The NHS has been accused of spending more than a y

first_imgThe NHS has been accused of spending more than a year on its latest bid to improve wheelchair services, while producing nothing but two conferences and a series of working groups.Critics also fear that NHS England’s wheelchair services improvement programme has paid lip-service to the views of service-users.They say the process is in danger of becoming the latest in a long line of failed bids to improve a service that struggles with lengthy waiting-lists and leaves many disabled people without the right wheelchairs.There are also concerns about the influence of the disability charity Whizz-Kidz on the reform process.NHS England organised a “wheelchair summit” in February 2014 – more than 14 months ago – with a second summit following on 27 November.In a bid to inject some momentum into the process, NHS England set up the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance, chaired by the disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson.Its first meeting was in January, with the second taking place this week.The alliance has been told by NHS England to produce a one-page “wheelchair charter”, but there is concern that it has not pushed for tough new standards for NHS wheelchair services.Sir Bert Massie, the former chair of the Disability Rights Commission and himself a wheelchair-user, said he was concerned and mystified by the wheelchair improvement programme.He told Disability News Service (DNS): “I think there is something very distasteful about this.“I can’t work out what is going wrong. I can’t work out why it takes nearly a year to write a charter.”He chairs the Community Equipment Code of Practice Scheme (CECOPS) social enterprise, which has already drawn up a code of practice for the community equipment industry across the UK, backed by the Care Quality Commission, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, the Health and Safety Executive, the Royal College of Nursing and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, among others.Sir Bert said he was frustrated by NHS England’s refusal to adopt CECOPS, which would provide a set of national standards for wheelchair services.He said: “We have done the standards for them. They are here. What’s their problem?“Several of the alliance members personally support our standards and have recommended their adoption, so I don’t understand NHS England’s and NHS Improving Quality’s reluctance.”Baroness Grey-Thompson, who has only been involved in the improvement programme since November, agreed that “not a lot” had happened in the 14 months since the first summit, while the alliance had only just secured final approval from NHS England for a new website to promote its efforts.Speaking to DNS at the Naidex 2015 independent living exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC, where she spoke about the alliance, she said: “We probably needed the second summit because of the limited movement since the first.“Why stuff didn’t happen [before], I don’t know really. It is even difficult to pinpoint how many times people have tried to change this… because it’s ‘lots’. I don’t know if the political will wasn’t there.”She admitted that a one-page charter was not going to improve wheelchair services on its own, but added: “The charter is a wish-list. We need a really convincing argument behind it about why it needs to change.”She agreed that there was a need for standards, and said she did not want to “reinvent the wheel”, but insisted that there was a need to go through both an internal and public process before deciding on any standards.According to NHS Improving Quality, an estimated 15 per cent of wheelchair-users wait more than 12 months for their NHS chair, while up to half of all people who use wheelchairs will develop a pressure sore at some point in their life.The cost of treating the worst pressure sores can be as much as 16 hip replacements.For every 182 wheelchair-users not able to work because of incorrect equipment or delays, the social security bill can increase by up to £1 million, compared with an economic contribution of up to £4.7 million if those wheelchair-users are able to work.Critics of the improvement programme have pointed to a blog written by Liam Dwyer, a former building manager in the construction industry, who has motor neurone disease (MND) and uses an electric wheelchair and communication devices, and was one of the disabled people asked to attend the first wheelchair summit in February 2014.Subsequently, he was asked to join one of six “work streams” that were set up at the summit.After an initial meeting, he says in his blog, he did not receive any further information until he received an invitation to the second summit, in November.He says he and other service-users were treated like “dog muck”, and “as if they don’t have a brain”.Dwyer says in his blog: “About 30 per cent of my friends and fellow MND sufferers would be dead by now since the time the first summit took place.”He adds: “I don’t know how long I have left on this planet and I am not prepared to sit back and let this appalling behaviour and great waste take place at the expense of dying and needy patients, especially where it impacts upon the lives of people just like me who rely totally upon equipment, not for social reasons, but just to live.”Baroness Grey-Thompson said she would be “really upset” if service-users had not been listened to, “because they are the ones we are doing it for”.She plans to meet with Dwyer to discuss his concerns, and added: “We do need to reinvigorate some of the work streams.”But there are also concerns about the influence of the disability charity Whizz-Kidz on the process.The charity, which has close links with the former NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson, is believed to have had about 10 representatives and service-users at the first wheelchair summit in February 2014 – an event that was chaired by Sir David – even though it was attended by less than 80 people.Whizz-Kidz also has representation on both of the new sub-groups set up by the alliance, as well as a seat on the alliance itself, which has 12 members.Sir Bert said: “Whizz-Kidz are on the alliance and have a very clear vested interest because they want to compete for services. There is a real conflict of interest.“My fear is that they are leading the agenda and I think there needs to be a different agenda.“The agenda should not be about who provides the services but which organisation has the competency and how to measure that competency and what is their accountability to disabled people.”Christine Anderson, from Lancashire, whose son Christopher is a wheelchair-user, said she had noticed an “imbalanced” Whizz-Kidz presence at the first summit.But she said: “I was filled with hope that something was going to change and people were listening.”So far, she said, she has seen “no change, no benefit” from the process, with some disabled children still being told they have to wait three years for a powered wheelchair.Following the first summit, she was placed on the improvement programme’s commissioning and procurement work stream, but was asked to attend just one meeting.She said it appeared that NHS England was favouring Whizz-Kidz ahead of other organisations, without going through the necessary processes.Baroness Grey-Thompson said she accepted that Whizz-Kidz potentially had a lot to gain from the reform of wheelchair services, and that she had to be “mindful” that one organisation did not exert too much influence over the process.Last October, at the Conservative party conference, Ruth Owen (pictured), chief executive of Whizz-Kidz, told her charity’s fringe meeting that the NHS “does not procure in an effective and efficient way”.She spoke of her own struggle to obtain a wheelchair through the NHS, a process she described as “tortuous”, and told DNS after the meeting that the service was “crap”.Whizz-Kidz is believed to have partnerships with 12 NHS trusts, which aim to improve local wheelchair services – for adults as well as children – and its work was praised by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in his keynote speech to October’s party conference.Owen told the fringe: “There needs to be more choice because this area of the NHS do not want choice, change or to listen to the customer. They don’t want to believe there is a problem, and there is a problem.”DNS asked Whizz-Kidz for a response at noon on 29 April, but by the end of today (30 April) a spokesman said he had not had time to answer a series of questions.Instead, he released a short statement, saying: “Whizz-Kidz is delighted to be part of the Wheelchair Alliance along with a number of other organisations, as we see wheelchair reform as vital for disabled children and young people in this country.  “Whizz-Kidz’s focus is centred on supporting young disabled people to ensure that they receive the right mobility at the right time in their lives and we’re thrilled that NHS England are driving transformation in this area.”An NHS England spokesman said in a statement: “NHS England is supporting improvements in wheelchair services to ensure wheelchair-users and their families can lead full, independent and active lives.“Since the first meeting, NHS England has been leading three national pieces of work which will lay the foundations for further improvement, including a new national wheelchair dataset, a new national tariff, and support and resources for commissioners.“These are not ‘quick fixes’ and each of these pieces of work requires extensive testing and engagement to ensure maximum impact and success.”As far back as 1986, a report by Professor Ian (later Lord) McColl called for major improvements to wheelchair services.Five years later, responsibility for wheelchair provision was devolved from national level to local health authorities and trusts.And in 1994, the former disabled people’s minister Alf (later Lord) Morris told MPs that thousands of disabled people saw themselves as “victims of state-sanctioned discrimination” because of the failure to provide them with powered wheelchairs.last_img read more

The justice minister responsible for human rights

first_imgThe justice minister responsible for human rights appears to have dismissed calls for the government to do more to protect the social and economic rights of disabled people and other groups.Dr Phillip Lee, a junior justice minister whose responsibilities include human rights, was speaking at the launch of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) new report detailing Britain’s progress in implementing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.In a speech at the launch, he appeared to suggest that “the realities of the world” – including population growth, an ageing society, and mass migration – and “finite resources” meant the government could not afford to meet the report’s call for action on the rights laid out in the covenant.The covenant includes the rights to work, including safe and healthy working conditions, to social security and an adequate standard of living, to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and to education and cultural life, and it was ratified by the UK in 1976.The EHRC report concludes that the “overall picture” with the UK’s implementation of ICESCR “remains deeply concerning”, with “persistent challenges in relation to a number of economic and social rights and, in some instances, further deterioration”.The report also says that the government has “failed to show why its tax, policy and legal reforms since 2010 were necessary and fair, and how they align with human rights standards”.It adds: “Social security reforms made by successive UK Governments since 2010 have had a particularly disproportionate, cumulative impact on disabled people, resulting in a regression of their rights to independent living and to an adequate standard of living and social protection.”Lee (pictured) said he recognised the rights laid out in the covenant and said the EHRC report provided a “timely” and “useful summary” of the commission’s views on the government’s progress in its implementation.He said it highlighted “some key issues and certainly gives us some pause for thought”.He also insisted that the government was progressively implementing the rights in the covenant, for example by spending £1.6 billion on legal aid in England and Wales*; ensuring an unemployment rate close to a 40-year low; strengthening the national minimum wage; and tackling the gender pay gap.But he then said that he wanted to “talk from the heart a bit”.He said it was “all very well talking about social and economic rights” but the world was changing “at an ever increasingly-fast pace”, with population growth, developments in artificial intelligence, an ageing population and migration.He added: “It’s all very well talking about rights… but the corresponding thing is responsibility, duty, duty to others, duty to each other, duty within the community, responsibility within communities, responsibility of our country and the world.“So although I congratulate you on your work and can fully recognise that it is well-motivated – don’t think it isn’t shared by everybody across the political spectrum – but I have to deal with the realities of the world as it is.”He said that solutions were “not easy and they are going to get harder because of population growth, resources being finite as they are”.And he added: “I think we need to talk about this in more depth and with more candour across the political spectrum than we have previously.”But Virginia Bras-Gomes, chair of the UN committee on economic, social and cultural rights (UNCESCR), told Disability News Service (DNS) later that there was a “growing concern” among her committee that progress in realising those rights had “come to a standstill”, although not just in the UK (see separate story).She said the UK government appeared to “know what the difficulties are” – including migration and an ageing population – but she said: “What I don’t see happening in many countries, including the UK, is that not everything is being done to use the resources the country has to deal with the difficulties.”She said: “There is a growing defiance on the part of developed countries to say, ‘look at all the difficulties we face, we cannot go beyond what we have done already.’”Among the recommendations in EHRC’s report, it says the government should examine the reasons for higher levels of poverty among groups such as disabled people, children, refugees and asylum-seekers, and “develop a strategy to address these factors”, while it should monitor the effects of the four-year benefits freeze.It also calls on the government to implement the public sector socio-economic duty under the Equality Act 2010, which would impose a duty on certain public bodies to have “due regard” to reducing socio-economic disadvantage when taking major decisions.The report also says the UK government should assess how well employment support programmes help disabled people find and stay in work, and commit to producing regular reports on its progress towards reaching its target of one million more disabled people in work by 2017.The launch event was organised by EHRC and the Just Fair consortium of UK human rights organisations.It also heard from Cathy, a member of Croydon Disabled People Against Cuts, who has several long-term health conditions, and described how she had been repeatedly reassessed for both employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP), and had won many appeals after initially being found ineligible for the benefits by the Department for Work and Pensions.She said: “I’ve lost count of the number of winters I’ve gone without gas and food, and skipped Christmas.”Last year, she was awarded severe disability premium for the first time, but it lasted only four months before she was reassessed yet again, lost that entitlement, and was moved back into the ESA work-related activity group and again lost her entitlement to PIP.Her entitlement has now been restored in the last few days, but only after she was forced to live for eight months on ESA and depend on food banks and other charities.  Because of the drastic shortage of social housing in Croydon, she is scared to ask to be rehoused – even though her flat is now inaccessible to her – in case she is forced to take housing outside Croydon, or even outside London.She said: “Since 2010 my constant persecution and torture by reassessment has taken its toll on my health, I feel like I can never break out of the cycle and just live on what I’m fully entitled to from the DWP.“In the last 10 months I have met some amazing people, some severely disabled, and they have given me courage to speak out and protest against cuts and austerity, but I don’t think we should have to do this to get our voices heard – how is it fair that the people who face the biggest barriers in life are the ones being hit the hardest?”*The EHRC report says spending on legal aid is now £950 million lower than in 2010, following the government’s legal aid cuts and reforms.last_img read more

Jims Restaurant Throwback Diner Time

first_imgWhenever I’ve been there, the place is full of families, mostly Latinos, and working types, people coming in after the night shift, not party goers waiting to wreak havoc after too many brews. It’s more of a hangover place, for the younger folk. But again, it’s really a family joint, as evidenced by the myriad of customers’ kids photos on the wood paneled walls and on the padded column by the register. I espied not a single man bun. What you will see are regulars that feel free to walk behind the counter and grab some ketchup themselves if the girls are too busy, and no one kicks up a fuss.We’ve been semi-regulars for a few years, but the BF had never ordered a burger there…Jim’s dinner burger.So he went all the way and got the double-patty cheese burger. That was a mighty tasty burger, I must say. Charred and beefy with a good soft, sesame-seeded bun. The fries were done right, too.I went a little exotic…Jim’s – hangtown fry.Hangtown Fry! The famous dish of the Gold Rush days – it’s a genius concoction of eggs, bacon and oysters. The only other place I’ve ever had this dish is Tadich, that venerable old lady in the Financial District, which is supposed to be the pinnacle around these parts. Jim’s was better. While the omelet may have been a little overbrowned for me, it wasn’t dry at all, and tasted fresh and rich, the creaminess of the oysters standing out from their eggy bed. And, I absolutely ADORE Jim’s hash browns. They’re the perfect combination of super crispy yet fluffy. And don’t you dare put any goddamned peppers or onions in my hash browns. If you want to turn up the volume on your spuds, just ask for their salsa verde…Jim’s salsas.They make the green sauce in-house, and it’s super garlicky, cilantro-y, and delicious. And if that’s still not hot enough for you, you can always ask for some jalapenos…Jim’s jalapeno bowl.That’s a standard-sized mixing bowl there, people. Anyone who asks for jalapenos gets their very own Andre-the-Giant-sized bowl of pickled peppers.On our next visit, the BF went back to his standard breakfast order…Jim’s sausage & eggs.Sausage and eggs. He likes that they serve patties here, instead of links.I had my favorite breakfast of all time:Jim’s Eggs Benedict.Eggs Benedict. Swoon. Jim’s makes theirs with ham instead of Canadian bacon, but who’s to notice? My Hollandaise was surprisingly light, and the eggs were perfectly cooked – oh wonder of wonders – a coffee shop that still knows how to poach eggs properly!On our first visit, we watched a little old lady at the counter, very nicely dressed, and quite obviously a regular who never has to look at the menu, get served what was clearly her “usual” – poached eggs and two strips of bacon, and some toast.   The eggs were the fluffiest things I’ve ever seen, like two little clouds on her plate, and I wish I’d had the cojones to reach over her shoulder and take a picture. And then, again without her asking, they brought out a cup of soup, whatever was the special that day, and she proceeded to pour it all over her dish. Yeah. You can definitely have it your way at Jim’s.They have “dinner” specials, too, like any self-respecting coffee shop would: liver and onions, sirloin, chicken fried steak, a mixed seafood plate. But you’ll have to eat them at Early Bird hours: Jim’s closes at 3:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Hey, Ms. Kim has a family to take care of, and needs her rest! So go in and say hello, give her a big smile, have a club sandwich and a shake, read the paper, and maybe put your phone down. And tip big. The girls will appreciate it. See all of our restaurant reviews here. Jim’s Restaurant2420 Mission StreetBetween 20th & 21st415 285-6020 Jim’s has been around for over 25 years, with Ms. Kim at the helm of this retro diner spot. It’s your typical old school coffee shop, with somewhat tattered booths, counter seating, big windows so you can read the paper, and bottomless coffee cups. Friendly, snappy service, too. And as an added bonus, the food is pretty darned good. No artisanal, chia seed pancakes, no gluten free water. Just your everyday, down-home, greasy-spoon (meant in the best possible sense) eggs, pancakes, omelets, burgers, fries, chef salads, patty melts … you get the picture.It’s the kind of unpretentious spot that I really hope continues to thrive. In this day of fancy new brunch places popping up everywhere, not to mention pop-ups, Jim’s only got their beer and wine license in the last couple of months, seemingly in an effort to stay relevant.Jims mimosa.They now have mimosas! And beer. Kim told me she had always been worried that there could be trouble if she sold alcohol, but as she’s seen the neighborhood change, she felt she needed to go with the flow. 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Staffing Woes Shutter Valencia St Kebab Restaurant

first_imgOne of the owners of Valencia & Kebab at 525 Valencia St. confirmed this week that the Mediterranean restaurant has shut its doors for good after just 10 months of business in the Mission.Emin Tekin co-owns the restaurant and two others – both called Kobani Mediterranean Grill, in the Marina and another in Berkeley. Tekin said that the restaurateurs “wanted to stay open but could not find the right team” for their Valencia location. “We could not find the right management [and] the employees would not give the service we usually give,” said Tekin, adding that most of the brothers’ customers would come to see them “because of long-term relationships in the neighborhood.” The brothers officially closed the doors to Valencia & Kebab on September 8. “The business is not just eating and drinking, it’s hospitality and needs attention and touch. You don’t just go inside, eat, and leave. Employees, like the flavor, [have] to be consistent,” he said. And that ingredient, said Tekin, was missing. When asked to elaborate, Tekin explained that the ownership increasingly received “bad reviews on Yelp” and “calls from clients” complaining about the service at the restaurant.Valencia & Kebab moved into the Mission space that formerly housed the Indian seafood restaurant Gajalee in November 2015, after being forced out of Hayes Valley. Their former location, Hayes & Kebab, was torn down to make way for a five-story mixed-use building. Back in January, Tekin told Mission Local that Valencia & Kebab would continue its operations regardless of whether they managed to re-open in Hayes Valley. SFist reports that a temporary liquor license had been issued for beer and wine sale in June, and that a permanent license transfer is still pending. Tekin said that he withdrew the application for the liquor license and is looking to sell his lease.This article has been corrected – it previously incorrectly represented ownership of other restaurants in the Tekin family.  0%center_img Tags: Business • food • valencia street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Saints lock horns with Trinity this Friday at the

first_imgSaints lock horns with Trinity this Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium as they aim to keep up their six-point lead at the top of the table“Wakefield are a really good side,” he said. “They beat us earlier in the season and over the last five or six weeks have been great. They nearly beat Warrington, then easily beat Wigan and had a good victory over the weekend.“They have kept the same side for the last five or six weeks too. They are a dangerous, well balanced side.“They have a big pack of forwards, lightning quick outside backs and Jacob Millar has a good kicking game.“We know we have to make sure we play well to take home the points.”Saints welcomed back their England contingent on Monday and Holbrook says all are in contention for this Friday’s match.“They all came through it well which is pleasing,” he continued. “It was a big trip for them and I was really proud of how they played. It was good to see England have a dominant win and the boys who play for us have such a big part in that.“They came back into training on Monday and will be ready to go on Friday.“I was disappointed that Luke Thompson didn’t play but it was a great experience for him. He was really upbeat about it all and appreciated being part of it for a week.“He was happy to be a part of the set-up and moving forward under Wayne Bennett. He hasn’t come back disappointed or wanting to prove a point, it is a progression for him.“Tommy Mak has been great all year and did exactly the same for England. It came at an important time too as the game progressed. He made a difference and had an impact. I was really pleased for him.”Tickets for Friday’s game which kicks off at 7:45pm at the Totally Wicked Stadium are now on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455052 or online here.last_img read more

Panthers fans weigh in on Cam Newtons comments QB makes apology on

first_img “That’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like… that’s funny,” the quarterback said to the reporter in a Wednesday news conference.It may have been funny to him, but these comments aren’t funny to these football fans.“I don’t know how else you take it, but it was just a sexist comment,” Steve Hammer, who’s girlfriend is a major Panther fan, said.Related Article: Carolina’s Julius Peppers retires after 17 seasonsFrom the long time fans, they don’t approve it, but know Newton was not trying to target the reporter’s gender.“Out of place, but he’s a football player and not a spokesperson,” Panthers fan Chris Graham said.Newton is not the spokesperson anymore for the yogurt brand Dannon. They cut ties with the quarterback calling his comments sexist.“I understand he had a conversation where he said he pretty much said that he shouldn’t have said what he said,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said.Rivera was referring to Newton’s somewhat apology with Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue. The reporter herself not shy of controversy either issuing an apology today of four-year-old racist comments she made on— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 5, 2017Newton issued an apology Thursday night on Twitter.“If you are person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you.”— Cameron Newton (@CameronNewton) October 6, 2017 WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  The Carolina Panthers star quarterback has landed himself in hot water over comments he made towards a female reporter.  We went to hear from local fans on their reactions to the comments.The reporter involved as well as many news outlets have come out calling Cam Newton’s comment sexist. Panthers fans we heard from agree that what he said was not OK.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Shuckin Shack Oyster Bar changes locations in Wilmington opens Leland franchise

first_imgSOUTHEASTERN NC (WWAY) — On the move and away they grow. A restaurant that started in Carolina Beach in 2007 just had another franchise open in Leland, with more set to open this year.Shuckin’ Shack co-owner Sean Cook says an employee who worked at the Shuckin’ Shack in Carolina Beach for eight years decided to open her own franchise in Leland.- Advertisement – The Leland restaurant held a soft opening on Monday.You’ll also notice the Shuckin’ Shack is changing locations in downtown Wilmington.They are leaving their home on Market Street and moving to 127 N. Front Street, where Betsy’s Crepes used to be.Related Article: Still recovering from floods, Fair Bluff to lose major employerCook says this new location on N. Front Street will give them twice as many seats, including outdoor seating, and a larger kitchen.They hope to open in early April.Cook says since they began franchising five years ago, they have grown to 13 locations in four states.More franchises are set to open this year in Statesboro, Georgia, Little River, SC, Jacksonville, NC and possibly a third location in Cary.last_img read more

Fieri tastes ropa vieja sancocho at Ceviches

first_img While Ceviche’s is known for its ceviche selection, fried plantains and seafood specialties, Fieri went straight for two Panamanian classics to bite into it.Owners Hunter and Laura Tiblier were told Fieri would be tasting one of his favorite dishes, ropa vieja, and sancocho.Click here to read more. Guy Fieri speaks with fans in downtown Wilmington (Photo: Kirsten Gutierrez/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The first episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” to feature a Wilmington restaurant aired Friday, featuring Panamanian-inspired Ceviche’s, 7120 Wrightsville Ave. in Wrightsville Beach.Guy Fieri was seen at six restaurants in January filming for the Food Network show ahead of his charity luncheon for the Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington at The Country Club at Landfall.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Thrift shop collects school supplies for kids in need

first_img They have several community partners involved in the drive.The goal is to collect as many supplies as they can for students in need, to give them the tools they need to succeed.Miss North Carolina Junior Teen Julia Narvaez stopped by the Southport location this afternoon to contribute to the cause.“I’ve seen a lot of families all around my community who are in desperate need of school supplies and it’s just something that they can’t afford right now,” said Narvaez.CIS is accepting donations of supplies and money at all Brunswick County locations.Although they prefer new items, gently used items such as backpacks are accepted.Click here for a list of supplies. Thrift store collects school supplies for kids in need.(Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —  The start of a new school year is right around the corner for kids in Brunswick County, which means stocking up on school supplies. But what about families who cannot afford everything on the list?CIS Thrift Shops are holding their third annual ‘Communities in Schools Back to School Supply Drive.’- Advertisement – last_img read more

Early inperson voting has started in North Carolina

first_imgRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina residents who don’t want to wait to vote until Election Day can now cast ballots in person in their home counties.Early in-person voting began Wednesday in all 100 counties. More than 300 locations ultimately will be open through Nov. 3. Early votes can be cast by registered voters and those who want to participate in what’s called “same-day registration.” Otherwise it’s too late to register this fall if someone wants to vote by mail or on Election Day Nov. 6.- Advertisement – Early-voting sites are open nearly double the number of cumulative hours compared to four years ago, even as the number of early-voting sites declined by 17 percent. That’s the result of new state law and actions by county and state election boards.last_img read more

Planning Authority is not protecting the coast – AD

first_imgAlternattiva DemokratikaAlternattiva Demokratika Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party said that the Planning Authority has failed to protect the coast during a press conference held in St Julian’s on Saturday morning.Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that while declarations in favour of protecting the coastline were made in parliament, these were in conflict with the coastal development currently ongoing.The Green Party chair recalled how various environmental non-governmental organisations had submitted requests for various sites to be granted protection under the Public Domain Act, however the Party said that their requests have been placed on the back burner due to the lack of political will to act upon such requests.AD accused the planning watchdog of failing in its duty to protect the coast as it approved three different permits relative to the site where their press conference was held on Saturday morning. AD warned that a fourth permit is in the pipeline. The Party observed that in reports drawn up by the same watchdog, no reference is made to protect the coast and ensure that it is accessible.The Party likened the encroachment taking place on pavements to the encroachment on the coastline as well as the sea.WhatsApp SharePrint <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

€103 million in cocaine seized in 19hour operation by Customs

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint 76 packets of cocaine weighing 91.25 kg were elevated with an estimated street value of €10.3 millions, Customs said on Monday.The operation took place on Sunday and lasted more than 19 hours, when Customs Officials seized another 91.25 kg of cocaine from three containers at the Malta Freeport.READ: Customs officials seize €2.7m in cocaine at FreeportREAD: Customs officials seize over €10m in cocaine at FreeportREAD: Customs officials make €32.4m cocaine seizure at FreeportIn a statement Customs explained that the Customs Container Monitoring Unit selected several containers for scanning, during which irregularities were detected in three of the reefer containers. The scans pointed to narcotics hidden in the refrigerant compressor unit. The officials carried out a physical search which confirmed the preliminary suspicions.From the containers, Customs retrieved 24 kg cocaine in 20 packets with an estimated value of €2.7 million from the first container. From the second container 40 packets of cocaine weighing 48 kg with a street value €5.4 million were elevated. In the third container yielded 16 packets of cocaine weighed 19.25 kg with a total estimated street value of €10.3 million.From January 2019, Customs have seized 606.45 kg of cocaine worth €68.2 million.WhatsApplast_img read more

PAs flawed policies encourage developers to think anything is possible – NGOs

first_img SharePrint Google MapsGoogle Maps A number of civil society groups have warned that recent decisions by the Planning Authority, ‘encourage developers to think that anything is possible.’The conservation NGOs and academic bodies which include Din l-Art Ħelwa and Franciscan Friars. Malta, argue that the Planning Authority’s, ‘flawed policies,’ like the Fuel Stations Relocation Policy, is, ‘now finally universally acknowledged as wrong…but is still being used to justify the replacement of a solitary petrol pump, within urban areas.’This also goes for the doubling in size of what are considered illegal fish farms and the building of hotels on heritage sites. They state that these decisions by the Planning Authority, ‘render environmental policies a dead letter.’Petrol Stations Policy to be revised following pressure from GraffitiWatch: Minister says fuel stations policy will be up and running by AprilUltimately, they argue that the public has, ‘lost faith in governmental strategies for our environment, and particularly in the Planning Authority.’The NGOs and academic bodies state that they are concerned about the need for long term plans and policies for the natural, social and cultural heritage of Malta. They ultimately urge the government and political parties to find sustainable solutions.Traffic not being tackled holisticallyThe collective voice also raises its concerns about the lack of action on addressing traffic congestion and finding alternative means.They state that until now the focus has been simply on carrying out road-widening projects with dubious planning permissions and studies, without investigating how to tackle traffic congestion holistically.They explain that, ‘alternative forms of transport are not being actively studied, and bicycle use is still not being taken seriously in road design.’At the same time, with a lack of taking a modal shift on public transport, it makes, ‘reducing cars on the road will remain a gargantuan task, and buses will remain an inefficient mode of transport for commuters.’Is land reclamation just a ruse for developers?While cataloguing the number of problems that still need to be dealt by Malta’s environmental bodies, the collective voice also questions the value of land reclamation.They argue that the idea of land reclamation is being presented as something positive for the environment while they believe it has the potential to devastate Malta’s marine habitats and biodiversity.‘Land reclamation benefits the owners; causes irreparable damage’‘A clear admission that current development is not sustainable’ – KAWatch: Construction waste to justify the creation of an artificial islandWhile calling for more studies into the processes of excavation, they state that they, ‘remain unconvinced that land reclamation is not a big real estate opportunity for some.’‘At a time when everybody is worried about rising sea-levels, it would be foolhardy to increase land footprint which would be prone to flooding, particularly where exposed to the North East and North West winds,’ they add.The 11 NGOs and bodies conclude by saying that they, ‘urge all political parties, and especially the Government, to sincerely valorise our natural and cultural heritage within truly sustainable and long-term plans and policies, to ensure that future generations can enjoy the little that will be left, unless we change direction.’The NGOs and organisations; Nature Trust Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Moviment Graffiti, Flimkien għall-Ambjent Aħjar, Professional Diving Schools Association Islands of Malta, Grow 10 Trees, Malta Energy Efficient and Renewable Energies Association, Repubblika, Franciscan Friars. Malta, The Biological Conservation Research Foundation and The Faculty for the Built Environment.WhatsApp <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

Yahoo stock up 20 since Mayer took helm

first_imgYahoo CEOMarissa Mayer Advertisement The troubled Internet pioneer’s stock is up 20% since the former Google executive took the helm at Yahoo in July.“Her appointment has been taken largely positively by the markets,” said IDC analyst Karsten Weide.Shares of Yahoo rose 1% to $18.76 on Monday. The stock touched on a two-and-a-half-year high of $19 in intraday trading. – Advertisement – Yahoo’s chief executive spot has been a revolving door. Mayer became the fifth person to take the role in just five years as the Internet icon has struggled to turn around its business.Yahoo’s display advertising has suffered massive declines as rivals Google and Facebook made inroads. At the same time, Yahoo’s search business has struggled to compete against Google.Mayer’s appointment as CEO has won favor among industry experts. She has been hailed as one with credentials among the tech ranks and for taking steps in the right direction to turn around the wayward company, including an emphasis on mobile technology.Mayer appears to be “internally motivating the employees” and the general sense is that she is “going in the right direction,” Weide says.Yahoo’s stock has also likely gotten a lift from the company’s plan to buy back shares. Yahoo sold roughly half of its stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba to net $4.3 billion after taxes so that it could fund the share repurchases.Credit: USATodaylast_img read more

Cellphones improving literacy in developing world – UN study

first_imgAdvertisement A study report by U.N. education agency says cell phones are getting more and more people to read in developing countries, where books are rare and illiteracy is high.The report published on 23 April, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day by UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.It highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. – Advertisement – Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.The first-ever study of mobile readers in developing countries report, provides valuable information about how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom.774 million people worldwide, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners.The report cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone.Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that:Large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones;Females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study);Both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device;Many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.The study is intended as a roadmap for governments, organizations and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy.Source: Pakistantodaylast_img read more

tweetlikeanite Ugandans Take it to Social Media to Mock State Minister Over

first_imgUganda Government has up to May 26th, 2018 to find a capable investor for Uganda Telecom Limited. (Photo Courtesy) Advertisement As of yesterday, while addressing UTL staff at the company’s blood donation drive, State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyne Anite announced that government would make it a mandatory requirement for every Ugandan to own a UTL simcard. She emphasized that this would display patriotism and pride in for the country and its citizens.“It did not take us to get somebody from another country to come and fix what is in UTL. I want to tell you something; that once we fix the problems in UTL, it is going to be compulsory for Ugandans to hold a UTL line just as it is for you to have a national ID,” she said.However, this move has caused a lot of reactions – where stakeholders in Uganda’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector downplayed the move to make UTL Simcards a mandatory requirement for every citizen. On the other hand, ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) forum, stakeholders described the move as “sad and unfeasible” considering the storm that the telecom is going through. – Advertisement – To make the matter more interesting, Ugandans took it to micro-blogging website; Twitter with the #hashtag #tweetlikeanite to mock the State Minister, ranging from funny emojis, memes, pictures, hilarious lines, and so forth.Its going to be compulsory for all Govt employees to have the national anthem as their ringtone. #TweetLikeAnite— Marvin EL Smull (@smull_EL) June 20, 2017All Ugandans must Own a Yellow Shirt/top in order to Promote NRM Party. #TweetLikeAnite— Samwise Gamgee (@Sambannz) June 20, 2017#tweetlikeAnite Ugandans need to step up their patriotism and have potraits of President Museveni in their homes.— Saza CHIEF ♤ (@DonSeith) June 20, 2017For any Ugandan constructing a House, The Foundation and floor construction must be outsourced to Dott Services #TweetLikeAnite— Cave 👽 (@kevrx) June 20, 2017It is going to to be Compulsory for Ugandans aged 30years and below to get NRM membership IDs #TweetLikeAnite— Enywaru 🇺🇬 (@penywaru) June 20, 2017Hon Anite, Get out of your Slumber !!! @ugbloc #TweetLikeAnite @beewol @pyepar @qataharraymond @pkahill #Uganda— James Wire Lunghabo (@wirejames) June 21, 2017This comes after Libyan Post Telecommunications and IT Holding Company (LPTIC) who were the majority shareholder in the telecom firm, early this year in February made a decision to cease all further funding and investment in firm after accumulated debts and losses. With the firm almost facing closure, the government of Uganda later announced the takeover of the company’s management and affairs saying although LPTIC was their major shareholder, “their performance since 2007 has been characterized by indebtedness, decline in market share and losses.[related-posts]Editor’s Note: Check out on the hashtag for more. You could also search for UTL!!last_img read more

Smarter Cities for Better Life

first_img(Image Credit: National Strategies, LLC). Advertisement The 31st of October is celebrated as World Cities Day. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the trends and consequences of increasing urbanization and the challenges and opportunities urbanization brings to sustainable development. It is also a chance to promote best practices, new ideas and partnerships between cities and different stakeholders.According to a report released by UN in May, today 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050, with 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa. An earlier report by the organization also projected that Africa and Asia together will account for 86% of growth in the world’s urban population over the next 4 decades.As the human population gradually shifts from rural to urban areas, this unprecedented increase has already posed new challenges in terms of jobs, housing, and transportation. Cities are finding it increasingly complex to effectively manage the city and provide good services to citizens at the same time. – Advertisement – With the development of information and communication technologies (ICT), the “Smart City” concept is emerging as a critical phenomenon in urban development. Using various ICT or innovative solutions, the Smart City integrates the city’s constituent systems and services to enhance the efficiency of resource allocation and utilization, optimize urban management and services, and improve the quality of life of citizens.Smart cities can be likened to a living organism with a “nervous system” (the network and sensors), connecting its “brain” (the control center) with “limbs and organs” (departments and institutions), enhancing the city’s management and services. In this process, ICT solutions can play a critical role in connecting the digital and physical worlds across city administration, public services, and industries. Using new ICT including cloud computing, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), these solutions drive unified coordination, cross-sector collaboration, and intelligent analysis for effective management of city services.In some parts of Africa, due to low fertility of African soils, before planting corns, beans or cassavas, people usually need to fertilize the soil. Similarly, if we want to see more applications that make cities smarter, we need to lay the foundation for them to “grow”. Huawei believes that connectivity brought by ICT infrastructure including mobile networks and fiber is the “soil”, which provides the fertile ground for important value-adding “crops”, which in this case are applications and services including Public Safety, E-government, E-education, E-health, E-agriculture and so on. We must keep enhancing the ICT infrastructure so that ICT services and applications can be more available, accessible and affordable to every ordinary citizen, and that these applications can enable the improvement of livelihoods, ease of doing business, and increase productivity.How can we make cities smarter to better meet the needs of their growing urban populations for housing, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructure, as well as for employment and basic services such as education and health care?First, the construction of smart cities is a giant system that interacts across systems and is a “system of systems”. It requires coordination across departments through the overall strategy and design, including setting goals, priorities, and implementation paths. This is essential rather than optional to ensure the system is designed in ways that are user-friendly, with appropriate technologies, and can be maintained, integrated with other systems and upgraded over time to be sustainable.Second, taking a two-step approach starting with Public Safety and then moving to other aspects of the Smart City. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety and security together with food and water are basic needs for all human beings. For a country and its cells, “Cities”, there is also Maslow-like hierarchy of digital needs. Ensuring security is a basic requirement for a country or a city. It lays a solid foundation for a competitive nation and a dynamic city.[related-posts]Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities, the theme for World Cities Day 2018, is a call to action for all of us to rethink how cities may become better places to protect and enhance people’s lives, leaving no one behind. By making cites safer and smarter, ICT actually increases cities’ attractiveness. A report launched recently by UN Habitat (‘The State of African Cities 2018: The geography of African Investment’) indicates that ICT and investment in African cities correlated to each other closely. The report highlights that improving ICT infrastructure is critical to attracting FDI, whilst the ICT industry itself is also a crucial sector for FDI, since it offers the highest growth rates and highest number of direct jobs along with manufacturing, and that the two are closely linked.A lesson from the development of China, a country that fast forward 40 years and has become the world’s second largest economy from one of the poorest, is that problems can be solved in the process of development. With the help of technologies and innovations, we can solve common problems facing cities such as traffic congestion, high unemployment, crime, and environmental degradation by making cities safer and smarter.Editor’s Note: The article was written by Huawei’s Vice President Mr. Chen Zhijunlast_img read more


first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Thursday 30 JanuaryRACING3.00 SouthwellMasterful Act 11/4 > 2/14.40 WincantonWolftrap 16/1 > 10/1 Gold Carrot 16/1 > 6/15.20 KemptonPollydamos 11/2 > 4/15.50 KemptonLike A Prayer 2/1 > 11/8What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img


first_imgWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Monday 8 JuneRACING5.00 AyrNonchalant 12/1 > 11/25.15 ThirskExoplanet Blue 2/1 > 5/47.50 WindsorCartmell Cleave 3/1 > 15/88/10 PontefractCyril 9/1 > 100/308.20 WindsorAranka 4/1 > 2/19.10 PontefractOil Strike 12/1 > 6/1(All prices subject to fluctuation)last_img