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July 31, 2019
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By John Pring editor of Disability News Service I

first_imgBy John Pring, editor of Disability News ServiceIt is fair to say that the Department for Work and Pensions is not disabled people’s favourite government department, but it is the one that Disability News Service (DNS) deals with most often. So when the DWP press office threatens to stop responding to DNS enquiries “with immediate effect”, it is a threat I have to take seriously. This blog will describe how this situation has come about. I hope that other disabled people will offer their opinions on whether I am behaving unreasonably, or whether the DWP is threatening DNS unfairly and potentially breaching the Equality Act. As many people will know, DNS has a number of subscribers who pay an annual or monthly fee for the right to use DNS stories on their own websites or in their magazines or newsletters, or sometimes solely for briefing purposes. The stories are sent out every Friday by email, usually at around 1pm. Most of these subscribers are disabled people’s organisations, and operate – like DNS – on tight budgets. I also place the stories on the DNS website, every Friday evening, at around 6pm. These news stories often rely on comments from DWP. Unfortunately, my relationship with the DWP press office – like many other journalists – has grown increasingly fractious over the last few years. This has partly come about due to frustration at DWP’s occasional habit of responding in a way that seeks to ignore/avoid the question and simply produce an answer that offers a PR truth, rather than an actual truth. Here’s an example: Several months ago, Mark Harper, the Conservative minister for disabled people, said in the Commons that he had talked to disability organisations and they agreed with the government that closing the Independent Living Fund and not ring-fencing the funding given to local authorities was the right thing to do. I asked DWP which organisations Harper was referring to. The answer I received was: “The Minister meets regularly with a broad range of disability groups.” Which, of course, does not answer the question at all. This, sadly, is not an isolated example.Unfortunately, my relationship with DWP has now reached a new low, with the new chief press officer (disability), threatening to stop dealing completely with DNS. The latest problems began several weeks ago, when I approached the DWP press office by email at 8.50pm on a Wednesday evening for a comment on an Access to Work story I was working on. As always, I made it clear when my deadline was: in this case, the end of the following day. However, the press office did not respond to the email until 5.50pm on Friday, nearly two days after I emailed them with a request for a comment, more than four hours after I finished sending the stories to my subscribers, and nearly 24 hours after the deadline I had set. Later that evening, I thanked the press officer for her efforts, but said that the comment had come through far too late to be included in the story. That, I thought, would be that. However, I was contacted by another DWP press officer the next morning, asking if I intended to update the copy on my website to include the late response. I replied, explaining how DNS worked, and informing him that this would not be possible.Two days later, I received an emailed letter from the chief press officer (disability), who warned that he was “not prepared to continue diverting precious time and resources to deal with detailed enquiries from DNS if you cannot guarantee that these answers will be acknowledged in your copy once they are received,” and that: “If DNS does not consider itself to be comparable to every other UK news organisation then it is not within the DWP Press Office’s remit to handle any of its enquiries and, in future, you will need to make your requests for information to the Department through the same methods as any other member of the public.”If DNS stories appeared only on the DNS website, I would have no problem with the DWP request. It would be entirely reasonable. However, the stories also appear on the websites of my subscribers, and I do not feel comfortable updating my own website, but allowing theirs to continue with out-dated versions of my articles. Therefore, if I was to update my website, I would want to provide an updated story to my 20-odd subscribers. And if I did this with DWP, I would also need to do it with every other organisation that failed to produce a comment in time for my deadlines.In the past, when DWP has sent me responses to stories far past the deadlines I have set, I have made it clear that this makes it more difficult for me to do my job, increases my anxiety levels, and ensures that my work hours increase. I currently work an average of 70-80 hours a week, and the DWP’s habit of continually missing deadlines and leaving it until the last possible moment to provide a comment has certainly had an impact on my mental health in the past. I have made it clear to the press office on many occasions that I would be grateful if they could try to meet my deadlines as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act.(I should, of course, point out that on the rare occasion that there is a significant factual mistake in a DNS story, I alert all of my subscribers to that error.)Following this latest incident, I again made the DWP press office aware that to take on the extra workload of continually updating my subscribers throughout the week with developments on old stories, in addition to producing the next week’s stories, could have an adverse impact on my mental health and even make it impossible to continue with DNS. For that reason, I told the chief press officer (disability) that I believed it would be a reasonable adjustment for him to allow me to continue to operate DNS in the way that I have done for the last six years. Although this is not the way a typical news agency would operate, I do work alone, I have a mental health condition, I am extremely careful with my research, and I believe I behave responsibly in the way I work.Sadly, the chief press officer (disability) is again threatening that unless I agree to the changes he has suggested, “the DWP Press Office will no longer be able to respond to DNS’s enquiries”.I have had some extremely supportive comments from my subscribers, but would like to ask other disabled people whether I am being unreasonable, or whether I should resist DWP’s attempts to force me to change the way I work, rather than agreeing to what I believe is a reasonable adjustment.John Pring can be contacted at john@disabilitynewsservice.comlast_img read more

July 31, 2019
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Developer threatens to sue as SF Supes delay Mission project

first_imgSubscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter 0% The decision is only the latest chapter in a fierce battle over whether the 75-unit project — which would price 11 percent of its units as affordable — will ultimately come to fruition. The Planning Commission approved the project in November, but a final green light was delayed at the Board of Supervisors in February, pending a study of whether the building was a historic resource.  Under state law, Tillman was allowed to add more units to his project while lowering the overall affordable component to 11 percent, from the 12 percent then required by the city.Many longtime Mission District residents argue that the project will only further the gentrification and displacement in the once predominantly working-class Latino neighborhood — concerns District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen ultimately sympathized with at the meeting. Pro-housing advocates, meanwhile, argued that the major hurdles the project has faced are indicative of why housing is drastically underbuilt here. Tillman charged that Tuesday’s action by the Board of Supervisors was potentially illegal. His attorney, David H. Blackwell, outlined his case in an 11-page letter sent to the board on Monday. “There’s nothing else I can do; they have made their decision,” Tillman told Mission Local following Tuesday’s proceedings. “They have to come up with findings that justify their decision, and they’re going to have a difficult time doing that.”  Ronen took issue with the fact that the environmental review, which did analyze the effects of the proposed building’s shadows on the schoolyards, did not consider the shadow’s impacts on the schoolyards when they become public space. This is the plan under the city’s forthcoming Shared Schoolyards Program. The program would open school playgrounds to the general public during non-school hours. The decision followed a public comment session in which the project’s opponents expressed worry over its potential impacts on Zaida T. Rodriguez Preschool, which sits on Bartlett Street behind the proposed site. Opponents argued the constructions will kick up dust and noise, as well as shadows once the project is built. They also bemoaned the loss of their neighborhood. “This project does sit in the middle of many of our community anchors,” one opponent to the project said during public comment. “None of the people who have lived here are going to move into that building.” Scott Weaver, a lawyer for the merchant’s association Calle 24, which filed the appeal on the project, argued that the shadows, dust and noise would affect the students at the school. “Has the city done all that it can to make sure the children are safe?” he asked. Weaver also argued that the number of units developed in the Mission has surpassed what is allowed by a city plan for the neighborhood — called the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan — creating no need for the development.Officials from the city’s Planning Department refuted Weaver’s argument. They said that their environmental review concluded that the project’s construction would not have a negative impact on the children – and the shadows would not negatively affect the students. They also said the project was consistent with the city’s interpretation of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan.  Ronen did not take issue with those specific findings. She, instead, focused on shadows on the schoolyard as a potential public space. Before moving to uphold the appeal, however, she indicated that her decision to continue the matter ultimately rested with the community’s concerns. To supporters of the appeal, mostly longtime Mission District residents, she said: “I hear you and the pain that’s been caused from the uneven development in the Mission [that] has decimated the community and changed it in ways that are unfair to low-income and Latino community.”She also took aim at Tillman. “He is exploiting the process for his own personal gain,” she said. “He knows he can get more money if he can sell this land if it’s entitled than when it’s not.” Tillman told Mission Local that his intentions have never been a secret. He said he has, on multiple occasions, offered to sell the land to anyone who wants to use it for affordable housing. For Tillman, however, any affordable housing there would come at a market-rate price. As such, he claims he’s already turned down a not-yet-financed $9 million offer by the Mission Economic Development Agency. Tillman said the offer was only 50 percent of the property’s value. “I want to maximize value on something I own,” he said. But now, to do so, he will have to wait a bit longer. Robert Tillman, the self-described “newbie developer,” was on Tuesday foiled again by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in his efforts to develop a 75-unit building on Mission Street between 25th and 26th streets. It is currently the site of a laundromat he owns. The board voted unanimously to uphold an appeal of the project, saying that not enough analysis has been undertaken regarding the effects of the proposed eight-story structure’s shadows, which it would cast over the playgrounds of a neighboring preschool. That area is slated to be used as public space in the near future. It’s unclear how the city will proceed with the additional review — or how long it will take. Tillman says he plans to sue the city, depending on whether the city can justify the delay through its findings in its additional shadow analysis. “My only alternative, if I want to take this project through, is to file a lawsuit against the city,” he said following Tuesday’s decision. He said that he has exhausted all administrative avenues and has no other option.  center_img Email Address Tags: Board of Supervisors • development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

July 31, 2019
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WERE Back in BlackSaints are delighted to announ

first_imgWE’RE Back in Black!Saints are delighted to announce the launch of their brand new 2013 Away Kit in store and onlineDesigned and created in association with ISC, the Away kit is styled the same as the successfully launched 2013 Home Kit but with the body and trim colours reversed, whilst keeping the iconic Red Vee across the chest to produce a striking looking shirt.Ty-phoo are once again our front of shirt Sponsor. The sleeves are sponsored by Knowsley Safari Park and MyProtein, whilst the Collar is once again sponsored by OD’s Menswear with Tudor Northwest Ltd at the centre of the upper chest.Hattons Solicitors and thepsdgroup.co.uk logos sit proudly on the reverse of the shirt.“We are delighted with the look and quality of this new 2013 Away kit,” Merchandising Manager Steve Law explained. “Once again ISC have come up with a functional players shirt which the squad are excited about playing in, and a stylish and practical replica shirt for fans to show their colours home and away.“There has been an awful lot of anticipation, speculation and excitement looking forward to the launch of this year’s kit, so we are sure the fans will be pleased with the final design. It is sure to be recognised everywhere it goes and we know the players and fans alike will wear it with pride.”As with recent ISC Replicas the shirt is designed to be close fitting and slightly shorter than other suppliers so please ensure you order larger sizes if you prefer a looser fit.Shirt Prices; Adults (XS – 4XL) – £44.99, Adults (5XL -7XL) – £47.99, Ladies (L8-L18) – £44.99, Kids (Age 6-Age 16) £34.99, Toddlers (Age 1 -Age 4) £29.99.Matching Shorts and socks are also available.Get your new kit today from Saints Superstore at Langtree Park, or online at www.saintssuperstore.comJon Wilkin, Tommy Makinson and Ade Gardner will be in store on Saturday from 12.30pm.last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Wanted Hampstead man arrested for area breakins

first_img He is charged with three counts of felony breaking and entering along with a list of other charges.Deputies say Yopp broke into unoccupied summer homes and stole a television and an air conditioning unit. He then pawned the items. Yopp broke into the Castle Bay Golf Course maintenance building and stole lawn equipment. These items also were pawned.Yopp’s bond is set at $105,100.Related Article: Mandatory evacuation in place for Pender CountyThis investigation is on-going and additional charges may be forthcoming. HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County man has been arrested after police say he broke into several homes and a business in the Hampstead area.Pender County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that 29-year-old Jason Garland Yopp was in jail.- Advertisement – last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Vigil held for men and women killed by law enforcement four years

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)  – Several deaths at the hands of local law enforcement was the center of a candlelight vigil tonight in downtown Wilmington. The deaths happened years ago, but for family members of the people killed, they say the pain and questions remain.“We will not forget,” members of Wilmington Black Lives Matter said.- Advertisement – Four years later, and it is not forgotten that a series of people were killed by local law enforcement. Every case was investigated, and each officer or sheriff’s deputy was found to be in the right.“It’s like every day, on October the 13 it seems like we relive that moment,” Brandon Smith’s sister Georgia Davis said.The family of Smith, who died in October 2013, still feel the wounds. Law enforcement shot and killed Smith days after he was accused of shooting a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy. He along with several people are the reason Black Lives Matter Wilmington gathered for a candlelight vigil at the 1898 Memorial.Related Article: Five wanted for Columbus County home invasion, robbery“We’re not going to forget Brandon, Tevon Robinson, Ronald Roland, or Grace Denk,” BLM member Sonya Patrick said.All of those cases ended with the District Attorney’s office or state agencies finding deputies or police justified in using deadly force. BLM members think justice was not served.“Literally, law enforcement is actually evaluating themselves, definitely they’re not going to see anything wrong,” Patrick said.The DA’s office cites the statement they made in 2013 that the evidence they found “showed that they [deputies] used deadly force when an extremely violent felon seemingly placed them in danger” in relation to Smith’s killing.“We’re trying to stop this form happening to someone else,” said Davis, who added that when Smith died he left behind a family in need of support with his son dealing with a case of leukemia.Wilmington Police and the New Hanover County Sheriff would not comment about the cases or on it being the anniversary of Smith’s case. The spokesperson for WPD says the department’s thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones.“He doesn’t have the chance to have a voice, so we feel that we have to be his voice,” Davis says.Wilmington Black Lives Matter members ask the district attorney allow a citizen review panel to investigate more officer-involved shooting cases.last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Could American Airlines glitch impact holiday flights at ILM

first_img Pilots who agree to pick up open flights could be paid at 150 percent their hourly rate.ILM says they are putting their hopes into the airline at this time as American is trying to reassure the public.The airline says it has filled many of the open flights.Related Article: President Trump delivers Thanksgiving message to US service membersSo far, no flights have been canceled in December because of this. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A glitch in American Airlines’ pilot scheduling system led to too many pilots being given time off during the holiday season. But could it affect Wilmington’s airport?Wilmington International Airport says the airline reports that out of the more than 15,000 flights that didn’t originally have pilots only a few hundred remain.- Advertisement – last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Missing Ocean Isle swimmer found alive

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man is alive after being reported missing on Ocean Isle Beach early Thursday morning.According to Craig Sanders with the US Coast Guard, the 26-year-old man was swimming near 371 E. 1st Street. He was reported missing around 3:30 a.m.- Advertisement – Sanders said the man was found in the sand dunes on the north end of the beach by Brunswick County Fire and Water Rescue around an hour later.No other information is available at this time.last_img

July 30, 2019
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CFPUA repair affecting traffic on S 16th Street

first_img Click here for real-time traffic updates from Operation GridlockThere is an associated Precautionary Boil Water Advisory with this travel advisory. It involves about 20 commercial customers and notifications have been hand delivered by CFPUA staff.This travel advisory began around 1 p.m. The travel advisory is expected to last four to six hours.Related Article: Father says he found mold in kid’s Capri Sun pouchDrivers are asked to use caution when driving in this location. Cape Fear Public Utility Authority appreciates our customers’ patience. Map of are impacted by CFPUA repair on June 27, 2018. (Photo: CFPUA/Google Earth) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — CFPUA crews are making an emergency water main repair on South 16th Street that could impact traffic and neighbors into the evening.CFPUA crews have shifted the easternmost and center southbound lane of traffic on South 16th Street into the westernmost southbound lane in the 1400 and 1500 blocks of South 16th Street allowing single lane travel.- Advertisement – last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Volunteers helping with Matthew rebuilding efforts in Columbus County

first_imgCOLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Whether it be a new roof over a Fair Bluff resident’s head or a wheelchair ramp to make life a little easier, 300 Mission Serve volunteers are trying to help people in Columbus County still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.Thomas Samaha is the youth pastor at Cherry Grove Baptist Church in Cerro Gordo. He saw the destruction of Matthew first-hand. That’s why he wants to help.- Advertisement – “They get a roof, they get a wheelchair ramp, they get something that makes a difference and brings their joy and their hope back,” Samaha said. “We’re able to share Christ with them on top of that, and it just puts all of the pieces of their puzzle back together for them, and they realize somebody cares, somebody loves me, we’re not forgotten.”The break from the usual North Carolina humidity early this week has helped Samaha’s crew get the roofing done faster.Jonah Walker came from Florida and skipped his friend’s wedding to come help.Related Article: City talks how to keep popular Southport dock afloat“God just spoke into my life and was like you’re going on this trip,” Walker said. “At that moment, I was super excited, super stoked for it, so it’s a little different than most people. I had to call my friend and tell him, ‘Look man. I can’t come to your wedding. I’ve got bigger and better things I gotta do.’”Walker says this week is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help someone in need.“It means the world. It’s a phenomenal opportunity. I’m sure it happens at almost every crew, but he comes out, sees us on the roof and he’s thanking us for our work, but every time he says thank you, I’m like, ‘No, thank you for the opportunity to be here to help you.’”This week’s work in Columbus County is one of 17 projects Mission Serve is taking on this summer across the country and abroad.This is the second year Mission Serve has helped Columbus County. Project coordinator Joe Monk says there’s still more work to do. He says the organization plans to bring volunteers back to the area next June if they can raise enough money to make the trip.last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Staff raises 5000 for business owner after house fire

first_img Hyatt told WWAY he also had an incredible night of business at the restaurant; adding he is overwhelmed by the generosity.Sunday morning, Hyatt lost his home and his pet dogs in a fire. In response to this event, the restaurant staff hosted a fundraiser to help him. The staff collected donations including clothing, household items and money for Hyatt and his daughter.The staff has also started a GoFundMe. P.T.’s Grille Fundraiser (Photo: WWAY) LELAND, NC (WWAY)– After one local business owner lost everything, a community stepped up to help him pick up the pieces.By Friday evening, the fundraiser for P.T.’s Grille owner Aaron Hyatt had reached $5,000.- Advertisement – last_img

July 30, 2019
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Gozo and Comino made more solar power for commercial use than anywhere

first_img SharePrint A Palestinian worker installs solar panels at Khan Younis Waste Water Treatment Plant, in the southern Gaza Strip July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu MustafaA Palestinian worker installs solar panels at Khan Younis Waste Water Treatment Plant, in the southern Gaza Strip July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa There was more power being created by Photovoltaic panels in Gozo and Comino, for commercial purposes, in the last two years, than any other area of the archipelago.According to the National Statistics Office, Gozo and Comino were producing just over 5587kWp of power through PV panels between 2016 and 2018, for commercial purposes, than in regions of Malta.The Northern Harbour region was producing just over 4456kWp for the same sector, closely followed by South Eastern on 3764.7kWp.Credit: NSOConversely, the Northern region produced more electricity through PV panels for Domestic use (3289kWp). This is closely followed by Northern Harbour (3194.3kWp) and South Eastern (3017.6kWp).While Commercial and Domestic recorded high levels of electricity general through PV panels, this was considerably less in generation for public use.Overall, Gozo and Comino was producing the most across all three sectors (7784.3kWp). NH and SE came second and third in order of production over the two year period, 7711.1kWp and 6782.3kWp.Credit: NSOInstallationsThese numbers on production corroborate with the number of installations over the two year period.NSO states that by region SE and NH continued to have the highest level of installation, 917 and 909 respectively.Credit: NSOEqually, including sector into the equation, SE saw a large number of its PV panel installations for Domestic use (858), while NH saw 841 installed for the same sector.Of the total number of installations in 2018 (25,007) 84.5% were placed in Malta while the remaining 15.5% were in Gozo and Comino.Northern Harbour and Western region saw the largest number of installations last year at 4,831 and 4,544 respectively.Credit: NSOWhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Maltas President must set up Convention on Constitutional Reform – PD

first_imgThe President presents trophies to the winning participants of ‘Sparatura b’Risq l-Istrina 2019’ organised by the MDH Strina Fund Raising Committee-Ħal Far Shooting Range-9-6-19The President presents trophies to the winning participants of ‘Sparatura b’Risq l-Istrina 2019′ organised by the MDH Strina Fund Raising Committee-Ħal Far Shooting Range-9-6-19 Partit Demokratiku is urging Malta’s President to ‘immediately’ begin the process of creating the Convention on Constitutional Reform.PD’s calls to George Vella come after the Council of Europe yesterday approved the report calling for an inquiry into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.The report entitled, ‘Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges,’ actively condemns the state of the rule of law in Malta and raising concerns about the investigation into Caruana Galizia’s murder.In its recommendations, the report calls on the government to establish a public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s murder within three months.Caruana Galizia’s murder planned by ‘people with access to highest corridors of power’; CoE report approvedShaming all Malta PD says that the vote which saw 72 votes in favour, 18 against and 3 abstentions, ‘shames all Malta when Dr Joseph Muscat is so overwhelmingly voted as an incompetent Prime Minister who is not capable of choosing between right and wrong and governing in the best interests of the State,’ interim leader Godfrey Farrugia said.‘This scenario could have been easily prevented, but the Prime Minister prefers to work within an anti-legal framework and cherry-pick when and how the rule of law is applied,’ Farrugia continued.The party adds that they believe the Prime Minister is ‘not keen’ on having proper measures for Malta’s institutions arguing that they are currently a, ‘broken and dysfunctional system that needs fixing.’]Read more:Report on Caruana Galizia assassination and Malta’s rule of law approved by PACE committee‘Unprecedented that the CoE looks into an EU member state’ – OmtzigtThe full text of the report had been published and approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Legal Affairs Committee during a meeting in Paris in May.The conclusion of the draft report warned that if Malta cannot or will not correct its weaknesses, then the European institutions would have to intervene.No amendments were made to the original draft report. Over 40 amendments were presented to the Committee by the Malta’s head of delegation MP Manuel Mallia.The 70-year-old Council of Europe is the guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights and the creator of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Council of Europe has 47 Member States within it.Report riddled with inaccurate statements – GovernmentThe Government reacted to the approved report describing it as riddled with ‘inaccurate and gratuitous statement’. According to the statement, the report ‘exposes a very biased agenda which is not based on the true picture of the matter.’Let’s lobby against Omzigt’s report – Manwel MalliaThe Government further claimed that the leak of the draft report prepared by Omtzigt to the media, ‘is a reflection of deep animosity against Malta’. The Government also claimed that the report represents “very biased views of a small fraction of Maltese Opposition politicians”. Further it claimed that the alliances formed have “an interest in damaging Malta’s reputation”.The Government concluded that the Maltese Government MPs were making their case which gives a detailed picture of the “extent of manipulation in the report presented”.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

July 30, 2019
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Is Virtual Reality The Next Big Thing

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook Oculus VR, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft HoloLens, Google Cardboard these are some of the examples of the Virtual Reality Devices we have on the market. Some are expensive and high end and other like the Cardboard, you can make by joining a magnet a few lenses and a cardboard.20 years ago, you could only find a computer or a telephone in a government building and it’s amazing how technology has changed the way we communicate with each other on top of this, it has brought very high processing powers and high level gadgets like smartphone to our pockets. These gadget are a thousand times faster than the computers that used to be in the big institutions.We take instant messaging for granted now because we are used to it, it is no longer exciting to me, but if you think about it, it has disrupted the SMS business which was very expensive like 5-10 years ago. So the question I have been asking myself is, how do we top this, how do we disrupt instant messaging apps like Whatsapp? – Advertisement – I personally think the next step is going to be, how to add more emotions and take this from just texting, to Virtual Reality. I want to be able feel your presence from far away, I want to receive an emotional text from my friends and be able to see them, hear what they are saying and give them a hug if possible.I want to do this as fast and as cheap as it ever gets. I want to believe this is how virtual reality is going to change the way we work and interact with people, with the right software, Virtual Reality devices can bring about all this change and will turn out to be the “Big Thing” that we shall all want to have.Virtual Reality can enable us to use all our senses while we are working remotely or chatting and I believe that the first company to figure this out is going to disrupt Instant Messaging, Tourism, Video Conferencing to mention but a few.last_img read more

July 29, 2019
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Apple Music wins exclusive video deal with Taylor Swift

first_imgApple Inc won a deal with pop star Taylor Swift to exclusively release a concert video of her recent world tour through its music streaming service. Image Credit: Daily Read List Advertisement Apple Inc won a deal with pop star Taylor Swift to exclusively release a concert video of her recent world tour through its music streaming service, Apple Music, the company and singer said on Sunday.Swift, who celebrated her 26th birthday on Sunday, tweeted a trailer for the “1989 World Tour Live” concert video and said: “Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes. I have a little surprise for you.” The video will air on Dec. 20.The singer also tweeted that an interview discussing the video would be broadcast at 9 a.m. PST (1700 GMT) on Monday on Beats 1, Apple’s radio station. Apple officials were not immediately available for comment. – Advertisement – “It sounds like a very, very significant win for Apple,” said John Jackson, an analyst at market research firm IDC in Boston. “It’s on the order of a coup for Apple inasmuch as we all know that Apple is late to this party and the competition is fierce, the market is heavily subscribed with services.”Jackson cited music streaming services Spotify and Songza as examples of such competitors.Launched in June, Apple Music is Apple’s attempt to carry its dominance of digital music through its iTunes store into the era of music streaming. Chief Executive Tim Cook said in October the music streaming service had netted more than 6.5 million paid users, and that an additional 8.5 million people were participating in a free trial.[related-posts]Analysts have predicted that Apple’s service will find a strong following because of the vast installed base of iTunes users. But few think the iPhone maker will eclipse other music streaming companies. Spotify, founded in 2006, has over 20 million subscribers and over 75 million active users, according to its website.Swift said in June she would put her hit album “1989” on Apple Music, days after the tech giant bowed to pressure from Swift and some independent music groups and labels and agreed to pay artists during the free trial period for its music service.Swift’s decision came after she pulled her entire catalog of music from Spotify in November 2014 and refused to offer “1989” on streaming services, saying the business had shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically.She is not the only star challenging the streaming services. British singer Adele’s much-anticipated album “25” was withheld from streaming on digital music services, including Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.[First Post]last_img read more

July 29, 2019
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Dignitaries gather in Uganda for start of East Africas largest solar project

first_imgAdvertisement Yesterday, representation from the Ugandan Ministry of Energy, joined sustainable energy investors and developers EREN Renewable Energy (“EREN RE“) and Access Power to celebrate the start of East Africa’s largest solar project, based in Soroti, Uganda.They were joined by the European Union and NetherlandsAmbassadors to Uganda, representatives from German and Dutch development banks KfW and FMO, and local dignitaries.The 10 megawatt (MW), US$19 million solar photovoltaic plant is owned and operated by Access Uganda Solar Ltd, a partnership between EREN RE and Access Power. – Advertisement – The plant is expected to be operational and connected to the national grid inJuly 2016, providing clean, low-carbon, sustainable electricity to 40,000 homes and businesses. It is also the largest privately-funded solar power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa.Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access, commented: “Breaking ground today marks a major milestone for Access Power and its shareholder EREN RE, for Uganda and for the development of Africa. Only by working together can we effect real change and answer the urgent need for electrification of so many. Our company brings innovation, expertise and determination to every project we work on and we are particularly proud of Soroti and proud of everyone involved”.Christophe Fleurence, Vice-President of Business Development – Africa of EREN RE, declared: “We are glad to launch the construction of the first project co-developed on the African continent with our partner Access Power, especially as part of such a promising and well-thought out scheme. The extensive political and international support to this project, unprecedented inUganda and in the region, demonstrated again at the occasion of the ground breaking ceremony, underlines the broad willingness to shift boundaries in electricity generation. EREN RE which is a renewable energy investor and a long-term independent power producer, is determined to switch light on in many other places in Africa and emerging markets more generally, as efficiently as it was achieved at Soroti.”Spain’s TSK Group has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and will sub-contract parts of the work to local firms. Local labour is being hired for the construction phase and the developers will also recruit and train engineers to operate the plant.The project was financed by a mix of debt and equity with the senior debt facility being provided by FMO, the Netherlandsdevelopment bank, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF). The project reached financial close in record time, providing a successful and easily replicable case study of fast-track implementation of a renewable energy generation project conducted by private developers in Africa.Today’s ceremony took place at the solar plant site in Soroti, 300 kilometres northeast of the Ugandan capital Kampala. It was attended by local community chiefs as well as national dignitaries and concluded with the symbolic breaking of soil and subsequent laying of the foundation stone, followed by closing speeches.Following the opening address from Stephane Bontemps, Board Director, Access Power attendees were given a full update on the construction timeline of the plant. Next, guests heard from KfW bank regarding the GET FiT Facility, a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects.The Soroti project is the first solar power plant to be successfully developed under the GET FiT scheme, in partnership with the Government of Uganda through the country’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA). It is funded by the European Union Infrastructure Trust Fund, and supported by the governments of Germany, Norway and theUnited Kingdom.H.E. Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda said: “Uganda is a good place to invest in solar energy. The regulatory framework is conducive and Government rightly recognises Uganda’s energy future must be renewable. It is great that this is now triggering private sector interest in solar power generation. The European Union is proud that our Euro 8.7m grant contribution ensures the realisation of the Soroti Solar Plant, and I hope this is only just the beginning for many more to come.”Kathrin Kästle, Senior Project Manager (Energy), KfW said; “KfW is very pleased to witness the launch of the first solar project under the GET FiT programme. We believe it will be an important addition to diversifying the energy mix in Uganda and creating more generation capacity in a very short time frame.”last_img read more

July 29, 2019
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Netflix Signals Possibility of Uniform Global Content While Continuing to Crack Down

first_imgNetflix has always had a different method of evaluating success than traditional TV networks or movie studios. Image Credit: DigitalTrends Advertisement Americans can access three to six times more TV shows & movies titles than any other paying customers in other countries. This continues to raise global discontent with the company, causing users to revert to illegal streaming or unsubscribing from Netflix entirely.However, the, Los Gatos based global provider of streaming movies and TV series, Netflix, seems to have a goal to truly expand globally, meaning that all the shows that are available in the U.S might one day be available globally. The sign of the global expansion determination of Netflix to spend $5 billion in 2016, with most of it dedicated to creating its own original content and not dealing with painful licensing agreements.This has given rise to proxy services and enhanced the popularity of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), that allow Netflix subscribers to appear as if they were in America yet they’re just in another country, with a click of a button. – Advertisement – As a result, Netflix announced global crackdown on proxy services and VPNs, succeeding in blocking a good deal of them, and prompting many users to resort back to illegal downloads or unsubscribing from Netflix altogether.Netflix’ decision to focus on creating original content might be a good solution for the future. However, presently, Netflix continues to build dissatisfied customers who cannot watch the same shows as Americans do and are forced to stop using VPNs, being left without online protection that VPNs provide.[related-posts]NordVPN users can still connect to Netflix USA with a few workaround options. In case the crackdown becomes more severe, backup workaround options are being prepared.Netflix decision to block VPN users from accessing their service has a negative effect on online privacy and security, and the message it sends disregards users’ Internet security.According to Open Media, blocking VPNs means innocent customers will become collateral damage: it will block VPN users from accessing domestic content they paid for, undermine privacy, and could push users to illegal alternatives.[Newswire]last_img read more

July 29, 2019
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Facebooks Lumos AI Search now recognizes objects in photos

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) team has built a visual search system that can recognize content that appears in photos and return relevant search results.This means you can now search for images on Facebook with key words that describe the contents of a photo, rather than being limited by tags and captions.“We’ve built a search system that leverages image understanding to sort through this vast amount of information and surface the most relevant photos quickly and easily,” according to a Facebook blog post published today. “Using Facebook’s automatic image classifiers … you can imagine a scenario where someone could search through all the photos that his or her friends have shared to look for a particular one based on the image content instead of relying on tags or surrounding text.” – Advertisement – For instance, let’s say you search for “black shirt photo.” Facebook said that Lumos will search for and see any photos that contain a black shirt – even if no tags have been added to the photo. Facebook will then return search results that are relevant to the query, as well as diverse.Initially used to improve the experience for visually impaired members of the Facebook community, the company’s Lumos computer vision platform is now powering image content search for all users.Credit: TechCrunchlast_img read more

July 29, 2019
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STAR PREVIEW Villarreal v Liverpool

first_img[dropcap]L[/dropcap]iverpool have a real momentum in the Europa League this season and Villarreal might find this tough.At face value, Villarreal have had a good season – currently fourth in La Liga but they’re a full 20 points adrift of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid who have pulled clear. Just like the Premier League this season, I don’t think it’s been a vintage year in La Liga either.Villarreal have scored just one goal in their last three La Liga games resulting in two losses and a 0-0 draw against Sociedad on Sunday.Liverpool were sensational when coming from behind to beat Dortmund in the quarter finals in what I think has been the game of the year so far.They are seven games without loss, although disappointingly failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead against Newcastle with the match finishing 2-2.The Jurgen Klopp brand of football is anything but dull and the passion seems to have returned.Klopp said: “We must be prepared for our best game. This is the highest level of football that Villarreal show each week. Unbelievably strong. We only speak about the semi-final. No-one thinks we are halfway – we are here because we respect each tournament and respect each round.”Liverpool will be boosted by the expected return of Christian Benteke after his absence with a knee injuryVillarreal v LiverpoolUEFA Europa League Semi-Final 1st Leg20:05 BT Sport Europe / BT Sport Europe HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)Never PlayedAny kind of a result from a draw or an away goal would be good to take back to Anfield but I think Liverpool have every chance of pulling off the win at 15/8 with Star Sports.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK LIVERPOOL for 10 points at 15/8 with Star SportsWednesday: LOSS 16 pointsWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

July 28, 2019
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Parks Foundation Bolsters Baker Institute Endowment

first_imgAddThis Share CONTACT: Dana Durbin PHONE: (713)831-4797E-MAIL: ddurbin@rice.edu PARKS FOUNDATION BOLSTERS BAKER INSTITUTE ENDOWMENTHouston attorney and Rice alumnusFred Parks has made a significant contribution to an endowment fund benefitingthe James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.The Fred and Mabel Parks Foundation Endowed Fund now stands at$300,000 with the recent contribution of more than $102,000 from the ParksFoundation. The Parks started the fund in 1995 with a $100,000 contribution,which was invested and had accumulated to more than $197,000.The total contribution will be invested in the Rice Universityendowment pool, with the value of the fund to benefit the BakerInstitute.“Fred Parks’ generosity and support of the James A. Baker IIIInstitute for Public Policy is deeply appreciated. These funds will be used tofurther the institute’s research projects and programs, and will help assure theinstitute’s continuing contributions to public policy at the local, national andinternational levels,” said Baker Institute Director Edward Djerejian. ###last_img read more

July 28, 2019
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Author to discuss John F Kennedy and the Race to the Moon

first_imgAddThis ShareFranz Brotzen713-348-6775franz.brotzen@rice.edu Author to discuss ‘John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon’ at Sept. 20 Baker Institute lectureJohn Logsdon, author of “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), will discuss his book Sept. 20 at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Logsdon, professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, will speak on the background to Kennedy’s decision to send Americans to the moon and how that decision was implemented by the president and his administration.Who: Political Scientist John Logsdon will discuss “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon.” When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20.        Where: Rice University, Baker Hall’s Kelly International Conference Facility, 6100 Main St. The event is by invitation only but open to members of the news media. It will be webcast at http://bakerinstitute.org/events/john-f.-kennedy-and-the-race-to-the-moon. Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Franz Brotzen at franz.brotzen@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.last_img read more