask for opinions via Twitter for opinions on whether they preferred the now defunct ‘Snaptu’ or Opera Mini. Interestingly they were all in favor of Opera Mini but had not bothered work with Opera Mobile though!“Opera mini gives you a really great onscreen keyboard for touch enabled devices,” said J S Makumbi said. Pamela Melanie Ayot said; “I don’t know if it is just my phone but for some reason snaptu take 3 days opening, opera-mini is faster, and I like speed #Uganda.” Grace Kenganzi @ had this to say as well.“Nah! Opera Mini is better. So whatever else that Opera has in store, I am sure it will be welcome,” said Grace Kenganzi.last_img read more

first_imgAdvertisement A German firm has discovered a bug that allows hackers to remotely gain control of and also clone certain mobile SIM cards.Millions of mobile phones may be vulnerable to spying due to the use of an outdated 1970-era cryptography technique,Hackers could use compromised SIMs to commit financial crimes or engage in electronic espionage, according to Berlin’s Security Research Labs, which will describe the vulnerabilities at the Black Hat hacking conference that opens in Las Vegas on July 31. – Advertisement – [related-posts]The U.N.’s Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union, which has reviewed the research, described it as “hugely significant.”“These findings show us where we could be heading in terms of cyber-security risks,” ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré said.He added that the agency would notify telecommunications regulators and other government agencies in nearly 200 countries about the potential threat and also reach out to hundreds of mobile companies, academics and other industry experts.GSMA, which represents nearly 800 mobile operators worldwide, said it also reviewed the research.“We have been able to consider the implications and provide guidance to those network operators and SIM vendors that may be impacted,” said GSMA spokeswoman Claire Cranton.Nicole Smith, a spokeswoman for Gemalto NV, the world’s biggest maker of SIM cards, said her company supported GSMA’s response.“Our policy is to refrain from commenting on details relating to our customers’ operations,” she said.Cracking SIM cards has long been the Holy Grail of hackers because the tiny devices are located in phones and allow operators to identify and authenticate subscribers as they use networks.The hacking only works on SIMs that use an old encryption technology known as DES.  At least 500 million phones are vulnerable to the attacks and the number could grow if other researchers start looking into the issue and find other ways to exploit the same class of vulnerabilities.The ITU estimates some 6 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide. It plans to work with the industry to identify how to protect vulnerable devices from attack, Touré said.Once a hacker copies a SIM, it can be used to make calls and send text messages impersonating the owner of the phoneThe newly identified attack method only grants access to data stored on the SIM, which means payment applications that store their secrets outside of the SIM card are not vulnerable to this particular hacking approach.Security Research Labs found mobile operators in many countries whose phones were vulnerable, but declined to identify them. He said mobile phone users in Africa could be among the most vulnerable because banking is widely done via mobile payment systems with credentials stored on SIMs.All types of phones are vulnerable, including iPhones from Apple Inc, phones that run Google Inc’s Android software and BlackBerry Ltd smartphones.Source: NDTV Gadgetslast_img read more

first_imgAdvertisement On Tuesday, January 12 2010, the world watched in horror as Haiti was struck by a catastrophic earthquake. At least 100,000 people lost their lives in the devastation. In the aftermath, many people around the world sent financial aid to help support survivors.But one young entrepreneur was so affected by the tragedy that he sat down at his desk to try to lend his professional skills to future relief efforts.Having watched the disaster unfold on TV, Francisco Aguilar, a graduate from MIT Sloan and the Harvard Kennedy School, began working on a tool that could be used to help in emergency response situations around the world.“If you remember the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, you saw hundreds of thousands of people buried under the rubble. After an earthquake most people die in the first 48 hours. People who are trapped tend to die in the first 48 hours. And the international rescue teams came with their very sophisticated equipment, and did a fantastic job when they got there, (but) they didn’t get there for 48 hours. And their tools, their fiber optic scopes, and all the kinds of equipment that they have, cost $50,000, and are very hard to use. So, despite their very valiant efforts, they pulled out a few hundred people, but most of the damage was already done,” Aguilar says. – Advertisement – The device Aguilar invented is called the Bounce Imaging Explorer — a small black probe about the size of a baseball, fixed with an array of sensors and cameras that can be thrown or dropped into dangerous environments.“The initial thought was, how could we create something that was easy to use, that could allow a first responder, or even a volunteer, to easily look inside a space to determine whether it was safe to enter it, to see if there was a victim inside,” Aguilar says. “And that moved from search and rescue, to police who often face hostage situations: aggressive shooters, or terrorism. To fire fighting applications, where people often want to search different rooms in a complex, before having to enter or decide whether there is a fire or not. So there’s a common problem across first responders of having to decide whether to enter a house or a space. And we are trying to make it cheap and easy to get images while they are out of there.”To develop the product Aguilar partnered with David Young, an entrepreneur who spent four and a half years as a US Army infantry officer.The Bounce Imaging Explorer’s cameras and sensors can quickly take panoramic images after being thrown into an inaccessible space. The impact resistant shell can also house heat sensors, Geiger counters, vibration antennae or smoke detectors to provide different information in different kinds of emergencies, such as natural distasters or SWAT team hostage rescues. The ball then broadcasts its findings back to a mobile device to give users information on whether there are hazards (or indeed survivors) around a corner, or buried beneath fallen debris.The company, Bounce Imaging, won a gold award of $50,000 at MassChallenge, and was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of the year.Gianfranco Zaccai, CEO of design consultancy Continuum, said: “I think that the concept is really great in its simplicity … There’s a lot of potential there, and there’s a lot of potential for doing good with it, because if you think about, the dangerous world that we live in, we need simple, robust, usable ideas that are embedded in great products.”Aguilar hopes to begin producing the Bounce Imaging Explorer next year, and says he aims to keep the cost between $500 and $1000.last_img read more

first_imgL-R: Kabelo Makwane, Managing Director, Microsoft Nigeria; Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne; Rob Lever, Business Development Executive, MDX-i Data Center & Cloud Services and Oluwawemimo Adeniyi, Small Medium and Business Partners’ Director, Microsoft Nigeria, at the MainOne/Microsoft Cloud Press Conference in Lagos Advertisement MainOne’s Data Center subsidiary, MDX-i, has launched its new cloud-based service offering with Microsoft.The solution which is built on Microsoft Azure’s enterprise grade infrastructure provides flexible, highly available and fully secure private computing environments to companies on a Pay-as-you-Go basis.By combining expertise in proven, yet familiar technologies and geographic specialization, MDX-i Cloud Services deliver a solution tailored to meet the needs of enterprise customers in West Africa. – Advertisement – Benefits of the Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) solution include access to a wide range of computing resources, such as storage, CPU, memory, security firewalls and network bandwidth, provisioned on a subscription basis.The new solution is the first Cloud offering MDX-i is launching in partnership with Microsoft, the leading global provider of Cloud Services. With this launch, MDX-i is positioned to meet the computing infrastructure needs of companies deploying private, public or hybrid clouds from its Tier III Data Center in Lagos. This ensures quick and agile provisioning of infrastructure for businesses and government agencies as required, thus improving their time to deliver on-demand applications and services.Speaking at the press conference, MDX-i’s Business Development Executive, Rob Lever said the new cloud platform is a scalable and cost effective alternative to dedicated computing resources deployed in-house by companies and includes managed virtual data centers, virtual private servers, and virtual LANs to assure customers of high availability. “Businesses are beginning to embrace Cloud services because it promises increased agility in addition to savings in OPEX and CAPEX. Our IaaS platform reduces complexity, interoperability, and security concerns of our customers. It provides them the benefit of leveraging our infrastructure, and the expertise of MDX-i and Microsoft, without their having to incur the substantial costs associated with deploying such solutions”. Speaking at the launch, Kabelo Makwane, Microsoft Nigeria’s Managing Director noted that “The Cloud OS Network is a worldwide group of select service providers that partner closely with Microsoft to offer customers hybrid cloud and Azure-enabled solutions. Uniquely combining expertise in Microsoft technology, customer requirements, and geographic specialization, Cloud OS network members deliver the Microsoft Cloud Platform customized to your specific needs.” In his comments, Christian Landmark, the CEO of PCL Mobisafe, the pilot customer of the new Cloud offering, expressed his confidence in the performance levels and reliability of the solution, “We chose MainOne as our Cloud Provider because of their excellent reputation for quality and support in the telecoms sector. We are impressed by their technical expertise and willingness to go the extra mile in their provision of what is a fairly complex solution”. In alignment with global trends, MDX-i will over time offer a full set of integrated IT solutions, starting with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) and BaaS (Backup as a Service), among others.last_img read more

first_imgMembers of the Australian French community cry as they sing the French national anthem during a vigil in central Sydney, Australia, July 15, 2016 to remember the victims of the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice. REUTERS/David Gray TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Advertisement It’s the third time in nearly a month that the social networking giant, Facebook Inc. activated the safety check feature after a deadly attack on a Florida night club that claimed the lives of 49 people.Less than two weeks later, the company turned the feature again after a suicide attack that left 45 people dead at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, Turkey.The social networking platform today has turned on its feature after a large truck mowed through a crowd that was celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act. – Advertisement – “We hope the people in the area find the tool a helpful way to let their friends and family know they are OK,” Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.last_img read more

first_imgImage Credit: SOTE Hub Kenya Advertisement According to reports by Disrupt Africa, Kenyan rural tech incubator Sote Hub, which aims to implementing holistic approach that combines ICT integration and training with business skills for graduates, exposing them to mentorship, training, and networking opportunities – is expanding to the coastal Kwale County this month to introduce ICT training for the youth in partnership with the Kwale County Government.With its main goal of increasing the employability and entrepreneurial skills to the Kenyan youth, its ICT Schools Project has to date reached over 6,000 students in 12 schools.“Kwale has a competitive edge in terms of trade, industry, mining and tourism due to its strategic location and natural assets. However, the youth unemployment and underemployment remains a major challenge,” the hub said. – Advertisement – The hub so far hosts 15 startups including; Rogim Designs; a creative agency which offers advertisement & design solutions to businesses by creating online marketing platforms, RE-AFRIKA; a startup that solves E-waste problem by recycling them to functional electronic equipment, MEDIREC; a subsidiary company of archon, dedicated to digitizing African hospitals through internet and cloud based technologies, and so forth.Sote Hub and the Kwale County Government will work together to offer ICT training to the youth, and support capacity building programmes in areas of entrepreneurship and skills development for SMEs.[related-posts]last_img read more

first_imgOgwal Joseph; Founder and Chief Executive (Left), and Watson Atwine (Right; IT Specialist who represented the team, recivce their victory dummy air ticket from Herve Kubwimana, Innovation Facilitator at Merck, at the Seedstar Kampala competition at Outbox Hub on Friday 24th, August 2018. Advertisement On Monday this week, the jury at Seedstar selected 10 Ugandan startups from different industries including; eCommerce, AgriTech, FinTech, Business, to mention a few to participate at the Seedstar Kampala pitch.At the pitch event held at Outbox Hub on Friday, 10 finalists pitched their business startups to judges; CK Japhet; Team Leader at Innovation Village, Otim Gerald; Founder of Ensibuuko, Takuma Terakubo Founder and CEO of Leapfrog Ventures, Maryam Mgonja; Associate for East Africa at Seedstars, and Herve Kubwimana, Innovation Facilitator at Merck where only 3 teams were named winnnersCoinpesa Limited; an online money transfer platform that uses Blockchain technology – allows its users to access digital currencies from any web enabled device and Bringo Fresh Deliveries Ltd; an eCommerce solution behind farmers accessing an organised market for their fresh produce, came in 2nd and 3rd places respectively as Agro Supply Uganda Limited emerged overall winner of the Seedstar Kampala pitch competition. – Advertisement – Agro Supply Uganda Limited, a solution that is financing agricultural technologies through mobile micro savings – was represented by a team of two; Ogwal Joseph; Founder and Chief Executive, and Watson Atwine; IT Specialist – but the whole team comprises of 5 members.Their solution allows small scale farmers save for fertilizers and seeds by purchasing a prepaid scratch card which costs about 50 cents to USD$50 and decide whether to save it for fertilizers or for seeds. They deposit their money into a layaway account by texting in the scratch-off code from the scratch card they purchased.However, the farmer isn’t given the money during withdraw but s/he is given either fertilizers or seeds upon their choice. For instance, if the farmer has been saving UGX200,000 for fertilizers, and UGX150,000 for seeds, s/he can decide to buy fertilizers say for like UGX150,000 leaving them with a balance of 50,000 on their account. The UGX150,000 separate for seeds isn’t touched at all.The team while in December travel to Tanzania to attend a regional summit where they are to meet other finalists within the content. All the finalists will be mentored, meet with investors, as well as showcase their products, and network with others. After then, they will together with the rest of the finalists, travel to Swizterland for the Seedstar Global event, where they will meet over 60+ global startups that they will compete with for a chance of securing USD$500,000 equity investment.Notably, past startups that have represented Uganda at the global summit are; Numida (2017); issues unsecured loans to credit-constrained Ugandan entrepreneurs, Akiba (2016); that aims to transform finance by making it collective, giving people the tools for practical and transparent management of their finances, and Intership UG (2015); a startup that allows users to shop from online shopping sites in the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Dubai and China and have their packages delivered to Uganda.last_img read more

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