Ministers on the Isle of Man are to scrap their ve

first_imgMinisters on the Isle of Man are to scrap their version of the UK government’s much-criticised “fitness for work” test, prompting calls by disabled activists for the UK government to follow their lead.The decision, announced to members of Tynwald, the Isle of Man* parliament (pictured), follows years of criticism of the assessment on the island, mirroring concerns raised repeatedly and publicly in the UK.The statement by Treasury minister Alfred Cannan followed a report by Tynwald members into what is known on the island as the personal capability assessment (PCA), which is based on the UK’s work capability assessment (WCA).In the UK, there has been nearly a decade of evidence that the WCA is unsafe, inaccurate, unfair, and lacking in empathy, while it has been repeatedly linked with the deaths of claimants.In November 2015, public health experts from the Universities of Liverpool and Oxford showed in a study that, across England, the process of reassessing incapacity benefit claimants through the WCA between 2010 to 2013 was “associated with” an extra 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of self-reported mental health problems, and the prescribing of a further 725,000 anti-depressants.Concerns arose on the Isle of Man after a new scheme was introduced to reassess most of the island’s 2,000 long-term claimants of incapacity benefits through a face-to-face PCA, firstly through a pilot programme in 2012-13 carried out by Atos, the outsourcing giant which was itself being heavily criticised at the time for its role in the assessment process across the UK.The Isle of Man reassessment scheme was then taken on by another company, Dependability Ltd, which eventually had its contract terminated after it emerged that some of the assessments were not being carried out by registered healthcare professionals.Just as in the UK, there were criticisms of the “tick box” nature of the assessment process, the failure to deal fairly with claimants with fluctuating conditions such as ME and multiple sclerosis, and the use of unqualified and unsympathetic assessors.An independent review of the PCA, published in December 2016, reported “widespread” criticism, with concerns about the qualifications of assessors, and an “oversimplified” assessment which was unsuitable for those with more complex impairments.The review added: “Many people believed that they had been treated with a lack of respect and that the system lacked compassion.”It recommended the replacement of the PCA by a new “holistic multidisciplinary assessment” that would be “supportive” of the claimant and “based on trust and compassion underpinned by clear, open and honest communication”, with claimants “fully involved in developing a realistic return to work plan”.A report by a committee of members of Tynwald that supported the recommendations of the independent review was approved by the parliament last November.Cannan has now told the parliament that ministers are “minded to implement” the “complete removal of the existing personal capability assessment process” and replace it with a new “holistic approach”.Any decision to change the relevant regulations will need to be approved by members of Tynwald later this year.A spokesman for the Scottish-based, user-led grassroots network Black Triangle praised the Isle of Man government for taking the decision to scrap the PCA.He said: “We warmly congratulate them. They have done what any humane government would have done and it is now absolutely essential that the UK government follows suit.”A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman declined to comment on the Isle of Man government’s decision.But she said in a statement: “We are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the right support that they need, and work capability assessments ensure that everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to.“If a claimant’s condition changes then we will consider any new evidence presented by the claimant’s GP or medical professional.“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal the decision.”*The Isle of Man is not part of the UK or European Union, but is a crown dependency with its own parliament and government, although under the supervision of the UK governmentlast_img read more

Disabled people who died in the Grenfell Tower tra

first_imgDisabled people who died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy had their human rights breached by public bodies that failed to plan how they would evacuate their homes in the event of a fire, a report by the equality and human rights watchdog has concluded.The Equality and Human RightsCommission (EHRC) report says the safety of wheelchair-users and other disabled and older people wasoverlooked when they were housed on the top floors of the high-rise building.It says thatdisabled people and other residents of Grenfell Tower and other nearby housingexperienced a series of breaches of their human rights before the fire,including through the failure to ban the combustible cladding that was wrappedaround the building, or at least strengthen rules for its use.But it alsosays that disabled people’s rights were repeatedly breached in the days andmonths after the fire.Disabledpeople, children, migrants and older people were among the 72 people who diedin the Grenfell Tower fire that began in the early hours of 14 June 2017, inhomes managed by the state in west London. The EHRCresearch, carried out with the social policy think-tank Raceon the Agenda,suggests that the right to life of disabled people, older people and familieswith children was not properly considered in fire safety arrangements, with“particular concerns” about the lack of appropriate planning for evacuatingdisabled people and other residents.There isalso evidence that the safety notice given to Grenfell residents was onlyavailable in English, a language not spoken by many of them.The report alsohighlights a continued lack of support after the fire, amounting to inhuman anddegrading treatment, particularly in “the inconsistent, and sometimes absent,immediate and long-term support such as medical treatment, counselling, mentalhealth care and adequate housing”.The reportsuggests there were breaches of the right to life; the right to safe, adequatehousing; and the right to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;while disabled people and other groups also faced discrimination in how theywere treated after the tragedy.The reportsays: “The fact that people with limited mobility were living high up inGrenfell Tower, and faced greater difficulties escaping the fire, raisesimportant questions about discrimination against certain groups, accessibilitystandards, and whether authorities assessed the impact on disabled people ofallocating housing in Grenfell Tower.”The reportincludes a series of examples of how disabled people had their rights breachedin the days, weeks and months after the fire.One disabledwoman, who had been left traumatised by losing five members of her family inthe fire, had her out-of-work disability benefits cut after being assessed by agovernment contractor just five days later. The woman,who lost her brother, his wife, and their three children in the fire, had beenassessed for her fitness for work on 19 June 2017, five days after the fire.Her husband,her full-time carer, told researchers that when they told the healthcareprofessional carrying out the work capability assessment that she had lost herfive relatives in the fire, “she didn’t care” and “didn’t consider thesuffering” that his wife had been through.His wife hadpreviously been in the support group for employment and support allowance, forthose not expected to carry out any work-related activity, but after theassessment she was placed by the Department for Work and Pensions in thework-related activity group.The report’sresearchers were told that she had since been told to attend a work trainingscheme, even though her health had worsened since the fire.One disabledolder person, who lives on the 14th floor of a block of flats nearGrenfell Tower, told the researchers that he told his children “every day” thatif there was a similar fire to the one that devastated Grenfell, they shouldleave him to struggle down the stairs on his own.He said:“There are five floors above me… So, if I go down and I stop in the middle, thepeople behind me will not be able to pass. So, we discussed all these issues.”The reportfound that none of the local residents they had spoken to who had been forcedto leave their homes after the fire had accepted permanent accommodation, butsome said they had felt pressured to return home or take unsuitable offers.One wheelchair-userwas pressured to accept the offer of a permanent flat, even though it was notwheelchair-accessible and she could not access some of the rooms.She wastold: “Oh don’t worry, we’ll get a carer in to look after you, help you outwith the kids.”She was thentold that if she did not agree to move into the flat, she would be viewed asmaking herself intentionally homeless.The reportalso describes a wheelchair-user with young children – believed to be the samewoman – who was left in emergency housing with just one room and no cookingfacilities and had to visit the local swimming pool if she wanted a shower.The report, GrenfellResidents’ Access to Public Services and Support – part of the commission’sFollowing Grenfell project – describes the lived experience of people who hadbeen “displaced, traumatised and distressed” by the fire.It shows the“ongoing difficulties and uncertainty they have faced in accessing a range ofadvice and support services such as housing, immigration, welfare support andhealthcare”.Among itsconclusions, the report says: “There was poor recognition of additional needsand reasonable adjustments when making housing decisions, particularly fordisabled people, older people, women and Muslim families. “Residentsdescribed the dire state of both emergency and temporary accommodation whenbeing rehoused, posing a threat to their physical and mental health.”EHRC’sFollowing Grenfell project aims to influence the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, otherpublic bodies and the public about the equality and human rights issues raisedby the fire and its aftermath.David Isaac,EHRC’s chair, said: “Everyone has the right to life and the right to safe,adequate housing, but the residents of Grenfell Tower were tragically let downby public bodies that had a duty to protect them.“It is our hope that the Grenfell Inquiry finds this information relevant and useful as they continue with their work, but we also need to see action taken by public bodies so we never see a repeat of this tragedy.”Picture: Close-up of Grenfell Tower with banners in June 2018 (c) by Carcharoth is licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Pot Candy Blamed for Mission District Quinceañera Hospitalizations

first_imgEdible marijuana candy likely sent 19 people attending a Mission District quinceañera on Saturday night to the hospital, the Department of Public Health said Monday. As of this morning all 19 people had been discharged from the hospital.On Saturday night, firefighters and police officers were sent to the Women’s Building at 3543 18th St. between Valencia and Guerrero streets when several people fell ill after eating an unknown substance. All of the victims had eaten a gummy candy at the party, a Fire Department spokesperson said. An official with the California Poison Control System said the hospitalizations were the largest he knew of related to edible marijuana.“To have 19 patients all at once — I’m not aware of an outbreak of that magnitude,” said Craig Smollin, co-medical director with the poison control system. It is unclear whether any of the patients knew the candies contained marijuana, how they were presented at the party, or whether they had any marking or packaging. The Police Department is working to determine whether anyone intentionally fed the marijuana candies to the victims.Thirteen of the 19 victims were younger than 18, the Department of Public Health said on Monday. The youngest was a six-year-old, and three children were taken to the intensive care unit.All suffered various symptoms, “including rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, lethargy and confusion,” a spokesperson said in a statement.The Department of Public Health analyzed both the victim’s blood and the gummy candies themselves and found THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, in both, health officials said Monday.Dr. Tomas Aragon, a health officer for Department of Public Health, said in a statement that the incident served as a reminder about responsible drug use.“This event is a strong warning about the dangers of edibles, which can be very potent and hard to control dosage in the best circumstances,” he said. “A situation like this, where they were consumed by unsuspecting people, and many children, is greatly concerning.”He said the appeal of the edible candies to children, who would be unable to discern that they contain marijuana, was concerning. The consumption of THC, he said, was not likely to have been fatal, however.The Department of Public Health is urging others who attended the party and have remaining edible candies to discard them. The department said the party was catered by an Oakland company, and that it was working with the Alameda County health department to find out where the edibles came from. Police and health officials declined to name the catering company.The Fire Department said 17 people were taken to the hospital from the party, and two other adults transported themselves to the hospital later. 0%center_img Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

FIVE players are set to return for Fridays Engage

first_imgFIVE players are set to return for Friday’s Engage Super League match with Crusaders.The 19-man squad includes Kyle Eastmond, Josh Perry, Andrew Dixon, Jonny Lomax and Lee Gaskell who are all “more than likely” to play according to head coach Royce Simmons.The squad is:1. Paul Wellens, 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 4. Sia Soliola, 5. Francis Meli, 7. Kyle Eastmond, 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 10. James Graham, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 18. Matty Ashurst, 19. Andrew Dixon, 20. Jonny Lomax, 21. Shaun Magennis, 22. Jamie Foster, 25. Lee Gaskell, 28. Thomas Makinson, 29. Scott Hale.Crusaders’ head coach, Iestyn Harris, will choose from:1. Clinton Schifcofske, 4. Vince Mellars, 5. Stuart Reardon, 6. Michael Witt, 7. Jarrod Sammut, 8. Ryan O’Hara, 9. Lincoln Withers, 10. Mark Bryant, 11. Hohepa (Hep) Cahill, 12. Jason Chan, 13. Frank Winterstein, 15. Jordan James, 16. Ben Flower, 17. Rhys Hanbury, 18. Elliot Kear, 19. Lloyd White, 22. Richard Moore, 23. Peter Lupton, 27. Jordan Tansey.The match kicks off at 8pm and the referee is Ben Thaler.If you can’t make the match, it will be covered extensively in Saints Match Centre as well as on Saints’ Official Twitter and Facebook sites.Tickets for the match are still on sale at the Saints Superstore in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.comStats:Crusaders are seeking their first Super League win against St Helens in Friday’s clash at the Stobart Stadium.2011 meeting:Crusaders 18 St Helens 34 (SLR9, 8/4/11)Super League summary:St Helens won 5Crusaders won 0St Helens highest score: 37-30 (H, 2010) (Widest margin: 30-0, H, 2009)last_img read more

Kidnapping trial for sex offender Douglas Edwards begins Wednesday

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The trial for the registered sex offender charged with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl begins tomorrow in New Hanover County.Deputies say on September 14, 2016, Douglas Edwards grabbed the child from the driveway of her home near Monkey Junction, put her on his moped, then drove off with her.- Advertisement – That led to a search involving the FBI and local agencies.The next morning, the girl was found alive and chained to a tree in a wooded area off of River Road.A few months after deputies arrested Edwards, he allegedly wrote the victim stating he was sorry and asking for “no more policia” while requesting the girl not testify.Related Article: VIDEO: Trio wanted for New Year’s Day shooting in WilmingtonThe victim’s family turned the letter in to the sheriff’s office. Edwards is also charged with intimidating a witness.Prior to this case, Edwards spent 16 years in prison for sex offenses involving a child who was six-year-old at the time. According to reports, the victim in that case will be allowed to testify during this trial.The trial is set to begin at 9:30. The 12 jurors and 3 alternates were selected in Sampson County and will be brought to New Hanover County for the trial.last_img read more

NC stateowned attractions rank among most popular for 2017

first_imgN.C. Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo, 306,376 N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 390,012 Tryon Palace, New Bern, 249,233 Four of the top five most-visited sites in 2017, and 15 of the 30 total sites in the annual ranking, are managed by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.“I am delighted to see that our department’s amazing resources continue to be among the most popular places for people to visit in North Carolina year after year,” said Secretary Susi H. Hamilton. “Many of our sites achieved record visitation numbers in 2017. This achievement shows that nature, arts and history are important to our citizens and visitors to our state, and that they are also vital economic drivers for our local communities. I’m so proud of our outstanding staff for providing the exceptional programs and exhibits that keep visitors engaged and excited.”For the fourth year in a row, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh was the most visited attraction in the state. More than 946 thousand people visited in 2017.Related Article: Bitty and Beau’s is giving out free coffee this weekendFort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach was the second most visited attraction with 896, 682 visitors.The Fort Fisher State Historic Site in Kure Beach ranked third with 871,676 visitors, and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro took the fourth spot with 860,148 visitors in 2017.Other DNCR properties on the list, along with their visitation numbers for 2017, include: Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock, 253,715 Photo courtesy of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site There are always plenty of things to do and see in North Carolina and now, new figures are backing that up.North Carolina’s state-owned attractions are ranked among the most visited in the state according to an annual survey of North Carolina museums and historic attractions just released by Carolina Publishing and Associates.- Advertisement – N.C. Maritime Museums (Beaufort, Hatteras and Southport), 279,985center_img Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington, 286,772 N.C. Museum of Art, Raleigh, 495,696 N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh, 579,236 Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, 179,329N.C. Transportation Museum, Spencer, 143,282 N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, 484,118last_img read more

Cargo ship leaving port runs aground near Bald Head Island

first_img The 600-foot cargo ship ran aground during low tide near Bald Head Island on June 1, 2018. (Photo: Viewer Submitted) The 600-foot cargo ship ran aground during low tide near Bald Head Island. The 600-foot cargo ship ran aground during low tide near Bald Head Island on June 1, 2018. (Photo: Viewer Submitted) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A freighter leaving the State Port ran aground this afternoon near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.The US Coast Guard says it happened around 2 p.m.- Advertisement – 1 of 1 The Coast Guard says there was no pollution or damage.They are waiting until high tide to refloat it which will be around 10 p.m. tonight.Related Article: People rescued after semi-truck partially falls off bargeTug boats and the Coast Guard are on scene. Officials say a tug will help it get out.last_img read more

Police Little River bank robber headed toward Brunswick County

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Investigators in South Carolina say a man who robbed a bank near the state line could be in Brunswick County, according to our affiliate station WPDE in Myrtle Beach.WPDE reports that according to Horry County Police, a man walked into the BB&T on US 17 in Little River shortly before 5 p.m. and passed the teller a note demanding money. Investigators say he drove toward Brunswick County in a dark Chrysler 300.- Advertisement – Check back for more details as they become available.last_img read more

Mourinho interested in signing Dembele

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward wants to increase the number of players in Manchester United’s squad before Thursday’s transfer deadline and will attempt to bring Ousmane Dembele to Old Trafford. The French striker has endured a difficult debut season in La Liga, scoring just 5 goals in 33 appearances for Barcelona.Dembele could be brought in to replace fellow Frenchman Anthony Martial after the latter’s relationship with Jose Mourinho turned sour. Manchester United have also been linked with Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Jerome Boateng but it still needs to be seen if any of the aforementioned players join the Red Devils.WhatsApplast_img read more

Facebook can pinpoint the moment you fall in love

first_imgAdvertisement Wondering whether your ‘dating’ status is about to turn into a relationship?Facebook may have the answer before you do.As part of a couples-themed study undertaken by the social networking giant for Valentines Day, Facebook data scientists analyzed timeline posts between Facebook users who had entered relationships. – Advertisement – According to Daily Mail, study head Carlos Duik said he found that in the 100 days leading up to the day when users change their relationship status, the number of timeline posts increased significantly.Called ‘The Formation of Love’, the study found that during the 100 days before a relationship starts, there is a slow but steady increase in the number of timeline posts shared between the future couple. However once they get together the posts start to decrease dramatically.The amount of exchanges peaked 12 days before the beginning of the relationship change, with 1.67 posts a day, according to Venture Beat.However after that, timeline post activity decreases.‘Presumably, couples decide to spend more time together, courtship is off, and online interactions give way to more interactions in the physical world,’ Diuk wrote in a blog post yesterday.Diuk also analyzed how the sentiment of the timeline posts changed over time, and found positive feelings increased significantly around the day when the relationship begins.He said that even though the number of posts exchanged between the couple decreased once they get together, the sentiment of the exchanges became ‘sweeter’. According to the data, even though the number of wall posts goes down once the relationship starts, the wall posts that are exchanged become happier and sweeter.This is because of anniversaries and special shared moments, he said.The study involved data mined from some 460,000 couples and 18 million posts, Diuk said.last_img read more

LG Smart TVs And Google Play Movies TV Expand Content Options

first_imgAdvertisement Starting this month, U.S. owners of LG Smart TVs will be able to enjoy thousands of movies and TV shows through “Google Play Movies & TV.”Compatible with LG’s industry-leading webOS Smart TV platform (as well as its earlier NetCast 4.0 and 4.5), Google Play Movies & TV will offer timeless classics, new releases, independent films and cult favorites in both HD and SD formats.With Google Play Movies & TV, viewers can rent or buy from among thousands of movies or TV shows from major Hollywood studios. – Advertisement – And because all the content originates from the cloud, viewers can begin watching on their LG Smart TVs at home and resume watching from where they left off the next day on their smartphone, tablet or PC.“U.S. consumers are increasingly demanding fresh, high-quality content and we’re seeing the smart TV market grow rapidly as a result,” said David VanderWaal, vice president of marketing, LG ElectronicsUSA.“Offering our consumers the best possible home entertainment experience is our highest priority and our partnership with Google to offer Google Play Movies and TV helps LG deliver more quality content options along with leading TV picture quality and a simple and fast smart TV experience powered by our webOS Smart TV platform.”LG’s webOS Smart TV platform is designed to make finding and switching between content options – including broadcast TV, streaming services and external devices – intuitive and fast. LG webOS features simple switching to let users quickly shift the content they like, as well as simple discovery to help find new sources of entertainment from 4K partners such as Amazon Instant Video, Netflix™, YouTube™, now DIRECTV and many more Full HD options.*Google Play Movies will become available starting this month on LG Smart TVs in 104 countries with the TV service rolling out initially in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.last_img read more

US Department Of Justice Has Dropped Lawsuit Against Apple

first_imgAdvertisement The US Department of Justice has dropped the lawsuit against Tech Giant, Apple after FBI using an undisclosed third party, unlocked Farook’s iPhone 5c, one of the shooters involved in the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015 that left 14 people dead. In February, FBI filed a request under the All Writs Act to have Apple unlock the iPhone to aid their investigation, a request that Apple turned down. However, the All Writs Act doesn’t work if there’s an alternative solution and so without justification that only Apple could unlock this iPhone, there’s no case.US Department of Justice spokeswoman said in a statement, “The FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by this Court Order.”Amidst controversy and sentiments analysis of whose win this really was, the Tech communities seem to be uploading Apple upon a “victory” over intimidation by government agencies around the world but the question still remains, Who else could possibly fight this uphill battle elsewhere? Your guess is as good as ours. – Advertisement – Apple had this to say about a case they believe should never have been brought at all, “Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk.” However, the FBI being able to bypass the security encryption of the iPhone without Apple’s leaves us all wondering is the iPhone’s security features are as advanced as we would all like to think.This could be the beginning of an even bigger war on data protection, civil liberties and perhaps not a final victory for the FBI or any other country that is looking to curtail internet freedoms and related topics.last_img read more

Finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 Announced

first_imgWinner of Entrepreneurship Award Lazaro Mwakipesile Tanzania 2015. Photo Credit: AFIF Advertisement Out of the 51 projects from around Africa, Six innovative projects from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania have been nominated as finalists for the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017, supported by the Rabobank Foundation. The jury has selected these innovative projects for their social, economic and ecological impact, and their potential for growth and job creation nationally and regionally.The AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 aims to provide African-based innovative SMEs with support to grow their businesses. The six finalists will receive a free accreditation to join the AFIF 2017 full programme.The overall winner will be announced during the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) 2017, which will be held in Nairobi from February 13th to 16th, 2016, and will receive cash prize and one year of national and international media promotion.[related-posts] – Advertisement – Finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017:Aybar Engineering from Ethiopia The company has developed the “Aybar BBM”, a technology that prevents excess water from suffocating crops and stores it for later use. There is no other similar technology in the market.R n G Company limited from Kenya The company sells packaged Rhizo-fix (groundnut inoculum), a biofertilizer that ensures a more efficient groundnut production. It also collects the groundnuts from local farmers to produce affordable cooking oil.EuroFresh Exotics from Kenya The company produces and exports fresh fruits and vegetables using innovative farming techniques. They also organise capacity building trainings for smallholder farmers.First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics from Nigeria This company has developed the “Zenvus”, an intelligent solution to collect soil data using a system of electronic sensors. Its mission is improve farming productivity.Kimolo Super rice from Tanzania  The company is specialized in processing and marketing branded rice and sunflower oil. The project is environmentally friendly since smallholder farmers produce paddy using water run-off from nearby hills.Eco Act from Tanzania The company was established to address the challenges of urban waste management, plastic pollution, deforestation and climate change. They recycle and transform post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber.“The innovation and creativity of African-based SMEs makes our job more difficult every year. We look forward to welcoming more entrepreneurs at the AFIF 2017 in Nairobi” says Ines Bastos, EMRC Senior Project Manager.Winner of Entrepreneurship Award 2015 Lazaro Mwakipesile Tanzania. Photo Credit: AFIFAFIF Event: The new edition of the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) will be held for the first time in the vibrant city of Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the Strathmore University.In line with growing international trends, the AFIF will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and access to finance in key sectors such as energy, water, ICT, health and agriculture.AFIF Recap Uganda: Uganda has been participating in the AFIF competitions and Project Incubator Awards since 2009, emerging three time as grand winners. The three winners included; Derek Kwesiga with his innovation project he called Derekorp, gave him the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award in 2009, Maria Odido from BEE NATURAL UGANDA; won the EMRC-RABOBANK Project Incubator Award in 2010, and finally Lovin Kobusingye who represented KATI FARMS; won the EMRC-RABOBANK Project Incubator Award in 2012last_img read more

Communications Authority Kenya Gives Safaricom 7 Days To Explain Their Network Outage

first_imgSafaricom gave M-Pesa users 24 hours of free mobile money transfers as a balm for the inconvenience and losses suffered over the two days after the network outage it suffered. (Photo Credit: The Star Kenya) Advertisement On Monday this week, Kenya’s telecom company; Safaricom suffered a major network outage that left many Safaricom customers devastated, when they couldn’t make calls, send money, buy data, as the company claimed it had experienced a technical hitch. However, many believed that it might have been hacked.On Wednesday, according to reports by Capital FM in Kenya, Communications Authority (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi is said to have given Safaricom seven (7) days to give a comprehensive report on what exactly caused the outage that saw its services down for almost 10 hours.Wangusi says MPESA handles over 700 million transactions per hour and this downtime caused a huge loss to the economy, Capital FM reports. – Advertisement – “The regulator and the government at large oversaw this as a security risk, we are working on a competition study, and in that competition study we are looking at regulatory interventions that we need to make in order to spread some of these risks,” Wangusi said.Capital FM Kenya continued to report that Wangusi warned the teleco if found culpable for the outage will be fined from 500, 000 Kenyan Shillings (roughly 17.6 million UGX) to 0.20% of annual turnover. He added that the penalty will depend on the impact of the downtime on the economy as well as the measures Safaricom took to correct the situation.Safaricom CEO; Bob Collymore came out to say that they outage was caused by two traffic outlets which failed rapidly one after the other.While in other news, Safaricom is said to have given M-Pesa users 24 hours of free mobile money transfers as a balm for the inconvenience and losses suffered over the two dayslast_img read more

Breaking MTN Uganda Officially Announce Price Reduction in its Data Rates

first_imgMTN Uganda announces new data rates effective today. Pictured at the media press briefing at the MTN offices in Kamapala, Wim Vanhelleputte; MTN Uganda CEO (c), Olivier Prentout; MTN Uganda CMO (r). Advertisement Telecom firm; MTN Uganda as today announced a price reduction in its data rates. And according to CEO; Wim Vanhelleputte, “the reduction is expected to drive further internet connectivity to facilitate business growth and enable communication.”Wim further adds that it’s important for their customers not only get lower rates but also experience a good quality network. Notably, MTN has been considered to have good coverage of internet connectivity. Earlier reports, claimed the telecom firm is working on introducing 5G connections.MTN Uganda over a two period of 2017 and 2018 has budgeted over 400 billion UGX invested in network upgrades in order to improve customer experience. – Advertisement – The reduction in the data rates from MTN is indication that as uptake and internet usage continues to grow, the internet rates will also continue to fall.The revised data rates bundles are not just price based but also include increase volumes for a lower price. For instance, the 10MB bundle has been increased to 15MBs for a price of 250 UGX, 325MBs to 1GB for 5000 UGX. On a monthly plan, customers were charged 285,000 UGX for 30GB, now in the new rates, they get the 30GB for 100,000 UGX.“The reduction is expected to drive further internet connectivity to facilitate business growth and enable communication,” Wim tells the press during the briefing at the MTN offices in KampalaFor what’s worth to know, is that there’s intense competition among telecom firms and ISPs when it comes to data provision. Early last month, Airtel Uganda revised their data bundles in its new campaign dubbed Data Blasta. Increased its 25MB bundle to 40MB at 500 UGX, 60MB to 100MB for 1000 UGX. While monthly changes, customers that bought 3.5GB for 35,000 UGX can now get 5GB at 30,000 UGX, and those that purchased 7GB at 60,000 UGX are now given 20GB at 75,000 UGX.The new data rates in telecom firms is making the competition more and more intense. It’s up to subscribers to decided what suits best for them. Choices will be based on speed, price (as a matter of fact), connectivity and so forth.According to MTN, by the end of 2017, they had approximately 12 million subscribes. Their ambition is to have at two thirds of them connected to the internet. And this could happen with more affordable data, reliable networks, and affordable internet-based headsets.CMO MTN Uganda; Olivier Prentout, reveals ‘MTN Shots’ – a platform where young creatives will be able to upload short videos and make money out of them.Honorable MentionAt the press media brief that happened at their offices in Kampala, the telecom firm has also introduced ‘MTN Shots’ – a platform where young creatives will be able to upload short videos and make money out of them as part of their latest initiative MTN Pulse that was launched last week. The MTN Shots platform was revealed by the CMO MTN Uganda; Olivier Prentout.This article has been updated since its last publication.last_img read more

Everton v Man City 530pm SKY

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s a good reason why all the football matches kick off at the same time on the final day of the season. It’s to stop teams playing tactically.However, it could be even more appropriate this weekend to have the same kick-offs as the next 72 hours could easily resolve the destination of the title.The way the fixture list has fallen gives Manchester City a great chance to put even more pressure on Liverpool.It’s not as if there isn’t enough pressure on Liverpool already after they went from 1/7 favourites to 11/10 in just 90 minutes last weekend when they were beaten by Chelsea at Anfield.Man City get the first blow in on Saturday and can move to the top of the table with a win against Everton (5.30pm, SKY) – they’d be level on points with Liverpool but top courtesy of a better goal difference which could yet prove crucial.Chelsea are at home to Norwich on Sunday and Liverpool don’t play until Monday when three points against Crystal Palace is by no means guaranteed given the resurgent form of Palace who are now incredibly in 11th spot.So, is there an advantage in going first ? There is if you win (of course) but it’s similar to a three-way play off in a golf tournament. Can your player step up to the mark and handle the pressure?Everton look to have missed out on a Champions League spot but they play before Arsenal this weekend so need a win to keep in that race.More conundrums than on Countdown.And to make things even harder, Everton have a great recent record against City at Goodison – winning the last four encounters, and, of course, Everton would do their Merseyside rivals and neighbours a huge favour if they can conjure up another victory:HEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Max last 10 only)Oct 2013 Premier Man City 3-1 EvertonMar 2013 Premier Everton 2-0 Man CityDec 2012 Premier Man City 1-1 EvertonJan 2012 Premier Everton 1-0 Man CitySep 2011 Premier Man City 2-0 EvertonMay 2011 Premier Everton 2-1 Man CityDec 2010 Premier Man City 1-2 EvertonMar 2010 Premier Man City 0-2 EvertonJan 2010 Premier Everton 2-0 Man CityApr 2009 Premier Everton 1-2 Man CityThe match is expected to see the return to action for Everton captain Phil Jagielka after a 10-week absence with a hamstring injury and David Silva has been named in the City squad after recovering from an ankle injury.The bottom line though is that Man City have been presented another chance at the title that surely they didn’t expect getting.Man City to be winning at both HT and FT is the call with Star Sports at around 13/8.RECOMMENDED BET (scale of 1-10 points)10 points MAN CITY HT/FT at around 13/8 with Star SportsRUNNING RETURN (MAY): -10.00 POINTSRUNNING RETURN (YEAR): LOSS 124.70 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Fri Movers and Specials

first_imgHORSE RACING2.50 NewmarketBenatar 3/1 > 13/83.15 YorkExalted Angel 7/2 > 5/25.20 NewmarketQueen Power 9/1 > 3/17.45 WolverhamptonAl Mikdam 8/1 > 4/1LIVE FOOTBALLUEFA Nations League Group Stage19:45 Sky Sports Main Event9/5 Croatia7/4 England21/10 DRAWBET NOW or 08000 521 321 Welcome to Starters Orders. Sarah Kinsella with our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Friday 12 OctoberSARAH KINSELLA Introduces the daily specials and offers on Friday:<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><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><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><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><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>last_img read more

Findings advance use of adult stem cells for replacement bone

first_imgShareCONTACT: Jade Boyd PHONE: 713-348-6778 E-MAIL: Findings advance use of adult stem cells for replacement bone Undergraduate is lead author of study in top national journal In a significant advance for regenerative medicine, researchers at Rice University have discovered a new way to culture adult stem cells from bone marrow such that the cells themselves produce a growth matrix that is rich in important biochemical growth factors. The research, which appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is notable not just because of the science – researchers found they could coax bone cells into produce up to 75 times more calcium – but also because the study was conducted by an undergraduate bioengineering senior, Néha Datta. “These results are important, not just because they hold great promise for regenerating healthy bone but also because they may be applicable to other tissues,” said researcher Antonios Mikos, the John W. Cox Professor of Bioengineering and Director of Rice’s Center for Excellence in Tissue Engineering. “This is also a notable personal achievement for Néha, because PNAS is one of the top scientific journals in the country and because this is the third peer-reviewed paper – and the second first-authored paper — that she’s produced in the past year.” Tissue engineering, also known as regenerative medicine, involves harvesting stem cells from a patient’s body and using them to grow new tissues that can be transplanted back into the patient without risk of rejection. Most tissue engineering approaches involve three components: the harvested adult stem cells, growth factors that cause the stem cells to differentiate into the right kind of tissue cells – like skin or bone – and a porous scaffold, or template, that allows the tissue to grow into the correct shape. “Finding the right combination of growth factors is always a challenge,” Mikos said. “It’s not unusual for adult stem cells to progress through a half-dozen or more stages of differentiation on their way to becoming the right tissue – and any missed cue will derail the process. In most cases, engineers have little choice but to take a trial-and-error approach to designing a growth-factor regime.” In the study, Mikos’s team hit upon the idea of having the stem cells create the proper growth medium themselves. The group, which included graduate student Quynh Pham and postdoctoral research associate Upma Sharma, accomplished this by seeding discs of titanium mesh with stem cells and encouraging them to form extracellular matrix, or ECM, the boney, calcified deposit that gives bone its structural strength. A comparison was then run on these pre-generated ECM constructs and on non-treated titanium scaffolds. The pre-treated surfaces encouraged calcification at a much faster rate. The researchers also found up to 75 times more calcium in the bone created by tissues in the pre-treated cultures. “To me, the most important element of the research is that it may one day contribute to new treatment options for patients,” said Datta, who is planning to enter medical school in the fall. “One of the reasons I want to become a surgeon is so I can help bring cutting-edge work from the laboratory into clinical practice.” Datta said one of the main reasons she chose to attend Rice was because of the tremendous opportunities available through Rice’s Century Scholars Program. The program included funding for tuition as well as a chance to begin research in Mikos’s lab during her freshman year. “My research experience at Rice has been life-changing in ways I could never have imagined four years ago,” Datta said. “I never anticipated I would be traveling to international conferences, for example, but from the very beginning Dr. Mikos treated me as a valuable member of his research team. He provided encouragement. He let me follow my ideas. In short, he is the perfect mentor.” The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Keck Center Nanobiology Training Program and Rice University’s Century Scholar Program. AddThislast_img read more

Baker Institute discussion to examine how health care policy impacts social policy

first_imgAddThis ShareA Feb. 2 discusssion at Rice will focus on the social and economic determinants of health, as well as how a variety of social policies related to housing, education and child care are directly linked to health in America.The Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research will host “Social Policy is Health Policy: The Health Implications of Policies Outside the Silo of Health Care” at 6 p.m. in the Kelly International Conference Facility in Rice’s Baker Hall.The event will feature an in-depth discussion how health care policy impacts social policy in the U.S. The keynote speaker will be Steven Woolf, director of the Center for Human Needs and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. Panelists for the event include Mark Hayward, director of the Population Research Center, professor of sociology and Centennial Commission Professor in the Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, and Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics at the Baker Institute.This free forum is open to the public, but reservations are required. For more information, visit read more

Ship in a bottle detects dangerous vapors

first_img University researchers have created a chemical sensor to identify solvent fumes by their fluorescent “fingerprints.” Three unique characteristics for each type of vapor — the average lifetime, intensity increase and emission maxima — allowed the researchers to plot them on a 3-D map. (Credit: Angel Martí/Rice University) If you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line.  Office of News and Media Relations – MS 300, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005 ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike‘Ship in a bottle’ detects dangerous vaporsRice University lab traps metallic compounds to sniff out signs of hazardous solvents HOUSTON – (Oct. 7, 2013) – Rice University scientists took a lesson from craftsmen of old to assemble microscopic compounds that warn of the presence of dangerous fumes from solvents.The researchers combined a common mineral, zeolite, with a metallic compound based on rhenium to make an “artificial nose” that can sniff out solvent gases. They found that in the presence of the compound, each gas had a photoluminescent “fingerprint” with a specific intensity, lifetime and color.Rice chemist Angel Martí and his students reported their results this month in the journal Angewandte Chemie.The challenge for Martí and his team was to get their large metallic particles through the much smaller pores of a zeolite cage. The answer: Do it old-school. In their process, small chemical components enter the cage, find each other and self-assemble into rhenium complexes. Then they’re stuck — like a ship in a bottle.“We sequentially load the individual parts of the complex into the zeolite,” Martí said. “The parts are smaller than the pores, but when they self-assemble inside the zeolite, they’re trapped.” Once washed to eliminate complexes that form outside the zeolites, the compound is ready for use.The relatively simple technique, which was initially developed and studied by two Rice alumni while they were undergraduate students in Martí’s lab, could provide a scalable, inexpensive platform to monitor toxic vapors from industrial solvents.Solvents are liquid chemicals, often petroleum-based, that are widely used to dissolve solid materials. They are found in paints, thinners, aerosol sprays, dyes, marking pens, adhesives and many other products.They also evaporate quickly. Solvent vapors, which are hazardous to inhale and can be highly flammable, are often denser than air and gather at floor level, where they can build to dangerous amounts unless detected.Martí said platinum, gold, palladium and copper salts are often used to detect vapors, because they change color in the presence of solvents. The rhenium-based supramolecular complex was known to fluoresce in the presence of some solvents, but dealing with vapors is a different story.“If the complexes are in a solid state, they are too close to each other and gases can’t interact with them,” he said. “So we started thinking of ways to create space between them.”Enter zeolites. “These zeolites are cages with big cavities and small pores,” Martí said. “The pores are big enough — at about 7.4 angstroms — for most gas-phase molecules to enter. The question was how to trap the bigger rhenium complexes inside.”Other groups have trapped ruthenium complexes in zeolites, but these complexes were not ideal to detect solvents. Then-undergraduates Ty Hanna and, later, Zack Panos developed the method to put rhenium complexes inside zeolites. The results were outstanding, Martí said.Like canaries in a coalmine, the caged complexes strongly signal the presence of a vapor by the color and intensity of their photoluminescent glow in ultraviolet light.Martí said nobody had studied the third key property — the amount of time the complex remains in an excited state. That ranges from less than 1,000 nanoseconds for water and ammonia to “a quite long” 4,000-plus nanoseconds for pyridine. It’s different for every type of vapor, he said.“We concluded that every individual vapor has a set of photophysical properties that is unique for that solvent,” he said. “Each one has a unique fingerprint.”With the ability to detect three distinct characteristics for each vapor, a team led by graduate student Avishek Saha built a three-dimensional plot to map the fingerprints of 17 types of solvents. They found categories of solvents — nonpolar, alcohols, protics (which include water) and aprotics — tended to gather in their own areas.“That’s another interesting thing,” Martí said. “Different solvent groups occupy different areas in the map. So even if a solvent hasn’t been studied, our material will help people recognize the category it falls into.”He said the group plans to test more solvents and suggested the material may also be useful for detecting the presence of other volatile species like explosives.Rice graduate students Kewei Huang and Mayra Hernández-Rivera are co-authors of the paper. Martí is an assistant professor of chemistry and bioengineering at Rice.The Welch Foundation supported the research.-30-Read the abstract at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related Materials:Martí Group: for download: Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to center_img rhenium-based complex trapped inside zeolite is able to warn of the presence of dangerous fumes from solvents. The Rice University researchers used a “ship-in-a-bottle” type of chemical assembly to create the promising material. (Credit: Angel Martí/Rice University) AddThislast_img read more