Campaigners have called on the transport secretary

first_imgCampaigners have called on the transport secretary to ignore recommendations from the head of Network Rail that would delay tens of millions of pounds of investment in making rail stations more accessible.The seven organisations, headed by the user-led charity Transport for All, are furious that Sir Peter Hendy (pictured), the chair of Network Rail, has recommended in a spending review that nearly £50 million allocated to the Access for All scheme should be delayed until 2019 at the earliest.In a letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, they describe such a move as “a real backward step in terms of rail accessibility” and “grossly unfair”.The government describes Access for All funding as “a key part of the government’s strategy to improve the accessibility of Great Britain’s railway (sic)”, and says it is “specifically targeted at providing infrastructure improvements at stations which will enable more disabled people to access the rail network”.The letter follows revelations by Disability News Service last month that Sir Peter had recommended that Access for All funding for 2014-19 should be cut from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to the next spending period, 2019-24.The Department for Transport is due to respond to Sir Peter’s report – which contains his detailed recommendations for “replanning” Network Rail’s investment programme for 2014-19 across England and Wales – later this year.The letter has been signed by leaders of Transport for All; Inclusion London; Disabled People Against Cuts; Disability Rights UK; RNIB; Muscular Dystrophy UK; and the Campaign for Better Transport.They say in the letter that more than 20 years have passed since disabled people secured rights to access goods and services through the Disability Discrimination Act, yet “still many of us cannot use our local train station”.They point out that a large majority of stations still do not have lifts, tactile paving, audio-visual information, induction loops and other equipment that enables disabled people to use them, and so “great swathes of the UK rail network are no go areas for disabled people, particularly those with mobility impairments”.They say that the Access for All fund has delivered “much needed ring fenced funding to ameliorate this situation and over the years has unlocked parts of the rail network for disabled and older citizens to use, in many cases for the first time”.And they say the deferred funding is part of a “double blow” because of the government’s decision to scrap the small schemes access programme, which had funded improvements to 1,100 stations since it was launched in 2006, and was “crucial for smaller stations that would have never qualified for Access for All funding”.They also warn that deferring the funding could put at risk future additional investment in improving access.The seven organisations call on McLoughlin in the letter to reject Sir Peter’s recommendation and instead “guarantee that the Access for All fund will be able to retain and spend its full allocated budget”.Faryal Velmi, director of Transport for All, said: “We need access improvements to happen by 2019 as they were originally planned and expected.“It is grossly unfair that disabled and older people are being asked to defer our lives for another five years in order to ‘iron out’ previous Network Rail inefficiencies.“Austerity has already had a disproportionately negative impact on disabled people in UK.“Changes and deferments to schemes such as Access for All, that directly benefit us, constitute a direct attack on our rights to participate fully in society.”Network Rail refused to explain why Sir Peter made the recommendations to defer the Access for All funding, and refused to respond to the concerns raised in the letter.But a Network Rail spokesman said: “Following the conclusion of the Department for Transport’s consultation [on the Hendy review], we will work closely with the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail and Road to review the Access for All programme and publish a revised delivery plan.”He added: “Sir Peter Hendy’s re-plan means that some rail upgrade projects will be delivered later than originally planned, but we remain committed to delivering the Access for All programme in full.”last_img read more

For nine years Disability News Service has surviv

first_imgFor nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support its work and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember 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… A new rail station being built as part of a multi-billion pound regeneration programme will not enable wheelchair-users to board trains without the help of staff and a ramp, disabled campaigners have warned.Brent Cross West Thameslink is being built as part of the £4.5 billion Cricklewood Brent Cross development in north-west London, a partnership between Barnet council and the private sector.But current plans for the station, which is due to open in 2022, are that it will be step-free from the entrance to the platform, but not from the platform to the train.This appears to be because building the higher platforms necessary for wheelchair-users to board trains without manual ramps and assistance would mean freight trains would have to slow down when passing those higher platforms.Campaigners believe that although most freight trains will pass through the station’s dedicated freight platform, some will be routed through passenger platforms, and it could delay the passenger services behind them if they are forced to slow down.The controversy could prove embarrassing for Govia Thameslink Railway, the company which will run Thameslink services through the station.Two months ago, the company faced protests after issuing guidance – which it later rescinded – telling station staff that they should not attempt to place “persons of reduced mobility” on a train “if there is a possibility of delaying the service”.Its Thameslink services are driver-only operated and many of them run without any other staff on board.This means that any assistance for wheelchair-users who want to disembark from a train at the new station on these services will have to rely on station staff and the use of a manual ramp.Govia said details on the station plans would have to come from the council or Network Rail.But a Govia spokeswoman said: “This is set to be a fully staffed station from the first to the last train, meaning that there will be someone available to support people embarking/disembarking at all times.”She said the platforms “have to be built to cater to the wide variety of trains that pass through the station.“In central London, the stations which have platform humps only have one class of train passing through so can cater specifically to that type of train.”But access campaigner and wheelchair-user Ruth Bailey, who lives near the site of the new station, said: “Shouldn’t there be a debate as to why occasional disruption justifies compromising routine, full, step-free access for wheelchair-using passengers?“What is possible starts with a mindset. The regeneration project involves many engineering feats from building bridges to changing the course of rivers. “Given the money and expertise this requires, can it really be impossible to find a way to raise and lower a wheelchair-user 10 to 20 centimetres?”Alan Benson, chair of Transport for All, the user-led organisation which campaigns for an accessible transport system in London, said: “Disabled and older people deserve the same right to access transport as everyone else and this means the freedom to be as independent as they wish.“This principle is accepted by both government and across the industry, but the argument is always that retro fitting a 150-year-old railway is expensive and will take time.“It is a scandal therefore when once-in-a-lifetime projects such as this are not delivered with step-free access to the train from day one.“We see many examples in the UK and abroad where either good design or technology provide fully step-free solutions, yet the industry continues to see access to the platform only as a goal to be reached rather than a minimum to start from.“With the increasing push to cut costs, reduce staffing levels and introduce ‘driver only operation’ trains we are seeing disabled and older people being denied access to the railway on a daily basis.“This will only get worse between now and this station opening in 2022.”Benson added: “It’s time for a clarion call to those responsible to seize this one-off opportunity to build a future-proofed, fully inclusive station fit for 21st century Britain, not something that is an echo of a bygone era.”Barnet council, which is delivering Brent Cross West in partnership with Network Rail, has secured outline planning permission for the plans, with a detailed planning application due to be submitted this summer.A Brent council spokesman declined to say why the plans do not currently allow for step-free access from pavement to train.But he said in a statement: “We welcome residents’ participation in the consultation for the new Brent Cross West Thameslink station and would encourage others to submit their views.“The planning application for the proposed station will be submitted later this year, when it will be considered by committee members.“If the application is approved, the delivery team will then start to look at the more detailed elements of the station design.“Part of this will include looking beyond the current provision of step-free access from pavement to platform, to include step-free access from platform to train for passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility, as well as passengers travelling with prams.”A Network Rail spokesman said: “This project is being led by Barnet council, who have carried out the initial design process.“Network Rail is a delivery partner, carrying out work on their behalf.”He declined to comment on the concerns around step-free access.Picture: An artist’s impression of the new stationlast_img read more

Labour has vowed to end the perfect storm create

first_imgLabour has vowed to end the “perfect storm” created by the Tory government of “low pay, insecurity and working poverty”, which is “causing terrible stress for millions of families across the country”.According to new House of Commons library analysis, almost 13 million adults in the UK’s working households have no savings.This figure has increased by 2.5 million since the Conservatives took power in 2010, and by more than one million between 2015, when the Tory-Lib Dem coalition ended, and 2017.The news comes after the Office of National Statics revealed that household debt has been growing over the last six years, and has now reached 133% of income.With fresh research findings, Labour now knows that its plan to implement a living wage of £10 an hour as the national living wage in 2020 would award the lowest paid workers in the country with a pay rise of £2,640.Jeremy Corbyn, who will highlight these issues during a visit to Worcester Housing and Benefit Advice Centre on Thursday, commented: “With real wages lower than they were ten years ago, deep cuts to social security, rising borrowing just to make ends meet and the growth of insecure work, the Conservatives have created a perfect storm of low pay, insecurity and working poverty.The Labour leader added: “This rising insecurity, with so many without savings to fall back on, is causing terrible stress for millions of families across the country.“These scandalous levels of in-work poverty are unacceptable and must be brought to an end. Every job should provide dignity and security.“That’s why the next Labour government will introduce a Real Living Wage putting over £2,600 per year more in the pockets of around 6 million low paid workers, stop the roll out of Universal Credit and ban zero-hours contracts.”Tags:Labour /Jeremy Corbyn /last_img read more

Man Robbed at Knifepoint and Vehicle Collision

first_img 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The car, said one neighbor who didn’t wish to be named, lost its door and hubcap in the collision and drove into Shotwell street before pulling in to a driveway across the street on South Van Ness. Another resident said she had heard loud scraping, as though a damaged car were moving across the street.“I had already gone to bed,” said Silvia Ramirez, a resident of 22nd Street. “I just heard ‘boom!’”“I heard a big bang and then my son came home and said there had been a crash with a UPS truck,” said neighbor Araceli Martinez.Several other neighbors reported hearing a loud crash, but it could not be confirmed that the UPS truck was not in motion.“There was literally like ten cop cars, an ambulance, fire trucks…it was insane,” said the anonymous neighbor.Police were not immediately available for comment.Crime is trauma and the county offers different services. Here is a link to a page of services.Victims of violent crime can also contact the Trauma Recovery Center at UCSF. center_img Police report a man was robbed at 16th and Mission Wednesday at 8 p.m. when two male suspects, one in his 20s and the other in his 30s or 40s, approached the victim and demanded his cell phone. One suspect snatched the cell phone from the victim’s hands before both proceeded to kick the victim in the leg. They then brandished a knife and threatened to kill the victim, before fleeing on foot.The victim suffered pain to the leg but did not seek treatment. Only his cell phone was stolen.Vehicle CollisionAt around 10 p.m. last night, neighbors report hearing a car collision on 22nd Street between Folsom and South Van Ness, apparently between a parked UPS truck and a second driver. Though police and fire trucks reportedly responded, neighbors said the drivers of the truck were apparently not injured and the condition of the car driver was unclear.last_img read more

WE will be making a presentation to Paul Wellens b

first_imgWE will be making a presentation to Paul Wellens before kick off on Sunday.Mr St Helens retired this week and the club will mark the occasion on the pitch before Saints’ Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Quarter Final with Widnes.The action gets underway at 4pm with ‘Wello’ on the pitch from around 3.40pm.Make sure you’re in your ‘spec’ well in time for the presentation!last_img

HAVE you checked out our Official YouTube Channel

first_imgHAVE you checked out our Official YouTube Channel recently?We have an exclusive interview with Jonny Lomax about our home opener and his hopes for the new season as well as other great pre-season content.Highlights include our pre-season camps at Altcar, Formby and Cassius and some great matches from yesteryear.Simply click the link and enjoy lots of FREE content – Official Youtube Channel.Don’t forget to follow us on our Official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites too.They are the places to be for up to the minute news, views and opinion from around the Saints as well as little snippets of information, ticket details, competitions, great pictures and debate and the occasional juicy exclusive too – including the very latest from all the Club’s press conferences.And you can interact with like-minded fans from all over the world.You can also follow matches live on our social media platforms and comment as the tries and goals fly over.We have also launched on Snapchat too – check us out here.#saintsasonelast_img read more

Thousands come to third annual Cape Fear Highland Games

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not foundhttps://cdn.field59.com/WWAY/1506945246-5b27a223a055a90bdae5042f434d851cfa38acee_fl9-720p.mp4 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Thousands came out to enjoy Scottish athletics today at the third annual Cape Fear Highland Games.This event was full of Scottish history and heritage.- Advertisement – The goal of the Cape Fear Highland Games is to provide support to the MARSOC, a foundation that helps support active duty and retired Marine Special Operations Command and their families.A crowd favorite event to watch was the caber toss.“To me it’s the caber toss, because it’s the main event, so to me it’s something that doesn’t seem normal that someone would of gigantic statue just throw a log up in the air, but it’s pretty cool so,” event coordinator Michael Caceres said.Related Article: Sen. Warren: DNA test shows I have Native American heritageOrganizers said they hope to continue this event and make it larger every year.last_img read more

CFPUA issues boil water advisories in Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — CFPUA has recinded its boil water advisories as of Tuesday morning.Crews were making emergency repairs to multiple water mains in Wilmington Monday.- Advertisement – According to a release, the water main breaks happened because of freezing temperatures. Nearly 300 CFPUA customers were affected.Officials say the affected areas include the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Grace St. and Chestnut St., the 1100 block of Princess St., the 0, 100 and 200 blocks of N. 12th St., 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Colonial Drive, 600 and 700 blocks of Forest Hills Drive and the entire Forest Hills Apartment complex.Periods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increase the potential for back siphonage and bacteria into the water system.Related Article: Hotels begin to evacuate, close doors on guestsCFPUA advises residents in those areas to boil their drinking water once service returns.The boil water advisories are in effect until further notice.last_img read more

Students to get new winter coats school pays it forward with a

first_imgEdwin A. Alderman Elementary School (Photo: Facebook) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Each student at one New Hanover County elementary school will soon get a brand new winter coat. The school is then paying it forward to the community in a warm way.An organization called Thrivent Member Network and Operation Warmth recently raised over $29,000 to give new winter coats to elementary school students in southeastern North Carolina including Alderman Elementary.- Advertisement – Thrivent is a not-for-profit membership organization that provides insurance and financial services.“Many of our families are continuing to recover from the financial hardships caused by Hurricane Florence. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Thrivent Member Network and Operation Warmth. These new winter coats will do much more than keep our students warm…this event is a reminder that our sense of community is strongest when we seek opportunities to serve one another,” Principal Kate Tayloe said.Alderman students will attend the “Wrapped in Love” event Monday in the school cafeteria where volunteers will fit each student with a brand new winter coat. Each child’s coat will be labeled with their first and last name, and they will be able to wear the new coat home on the same day as the event.Related Article: Wilmington Black Professionals hosting coat, toy drive for Florence victimsIn an effort to return the kindness being shown, the school will then conduct its own Soaring Eagle Coat Drive from Tuesday-Friday.School staff will accept donations of gently used coats to support other children in the community who may need help staying warm this winter. If possible, you are asked to wash and dry any coats before making a donation in the school lobby. Alderman is located at 2025 Independence Boulevard.last_img read more

EC coordinating safe port for 64 asylum seekers

first_img SharePrint Fabian Heinz/sea-eye.orgFabian Heinz/sea-eye.org 64 asylum seekers that were rescued off the Libyan coast by NGO vessel Alan Kurdi remain without a safe port with the European Commission stepping in to provide a central point to coordinate among Member States. The vessel Alan Kurdi is in Maltese international waters, Newsbook.com.mt is informed.A spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister told Newsbook.com.mt that the vessel was coordinating with Germany and said that Germany ‘has directed the vessel towards Palma de Mallorca’, a claim that was denied by a spokesperson for the non-governmental organisation Sea-Eye.On Wednesday Alan Kurdi rescued 64 asylum seekers while another boat which was carrying some 50 asylum seekers was never found.READ: 64 asylum seekers rescued by Sea-Eye off the Libyan coast‘Another case highlighting the importance of predictable arrangements for disembarkation’ – ECNewsbook.com.mt has contacted the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs. A spokesperson for the Commission confirmed that the it has been following the events unfolding and has been requested to provide a central point to coordinate among Member States.The spokesperson for the Commissioner explained that the Commission is now initiating contacts to support and coordinate amongst those Member States which are willing to take part in solidarity efforts concerning the persons on board the Alan Kurdi. The spokesperson reiterated that this is another example which illustrated the how urgent predictable arrangements for disembarkation are.Sea-Eye aborts evacuation as Italy insists on separating familiesOn Friday a medical evacuation was aborted after the Italian authorities insisted that they would only evacuate two children and their mothers, effectively separating two families from their fathers. When the respective families were asked they expressed their wish not to be separated from their fathers and therefore the evacuation was aborted.Jan Ribbeck, Sea-Eye’s Head of Operations repeatedly requested the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome not to separate the families and asked for six people corresponding to two families to be safely disembarked.The NGO in a statement lambasted the Italian Home Affairs Minister from the far-right party Lega Nord, Matteo Salvini, saying that the Minister not only humiliated the rescued but ‘instrumentalises everything and everyone’ in order to score political goals which suited him.Salvini on his part has been bickering about the situation on Twitter, after the asylum seekers refused to be separated from their family members, the Italian Minister ‘wished them a good journey onward.’WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Rwanda Govt Tweeting on Rights and Wrongs

first_imgAdvertisement Exactly what happened? In a mid-afternoon tweeter Ian Birrell referred to the President as ‘despotic and deluded’ for saying to William Wallis of the Financial Times that “[he doesn’t] think anybody out there in the media, UN, human rights organizations, has any moral right whatsoever to level any accusations against me or against Rwanda.Because, when it came to the problems facing Rwanda, and the Congo, they were all useless.” President Kagame retorted: “You give yourself the right to abuse people and judge them like you are the one to decide… and determine universally what’s right or wrong and what should be believed or not!!!”Let me preface my account by revealing that Ian Birrell is no stranger to Rwandans who follow Rwandan news coming from the UK; and for the sake of transparency, let me also reveal that many of us never liked what he had to say because we felt he didn’t know and didn’t care to know. Looking critically at his previous articles: “Why Are Repressive Regimes Given the Succour of British Aid” (Sept 2009) and “The Dark Shadows that Stain the New Darling of Africa” (Nov 2009), it is evident that Mr Birrell is as biased as one can get. – Advertisement – His futile attempts to discredit a legitimate government and its leadership, and the recent spin given to his interaction with President Kagame on Tweeter, only proves his lack of objectivity – a trait that should not be associated with Journalism.The false premises of his arguments has always been that “a ruthless autocracy hides beneath the veneer of democracy in Rwanda” and that building strong institutions in a bid to “bring about such an economic transformation that historic divisions will become irrelevant” was too “big a gamble” for my country and its people.One thing is very clear to me though, Ian Birrell has limited knowledge of Rwanda and the attitude to go with it. To be fair though, he’s not the only one in that part of the world and that particular profession with such leanings. Let me also state expressly my purpose here: Don’t be condescending; don’t be rude; and please ask your paper and your friends to allow me my rights to reply.Rwandans fervently wish to be gotten right when they define who they are and where they aim to go. If you happen to have a differing view on either, it’s really alright, but please don’t pretend that Rwandans’ opinions and aspirations are a matter better left to others, people who know best, men and women whose goal in life is to save us from ourselves.With this particular social media phenomenon, an interesting opportunity has presented itself to Mr. Birrell to “make news” and for Rwanda’s President to self-define. In the news making process, the journalist went on to twist the exchange in his favor, peppering it with a bit of his usual “Rwandacondescendence”; elsewhere and from his own writings, the Rwandan reaction generated headlines that went from “spat” to “beef” to “row” and beyond.Two phenomena are at work here. Firstly, simply because someone is a journalist does not make their comments fact. Mr Birrell did not provide proven indications to justify his assertions. More fundamental, and that was President Kagame’s point, is the question of who made Mr. Birrell and the other arbiters of rights he puts forth, the universally accepted definers of Paul Kagame and Rwanda?As things stand, most people can simply see the journalist as one individual attempting to express his views, even skewed as they are. Ironically, all the news sources that picked up this story have not commented on that fact.I will spare you my comment on Ian Birrell’s rude character, lest I substitute myself to the morality police for cultures foreign to me, but let me just give you a taste of this man whose aim is to point out wrong doers on the Dark Continent: In one article alone, he jumped up and down from “deluded” to “vainglorious” to “juvenile nonsense”, every now and then tempered by milder qualifiers such as “arrogant”, “excitable” and “repressive”, the usual attributes of African leaders in Ian Birrell’s quarters.After all, why should journalists substantiate what they say when accusing Africans of “suppressing the media” or “killing opponents”? This has become common place for people reporting on Rwanda where they no longer have to actually tell the truth.An example would be the sad passing of Jean-Leonard Rugambage who was killed outside of his house last year. In numerous media pieces this was mentioned as occurring before election and that the journalist was the editor of a banned tabloid.It is usually here that the writers stop, leaving the impression that this man was killed by the Government. Sometimes this is lumped in with a collection of completely unconnected events to give the impression that this is daily occurrence in Rwanda.However, they do not mention that the killers were found, admitted committing the crime, and that this ended up having nothing to do with the Government, the election, or the President.If, God forbid, Bill O’Reilly was to be shot tomorrow, would the first suspect be President Obama? Probably not.With the Birrell’s type of reporting, a challenge to decent journalists, especially on and from the continent has become more pressing.As for Ian Birrell, he might just surprise me to respond to my tweeter invitation to visit Rwanda so he can learn firsthand what Rwandans really think. The author is the Minister of Foreign Affairs.Source:allafrica.com.last_img read more

Dropmysite Launches New Tool For Tracking Employee Email Usage

first_imgAdvertisement Singapore-based website and email back-up company Dropmysite, which is known best for its largest service Dropmyemail, is opening its latest product exclusively to Dropmyemail Business customers for free.The product will help Companies that have always wondered how employees use their work email accounts to  track all official communications going in and out of the company with the new tool launched by email back-up service Dropmyemail.How To Keep Your Emails And Texts SecretThe tool, called “Email Insights”, will allow managers to identify all employees’ contacts, sieve out corporate communications versus personal emails, measure how much email has been sent and received to gauge the effectiveness of communication, and filter through emails to find specific conversations. – Advertisement – In other words, employees should be afraid as anything they use their work email accounts for could get recorded and sent to their managers.However, there is no need to fear the intrusion of your privacy. The aim of this tool is to prevent incidents such as leaking of official information or loss of records. Peter Yu, the publicist for Dropmysite, says the administrators can only monitor official emails and can’t access personal emails at all.“The only relevance to personal emails is when an employee is sending numerous emails to his, her or other private addresses which is a sign of possible data leakage,” he says.Dropmysite adds that it is further developing algorithms to sort through emails that can predict fraud, spot data leakage, employee dissatisfaction, unauthorized access and more.Credit: TNWlast_img read more

Toyota developing wearable device for blind people

first_imgToyota logo displayed on a building. Image Credit: Fortune Advertisement Japanese automotive manufacturer, Toyota yesterday announced that it’s developing a wearable device, under the project name “PROJECT BLAID” to help give the blinds and visually impaired people greater mobility.“Project BLAID is one example of how Toyota is leading the way to the future of mobility, when getting around will be about more than just cars. We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability,” Toyota NA chief administrative officer Simon Nagata said in the blog post.The system will be designed to help users better navigate important points such as restrooms, escalators, stairs and doors in indoor spaces like office buildings and shopping malls, plus, they will be able to interact with the device through speech and physical buttons. – Advertisement – According to BBC News, In an announcement made this week, Toyota said the device was not meant to replace those aids currently available to blind and visually impaired people, but to “help fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings”.A group of developers working on this project said they were are also working on plans to introduce mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies as well.Robin Spinks, senior strategy manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, told BBC: “This is a very exciting development within the rapidly growing field of wearable assistive technology. Mobility is at the heart of so much in our society and a device like Blaid could open up limitless possibilities for millions of blind and partially sighted people.”“We believe this project has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired,” Toyota partner robotics manager Doug Moore said in a press release.last_img read more

Snapchat reportedly purchased Bitstrips for around 100 million

first_imgAdvertisement Self destructing Photo and Video sharing company Snapchat has reportedly agreed to acquire Bitstrips, in a deal is valued at around $100 million.Bitstrips is the company behind the popular Bitmoji mobile app.Snapchat’s motivations behind the reported acquisition still remain unclear, though this indicates more options for users to sustomize their snaps. – Advertisement – None of the companies has come out yet to comment on the news which first appeared in Fortune.Looks like Bitstrips’ expertise with helping users craft custom cartoon avatars would add more customization for Snapchat.last_img

Kenyas Communication Authority May Block Internet During Elections

first_imgAdvertisement Kenya’s Communication Authority (CA), the body which regulates the communication sector, has warned that it could shut down the internet during the 8 August general elections to prevent violence, the private Standard newspaper reports.“From 2015, we have prepared ourselves for this activity. We have spent Sh1.1 billion on a spectrum monitoring system that will help us monitor unauthorised broadcasts coming from rural areas of the country,” Director General Francis Wangusi explains.“We have also spent around 600 million Kenya shillings ($5.7m; £4.6m) on a social media monitoring system and 400 million Kenya shillings ($3.6m) on a device management system that will help us closely monitor mobile phones and the activities around them.” – Advertisement – CA says that the surveillance is meant to prevent the repeat of the 2007/2008 post election violence in which 1,500 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.An internet shutdown will only be used in the “worst-case scenario”, the report says.Several African governments have resorted to blocking the internet during elections, arguing that that they want to stop the spread of misinformation.[related-posts]Source: Standard Newspaper Live Reporting By: Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia (BBC Africa News correspondents)last_img read more

Apple to Hold its 28th Annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5

first_imgApple is the most valuable technology brand in the world | Courtesy Photo/File Photo. Advertisement Just after the MWC 2017, we yet have another big event coming within a few months. Cupertino-based firm, Apple Inc. on Thursday last week announced its official dates to hold its ‘Developers Conference’. The company said it will be returning to McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, which will host the event after 15 years.In a press statement, the company said, “The conference, kicking off on June 5, will inspire developers from all walks of life to turn their passions into the next great innovations and apps that customers use every day across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac.”Like any other previous WWDC events, Apple is likely to showcase the next generation platforms for mobile devices, to smartwatches, MacOS, to Apple TVs and so forth. – Advertisement – Those that won’t make it to the event can catch the WWDC 2017 conference by live-streaming through the Apple Developer website or on the WWDC app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV (Sorry Android users! You’ll probably have to stick to the website).Apple Inc. to host the WWDC 2017 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose after 15 years.Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, talking to John Gruber further added that WWDC 2017 in San Jose means a lot for Apple employees as “they won’t have to devote an entire day to being there,” NDTV news reported.last_img read more

African Startups Eligible for the Obama Foundation Fellowship Programme

first_imgAdvertisement US 44th former President; Barack Obama founded the ‘Obama Foundation Fellowship Programme,’ that seeks to support outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation –  and is rolling out the programme as one of its main initiatives.The Obama Foundation Fellows will be a diverse set of community-minded rising stars – organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, to mention a few – who are altering the civic engagement landscape.The two-year, non-residential Fellowship will offer hands-on training, resources, and leadership development, while Fellows will also participate in four multi-day gatherings where they will collaborate with each other, connect with potential partners, and collectively push their work forward. – Advertisement – The Obama Foundation is looking for individuals who are working to solve important public problems in creative and powerful ways.“We need people working from all angles and with different perspectives to strengthen our communities and civic life. This fellowship is for organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more. It is for those working within systems like governments or businesses, as well as those working outside of formal institutions,” wrote in a press statement.Applications opened on Wednesday, September 6th 2017 at 11:00am CT (7p.m. East African Time) (to apply – FOLLOW THE LINK) not later than Friday, October 6th 2017 at 6:00pm CT (2a.m. East African Time). Successful applicants to be notified in February next year prior to a first gathering in April, 2018.[related-posts]Terms and Conditions when applyingAccuracy When you submit your application materials, you affirm that the information presented is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Applications are subject to additional research, reference checks, and vetting.Selection at the Discretion of the Foundation The Foundation shall select, at its sole discretion, those applicants selected to advance in the Fellowship selection process.Confidentiality By the submission of a Fellowship application, applicant grants to the Foundation an unrestricted right to use all or portions of the response, including all materials and/or accompanying information submitted, as it considers necessary or desirable in connection with the selection process. The Foundation makes no representations regarding confidentiality of information submitted in or in connection with the Fellowship application.Non-discrimination The Foundation does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, parental status, veteran status, military discharge status, citizenship status or source of income or any other protected status. We encourage individuals from all backgrounds to apply for this opportunity.Commitment Attendance for the full duration of the four Fellows gatherings is mandatory. Fellows must also be able to meet the ongoing time commitments of the Fellowship.last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW Man Utd v FC Midtjylland

first_img[dropcap]M[/dropcap]idtjylland celebrated as if they’d won the tournament last week when beating Man U 2-1 – little did they know though that ANYONE can beat Man U these days Joking apart, it was a terrific effort from the Danish side proving, once again, how perilous it can be taking short odds about Man U this season.Man U are a short price again tonight to get the job done and progress to the last 16 in the never-ending Europa League.Louis Van Gaal said: “We have to score, that’s for sure. We have to disorganise their organisation so we have to be very creative.”United will be without their keeper David de Gea for the third straight game and winger Winger Antonio Valencia is nearing fitness but will not be available after his foot surgery.Also missing for Man U are Wayne Rooney (knee), midfielder Marouane Fellaini (muscle injury) and defender Matteo Darmian (shoulder).United gained a confidence boosting success against Shrewsbury (now there’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d write!) and remain a formidable force at home – now unbeaten in nine European home games.On the other hand, Midtjylland have lost their last two European away games without scoring, conceding six goals in the process.The away goal could prove crucial but Man U will want to make it more straightforward than that.Man Utd v FC MidtjyllandUEFA Europa League Last-32 2nd Leg20:05 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)Feb 2016 EUROPA LEAGUE Midtjylland 2-1 Man UtdMan U (-2) on the three-way handicap with Star Sports makes an appealing option at around 7/4.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK MAN U (-2) on the three way handicap for 25 points at around 7/4 with Star SportsWEDNESDAY: NO BETWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

SIMON NOTT CHELTENHAM Wednesday Report

first_imgThe members of the firm that could actually eat after the sums were done and a ball park figure of £300k in red was digested dined on a fish supper last night. By Wednesday morning the pain had eased and it was time to get to work.BEN BEFORE RACING<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>BEN AND MAC BEFORE RACING (part 1)<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>BEN AND MAC BEFORE RACING (part 2)<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>1:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)The punters didn’t waste any time with Samcro, one waded in to the office with £30k at 8/11 in the morning. That price was still widely available with 10 minutes to go.Then with seconds to go, a punter called the office and had a £40,000 – £55,000 and they were off. Any thoughts of a quick bounce back after yesterday dissipated with the roar that went up when Samcro cruised to the front and ultimately victory. Before racing they were saying Samcro was the second coming, it appeared the Gambling Gods were looking after their own and hadn’t yet finished tormenting the bookies.2:10 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)Presenting Percy was jolly for the next in a (hopefully) much more competitive heat. There were no lumpy bets on course but at the off we had the jolly losing just shy of £10,000. The office laid a £33,000 – £10,000 Monalee right in the hole.Screams of ‘Go on Davy’ shrilling in your ears as yet another bogie hoses in are bad enough, but when that Davy is your brand ambassador Davy Russell it’s the real rubdown. Jolly Presenting Percy won with some ease, much to the joy of of the punters. Yes well done Davy but things were now getting character building.2:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)The office had already laid Topofthegame and Voix De Reve to the tune of £48,000 – £4,000 and £50,000 – £3,500 both each way respectively in the morning so their book was already rolling. As usual in big handicaps, we were just letting the punters fill us in with whatever they wanted, after all the 8/1 the field the winner would be hard to find.And it was, Bleu Berry winning at 20/1 was a good result and a very welcome change of fortunes ahead of the Queen Mother and Altior, had the worm started to turn?3:30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)It didn’t take long for the office attract money, an even £40k Altior, Ben was screaming to lay him on course, the feeling was he could get this one beaten.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>The money came in steadily but still not lumps let alone monster bets.In they came, even £2,000, £1,000, even monkeys even £3,000 until the jolly took out £20k, then £25k. The office called, they’d laid £125,000 – £25,000 Douvan, it was a proper betting heat.He looked in trouble, we hoped for the best then the stands erupted as Altior powered up the hill to a famous victory and a colossal loss for us. A weird hush followed the elation all around, if you listened carefully you could hear the rustle of readies as the bookies delved deep into the deep tanks. Those rustles were eroded as the cheers rang out again as the winner triumphantly passed the stands.4:10 Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase)The Cross Country race isn’t usually a race the punters get stuck into but today was slightly different, though stakes were relatively modest we still took enough to have favourite Cause Of Causes losing almost £20,000 on course.With a book like that you’d expect we only had one loser and you’d be right. 7/1 winner Tiger Roll got a nice chunk back, but think drop and ocean. Still, for a race very few people appear to be interested in it was a welcome bonus.ANDREW’S UPDATE<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>4:50 Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)It was just a case of head down and get stuck in with the Fred Winter and Champion Bumper to conclude. The last race proved you can get more than your whack when you least expect it. When I say Head Down, it was head up as far as Ben was concerned, to the nice warm box so Marcella McCoy took the helm on the pitch.At the off Act Of Valour was a very bad loser in relation to what we’d taken, mostly down to shrewd cash money, each way too. We had several other smaller losers too, it was a case of just hoping.There’s only one way to describe Veneer Of Charm’s 33/1 win with all the each way bogies out of the frame…….Aye Aye!5:30 Weatherbys Champion BumperBen hopped back on the pitch for betting on the lucky last. And in they came, straight away £50,000 – £1,500 each way Seddon.As it turned out that bet wasn’t a precursor to a tirade of lumpy bets but another wager of £30,000 – £3,600 Felix Desjy ensured our book was extremely lopsided. Other business was brisk so had the chance to get another chunk back if we could duck the winner.25/1 winner Relegate was an absolutely blinding result, and who’d have thought it, Mullins did the ring a favour. We got a nice chunk back and it’s not a huge price that Ben and co will do better than fish and chips tonight. Another bad day but it at least finished on a high note.Back for more tomorrow.last_img read more

Rice Receives 16 Million Hughes Medical Grant

first_imgAddThis Share Contact: Michael Cinelli Phone: (713) 831-4794 Rice Receives $1.6 Million Hughes Medical Grant Rice University received a $1.6 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for its Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program that will affect all levels ofeducation in Texas.”As part of the program, novel efforts at attracting and retaining women and minority students in science will be undertaken, and undergraduate laboratory courses will be expanded and upgraded,” said Fred Rudolph, director of the program and executive director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering at Rice. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded $86 million in four-year grants to 62 research and doctorate-granting universities this year. The grants expand an initiative that has already begun to change the face of science education at college campuses and at K-12schools nationwide, institute officials said. Since 1988, the institute has awarded $290 million to colleges and universities through its Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program. These grants have enabled universities to provide research opportunities for more than 15,000 undergraduates, to reach out to nearly 5,000 science teachers and students at local schools,and to attract more women and minorities to science. At Rice, outreach programs under a previous Hughes Medical Institute grant have been successful. Several will continue to be funded. A number of new opportunities have developed for partnerships with several schools, including The Rice School/La Escuela Rice-a new K-8 facility in the Houston Independent SchoolDistrict. The outreach effort aimed at elementary and secondary schools will help develop new, integrated and comprehensive science and mathematics curricula, “and will attempt to generate in the studentsa sense of enthusiasm for science,” Rudolph said. The four-year grant will provide $800,000 for off-campus activities, $700,000 for on-campus programs and $100,000 foradministrative costs. The grant will support the following: * a teacher resource center; curriculum reform and program development for local primary and secondary schools, high schools in the South Texas Independent School District in Mercedes, Texas, and the United Independent School District in Laredo; a science camp and other programs for middle school girls; and enhancement of an honorspremedical curriculum; * undergraduate programs, to include recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities, seminars, faculty mentoring, andresearch for women and underrepresented minorities; * equipment and upgrades for expanded laboratory modules in biological sciences, and educational technology for areas such asstructural biology and biophysics. On the administrative front, the grant will fund two new positions to work in off-campus programs-a curriculum coordinator and a networking coordinator. The curriculum coordinator will oversee program development at all sites. The networking coordinatorwill work to facilitate communication capabilities in the schools.”If we can get students turned on early to science, then we have an opportunity to increase the numbers-particularly of underrepresented minorities and women-in science as well as to have a scientifically literate public,” Rudolph said. Rice University is an independent, coeducational, nonsectarian private university dedicated to undergraduate teaching and graduate studies, research and professional training in selected disciplines. It has an undergraduate student population of 2,572, a graduate and professional student population of 1,375 and a full-time faculty of 448. ###last_img read more