Three disabled people are taking legal action agai

first_imgThree disabled people are taking legal action against a council that has banned them and other service-users from continuing to use a disabled people’s organisation (DPO) to support them with managing their care packages.It is believed to be the first case in which service-users have sought a judicial review under the government’s new Care Act 2014.All three claimants – Haydn Collins, Jenny Bolland and Slade Holmes – have been using Direct Payment Service Users (DiPSU) to support them in managing the direct payments allocated by Nottinghamshire County Council to fund their care and support, and say the DPO has provided them with a high quality service.But the council claims that a long-running probe by its own trading standards department, including, more recently, allegations of fraud against DiPSU, makes the organisation unfit to be providing services to hundreds of service-users across the county.DiPSU, which has been running since 2003, insists it has done nothing wrong and that the council has never provided a shred of evidence for its allegations.Paul Co-Head, chief executive of DiPSU, said his organisation had to resort to legal action twice during 2014 to prevent the council from excluding it from providing direct payments support in the county.It was only a few weeks after the second failed attempt that the council launched its trading standards investigation, a probe which DiPSU’s lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, have described as “frivolous” and “a fishing expedition”.Last summer, the council announced that it was now investigating DiPSU for alleged fraud.It has now sent letters to every one of DiPSU’s direct payments clients, telling them that they must no longer use DiPSU because it was not an “accredited” service-provider.DiPSU says that only five of more than 500 clients across Nottinghamshire have left the organisation “of their own choice”, but Co-Head said the council was “writing letters which are forcing the rest of our service-users to leave against their will or lose their direct payments for another method of care arranged by the council”.One of the letters, seen by Disability News Service, tells the recipient that the council has been told that they are “unwilling” to transfer their direct payments support from DiPSU to an alternative provider.The letter suggests that if they refuse to leave DiPSU, the council could remove their right to receive direct payments.DiPSU says the council has failed to provide a single piece of evidence of fraudulent behaviour, while independent accountants have examined its accounts and given it a clean bill of health.Co-Head said: “It is causing a lot of people a lot of stress, but it isn’t about us, it is about disabled people having the right to choose the organisations they wish.”He said the three DiPSU service-users were now “fighting to have that right to independence, choice and control”, but he warned: “If the council wins this case, it means they have found a way around the Care Act.”Co-Head believes that it was DiPSU’s efforts to protect service-users from the impact of spending cuts from November 2013 that led to a deterioration in its relationship with the council.If the council wins its battle to exclude DiPSU, Co-Head said his organisation would probably be forced to close within six months.He said: “The vast majority [of council staff], especially frontline workers, have worked hard alongside us to promote the rights of disabled people to have independence, choice and control, but we have been bullied, harassed and intimidated by senior officials, and been treated like common criminals.“The uncertainty of our futures is making us feel physically and mentally ill, but we are doing it for what we think is a very good cause.“As a disabled person myself, I believe it is our human right to have independence, choice and control over who provides support for us.”So far, he said, out of about 2,000 clients – employing more than 5,000 staff – who have received support from DiPSU, not one has suffered financial loss as a result of using direct payments, and none of them have been successfully taken to an employment tribunal.He said: “We think we have a very, very good track record.”There has only ever been one formal complaint against a DiPSU employee, he said, and that was from a social worker complaining that a DiPSU member of staff had stepped outside their duties by cooking a meal for a client when a personal assistant failed to turn up for their shift.A spokesman for the county council said it was limited in what it could say, because of the ongoing investigation.But Caroline Baria, the council’s adult social care and health service director, said: “The county council suspended Direct Payment Service Users Ltd (DiPSU) from its list of accredited direct payment support service-providers in August 2015 due to a major criminal investigation being carried out by trading standards into potential fraud involving this provider.“The suspension of DiPSU does not relate to the implementation of the council’s direct payment policy and will not prevent the council from carrying out its statutory responsibilities.“We have had to act to safeguard service-users against potential fraud so we are moving all Nottinghamshire residents who use this service-provider to alternative providers.“There are currently four accredited direct payment support service-providers within Nottinghamshire [council letters to DiPSU clients suggest there are only three].“We are starting to work with the first group of 100 service-users on this move and this should be completed by the end of March.”Lawyers for Collins, Bolland and Holmes say the council’s actions are unlawful because they breach the Care Act 2014; the council’s public sector equality duty under the Equality Act; and the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.They hope to win permission for a full judicial review of the council’s new rules at a high court hearing in Birmingham next month (11 February).Martin Bridger, solicitor for the three claimants, from legal firm Bhatia Best, said: “It’s quite clear-cut that the Care Act says that local authorities cannot mandate the use of accredited providers.”He added: “We are saying the decision is irrational, unlawful and unreasonable because it has been taken too quickly, without consulting with the individual claimants… and without disclosing in that consultation all the evidence to say, ‘This is why you cannot use DiPSU.’“It’s an important case, touching on a piece of legislation that has not been tested by the courts yet.”A council spokesman said: “A claim for judicial review was issued on behalf of three direct payment recipients in September 2015 seeking to challenge the council’s decision to require direct payment recipients receiving services from DiPSU to move to an alternative support service-provider. “The council took the decision to safeguard vulnerable people from potential fraud and to protect public funds and stands by that decision.“Permission to proceed with the claim was refused by the court in November 2015.“However, the claimants have requested that the court reconsider the issue of permission. This request will be considered by the court in February 2016.“As is always the case, we will work with the individual people affected by the change and consider all options available to ensure there is minimum disruption to the care and support they receive.“We are committed as an authority to facilitating choice and control and as an authority have amongst the highest rates of direct payments in the country.”Picture: Paul Co-Head (left) and wife Julie accept a customer service award at a business awards event in 2011last_img read more

The government has finally announced the date when

first_imgThe government has finally announced the date when it will bring into force regulations that will ban taxi drivers from discriminating against wheelchair-users, more than 20 years after they were first included in legislation.From 6 April, taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to accept wheelchair-users, try to charge them extra, or fail to provide them with appropriate assistance.The announcement has been seen as a success for a committee of peers that called for the move last year.Successive Labour, coalition and Conservative governments have refused to bring the measures into force, since they were included in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and then incorporated into the Equality Act 2010.But the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, which included several disabled peers among its members, and reported last March on the impact of equality laws on disabled people, called in its report for the measures to be implemented.The government had spoken in evidence to the committee about the “burden” on taxi drivers of bringing the regulations into force.But the committee concluded that the government’s excuses for failing to bring sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act into force were “entirely unconvincing” and that ministers “should be considering the burden on disabled people trying to take taxis, not the burden on taxi owners or drivers”. Seven weeks later, in May last year, transport minister Andrew Jones announced that the two sections would finally come into force.He announced this week that that would happen on 6 April.Baroness [Celia] Thomas (pictured), the disabled Liberal Democrat peer whose idea it was to set up the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, said: “At long last the law will change from 6 April, and life will become a little bit easier for many disabled people who have to use taxis.“It is nearly a year since the government promised this in response to the House of Lords’ Equality Act 2010 and disability committee report, and shows how a committee’s recommendation can finally spur the government into long overdue action.”Baroness [Jane] Campbell, the disabled crossbench peer, who also sat on the committee, said: “I have been regularly reminding the government to switch on the taxi regulations to make it illegal to ignore disabled passengers, leaving them sitting at the roadside, since we launched our report last April.“I guess it shows persistence pays. So, for fear of sounding ungrateful – at last!”The government will be consulting on a draft accessibility action plan later this year, which will seek to address the barriers faced by disabled people in accessing all types of public transport.Jones said in a statement: “We want to build a country that works for everyone, and part of that is ensuring disabled people have the same access to services and opportunities as anyone else – including when it comes to travel.“People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all.”The new rules will apply in England, Wales and Scotland and will affect vehicles that are designated as wheelchair-accessible, and will apply to both taxis and private hire vehicles.As well as fines of up to £1,000, drivers could also face having their taxi or private hire vehicle licences suspended or revoked.last_img read more

A userled network has raised new concerns about t

first_imgA user-led network has raised new concerns about the approach being taken by those leading a review of a key piece of mental health legislation on behalf of the government, just weeks before they are due to publish their recommendations.The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) has released a letter it has sent to the chair and vice-chairs of the review of the Mental Health Act 1983, which raises serious concerns about their failure to consider an adequate human rights approach to reform of the act.The NSUN letter highlights the continuing disquiet of the network and a wide range of other user-led organisations, service-users and allies about the review’s approach, following an earlier letter and a meeting with leaders of the review in July.Their concerns include the “lack of concrete evidence” that service-users and carers are having an adequate influence on the review, including the failure to hear from enough people who have experienced detention, and an under-representation of service-users and carers in key working groups.They are also concerned at the “unwillingness” of the chair and vice-chairs to consider recommending the full implementation of the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).A full implementation of the convention would include bringing an end to “detentions, substitute decision-making [appointing someone to make decisions on behalf of a service-user, rather than providing them with support to make the decision themselves] and compulsory treatment”.The letter from Dr Sarah Carr, NSUN’s acting chair, and Sarah Yiannoullou, its managing director, says they continue to have “serious misgivings” about the review and the recommendations it will make to the government, which are expected next month.More than 120 organisations and individuals – led by NSUN – first wrote to the review in May to raise alarm about its reluctance to recommend full rights that comply with the UNCRPD.A further 17 organisations and individuals have since added their names to the concerns being raised.The first letter included a call on the review to address the concerns raised by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, after it investigated the UK’s implementation of the UN disability convention last year.The UN committee said in the “concluding observations” to its examination of the UK that the government should “repeal legislation and practices that authorise non-consensual involuntary, compulsory treatment” and the detention of disabled people “on the basis of actual or perceived impairment”.But Carr and Yiannoullou believe that the review team, led by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, has failed to change its approach since July’s meeting.They are alarmed that the review’s recommendations are due to be published next month, and could form the basis for the last major reform of mental health legislation for many years.Carr and Yiannoullou ask the review in their letter to consider a number of recommendations, including services that would be needed if there was to be compliance with the UN convention, such as an “extensive expansion of community-based and community-led resources” and a sharp increase in services that are user-led and appropriate for marginalised communities.They also want to see widely-available peer advocacy and a “significant rise” in the number of resources that service-users have found particularly therapeutic, such as crisis houses or refuges available to service-users as an alternative to hospital.In response to the NSUN letter, Wessely said: “Engaging with service users and carers has been a consistent priority for the review as we work towards our final report due out in December.“One of my vice-chairs, Steve Gilbert, is a mental health service user and has a critical role in influencing and shaping of all our work.“We have service users and carers within our advisory panel and each of the 18 specialist topic groups we ran over the summer.“We have a standing service user and carer group, which consists of people with a range of lived experience – both past and present; who we have met with regularly and who have robustly challenged our emerging thinking.”He said the review team had also held more than 50 focus groups across England and Wales since the start of the year, to hear from people with direct experience of the act, including those currently detained in a variety of settings.There have been more than 2,000 responses to a survey of people with lived experience, and eight workshops, each involving about 100 attendees.Wessely also pointed to blogs by Sarah Markham, a member of the service user and carer group, posted in July and August, in which she praised the efforts of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the review team to ensure that service-users contribute to the review.DHSC said the review of the Mental Health Act “will consider the reasons for rising rates of detention under the act, how to reduce the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained and how to improve processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system”.Picture: NSUN members discuss the Mental Health Act at last year’s agm 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

New 140Unit Affordable Housing Project Coming to Mission District

first_imgRepresentatives from the Mayor’s Office of Housing did not return requests for comment on the purchase of the site. Barbour also did not immediately return a request for comment.It is not clear if the city purchased the site from 1990 Folsom Investments LLC and for how much.In January, a group of Mission District non-profits and residents met to decide the use of Proposition A funds, landing on the purchase of two to three medium-sized lots to build some 200 units. Sheila Chung-Hagen, a legislative aide for Supervisor David Campos, said that the funding for the 1990 Folsom St. project had already been allocated to MEDA.“I believe that it’s already been decided that they’ve won the bid,” she said.MEDA declined to comment on the deal. News of the deal was posted to Facebook by one of the involved parties shortly afterwards.“Signing documents along with Spike Kahn today to help purchase the unused factor at 1990 Folsom @ 16th,” wrote Jean Chadbourne, the founder of the arts collective the Growlery in the Haight-Ashbury, in a since-deleted Facebook post. Kahn is the founder of the arts space the Pacific Felt Factory and was one of the primary opponents of a controversial 335-unit housing project on Bryant Street.Chadbourne said the project would involve 140 units of below-market-rate housing, with a fifth of the units reserved for formerly homeless families. She also said 5,000 square feet of the project will be used for child services as well as arts space.The lot is some 29,000 square feet and zoned at a 58-foot height limit, according to public records. As with other fully affordable housing projects, however, the developers could choose to break height limits to squeeze more units on-site, either by using existing state law or seeking a one-time exemption.  The abandoned factory on-site belonged to Earthgrains Baking Company until June and once hosted a baking factory. It has sat empty for years and plays host to homeless people who sell wares on the sidewalk. Block-long tent encampments stretch along 16th Street between Folsom and Harrison streets, and the lot lies across the street from the Mission Neighborhood Health Center on the corner of 16th and Shotwell streets and another block from the Dandelion Chocolate factory.If built, the 140-unit affordable housing project would join some 455 units of affordable housing approved for the neighborhood in the last decade. It would sit just half a block from 2060 Folsom St., a 127 affordable housing project also being built by MEDA. The building is from 1963 and not historic and is zoned for light industrial space known as PDR — short for production, distribution, and repair — but also allows office and residential use.Correction: A previous version of this story implied that decisions about the project were made in a meeting at MEDA with local representatives. The meeting was unrelated and the story has been corrected to remove the reference.  0% A land purchase to build 140 units of affordable housing in the Mission District was reached today, according to those involved in the deal.A lot at 1990 Folsom St. at the corner of 16th and Folsom streets — currently an empty fenced-off building — will be transformed into a fully affordable housing project built by the Mission Economic Development Agency, a non-profit housing developer. The project is one of the few in the Mission District involving the $50 million allocated specifically to the neighborhood as part of Proposition A, the housing bond that voters approved in November 2015 that gave $310 million towards the construction of affordable housing city-wide.The lot was last purchased on June 30 of this year by 1990 Folsom Investments LLC for $17.3 million, according to public records. Records list Grant Barbour, the head of acquisitions with the non-profit housing group Build Public and a real estate broker, as the representative of the limited liability company in the purchase.center_img Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

PAUL Wellens has urged his teammates not to get to

first_imgPAUL Wellens has urged his teammates not to get too carried away with the victory over Wigan.Speaking after scoring a brace in the Playoff win over the Warriors he said there was belief and confidence in the camp that they could win the competition – but hard work lay ahead.“It was a tough encounter and was very physical,” he said. “I was very pleased with the guys and I thought we performed very well.“We were pleased with how the game went but I know there are a few things I can do better. Although we had a good performance I know we can improve. We have the belief we can go on and win this competition and the win was a huge boost to the team.“We’ve been upping the ante in training over the last few weeks with a lot of extra fitness work and hopefully that is starting to pay off. We got beat on the buzzer on Good Friday and I think towards the back end of Sunday’s game that might have been in the back of our minds.“We knew Wigan are a quality side and will keep coming back at you – but we remained focussed for 80 minutes. It wasn’t pretty at times and we were kinda all over the shop in defence too. But the guys kept turning up and making crucial tackles. That is what you want at this stage of the season.”He continued: “We now have a week off which is important, but not massively. We know we will have another tough game in a couple of weeks and Wigan, Catalans, Leeds or Huddersfield will be tough to face.“It will be nice to sit in the armchair to watch them battle. Our training this week will be focussed on playing well in a couple of weeks.“It is the first time this season we have beaten a team in the top two which is great for the youngsters in the side. We know we are capable of beating these sides and can go on and win the comp.“But we can’t get carried away and the hard work must continue.”last_img read more

THE latest edition of the In Touch Podcast is now

first_imgTHE latest edition of the In Touch Podcast is now available to download.It’s packed with the latest from the club and this week includes reaction from our tie up with Typhoo and a preview of the clash with Wigan.We speak to Ben Fogle – the TV personality – as well as the chief executive of Typhoo Keith Packer.Elsewhere, Jon Wilkin and Nathan Brown talk about Monday’s clash with Wigan and Nigel Wood explains the process behind the Super League restructure.To listen click here or search for St Helens RFC on iTunes.Remember if you want a question answering on the Podcast drop us a line @saints1890 on Twitter or email podcast@saintsrlfc.comThe podcast is in association with Citytalk 105.9.last_img read more

LOCAL sides Thatto Heath Crusaders and Pilkington

first_imgLOCAL sides Thatto Heath Crusaders and Pilkington Recs learnt their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup first round fates today.Thatto will host Hunslet Club Parkside whilst Pilkington Recs face a trip to Stanningley.First round ties will played over the weekend of January 30 – 31.2016 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup First Round Draw:London Chargers v Shaw Cross SharksThatto Heath Crusaders v Hunslet Club ParksideAberdeen Warriors v Northumbria UniversityStanningley v Pilkington RecsNormanton Knights v DistingtonThe Army v SiddalWest Bowling v Lock LaneLeigh Miners Rangers v Underbank RangersEast Leeds v Oulton RaidersMillom v University of HullRoyal Navy v Featherstone LionsWidnes West Bank v Rochdale MayfieldWath Brow Hornets v Royal Air ForceHull Dockers v Thornhill TrojansEgremont Rangers v Blue BullsWest Hull v Great Britain PoliceKells v Nottingham OutlawsYork Acorn v Sharlston Roverslast_img read more

Public event to offer valuable resources in fight against opioid abuse

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Community members are holding an awareness, education, and prevention event to help in the fight against opioid abuse on Monday, September 18th.There will also be a Resource Fair where anyone affected by addiction can speak with representatives from local/regional organizations that help those in addition and recovery.  There will also be testimonies from those affected and local leaders will be speaking on what the community can do to actively help in the fight.- Advertisement – The event is open to the public and no registration is required.  The location is Port City Community Church on 250 Vision Drive from 6pm to 9pm. It’s sponsored by SEAHEC, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, and REFUGE.last_img read more

Man arrested on drug and child abuse charges

first_imgStevan Trent Boone was arrested on August 7, 2018 on drug and child abuse charges. (Photo: CCSO) HALLSBORO, NC (WWAY) — A Columbus County man is facing multiple charges after deputies found drugs and stolen guns at his Hallsboro home. After a separate investigation, the same man was also charged with child abuse.Columbus County Sheriff’s Office received numerous citizen complaints of suspected prostitution and illegal drug activity happening at 53 Valley Lane in Hallsboro.- Advertisement – During the investigation, deputies say Stevan Boone sold drugs to undercover operatives from his home.Deputies executed a search warrant at his home early Tuesday morning. When agents breeched the Boone’s door, they say he was waiting with a firearm in his hand.Inside of Boone’s home, agents located cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, Oxycodone, stolen guns, and additional firearms.Related Article: Former Columbus County detective facing more embezzlement chargesCCSO says Boone is currently on probation for prior drug charges.On July 27, CCSO received a report that a three year old child that had been in the care of Stevan Boone, had been abused. Deputies found the child had bruises all over their body, back, arms, and legs. The child also had cuts on their body and back.The child was treated at the hospital for these injuries.Charges:1 felony count of Maintaining a Dwelling to Keep a Controlled Substance1 felony count of Possession of a Stolen Firearm1 felony count of Possession with the Intent to Manufacture, Sell, and Deliver Schedule IVControlled Substances1 felony count of Possession with the Intent to Manufacture, Sell, and Deliver Schedule IIControlled Substances1 felony count of Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Cocaine1 felony count of Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana1 felony count of Intentional Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Physical InjuryBoone is currently at the Columbus County Detention Center under a $140,000 secured bond.last_img read more

Hours after child sex crimes plea woman found with drugs

first_img She’s now charged with several drug possession counts. Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says her new charges will play a part in her sentencing.He says his office needs her help with at least one more trial.A Horry County, South Carolina police report related to the four defendants’ arrests says the two victims were under 6. Lindsay Danielle Honeycutt (Photo: CCSO) NAKINA, N.C. (AP) — Hours after a woman pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children in South Carolina, authorities in North Carolina say she was slumped over in a vehicle with drugs.News outlets cite a Columbus County Sheriff’s Office release that says marijuana, cocaine, and the generic form of Xanax were found in 31-year-old Lindsey Honeycutt’s car Tuesday. Although she pleaded guilty to child sex crimes earlier that day, her sentencing was delayed to allow testimony in co-defendants’ trials.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Chemours sued over air water pollution claims

first_img GenX is an unregulated chemical that’s used in nonstick surfaces such as Teflon. It was discovered last year in the Cape Fear River.The lawsuit says the pollution violates the Clean Water Act and Toxic Substances Control Act.Chemours spokeswoman Alvenia Scarborough said Wednesday the company disagrees that it violated the laws cited. CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — A federal lawsuit seeks to stop a company from continuing to allow little-studied industrial compounds to get into the Cape Fear River in eastern North Carolina.The Southern Environmental Law Center said in a news release Wednesday that it’s filed a lawsuit for Cape Fear River Watch against The Chemours Co. The lawsuit says the company based in Wilmington, Delaware is contaminating the water and air with GenX and other chemicals from its Fayetteville Public Works facility.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Great Pyrenees named Holly is on the move in Carolina Beach

first_imgCAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — You may have heard about or even spotted a lost pup who went missing about three weeks ago in Carolina Beach. Her name is Holly.Holly is a one and a half year old Great Pyrenees, about 65 lbs.- Advertisement – She was raised on a farm to protect small animals. Wayne Rouse is now her owner.About three weeks ago, she went missing.“A door was open coming in from outside and she just found a way to get through and essentially she took off,” Rouse said.Related Article: Snow’s Cut Bridge closed as Florence rips through regionRouse explained that although Holly is mild and sweet, she was trained to be a working dog, not a snuggle buddy.“She’s out patrolling this island I guess she’s looking for her job, whatever she thinks her job is,” Rouse added.Rouse said that probably means she is looking out for small animals that are vulnerable.Despite Holly’s temporary absence, there has been one good thing to come from all of this. The search has brought the Carolina Beach community together.“The help from those people has been phenomenal,” Lynn Barbee, a volunteer said. “The outpouring of support from them but also out looking for Holly. We’ve had everything from drone pilots volunteer to just mom coming home from the grocery store making an extra lap around town.”“Frankly it’s humbling to see how all of the people help,” Rouse said. “I typically on the side am known as a person who advocates and does a lot of rescue work and fundraising, this whole community has come together and interestingly a lot of people I didn’t know.”Rouse and other volunteers think that she may have been spotted on Dow Rd. a few times near Good Hops Brewery.The best thing that the community can do for Holly is to drive slowly around Carolina Beach because he is confident that she is out there.If you think you may have seen Holly, Wayne asks that you do not approach her but call him at (919) 616-0682.last_img read more

Photos Posters condemning the PN leader pasted on local party clubs facades

first_img SharePrint In the night between Wednesday and Thursday, a group known as #Trapass  went around PN local clubs and affixed posters to the facades with messages against the current PN Leadership.#Trapass, in a statement said that, while back in 1987 with Eddie Fenech Adami at the helm of the Partit Nazzjonalista (PN), the party had managed to overcome what it described as the dictatorial attacks made by the Malta Labour Party, ‘…thus giving a future to the Maltese nation’.#Trapass said that Adrian Delia does not subscribe to Fenech Adami’s values. The group also said that they want a new leader that does not need to waste time to justify himself and who is capable of unifying the electorate in order to save the country. They also state that one can only win with truth at their side. WhatsApp 1 of 14 <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

Bishop Grech calls on AFM to fight for justice in a desensitised

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Bishop Mario Grech called on the members of the Armed Forces of Malta to take courage and stand up for justice and for what is right. Speaking in a mass celebrated during a pilgrimage held by the AFM to the Marian sanctuary of Ta’ Pinu, Bishop Grech said that soldiers often come face to face with evil, in isolated form or as organised crime.Evil, said the Bishop of Gozo, can make our lives a misery and our hearts a battlefield as Dostoyevsky observed. When evil takes root in hearts, through weakness or through conscious decision, quality of life is threatened. “The lives of so many innocent people are threatened and society seems to have become desensitised to this suffering” said Mgr Grech. Society seems to prefer to turn its face away to avoid having to deal with the silent wail of those whose human dignity has been defiled.Referring again to Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazof’, Bishop Grech said that the author deduced that whoever shuns God feels that all is permissable and so gives in to evil. The members of the AFM, he said administer security and freedom to peoples. They face evil and free those threatened by  it. Often the AFM is on site in precarious situations, keeping law and order, guarding against criminality and guaranteeing security. He quoted Pope Francis who this week said that immigrants are the victims of a society which has thrown them on the rubbish heap.Bishop Grech said that the work of the AFM is not only difficult. Like Christ’s,it is also frequently met with incomprehension and crass lack of appreciation. He ended his homily by calling on the members of the AFM not to lose heart and keep up the fight for justice.WhatsApp SharePrintlast_img read more

3 year old girl killed in the war on drugs in the

first_img SharePrint Pictures of some of the victims of Duterte’s “War on Drugs”Pictures of some of the victims of Duterte’s “War on Drugs” Last month, a three-year-old girl became one of the youngest victims of the war on drugs, after she was shot dead in a raid near Manila. Police said she had been used as a human shield by her father, but the family disputes this.Meanwhile, on Thursday The United Nations passed a resolution to probe the killing of thousands of people in the Philippines, in President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs”.The resolution, led by Iceland, was adopted by a narrow margin at the 41st session of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.  Eighteen countries voted in favour, 14 against, including China, and 15 abstained.Icelandic ResolutionThe Philippine government says police have killed about 6,600 people in shootouts with suspected drug dealers since Duterte was elected in 2016 on a platform of crushing crime, but rights activists claim the toll is at least 27,000.Iceland’s ambassador Harald Aspelund told the forum that they have put forward a balanced text with a very modest task – simply requesting the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to prepare a report for discussion by June next year.The resolution calls on national authorities, including the Filipino government, to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances.The Philippine delegation lobbied against the resolution.Paying justiceEllecer “Budit” Carlos of the Manila-based rights group iDefend said that the resolution is not just a step towards paying justice for the thousands of families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines but is also a collective message sent out to those who have praised Duterte.Philippine activists say tens of thousands are being killed as police terrorize poor communities, using cursory drug “watchlists” to identify suspected users or dealers, and executing many in the guise of sting operations.Police deny that, saying all their killings were in self-defence.Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, questioned the validity of the resolution not backed by the majority of council members.  He said that Filipinos overwhelmingly backed the president’s unique leadership and approach.Asked by reporters in Manila whether he would allow UN investigation, Duterte said, “Let them state their purpose and I will review it.”Panelo said that if the president permitted the probe and if it is carried out impartially, it would only result in the humiliation of the investigators and those who backed the resolution.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

NOTICE Issue 7 International Edition coming soon

first_imgAdvertisement PC Tech Communications would like to inform esteemed readers of PC Tech Magazine that Issue 7 of will be released on Wednesday, 15th September 2010, not at the beginning of the month as has been the case. A few changes are being made to this “Special” issue, especially in the volume, but subsquent issues will be released at the beginning of every month as usual.Also coming this month is Issue 01 of “INTERNATIONAL EDITION”, ahead of the official launch, slated for Friday September 24th, in Accra, Ghana.The editor also notifies interested contributors to send articles to – Advertisement – We thank you for your continued support for East Africa’s Most Contemporary Technology Magazine.last_img read more

Facebook to let advertisers republish user posts

first_imgAdvertisement The new, promoted posts would keep the same privacy setting that the original posting had. So if you limit your check-ins to a specific group of friends, only these same friends would see the “Sponsored Story” version later.The promoted content will appear on the right side of users’ home pages, not in their main news feed. That’s where regular ads, friend requests and other content are located.Involving users in advertisements without their consent has been a thorny issue for Facebook. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said in this case the company is making money off a person’s name or likeness without their consent. He calls it “subtle and misleading” and says users should object. – Advertisement – Twitter already offers advertisers something similar, called “promoted tweets.” These are Twitter posts paid for by advertisers to show up in search results and on top of popular topic lists on the site. But while Twitter’s ads are written by the companies that pay for them, Facebook’s sponsored stories are created by users.Both represent an effort to make advertisements more akin to what people are already experiencing on the site instead of putting up virtual billboards that users might ignore or find tacky.Source: APlast_img read more

PlayStation Network goes down following hack attack

first_imgAdvertisement Following an attack from the same group of hackers that targeted Xbox Live last week, Sony’s PlayStation Network is down.When you head over to the PlayStation website right now and you’ll be greeted with an error message: “Page Not Found!” followed by “It’s not you. It’s the internet’s fault.”More specifically, it’s the hacker group Lizard Squad’s fault. The group has already claimed responsibility for the attack, with their Twitter status reading “PSN Login #offline #LizardSquad.” – Advertisement – This is the same Lizard Squad that attacked Xbox Live a week ago, as well as the one that claimed responsibility for attacks on EA and the popular online console shooter Destiny. At the time of the Xbox Live attack, Lizard Squad warned that the attacks would continue right up to Christmas.In response to this latest attack, Sony has tweeted “Thanks for your patience as we investigate.”Sony’s Hollywood film studio was recently hacked, with a number of unreleased movies and actor salaries leaked onto the internet.This attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network, just as the company is celebrating 20 years of the PlayStation brand  and the recent attacks on the wider company don’t appear to be linked.Source: Trusted Reviewslast_img read more

Former MTN Uganda Staff get 9 years jail for Mobile Money fraud

first_imgAdvertisement The Anti-Corruption Court yesterday convicted six MTN staff after they were found guilty of illegally gaining access to the mobile money system and wired cash amounting to more than Shs3 billion to various money agent lines that they shared thereafter.The court presided over by Justice Paul Mugamba also found three other MTN staff innocent of similar charges after prosecution failed to make a case against them and freed them accordingly.The 6 MTN employees accused of stealing 3.15 billion have been sentenced to 9 years in jail by Justice Paul Mugamba #KfmNews— 933 KFM (@933kfm) April 28, 2015 Those convicted included; Edrisa Sserunkuma, Joseph Magombe, Daniel Ssegujja, Henry Edgar Matovu, Irene Kauma and Peter Ayebare. – Advertisement – Those freed and had spent close to two years on remand at Luzira prison are Mr Jerom Oketcho Jackchar, Mr Joshua Kulaba and Ms Mary Nassejje.The nine were facing charges ranging from embezzlement, theft, conspiracy to commit a felony, unauthorised access and electronic fraud.The Judge also singled out the incident of Sserunkuma where he gave a flash disk to Ayebare that he used to insert into the MTN computers thereby gaining access to mobile money system and wired cash to mobile money agent lines that they later shared.Prosecution led by Marion Caroline Acio told court that the convicts and others still at large between January 23 and 25, 2013, at MTN Towers on plot 77 Yusuf Lule Road in Kampala, carried out electronic fraud by transferring more than Shs3 billion from MTN dispute account to MTN mobile money agent lines.Further, prosecution alleged that Magombe, Ayebare, Mr Ssegujja, Matovu and Sserunkuma, between 23 and 25 January 2013, unlawfully possessed a computer component which is designed primarily to overcome security measures for the protection of data with regard to password and access code of MTN computer systems.Story via: Daily Monitorlast_img read more

What SIM Registration deadline means to Ugandas operators revenues and rural users

first_imgMTN’s CMO Mapula Bodibe personally verifies registered customers in Luwero Kasana after the launch of ReadyPay Solar system in partnership with Fenix International earlier this month Advertisement Early this month the telecom regulator Uganda Communication Commission wrote to all telecom players to register all its subscribers or face consequences, including revoking licenses, fines or disconnection. The telecoms took this notice very seriously, and this month we’ve seen creativity and innovation come into play as each tries to ensure their customers SIMS are registered and not cut off.This process has been ongoing since 2013, when the government introduced SIM card registration, and the deadline was 30th August 2013. What happened is that due to the logistical challenge of the manual process, many SIM Cards were partially registered and were deemed to have complied with the law, and the operators were allowed to continue the verification process. “Partially registered” in this case means the customer has filled in the form and submitted the requirements but they have not yet reached central verification centers and been verified.The rural mobile user There has been increasing mobile network penetration, which is a good thing for the rural communities that are now able to communicate easily, as well as transact with mobile money. We have written extensively about how mobile money is driving financial inclusion, so the significance of the presence of mobile operators in these areas is more critical than you think at first glance. – Advertisement – However this presents a challenge for registration in two ways:First, there’s an increasing number of new activations coming from increasingly remote and rural areas, increasing the logistical challenges that the operators face in getting the documentation to verification centers.Secondly the users in those remote areas are sometimes illiterate, and may make mistakes on the forms which will impede verification of their documents and keeping them in “partially registered “state for longer. In addition to that, the requirements such as photocopies of their identification, passport photos and the like aren’t as readily available to them as they are in the towns. And because of the small numbers that will be trickling in at each registration center, it doesn’t make financial sense for the agents to have the equipment for the customers to use.For the users in these remote areas, disconnection could mean interruption of their livelihood as many are dependent on their mobile phones for communication with customers for their produce, their relatives and also the means of their financial dealings.With Mobile Money someone in Europe can send money to their parents and they receive it on their mobile phone.MTN Uganda CEO, Mr Brian Gouldie speaking to the press last week after a tour of the MTN SIM Card Verification Center said “The SIM Card registration has been manual since the implementation years ago, and it can take 7 days to 3 months for the documentation to move from the registration point to verification point at the verification center.”It’s worth noting that even though there is a deadline looming over everyone’s heads, the registration is continuous and the challenges have to be tackled as there are new customers being connected to each network every month.There is an estimated 500,000 new customers connected every month, and most of these new connections are being made up country, in remote areas seeing that penetration in the urban areas is basically saturated.So this is more about continuous registration than it is about the deadline. There will continue to be more and more rural users in need of communication and financial services every month.[related-posts]Registration goes digital In order to overcome the challenges of the old system, the telecom operators have developed new solutions to speed up the process and have near real time registration and verification.MTN is rolling out a digital process that has an Android application that will extend the reach to even the remotest areas. Customers will not need to photocopy documents or to have passport photos as the person registering can handle all that.When I bought a Vodafone MiFi recently, I had to go through a similar process where they took my photo, scanned my ID and I left with the SIM card registered.When all telcos roll this out, the SIM Registration will have caught up with the times, and verification can happen quickly.More recently, MTN, Airtel and Africell took the registration online so that you don’t even have to go to the center to register.These systems don’t come cheap and this cost is borne by the operators. MTN for example has spent over $350,000 on their application development and roll out, and has over 200 employees at the Verification Centre. With the biggest market share, we can estimate that other operators are deploying fewer people and spending less, but also investing significantly in the process.“The other SIM Card” We’re aware that Ugandans are two SIM holders, and a sizable percentage of mobile users have more than 2 SIMS.Hesketh Serumaga, a Social Worker at World Vision International has at least 1 SIM card for each network. He says he bought a SIM for each network in order to take advantage of the different offers that they keep rolling out. Hesketh learnt long time ago that offers are always sweetest for “On Net” activity.Hesketh has been monitoring costs of data bundles more over the last one year, and since he bought a smartphone, he doesn’t spend on phone calls as much as he used to.He has only registered the 3 SIM cards that he has on him since he has been traversing the country most of this month and has not had time to dig up the others and register them. So that’s where his spend for the foreseeable future will be.Therein lies the challenge for Ugandan Telcos: the extra SIM Cards.As it is, most of the SIMs that people use regularly were registered long time ago. The Telco representatives we talked to were all cagey on numbers, but the general feeling is that most people, especially in urban areas have registered their main SIM cards.However when the hammer falls on 30th, it’s likely that people will stick to the SIMs that they have for some reason already registered, locking out other operators from their communication budgets. Whereas it has been easy to open the drawer where you keep the SIMs and load a bundle on the modem that you’ve not used for the past 1 month, when the unregistered SIMS are disconnected, customers are likely to abandon them and stick to the ones they have.Courting the customer In an informal conversation with a bunch of bloggers last week, it was speculated that the price cuts to 3/= that telcos implemented recently were actually about making sure customers were using their SIMS and registered them. They may have decided to cut their earnings in the short term as an investment in the customers’ future expenditure. If you have 5 SIM cards and you’d like to register two, your choice is likely to be influenced by who is offering the best deal at the moment.We’ve also learnt that in addition to operators taking registration online, they are rewarding customers for registering in a bid to ensure no SIM gets left behind. So SIM card Registration is going to decide where customers will be spending going forward, and thus which telecom will be able to meet their targets.Register your SIM Card Online If for some reason you still haven’t registered your SIM card, or if it shows “partially registered” here is how you can register in the comfort of your home or office:Africell: Online RegistrationAirtel: Online RegistrationMTN: Online Registration or Whatsapp: 0787777755Vodafone: Whatsapp 0723000723You can check your status by dialing *197# on all networks. Make sure you’re registered before 30th November 2015.last_img read more