Ministers have been forced to scrap a drastic chan

first_imgMinisters have been forced to scrap a drastic change to benefit rules that meant seriously ill claimants found unfairly “fit for work” were no longer allowed to take an extended period of sickness absence, even if they had a sicknote from their GP.Under the new rules – introduced through a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) memo to jobcentre staff in November, and without notifying parliament – claimants forced to claim jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) faced having their benefits sanctioned if they were too ill to look for work.They were previously entitled to up to 13 weeks of an “extended period of sickness” (EPS) if their doctor felt they were too sick to work or look for work, despite being found fit for work by DWP.This meant that those appealing against being ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA) – with the latest figures showing that more than two-thirds of ESA appeals are successful at tribunal – had a way to continue claiming benefits to pay for food, energy bills and other essentials if they were too ill to look for work and were waiting for their DWP mandatory reconsideration*.But the government quietly removed that option by issuing a memo on 7 November last year.It stated that EPS was not intended for claimants who “claim JSA when found fit for work, following a Work Capability Assessment and potentially may be appealing that decision”.  The memo meant that JSA claimants who had never tried to claim ESA could be able to use a sick note successfully, but someone who had failed with an ESA claim would not be given time to recover from the same level of illness.The new rules meant that someone kicked off ESA after being found fit for work could only submit a sick note successfully if their GP was willing to state that their condition had worsened significantly or that they had a new condition.DWP admitted last night (Thursday) that the memo had been revised earlier this month to show that JSA claimants previously found fit for work can claim an EPS.Before that admission, one welfare rights adviser, who asked to remain anonymous, said the “new secret ruling” was “a new welfare scandal” waiting to be exposed and had “already caused a great deal of unnecessary suffering amongst entirely innocent people”.He later added: “Life on benefits is hard enough without claimants being battered with pointless, secret rules.”Sarah Glynn, an organiser with the Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network, said the new rules were “absolutely appalling” and that ministers had been guilty of a “deliberate misinterpretation of the law”.Also speaking to Disability News Service before the DWP admission that it had been forced to revise the memo, she said: “It is going to make people ill and it will probably kill people. It’s really worrying.“It is going to hit more and more people because bumping people off ESA is the major line of attack at the moment.”And she said it would make more sick people “sanction fodder”.Barbara Donegan, a welfare rights expert with the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, welcomed the DWP decision to scrap the new rules.She said the charity had started to receive calls on its helpline in November from people who had been denied permission to claim an EPS after being found fit for work through the WCA process.But she said that jobseeker’s allowance regulations (section 55ZA) made it clear that such people should be able to claim an EPS if they have a sicknote from their GP.She said: “We are getting calls from people being told different things at different jobcentres.“We have read the regulations and we are absolutely clear what they mean and they do not exclude anybody in that situation from claiming an EPS.”A DWP spokesman said yesterday (Wednesday): “The memo you highlight was issued in November, which excluded claimants who had been found fit for work from taking an extended period of sickness (EPS). This has since been revised.“Questions were raised about the policy internally, which led officials to revisit and revise the guidance on 1 March.”He added: “People found fit for work are able to take an EPS once JSA has been awarded and they have presented an appropriate sick note – they do not need to have a new condition, or for their condition to have worsened.“The regulations allow all JSA claimants, including claimants who have previously claimed ESA, to be considered for an extended period of sickness, if eligible based on their individual circumstances and health condition.”*If an MR confirms the original decision and a claimant wishes to appeal to tribunal, they can begin to claim ESA again until they receive the appeal decisionlast_img read more

A transport minister has announced £600000 fundin

first_imgA transport minister has announced £600,000 funding for seven digital projects to help disabled passengers access rail travel, days after her department confirmed another minister had rubber-stamped tens of millions of pounds in cuts to a separate rail access scheme.Nusrat Ghani, the transport accessibility minister, said this week that the seven “innovative, high-tech schemes” to improve access to rail travel for disabled passengers would share the £600,000 funding.The successful schemes include a mobile phone app to help station staff prioritise requests for support from disabled passengers; a website to help disabled passengers navigate transport interchanges; a study of how well frontline rail staff understand invisible impairments; and an app that aims to make rail travel easier for users of British Sign Language.The seven schemes succeeded in a competition run by the Rail Safety and Standards Board.Ghani said: “I am determined to make sure that our railways are accessible to everyone, and that we remove any barriers faced by people with a disability.”But her announcement came only days after her own department finally confirmed to Disability News Service that it had rubber-stamped cuts of tens of millions of pounds to its Access for All rail station access improvement programme.Two years ago, the chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, published a report on “replanning” his organisation’s investment programme for 2014-19 across England and Wales.He recommended that funding for the Access for All station improvement programme should be cut by nearly £50 million, from £102 million to £55 million (in addition to another £32 million carried over from uncompleted work in 2009-14).The rest of the funding was to be carried over to 2019-24, but with no guarantee that it would not be used to disguise lower spending on access improvements in future years.The government had been due to respond to a consultation on Hendy’s report, and last week the Department for Transport (DfT) finally confirmed that it had accepted his recommendations, including the huge cuts to the Access for All programme.A DfT spokeswoman said: “On the consultation response, it looks like there wasn’t a response published.”But she pointed to a brief note that has been added to the DfT web page, which says only that “responses to this consultation were considered in the decision to accept Sir Peter Hendy’s plans for re-profiling the rail enhancements portfolio”.An internet archive website appears to show that this note was only added after 26 May 2018, two years after Hendy’s report was published.A Network Rail spokesman said that not all its spending on accessibility comes from the Access for All fund.He said the recent refurbishment of London Bridge station, which included significant access improvements, was funded from the Thameslink programme and not Access for All.And he said that Network Rail had bid for its Access for All allocation to be higher than £102 million for the next five years. The settlement is due to be announced by DfT later this year.He said: “Network Rail is committed to working with the Department for Transport and other key stakeholders to create a transport system that works for everyone.“Improving accessibility in stations – many of which were built in the Victorian era – has been a key objective over recent years.“But we know more can be done.”A DfT spokeswoman refused to say how the £600,000 funding would replace the tens of millions of pounds cut from Access for All spending between 2014 and 2019, and how the minister reconciled her determination to “make sure that our railways are accessible to everyone” with those cuts.But she said in a statement: “These innovative new projects will make a real difference to passengers with disabilities, and help more people travel independently and with confidence.”She added: “Our Accessibility Action Plan consultation, which sought views on ways to improve travel for disabled people, received over 1,000 responses which we are carefully considering.“We expect to publish our response – as well as our Inclusive Transport Strategy – later this year.”Picture: Activists from the Transport for All campaign group with Labour MP Heidi Alexander at Hither Green station in London in 2017 to protest at the Access for All cutslast_img read more

In SF Mission Debate Candidates Trade Barbs

first_imgIn a debate on Wednesday night, four candidates for District 9 supervisor traded jabs and critiqued the current administration, saying the Mission District had been abandoned during the height of the housing crisis.Often, the attacks were aimed at Supervisor David Campos and his chief of staff and current candidate, Hillary Ronen, for the dearth of affordable housing built in the neighborhood. “I won’t sit here like Ms. Ronen and make false promises about how many units I’m going to build in a certain amount of time,” said Melissa San Miguel, an education advocate, about Ronen’s pledge to build 5,000 units of affordable housing. “She as chief of staff to our supervisor had the opportunity to build these units, but she did not,” San Miguel said. Joshua Arce, a civil rights attorney and former community liaison for construction union Local 261, frequently cited the “failed housing policies” of Campos and criticized Ronen for receiving money from developer interests.“The developers of all the major high-end projects in the Mission, through their lobbyists, have been donating to Hillary Ronen’s campaign,” he said. Ronen, for her part, said that lobbyist contributions make up just a small portion of her total campaign filings, $5,400 to date of the $272,000 she had raised as of August. She also fought all night against the perception that she would continue the Campos legacy.“I am my own person,” she said in her first response. “I am a woman with a 14-year track record of working and fighting in this community, and I would ask that tonight my record is focused on, and not my male boss.”Arce and Ronen traded potshots throughout the debate, which drew more than 100 people to the Brava Theater, including a sizable contingent of pro-Arce laborers who often dominated the audience with anti-Ronen boos. Ronen went on the offensive against Arce’s own financial backing, saying he had received tens of thousands of dollars from the Police Officers Association, the controversial police union that has opposed efforts to reform the Police Department.That assertion drew loud boos from his union supporters. “If you don’t believe me, it’s public record,” she countered. Look it up.”While Arce has not directly received money from the Police Officer’s Association, the union has funneled tens of thousands into two independent expenditure committees that have spent at least $62,000 on his behalf. Still, Arce said Ronen was incorrect to associate him with the poisonous police union. “The politics of untruth is alive and well in District 9,” Arce said, as Ronen shook her head.The two are leading the race in fundraising. Ronen has raised $272,000 and Arce $156,000 as of August. Those figures do not include spending by independent expenditure committees. Melissa San Miguel and Iswari España, the other two candidates, raised $15,000 and $2,600, respectively.España, for his part, pointed out the funding imbalance.“I’m fighting half a million dollars from my competitors,” he said.Both España and San Miguel blamed Campos for neighborhood issues. When asked about the recently-installed red bus-only lanes on Mission Street, for instance, San Miguel was unequivocal in her opposition.“This plan has been a disaster,” said San Miguel, an education advocate with former state-level experience at the non-profit National Center for Youth Law. “People who were policy advisors and aides at City Hall did not think about us and include us because they do not know our community,” she said.“I believe that a lot of these issues could be solved by just having an open ear when you call a supervisor,” said España when asked about permitting for small businesses. España, a training officer with the Human Services Agency, said Campos and his office simply route calls to different city agencies and that he would personally pick up the phone to help constituents.“Answer the phone call,” he said. “You have stopped doing it.”On most questions, differences were rare. All candidates said they supported increased funding for community organizations, local hire laws, San Francisco’s sanctuary city status, and a recently-proposed memorial for police shooting victim Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill. Housing revealed some departures. Asked whether they would support a proposal to “reduce the size and type” of market-rate developments coming into the Mission District until “new policies are in place” to mitigate their impact, candidates were evenly split.“Yes, I would support this proposal,” said San Miguel, joining España in his support. San Miguel said more units had been built in the neighborhood than the city planned for, and that private developers should include more affordable units in their projects and pay higher impact fees.Ronen said that while she once supported the Mission moratorium — the failed proposal that would have paused market-rate housing in the neighborhood — she now thought stopping development was not a sound strategy. “I think at this point we need a different approach,” she said. Ronen said she would instead coordinate dialogue between community groups and developers to ensure that “thousands of units” of affordable housing are built — in both fully affordable projects and market-rate ones.Another debate will take place at the Mission Neighborhood Center on Friday, September 30, from 6-8:30 p.m. Mission Local will also host a debate at the Mission Cultural Center on Thursday, October 13 at 7 p.m. Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img 0%last_img read more

SAINTS Academy returned from their 2015 Tour unbea

first_imgSAINTS Academy returned from their 2015 Tour unbeaten with four wins from four games.The players are enjoying a well-earned break – until later week anyway! – whilst the staff are dissecting what happened in Australia and planning for the season ahead.We caught up with head coach Derek Traynor to gain his thoughts from the successful trip.You planned the tour in meticulous detail – could you have expected it to have gone as well as it did?The big thing about the tour is we are trying to mould players. We are looking to produce well mannered, respectable and polite lads off the field – and competitive players on it. I felt we achieved that. Walking to the gate at the airport you could see passengers hoping they weren’t sat with us. At the end those same people were saying how well behaved the lads had been. That is great for the club and shows what we are doing is working.We set the standards and the culture we want and the players follow. Obviously, when they go out on the field we want them to be competitive. In the end it was a well-disciplined tour.Looking at the four games, each win was gained in a different way and it showed the character of the youngsters we have at the club…In the touring party we had players who’d played Academy and those who hadn’t. The first game (against Wests Tigers) was a big shock for the latter part of this group and some didn’t last as many minutes as they would normally.It was a tough match for us. Wests Tigers and Balmain brought their best players together to form their cubs and we had to dig in. We were losing by the end of the second 20 minute period but scored two tries in the last 20 to win the match.Sadly, we lost Josh Eaves to a broken jaw early in the game. Thankfully, it didn’t need surgery and full credit to him, he just got on with the tour and supported the lads. In turn, they treated him as part of the squad. It was great the way everyone rallied around.Against Central Coast we always knew what we would be facing. They are well organised and physical. Central Coast are trying to get an NRL team in the area and a lot of those lads will play for Newcastle and other clubs.We took charge early, scored some good tries and improved from the experience of the first game. The younger players certainly stood up and were counted.The third game against Parramatta Eels was the highlight of the tour for me. They are as big as Super League teams over here and we had to try and match that, dig in and hang on. We pinched a couple of tries and held them to a drop goal in the second half. Then in the last minute, with the last play of the game, we scored and won the match.For the lads to perform that skill under pressure and not panic is just superb. As soon as the lad passed the ball to put us in we were jumping up and down.The game with Penrith is historically the toughest and the one we want to win. We are based there over the course of the tour and have always faced them. To be honest we didn’t play well and didn’t control the ball as well as we would have liked and that put us under pressure. The Panthers were well organised and defended well – and we had to match that. We ended up grinding out a win to go four on four – a big achievement.The last time we did that Andre Savelio, Greg Richards, Luke Thompson, Mark Percival and Adam Swift came through so we are obviously looking for more of the same.You actually sound a little disappointed with the Penrith performance – does that show how much the side grew during the course of the three weeks?Yes. You are always looking to kick on and improve and it was the flattest performance on the tour. It was nice to finish on a high but were a little disappointed. However, winning when you’re not playing well is the sign of a decent side.Social media meant it was a lot easier for fans to keep in touch with the tour this time around. Did the players know the about the interest in them?The interest was higher than before but we tend to ban Facebook and Twitter when they are over there. It can be a distraction for the players. They would spend three weeks on their phones otherwise! We want them to socialise with each other and the staff. They will have an idea about the interest but they probably didn’t realise how much coverage they were getting until they came back to the UK.What happens now?The lads who have signed for us will be back in on Tuesday and a couple who went on the tour who aren’t signed will go back to their amateur clubs to gain game time. Of course we will keep a close eye on them – it is an ongoing process.I’d like to say a massive thank you to Dave Woods whose role is really important. Alongside Mike Rush and Neil Kilshaw he helps with the organisation of the tour and driving us around over there. Geoff Cropper’s fundraising is also invaluable.last_img read more

ENGLANDS will host the Rugby League World Cup in

first_imgENGLAND’S will host the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) announced earlier today that England had beaten off competition from the USA/Canada to host the 31 game Men’s tournament alongside the Women’s and Wheelchair tournament in five years’ time.Speaking following the announcement, Chairman of the RFL, Brian Barwick, said: “The news today that England has won the right to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 is transformative for our sport.“Our commitment to grow the game internationally, attract more spectators than ever before and put on the biggest and best event in the sports history has clearly been recognised by the RLIF.“With a sold out game between England and New Zealand this weekend in the Ladbrokes Four Nations it is clear that there is a real passion for international Rugby League in this country. The UK has a proud reputation for delivering world class sporting events and the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 will round off an incredible decade of major events in our country that began with the London Olympics in 2012. The hard work starts now, but we are confident that we can deliver.“Finally, we would like to thank the government for their steadfast support for the bid. Their pledge to help financially support the staging of this event and their commitment to provide up to an additional £10m investment in infrastructure for the sport of Rugby League, has undoubtedly helped to bring yet another iconic world class sporting event to this country.”The tournament will benefit from central government backing with up to £15m pledged to help support the hosting of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 and a further £10m to support infrastructure for the sport and grow the game across the country.Speaking following the announcement, Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, said: “I am delighted that England has been chosen to stage the Rugby League World Cup in 2021. The government is investing up to £15 million to put on a world class show and up to a further £10 million into the game’s infrastructure as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda – and to help Rugby League grow outside its traditional home.“The tournament will be a fantastic festival of rugby, enjoyed by a million spectators, and bringing economic benefits to host towns and cities. I look forward to working alongside the RLIF, RFL and UK Sport on an outstanding event.”England Head Coach, Wayne Bennett, added: “The Rugby League World Cup feels like it is on the verge of transforming itself from a major to a mega event. It has the potential to sit alongside some of the world’s biggest events and it’s clear from England’s bid that they have the capability, backing, funding and expertise to do just that. Hosting the World Cup in England in 2021 is exactly what the sport needs to be doing and I’m glad to see that this country now has the opportunity to deliver on its ambitious plans.”last_img read more

Head Coach Dave Elliott has selected Jack Welsby

first_imgHead Coach Dave Elliott has selected Jack Welsby, Jake Wingfield, Josh Simm and Tom Nisbet in his side.England Academy will face France in two Test matches at Provident Stadium, Bradford (Wednesday, October 17) and Bootham Crescent, York (Saturday, October 20) before they take on the visiting Australian Schoolboys at Leigh Sports Village (Saturday, December 8) and Emerald Headingley Stadium (Saturday, December 15).The Academy squad will also take part in two Lancashire v Yorkshire ‘Origin’ games at the Provident Stadium (Saturday, July 28) and Victoria Park, Warrington (Sunday, September 2), before the Yorkshire Division take on the Australian Schoolboys at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle (Wednesday, November 28) and Lancashire also come head-to-head with the visitors at the Manchester Regional Arena (Saturday, December 1).The Yorkshire ‘Origin’ academy side will be coached by England Knights head coach, Paul Anderson and former England and Huddersfield scrum-half Luke Robinson, while the Lancashire team will be coached by England Men’s Elite Squad assistant coach Paul Wellens, two-times Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner, Paul Sculthorpe and former Rochdale Hornets coach Ian Talbot.The National Performance Squad will meet several times over the course of this year before a final squad to face France and Australian Schoolboys will be selected in Autumn 2018.National Performance Squad in full:Ben Davies (Widnes Vikings), Cameron Scott (City of Hull Academy), Corey Johnson (Leeds Rhinos), Elliot Wallis (City of Hull Academy), Eribe Doro (Warrington Wolves), Ethan Harvard (Wigan Warriors), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors), Innes Senior (Huddersfield Giants), Jack Broadbent (Leeds Rhinos), Jack Brown (City of Hull Academy), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Jake Wingfield (St Helens), James McDonnell (Wigan Warriors), Joe Shorrocks (Wigan Warriors), Josh Simm (St Helens), Lewis Carr (Castleford Tigers), Louis McConnell (Leeds Rhinos), Louis Senior (Huddersfield Giants), Morgan Smithies (Wigan Warriors), Oliver Wilson (Bradford Bulls), Owen Trout (Leeds Rhinos), Reece Hamlett (Wigan Warriors), Rowan Milnes (Bradford Bulls), Sam Walters (Widnes Vikings), Tom Holroyd (Leeds Rhinos), Tom Nisbet (St Helens).England Academy Autumn Fixtures in full:England Academy v France – October 17, Provident Stadium England Academy v France – October 20, Bootham Crescent England Academy v Australian Schoolboys – December 8, Leigh Sports Village England Academy v Australian Schoolboys – December 15, Emerald Headingley Stadium‘Origin’ Fixtures in full:Yorkshire v Lancashire – July 28, Provident Stadium Lancashire v Yorkshire – September 2, Victoria Park Yorkshire v Australian Schoolboys – November 28, Mend-A-Hose Jungle Lancashire v Australian Schoolboys – December 1, Manchester Regional Arenalast_img read more

Resident burned in early morning house fire in Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Fire Department responded to a second structure fire overnight. It happened during the early morning hours Monday.WFD were able to put out a fire at 414 South 8th Street. Around 3 a.m., the fire department tweeted that a resident suffered burns to their face and hands as well as inhalation burns. That person was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.- Advertisement – Fire crews say there was also damage to a nearby home.Update 414 S 8th , the resident received burns to face, hands, and inhalation burns. Transported to NHRMC. Cause still under investigation.— WilmingtonFD (@WilmingtonFD) November 27, 2017Crews are still investigating the cause.last_img

GETTING ANSWERS Gov Cooper heads west as help with ice heads east

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two days after a record snowfall much of southeastern North Carolina is still digging out from the ice left behind.Over the past two days Gov. Roy Cooper has held briefings in Raleigh about the storm. Today he moved on to other matters.- Advertisement – As most students in our area missed a third day of school because of the weather the Democrat traveled to Charlotte, where he visited an elementary school to discuss the need for funding a class size requirement.We asked our ABC affiliate WSOC in Charlotte to ask the governor about lingering storm issues.“We have (four) people who died from the results of the storm,” Cooper said. “We have one truck that skidded off of the bridge and fell into a creek. Two men died and another person skidded off the road and hit a tree and died Beaufort County. It just shows you just gotta stay safe on the roads and slow down. We encouraged people not to go out unless they had to, and people for the most part did that yesterday and today.”Related Article: NC school system looks to stop suspending students who get in troubleThis afternoon Cooper’s office sent out a news release titled “Roads clearing, but bitter cold temperatures remain.” It included a quote from the governor who said, “Last night was a quieter one for troopers on our highways. it appears that many people heeded the warnings and stayed off the roads, and there were far fewer collisions. But very cold temperatures remain along with icy spots on many secondary roads and neighborhood streets, so we need to keep our guard up.”We know it’s more than just some icy spots in your neighborhood, so we called the governor’s office for more information.Spokesman Ford Porter said the NCDOT is redirecting more resources our way. We asked Porter if we could speak with the governor about what’s going on, and he said he would check. We have not heard back about that request, but we did get a call from NC Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon, who said the governor asked him to call us.Secretary Trogdon said that with the limited amount of time crews can effectively work because of the cold and how it affects ice removal he ordered more resources east. He said DOT Division 3, which includes Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Onslow, Duplin and Sampson counties, is getting resources from three other districts that stretch from Boone to Winston-Salem and down to Charlotte. The DOT says that adds 40 more trucks and graders to the fleet of more than 90 DOT and contractor vehicles already working in the six-county division.Secretary Trogdon also said conditions are even worse farther up the coast, which is getting help from other parts of the state.Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reported that according to our Charlotte affiliate WSOC reporters did not have time to ask Gov. Cooper about storm issues during his school visit. WSOC later let us know that one of its reporters was able to ask the governor about it. His response has been added.last_img read more

One arrested two still wanted for Brunswick County shooting

first_img Torrance Lemar Shaw, Jr. is wanted in connection to a Leland shooting. (Photo: BCSO) Aaron Grant Oliver (Photo: BCSO) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One man is in jail facing charges after a shooting in the Leland area on Friday. Two others are still wanted. Dontee Forte is wanted in connection to a Leland shooting. (Photo: BCSO) According to arrest warrants, Oliver shot at a vehicle that was driving on Hooper Road. A man and a woman were inside the vehicle at the time.He was arrested just after the shooting.Detectives are still searching for Torrance Lemar Shaw, Jr. and Dontee Forte. They are believed to be armed and dangerous.Related Article: 169 arrests in sex trafficking effort ahead of Super BowlThe sheriff’s office says the shooting happened after a domestic incident.No one got hurt.If you know anything, contact Det. McCaffity with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 363-6555. Dontee Forte and another man are wanted in connection to a Leland shooting. (Photo: BCSO) The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says Aaron Grant Oliver, 19, is charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and discharging a weapon in an occupied dwelling/moving vehicle.- Advertisement – 1 of 3last_img read more

Kristy Debono should have shouldered responsibility – Mosta Sectional Committee to PN

first_imgNationalist Sectional Committee in Mosta said that MP and shadow minister for the economy Kristy Debono should have shouldered responsibility over her meeting with Yorgen Fenech, owner of the Dubai-based company 17 Black. Debono also serves as the Party’s President on its General Council. When the meeting came to light, MP Hermann Schiavone had suspended himself from the Party and now sits as an independent MP.READ: Schiavone suspends himself from PNREAD: Schiavone did the ‘honourable’ thing – DeliaHowever Debono limited herself to an apology back then, saying that it was an error of judgement. Remarking that this event went on as though it was business as usual, the Sectional Committee said that they would have expected Debono to shoulder responsibility and not put the party in bad light, asking how can the party be credible in view of such events.PN Sectional Committee in Mosta has sent a stern letter to its party on Friday, in which among other things, they call for those responsible for the electoral defeat to shoulder responsibility.The letter was discussed during a committee meeting held on Wednesday 12 June was sent to Partit Nazzjonalista’s administration on Friday to PN leader Adrian Delia, Secretary General Clyde Puli, Deputy Leaders David Agius and Robert Arrigo, Executive Committee President, Administrative Council President, General Council President Kristy Debono and the Information Office of the party.Mosta Sectional Committee said that the current situation of the party was discussed and that they felt that they could not keep silent in view of all that has happened following the electoral defeats suffered during the Local Council and the European Parliament election held on 25 May.Similarly, Paola’s PN Sectional Committee, has discussed and unanimously approved that a letter is sent to PN leader Adrian Delia to ask the Party’s administration to shoulder responsibility for the electoral defeat, the reaction issued by the party to the defeat, and the debacle which followed since the elections were held, according to sources that have spoken to“The administration should be responsible for its actions” Expressing its shock at the statement made by Secretary General Clyde Puli, when he compared the results obtained during the election to a survey commissioned by the Labour Party media, which had shown that the party would suffer a greater loss at the polls, the Sectional Committee asked whether the result obtained was a satisfactory one. The Committee remarked that such a statement angered party activists and in a more direct manner the electorate.The Sectional Committee said that the administration of the party should shoulder responsibility and explain the facts, as “this is not helping the party advance”.On co-optionPN Mosta Sectional Committee also discussed the co-option fiasco after former MP Jean Pierre Debono won with two votes over Kevin Cutajar, only to renounce his seat later after allegations of irregularities in voting lists emerged. The co-option process kicked in, after former MP David Stellini resigned after unsuccessfully contested the MEP elections and will be returning to his former job. The Sectional Committee asked whether any responsibility was shouldered with regards to the voting irregularities.READ: Kevin Cutajar interested in Stellini’s seatREAD: Kevin Cutajar or Jean Pierre Debono?Kevin Cutajar went on to become an MP only a week after the first vote was taken during an Executive Committee meeting. Describing the situation as shocking, the Committee said that the Secretary General Clyde Puli was actively scouting and encouraging other members to take up the vacant seat in Parliament instead of Cutajar. Puli denied encouraging other members to contest the co-option vote.READ: Cutajar takes oath to become MP; “Emotional”READ: Puli says he called up all PN candidates on 13 district ahead of executive meetingThe letter ended urging everyone to shoulder their responsibility saying that no one enjoyed their trust anymore.Read more: Watch: “I am ready to serve where Delia thinks it is best” – Kevin CutajarUpdated: Cutajar approved for Stellini seat, through acclamationWhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

ComputerPoint IBM partner to improve ICT

first_imgAdvertisement He was addressing investors after announcing the partnership at Kabira Country Club in Kampala. The partnership mandates Computer Point, an IT systems integrator, to offer IT solutions including infrastructure, application maintenance and development to willing financial institutions, the Government, telecoms and other corporate companies in Uganda on behalf of IBM. Tony Mwai, the IBM country general manager for East Africa, said the alliance will leverage the firm’s IT expertise to support Ugandan businesses.  – Advertisement – On September 2010, IBM and Bharti Airtel signed a 10 year contract, where IBM will consolidate and transform the 16 different IT environments across Airtel’s African operations into an integrated system. Mwai says IBM’s cutting edge technology can unite business and IT, offering seamless access to IT services and resources, and cohesively integrating and managing the exploding volume of information. “IBM’s goal is all about making businesses and IT environments ready to be part of a planet that is becoming smarter. It will do this by helping with unique technologies and services for virtualisation, energy efficiency, data management and business resiliency,” he added. Source: New Visionlast_img read more

Japanese company offers 3D model of foetus

first_imgAdvertisement Expectant parents in Japan who can’t wait to show the world what their baby will look like can now buy a 3D model of the foetus to pass around their friends. The nine-centimetre resin model of the white foetus, encased in a transparent block in the shape of the mother’s body, is fashioned by a 3D printer after an MRI scan. “As it is only once in a lifetime that you are pregnant with that child, we received requests for these kind of models from pregnant women who… do not want to forget the feelings and experience of that time,” said Tomohiro Kinoshita of FASOTEC, the company offering the service. The “Shape of an Angel”, which costs 100,000 yen ($1,200), comes with a miniature version that could be a nice adornment to a mobile phone, he added. Many young women in Japan have decorations attached to their cellphone strap.The company said the ideal time for a scan is around eight or nine months into the pregnancy.For those who would like a less pricey version, the company will start offering a 3D model of the face of the foetus at 50,000 yen in December. It will use ultrasound images taken at a medical clinic in Tokyo that has forged a tie-up with the company. FASOTEC, originally a supplier of devices including 3D printers, uses a layering technique to build up three-dimensional structures. The technique has been touted as a solution to localised manufacture on a small scale.Credit: GulfTodaylast_img read more

Google to open its own stores by the end of the year

first_imgAdvertisement An extremely reliable source has confirmed to us that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S. and hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas.The mission of the stores is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome, and especially upcoming products into the hands of prospective customers. Google feels right now that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase. Google competitors Apple and Microsoft both have retail outlets where customers can try before they buy. Google’s retail move won’t be an entirely new areaGoogle currently has Chrome Store-within-a-store models in hundreds of Best Buys in the U.S. and 50 PCWorld/Dixon’s in the U.K. These stores have Google trained employees who demonstrate the value of Chromebooks and can answer the multitude of questions people have before making a purchase. Our source told us the new Google Stores would be a much broader play. The Chrome SIS employees don’t have sales targets, and they are there mostly for educating. Best Buy and Dixen’s also handle product and monetary transactions, not Google. – Advertisement – My understanding is that these new stores will operate independently and make direct sales to customers from Google like the Nexus online store does currently. It might also make sense for Google to sell its apparel and other Google-branded merchandise in these stores as well, but that’s speculation on my part.The decision to open stores, I’m told, came when drawing up plans to take the Google Glass to the public. The leadership thought consumers would need to try Google Glass first hand to make a purchase. Without being able to use them first hand, few non-techies would be interested in buying Google’s glasses (which will retail from between $500 to $1,000). From there, the decision to sell other Google-branded products made sense.Along with Glass, Google will have an opportunity to demonstrate other upcoming and Google X projects like driverless cars and mini-drone delivery systems at its stores.There are small bits of anecdotal evidence that Google is looking into retail. It is hiring folks to develop Point of Sale systems, for instance. We’re told, however, that most of the ramping up of these stores will be done by an outside agency. Source: 9t05Google.comlast_img read more

Tanzanias Communications Regulatory Authority to Disable all illegal simcards

first_imgAdvertisement THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said that it is working on modalities to ensure unregistered SIM cards are disabled within six weeks. The Authority was strengthening the law against unlawful use of mobile phones including disabling unregistered SIM cards, The TCRA Director General, Prof John Mkoma said.He said the Authority, the anti-cyber crime unit in the Police Force and the mobile phone firms have jointly launched a campaign to enforce laws and regulations governing the sector.“We are working on technical modalities before we fully embark on this exercise since it is not an easy task. I hope we will be able to make it within six weeks,” he said. According to section 130 of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) of 2010, it is strictly prohibited for any person to sell any mobile phone or SIM card to any other person without recording his or her particulars. – Advertisement – All sellers have to make sure that they not only record particulars before selling SIM cards, but ensure they do the same to buyers of mobile phone handsets which is rarely done today. TCRA will from now on take to task people who knowingly use or cause to be used unregistered SIM cards.People doing so risk being convicted and face a fine not exceeding 300,000/- or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. In the meeting held at the TCRA headquarters yesterday and attended by senior officials of mobile phone operators, it was agreed that all stakeholders should co-operate to reinforce that operation.CEOs also committed themselves to work on the resolutions reached during meetings with the TCRA earlier this month, where it was agreed that operators should review their systems to make their customers’ particulars properly recorded.According to Prof Mkoma, the registration exercise of SIM cards was going on well with the companies working hard to reduce the backlog of the unregistered lines apart from keeping on registering new subscribers.“The registration has been accomplished by at least 93 per cent, the backlog will soon be cleared as we launch this operation,” said the TRCA Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Innocent Mungy. Prof Mkoma said TCRA was ready to assist the government in apprehending people spreading foul messages through mobile phone networks.He said TCRA was in principle not part of the Police Force or public prosecutors, but would stand as a witness in cyber crimes. The meeting with mobile phone operators also tasked the companies to make sure all lines randomly sold are properly recorded in their systems.The meeting was attended by CEOs and senior officers from Airtel Tanzania Ltd, Benson Informatics Limited (BOL), MIC Tanzania Ltd (TIGO), and Dovotel Ltd (Sasatel). Others were the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL), Vodacom Tanzania Ltd and Zanzibar Telecom Ltd (Zantel).Credit: Daily Newslast_img read more

Shodan The Search Engine for Hackers

first_imgAdvertisement The internet has a lot of exploits, both good and bad, If you thought no one has access to your webcam, think again.Shodan is a search engine that crawls the Internet looking for devices, many of which are programmed to answer, including cars, fetal heart monitors, office building heating-control systems, water treatment facilities, power plant controls, traffic lights and glucose meters.A search for just printers brings you over 50,000 results, of printers, some easily accessible. – Advertisement – Shodan was released in 2009 by John Matherly. He named it after the villainous sentient computer in the video game System Shock. “It’s a reference other hackers and nerds will understand.”Its now a tool for security researchers, academics, law enforcement and hackers looking for devices that shouldn’t be on the Internet or devices that are vulnerable to being hacked.Shodan can be used to find webcams with security so low that you only needed to type an IP address into your browser to peer into people’s homes, security offices, hospital operating rooms, child care centers and drug dealer operations.Matherly’s entire database has over 1.5 billion connected devices, no wonder cybersecurity firms, pay five figures annually to access it.In the wrong hands, Shodan poses a threat especially to people who have no knowledge of online security.There are security cams, lights, heating and cooling systems online that could be easily controlled by a hacker.A slight search game me webcams gave me a number of video servers, some of which could be logged in with default username and password.Am just imagining what pervy hackers can do with the search engine.Credit: Forbeslast_img read more

Twitter Said to be Working on a Premium Version of TweetDeck

first_imgImage Credit: cultofmac Advertisement Last week on Thursday according to reports by Reuters, Micro blogging firm; Twitter Inc. is reportedly said to be considering whether to build a premium version of its popular Tweetdeck interface aimed at professionals, raising the possibility that it could collect subscription fees from some users for the first time.Like most other social media companies, Twitter since its founding has focused on building a huge user base for a free service supported by advertising. But unlike the much-larger Facebook, Twitter has failed to attract enough in advertising revenue.Subscription fees could come from a version of Tweetdeck, an existing interface that helps users navigate Twitter. – Advertisement – Twitter is conducting a survey “to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck,” spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca said in a statement.There was no indication that Twitter was considering charging fees from all its users.According to one of the screenshots posted on the account by @andrewtavani, the premium version of Tweetdeck could include more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker.Scoop: Twitter is developing an ‘advanced TweetDeck’ that would be available for monthly subscription fee & feature a range of new features:— Andrew Tavani (@andrewtavani) March 23, 2017The experience could be ad-free, the description said.Other social media firms, such as Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn unit, already have tiered memberships, with subscription versions that offer greater access and data.[related-posts]last_img read more

Tumwebaze to Face Parliament Disciplinary Committee Over Simcard Deactivation

first_imgICT Minister Frank Kigyigyi Tumwebaze. (Photo Courtesy) Advertisement Kibaale County Member of Parliament Frank Kigyigyi Tumwebaze who also doubles as the Minister for Information, Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance is set to face the disciplinary arm of parliament over what was described as contempt.Tumwebaze’s woes arise from the controversial and unpopular simcard verification exercise whose deadline passed last night, leaving over 4 million simcards deactivated.Parliament on Thursday May 18th passed a motion to have the simcard verification deadline extended for not more than one year, a decision that was overruled by Tumwebaze. – Advertisement – The legislators argued that the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has no capacity to register all Ugandans; considering its constrained staffing as indicated in the Ministerial Policy Statement for Internal Affairs FY 2017/18.They further argued that; “there is no law prohibiting persons below 18 years of age from acquiring and using mobile phone yet the NIRA) only issues cards to citizens aged 18 years and above.”Tumwebaze however used his executive powers to order telecommunications operators to go ahead and deactivate the simcards as per the deadline, a move that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has referred to as contempt of parliament.“The representatives of the people largely agreed with this decision; I was shocked to learn that the Minister in total disregard and disrespect this house’s resolution has insisted that unregistered SIM card should be switched off,” an infuriated Kadaga said on Friday.She added that if the executive in any case had a contrary suggestion to the resolution of Parliament, it had an opportunity to present which they didn’t.“This was a substantive motion; it was on the order paper and if the Executive had any reservation on any matter, the Minister should have presented a statement of objection to the decision made,” she added.While addressing journalists on Friday afternoon, Tumwebaze said that his decision was not the executive trying to interfere with parliament since concerns of MPs have already been mitigated.“The work of Parliament is to enact legislations, pass motions and resolutions and ask government to act on them and report; the work of government is to act on those resolutions as it deems fit and applicable, resolutions of parliament are not Court orders,” he said.[related-posts]Tumwebaze missing parliament sessions Speaker Kadaga said Tumwebaze is not a regular attendant of parliament sessions saying that since the issue of registration started he has never briefed the house.“He has not even understood, he has not given himself time to know the difficulties people are going through and has disrespected the people’s representatives.”“I am signing him for contempt under rule 211 of the Rules of Procedure; we cannot accept disregard of peoples’ voices, the challenges and problems; it’s a high level of arrogance.”last_img read more

Top 7 Real World Applications of Python

first_imgPython training has been substantially increasing. Here’s were it can be applied and why it makes a developer’s life easy. Photo By: Christina Morillo/Pexels Advertisement The demand for people who have undergone Python training has been substantially increasing. The ease of development and overall shorter development and testing time are some significant contributing factors to why this language has become so popular. In fact, according to the Tiobe Index, it has become one of the top 5 languages people want to have in their arsenal in 2019.Let’s look at some of the main areas where Python can be applied and why it makes a developer’s life so much easier.1. Data ScienceData science uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract meaningful insights from complex data. And Python makes it extremely easy. Most folks undergo a Python course to use it as a door to data science. Python is the best tool for the visualization and analysis of datasets. This is because of the colossal and active ecosystem of packages like Matplotlib, Scikit-Learn, Numpy, Pandas, and IPython. – Advertisement – 2. Machine LearningMachine learning is the scientific study of statistical data and algorithms to make predictions and decisions based on patterns and inference without being explicitly programmed. Just like how a baby learns to recognize the things around based on various examples and patterns, we feed the machine with a lot ofsample data or in ML terms training set which makes it ‘learn’.This branch of Artificial Intelligence has numerous applications like face recognition, recommendation systems (such as in popular sites like Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube) and email filtering. Some of the popular ML algorithms include Deep Learning, neural networks, and support vector machines.Python has replaced many other languages in the industry due to the vast collection of Python libraries, frameworks, and modules like sci-kit-learn, TensorFlow, Numpy, and Theano.3. Web DevelopmentPython web frameworks are used to create backend or server-side code. The backend code is run on the server while frontend is on the client’s device.Some of the best choices are frameworks like Django and Pyramid, micro-frameworks like Flask and Bottle along with advanced content management systems like Plone and Django CMS. Python supports HTML and XML, email processing, JSON, and other protocols like FTP and IMAP.The Package Index in Python has another set of libraries like an HTTP client library called Requests and an HTML parser called Beautiful Soup. Additionally, feedparser is used for parsing RSS/ Atom feeds, Paramiko for implementing the protocol called SSH2. Twisted Python is a useful framework for asynchronous network programming.4. Scientific and NumericThe powerful language is very commonly used in scientific and numeric computations. Python has advanced libraries like SciPy, NumPy, and Pandas. SciPy is a bunch of packages in mathematics, science, and engineering, while NumPy is helpful in complex numerical calculations. Pandas is a library specific to data analysis and mathematical modeling.Easy editing and recording of work are achieved with IPython shell along with visualizations and parallel computing.5. Desktop GUIsGUI (Graphical User Interface) development is achieved in multiple ways with Python, out of which the most common method is tkinter. This is a thin object-oriented layer on top of Tk/Tcl.  It is the quickest and easiest way to create a GUI application.Other tool kits available in Python are wxWidgets, Kivy and Qt via pyqt or pyside. Apart from these, certain platform-specific tool kits are also available like GTK+ and Delphi.6. Software DevelopmentPython developers use Python as a support language for testing, build control and management.Scons is a software construction tool used to build control. Continuous integration systems like Buildbot and Apache Gump are used for continuous compilation and testing. Finally, for bug tracking and project management, developers prefer Roundup and/or Trac. All of these libraries make the software development process much easier.7. Database AccessHigh-level web applications need to store and retrieve user data. This reliable and fast structured storage of data is achieved using databases. Common libraries in Python are used to work with such databases.MySQLdb is used for MySQL, psycopg2 for PostgreSQL and cx Oracle is used for Oracle database. Instead of SQL queries, Python Object-Relational Mappers or ORMs are used to access data from the backend.Python is EverywhereNow you know why Python is a hyped language after all. This is indeed so powerful. The language itself was not designed for such wide applications, but it has adapted quite well to the needs of the modern business world. But now that we know, let’s make the best use of it.last_img read more

PREVIEW Besiktas v Arsenal

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he temperatures have dipped notably over the last few days and all of a sudden it looks like summer is over Add to that the return of Champions League football tonight and it really is time to draw the curtains and even consider putting the heating on.Big match for Arsenal tonight in their first leg against Turkish outfit Besiktas as they both have their sights set on the Group stages of the lucrative tournament.Besiktas v Arsenal Champions League Qualifier ITV 7.45pmIt’s an intimidating venue for Arsenal who will no doubt consider a draw as a positive result to take back to the Emirates.Arsenal have a great record in the early stages of the Champions League competition and beat another Turkish club, Fenerbahce, at the same stage last season. However, they weren’t overly impressive on their Premier League reappearance on Saturday when needing an injury time goal to get past Crystal Palace.In that match Arsenal’s left-back Kieran Gibbs suffered a hamstring injury and will miss both legs of this match.A draw looks the call with Star Sports at around 13/5RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK DRAW for 3 points at around 13/5 with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 19.97 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW Tottenham Hotspur v FK Qarabag

first_img[dropcap]G[/dropcap]ot there with the ‘over 3.5 goal’ recommended bet at Stamford Bridge last night.Just like their London rivals last night, Tottenham will no doubt be hopeful that they can try and kick start their season with a confidence boosting win in Europe.Spurs take on FK Qarabag for the first time and are long odds-on to beat their rivals from Baku.Spurs have made a mediocre start to the new season, currently in 12th place but improving after three draws and a win (away at Sunderland) in their last four games.There’s mounting pressure on Harry Kane who has yet to score this season and he will start on the bench tonight.Tottenham’s starting XI:01 Lloris16 Trippier27 Wimmer04 Alderweireld03 Rose28 Carroll15 Dier11 Lamela20 Alli17 Townsend07 Son Heung-minQarabag are certainly not no-hopers. Celtic only scraped past them in the qualifiers for the Champions League recently.Tottenham Hotspur v FK QarabagUEFA Europa League Group Stage20:05 BT Sport Europe / BT Sport Europe HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)Never playedSpurs should prove different class and I’m happy to take evens with Star Sports about them leading at HT and FT.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK SPURS TO BE WINNING AT HT/FT for 10 points at evens with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 210.36 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more